Five Questions With PA Chamber Vice President and General Counsel Megan Martin

We’re so excited you’re here! Your job is a first-of-its-kind position at the Chamber as Vice President and General Counsel. Can you briefly describe your role and what you oversee as a member of the Chamber’s executive team?


I’m so excited to be here at the PA Chamber and to be the Chamber’s first General Counsel! Because I am the first General Counsel, I am making the position my own, based upon what matters are presented to me daily. I am a member of Luke’s Executive Leadership team, and I share my time between my General Counsel responsibilities and my Government Affairs responsibilities.


As the General Counsel, I oversee the Chamber’s legal operations in two respects. First, when someone on the Chamber team brings me a legal question, I conduct research and provide legal advice and assistance. For example, I have provided advice to Chamber team members on many legal issues, I am working with our Human Resources Director to review our operational policies, I am working with our Assistant to the President and Board Administrator on reviewing and revising our Bylaws, I am working with our COO on reviewing contracts, I review requests for Amicus participation in lawsuits, and so much more. In the second respect, I manage any outside counsel (outside law firms) who are or will advise us on especially complex, unique, or specialty issues. The legal work is challenging and fulfilling, and I am really enjoying it. So far, so great, I like to say!


On the Government Affairs front, I am part of Alex’s team where I get the special opportunity to advocate on behalf of our business community. Our Chamber is The Statewide Voice of Business, and I am proud to speak on pro-business and pro-growth policies and initiatives that will help make our business community thrive. Also, I have already had many opportunities to travel and speak on behalf of the Chamber, whether it was giving a Pennsylvania Civics 101 lesson to high school students at a Senator for a Day event, giving remarks at a county bar association criminal justice reform event, or speaking to law students. I am a lawyer, so being an advocate is part of who I am. I spent almost my entire 30-year legal career in public service, working hard every day to improve the lives of the good people of our great Commonwealth. Being part of the Chamber team gives me that same opportunity, which is why I came on board when Luke asked me. Let’s face it, when our business community is strong and vibrant, so too are our neighborhood communities because people have good, family-sustaining jobs.


The PA Chamber is developing issue-specific policy councils, including a legal affairs council that you’re spearheading (as you work alongside our members in the legal field). What can you tell us about the development and build-out of these councils? How will the councils improve our organization’s overall impact and provide members with increased influence over our advocacy efforts?


Our Chamber Policy Councils have a long-established reputation for providing valuable insight on policies important to the Commonwealth’s employer community. Inclusion on our Councils gives our PCBI members a seat at the table to help shape public policy in their respective areas of expertise and interest.


The Chamber’s Legal Policy Council is being created to address the legal issues affecting businesses, including legislative proposals and regulatory changes, and to advocate for a legal and regulatory environment that fosters business growth and protects against frivolous legal challenges. Council members will also be asked for input on other issue areas that are their priority in the legal reform space. The Council will be comprised of attorneys from various practice areas, in-house corporate counselors, and other legal experts. This special membership will help form the PA Chamber’s vision and advocacy for a fair and equitable civil justice system here in the Commonwealth.


Currently, I am finalizing the membership of the Council so that we can launch in the fall. I look forward to gathering the members together at quarterly meetings and working with them on these important issues. Pennsylvania has the potential to be the best state in the country to do business, and legal reform is a key component of realizing that vision. The PA Chamber, through its Legal Policy Council, will work together with lawmakers and the business community to support legal reform initiatives that will help create a fair, balanced, and common-sense civil litigation system, while simultaneously helping our businesses thrive and prosper.


Your legal career has spanned all three branches of state government, the U.S. Navy, and as PA Senate Secretary-Parliamentarian (a position you were unanimously elected to five times).  How did these roles help mold you into the attorney you are today, and how did they prepare you for your role at the Chamber?


I have been blessed with a legal career unlike any other. I do not know any other attorney who has served in all three branches of our state government and as an attorney for our US Navy. On the state side, I served one judge, two governors, and 91 state senators, and I served two presidents through my service as a civilian attorney for the Navy. I have spent my legal career serving in and learning our government. I understand the importance of the independence and integrity of our judicial branch. I understand the complexities of our state government and how it operates from the top down, because of my work in the administrations of two governors.


I am the first and only woman to serve as the Secretary-Parliamentarian of our PA State Senate, where I managed the legislative process with diligence and care for more than a decade. Few understand the complexities of the legislative process the way I do. And, through my work at the Navy, I was able to be a litigator and a transactional lawyer on very complex matters. Each one of these experiences served as a foundation for the next, and empowered me to be successful.


What are you most excited about as you settle into this new role?


It has truly been a privilege to practice law in the context of public service for nearly my entire 30-year legal career. I have loved getting up every day and working hard to improve the lives of the 13 million Pennsylvanians whom I served. It is so very special to be part of something that is so much bigger than just me.


That’s why I was so excited when Luke reached out to me about joining his team here at the Chamber. We had such a great conversation about doing meaningful work that impacts millions of people here in Pennsylvania. I knew from our first conversation that the Chamber was where I was meant to be for this next chapter in my legal career.


Luke is a visionary, and I love that. I relate to that. I led an 80-person operation at the Senate for more than 10 years, where I was a change-agent. They say you should leave a place better than how you found it, and I did just that. Luke is doing the same here at the Chamber, and I am honored to be on his leadership team and to help him realize his vision for a better Pennsylvania – as the best state to do business, and the best state in the nation to live, work, and raise a family.


Tell us a little about yourself! What do you do in the hours not being spent as an in-demand, widely respected legal and government affairs professional?


Well, I get my values from my parents. My mom was very faith-filled and her greatest joy in life was being a mom to me and my five brothers and sisters. She passed on her faith and love of family to me. I am blessed with my own amazing family – my husband and best friend, Scott, and our 3 children (Maura, Ted, and Jack). I am also a Dog Momma to our 90-pound Bernie Doodle, Holden. I get my work ethic from my dad. My dad is 92; he started working when he was 8 years old during the Great Depression and just stopped working a few years ago. Dad taught me that if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard, you can be anything in America. He passed on his relentless work ethic to me, which I apply to every aspect of my life.


When I am not working, I love being with my family. I have always wanted to be a mom and am so thankful for the blessings of love and family in my life. Scott and I always had family dinners all week for our kids, and we still do with our youngest, who is still at home. That has always been our priority, and we always cherish that quality family time together. I also love the beach! Cape May, New Jersey, and Holden Beach, North Carolina, are two of our favorite places. If I could commute from the beach, I would!