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Keith W. Vaughan

Womble Carlyle Chairman Keith VaughanChairman
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP

Keith Vaughan has been Chairman of Womble Carlyle since 2002. Over the past 30 years, Vaughan has tried numerous jury and bench trials, handled various administrative proceedings and argued a wide range of matters in appellate courts in matters involving business, product liability, toxic tort and environmental issues. He has served as national coordinating counsel for a Fortune 500 company’s product liability litigation, and was class counsel in a series of class action lawsuits. Prior to assuming his current management role, Vaughan served for 10 years as the firm’s Litigation Practice Group Leader.

Vaughan was an early advocate of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s “Value Challenge” at its inception in fall 2008, and has been a faculty member in the roll-out of that program, which seeks to reconnect value with the cost of legal services. As such, he is a champion of Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs) and other components of “the new normal” in the practice of law, with AFAs accounting for more than 25% of the firm’s annual revenues.

Under Vaughan's leadership, Womble Carlyle has maintained its status as a forerunner in the utilization of technology, legal process outsourcing, collaboration among law firms serving the same client, and other value drivers. For example, Vaughan has led and encouraged the development of value-oriented ancillary services at Womble Carlyle such as the Case Management Facility (CMF), FirmLogic (medical litigation support), Document Review Team, and Womble Carlyle Ecology Innovations LLC (WCEI).

Vaughan has demonstrated his commitment as a leader in law firm diversity by spearheading the funding of more than 50 diverse law students through the Womble Carlyle Scholars Program which has funded nearly $400,000 in scholarships. Under Vaughan's leadership, the firm promotes active involvement in the community through supporting charities, nonprofit Board memberships and pro bono services. Vaughan was recently recognized by the legal profession in a survey of large law firm managing partners as one of the 10 “most admired leaders.”

Vaughan serves as Chair of the Managing Partner’s Committee of Lex Mundi, the world's leading association of independent law firms (17,000 lawyers practicing in 160 elite law firms). He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; Permanent Member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, member of the North Carolina Bar Association: Litigation Section; Georgia Bar Association; American Bar Association: Litigation Section; Forsyth County Bar Association; Lex Mundi Board of Directors, 2011-present; Forsyth County Young Lawyers Association, President, 1981; North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Board of Directors, 1985 – 1988. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court; United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina; the North Carolina Supreme Court; and the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

Vaughan's civic activities include: North Carolina Partnership for Economic Development, Chairman (2008-2009); Piedmont Triad Partnership, Chairman, Board of Directors (2006-2009); United Way of Forsyth County, Chairman, United Way Foundation (2005-2009) - Board Member, United Way Foundation, (2005-2011), Campaign Chair (2009), Executive Committee; Board of Directors (2003-2011); Wake Forest University Board of Visitors, Chairman (2011-2012); Winston-Salem Alliance, Board of Directors; Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce - Chairman (2010), Executive Committee, Board of Directors; Winston-Salem Downtown Rotary Club, President (2006-2007); Winston-Salem State University - Executive Committee, Board of Trustees, Chairman - Appeals Committee, Chairman - Audit Committeem, Chairman - Nominating Committee, Chairman - Personnel & Tenure Committee; Smith-Shaver Law School Scholarship Fund, Chairman (2008-2010).

Vaughan holds a B.A. from Wake Forest University, cum laude, a J.D., University of Georgia, cum laude, where he was Editor in Chief, Georgia Law Review (1974-1975).