The Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Technology Council and annually recognizes women for exceptional professional accomplishments, outstanding mentorship, and notable contributions to the community. The ATHENA Award winner and Young ATHENA winner will be announced, and finalists recognized, at an event on September 10.
“Kristi’s accomplishments as a leading transactional attorney, and her ability to put together diverse, highly successful deal teams has garnered accolades from her colleagues and clients nationwide,” said Reed Smith Global Managing Partner Sandy Thomas. “She is a passionate and dedicated mentor. Not only does she find time to guide many of our young attorneys, she is a positive influence and role model for area college students and youth throughout the community. To top it off, Kristi has devoted countless hours to the Pittsburgh area community through a number of nonprofit organizations that have had a positive impact on the health and lives of hundreds of children and families. We are thrilled that she is an ATHENA finalist.”
Wells, who has mentored more than two dozen women attorneys throughout her career, has garnered a reputation as a consummate team builder and leader for her skill in assembling diverse teams to advise some of Reed Smith’s most valued clients in deals and other legal matters.
“I am honored to be named a finalist for the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award,” Wells said. “This award really embodies the beliefs that I have carried throughout my life and I am humbled to be included among this extremely talented and committed group of women.”
Wells is head of the firm’s Global Sports Practice and former head of the U.S. Corporate and Securities Group. With more than 20 years of experience, she advises marquee clients in various industries, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, DICK’S Sporting Goods, SKF and Volvo Cars. She is highly regarded for her goal-oriented approach, business acumen and capabilities leading diverse, multi-jurisdictional teams.
As a young associate in 1999, Wells worked with the Lemieux Group when Mario Lemieux and the ownership group purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins out of bankruptcy. She continues to handle the day-to-day corporate matters and deal work for Lemieux Group, including critical transactions involving significant negotiations with the National Hockey League.
“Kristin Wells epitomizes the mission of the Athena Award by her commitment to excellence in her service to clients and to the greater Pittsburgh community,” said Kevin Acklin, chief operating officer and general counsel of the Pittsburgh Penguins. “Most of all, however, and somewhat unique in the legal profession: Kristin has systematically built a team of excellent women lawyers at Reed Smith, and she consciously provides them with opportunities to advance their own careers. The Penguins are very fortunate to work closely with this powerful team of talented women lawyers, and it’s all because of the vision and leadership of Kristin Wells.”
Many of her former mentees have advanced to partner at the firm or have gone on to become general counsels and C-suite executives at leading national corporations, including Courtney Murray, formerly a partner at Reed Smith, who went on to become Head of Legal, Americas, for Volvo Car USA.
“When I look back over those many years, I could recount so many ways that Kristin supported me individually, but what is more impressive is the way she never wavered in her dedication to the support of her women colleagues as a whole,” Murray said.
Wells is also actively involved in mentoring minority law students through the Legal Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Madison Miranda, her most recent LCLD mentee, credits Kristin for providing her with many networking and professional opportunities she would not have been exposed to otherwise.
A native of Pittsburgh, Wells has devoted countless hours of her time and talent to a number of area civic organizations that benefit women, children and families in underserved communities. A member of the board of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, she has been an active participant in a number of programs benefiting the community, including the Foundation and Lady Pens Shoebox Project, the Foundation’s Grant Program, Sidney Crosby’s Little Penguins Program, and the COOL Zones and Heads UP programs in collaboration with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“Kristin is an incredible champion and ally for underserved women in our community,” said Mel Armstrong, a member of the Penguins Foundation Board. “She has consistently and enthusiastically supported The Shoebox Project Pittsburgh which has helped to supply gifts to women staying in homeless and domestic shelters throughout our city. She has not only supported us personally but has spread the message of our organization to her network which has had a profound impact in our community. We are incredibly grateful for her and her generous spirit.”
For the past 12 years, Wells has served as a captain for Austin’s Playrooms, an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation that provides a safe and engaging experience for children while their families are facing difficult medical challenges. She has also devoted her time and talents to the annual Luncheon & Fundraiser, which has raised almost $2 million over the past 22 years to support Austin’s Playrooms, Austin’s Military Playrooms, and the Lemieux Sibling Center.
Wells also serves on the Shady Side Academy Board of Trustees, which has focused over the past year on developing its Equity and Inclusion Plan. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Governors at University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association and for more than five years, has served as vice chair of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Spring Hat Luncheon and Picnic in the Park, which has raised more than $130 million to help fund more than 22 major park renovations.
About Reed Smith
Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. With an inclusive culture and innovative mindset, we deliver smarter, more creative legal services that drive better outcomes for our clients. Our deep industry knowledge, long-standing relationships and collaborative structure make us the go-to partner for complex disputes, transactions, and regulatory matters.
For more information, please visit www.reedsmith.com.