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Joann M. Lytle

Joann M. Lytle

Joann M. Lytle
McCarter & English L.L.P.
Age: 52

When Joann M. Lytle began her career in law more than 30 years ago, she did so far removed from the courthouses and corporate boardrooms that she occupies today as a Philadelphia-based partner at McCarter & English L.L.P.

“I had sort of a circuitous route to law school,” said Ms. Lytle. “I didn't go to college right away after high school, and instead I started working as a legal secretary at Swartz Campbell & Detweiler (now Swartz Campbell L.L.C.).”

Since obtaining her degree from Harvard Law School in 1990, Ms. Lytle has been recognized on several occasions as one of the country's premier insurance and reinsurance coverage attorneys, with a client base of large and midsize corporate policyholders spanning multiple industries and insurance disciplines.

“If you had told me when I was in law school that I was going to spend my days reading insurance policies, I would have run screaming in the other direction,” Ms. Lytle said. “I started out doing general commercial litigation, and a partner that I worked with on occasion asked me to help with an insurance coverage matter. After that, I was hooked, and now it's almost exclusively all I do.”

In addition to her reputation as a top-tier coverage attorney, Ms. Lytle has established herself within her firm as an advocate for female attorneys, according to her clients.

“She's been an excellent role model for women, not only within her firm but within the legal industry as a whole,” said Debra Rodgers, senior vice president of global risk management at Philadelphia-based Aramark Inc. “She's done a terrific job of promoting other women, particularly when she does speaking engagements. She always tries to highlight another woman at those events, so that person has a chance to get some recognition.”

Shortly after joining McCarter & English in 2003, Ms. Lytle co-founded the firm's Women's Business and Professional Development Committee with the hopes of paying forward the flexibility and good fortune that has allowed her to pursue and grow her own career in the legal industry.

“When I joined McCarter & English, the firm really didn't have a part-time policy for lawyers,” Ms. Lytle said. “Through the committee, we've been able to do that, as well as establish a balanced hours and flexible schedule policy. We're trying to make it easier for women to stay with the firm and stay in private practice.”

By Matt Dunning