Choate Announces Leadership Succession Plan - Melissa Bayer Tearney to Become Co-Managing Partner

Choate Hall & Stewart LLP announces that Melissa Bayer Tearney will become co-managing partner of the firm on January 1, 2025. 

Currently co-chair of the firm’s litigation department, Ms. Tearney will begin serving as co-managing partner on January 1, 2025. In the interim, she will collaborate closely with the firm’s current managing partners, Bill Gelnaw and Charles Cheever, and the firm’s executive committee. 

“Melissa will be an exceptional managing partner. Her experience representing Choate clients as they navigate complex and high-stakes investigations, combined with her leadership skills and focus on teamwork, make her the perfect person to work with Charles and help lead Choate into the future,” said Mr. Gelnaw, who will step down on December 31, 2024, after 28 years in the role. 

One of the nation’s premier law firms, Choate is pursuing a strategy that is distinctly different in a number of important respects from the firms with which it competes. Those differences dramatically benefit the firm’s clients and its talent. Like a handful of leading Wall Street firms, Choate conducts its national and international practice from a single office and is focused in areas where it practices at the top of the legal market. Choate represents market-leading ‘Best of Breed’ clients in each of its core practice areas: private equity/M&A, finance & restructuring, life sciences, litigation, and wealth management. The firm and its attorneys are regularly acknowledged by Chambers USA, Legal 500, Benchmark Litigation, BTI Client Service All-Stars, and Best Lawyers, among others. Choate ranked ninth in the country in The American Lawyer’s value per lawyer category in 2021. 

“Choate is a remarkable firm. I am honored to have this opportunity and look forward to working with Bill and Charles on the transition, and our entire team moving forward as we continue to provide exceptional results for our clients and a unique culture in which our talent can thrive,” said Ms. Tearney. 

In addition to serving as co-chair of Choate’s litigation department, Ms. Tearney has been a frequent member of the firm’s executive committee. She currently chairs Choate’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and also serves on the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee and Partner Compensation Committee. She has been named a “White Collar Crime Trailblazer” by The National Law Journal, a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation, a “Top Woman of Law” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, and a “2016 Woman of Influence” by the Boston Business Journal, in addition to routinely receiving recognition by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and Massachusetts Super Lawyers.  

Ms. Tearney received an AB, magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1988 and a JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1991. She joined Choate as a partner in 2011.