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CHARLESTON, WV -

Jackson Kelly attorney Ellen S. Cappellanti has been elected the firm's deputy managing member.

She previously served as the vice chair of the firm's executive committee and also leads its Commercial Law Practice Group. 

The deputy managing member is a newly created position for the firm and is intended to "groom" the firm's next CEO. Mike Foster will leave the role of CEO on Jan. 1 and return to the full-time practice of law.

Cappellanti is set to become the first woman to hold the top-level management position at Jackson Kelly. 

Cappellanti has been with the firm for more than 30 years and focuses her practice on commercial transactions, including financings, leasings, acquisitions and real estate development projects. She also regularly represents debtors, creditors and trustees in business bankruptcies.

She is the past chairwoman of the standing bankruptcy committee of the West Virginia State Bar and was selected for "The Best Lawyers in America" under the bankruptcy, corporate mergers and acquisitions and real state designations. She is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. 

She also is recognized by Chambers USA as a preeminent corporate lawyer. In the 2011 edition, sources said her "connections in the state make it easy for us to reach the right people."

She served as the president of the governing council of the West Virginia Law Institute and is a master emeritus of the Judge John A. Field Jr. Inn of Court.

In 2007, she was appointed by then-Gov. Joe Manchin to the West Virginia University Board of Governors. She also serves on the board of governors for the West Virginia United Health System board. 

Other involvements include serving on the boards of the Contemporary American Theater Festival, the Clay Center of the Arts and Sciences, Advantage Valley Inc., Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation and the Branch Banking and Trust Co.

Cappellanti graduated from West Virginia University in 1977 and served as student body vice president while an undergraduate. She graduated in 1980 from the West Virginia University College of Law, where she was selected as a member of Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers. While in law school, she was a member of the West Virginia University College of Law Moot Court Board and the National Moot Court team and served as lead articles editor of the "West Virginia Law Review."

She is a past recipient of the YWCA of Charleston Women of Achievement Award and the WVU College of Law Women's Law Caucus Distinguished Women in the Law Award. 

In addition to its offices in West Virginia, Jackson Kelly also has locations in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.