Cathy Birkeland is the Managing Partner of the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins, where she has practiced for her entire career and is the first female to hold the position of Chicago Office Managing Partner. Prior to her current leadership role Cathy was Global Co-Chair of the firm’s Capital Markets Practice and served as Chicago Office Deputy Managing Partner. Under Cathy’s leadership, the 185-lawyer Chicago office has strategically grown several key practice groups that are key to the firm’s global platform.
In addition to her leadership role, Cathy maintains a cutting-edge corporate practice, routinely advising on the most sophisticated capital markets transactions, including IPOs, dual track IPO/M&A processes, spin-offs, follow-on offerings, and block trades, as well as general public company representation, corporate governance, and advising boards of directors on corporate matters. Her clients include public and private companies of all sizes in Chicago and across the globe, from Fortune 500 companies to emerging growth companies, investment banking firms, investors, and private equity firms. She has experience with numerous industries, including technology, hospitality, REITs, consumer retail, financial services, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.
Cathy dedicates significant time to mentoring junior lawyers and passionately supports Latham’s commitment to diversity. She has served on the firm’s Global Diversity Leadership Committee, was a founding partner of Latham’s annual Women’s Leadership Academy, and currently leads Latham’s Chicago Taskforce for the Commitment to Racial Justice and Equality, dedicated to fighting racial injustice and promoting equality through pro bono efforts, programming, and financial support for Chicago-based organizations.
Outside of the office Cathy is actively involved with supporting the Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and serves on the Chicago Board of Camp Kesem, a national organization that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. She is also a member of The Chicago Network, an organization that brings together influential women leaders at the forefront of business, professional, cultural, nonprofit, and educational communities with the purpose of empowering women to lead.
Highly regarded by clients and peers, Cathy has been recognized each year since 2017 on the Notable Women in Law list by Crain’s Chicago Business. The Chicago Business Journal has also recognized Cathy on its Women of Influence list.
She earned her JD, cum laude, from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.