Cathleen Kelly Rebar: Leading the Change in the Legal Industry Through Expertise and Excellence

Rebar Kelly was formed upon the principle that long-term relationships flow naturally from recognizing that clients are true partners. The company understands that problems come in all shapes and sizes. Its lawyers have tried hundreds of cases to successful verdicts and have served as the lead counsel in some of the insurance industry’s most high-profile cases. 

However, it is critical to note that Rebar Kelly’s enthusiasm in litigating challenging cases is tempered with the common-sense knowledge that expedient and cost-effective resolutions are often the best way to serve clients.  

By taking time to understand businesses and engaging in innovative solutions, Rebar Kelly often helps its clients resolve matters before they lead to extensive costs or substantial exposure. 


A Distinguished Leader Defining an Edge  

Cathleen Kelly Rebar is the Founder and Managing Partner of Rebar KellyShe is a dynamic leader and always sets high standards for herself and the team. As a former college athlete, she learned the value of sacrifice and hard work as a means to success. Cathleen believes if someone wants something, they have to earn it. And she leads by this example. She graduated from Villanova University School of Law in 1998. After graduation she embraced her role as an Assistant District Attorney in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Later, she served as a Deputy Attorney General before transitioning into private practice in 2001. Founding her insurance defense and insurance coverage-based law firm in 2012 was the defining moment of Cathleen’s career. Over the past eight years, the firm has seen much success and evolution. “I have tried to adjust and adapt to the needed changes within the firm and today, it is one of the most team-based workforces of its kind,” says Cathleen. 


Exceptional Attributes of Future Leadership 

Cathleen accentuates that knowing strengths and weaknesses and being aware of the people around oneself is vital. Not every person is suited for every position. Finding the right people to fill each job is time-consuming and complex, but worth it. Leaders cannot put a square peg in a round hole. Every person at the firm fills a particular position suited to their strengths and every person is essential to the team. A group’s effectiveness relies heavily on team solidarity, and Cathleen focuses a lot of time and energy on teambuilding. 


Breaking the Glass Ceiling to Drive the Change 

One of the lessons Cathleen learned is that it is difficult to eliminate and move on from people who seek to impede one’s growth, but it is necessary. She says noxious people bleed into the business culture, and it is not worth trying to change them. Regardless of talent, a poison is a poison. There are always people – even other women – who want to see a person fail. It is a terrible truth in business. “It is not possible to have it all – we all try, but all you can do is give your best at all times. But parts of your life suffer, and people with bad intentions or lack of drive in themselves will put down your accomplishments,” Cathleen said.  

She further adds that it is particularly challenging for women in business. People will hold them up to a different standard, both in business and their home life. Men do not face the same sort of criticisms, which is definitely not fair. Cathleen has tried to keep that in mind while building her business, trying to change what she wishes to see in the world. This year COVID dealt a particular blow to women in the workforce. Interruptions in child care caused by the pandemic found new home schooling and daycare responsibilities falling disproportionally on women. It has become more important than ever to be supportive to one another.  


Adding Value to Success 

Working as a prosecutor has shaped the way Cathleen saw things – and now as a judge as well. She has been an elected judge in Montgomery County, PA, for over ten years, and it is one of the most rewarding things she has ever done. Cathleen is grateful to people who came before her in court and have helped shape her worldview and put things into perspective for her. As a local elected official, Cathleen has stayed very close to the needs and challenges of her community, and she is driven to try to improve things in any way she can. 


Future of Business in the New Normal 

Cathleen contemplates that this year has changed things quite a bit. 2020 was unexpected and forced many businesses to go remote and it has helped them learn quickly how to adapt. There is no wonder people are missing much of the in-person contact that was the norm before 2020. But Cathleen is uncertain that things will ever fully return to those norms and this new world will be a hybrid of the two. “In some ways, certain things have become easier and more streamlined. But we have lost a lot of the human contact that I think sometimes helped set certain people and businesses apart. I look forward to a return to that personal connection,” she mentioned. 


Guiding Young Women Business Leaders 

Advising women leaders of tomorrow, Cathleen says they must stay true to themselves and their vision. They must seek to be a leader and not a follower. Women leaders should know that nothing comes easy that is worth fighting for. They should not let others put them down or seek to steal their thunder and never compare themselves to others. Cathleen emphasizes, “Do the best that you can do, and never give up. You have to take risks, and not all of them will work out in your favor, but each risk comes with lessons to apply to the next situation. This is an unprecedented time to be a woman leader, and they will be the trailblazers for the next generation.” It is such a humbling and inspiring movement and Cathleen is honored to be a part of it.