A fierce defender of fair treatment for everyone. A dedicated servant leader. A voice of reason, respected by all. These are some of the words used to describe Beth Wilkens, whose career as an attorney, counselor, mentor and community leader is getting some just recognition this week. Beth will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on November 14th from the Daily Record of New York and Rochester Business Journal. It will be part of the Daily Record’s “Attorneys of the Year” program at the Hyatt Regency in Rochester.
Beth came to Harris Beach after her graduation from Cornell Law School in 1974 and has gone on to build enduring relationships through her practice of corporate, securities, banking and finance and bankruptcy law, as well as through her involvement in community service. Beth was the first woman and youngest lawyer ever to serve as president of the Monroe County Bar Association, and has a lengthy record of service to the law profession through Pro Bono work as well as committee and association leadership.
She also has a long association in the community’s health care system. She chaired and served on the Board of Governors of Genesee Hospital and took on the same roles on behalf of the Rochester General Hospital System, serving on both the executive committee and audit committee.
CEO Chris Jagel paid Beth the highest of tributes in his nominating statement. “Beth Wilkens,” he wrote, “is the kind of attorney that makes young people decide to become lawyers, that makes practicing lawyers want to improve their skills and abilities to become better lawyers and better people. In my case, Beth Wilkens was and is the kind of attorney that made me want to join the firm I now have the privilege of serving as CEO. While Beth is a brilliant attorney and a terrific advocate for her clients and their interests, she has always demonstrated that intelligence with humility and in pursuit of best outcomes, and demonstrated that advocacy in the most professional and courteous manner.”
Beth recently reflected on her career in a podcast interview with Melissa Pheterson of our Business Development team. Give it a listen.