2020 MCCA RAINMAKERS
MCCA’s Annual List of Rainmakers proves that the profession has talented diverse attorneys who also have valuable client development skills. MCCA honors attorneys from across the nation who have achieved success through innovative, consistent, and proactive business development. Their success stories offer insight and value to attorneys at every career stage.
MCCA is proud to announce its 2020 Rainmakers: 11 exceptional diverse attorneys whose business acumen, passion, and dedication to proactive client development have set them apart as leaders in the legal profession.
MCCA congratulates the 2020 Rainmakers and celebrates the diversity of their race and ethnicities, gender, sexual orientation, and generational differences, as well as the diversity in their practice areas and career paths. The 2020 Rainmakers were selected from an exceptional group of prominent attorneys who have a proven record, over the course of several years, of compiling books of business exceeding $5 million annually and who have contributed significantly to their communities.
The 2020 MCCA Rainmakers will be honored at our 2020 Creating Pathways to Diversity plenary luncheon in New York on October 27, and 2020 Diversity Gala on October 28.
It is leaders like the MCCA Rainmakers listed below who are making a difference for our profession where we are moving from talk to action. We cannot be herds and followers if we want to change the face of our profession. But, strategically following great examples like the 2020 MCCA Rainmakers will allow us all to #RiseUnited.
PAST MCCA RAINMAKERS
Partner; Co-Leader, Transportation Industry Team,
Bryan is the co-leader of the McGuireWoods Transportation Industry Group as well as a member of the firm’s Finance Committee and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He is a well-rounded litigator with national experience in a wide range of industries including transportation, retail, construction equipment, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Bryan’s practice is centered upon understanding clients’ business needs and legal challenges, ultimately balancing the two to deliver favorable business results and litigation outcomes.
Bryan has successfully resolved client’s issues through dispositive motions, mediation, arbitration and favorable settlements. He currently serves as National Coordinating Counsel and manages a significant portfolio of litigation for a Fortune 50 transportation company as well as a major technology platform. Bryan was a key driver in creating a litigation management dashboard with analytics components to give clients greater insights and predictability into their litigation.
Partner; Member, Executive Committee; Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Committee,
Winston & Strawn, LLP
Kobi Kennedy Brinson is a partner in Winston & Strawn LLP’s Charlotte office in the White Collar, Regulatory Defense & Investigations practice group who defends financial services and other clients in government regulatory enforcement inquiries and investigations, as well as class action litigation. Kobi has spent more than 20 years defending corporate clients as both in-house counsel for some of the nation’s largest financial institutions and as outside counsel to corporate clients nationwide.
Kobi’s heightened sensitivity to the business objectives and needs of her clients has led to her successful handling of regulatory and investigative matters on behalf of her global financial institution clients as well as smaller organizations undergoing governmental scrutiny. She has extensive experience dealing with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and continues to focus her practice on helping clients navigate that agency’s complex investigative process.
Kobi has defended numerous clients against investigations by state Attorneys General, and has provided advice and counsel for investigations and legal processes by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ).
In addition to her regulatory practice, Kobi represents clients in class action litigation with a focus on consumer lending and retail banking issues. She uses her in depth knowledge of consumer banking and lending to dismantle plaintiffs’ claims, while obtaining favorable rulings on motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. As an attorney with deep experience in adverse litigation and investigatory matters, Kobi also counsels clients facing media and, in some cases, Congressional scrutiny.
Partner, Team Lead, and Board Member,
Duane Morris LLP
Phil Cha is a partner at the law firm of Duane Morris LLP. He serves as a team lead for the Duane Morris Energy industry group and is a member of the firm’s governing partners’ board. He litigates complex environmental, commercial and mass tort matters in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Phil has litigated dozens of high-exposure and high-profile cases regarding environmental contamination, business and contract disputes, defective products, and mass/toxic torts. The majority of Phil’s cases have involved amounts in the millions of dollars. Many have been class actions, multidistrict litigations or government enforcement actions involving amounts in controversy in the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.
In addition to his litigation practice, Phil advises clients on regulatory compliance, government investigations, management of environmental liabilities, remediation of contaminated sites, and the sale and development of contaminated properties.
Phil has received numerous accolades by clients, peers and legal publications for his legal abilities, professionalism and accomplishments. Law360 named him a “Rainmaker” and a “Minority Power Broker” in back-to-back years. The New Jersey State Bar Association named Phil a “Professional Lawyer of the Year” for consistently demonstrating high character, legal competence and exemplary professional behavior. He has an AV Preeminent Peer Rating and a Client Champion Gold Rating on Martindale-Hubbell.
Outside the practice of law, Phil has volunteered with various non-profit organizations such as the Law School Admission Council’s Discover Law Program, the American Red Cross, and pro bono clinics.
Phil is a 1999 graduate of Rutgers Law School and a 1995 graduate of Rutgers School of Environmental & Biological Sciences.
Partner and M&A Team Leader,
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Will Chuchawat is the Managing Partner of the Mergers & Acquisitions Practice. He does M&A, all day, every day.
Areas of Practice
Will has closed hundreds of deals in A&D, life sciences, healthcare, consumer, TMT, industrials, financial services, manufacturing, food and beverage and other industries.
Will has been consistently recognized as one of the best attorneys in the country, including:
- Named one of Law360‘s Top Attorneys in the Nation Under 40
- The M&A Advisor named him as one of the “40 Under 40” in the West, which includes: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, KS, ND, NE, NM, NV, OR, OK, SD, TX, UT, WA and WY. The M&A Advisor made their selections from a pool of not just attorneys, but everyone in the M&A and turnaround space, which included private equity professionals, bankers, consultants, accountants, money managers, etc.
- The Daily Journal named him one of the top 20 attorneys under 40 in California
- The Recorder named him one of the 50 Lawyers on the Fast Track in California
- The LA Business Journal named him one of the Most Influential Minority Lawyers
- Legal 500, Mergers and Acquisitions 2015-2019
- Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2012-2019
Will earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to English, Will speaks Chinese, Spanish and Thai
Brendan Gutierrez McDonnell
K&L Gates LLP
Brendan McDonnell counsels clients on corporate and securities laws, mergers and acquisitions and public and private financings, including private equity and venture capital transactions. Mr. McDonnell’s practice focuses on the legal and business issues affecting public and private growth companies, both in the technology and non–technology sectors. He also regularly represents some of the region’s most active private equity funds.
Mr. McDonnell counsels companies on a variety of everyday business issues including advice on securities laws, corporate laws (including director and officer duties), executive compensation plans and general corporate contracts. He has worked with clients at every stage of development, from initial formation to Fortune 100 status.
Mr. McDonnell understands the importance of learning a client’s business before providing business critical legal advice and works directly with his clients to implement tailored solutions to their complex business problems.
Mr. McDonnell’s accounting background affords him an advantage in understanding his clients’ business and financial objectives. He served on the board of directors of Hollis Eden Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: HEPH) from 1996 to 2008, including service on the compensation, audit and nominating committees. In 2000 and 2001, he served as an adjunct professor of law at Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College.
Partner; Co-Chair of White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice; Management Committee Member,
Ronald Machen, a member of the firm’s global Management Committee and co-chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice, is one of the nation’s leading trial and white-collar defense lawyers. His practice focuses on government enforcement actions, corporate and congressional investigations, and litigating complex civil business disputes. An experienced litigator who has tried more than 35 cases to verdict, Mr. Machen specializes in litigating complex criminal and civil actions. He also routinely helps clients navigate high-stakes, crisis situations that garner the attention of multiple regulators, enforcement authorities, Congress and private litigants. Prior to rejoining the firm in 2015, Mr. Machen served for over five years as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Laura Maechtlen is the National Chair of the Labor and Employment Department at Seyfarth Shaw LLP and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. Her practice is focused on employment litigation and includes the defense of class, collective and multi-plaintiff actions. Laura also has experience litigating against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) in systemic actions, both at the early charge stage and in large-scale EEOC pattern-and-practice litigation.
Laura is a national leader on issues related to diversity and inclusion in the legal industry, and has held a variety of leadership positions through which she has advocated for systemic improvement in the legal industry in the areas of diversity and inclusion. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the California Minority Counsel Program. She is a previous Latina Commissioner for the Hispanic National Bar Association, President of the National LGBT Bar Association, Chair of the CA Minority Counsel Program, and Fellow for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Laura is also a founding member of SeyfarthLife, her Firm’s core initiative focused on health, wellness and resiliency for all personnel.
Laura speaks and publishes regularly on a variety of employment law and litigation topics, and issues regarding diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Reuters, The Recorder, Vogue, The Daily Journal, the Insurance Journal, CIO.com, Employment Law 360, and others. She has also served as a contributing editor to multiple editions of The Fair Labor Standards Act (ABA) and The Developing Labor Law (BNA).
Partner, Co-Chair, Litigation & Enforcement Practice Group,
Ropes & Gray LLP
Alex, based in Ropes and Gray’s Washington, D.C. office, is co-chair of the global Litigation and Enforcement practice group. Alex has extensive experience representing corporate entities and their executives in connection with litigation and investigations arising out of white collar criminal prosecutions, grand jury investigations, criminal antitrust investigations, and corporate compliance matters. Alex spent two years on secondment in London advising clients primarily on anti-bribery issues.
Prior to entering private practice, Alex was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and a Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division, Fraud Section. While in the Fraud Section, Alex served as a member of the DOJ’s Corporate Fraud Task Force and prosecuted matters involving mail, wire and procurement fraud, campaign finance and securities fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and violations of the Travel Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), among other offenses. Known for his extensive experience handling matters with cross-border elements, Alex is individually recognized by leading publications, including Chambers Global for FCPA-USA and Chambers USA for FCPA-USA-Nationwide and Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations.
Partner; Vice Chair, Data Privacy & Cybersecurity,
Paul Hastings LLP
Sherrese is Vice-Chair of the firm’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity practice and partner in the Technology, Media, & Telecommunications (TMT) practice. She is a highly-regarded, Chambers-ranked attorney who regularly counsels companies on complex transactional and regulatory issues involving communications and media regulatory, technology, and industry issues.
Sherrese Smith is recognized among the nation’s top lawyers operating at the intersection of transactional, regulatory, privacy, and cybersecurity law. Indeed, her clients draw from some of the most easily-recognized names in the Technology, Media, & Telecommunications (“TMT”).
She regularly counsels house-hold name companies on complex transactional and regulatory issues involving media regulatory, technology, and industry issues. Among her expertise includes data privacy, cybersecurity, and breach response investigations, including managing global privacy and information security risks. She regularly navigates clients through data breach and crisis response and associated regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings.
Sherrese previously served as Chief Counsel to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) where she was responsible for determining the agency’s business and policy agenda on a multitude of media and technology matters, including broadcast, cable and broadband and internet matters, as well as wireless and telecommunications issues involving spectrum use. She led the FCC’s cross-agency efforts to refine and implement new rules on data privacy and cybersecurity for multinational companies navigating complex data and privacy rules in the US, EU, and Asia. Her work also involved extensive interaction with external stakeholders, including wireless, media, cable, and telecommunications companies, industry groups and trade associations, federal and state agencies, and Congress.
Additionally, she served as V.P. and General Counsel of Washington Post Digital, where she was in charge of all legal and policy matters for the 10 business units across The Washington Post Company’s digital media and technology company.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Ellisen Turner is a partner in the Intellectual Property Practice Group of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Based in the Los Angeles office, his broad IP practice includes patent and trade secret litigation and intellectual property transactions. Ellisen is an IP strategist who combines business acumen with deep understanding of IP law to support his clients’ business goals and maximize the value of their technology.
Ellisen represents and counsels clients in complex commercial and intellectual property disputes in federal courts, as well as in the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and domestic and international arbitrations. With a background in computer engineering, computer science and biomedical engineering, he is known for his sophisticated understanding of the high-tech sector. He concentrates his practice on media and entertainment technology, software, telecom, semiconductor, biotechnology and life sciences matters.
Ellisen also handles patent and trade secret litigations and contested patent office proceedings, particularly inter partes reviews (IPRs), through all phases, from pre-litigation to trial and appeal.
Ellisen helps clients develop strategies to successfully monetize their technologies, maximizing the value of both tangible and intellectual assets. He counsels businesses on technology development and commercialization and represents them in bankruptcy matters and transactions. These matters — which can involve a single patent or as many as tens of thousands of assets — include intellectual property transactions and license negotiations, as well as intellectual property due diligence in connection with mergers, acquisitions and asset purchases.
Clients rely on Ellisen both for his track record of success and for the enormous creativity he brings to each matter. Through his holistic approach, he takes the time to understand his clients’ business plans, short-term objectives, and long-term definitions of success. Armed with this knowledge, he crafts successful, often groundbreaking, legal strategies that meet clients’ critical business goals and pave the way to success in future endeavors.
Ellisen is deeply involved in the Los Angeles community and in national legal organizations and has been repeatedly appointed to the Judicial Elections Evaluations Committee for the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has served as the chair and a board member of the Intellectual Property Section of the National Bar Association. Ellisen also founded the National Bar Association’s annual Diversity in Tech Awards, which recognize leaders for fostering diversity and inclusion in the STEM and intellectual property fields. He also serves on the Intellectual Property Owners Association Litigation Committee and its Education Subcommittee.
Frequently invited as a speaker on patent law, Ellisen has presented on patent litigation and patent damages at the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) and other intellectual property conferences. He has been an associate columnist for the National Law Journal and has co-authored several papers and presentations regarding patent law and practice topics, including forum selection in patent infringement litigation, claim construction hearing practice and pre-litigation investigations.
Ellisen’s strong knowledge of the technology sector is informed by his early professional experience in private industry. Before attending law school, he worked as as a software engineer at AlliedSignal Aerospace (now Honeywell International Inc.), Hewlett-Packard and IBM’s Silicon Valley Laboratory and as a manufacturing execution system and database design consultant.
In his spare time, Ellisen enjoys boxing, writing, sketching and bicycling.