News & Insights

Dykema Elects Peter Kellett New Chief Executive Officer

Litigation Department Director Brings Years of Leadership Experience; Impressive Array of Talents in and out of the Courtroom; and Commitment to Future of Leading National Law Firm

October 3, 2011

DETROIT—National law firm Dykema today announced that Peter Kellett will assume the position of chairman and chief executive officer of the law firm for a three-year term commencing January 1, 2012. Kellett succeeds Rex Schlaybaugh who has served as chairman and chief executive officer since 2001 and will continue in the role until the end of 2011.

At Dykema, Kellett has been a highly productive lawyer and developer of new business, and has served the firm in several management positions including Litigation Practice Group Leader (2003-2007) and Litigation Department Director (2008-present). In those roles, Kellett was involved in the strategic growth of the firm that shaped Dykema to its current position as a national leader with more than 400 sophisticated lawyers and other professionals in 11 offices throughout the country.

"Today's law firm CEO more closely emulates a corporate CEO than the traditional managing partner and it takes a uniquely intuitive and committed lawyer to lead a top law firm. Through the leadership roles Peter has held with the firm, including his most recent service as Director of the Litigation Department, he has become extraordinarily familiar with the strategic opportunities for Dykema in the current environment for business," Rex E. Schlaybaugh, Jr., Dykema's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "I am confident that Peter is well positioned to successfully lead Dykema into a bright future and will support him throughout the transition and beyond."

Kellett has played a significant role in the relationships that Dykema enjoys with major clients such as General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, Kia Motors and Nissan, and has enjoyed many successes in courtrooms across the country.

Positioned for continued growth and success

Dykema is in an exceptionally strong financial and operational position as the firm appoints a new CEO for the first time in 10 years. Under Schlaybaugh's leadership, during what has been a transformational period for the legal industry, Dykema implemented a growth and diversification strategy that greatly expanded the firm's geographic footprint; deepened its core industry and practice areas; and produced strong and steady financial performance. Dykema's CEO transition results from a well-coordinated succession planning process which began in early 2011. Schlaybaugh will stay active at the firm, advising corporate clients, participating on various boards and engaging in community and civic activities.

"On behalf of the membership, I thank Rex for his extraordinary years of service, deftly leading Dykema to its current market-leading position. We are a much different, and much stronger, firm than we were a decade ago thanks to Rex's keen understanding of the legal and business communities," said Kellett. "I plan to continue Dykema's commitment to providing exceptional value to clients through a combination of sophisticated practices, efficient platforms and a service-oriented culture. Dykema's cost structure, billing rates and leverage position us to continue growing the firm strategically and adding to our top-notch roster of attorneys. I am excited for the new challenge ahead of me."

About Peter Kellett

Kellett earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School. Upon graduation from law school in 1982, Kellett joined Dykema as an associate in the Litigation Department. In 1986, he joined the legal staff at Dykema client CMI Corporation, a leasing and finance company in Bloomfield Hills, MI. After the sale of that company in 1987, Kellett co-founded a boutique product liability litigation practice in Bloomfield Hills that ultimately grew to 24 lawyers, until 2003 when the majority of the firm joined Dykema. He is an Associate Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Michigan Chapter and a Member and Past-Chair of the Local Rules Committee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.