Michele A. Whitham

Partner - Boston

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Contact Information

617.832.1239

617.832.7000

mwhitham@foleyhoag.com Download vCard

Michele Whitham is both the former Co-Managing Partner of Foley Hoag LLP and a widely respected employment law practitioner, recognized for her accomplishments by Chambers USA and Massachusetts SuperLawyers. Among her particular specialties is workplace and corporate data security and privacy.

Michele represents employers in every aspect of the employment relationship, including designing cutting-edge employment policies and practices, advising with regard to workplace issues as they arise, and resolving employment disputes using an array of dispute resolution modalities. She also advises global businesses in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia/Pacific on strategic human resource issues.

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Education:

  • Cornell Law School, J.D., Order of the Coif, 1988
  • Cornell University, M.S. in Human Development, 1987
  • Cornell University, M.A.T. in Education, 1971
  • Cornell University, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, College Scholar, cum laude, 1970

Representative Experience

  • Founder and co-chair of the Privacy and Data Security practice group
  • Advises internationally on strategic HR planning for global businesses (including in Canada, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Sweden, Uganda and the United Kingdom)
  • Manages Foley Hoag's relationship with Lex Mundi, a leading international association of independent law firms
  • Represents organizations in the technology, financial and education sectors
  • Facilitates workforce management for international companies inbound to and outbound from the US
  • Practices in Massachusetts, New England and nationally (having litigated cases and advised on matters in, for example, Massachusetts, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia)

Honors

  • Ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of Massachusetts’ leading employment lawyers (2006-2014) 
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers and New England Super Lawyers (2004, 2006-2011) (top 5% of attorneys in Massachusetts) 
  • Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition (2008-2011) 
  • Super Lawyers Business Edition (2011) 
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Rating since 2005 (highest ranking of professional excellence, skill and integrity) 
  • Selected to Inaugural 2011 Edition of Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers 
  • Nominated for 2011 Mentor of the Year by Massachusetts Bar Association and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly for launching inaugural Women Bar Association's Women's Leadership Initiative 
  • Selected as one of Boston's Top 10 Corporate Lawyers, Women's Business Boston, January 2010 
  • Recipient of the Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Award for Achievement in the Professions, 2007 
  • Selected as one of Boston’s Top 10 Bosses, Women’s Business Boston, May 2006 
  • Recipient of the William Lloyd Garrison Partner in Abolitionism Award, presented in 2004 by the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance “for your resolute endurance in creatively serving homeless people” 
  • Subject in 1999 of a United States Department of Justice film that profiled, among others, a case in which she assisted the Commonwealth’s United States Attorney achieve the first conviction since the Civil War of a violator of the anti-slavery amendment to the United States Constitution and won for the victim in a companion civil suit hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime compensation 
  • Subject of Common Fire: Lives of Commitment in a Complex World (Beacon Press, 1996), which explores how individuals sustain a commitment to the common good 

Involvement 

  • Pro Bono Counsel, MITRE Advanced Cyber Security Center, Member of Steering and Policy Committees
  • International/Massachusetts Women’s Forum, selected to membership in 2005, President 2013-2014 
  • American Bar Association, Member 
  • Boston Bar Association Society of Fellows, Member 
  • Massachusetts Bar Association, Member 
  • Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, Member 
  • Unified Court System of the State of New York, served for many years as Senior Trainer for the Community Dispute Resolution Program
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board ("PRIM"), Member of Audit and Administration and Compensation Committees since 2011  
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology, Trustee since 2010, Member of Audit and Trusteeship Committees  
  • Goddard College, Trustee 2003-2011, Member of Executive, Finance and Personnel, and Institutional Advancement Committees 
  • President's Counsel of Cornell Women, elected to four-year term (July 1, 2006 - June 30, 2010)    
  • Shelter, Inc., President, 2003 and 2004; Executive Committee, 2002 to present; Director since 1999 (organization providing permanent housing for homeless families)
  • Active in community fund raising efforts, including co-chairing various fundraising events for public service organizations
  • Frequent speaker at employment law and privacy and security law seminars
  • Regularly conducts trainings for clients on employment and privacy and security law subjects
  • Regular contributor on employment law subjects
  • Speaker at law firm management conferences nationally and internationally, including at Lex Mundi Managing Partners Conferences
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Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts