Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Florham Park, N.J.
Sandra Dawn Grannum’s career came full circle this year when she received the Kay Crawford Murray Memorial award, which honors women with distinguished legal careers who, as rising stars in the profession, value diversity and mentor women attorneys.
Currently managing partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, Grannum once joined a former supervisor from PaineWebber & Co. as a partner at a boutique firm he founded. “He believed adding my name to the shingle would increase our marketability,” she recalls.
The firm, Davidson & Grannum, remained in business for 12 years. There, Grannum learned how to run a business profitably, a skill she had not acquired while obtaining a law degree at Harvard Law School. She became the Davidson & Grannum managing partner/majority shareholder, and registered the firm as a minority business enterprise (MBE), one of very few MBE securities litigation firms at the time.
A staunch advocate of education, Grannum has built a reputation as an expert in FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitrations, even lecturing and writing on the subject. Despite the demands of her career, she helped establish The Buttermilk Club, a networking group for financial services attorneys and compliance officers of color with a mission to “mentor, sponsor, and advocate for the recruitment, retention, and advancement of people of color in the securities industry.” Over 15 years, the group’s membership grew to 160 professionals from its initial four.
Grannum is proud of her many achievements but confesses that she is especially proud of her children, both of whom just obtained a master’s degree. “Both are as generous as they are brilliant, supporting and participating in their father’s medical missions to Haiti in their free time, and concerned with the plight of their fellow man,” she says. “I would admire them even if they were not mine.”