Smith Anderson Welcomes Michelle Doran as Chief Operating Officer, Establishing All-Woman C-Suite Leadership Team

Press Release
Business North Carolina 

Smith Anderson is pleased to announce that Michelle Doran has joined the firm as Chief Operating Officer. With this appointment, all C-suite leadership positions at Smith Anderson are held by women.

"Joining Smith Anderson, a firm with such a strong presence in the market and deeply respected for its high-level work and exceptional client service, offers an unparalleled opportunity to contribute to innovative legal solutions and growth strategies in a world-class market,” Michelle said. “I couldn’t be more excited to join this firm, at this time.”

Michelle brings over 25 years of senior leadership experience from various regional and international law firms. Known for her energetic leadership and mentorship, Michelle has a distinguished track record of overseeing business, finance and operations at law firms, including the New York office of an AmLaw 100 international firm where she led operations for eight regional offices around the world. Most recently she served as COO of a Northeastern law firm. Doran holds a degree in Organizational Leadership and Communication from Marist College.

"Michelle's extensive experience and dynamic leadership style are a perfect fit for our firm, and we are proud of this milestone of giving rise to an all-female C-Suite leadership team," said Byron Kirkland, managing partner of Smith Anderson. "Each member of our leadership team brings unique strengths and a shared dedication to driving the firm's success and innovation forward."

Michelle joins an accomplished C-suite leadership team comprising of:

Lorie has been with Smith Anderson for almost 20 years, serving in various capacities including Director of Operations and Technology Director. As CAO, Lorie ensures the achievement of the firm’s strategic goals, oversees technology initiatives, ensures compliance with security regulations, and manages the firm’s infrastructure and oversees human resources, facilities and the administrative team. Lorie was also a longstanding member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Technology Committee. She holds a masters in executive leadership.

Susan has been with Smith Anderson since 2011, initially joining as Director of Marketing. Susan has been instrumental in establishing and growing the firm’s marketing and business development programs, and her extensive experience includes leading business development initiatives for lawyers and firm practices, creating business development training programs, coaching attorneys, implementing client-feedback programs and analyzing ROI. She oversees all marketing programming, including internal and external communications, PR, collateral, branding, advertising, social media, credentialing, event management and community involvement. Susan earned her B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing from Rockford University and completed an international business program at Regent’s University in London.

Blake serves dual roles at Smith Anderson – a practicing corporate and IP attorney and the firm’s Chief Talent Officer. In her CTO role, she leads the firm’s attorney recruitment process and drives professional development programming and initiatives for lawyers, including internal and external programming, mentoring programs, leadership opportunities and training and education. A partner who has been with the firm for almost 18 years, Blake is key in the firm’s new lawyer onboarding and integration plans, which include deliberate and focused processes during an attorney’s first year with Smith Anderson. Blake holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Patricia has been with Smith Anderson for three years and has over two decades of experience in financial and administrative leadership across industries such as technology, healthcare and professional services. As CFO, Patricia ensures the firm’s financial well-being and oversees its financial systems and operations with a focus on leveraging technology to improve profitability, drive operational efficiency, and scale for growth. She began her career at a "Big Four" public accounting firm and holds a Master of Accounting from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Patricia is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.



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