9-30-20 Michael Blanchard replaces Paul Farnsworth as COO of Woods Oviatt

Posted on October 01, 2020

Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP has tapped an industry veteran as its next chief operating officer, replacing Paul Farnsworth, who will retire after more than a quarter of a century with the Rochester firm.



Michael Blanchard joins Woods Oviatt following a lengthy career in law firm strategy and management. He has held several executive management positions with a number of the nation’s leading law firms. Most recently, Blanchard served as managing director of the Law Firm Advisory Team with Aon PLC’s Professional Services Group, which provides strategic management consulting services to law firm leaders throughout the U.S.

Prior to leading Aon’s management consulting services, Blanchard was principal of Rochester’s Law Practice Advisory Group LLC.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Mike’s caliber join our team,” said Woods Oviatt’s Managing Partner Mitch Nusbaum. “He is an experienced strategic leader with extensive law firm knowledge, and the firm will benefit from his deep understanding of the legal industry. We look forward to the positive impact his leadership will provide our firm.”

As COO, Blanchard will oversee all operational aspects of the firm and work closely with firm leadership in the development and implementation of companywide strategic goals and supporting strategies. His arrival coincides with the retirement of Farnsworth, who has been an integral leader at Woods Oviatt for the past 26 years.

“Paul Farnsworth’s retirement will have a great impact on the firm,” Nusbaum said. “He was intimately involved in all aspects of the firm and especially instrumental in the successful move of our offices to the Legacy Tower in 2019.”



During Farnsworth’s tenure with the firm, Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP tripled in size and grew to be one of the preeminent law firms in Western New York.

“We never could have achieved these feats without the hard work and stewardship provided to us by Paul,” Nusbaum added. “His impact on the legal industry reached beyond the walls of Woods Oviatt Gilman.”

Farnsworth was actively involved in the Association of Legal Administrators and served in leadership roles for the international association for eight years. He was president of the organization from 2013 to 2014.

Prior to joining Woods Oviatt 26 years ago, Farnsworth worked in the tax department at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP where he got his start in office administration.

“An opportunity came up to get into the business side,” Farnsworth told The Daily Record in 2013. “It seemed like a natural fit.”

Farnsworth, who grew up in Albion, Orleans County, earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and business management from Cornell University and later received a master’s in business administration from the University of Rochester.

“We wish him a very relaxing and enjoyable retirement. He will be greatly missed,” Nusbaum said.

Woods Oviatt has more than 95 attorneys and a total staff of 225.

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