Honoring the Women of Wiggin During Women’s History Month

March 28, 2019

During this Women’s History Month, the Diversity Committee and the Women of Wiggin (WOW) would like to honor Melinda Agsten, Karen Clute, Mary Gambardella, Patti Melick and Maureen Weaver. These outstanding attorneys, who over their decades of dedication and service have not only made this firm a better place, but have also been exemplary leaders at Wiggin and Dana, help us to serve our clients with unparalleled excellence every day.

Over her four decade career at Wiggin, Melinda Agsten has exemplified leadership and professionalism in helping health care, educational, charitable, and other tax-exempt organizations address legal challenges so they can focus on achieving their missions. Melinda is the Chair of Wiggin and Dana’s Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Group and the immediate past Chair of the firm’s Health Care Department. Melinda also demonstrates a deep commitment to pro bono service, currently serving as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.

Karen Clute is a partner in Wiggin and Dana’s Private Client Services Department, Labor and Employment Department, and Philanthropy Practice. She is the founder of the firm’s Philanthropy Practice, which was among the first in the State of Connecticut. Karen has embraced the challenges of practicing with excellence in two distinct practice areas. She advises individual clients about a broad range of estate planning issues, with an emphasis on estate and income tax planning. She works with executors and trustees on fiduciary matters and compliance obligations. She also advises employers about tax, ERISA, and fiduciary considerations relating to qualified retirement plans, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, and employment agreements. Karen has a long history of involvement in the New Haven Community. Karen is a supporter and former director and board chair of CAPA-Connecticut, the nonprofit organization that, among other things, manages the historic Shubert Theater in downtown New Haven.

Mary Gambardella is the outgoing Chair of the Diversity Committee at Wiggin, which she led for eight years. As Chair, Mary drafted the firm’s first Diversity Plan thereby laying the foundation for an array of initiatives dedicated to the principles of diversity and inclusion. Mary is Chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Benefits Department, leading a critical practice area that helps clients comply with ever-changing labor laws and regulations, manage day-to-day personnel challenges including sensitive terminations, sexual harassment, discrimination claims, and contract negotiations, and defends employers against employment-related lawsuits and administrative complaints.

Patti Melick is an accomplished life sciences lawyer who has helped numerous clients grow and bring their innovations to market over her 25 year career at Wiggin and Dana. She is Chair of the Life Sciences Practice, a Partner in the firm’s Corporate Department and the Mergers and Acquisitions Practice, a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and of the Womens’ Network (WOW), and a past member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Patti’s work has earned her multiple honors and recognition, including consistently being named a "Life Science Star" for mergers and acquisitions and for licensing and collaborations in LMG Life Sciences, Finance Monthly’s Deal Maker of the Year, and the Pro Bono Partnership’s Volunteer of the Year. She is also a James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation and Vice Chair of Women in Bio’s Metro New York chapter.

Maureen Weaver is the chair of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group. She was Wiggin and Dana’s first female Managing Partner and served as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee for many years, where she provided rock-solid stewardship of the firm. Described by her colleagues as whip-smart and possessing a leadership style embodied by firm gentleness, Maureen has been a tremendous asset to both the firm and our clients alike. She helps hospitals, provider networks, long-term care providers, home health care agencies, hospices, physicians, and other providers and trade associations navigate the ever-changing regulatory, business, and competitive waters of the health care industry.