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Monday, March 26, 2018

Meet the Entrepreneur Who Launched the Largest Woman-Owned Law Firm in the U.S.

Kelly Rittenberry Culhane, founder of Culhane Meadows PLLC
The path to making a name in the legal industry is not easy. But a woman proved it wrong; it may not be simple, but it is not impossible. Kelly Rittenberry Culhane, a lawyer and a mother at the same time, is a co-founder and managing director of the largest woman-owned law firm in the U.S. And it still continues on expanding.
In 2013, Kelly launched Culhane Meadows PLLC in hopes of creating a breakthrough law firm that will eradicate "the harassment and other discriminatory issues that continue to plague corporate environments (and society in general)," Culhane said. "From our very beginning we have sought to create an open and transparent platform where all lawyers can thrive regardless of gender, race, religion, age, or geography."

Fast forward to 2018, four of the top 10 earners at Culhane Meadows are women, and the top earner is a woman. Three of the five managing partners are women. 40 percent of its partners are women. Whereas industry-wide, only 30 percent of non-equity partners are women and only 19 percent of equity partners are women. That's beside the fact that nearly equal number of women and men are hired at an associate level.

Culhane saw such disparities firsthand. She graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1994 and worked in the litigation section for a large firm with offices in Dallas and Austin. She saw other women who had to sacrifice their personal and family lives to rise up in the firm. And she decided not to do that. "I did mommy track myself," she said.

Making a difference

She noticed that there's not much consideration of work-family balance in most law firms. But that is not the case with Culhane Meadows. The firm utilizes the technology of "cloud computing" which means lawyers are able to work virtually. Due to flexible hours, "you don’t have to choose between family and career," Culhane said.

They were also able to save on high downtown rentals and associate salaries. Instead of billable hours, they are using a transparent system of flat fees and negotiated rates. Furthermore, they were able to eliminate lots of conflict and politics. No one would feel intimidated or harassed, unlike in traditional big law firms.

Culhane, a mother of two, knows that Culhane Meadows is making a difference in the profession where most women find it hard to excel. She aims to further expand the law firm as well as make more oppportunities for women and men to have law careers without sacrificing their personal lives.

For more details about Culhane Meadows PLLC, visit

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