24 Feb 2021

Robinson+Cole elects first female managing partner in its 175-year history

Regional US firm celebrates 'long overdue' milestone as litigation lawyer Rhonda Tobin takes on top job

Robinson+Cole has elected trial lawyer Rhonda Tobin as its next managing partner, the first woman to the lead the firm in its 175-year history.

Tobin – who has been at the firm for the past three decades – will replace the outgoing Stephen Goldman at the start of next month when his five-year tenure draws to a close. Tobin has served on the firm’s management committee for the past 12 years and as chair of the firm’s litigation business for a year longer than that, helping develop both the firm’s current strategic plan and its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

She said: “I’m extremely proud and humbled to be entrusted to lead our great firm of incredibly talented lawyers and professional staff. We have achieved so much over the last few years, and I look forward to continuing the aggressive growth of our practices while also maintaining the essence of our identity. Our 175-year legacy is built on our strong collaborative and inclusive culture – among our lawyers and staff, with our clients, and in the communities where we live and work.”

Her practice focuses on disputes involving insurance and reinsurance coverage, advising on high-profile coverage litigation including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, sexual abuse claims involving the Catholic church and coverage arising from the #MeToo movement and the pandemic.

Goldman steps down after significantly improving the firm’s profitability, doubling the size of its New York office and opening new locations in Philadelphia and Wilmington. During his tenure, the firm also hired a new chief operating officer, a new chief information officer and its first chief talent officer. Goldman will continue to serve as chair of the firm’s lateral growth committee while also devoting more time to his trial practice.

He said: “I have known and worked closely with Rhonda for over 30 years, and I can’t think of anyone more qualified to be our next leader. As I have said to our partners, there is no question that Rhonda is the right person at the right time, especially as we approach both the challenges and the opportunities that will be presented by what we hope will be the tail end of the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

Goldman added: “Rhonda is an incredibly talented lawyer, and was always the first person I consulted when confronted with difficult issues. She is a great strategic thinker and is highly respected by all of our lawyers and staff. By becoming the first woman to serve as our firm’s managing partner, Rhonda is also achieving a milestone that is both important and long overdue.”

Last September, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer appointed Asia managing partner Georgia Dawson as its next senior partner, making her the first woman to lead a UK Magic Circle law firm.