Meet Blank Rome’s Chief Operating Officer, Shonette Gaston
Our chief operating officer (“COO”), Shonette Gaston, draws upon her more than 25 years of senior-leadership experience overseeing business functions, operations, and diversity and inclusion at top law firms to provide governance and strategic guidance to firm leaders, attorneys, and professional administrative staff. As a key member of our firm’s leadership team, she brings a unique mix of client-centric focus, financial acumen, experience in all areas of law firm operations, and a desire to get to know everyone at the firm.
“I thrive on finding what makes people tick and tapping into the diverse skills and experiences of our professionals in order to find new and innovative ways to support our clients and enhance the business operations of our firm,” she says.
Shonette joined us in August 2021 from Robins Kaplan, where she also served as COO. She previously worked at Covington & Burling LLP as its managing director of administration, U.S. Offices & Dubai, United Arab Emirates; McDermott Will & Emery LLP as its director of controversies business unit & Washington area operations; and O’Melveny & Myers LLP as its director of practice group management.
In addition, Shonette has the distinction of being one of only about a dozen female COOs at AmLaw 100 firms. “While the low percentage of female COOs in Big Law is undeniable, I’ve never considered myself a female COO; but simply a COO applying my unique skillset to achieve the best possible results.” While Blank Rome’s administrative C-suite is predominantly made up of women, Shonette has sat at many law firm tables as the only woman. “Regardless of who is in the room or at the table, I have always felt comfortable voicing my opinion and sharing my experience and insights,” she says.
Shonette credits her career trajectory to her COO and mentor at O’Melveny & Myers, Bruce Boulware, who saw something in her and sponsored her career development while at that firm. He was instrumental in moving her through different positions, allowing her to gain experience in multiple areas of firm operations. Based on that experience, Shonette is a firm believer in the power of mentorship and sponsorship and strives to pay it forward.
“I really love working with leaders on the rise to determine the best path for their professional goals and providing them with opportunities to help them advance. It is so gratifying to put potential into practice and see people thrive.”
This article was published in the 2022–2023 edition of Blank Rome’s Perspectives Magazine. To view Perspectives, click the image below.
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