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Pete Kalis

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters

Pete Kalis is the former chairman and global managing partner of K&L Gates LLP. During his tenure as chairman, the law firm grew from fewer than 400 lawyers in six offices in the Eastern Time Zone to more than 1,800 lawyers in 46 offices on five continents. In that time, as K&L Gates became one of the world’s largest law firms, the firm’s revenue increased by 740%.

Kalis is the only law firm leader to be recognized on three of the legal industry’s most prestigious lists: The American Lawyer list of “50 most influential innovators in the global legal industry in the last 50 years,” The National Law Journal’s inaugural list of the top 50 legal business trailblazers and pioneers, The Lawyer list of the 10 individuals in the global profession who will shape the international market for legal services in the next decade. He is the 2017 recipient of the Pittsburgh Business Times CEO Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2015 recipient of The Legal Intelligencer’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

A graduate of WVU, where he majored in Political Science and served as student body president, Kalis is also a Rhodes Scholar. He received his Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Oxford University, then went on to law school at Yale University, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. Kalis began his legal career as a clerk, first to J. Skelly Wright, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, then for Associate Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a life member of the American Law Institute and has served on numerous task forces for the American Bar Association. 

A member of WVU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni, Kalis currently serves on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia University Foundation and its Nominating and Governance Committee. He formerly served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and chaired the Finance and Investment Committee of the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute. He is past director of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Duquesne Club, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Children's Center of Pittsburgh, the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras, the National Kidney Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and the National Pancreas Foundation.

Kalis has published more than 50 articles in professional journals and academic law reviews in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and is a co-author of a leading treatise on insurance law.