By: Taylor Matichak
Have you ever met someone who just seems to be able to do it all? Well, Margaret Battersby Black is one of those people. As a champion for women’s rights and a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom, Margaret has made a name for herself as a top-tier litigator who fights tirelessly for her clients.
Born and raised in Beverly Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, Margaret always had a strong sense of justice and a passion for advocacy. She grew up in a large Irish Catholic family full of lawyers and judges and watched her father, also a Plaintiff’s lawyer, spend his career helping the underdogs and good guys, which left a lasting impression. As the oldest child, Margaret embraced leadership roles in both school and sports from a young age. She earned her undergraduate degree from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. After college, she built a successful career as a financial analyst at JP Morgan Chase in Chicago before pursuing law school at Chicago-Kent.
From law clerk, to now managing partner at Levin & Perconti, the professionalism instilled in Margaret has always set her apart from her peers. In 2006, when she interviewed at Levin & Perconti for a law clerk position, she not only emailed her resume but also showed up with a paper copy – a story that founder Steve Levin still retells to this day. As a law clerk, Margaret worked alongside Steve Levin and Mike Bonamarte on a nursing home trial, helping to achieve a record-breaking verdict. That record stood from 2006 until 2017, when she tried the case that broke the record. Margaret’s dedication to her clients and unwavering commitment to justice have earned her numerous accolades.
But Margaret’s impact goes beyond the courtroom. She is a sought-after mentor, and she is passionate about using her platform to inspire and empower women. Whether she’s speaking to a room full of law students or mentoring a young woman just starting out in her career, Margaret’s message is always the same: “You can do this, and you are not alone.”
Margaret’s success doesn’t come at the cost of work-life balance. Work-life balance is always a struggle for lawyers because it is a field that demands long hours. She recognizes the unique challenges that women face, especially when they have young children. As a mother of two, Margaret knows first-hand the importance of balancing a demanding career with family life.
When she joined Levin & Perconti, she was one of three women lawyers. The firm now includes 13 women lawyers, six of whom are partners – a testament to Margaret’s active mentorship. While many other law firms still operate like it is the 1960s, pushing many female lawyers out of the profession, Margaret attributes Levin & Perconti’s growing success as a firm to the increased number of female lawyers and partners. She advocated for flexibility in the workplace – years prior to the pandemic, Levin & Perconti worked remotely from home. Taking maternity leave was supported, not disdained. Equal pay and advancement opportunities along with a culture where women mentor each other were also essential.
In a male-dominated industry, Margaret is a shining example of a woman who has succeeded on her own terms while also advocating for the advancement of other women. She proves that women can achieve great things in the legal industry without sacrificing their personal lives or values. Margaret’s dedication to mentorship, work-life balance, and women’s empowerment is an inspiration to us all.
This article was originally published in the WBAI Spring 2023 Newsletter on page 26.