The Legal Intelligencer Names Marilou Watson and Joel Bolstein Professional Excellence Honorees

June 4, 2020 – Press Releases

Fox Rothschild LLP congratulates Marilou E. Watson and Joel Bolstein, who were named 2020 Professional Excellence honorees by The Legal Intelligencer in the Lifetime Achievement and Power Players categories, respectively.

The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes industry professionals who have “left an imprint on the legal history of the state during their career.”

Watson, who serves as Co-Chair of Fox’s Life Sciences Practice, has risen from pharma industry researcher to in-house patent attorney to leading intellectual property law authority. An advocate for diversity in the legal profession and the sciences, she has served on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession and Women of Color Research Committee, the board of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group and has launched multiple mentorship programs at various Philadelphia area high schools. As former Chair of the Montgomery Bar Association’s Diversity Committee, she created the “Teach Law” and “Day In Court” programs, which introduce students, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, to legal careers. In April 2019, the Philadelphia Court System credited Watson with inspiring its citywide “Pipeline to Possibilities – Courtroom Connections” initiative.

Watson has served on the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s House of Delegates, the board of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and was appointed by two governors to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission. She has also earned the 2020 Salute to Greatness Award from the Trina Antoinette Adams Center for Keeping Children First, the 2019 Inaugural Montgomery Bar Association Honorable Horace A. Davenport Diversity Award and the 2018 Barristers Association of Philadelphia Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Woman of Distinction Award.

The Power Players feature highlights attorneys who have “made a significant impact in 2019 on public policy, legislation or jurisprudence in Pennsylvania.”

Bolstein was first named a Commissioner on the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) in 1999, and he has dedicated more than twenty years of service and reputation to fighting discrimination in its many forms. In October 2018, Governor Tom Wolf named Bolstein PHRC Chairperson, and in that capacity Bolstein helps oversee a statewide agency that receives $10 million+ in state and federal funding and employs more than 80 paid professional staff to develop state regulations and policy and investigate and adjudicate claims of discrimination in housing, employment, education and public accommodations. In 2019, he spent more than 500 hours working on Commission business in an unpaid, volunteer capacity.

In late 2018, while serving as Interim Chair of PHRC, he worked with the Commission’s professional staff to enact a policy change that allows LGBTQ individuals in Pennsylvania to file claims of discrimination in employment, housing, educational opportunities and public accommodations as discrimination based on “sex”, which is a protected class under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). PHRC received over 8,000 comments during the public comment period on the proposed new policy, and Bolstein personally received hate mail and was the target of social media attacks. Nevertheless, he and his fellow Commissioners continued forward and voted to adopt the policy change and now LGBTQ individuals statewide have a remedy available under the PHRA for acts of discrimination, and PHRC is currently receiving, investigating and adjudicating complaints that are being filed by LGBTQ individuals. In June 2019, Bolstein was one of the featured speakers at the PHRC’s Portraits in Pride “Walking in their Shoes” event celebrating PA Pride month, where he spoke for the first time publicly about being the proud father of an LGBTQ daughter and the importance of making Pennsylvania a state where LGBTQ individuals are protected from discrimination. 

In addition to his work with PHRC, Bolstein maintains a highly-regarded environmental and real estate practice, guiding major clients on brownfields redevelopment and the environmental aspects of corporate and real estate transactions.