(Johnson City, Tennessee / January 20, 2015) Baker Donelson has elected Jennifer P. Keller as the Firm's next president and chief operating officer. Ms. Keller will assume the role effective April 1, 2015.
A shareholder in the Tri-Cities office of Baker Donelson, Ms. Keller is a member of Baker Donelson's Board of Directors and currently chairs the Firm's Labor & Employment Department.
Baker Donelson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ben C. Adams said, "Jennifer has spent her entire career at Baker Donelson. During that time she has served in numerous leadership roles and her contributions have contributed meaningfully to the success of our Firm. Her commitment and passion for service to the Firm, our clients and the community will be invaluable in leading Baker Donelson into the future."
Ms. Keller will assume the role from Jerry Stauffer, who has served as the Firm's president and COO for ten years. During Mr. Stauffer's tenure, Baker Donelson has grown from a firm of around 400 attorneys across 11 offices to more than 650 attorneys across 19 offices in seven states and Washington, D.C. After stepping down as president and COO, Mr. Stauffer will remain with Baker Donelson and will continue his practice focused on general corporate law and business litigation.
"The legal industry has changed significantly in recent years and faces real challenges," said Ms. Keller. "But because of Jerry's dedicated and effective leadership, Baker Donelson is well positioned to face those challenges head on and to excel in exciting ways. I am honored and extremely grateful for the opportunity to build on his success and to serve the Firm in this role."
Ms. Keller is an employment litigator who regularly appears before various administrative agencies, including the Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Tennessee Human Rights Commission and National Labor Relations Board. She advises clients on employment law matters including discipline and terminations, benefits issues, leave, disability accommodation, and policy formulation and enforcement.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Law, Ms. Keller has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® as a leading attorney in the practice areas of workers' compensation law and labor and employment law, by Mid-South Super Lawyers in the area of labor and employment, and by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading labor and employment lawyer. She has been named to Human Resource Executive's® list of 40 "Up-and-Comers" in employment law for three consecutive years. Ms. Keller was also named Baker Donelson's Tri-Cities Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in 2012.
Ms. Keller's current community involvement includes serving in various roles on the boards of directors for Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House Charities and Coalition For Kids. She is also a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County Chamber of Commerce.