The Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBA) will recognize the Ellen Jakovic as the 2024 WBA Woman Lawyer of the Year. Ms. Jakovic is Of Counsel in the Antitrust Practice Group at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.
The Woman Lawyer of the Year Award recognizes a leader who has championed change in the profession by leading by example, advocating for justice, and promoting the advancement of women in the profession. The award will be presented at the organization’s Annual Dinner on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Ms. Jakovic will be introduced by our 2023 Woman Lawyer of the Year, Jo-Ann Wallace, President, CEO & Board Chair, NLADA Mutual Insurance Co., RRG.
Ms. Jakovic is a well-respected leader and inspirational mentor. Throughout her distinguished legal career, spanning nearly four decades, she has exhibited a tireless commitment to advancing women lawyers in the profession and to improving access to justice for those who cannot afford legal assistance. The organizations in which she has been involved have recognized that Ms. Jakovic personifies the finest form of leadership. One of her nominators noted: “She has a paradoxical combination of humility and drive, a powerful commitment to the success of the organizations she serves, an ability to motivate and inspire, the generosity to credit others for accomplishments, the grace to take sole responsibility for setbacks, a passion for service, and a willingness to undertake the most unappealing tasks herself. The qualities of leadership that make Ellen so effective – her integrity, her respect for others, her diligence, her kindness, and her profound ethic of service – are ingrained in her character.”
Another of Ms. Jakovic’s nominators states that “Ellen is the farthest thing from a bystander; when she sees an opportunity to strengthen the D.C. legal community and the people it serves, she takes the reigns and stops at nothing to achieve her goals. One would be hard-pressed to find a legal group or bar association that Ellen has not bettered with her involvement and leadership. Despite her uncountable professional successes, Ellen remains a staunch advocate for new and young lawyers. Her guidance is not a one-time offer; Ellen has remained involved in my life both personally and professionally over the last five years, and I am tremendously grateful to call her a mentor and a friend. She is unfailingly kind, possesses an incomparable work ethic, and leads with grace.”
For many years, Ms. Jakovic was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and headed the firm’s Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act filing practice. She is sought after for her expertise with international and cross-border transactions, and regularly advises clients on global clearance strategy and coordinates U.S. and international merger control filings and clearance efforts. Ms. Jakovic also has experience with investigations by federal and state antitrust enforcement authorities, private and government antitrust litigation, trade associations, and general antitrust counseling.
Ms. Jakovic was President of the 115,000-member D.C. Bar in the 2022-2023 bar year. She led the D.C. Bar in the creation of a new Early Career Lawyers Community, a space where new lawyers can connect, learn, and share. She effectively used her platform as the D.C. Bar President to speak up on issues impacting women in the profession, including her President’s column entitled Getting and Keeping Women in the Game, on Title IX and its impact, which won Honorable Mention from the National Conference of Bar Presidents for the 2023 President’s Page Award. A former two-sport collegiate athlete, Ms. Jakovic was among the first wave of women to benefit from the opportunities Title IX created for women and girls, and is committed to continue the work towards gender equity. Ms. Jakovic also led the Bar in establishing a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Task Force that will explore ways in which the Bar can be a leader and convener in advancing DEIA work in the D.C. legal community.
As D.C. Bar President, Ms. Jakovic also lent her voice on issues of access to justice, including providing written and oral testimony before the DC Council’s Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants Performance Oversight hearing in February 2023, and again in April 2023, when Access to Justice funding was in jeopardy in the Mayor’s initial budget. Her efforts helped to preserve vital legal services funding for the most vulnerable in the D.C. community. During her term as President, Ms. Jakovic challenged the D.C. Bar Board of Governors to join her in actively volunteering for the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and helped the Pro Bono Center raise a record amount in donations for the President’s Reception held in her honor as incoming D.C. Bar President.
Throughout her career, Ms. Jakovic served in numerous leadership roles in the WBA, including President and Co-Chair of the Centennial Committee. During Ms. Jakovic’s term as President, the WBA launched the Stars of the Bar networking event and collaborated with other stakeholders to establish and staff the D.C. Superior Court Self-Help Center Pilot Project, which received the D.C. Bar’s prestigious Frederick B. Abramson Award for a committee or project that, through innovation, initiative, or unusual dedication, has resulted in a significant benefit to the Bar and its individual members. Ms. Jakovic also served as President of the WBA Foundation and helped establish the Founders Fellowship, awarded to area law schools to support students to work with local legal service providers to address the legal needs of women and girls in the community.
Ms. Jakovic has served the legal community in many other leadership roles, both locally and nationally, including on the boards of the American Bar Foundation, the Council for Court Excellence, the D.C. Bar Foundation, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and the Washington Foreign Law Society. In addition to her bar association activities, Ms. Jakovic has served the D.C. community as Chair of the Governing Board of the National Cathedral School, Chair of the Board of CCBC Children’s Center, and as a member of the Governing Boards of St. Alban’s School and the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation. Ms. Jakovic also has served on the Board of the Harvard Club of Washington, D.C., and the Friends of Harvard Women’s Softball. She currently serves on Harvard University’s Visiting Committee to the Department of Athletics.
Ms. Jakovic has been repeatedly named a “Washington, D.C., Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine, and recognized in The Legal 500 U.S. for Antitrust. She is a recipient of the American Bar Foundation Fellows Outstanding State Chair Award, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s Lawyer of the Year and Honorable Annice M. Wagner Pioneer Awards, and the Doane Stuart School’s Distinguished Alumni Award and Right Reverend David Standish Ball Distinguished Trustee Award.
Ms. Jakovic earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School, and Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.