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Archdiocese of Washington Hires New General Counsel from D.C. Private-Practice Leadership

June 9, 2016

Kim Viti Fiorentino, general counsel of the Archdiocese of Washington.

Kim Viti Fiorentino has worked for 23 years to enjoy success in private practice at Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker. She mentored younger female lawyers, led pro bono efforts and earned her partners’ endorsements to sit on the firm’s board of directors seven times.

Then God called.

Or rather, it was contacts of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

Fiorentino, at 55, is making one of the more unusual job changes this year, by technically going in-house to work for Wuerl. She gives up her senior equity partner and board of directors roles at Shulman Rogers, a D.C. regional firm with about 100 lawyers, in June to become general counsel of the Archdiocese of Washington.

“It’s hard to be a really successful woman lawyer and have a good year, year after year,” she said. “I felt like everything I had done both in my practice and in my faith, that this job was really a dream job to be able to combine my professional expertise and a great love for the church.”

When she was a younger attorney, Fiorentino wanted to argue in court. A partner at the firm asked her to cover an guardianship case that they thought would be uncontested. When it wasn’t, and the case of a granddaughter abusing her ailing grandmother became messy, Fiorentino “totally got hooked on this area of the law,” she said.

Since then, she has combined her expertise in mental health issues and the law, her “family carnage” practice—meaning one that focused on complex trusts and estate law and guardianship cases—with some business representation.

In her spare time, she has volunteered for the diocese and for her own parish in Potomac, Maryland. Fiorentino has helped organize the Red Mass, the annual Catholic blessing of Supreme Court justices, judges and other lawyers, for years, she added.

Besides timekeeping her billable hours, Fiorentino said she’ll miss her colleagues at the firm most.

“I’m the girl from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who came with just myself. They helped me and gave me the moral and professional support,” she said. “I hope that I can mentor and be a good role model too for my work for the archdiocese.”

Contact Katelyn Polantz at kpolantz@alm.com. On Twitter: @kpolantz

Read more at The National Law Journal.