Mcca Rising Stars
- Past MCCA Rising Stars are NOT eligible
- Past nominees who were NOT selected ARE encouraged to reapply.
- Selected honorees must be present in-person at the Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference on Tuesday, October 10th to receive their award. Exact time will be provided to honorees.
- Minimum of eight years of experience in the legal profession.
- Show outstanding achievement and leadership in the legal profession.
- Demonstrate a deep commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion; community service and pro bono work.
- There is no age requirement or limit.
- Companies and law firms may nominate more than one attorney, but only one may be chosen from that company or firm.
- Self-nomination is accepted.
2023 Rising Stars
MCCA’s 2023 Rising Stars will be recognized at the 2023 Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference on October 10 for their professional achievements and commitment to improving their community.
Learn more about our 2023 Rising Stars in the gallery below.
Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary,
The New York Times Company
Rodney Dillard II
Associate Complex Torts Litigation Attorney,
Baker Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Assistant Vice President, Senior Counsel,
Past MCCA Rising Stars
Les Boswell is member of the State Counsel team for State Farm, currently responsible for government and regulatory affairs in New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. He assumed the role of State Counsel in October 2018. He joined State Farm in 2013 as Counsel to the Investment Department, focusing on real estate finance, state and federal compliance issues, and other financial transactions involving State Farm and its affiliates. During his time with State Farm, Les has been extremely involved the Law Department’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, including serving in multiple leadership roles within the Diversity & Inclusion committee.
Prior to joining State Farm, Les practiced at Moore & Van Allen and Kirk Palmer & Thigpen in Charlotte, North Carolina where he focused on real estate, real estate finance and various corporate matters. He also worked in-house with Electrolux North America where he handled an array of commercial matters.
Les received his undergraduate and law degrees from The College of William & Mary in Virginia.
Les and his wife, Jennie, have three daughters, ages 10, 8, and 6.
Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary,
The New York Times Company
Michael Brown serves as Vice President, Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of The New York Times Company. In addition to his role as Corporate Secretary, Mike leads The Times’s corporate and securities practice. He oversees its core responsibilities of securities law compliance, corporate governance, executive compensation and transactional matters. Mike has also played a significant role in developing the company’s ESG strategic initiatives.
Prior to his role at The Times, he was Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Cipher Mining, an emerging technology company specializing in bitcoin. Before that, he was Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at Clearway Energy, Inc., one of the largest renewable energy owners in the United States. In both roles, he led governance- and board-related activities, coordinated SEC reporting and advised on significant financial transactions. He also played a key role in the development of ESG and DEI strategic initiatives. Mike was a finalist for “Governance Professional of the Year” at the 2020 Corporate Governance Awards hosted by Corporate Secretary magazine.
Mike began his in-house career at NRG Energy, Inc., serving as Senior Counsel, Securities and Finance, and he also worked at the law firm of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. Mike serves on the board of directors of Clean Air Council, an environmental nonprofit located in Philadelphia, PA. He received his undergraduate degree from Williams College and his law degree from Boston College Law School.
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Carmen Chan is an innovative, inquisitive, and introspective attorney for Liberty Mutual Insurance where she practices M&A, venture and governance as a Corporate Counsel. Carmen’s work is highly visible and complex; and she is able to deliver thoughtful and precise advice under the pressure of a transactional practice. Carmen is also Co-Chair of Liberty Mutual Pro Bono Committee, where she manages a program with 15+ pro bono partnerships and opportunities. Promotes pro bono participation by identifying and developing meaningful opportunities and relationships with civil legal aid and service organizations.
Prior to joining Liberty Mutual, Carmen was a Corporate Associate in Morgan Lewis’ Boston Office where she specialized in corporate law and investment transactions. Carmen is a Graduate of Boston College and received her JD from Northeastern University School of Law. She was an intern for the Hon. Marianne B. Bowler in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
A first-generation Asian American, Julius Chen attended Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in U.S. history. His senior thesis—The Government on Wheels: Fixity, Mobility, and Centrality in Early American Capital Cities—won the Prize in American History.
Mr. Chen was then selected as a California Senate Fellow. Beyond studying pressing policy issues through a graduate-level program sponsored by the Center for California Studies, Mr. Chen staffed education and tax matters for Sen. George C. Runner.
Mr. Chen received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law. At the end of his first year, he was awarded the Charles Bathgate Beck Prize (for the best first-year examination in real property) and was named to the Columbia Law Review. Thereafter, Mr. Chen was elected editor-in-chief of the Columbia Law Review and graduated with honors as a James Kent Scholar (the law school’s highest academic recognition).
Mr. Chen’s legal writing also garnered broad recognition. His exploration of the potential impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s then-recent decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), on pleading standards in state courts was published in the Columbia Law Review and received LexisNexis’s James William Moore Federal Practice Award for outstanding scholarship in federal civil practice and procedure. In addition, Mr. Chen’s nuanced examination of Asian Americans and “percentage plan” college admission programs was published in the Asian Pacific American Law Journal and won the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund’s Robert T. Matsui Writing Competition.
Mr. Chen began his legal career as a law clerk to Judge T.S. Ellis III on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He then served as a law clerk to Judge Judith W. Rogers on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Over the past decade in private practice, and as described in more detail above, Mr. Chen has built an impressive record as an appellate advocate. He has presented Within Akin Gump, Mr. Chen received the Stark Ritchie Pro Bono Counsel Award, which recognizes unyielding commitment to providing free legal services to those in the community who need it most and can afford it least. Mr. Chen has also been named a rising star or otherwise recognized by several publications, including the National Law Journal, Bloomberg Law, Washington Business Journal, Euromoney’s Expert Guide and The Legal 500 United States. And just this year, the Washington Business Journal honored Mr. Chen as a Diversity in Business Leader.
White & Case LLP
Jacqueline Chung is a partner in the Commercial Litigation group. She has extensive experience litigating business disputes that involve complex cross-border issues. She helps foreign clients navigate state and federal court litigation in the United States. She regularly represents and advises clients dealing with conflicting demands from US and foreign courts and regulators. Her clients span a number of industries, including the financial services, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, and food and beverages sectors. She has significant experience litigating judgment enforcement actions, commercial fraud claims, fraudulent conveyance claims, contract disputes, and actions alleging violations of state and federal consumer protection statutes and false claims acts. She has extensive trial and appellate experience in state and federal courts.
Jacqueline has an active pro bono practice that is focused on litigating on behalf of wrongfully convicted individuals. Recent matters include the successful representation at trial of a wrongfully convicted individual in a federal court action to obtain compensation for 27 years of wrongful imprisonment arising from a 1986 murder conviction, and the successful representation of an individual appealing a wrongful conviction for robbery in the first degree, which resulted in a reversal of the verdict and a dismissal of the indictment.
Jacqueline is an active member of the Firm’s Global Asian Affinity Network and served as co-chair from 2016 to 2022.
Jacqueline received her JD from William & Mary Law School and her BA from Yale University.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Jomaire Crawford is a partner in the New York office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, where she practices complex litigation in state and federal court. Recognized as a “Rising Star” by New York Law Journal for her plaintiff and defense side practice, Jomaire handles a range of high-stakes civil, criminal, and regulatory matters for individuals, non-profits, and corporate clients. Her recent matters include securities and privacy class actions, shareholder derivative suits, contract disputes, and cross-border investigations.
Over the years, Jomaire’s clients have ranged from individuals and non-profits, to public companies, institutional investors, higher-education institutions, and real estate investment trusts. Jomaire has experience in all phases of litigation from pre-complaint investigation to dispositive motion practice, summary judgment, and trial – and has successfully resolved numerous disputes without resort to litigation.
Jomaire’s contributions to the legal profession are not limited to her billable matters. She maintains a robust pro bono practice and has donated her time to community service projects and pro bono cases every year of her legal career. She has partnered with legal service providers like the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), and served as court-appointed counsel through programs facilitated by the Federal Bar Council and the Southern District of New York’s Office of Pro Se Litigation.
For her work inside and outside of the courtroom, Jomaire has earned numerous awards and recognitions, including from The New York Law Journal, the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP), and the American Bar Association Business Law Section. Jomaire was also named to the Power 100 List of Influential Black Attorneys and the Lawyers of Color “Hot List” in 2022, and will receive the Professional Achievement award from the Association of Black Women Attorneys (ABWA) at this year’s Ruth Whitehead Whaley Luncheon. For a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief that Jomaire co-authored with leading appellate advocate and Quinn Emanuel name partner Kathleen Sullivan in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, No. 19-123 (argued Nov. 4, 2020), Quinn Emanuel also received the “Pro Bono Champion” award by the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.
Jomaire earned her law degree from Yale and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English and double minors in Philosophy of Law, and Rhetoric and Public Address.
Melissa Crespo helps clients navigate a wide range of challenging privacy compliance and data security matters with a focus on the health information and the health care sector. She regularly helps clients develop and implement privacy compliance programs and advises companies on managing risk in connection with cutting-edge technologies and data initiatives.
Melissa has particular experience in advising clients on compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other laws governing the collection and use of medical and health information.
Melissa regularly counsels clients responding to data breaches and security incidents. She has successfully defended clients in numerous regulatory inquiries regarding data security practices, including investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state attorneys general, and foreign regulators following data security incidents.
Melissa also advises multinational companies on the privacy and data security aspects of their M&A transactions and has experience drafting and negotiating tailored privacy and data security contract provisions.
In 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, The Legal 500 US recognized Melissa as a “Rising Star” in the area of cyber law, data privacy, and data protection. She was also named a “Rising Star” for Privacy & Data Protection in the IFLR Americas Awards 2021 and named “One to Watch” for Healthcare Law by Best Lawyers Americas 2023. In 2016, she was shortlisted for the “Future Leader – Gender Diversity” award at the inaugural Chambers USA Diversity Awards. Melissa was a 2015 recipient of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement, which honors excellence in legal writing.
Melissa earned her J.D., cum laude, from Howard University School of Law.
Legal Director, Assistant General Counsel,
Diana Dessources is an Assistant General Counsel at Workday, Inc., a cloud-based enterprise software provider specializing in finance, HR, and planning applications. Diana supports go-to-market commercial transactions, drafting and negotiating contracts with major multi-national companies. Diana concentrates on complex negotiations protecting Workday’s exposure to liability and overall business interests. Diana also supports and counsels sales on strategic initiatives, contributing to Workday’s continued growth. Diana’s clients have recognized her as an Extended Team MVP. Diana also leads the departments pro bono and recruiting/retention initiatives and is very active with Workday’s DE&I initiatives. Diana also works at Cornell as a Course Facilitator with their online certificate program. Additionally, Diana is active with several community and legal organizations, including serving as a high-school mentor for over ten years with the Legal Outreach educational program.
Immediately prior to joining Workday, Diana served as Associate Counsel with the Technology and Information Security Group at JP Morgan Chase. Diana has also worked as an Adjunct Professor of Business Law.
Diana received her B.A. from St. John’s University and her J.D. from Touro Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, receiving many awards and honors, including serving as the Research Editor of the International Law Review.
Rodney Dillard II
Associate Complex Torts Litigation Attorney,
Baker Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Rodney Dillard II is an associate in Baker Donelson’s Birmingham office and concentrates his practice in high exposure commercial and business litigation, complex transportation, construction, insurance defense and complex tort litigation. Mr. Dillard represents regional and national clients across a variety of industries in all Alabama and Georgia state and federal courts.
Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Mr. Dillard worked as in-house counsel for a large national insurance company, representing the company and its insureds in a variety of disputes including first- and third-party litigation and subrogation matters and providing opinions on coverage issues. Further, Mr. Dillard recovered thousands of dollars for the company by filing and trying numerous subrogation claims on its behalf. He has obtained several defense verdicts throughout his practice in the areas of complex tort defense and construction litigation.
Prior to practicing law, Mr. Dillard worked for several years in the field of grants and contract administration for the City of Birmingham and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While working for the City’s finance department as a grant administrator, Mr. Dillard collaborated with the Grants Management Division of the Mayor’s Office on grant policies for municipal employees, monitored the City’s state and federal grants to ensure compliance and provided grant management training. While at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he negotiated and redlined state and federal contracts and agreements between the University and federal government, other academic institutions, and health institutions.
- Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, J.D., 2012
- Alabama A&M University, B.A., 2009
ADMISSIONS PROFESSIONAL HONORS AND ACTIVITES
- Alabama, 2012
- Georgia, 2019
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
Sebastian L. Fain is a partner at Freshfields in New York focusing on M&A, activism defense and corporate governance. His experience is centered on domestic and cross-border M&A, including public company mergers and de-SPAC transactions, private equity acquisitions, joint ventures, complex business carve-outs and divestitures, hostile takeovers and defense, carve-out IPOs, spin-offs and split-offs. In addition, Sebastian extensively counsels management and boards of directors on governance, activism and disclosure matters.
Sebastian is recognized among leading corporate/M&A lawyers, winning both The American Lawyer’s “Dealmaker of the Year” and Bloomberg Law’s “40 Under 40” in 2021, being named among Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Dealmakers” in 2021 and 2022, and ranking among Legal 500’s “Next Generation Partners” for 2022.
Sebastian received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his A.B. in Biology from Harvard University.
Assistant General Counsel, Global Real Estate,
As an Assistant General Counsel at NIKE, Roger focuses his support on NIKE’s retail portfolio by negotiating high-profile retail leases and providing strategic legal support on retail store operations, real estate and store construction. Roger also provides legal guidance on innovative sports and recreation construction projects tied to major brand events and local communities. He is a member of NIKE’s Black Employee Network, as wells as the Latino & Friends Network, and co-leads recruiting and planning for the CAO Legal Internship summer program.
Roger earned his B.A. from Cornell University and completed his JD & MBA at Loyola University of Chicago. Prior to joining NIKE, Roger served as counsel for Simon Property Group where he provided legal support related to SIMON’s suite of sport and footwear mall tenants in North America. Outside of work Roger enjoys hiking, dancing, running, and live music.
Associate General Counsel,
Stephanie Green is Associate General Counsel on the Corporate Regulatory Counsel team at USAA, a membership-based association offering financial products and services to present and former military personnel, their families, and other eligible membership categories.
In her role at USAA, Stephanie advises business partners across the organization on risk and compliance matters relating to the Federal Reserve’s regulation of USAA as an Insurance Savings and Loan Holding Company. Areas of support include compliance risk management, assessment and monitoring, and confidential supervisory information.
Stephanie is deeply engaged with initiatives seeking to further diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal profession, in particular, in USAA’s Chief Legal Office (“CLO”). She co-leads the Intern Coordinator team and has driven the adoption of practices to enhance DEI efforts in recruiting, attracting, and retaining diverse talent within CLO. Additionally, as a member of CLO’s DEI team, she works to support initiatives increasing USAA’s engagement with LGBTQIA+ legal professionals and inclusive measures within the department.
Prior to joining USAA, Stephanie held a number of roles in the legal department at Discover Financial Services, including Bank Regulatory and BSA/AML counsel and as a member of the Government Relations team. She earned her JD cum laude from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and clerked in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the Hon. Procter Hug, Jr. She has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University.
Outside of the office, Stephanie is actively engaged in her community as a member of the D.C. area Rainbow Families organization. She volunteers with Howard County Public Schools and with Howard County Recreation and Parks, as well as with local rescue organization Last Chance Animal Rescue.
In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her wife, two daughters, and four rescue dogs, especially attending concerts, hiking, playing tabletop games, or watching or playing soccer.
Ernest Hammond III
Associate General Counsel, Product Legal,
Ernest Hammond III is Associate General Counsel, Product at Meta where he provides legal guidance and support for the development and launch of new products and features to Meta’s Central Social Impact teams and other stakeholders. With a focus on technology and privacy law, Ernest advises internal teams on a wide range of legal issues, including product development, data privacy and security, and regulatory compliance.
Prior to joining Meta, Ernest worked as product counsel at Twilio and Uber partnering with global product, engineering, compliance, and other teams to guide development of products and services to meet strategic objectives while ensuring compliance with rapidly evolving laws and regulations.
Ernest is actively engaged in efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal community including as a Board Director for BALIF (the nation’s oldest and largest association of LGBTQI attorneys) as well as an Ambassador for the California Minority Counsel Program. He previously served in a variety of other leadership positions including Co-Chair At Large for the Minority Bar Coalition of the SF Bay Area, Barristers Club Diversity Director for the Bar Association of San Francisco, and Men of Color Project Member for the American Bar Association. Ernest is recognized for his leadership in DEI, having been named the recipient of the 2022 Barristers Diversity Award from The Bar Association of San Francisco and the 2022 Minority Bar Coalition Unity Award. He is also an active advocate for access to justice in his community, serving on the boards of the Child Care Law Center and UnCommon Law.
Ernest earned his B.S. from the University of Florida, his M.B.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and his J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law.
King & Spalding
TaCara Harris is a Partner in the Atlanta office of King & Spalding and a member of the firm’s Trial and Global Disputes practice area. She is an experienced litigator and budding first-chair trial lawyer who represents the world’s most sophisticated pharmaceutical and medical device companies—including Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Coloplast, Pfizer, and Eisai—in nationwide product liability litigation. TaCara handles all aspects of large-scale, high-stakes mass tort litigation across the country in state court consolidated proceedings and in multidistrict litigation from early case assessment, through discovery, and on to summary judgment, trial, settlement, and appeal. Through early case assessment and meticulous preparation, TaCara develops case strategy tailored to the litigation while prioritizing and aligning clients’ business needs and goals; understanding and helping to develop the company story through witnesses and documents; and building the scientific case through a review of the record evidence and preparation of world-class experts. Having actively participated on successful teams in eight multi-week, high-stakes product liability jury trials, TaCara handles each matter with a view toward trial, considering how to communicate effectively to a jury a host of complex scientific, technical, and regulatory issues.
Prior to joining King & Spalding, TaCara graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. She then earned her J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School with honors in 2013, where she was the recipient of multiple prestigious scholarships. While attending law school, TaCara served as a law clerk at the Office of the General Counsel of Vanderbilt University and as a summer associate at Maynard Cooper & Gale, LLP, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, and Baker Donelson. Upon graduation from law school, she worked as a general litigation associate for Baker Donelson in Nashville, Tennessee.
Since joining the Trial and Global Disputes practice at King & Spalding, TaCara has emerged as a zealous advocate and young leader in the life sciences space and served as National Coordinating Counsel in hundreds of product liability cases. For example, she was an integral part of the team serving as national coordinating and trial counsel for GlaxoSmithKline in litigation alleging in utero injuries caused by the prescription antidepressant Paxil, which culminated in favorable resolution of all plaintiffs’ cases.
Likewise, for an international medical device company, TaCara recently led a cross-office team of 16 associates and partners and 4 paralegals in preparing for trial—developing the case theory; leading client and team meetings; managing a trial budget; and overseeing all critical pre-trial and trial tasks. Following a two-week trial, a federal jury awarded the plaintiff only $500,000 in compensatory damages and no punitive damages—a fraction of the $2.5 million plaintiff’s counsel had requested.
Just recently, TaCara was asked to help lead a large, multi-office team defending TikTok in a newly formed MDL in Northern District of California and in state courts across the country. These high-profile lawsuits involving underaged users of the content-sharing platform and claims of “social media addiction” implicate cutting-edge issues of Internet law, as well as novel theories of product liability.
At a young age, TaCara has emerged as a thought leader in her field. Even during the pandemic, she creatively developed best practices for maximizing effectiveness in remote depositions and hearings and tracked the pandemic’s impact on jury composition and attitudes. Leveraging this research, she and three colleagues presented to clients on best strategies for “Litigating in a Pandemic.” Because of her expertise and commitment to excellence in the profession, this year, she was appointed as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Vanderbilt Law School.
In addition to her litigation practice, TaCara has leveraged her skillset to help lead significant investigations. For example, in October 2022, the U.S. Soccer Federation retained former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to conduct an investigation into allegations of abuse in women’s professional soccer. TaCara led one of three primary workstreams for an all-female team; developed findings and recommendations for corrective action; and drafted a significant portion of a 172-page public investigative report. Released October 3, 2022, it has garnered substantial media coverage, nearly 300,000 downloads, and praise for its breadth, boldness, and impact. In fact, U.S. Soccer recently announced that it intends to implement all of the report’s recommendations to ensure soccer players across the county have a safe place to learn, compete, and grow.
On top of these efforts, TaCara co-leads the firm’s Women’s Health Initiative—a business development effort intended to help K&S become the leading firm representing companies whose products target or disproportionately impact women. In her role, TaCara has created a multi-disciplinary working group that follows trends in women’s health and educates clients about the firm’s capabilities in this space. She regularly speaks and publishes thought leadership pieces noting the increased focus on women’s health in the government, marketplace, and media, and recently helped land an engagement with a newly formed global women’s health company.
As a result of TaCara’s outstanding legal talent, leadership abilities, and standing in the profession, she has already made herself integral to the most significant clients and laid the foundation for amassing a robust book of business. For example, while still an associate and after a competitive nationwide vetting process, TaCara was selected by Pfizer for its Raising the Bar Initiative as preferred counsel, an exclusive group of only 10 lawyers, including seven partners and one counsel. The program is designed to increase the participation of minority attorneys in Pfizer matters. TaCara has also been recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyers Rising Star and as a member of the “Top 40 Under 40” class by National Black Lawyers.
From these experiences and many others, TaCara has honed her talents as a litigator with robust trial experience, early-career business development victories, strong interpersonal skills, and a proven track record as an enthusiastic, visible leader in her firm and in the profession. These qualities and accomplishments, along with her charismatic personality, positioned TaCara to be promoted to partner after only eight years of practice.
White & Case LLP
Morgan is a partner in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group in the White & Case Houston office. Her practice consists of a wide range of both domestic and international corporate and transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, MLP dropdowns, joint ventures and company formations. She also advises clients on corporate governance matters and deal structures relating to acquisitions, divestitures and exit strategies. Morgan has experience representing both public and private companies, as well as conflicts committees, in a variety of industries, including oil and gas and other natural resources, solar energy, entertainment and financial services.
Morgan was named to The Deal’s “Top Rising Stars” for Mergers & Acquisitions in 2021. She is listed as a “Rising Star” for Mergers & Acquisitions in the United States by Euromoney (2020).
Morgan received a B.S. in Economics, cum laude, from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and she completed her J.D. at Harvard Law School in 2008.
Marshall Jackson, Jr.
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Marshall E. Jackson, Jr. focuses his practice on transactional and regulatory counseling for clients in the healthcare industry, as well as advises clients on the legal, regulatory and compliance aspects of digital health.
Marshall provides counseling and advice to hospitals and health systems, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, post/sub-acute providers, physician practices, and other public and private healthcare companies in a variety of complex transactions and health regulatory compliance matters. Marshall assists clients in all aspects of healthcare transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic affiliations. Marshall focuses his regulatory practice on advising clients with respect to federal and state healthcare fraud and abuse compliance, reimbursement issues, behavioral and mental health regulatory compliance, licensure, and operational matters.
Additionally, Marshall advises healthcare providers, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, and technology companies involved in “digital health” – the intersection of health software applications, analytical tools, medical technology and electronic data assets enabled by the Internet and mobile devices –on a variety of legal, regulatory and compliance matters with a particular focus on digital health topics, including telehealth, telemedicine, mobile health and consumer wellness. Such engagements include assisting clients in developing and implementing telehealth programs by advising on issues related to professional licensure, scope of practice, informed consent, prescribing and reimbursement.
Marshall has been recognized by The National Law Journal, The Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America, American Health Lawyers Association, and The National Black Lawyers. Prior to joining McDermott, he was an associate in the healthcare and life sciences practice group of a national law firm.
Marshall earned his law degree with a health law concentration and, while in law school, served as senior articles editor of the Journal of Healthcare Law and Policy and as captain of the National Trial Team.
St. Louis Managing Partner,
Dentons US LLP
Karen Jordan is the office managing partner of Dentons’ St. Louis office and a member of Dentons’ Corporate practice. She concentrates on advising corporate clients in a wide range of corporate, public finance, corporate finance, real estate and securities transactions.
In her public finance practice, Karen has represented underwriters, borrowers, issuers and political subdivisions in transactions totaling in excess of US$5 billion. She focuses on all aspects of project financing for commercial facilities; real estate developments; health care facilities; senior living and retirement facilities; airports; utilities; manufacturing facilities; sports facilities; governmental, community and cultural facilities; and facilities for colleges, universities and other educational institutions, including public, private and “virtual” schools.
Karen has also represented a number of corporate clients in all aspects of their business, including mergers and acquisitions, financing and investment transactions, as well as general corporate matters. She has extensive experience in corporate procurement (including a secondment at a Fortune 500 company), providing procurement advice in the context of high-value transactions.
Karen has represented issuers in both private and public offerings, including initial public offerings and equity and debt offerings of existing public companies. She also represents a number of nonprofit corporations on structure, governance and compliance issues.
Karen has been a featured speaker on the corporate law, municipal finance and the use of public incentives to finance private development, including speaking engagements for the Women’s Business Development Center, the National Association of Bond Lawyers, Commercial Real Estate Women and the Jeffrey E. Smith Institute of Real Estate.
Karen serves on the boards of directors for the St. Louis Arc, the St. Louis County Library Foundation, the YWCA of Metro St. Louis and the Greater St. Louis Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated.
Locke Lord LLP
Mia Lorick is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in civil appellate law and concentrates her practice on commercial litigation, real estate litigation, energy litigation and civil appeals. She handles jury trials, bench trials and arbitrations as well as appellate briefing and oral argument, and she has argued before the Texas Supreme Court.
In addition to her practice, Mia has been an advocate for a more equitable legal profession, having founded and directed her former firm’s diversity and inclusion initiative. She regularly speaks on diversity and inclusion panels, most recently for the American Bar Association. Mia is also the founder of the Suited for Success Scholarship, which awards law students with a business suit for interviewing.
Mia’s representative experience includes:
- Tried a jury trial and obtained a unanimous jury verdict on a commercial real estate dispute.
- Received result in favor of a land owner in a bench trial on a real estate transactions dispute.
- Tried a jury trial and obtained a unanimous jury verdict on a breach of contract dispute.
- Briefed and argued appeal in favor of client to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals on the lack of derivative standing for nonprofit corporations under the Texas Business and Organizations Code.
- Briefed and argued appeal in favor of client to the First Court of Appeals in a legal malpractice case.
- Briefed and argued appeal in favor of client to the Fifth Court of Appeals on a motion to show authority.
- Handled appeal in favor of client to the First Court of Appeals on a breach of contract and declaratory judgment dispute.
- Briefed and argued appeal in favor of client to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals on a motion for sanctions under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 10.
- Handled mandamus in favor of client to the First Court of Appeals on the expungement of a Lis Pendens.
- Briefed and argued appeal to the Seventh Court of Appeals on a fraud and tortious interference dispute.
- Handled interlocutory appeal in favor of client to the Ninth Court of Appeals on an Anti-SLAPP Motion to Dismiss.
- Briefed interlocutory appeal to Eleventh Court of Appeals on temporary injunction.
- Briefed and argued appeal to the Texas Supreme Court on interpretations of the Texas Property Code.
Mia’s Awards Include:
- Recipient, Steven C. Haley Best Speaker Award, Texas State Bar’s Advanced Real Estate Law Course (2018)
- Named. Rising Star, Houston Association of Women Attorneys Foundation
- Named, Woman to Watch, Houston Business Journal
- Named, Rising Star, University of Houston Law Center
- Named, Top Lawyer, Houstonia Magazine
- Named, Super Lawyers® Texas Rising Star, Appellate (2019-2022)
- Named, Top 50 Women Lawyers, National Diversity Council (2019)
- Named, Top 100, National Black Lawyers (2019)
- Named, Top Women Lawyers, Texas Diversity Council (2021)
- Recognized, Best Legal Article, Houston Bar Foundation (2021)
- Recognized, Best News Article, State Bar of Texas (2021-2022)
Mia’s Professional Affiliations Include:
- Treasurer, Houston Bar Association Litigation Section
- Council Member, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section
- Member of the Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists
- Member of the CLE committee for the State Bar of Texas
Legal Director, Litigation & Investigations,
Johnson & Johnson
Jonathan Mehta is the Legal Director, Litigation & Investigations – Asia Pacific at Johnson & Johnson. In his capacity, Mr. Mehta has led the cross-functional APAC Investigations Team, where he developed an innovative approach to manage internal investigations including: 1) partnering with several law firms to develop a set of best practices related to investigations; 2) creating an internal cloud database and dashboards to track key data points; and 3) developing consistent standards and fee structures with both panel law firms and eDiscovery providers to ensure Johnson & Johnson was receiving the highest value and efficiency given the volume of investigations that his team was handling.
Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Mr. Mehta was a New York-trained Senior Associate at Alston & Bird where he gained extensive experience conducting large-scale cross-border investigations. He spent three years as a secondee at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong, where he worked on APAC and MENA litigation and investigations. Experience during his secondment includes:
- Obtained favorable resolutions with the US SEC and US DOJ in parallel multi-year FCPA investigations of hiring practices in the Asia-Pacific region. Primary responsibilities included overseeing regulatory submissions, preparing witnesses for testimony, providing regional regulators and management updates on the investigation and managing document review teams in Hong Kong, India and the US.
- Managed internal investigations relating to activity identified by Compliance and whistleblower letters relating to (1) potential FCPA violations in the PRC and India; (2) insider trading in Hong Kong and Australia; and (3) research report front-running in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand.
- Managed global cross-border investigations relating to potential breaches of regulations on research report disclosures and foreign financial service provider licensing conditions.
- Managed criminal investigation by the Indonesian Police relating to transactions associated with a hedge fund that was under investigation for allegedly facilitating a Ponzi scheme valued at US$1 billion.
- Managed affirmative disputes and directly negotiated favorable settlements, exceeding US$40 million, with a Hong Kong-listed counter-party in relation to defaulted convertible bonds, and a Taiwan-listed counterparty in relation to a defaulted total-return-swap.
- Negotiated a favorable settlement on a multi-year US$500 million negligence action in Hong Kong relating to CS’s role as a financial advisor to a US-listed company that allegedly defrauded investors.
- Managed dispute to ensure that a US$50 million subscription in a US IPO was settled following attempts by a Hong Kong-based client to refuse an allocation post-closing of the IPO.
- Acted as APAC lead on several US class action lawsuits relating to CS’s role as underwriter in the capital-raising activities of US-listed companies that are based in the PRC.
- Developed a regional matter-management dashboard used to generate management reports tracking matters, trends, recoveries and legal spend.
- Developed an e-Discovery playbook to standardize the electronic discovery review process.
Mr. Mehta also served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis in the U.S. District Court for the E.D.N.Y.
Mr. Mehta earned his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2012, where he was the general editor of Journal of Law and Public Policy and was involved in the Latin American Law Students Association. He earned his B.A. from North Carolina State University in 2009.
Quarles & Brady LLP
Nick Meza advises healthcare businesses, including retail, independent, mail-order and specialty pharmacies, pharmacy benefits managers (PBM), pharmacy hubs, wholesale drug distributors, and drug and device manufacturers. Nick’s clients also include hospitals, physician/oncology groups and integrated behavioral health practices. With a master’s degree in public health, policy and administration and prior clinical work experience, Nick brings broad knowledge of the healthcare industry to the legal advice he provides. He focuses on:
- Healthcare regulatory compliance
- Healthcare transactions
- Representing licensed professionals and entities before administrative boards
Clients rely on the responsiveness and collegiality that Nick and his team bring to the legal solutions they develop. Nick is known for providing practical legal and business solutions for healthcare clients. He is effective at building meaningful relationships with business partners and regulators to arrive at creative and compliant business solutions.
In addition, Nick focuses on:
- Advising pharmacy clients on practice of pharmacy compliance, automated dispensing systems, supply chain, controlled substance (both DEA and state controlled-substance acts) and business licensing, including change of ownership (CHOW), change of location (CHOL) and change of officer (CHOO) requirements.
- Providing strategic advice and contractual support to pharmacy clients seeking to enter into complex shared services arrangements, including central fill, prescription order processing and remote pharmacy models.
- Advising behavioral health entities on regulatory compliance and transaction matters.
- Counseling wholesale drug distributors, drug and device manufacturers, and repackagers on regulatory compliance, including assisting drug wholesalers with the development of federal and state-controlled substance monitoring and suspicious order reporting programs.
- Providing state regulatory and licensure advice for entities engaged in the dispensing and distribution of investigational drug products.
- Advising software and technology companies both currently operating in and entering the health space on scope of practice compliance and related operational business needs.
- Assisting national oncology and specialty physician practices with the development of specialty drug programs and in-office dispensing (IOD) operations.
- Defending health care facilities and licensed health care professionals against regulatory and licensing board investigations and complaints.
He was named one of Az Big Media’s “Top 100 Lawyers in Arizona” in 2023, has been named to Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” (Health Care Law) each year since 2021 and Southwest Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” (Healthcare) each year since 2018.
Prior to joining Quarles, Nick served as a judicial extern for the Honorable David K. Duncan in the United States District Court, District of Arizona. He also was a legal intern at PetSmart Inc. and the Arizona State University Office of General Counsel.
Nick earned a B.S. in health sciences and master of public health, policy and administration from the University of Arizona and a J.D. from the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Nick was a recipient of MCCA’s Lloyd M. Johnson Jr. Scholarship.
Director & Senior Corporate Counsel,
Natasha Newberry is Director & Senior Corporate Counsel for LexisNexis, a division of RELX, Inc. She is an accomplished and results-driven attorney passionate about contributing to the success of minority women within the legal profession. Natasha earned her Juris Doctor from Northern Kentucky University-Chase College of Law.
Natasha began her career as associate corporate counsel for a small business where she was able to assist with guiding minority business owners through the legal challenges of owning their first franchise. She then became an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office thereafter being promoted to the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Center where she prosecuted cases on behalf of child victims of sexual and physical abuse.
In 2018, Natasha started her career at LexisNexis. In her current role, Natasha negotiates complex vendor and customer contracts and provides business centric advice to various market segments, including corporate, intellectual property, print and editorial operations, large law firm, and government markets. She collaborates and partners with the business to address current legal needs and mitigate potential legal issues.
Natasha is an active member of various professional organizations including the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the International Bar Association, and the Dayton Bar Association. Natasha is committed to the underrepresented members of the community and has served on the Board of Trustees for Legal Aid of Western Ohio & Advocates for Basic Legal Equality since 2013.
Partner, Labor and Employment,
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Ephraim partners with employers to manage the risk and cost of complex employment litigation in an ever-changing legal environment. Ephraim’s experience in representing employers in a variety of industries across the nation provides him with unique and practical insights into the challenges that employers face in complex employment litigation. He has extensive experience with single-plaintiff and class action employment litigation in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. Additionally, Ephraim has significant first-chair trial and arbitration experience, including arbitration proceedings before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority representing broker-dealers.
Ephraim also regularly provides clients with practical advice on workplace issues, including hiring practices, adverse actions, internal complaints and investigations, workplace training, employment agreements, and background screening.
Ephraim is chair of Seyfarth’s A+ affinity group for the firm’s Black attorneys and allies. Ephraim is an Advisory Board Member for Legal Outreach, Inc. In 2017, he was awarded Seyfarth’s “Inspirational Leadership Award” in recognition of his commitment to Legal Outreach, Inc., and for inspiring others to make a difference in the community. Ephraim is also co-chair of the National Employment Law Council’s strategic committee on programing and professional development.
Ephraim has been recognized as a “Ones to Watch” lawyer by Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White Inc.) for Labor and Employment Law – Management (2021-2023) and Litigation – Labor and Employment (2021-2023) and as a New York Metro Area Super Lawyers Rising Star for Employment & Labor (Thomson Reuters) (2019-2022). In 2017, Ephraim was selected as a Pathfinder for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
Ephraim earned his B.A. from Fordham University and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law.
Karl is an experienced commercial litigator and the Las Vegas Office Managing Partner (OMP) of Cozen O’Connor, a 775-lawyer law firm. Karl joined Cozen O’Connor in September 2020, becoming one of the first African-American OMPs of an Am Law 100 firm in Nevada.
Karl focuses his practice high-stakes commercial disputes, employment litigation, and consumer class actions, and is now leading efforts to build a sophisticated regional appellate practice. He represents Fortune 50 financial institutions, hotels, casinos, real estate owners and developers, insurance companies, and multi-billion dollar investment and timeshare companies. As a commercial litigator, he defends client in disputes regarding breach of contract claims, judgment recoveries, insurance coverage, commercial leases, land sales, receiverships, deficiencies, and frequently obtains injunctive, declaratory, and extraordinary relief. In the employment context, Karl defends employers in discrimination, wrongful termination, and wage-and-hour suits.
Immediately prior to joining Cozen O’Connor as partner, Karl completed a two-year clerkship for the Honorable Johnnie B. Rawlinson for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit). He conducted crucial legal research and analysis and assisted in formulating decisions. Having already practiced law for nearly eight years before doing the clerkship, Karl brought an unusual degree of legal experience to his appellate work.
Karl practiced as an associate in the Litigation Department of the Las Vegas office of Snell & Wilmer. One of his most formative experiences from those early years was second-chairing a federal cross-border breach of contract case with then-partner Aaron Ford, now Nevada’s Attorney General. Karl combed through thousands of pages of documents, depositions, and filings to draft motions and prepare for trial, ultimately helping secure a bench trial verdict of in his client’s favor.
He also served as litigation and appellate counsel in Pac. W. Bank v. Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct., 383 P.3d 252 (Nev. 2016), a case that changed Nevada’s legal landscape by allowing judgment creditors to execute against out-of-state accounts maintained by a Nevada garnishee. He also successfully defended an airline from a hostile takeover/receivership bid by one of the airline’s investors and a board of directors from a breach of fiduciary duty claim based on the sale of their company. The bulk of his work focused on defending Fortune 30 banks in hundreds of cases involving wrongful foreclosure and various consumer fraud claims, protecting the banks’ interest in significant real estate assets. Further, Karl defended these same banks and a television production company in employment discrimination claims.
With an exceptional litigation track record and the Ninth Circuit clerkship, Karl arrived at Cozen O’Connor well positioned to build a regional appellate practice in the Las Vegas legal market, with its still-nascent state court of appeals system and comparatively small Am Law 100-level appellate bar.
Karl has handled several major appeals since joining the firm. He successfully led oral arguments before the California Court of Appeals and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on procedural questions stemming from an asbestos exposure litigation. He won both appeals, which affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment determination in his client’s favor. Karl also led briefing in a matter before the Washington State Court of Appeals concerning the proper venue for litigation with co-defendants in two different states.
Karl has had more than 20 federal and state decisions published in online databases and has had articles posted through the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation Employment and Labor Relations.
Counsel, Compliance, Employment & Litigation,
As Compliance, Employment & Litigation Counsel Heidi provides legal oversight and support to Gates’ businesses and employees worldwide. She is responsible for the design, administration, implementation, and evolution of Gates’ business integrity program. She partners with every aspect of the business to manage a cross-functional, enterprise-wide business integrity program that takes a practical approach to managing risk. Heidi serves a critical role leading internal investigations into potential, legal, regulatory, or policy violations. In addition, she develops productive working relationships with all levels of management and delivers global compliance and integrity education programs for employees.
Heidi is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado Law School where she teaches “The Evolution of the Whistleblower” as part of the Masters of Studies in Law Ethics and Compliance Program.
Before Gates, Heidi managed the Business Integrity Office at a Fortune 500 company.
Prior to moving in-house, Heidi’s practice focused on regulatory matters, government and internal investigations, and crisis management at WilmerHale. Her global practice included representation of high-profile companies in connection with inquiries conducted by Congress, the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, UK Serious Fraud Office, and other U.S. and international agencies.
Throughout her legal career Heidi has dedicated significant hours to helping those in need as pro bono counsel including women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, asylum, and bond and bail reform matters. Heidi received her JD and LLM from the University of Denver. Prior to law school, she worked as an instructor for Costa Rica Outward Bound where she led cross-country treks, raft trips, and surf camps. She is fluent in Spanish.
Heidi is passionate about the outdoors—her favorite activities include backcountry skiing, rafting, and mountain biking. She also serves on the Law School Yes We Can and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative boards.
Davis Polk & Wardwell
IP and Tech Transactions partner Pri Shah joined Davis Polk in 2008 and was elevated to partner after only seven years, making partner at the age of 31. Pri currently serves as the firm’s Corporate Hiring Partner, one of the youngest in recent history, and co-head of the Recruiting Committee. Pri has advised on some of the firm’s most important and high-profile transactions over the last decade, including for clients such as Comcast/NBCUniversal, IHS Markit, PwC, Freeport, Reliance, Tencent, Brookfield and TPG.
Pri structures, negotiates and advises on complex IP and tech-focused M&A transactions, carve-outs, spin-offs and joint ventures, including a broad spectrum of standalone and bespoke commercial agreements. Pri also negotiates and advises on IP and tech-focused PE investments, financing, capital markets transactions and restructurings. His clients span industries, including telecommunications, media and technology, consumer product and fashion, fintech, cleantech, sports and PE and other investors, including SPACs.
Pri gives back to his community as a member of the firm’s Asian/South Asian/Middle Eastern affinity group and serves on the Board of Directors of iCivics and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. He serves as Davis Polk’s Corporate Hiring Partner, where he helps shape and drive the firm’s recruiting strategy and summer program and evaluates the success of our hiring process.
A sought-after thought leader, Pri is invited to speak at industry events, including TechGC’s 2022 “Blockchain & Web3 Virtual Forum,” and has authored articles in Lexology Getting the Deal Through: Private M&A 2023 and Practical Law on data privacy and cybersecurity as well as articles addressing unique issues arising from Generative AI and the metaverse/NFTs in M&A transactions.
Pri graduated from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and the Managing Editor of the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. He graduated from New York University magna cum laude and previously interned at MLB, McGraw-Hill, ABC and MTV Networks.
He was named a “Rising Star” by the New York Law Journal in 2019, a “Next Generation Partner” in Technology Transactions by Legal 500 U.S. and is ranked by Chambers USA for Technology, NY.
Representative matters include:
Tech, Media & Telecom
- TPG on its acquisitions of Forcepoint G2CI and Thomson Reuters’ Elite business
- Taboola and Yahoo 30-year commercial agreement
- Facebook investment in Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms unit
- Google investment in Reliance Industries’ Jio Platforms unit
- Industrial Media acquisition by Sony Pictures Television
- Emerson acquisition of Aspen Technology in $11B transaction
- Qualcomm and SSW Partners $4.5B acquisition of Veoneer
Consumer Products & Retail
- Victoria’s Secret spin-off and separation from Bath and Body Works
- Ferrero $2.8B acquisition of Nestlé’s U.S. confectionary business
- Spectrum Brands’ $4.3B sale of its Hardware & Home Improvement segment
- Heineken’s strategic partnership with China Resources to join forces in China
- IHS Markit’s $44B merger with S&P Global and joint venture with CME Group
- cxLoyalty Group Holdings’ sale of Global Loyalty to JPMorgan Chase
- MoneyLion’s $2.4B combination with Fusion Acquisition and acquisition of Even Financial
- PwC’s sale of Global Mobility Tax and Immigration Services to CD&R
- Freeport on a number of technology development, licensing and joint venture arrangements
- Technip Energies spinoff from TechnipFMC
- FirstGroup’s $4.6B sale of First Student and First Transit to EQT
- General Electric’s $11.1B merger of GE Transportation and Wabtec
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Sainabou Sonko is a seasoned attorney with extensive experience in high-stakes litigation, including federal class actions and multi-district litigation matters. She currently serves as Senior Counsel in the Commercial Litigation group at Tyson Foods, Inc. In this role, she manages a wide range of global litigation matters, including false labeling class actions, consumer fraud and contract disputes. Prior to Tyson, Sainabou had considerable private practice experience representing multinational corporations and was recognized by the Best Lawyers in America® as a 2021 “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” for her work in commercial litigation, medical malpractice (defense) and products liability litigation (defense).
Sainabou is currently the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Access of Justice Foundation and previously served on the Board of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. She also served as Chair of Tyson’s Global Governance and Corporate Affairs’ inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and remains an active member of the Council.
Sainabou has post-graduate judicial clerkship experience and previously served as an adjunct professor of Business Law. She is a graduate of Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where she served as a Legal Research & Writing Teaching Associate and was the Managing Notes & Comments Editor for the Rutgers Race and the Law Review Journal.
Assistant General Counsel, Data Privacy,
Juliette currently serves as Assistant General Counsel, Privacy at Intuit, where she supports the organization’s mission to Power Prosperity Around the World by providing pragmatic and tailored guidance on navigating the complex and ever changing data protection legal and regulatory landscape in the United States and abroad. Juliette primarily focuses on supporting Intuit’s largest business unit by revenue, the Consumer Group, which comprises its industry-leading TurboTax product as well as supporting global teams on marketing and advertising privacy.
In addition to her in-depth engagement with the business teams she enables, Juliette is active in Intuit’s goals of creating a Stronger Together culture through its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. These DEI initiatives focus on providing an environment for the top, diverse talent to do the best work of their lives at Intuit. In this capacity, Juliette has served as co-chair of its African Ancestry employee resource group, and actively supports the legal department’s DEI efforts as a member of its summer intern program serving in the past as a manager, mentor and buddy to 1L law students who choose to spend their summers learning the ins-and-outs of corporate legal teams at Intuit. Juliette has been an active driver DEI priorities aimed at creating an environment for the identification, support and development of ready now leaders within the department.
Prior to joining Intuit, Juliette spent the majority of her career in healthcare, serving as privacy and compliance officer and counsel for a variety of healthcare organization. She was most recently Corporate Counsel at iRhythm Technologies, Inc., a rapidly growing healthcare technology company that manufacturers remote cardiac monitoring devices and provides related healthcare services. At iRhythm, Juliette was responsible for building and managing the organization’s global data privacy, ethics and compliance program through a period of rapid global growth and international expansion.
Outside of her engagement at work, Juliette has served as board member for various community organizations aimed at providing resources to the disadvantaged and underserved, including community health provider PCC Wellness, and youth services non-profit Alternatives Inc, both based in Chicago. Specific to her desire to support the diversity of the legal profession, Juliette serves on the privacy group for Black Girls in Cybersecurity, a nonprofit organization focused on helping women of color transition into entry level roles in cybersecurity, privacy and STEM careers. She has also served on the planning committee for state diversity bar associations, supporting efforts to create communities and safe spaces for diverse legal professionals.
A native of North Carolina, Juliette received her bachelors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, W.H. Bowen School of Law, and a master of law (LL.M) in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Juliette holds certifications in healthcare privacy compliance, healthcare compliance, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US).
Ruth L. Tisdale is a senior counsel for Walmart Health and Wellness Division. Ruth, a proud graduate of the Wake Forest Law School, began her legal career in the State of New York in 2014, as an Assistant District Attorney in the District Attorney’s Office in the Bronx. In 2016, she transitioned into private practice where she represented physicians, hospitals, clinics, and other health-related entities in major litigation and transactional matters. in 2021, she accepted a new position as an Assistant Corporate Counsel with the Christiana Care Health System, the largest hospital system in Delaware, where she was primarily responsible for handling polices, contracts and other legal matters. In addition to meeting the challenges of her current position, Ruth is a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Public Health (MPH) at Harvard University.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates
Demetrius Warrick is a corporate attorney focusing on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, securities and general corporate law. Mr. Warrick regularly advises public and private clients in a variety of corporate matters, including strategic acquisitions, divestitures, auctions, strategic investments, reorganizations, financial advisor engagements and joint ventures. He also has represented many companies with respect to shareholder activism, takeover preparedness, unsolicited proposals, contested proxy solicitations and other contests for corporate control. In addition, he has advised clients in designing and implementing shareholder rights plans and other corporate protective measures.
Examples of Mr. Warrick’s experience include representation of:
- NextGen Acquisition Corp. in connection with its business combination transaction with Xos Inc.
- Dentsply Sirona in connection with various matters, including its acquisitions of Byte and Propel Orthodontics
- CoreLogic Inc. in connection with its activist defense and proxy contest against Senator Investment Group and Cannae
- Mars, Incorporated in connection with various matters, including its acquisition of one of the largest privately owned chains of freestanding veterinary hospitals in the U.S.
- Hg in connection with various matters, including its acquisition of Litera Microsystems and its investment, alongside TA Associates, in Insight Software
- ECI Software Solutions, Inc. in connection with its acquisition of Shoptech Industrial Software Corp.
- Intel Corporation in connection with its joint venture with TPG Capital, L.P. to form an independent cybersecurity company called McAfee
- Social Finance in connection with various matters, including its acquisition of a U.S. technology company
- Navient Corporation in its proxy fight and settlement with Canyon Capital Advisors
- Pier 1 Imports, Inc. in connection with various matters, including its adoption of a shareholder rights plan and activism defense in response to activist shareholder Alden Global Capital LLC
- PFA Pension Forsikringsaktieselskab in connection with its participation in an investor consortium for purposes of acquiring InterPark, the largest owner-operated parking infrastructure in the U.S.
- The Howard Gilman Foundation in connection with its sale of the operations of the Gilman Companies to West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
- Aurinia Pharmaceuticals in connection with its successful proxy contest against dissident ILJIN SNT
- Lumber Liquidators in connection with various matters, including its response to a threatened unsolicited proposal from a dissident and its response to a threatened proxy contest by dissident shareholders
- Fox Sports Network in connection with various matters, including several joint venture agreements with Major League Baseball, and its acquisition of a U.S. sports technology platform
- Harland Clarke Holding Corp. in connection with various matters, including in connection with its sale of Faneuil, Inc. to ALJ Regional Holding
- Dean Foods Company in connection with its sale of its Morningstar Foods division to Saputo Inc.
- Thomas Properties Group Inc. in connection with its stock-for-stock merger with Parkway Properties Inc.
Mr. Warrick has been a member of Skadden’s Black and African American Affinity Network since joining the firm in 2011 and served as a member of the Steering Committee from 2015-18.
David Williams represents and counsels clients in the investment management industry, with particular focus on counseling investment advisers on registered investment company fund formation, regulatory requirements and corporate governance. He also counsels institutional investors on fund due diligence and investment management agreement negotiations. David’s practice also involves advising global fund managers on environmental, social and governance (ESG) and impact funds, and their unique investment and governance considerations. In addition, David counsels investment advisers on the design and launch of closed-end interval and tender offer funds that enhance distribution channels for advisers.
Registered Investment Companies
David counsels registered investment companies, their boards and registered investment advisers on SEC registration, operations and regulatory obligations. David advises multi-series and multi-class mutual funds and their boards, including money market funds, exchange-traded funds and multi-manager funds.
David has significant experience advising clients on the registration process for, and ongoing regulatory obligations of, continuously offered closed-end funds, including interval funds and tender offer funds.
Environmental and Socially Responsible Funds
David has recognized experience in the formation of socially responsible, ESG and impact funds, and in advising fund managers and sponsors regarding their unique considerations. He advises global money managers on funds, concentrating on investments in socially responsible entities, renewable energy companies and sustainable companies.
Fisher Phillips, LLP
Sheila Willis is committed to finding practical, real world solutions to her clients’ employment law needs. She represents companies—large and small—as they navigate employment issues related to hiring, discipline, investigations, employment discrimination, unemployment, and other related issues. Sheila provides guidance to higher education institutions on Title IX Compliance and investigations. She has extensive experience providing compliance advice to federal contractors on affirmative action and OFCCP regulations and audits. Sheila also has extensive experience working on collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and class actions under wage and hour state laws. Sheila also provides training for supervisors and managers on harassment, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) compliance, the Family Medical Leave Act, diversity and inclusion, and many other areas.
Sheila is involved in various professional and community activities. She is a past president of both the South Carolina Women Lawyers’ Association (SCWLA) and the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers (SCYLD) Division. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Columbia – Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the board of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. Sheila is active in the Richland County Bar, American Bar Association, and is a member of the Junior League of Columbia.
Prior to attending law school, Sheila was a member of store leadership for a Fortune 500 retail company, providing employee supervision and managing a variety of employee issues related to wage and hour, workers’ compensation, discrimination issues, performance management, and other personnel issues.
Sheila is a 2019 recipient of the Silver Compleat lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina School of Law Alumni Association. This award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to the legal profession and who exemplify the highest standard of professional competence, ethics, and integrity.
She has also been named to the Columbia Regional Business Report’s list of 2018 Women of Influence, Columbia Business Monthly’s 2018 Best and Brightest 35 and Under, Columbia Business Monthly’s Legal Elite of the Midlands in 2017 and the American Bar Association’s On the Rise – Top 40 under 40 in 2018. She is also a 2018 South Carolina Super Lawyers – Rising Star and a 2019 recipient of the Leadership in the Law award. She was awarded the Johnathon Jasper Wright Award by The Honorable Matthew J. Perry Chapter of the Black Law Students Association at the University of South Carolina School of Law, is a three-time recipient of the President’s Award a and a four-time recipient of the Start of the Quarter award from the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers’ Division.
Gueter Aurelien’s practice focuses on a broad range of corporate law matters, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, commercial financing, equity investments, securities offerings, commercial contracts, and general business transactions. Gueter advises start-up, emerging growth, and later-stage companies in a variety of industries; financial institutions; specialty lenders; banks; investors; entrepreneurs; and nonprofit organizations. She also regularly represents community development entities and other parties in connection with Federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing transactions.
In addition to her general corporate practice, Gueter has experience with public finance. She represents municipalities and conduit issuers and borrowers and routinely serves as bond counsel and borrower’s counsel. She has experience advising on general obligation bonds and revenue bonds; competitive, negotiated, and public offerings; private placements; and sophisticated financing, refinancing, and refunding arrangements using tax-exempt and taxable bonds.
Gueter has been recognized in The Daily Record, Super Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America and The National Black Lawyers. She is a former contributor for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and former board member for Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore.
Gueter earned her B.A. from Columbia University, her M.A. in forensic accounting from Florida Atlantic University and her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law.
Assistant General Counsel, Head of Global Disputes,
Bryan Browning is a decisive problem-solver for key stakeholders and C-suite leaders. He is Assistant General Counsel, Head of Global Disputes at Fortune 200 company Whirlpool Corporation, where he manages a large and talented team of attorneys, claims professionals, and staff. Bryan’s team is charged with developing and delivering on successful strategies related to all phases of Whirlpool’s highly-visible and complex disputes portfolio, including product liability, product safety, commercial matters, class actions, intellectual property litigation, privacy and data security related disputes, and governmental investigations. He also proactively leads dispute risk mitigation projects and provides strategic counsel on dispute risks globally to help advance Whirlpool’s strategy and protect the company. In addition, Bryan is also General Counsel for the Hispanic National Bar Association, a national organization that represents the interests of over 65,000 Hispanic legal professionals in the U.S and its territories.
Prior to his time at Whirlpool, Bryan served as Senior Legal Counsel, Commercial and Products Litigation at global technology company, Lenovo. In that role, Bryan managed Lenovo’s material commercial, employment, privacy, consumer, and products litigation globally. He also led all class action defense efforts and provided consultation on global risk management and insurance programs. Before Lenovo, Bryan was a shareholder at Bassford Remele, P.A. in Minneapolis, MN where he focused on product liability, commercial, and class action trial work. Bryan had the honor of being the first Latino shareholder in Bassford’s then 135-year history.
Outside of his work at Whirlpool, Bryan is deeply involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives and organizations that are spearheading the efforts to make a difference. Most notably, he has served as an officer and on the Executive Committee of the Hispanic National Bar Association for many years. Moreover, he has served on various other non-profit boards and committees that share his vision of expanding the diversity pipeline in the legal profession. Specifically, Bryan currently serves on the boards of the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy, and the University of Minnesota Office of Equity and Diversity, National Diversity Advisory Board. Bryan was selected by the Hispanic National Bar Association as a recipient of the 2017 Top Lawyers Under 40 Award, and a 2016 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer. He has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers every year since 2012, and has been recognized by a number of organizations for his commitments to the legal profession and greater community.
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Nakimuli primarily focuses her practice on partnering with clients to create respectful workplaces that comply with federal, state, and local laws. A key aspect of this partnership includes assisting clients with developing policies, practices, and procedures that create sustainable inclusive workplace climates. Accordingly, Nakimuli is a Shareholder in Baker Donelson’s Labor & Employment (L&E) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practice groups. Before joining Baker Donelson, she was a law clerk to the Honorable Leslie H. Southwick of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. In addition to her practice at Baker Donelson, for the last two years Nakimuli has been an Adjunct Professor at Mississippi College School of Law, where she teaches Employment Law.
Nakimuli has significant experience defending employers in administrative matters and single and multi-plaintiff litigation alleging discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, and violations of various federal, state, and local laws. She routinely identifies and assesses opportunities for clients to reduce legal risk and improve their workplace culture, which includes reviewing and developing policies and handbooks, advising clients on novel employment issues, conducting internal investigations, training employees and leaders on a variety of employment-related topics, and serving as a resource for human resource professionals and in-house counsel tackling employment issues. At the onset of the pandemic, Nakimuli quickly became adept in the changing legal landscape for employers. She counseled and advised employers across numerous industries, including manufacturing, education, banking, health care, and hospitality, on novel issues relating to leaves and accommodations, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), reductions-in-force, furloughs, COVID-19 exposures and diagnosis, hiring, terminations, return-to-work protocols, OSHA compliance, vaccination mandates, and COVID-19 testing issues and concerns. She studied and presented on issues that were important to clients, resulting in thousands tuning in to her webinars on topics such as the FFCRA, employer rights and obligations during the pandemic, and return-to-work protocols. Nakimuli exhibits this same commitment to all issues that concern her clients.
A growing aspect of Nakimuli’s practice involves partnering with clients to develop Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) plans and initiatives, which includes creating and evaluating cultural audits and employee surveys to ground and inform DEI initiatives and goals, social media policies, DEIA related policies and practices, and communication strategies surrounding issues relating to DEIA. Nakimuli partners with clients to create ongoing training programs that raise awareness of, identify tools and strategies for, and reinforce best practices to create sustainable inclusive workplaces. These measures are critical to increasing employee engagement and reducing legal risk, particularly the risk of harassment and discrimination claims. Nakimuli develops training programs for leaders, management level, and non-management level employees on topics ranging from implicit bias, inclusive leadership, increasing employee engagement, and navigating multigenerational workforces to discrimination, harassment, conflict resolution, and leave and accommodation requests. In addition to her L&E and ESG practice, Nakimuli represents clients on commercial litigation matters, specifically including breach of contract, fraud, and premises liability. She also has significant experience representing insurers on bad faith breach of contract claims and litigating federal condemnation actions.
Nakimuli has earned numerous recognitions for her community involvement and leadership. In 2013, she was named to Lawyers of Color’s inaugural “Hot List”, recognizing her as one of 100 early to mid-career minority attorneys under 40 from the South who are excelling in the legal profession. She was first-named by the National Black Lawyers as a Top 100 Attorney in 2015, with multiple recognitions thereafter. In 2020, she was recognized by the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division as a 2020 On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyer, and by the Mississippi Business Journal as a Top 10 Finalist on their Top 50 Under 40 List. She has been named a Mid-South Rising Star by Mid-South Super Lawyers (2014 – 2021); and was recognized as one of the top 10 up-and-coming attorneys in the Jackson metro area by Portico Magazine (2015). Nakimuli was listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers as a leading Labor & Employment lawyer in Mississippi (2022) and recently was recognized by Bloomberg Law as a 2022 They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 honoree. She has received the Outstanding Service Award for two local bar organizations as well as other recognitions and honors for her volunteer service. Nakimuli is a Barrister in the Inn of Court, Charles Clark Inn and is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She is also a Board of Trustee for the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA) and provides pro bono counsel to the MMA regarding personnel matters.
Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
Matt’s practice focuses on the defense of companies in complex product liability and class action litigation. Matt has represented numerous product manufacturers in federal and state jurisdictions, including multidistrict litigation and coordinated state court proceedings. Matt’s work includes taking and defending depositions, drafting motions and briefs, and preparing expert and company witnesses for depositions and trial testimony.
Matt has also gained significant experience working with and representing companies in the health care industry. Matt seconded to a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company to assist with ongoing litigation. Before joining Shook, he also interned at Walgreens where he assisted in-house counsel on various state and federal regulatory matters. And before law school, Matt interned for Shire where he helped train pharmaceutical sales professionals and compose a marketing campaign.
In addition to his practice, Matt actively participates in local and national bar associations. In 2019, Matt was elected to serve a two-year term as one of Missouri’s delegates to the ABA’s House of Delegates. Since 2019, Matt has co-chaired the Heartland Diversity Job Fair for KCMBA. Since 2018, Matt has served on the Missouri Bar Young Lawyer’s Section Council, where he has focused on helping new lawyers entering the profession.
RONAK D. DESAI
Of Counsel, Litigation,
Paul Hastings LLP
Ronak D. Desai is Of Counsel in the Investigations and White Collar Defense practice at Paul Hastings LLP and serves as firm-wide co-leader of its Congressional Investigations practice.
A seasoned international investigations, enforcement defense, and compliance attorney, Mr. Desai has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. He advises clients on a broad range of complex investigative, compliance, crisis management, and public policy matters. Prior to joining Paul Hastings, Mr. Desai served as investigative counsel to a high-profile Select Committee on Capitol Hill. In addition to his Congressional work, Mr. Desai is a recognized expert on India and the Subcontinent, and draws upon his deep understanding of the region to help U.S. and other multinational clients navigate the unique legal and policy challenges arising in the course of their cross-border operations. He also counsels Indian companies conducting business abroad, including in the United States. Mr. Desai serves as pro bono General Counsel and independent Board Director to the Partnership for a Secure America, a DC-based foreign policy think tank that seeks to promote bipartisanship on Capitol Hill through its flagship Congressional Partnership Program. In 2016, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Mr. Desai to her Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). He recently completed his second three-year term. He also serves as Member of the Board of the South Asian Symphony Foundation and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a frequent author, speaker, and commentator. He is a regular contributor to Forbes and Bloomberg Law, and a host of publications in the Asia-Pacific. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The National Law Journal, The Hill, Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, and has been cited by The Congressional Research Service. He has been previously recognized by the South Asian Bar Association, the National Law Journal, and the American Bar Association for his white collar, Congressional investigations, and India-related legal work. Mr. Desai earned joint public policy and law degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School from which he graduated magna cum laude.
JASON G. DOWNS
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Jason Downs, shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, taps into his experience managing one of the premier AG offices in the country and his reputation as a top-notch trial attorney to help clients engage with government regulators, including state attorneys general. As State Attorneys General practice group co-chair, he serves as lead counsel for clients facing enforcement action, takes a creative approach to educating the state AG community on behalf of clients and helps businesses understand the authority of state attorneys general. Jason also provides strategic advice on parallel civil and criminal investigations, as well as civil rights audits.
As chief deputy AG, Jason managed all legal matters brought on behalf of, or against, the District of Columbia and oversaw enforcement actions involving local and multistate anticompetitive, unfair and deceptive trade practices. Prior to that, he served as general counsel at the Office of the Attorney General. He also spent seven years at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, serving as lead counsel on 26 felony jury trials against federal prosecutors. Jason has also resolved cases without the necessity of a trial, including convincing federal prosecutors not to indict the chief financial officer of a company under investigation for foreign importation statutes violations. In another case, Jason persuaded federal prosecutors to dismiss a 17-count indictment. He successfully litigated an 8-level variance from the federal sentencing guidelines in a case involving bribery of a public official.
Jason serves as trial advocacy workshop faculty at Harvard Law School and is an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.
CHARLENE A. BARKER GEDEUS, ESQ.
Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
Charlene Gedeus, shareholder in Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s Labor & Employment section, represents private and public employers in labor and employment-related disputes in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, as well as in the arbitral forum. Experienced in both single-plaintiff matters and class actions, her practice includes defending claims of wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, unlawful harassment and hostile work environment claims. Charlene counsels employers from industries as diverse as retail, food service, education and manufacturing.
As a complement to her litigation practice, Charlene also provides extensive pre-litigation day-to-day advice and tailored counseling to employers with the objective of preventing and managing litigation risks. She counsels management and Human Resources personnel on a myriad of employment-related issues, including performance management/discipline, workplace accommodations, FMLA compliance, terminations and employment best practices. Charlene also assists employers in developing and implementing employment policies and programs in accordance with state and federal employment laws.
In 2017, Charlene was named one of Philly Biz’s Women to Watch. Additionally, Charlene has been selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Rising Stars® list each year since 2019.
She holds a bachelor’s degree and M.P.A from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a law degree from New York Law School.
Senior Lead Counsel,
Christopher Grant (he/him) serves as Senior Lead Counsel for the LinkedIn Corporation, operator of the world’s leading professional social network.
Chris is a member of the Products, Partnerships, and Platforms legal team and in addition to counseling on several of LinkedIn’s products, he supports the Business Development team in various licensing verticals. Most recently, Chris provided critical support and was a key advisor on bringing the successful LinkedIn Podcast Network to life.
Prior to joining LinkedIn, Chris was a corporate associate at the Tokyo offices of Jones Day and Morrison & Foerster. While at Morrison & Foerster, he worked on some of the largest M&A transactions out of Japan.
Chris is deeply engaged with organizations that advance positive change: (1) he is on the leadership team for Out@In, an employee resource group at LinkedIn that creates a space of belonging for LGBT+ employees and allies; (2) he is on the LinkedIn legal team’s diversity, inclusion, and belonging committee which aims to increase and support diversity in the legal field and to foster learnings on diversity; (3) he is a singing member and a board member for the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, a historic 501(c)3 organization that “leads by creating extraordinary music and experiences that build community, inspires activism, and fosters compassion at home and around the world”; and (4) he is a volunteer at the LGBT Asylum Project which aims to “provide accessible legal representation for LGBT asylum seekers”.
A native of Belize, Chris is a 2012 JD/LLM dual-degree graduate of the Duke University School of Law, holds CIPP/US accreditation, and speaks fluent Japanese and Kriol.
Senior Corporate Counsel,
Shanelle Henry is a Senior Corporate Counsel at Microsoft, where she helps lead a team of business and sales clients supporting our vast partner ecosystem to drive digital transformation for customers in the areas of cloud, AI, IOT and other innovative technologies. At Microsoft, Shanelle has also served as a product attorney supporting engineers who developed leading business application cloud solutions for small, medium and large companies. Prior to joining Microsoft, she was an Associate at the leading AmLaw100, international law firm of Nixon Peabody where she specialized in Intellectual Property and Enforcement matters. Outside of her legal work, Shanelle is passionate about serving her community and is an Executive Committee member of a coding program designed for children in underserved communities in partnership with DMV NSBE, Jr. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center where she received her Juris Doctor, and a double major graduate of Brandeis University with her Bachelor of Arts degree.
NAOMI K. HILLS
Naomi K. Hills is Senior Counsel at GSK within the Specialty/Oncology team. Naomi is lead counsel for the US sample program, patient engagement leadership team. Naomi is responsible for advising on promotional and non-promotional initiatives for specialty and oncology biologics. Naomi advises on the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, PhRMA code and other promotional and regulatory rules. Naomi is a member of the Legal & Compliance core team for a “Inclusive Culture Workstream” which is tasked to help shape DEI within leadership behaviors, recruitment, and talent assessment. In addition to the above, Naomi provides Pro-Bono legal services with the Innocence Project. Prior to her role at GSK, Naomi was US Head of Legal for a multinational private label juice corporation.
Naomi is an active member in the legal community and is the Chair of the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) Corporate Counsel section, a member of NYSBA’s Audit Committee and Committee on Leadership. Naomi was a 2021 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow. Naomi received her BA from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park and J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law.
Naomi is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® and The President of The Pearls an Ivy Foundation of Queens, Inc., she is also an active member of The Links Inc., Long Island Chapter.
Senior Corporate Counsel,
Tennille Hoover is Senior Corporate Counsel at U.S. Bank, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States. She has served in this position since January 2021. In her role as Senior Corporate Counsel, Tennille is responsible for advising the organization on the legal risk and compliance for all areas of employment law in the United States and Canada.
Prior to joining U.S. Bank, Tennille worked for The Employment Law Solution: McFadden Davis, LLC, a woman- and minority-owned law firm, where her practice focused on management-side employment litigation and advisement. In that role, Tennille successfully defended employers against actions brought by current and former employees in federal and state courts, as well as the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and other administrative agencies. She also performed complex investigates for private, governmental, and educational organizations.
Outside of the office, Tennille is actively engaged in the legal community as a member of Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Advisory Committee and annual evaluator for the Georgia High School Mock Trial Competition. She also serves as a mentor to aspiring attorneys in the Spelman Sister-2-Sister Program.
Tennille is also very active in her local community as a board member for her homeowner’s association and President of The Quad Academy Parent Teacher Organization, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization she cofounded at her daughter’s school. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Tennille graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she served as the President of the Black Law Students Association and as Editor-in-Chief of Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice.
Tennille has been recognized as a 2020 and 2021 Super Lawyers Rising Star, and a 2022 Georgia Legal Awards On the Rise Awardee.
In her spare time, you can find her exploring the world and trying to keep up with her 4-year-old polyglot.
MICHAEL J. HUI
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP
Michael J. Hui is a trusted advisor and collaborator to startups and emerging growth companies. He guides them through the entire employment lifecycle from hire, compensation, EEO compliance, termination, and beyond. Michael works to develop real life solutions to help clients achieve their mission and maximize value for the business. As a former high stakes employment litigator, Michael leverages this background when counseling clients to limit or eliminate risk, as well as providing support when disputes arise.
Prior to joining Gunderson Dettmer, Michael was a litigator at an international labor and employment law firm representing tech companies and multinational corporations in all types of employment matters, including sexual harassment lawsuits, wage and hour class and PAGA actions, and wrongful discharge matters. Michael also was seconded as an in-house employment counsel to a publicly traded fintech company, giving him unique insight into client needs and expectations.
Michael currently serves on the board of directors for the National LGBTQ+ Bar Association and sits as the president of the Northern California Employment Round Table, which partners with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to educate the public and employers regarding issues of discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Paul Humphreys is a partner at Freshfields in New York. He focuses on cross-border public and private M&A, private equity transactions, venture capital and general corporate governance matters. Paul advises clients across a number of industries, including industrials, chemicals, life sciences and private equity. He was elected to Law360’s 2021 M&A editorial board for his significant contributions to the thought leadership discourse.
Paul is a founding member and partner sponsor of our US Halo network, Freshfields’ LGBT+ network that supports the firm’s LGBT+ colleagues and the broader LGBT+ legal community. He also leads our alumni engagement efforts in the United States.
Paul received his J.D., cum laude, from Pace University School of Law and his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves on Pace University School of Law’s Board of Visitors. Prior to Freshfields, Paul worked in international education and spent two years in Kyushu, Japan.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Advises lenders and borrowers in a broad range of ﬁnance transactions, including leveraged and investment-grade acquisition ﬁnancings. A 2022 Law360 “Rising Star.”
Vanessa’s practice focuses on the representation of ﬁnancial institutions and corporate borrowers in a broad range of corporate ﬁnance transactions, including leveraged and investment-grade acquisition ﬁnancings, asset-based credit facilities, debt restructurings, spinoffs, working capital ﬁnancings, debtor-in-possession ﬁnancings, exit ﬁnancings, and other secured and unsecured ﬁnancings.
In 2022, Vanessa was named a “Rising Star” in banking by Law360. The Partnership for New York City named Vanessa to its 2022 Class of David Rockefeller Fellows and Crain’s New York Business named her to its 2022 “Notable Women in Law” list. She serves as co- chair of Davis Polk’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee and is a member of Law360’s 2022 Diversity & Inclusion Editorial Advisory Board.
JUSTIN T. JOHNSON
Senior Counsel, Global Affiliate Governance,
Justin joined AbbVie in January 2021 where he serves as the principal attorney for the governance oversight of AbbVie Inc.’s 300+ affiliates, leads the global legal integration of Allergan Limited following its acquisition by AbbVie Inc. in spring 2020, and oversees the Global Affiliate Governance Team in the day-to-day management of AbbVie Inc.’s subsidiary governance. Justin serves on AbbVie’s HBCU Legal Career Promotion Committee, which seeks to enrich the pipeline of diverse talent from HBCU’s in the legal profession, including professions in the health care industry. Justin is also a member of AbbVie Inc.’s Corporate Legal, Governance, and Operations 1L Legal Internship Committee, where he serves as a mentor to first year law students, a fundamental component of the summer internship program.
Prior to joining AbbVie, Justin worked at Rush University System for Health (RUSH) where he most recently served as its Senior Corporate Counsel, Senior Associate General Counsel, Managing Director of Corporate Development, and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees. Justin was the principal attorney for major corporate health care transactions such as: the formation and expansion of RUSH, significant asset acquisitions and dispositions, and RUSH’s tax-exempt bond issuances, re-financings, and disclosures. Justin developed and managed the RUSH Deals Team, an interdisciplinary group consisting of system senior leadership which tracked, evaluated, prioritized, and implemented all major external growth opportunities and transactions. Justin was an Assistant Professor of Rush University’s Department of Health Systems Management, where he co-directed its Health Law and Ethics course. Additionally, Justin served as a member of RUSH’s Institutional Conflict of Interest Committee, the Diversity Leadership Council, and as the Co-Chairperson of the Demographic Strategy Team.
In his volunteer time, Justin serves as a member of the Citizens Police Oversight Committee of the Village of Oak Park, a committee charged with evaluating complaints about police conduct and interpersonal/community relations.
Justin recently served as an Adjunct Professor for Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, were he established and lead two courses covering the topics of health care law, ethics, and bioethics.
Justin attended Princeton University and received his law degree from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
John Kim is Counsel at State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company where he is based out of the company’s home offices in Bloomington, Illinois, which is also his hometown. John provides strategic advice and counsel to business partners on labor, employment, and immigration matters across the enterprise and in support of State Farm’s mission to help customers manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams.
At State Farm’s Law Department, John has led the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and spearheaded the department’s engagement with minority bar associations. He is active with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association where he is the immediate past president of the NAPABA Law Foundation. In 2020, the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago recognized John with its Vanguard Award.
John also led the Law Department’s Ethic and Professionalism Committee. Currently, he serves as the Vice-Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism, which promotes a culture of civility and inclusion among Illinois lawyers and judges.
As a good neighbor, John is an active participant in State Farm’s pro bono program and collaborates with state-wide and local providers. In partnership with The Immigration Project, John has organized immigration clinics, as well as provided direct legal services. John serves as Treasurer of Prairie State Legal Services, Inc., which provides access to justice to low-income, elderly, and vulnerable clients throughout central and northern Illinois. John is a long-time volunteer at the Community Health Care Clinic, a free and charitable medical and dental clinic in McLean County, Illinois, where he received the 2022 Commitment to Health Award.
Prior to joining State Farm, John engaged in private practice in central Illinois. He received his J.D. from the American University’s Washington College of Law and a B.A. from Wheaton College (IL). Before attending law school, John worked as a refugee and asylee caseworker in Nairobi, Kenya, and as a policy analyst for a faith-based organization in Washington, D.C.
Senior Counsel – Global Product,
Michelle grew up in Utah, moving to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles at the age of five. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University and her law degree from Vanderbilt University, Michelle began her legal career as a federal judicial clerk in the District of New Mexico and then later in the Middle District of Tennessee. After clerking, Michelle worked for several national law firms with a focus on intellectual property law, including patent prosecution and copyrights. Her experience living and working around the country (as well as a summer spent living in Venezuela and in New York City) allowed Michelle to see many different perspectives and helped her develop communication skills that she has integrated into her practice. At eBay, Michelle is putting her background in computer science and electrical engineering to good use, first in her role as Senior Counsel for Patents and Open Source, and now as a Global Product Counsel. She works closely with her team to encourage innovation, protect ideas, and develop relationships within eBay and with eBay’s customers.
Michelle is a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Legal Committee at eBay, and works with her teammates to educate employees and the community to further one of eBay’s core tents: Be for Everyone.
Michelle is passionately involved in supporting adolescent STEM activities, including as a volunteer and presenter for Expanding Your Horizons, SheTech, Girl Scouts, and World IP Day. In addition, Michelle previously served as a Trustee for the MountainWest Capital Network, and she is currently on the Board of Directors for the Utah Chapter of the American Heart Association. Michelle’s free time is spent traveling, drinking coffee or acting as a bus driver for her kids.
EVA J. PULLIAM
ArentFox Schiff LLP
Eva Pulliam is a Partner at ArentFox Schiff, splitting her time between the firm’s Washington, D.C. and San Francisco offices. With a focus on the retail, technology, and consumer products industries, she regularly advises on best practices in the areas of data privacy, advertising and marketing, and trademark. Household names, tech giants and startups, non-profits, and other innovative organizations call on Eva to guide them through product development, compliance, and brand management. Clients value Eva’s ability to merge business goals with legal requirements. She enjoys collaborating with clients to create fun and exciting offerings that incorporate technology and innovation while complying with an evolving legal landscape.
Eva has been recognized as a “Next Generation Leader” in The Recorder’s 2018 Women Leaders in Tech Law for her extensive work in the tech industry. She regularly presents on advertising, intellectual property, and privacy. Her recent presentations have spanned topics such as the evolution of adtech, the metaverse, the evolving US privacy landscape, and more. She is also a frequent commentator for Law360. Additionally, Eva is a certified privacy professional (CIPP/US) and a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
As an advocate for racial and social justice, Eva is an active member of the ArentFox Schiff Center for Racial Equity and the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. She is also a proud board member for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and a 2018 Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow.
JULIUS M. REDD
Beveridge & Diamond PC
Julius is a litigator and counselor who maintains a national practice.
He represents clients in various industries in complex civil litigation, enforcement actions, and administrative regulatory proceedings. Much of his litigation practice is focused on environmental issues, representing clients in matters related to contaminated property; toxic tort; contractual disputes; and complex commercial litigation. His ability to connect with clients and learn the intricacies of their businesses allows Julius to align his legal counsel with targeted actions to advance clients’ goals.
Handling cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States, his multifaceted experience in resolving conflicts enables him to achieve favorable results that satisfy both practical and economic objectives for the firm’s clients.
Julius also co-founded and co-chairs B&D’s Environmental Justice (EJ) practice group. He advises clients on EJ issues, evaluates EJ operational risks, designs and implements comprehensive EJ strategies, and proactively implements EJ considerations in project development. Julius regularly speaks and writes on EJ issues and is routinely quoted on EJ developments in publications such as Law360, Bloomberg, InsideEPA, and E&E News. He also frequently hosts episodes of Groundtruth, an EJ-focused podcast series created in partnership with the Environmental Law Institute.
Environmental Compliance Counseling
Additionally, Julius is a trusted advisor who provides strategic advice to C-suite executives and operational personnel on various environmental compliance and emerging ESG risks. He counsels clients on developing and implementing environmental compliance programs, and helps clients test the effectiveness of programs through environmental audits.
Civic Involvement and Pro Bono Legal Service
Julius maintains an active civic volunteer profile. He is a founding member of the Men of Color Project (MoCP), an organization designed to build leaders in the legal sector, facilitate intergenerational support, and encourage community service and civic engagement amongst men of color in the legal profession. He is also involved in prisoner advocacy, having spearheaded the firm’s participation in the Clemency Project, where attorneys assisted low-level, non-violent federal inmates in obtaining executive clemency via an Obama Administration initiative.
Since law school, Julius has been committed to providing pro bono representation, which included his work that secured the release of an inmate who was wrongfully convicted of murder after he had served 24 years in prison. Additionally, has represented pro bono clients in various areas of the law, including immigration, education, and landlord/tenant matters, to name a few.
Julius is also a board member of Unity Christian Fellowship, a STEM-focused non-profit youth development organization.
HELEN L. RESPASS
Senior Legal Editor & Global Pro Bono Co-Chair,
Helen Respass is a Senior Legal Editor at Practical Law, Thomson Reuters, where she creates legal know-how on topics such as commercial and cross-border transactions, employment, anti-corruption, corporate governance, compliance, and non-profit organizations. At Thomson Reuters, Helen was also seconded to the Employment Practice Group of the General Counsel’s Office, where she provided legal advice on a broad range of employment issues.
Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Helen was Assistant General Counsel for the Americas region at Sojitz Corporation of America, a global trading company. Among her responsibilities, Helen handled corporate, M&A, commercial, and employment matters, developed and oversaw the global ethics and compliance program, and managed the Trade Compliance Unit.
Helen started her legal career at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP and Linklaters LLP in the corporate and employee benefits practices. While an associate, Helen led and trained attorneys at Kelley Drye to represent refugees in asylum proceedings in partnership with Human Rights First, and served as Co-Chair of the Linklaters New York Pro Bono Committee.
Helen is passionate about pro bono and diversity, equity, and inclusion. At Thomson Reuters, she currently serves as the Co-Chair of Global Pro Bono, where she oversees the global pro bono program, coordinates with internal teams to align pro bono initiatives with corporate goals, and supports and organizes pro bono opportunities and training for employees. Helen is also an executive committee member of diverse business resource groups at Thomson Reuters, including Women @ Thomson Reuters and the Asian Affinity Network, and an ally member of the Global Allyship Community and Black Employee Network.
In 2020, Helen received the Cornerstone Award from Lawyers Alliance for New York, which recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions through pro bono legal services to nonprofits. In 2016, she received the Outstanding Volunteer Award from Open Hands Legal Services, honoring her exceptional commitment and kindness to clients at the organization’s legal aid desks.
Helen received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a three-time recipient of Outstanding Pro Bono Work awards.
CHRISTOPHER R. RIAÑO
Holland & Knight LLP
Christopher R. Riaño is Of Counsel at Holland & Knight LLP and is a nationally recognized attorney with extensive experience in constitutional, public, and administrative law, particularly in highly regulated industries. His experience includes service as a Commissioner for the New York State Gaming Commission, the General Counsel to the New York State Liquor Authority, Assistant Counsel to the Governor of New York for Education, Arts, and Constitutional Law, as well as service as a New York State Administrative Law Judge.
Riaño also is an award-winning author and scholar in the fields of constitutional and public law. He has lectured on constitutional law, jurisprudence, and public/administrative law for dozens of organizations across the country. His first book “Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws,” co-authored with Professor William Eskridge of Yale Law School and published by Yale University Press, presents the 50-year history of same-sex marriage equality in the United States from 1967 – 2017. The book has received numerous accolades, including the 2021 Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association.
Riaño also currently serves as the President of the nation’s Center for Civic Education, as the Chair of the LGBTQ Law Section for the New York State Bar Association, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association. He has previously held numerous additional roles in service to the profession.
RICHARD C. ROSALEZ
Vice President, Litigation,
Samsung Electronics America
Rich Rosalez is the Vice President, Litigation at Samsung Electronics America, Inc., the US subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., one of the largest electronics and high-tech manufacturing companies in the world. As a leader in the legal department, Rich manages the company’s litigation docket, pre-litigation, investigations, responses to enforcement matters, and related activities. Since joining Samsung in 2011, Rich has been actively involved in some of the most followed and influential legal matters in the US, and he has counseled the company and its leaders through fourfold growth. Rich regularly advises Samsung on significant strategic issues, competition, brand protection, and public relations matters, including serving as a company spokesperson with numerous leading media outlets. Long passionate about DEI, Rich is a founding member, mentor, and executive sponsor of Unidos, Samsung’s Latino/Hispanic employee resource group, and he serves on the company’s DEI Advisory Council.
Outside of the office, Rich is active in the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (In-House Committee), and the Hispanic National Bar Association (Deputy Regional President), where he has recently focused on mentoring programs, and he previously held numerous positions over several years with the American Bar Association’s trial practice committee (newsletter, website, membership, and diversity subcommittees). Rich has also served as an adviser to a leading DFW charter school, an adventure guides leader, a youth sports coach many times over, and a school and community volunteer. Rich has won a number of awards for his professional and community endeavors, ranging from the DFW Association of Corporate Counsel/D CEO Magazine Outstanding In-House Counsel of the Year Award, to the Hispanic National Bar Association Top Lawyers Under 40 Award, and a City of Dallas Service Award. Rich has been featured on the cover of Modern Counsel magazine’s Resilience Issue, and twice been highlighted in Hispanic Executive magazine.
Prior to joining Samsung, Rich practiced white collar, government enforcement, antitrust, intellectual property, and complex commercial litigation at Jones Day in Dallas, and Latham & Watkins in New York. Originally from rural Ohio, Rich attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia Law School.
CHRISTINE N. SWIFT
VP, Litigation & Corporate Insurance,
Lincoln Financial Group
Christine Swift joined Lincoln Financial Group in 2011 and is a member of Lincoln’s Enterprise Litigation team, focusing primarily on complex litigation. In addition, Christine leads Lincoln’s Corporate Insurance function, where she is responsible for the placement and oversight of all of Lincoln’s management and professional liability and casualty insurance programs.
Prior to joining Lincoln, Christine was a litigation attorney for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Philadelphia, where she handled a variety of matters including class actions, federal appropriations litigation, as well as labor and employment disputes.
Christine is passionate about diversity and inclusion, serving as Co-Chair of the Lincoln Legal Department’s Diversity Action Team, as well as Co-Chair of the Women’s Business Resource Group at Lincoln.
Outside of Lincoln, Christine is Vice-Chair of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and previously served on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana.
Christine received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and her Juris Doctor from Temple University, Beasley School of Law. She currently lives in Indiana, with her husband and two boys.
Senior Product and Regulatory Counsel,
Nikolas Takacs has focused his career on payments, banking, and cross-border legal issues. He currently serves as Senior Counsel at Marqeta in Oakland, California, where he advises the company on product and regulatory matters.
Prior to joining Marqeta, Nikolas was Senior Counsel at Visa, providing guidance on compliance with sanctions, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, export controls, and political law. Nikolas started his in-house legal career at Wells Fargo, initially serving as commercial counsel for the International Trade Services line of business and later as a regulatory counsel in the Anti-Bribery, Sanctions, and Anti-Money Laundering Division of the Legal Department. Before moving in-house, Nikolas was an associate attorney in the International practice group of Armstrong Teasdale LLP, advising clients on international compliance matters including import and export, sanctions, and anti-bribery laws.
Nikolas has been a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity throughout his legal career. He currently serves on the board of directors of the California Minority Counsel Program and as chair of their Ambassador’s Council. Nikolas was a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for Visa’s Legal and Compliance Department. While at Wells Fargo, Nikolas was a member of the Legal Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and chaired the San Francisco office’s diverse summer internship program.
Nikolas is a graduate of American University Washington College of Law and earned his bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Hispanic Studies from the College of William and Mary.
Senior Counsel – Patents and Open Source,
Sue Xia is lead counsel of patents and open source at Walmart. She leads Walmart’s patent program where she manages the growing patent portfolio and supports all areas of the company including retail, eCommerce, Sam’s Club and Walmart’s innovation incubator Store No.8. She also advises on all open source issues across Walmart.
During her time at Walmart, Sue built the patent program at Walmart and grew Walmart’s small patent portfolio to what is now today the largest patent portfolio among US retailers.
Prior to joining Walmart, Sue practiced at major law firms where she represented semiconductor and software companies in a variety of IP matters including patent portfolio counseling, patent prosecution and litigation. She has litigated complex patent cases in district court and the International Trade Commission.
Sue earned her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering from UCLA and JD from Santa Clara University. Sue lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and two boys.