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Marissa C. Wesely

Marissa C. Wesely is a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP where she has practiced law since 1980. Marissa, a member of the firm’s Corporate Department, specializes in domestic and international bank finance transactions, with an emphasis on leveraged acquisition finance, recapitalization, and debt restructuring transactions, principally advising equity sponsors and corporate borrowers. Marissa graduated magna cum laude from Williams College in 1976 and received her JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1980.

Marissa is a tireless advocate concerning the need for, and the importance of, diversity within her firm and in the legal profession. Through her continued advocacy, Simpson Thacher recently elected two women partners to the firm’s Executive Committee, which marked the first time in the firm’s 125-year history that women partners became members of the Executive Committee. In addition, in the past three years, 50% (2008), 40% (2009) and 33% (2010) of the firm’s newly elected partners were women. Marissa is not just satisfied with their elevation, but she continues to work to ensure their success through mentorship. Through her work as Co-Chair of the Diversity Task Force, Marissa was instrumental in the creation of Women’s and Diversity Advisory Councils to solicit feedback on the firm’s women’s and diversity initiatives and the appointment of Diversity Partners to monitor the professional development of women and minorities.

Marissa has also been very active in advancing women’s issues outside of Simpson Thacher. One of Marissa’s recent achievements is the establishment of the Kate Stoneman Project, a leadership organization for the women partners of 10 leading New York-based firms. The Kate Stoneman Project is committed to advancing women in the profession and using the group’s collective strength to promote their leadership in civic, educational, and charitable endeavors.

In addition, as a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Women in the Profession, Marissa has helped to promote the New York City Bar Report on “Best Practices for the Hiring, Training, Retention and Advancement of Women Attorneys.” In addition to her leadership at the New York City Bar, Marissa is an active member of the Boards of Directors of Legal Momentum and The Global Fund for Women, and is on the Executive Committee (and Co-Chair of the Development Committee) of DirectWomen, a project of the American Bar Association and Catalyst to improve corporate board diversity.