MCCA Rising Stars
THE 2022 RISING STARS NOMINATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.
MCCA’s Rising Stars is an annual list featuring stellar attorneys whose accomplishments and dedication
to the legal profession and to their community place them among those “attorneys to watch”.
The MCCA Rising Stars may be at varying stages in their careers, but they all possess the love of law, ambition, and pursuit of excellence while possessing compassion for those in need and a strong
desire to give back to others.
Selected Rising Stars will be profiled and recognized on our website and social media throughout the year. The 2022 Rising Stars will be honored at our 2022 Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference on October 17-19 and at the 2022 Diversity Gala on October 19. The profiles of all the past Rising Star honorees can be found below and their sponsored spotlight videos can be found here.
Our goal is for the honorees to embody a wide representation, including race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, attorneys with disabilities, geographic location and practice area.
2021 Rising Stars
MCCA’s 2021 Rising Stars were recognized on the virtual stage at the 2021 Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference on October 12 and at the Diversity Gala on October 13 for their professional achievements and commitment to improving his/her community.
* Learn more about our 2021 Rising Stars in the gallery below, and watch their Sponsored Honoree Videos.
LAVONNE BURKE HOPKINS
Sr. Managing Legal Director- Security & Resiliency, Digital (IT),
Dell Technologies, LLC
Partner & Head of US Technology and Life Sciences M&A,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
US Region Co-Chair, Global Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Group,
Dentons US LLP
Lead Counsel, Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser Practice Group,
2020 RISING STARS
Deputy General Counsel & Information Governance Counsel,
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Associate Vice President, Litigation Employment Department,
Past MCCA Rising Stars
Principal Corporate Counsel – Lead DCU Americas,
Before joining Microsoft as the Lead for the Americas of the Digital Crimes Unit, Victoria was Co-chair of Frost Brown Todd’s privacy and data security team and Chair of the Latin America Desk. Although her practice focused on privacy and information security, she also represented U.S. and foreign companies in intellectual property, business, and cross border transactions. Victoria is a frequent speaker on issues of cybersecurity and data breach response.
A native of Colombia, Victoria spent years as a public defender in Arizona first assigned to capital habeas appeals and later trying major felony cases. Prior to practicing law, Victoria was an industrial engineer in the technology and automotive sectors and a competitive figure skater.
Lavonne Burke Hopkins
Senior Managing Legal Director- Security & Resilency, Digital (IT),
Dell Technologies, LLC
Lavonne Burke Hopkins currently serves as Senior Managing Legal Director, Security & Resiliency and Digital (IT) at Dell Technologies, Inc., where she leads a team of attorneys responsible for Cybersecurity, Product & Application Security, Corporate Security & Enterprise Resiliency, Global Operations and Supply Chain Security and Information Technology. Additionally, in this role Lavonne is directly responsible for providing strategic legal support to Dell’s Chief Security Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, Chief Digital Office and their respective global organizations. Her responsibilities also include guidance to to Dell’s enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance organizations in the areas of Security and IT. Lavonne is a graduate of The Univ. of Houston Law Center and obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Howard University and completed her Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering and post-graduate coursework in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University.
Prior to joining Dell, Lavonne worked for Johnson & Johnson where she served as Senior Director for Global Technology Transactions, Cybersecurity and Privacy Contracting. In this role she oversaw the negotiations of more than $3B annually in software and IT transactions, provided guidance on new technology acquisitions and directly supported J&J’s global Information Technology organization. As part of her duties, she also served as J&J’s Chief Cybersecurity counsel, where she designed and managed the organization’s privacy and cybersecurity contracting process to ensure world-wide compliance with international data protection laws. Prior to Johnson & Johnson, Lavonne worked for Vinson & Elkins, LLP for several years where she helped launch the firm’s Cybersecurity and Data Privacy practice and counseled clients on intellectual property and technology transactions matters. At V&E, her practice also focused on advising companies of all sizes on the negotiation of intellectual property and software licenses, protection of IP rights, IP monetization, technology/IP acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments and IPOs. In addition, Lavonne has extensive experience assisting clients in the creation, development and implementation of global privacy, data protection and cybersecurity governance and compliance frameworks and in managing incident responses of all sizes.
Lavonne is an avid speaker and author in the areas of cybersecurity and incident response, privacy, software development and licensing, IP monetization and technology transactions. She speaks all over the United States and globally and is considered a thought leader in the areas of cybersecurity, technology transactions and third-party risk management. Additionally, she is a frequent lecturer at the Univ. of Houston Law Center, Thurgood Marshall Texas Southern School of Law and the Rice University OwlSpark and UH Red Labs Technology Accelerators. Lavonne has repeatedly been named a top attorney in Houston and Texas, as well as a Rising Star in Intellectual Property, in addition to receiving numerous other top honors. Lavonne currently serves as a member of the State Bar of Texas Computer and Technology Section Council, is a member of the Texas Bar College and a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, an honor given to less than .5% of Texas attorneys.
Lavonne is very committed to diversity and inclusion advocate and has served as a D&I advocate for her entire legal career, including for the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association, where she served for many years as a member and co-chair of the Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Community. Lavonne currently serves on Dell’s Legal Diversity Committee, as well as co-lead’s of the Social & Racial Justice sub-committee of Dell’s Global Pro Bono committee, in addition to being an active participant in numerous company-wide Diversity & Inclusion initiatives. She is also the former Executive Director of The Downtown Group – the African-American/Black women’s bar association for Houston, TX.
Duane Morris LLP
Cyndie Chang is the Duane Morris Los Angeles managing partner and a member of firm’s governing Partners Board, and one of the few Asian American women in upper management at an AmLaw 100 firm. Chang litigates complex business, class action and commercial disputes involving contracts, products liability, product safety and recall, business torts and fraud, insurance coverage, trademarks, and real estate. Chang has represented many public and private companies, and has obtained favorable results serving as first chair in state and federal bench trials, jury trials and arbitration, leading joint defense groups in complex cases, and resolving cases through creative settlements and dispositive motions. She is an advocate for women and minorities in the law. She served as President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), representing more than 50,000 Asian American attorneys and 75 local, state and national bar associations. She led NAPABA’s advocacy efforts on significant issues, including NAPABA’s position and amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court on immigration issues and also initiated programs for minority women in the profession and lawyers’ self-care/mental health. She was also President of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, which awarded her its inaugural Trailblazer award. She serves on the Board of Directors for Loyola Law School, LA and received the Board of Governors Grand Reunion alumni award. She is a Commissioner on the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and board member of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL). She’s received the “Super Lawyers” distinction, including Top 50 Women of Southern California and the Daily Journal’s Top 100 California Women Lawyers. Her honors include: one of the “Most Influential Minority Lawyers” and “Leader in Law” by the Los Angeles Business Journal; NAPABA’s 2010 Best Lawyers Under 40; Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) EDGE’s inaugural Greater Equality Award recipient; Asian Americans Advancing Justice Pro Bono Award recipient with her firm; one of The Recorder’s “Lawyer on the Fast Track”; and profiled in Best Lawyers Magazine, Spring Edition 2016, as one of 15 women in the legal profession leading the charge for achievements in the practice and policy, on both local and national levels.
Cynthia Fernandez Lumermann
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Cynthia Fernandez Lumermann is a Partner in Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s Litigation Department.
Ms. Fernandez Lumermann received an A.B. cum laude from Harvard College in 2004. She completed a J.D. magna cum laude from New York University School of Law in 2011 where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Developments Editor of the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics. She was also a recipient of the Maurice Goodman Memorial Prize for outstanding scholarship and character. Following law school, Ms. Fernandez Lumermann served as a law clerk to the Honorable Kenneth M. Karas of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Joseph A. Greenaway of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Ms. Fernandez Lumermann is admitted to practice in the State of New York, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Section 220 as Pre-Complaint Discovery—Recent Developments, in Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, December 15, 2020.
Partner & Head of US Technology and Life Sciences M&A,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP
John A. Fisher is a founding partner of our Silicon Valley office who advises some of Silicon Valley’s most innovative and pioneering companies in their technology and life sciences mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures.
John additionally acts as regular counsel to both US and international clients as they enter the Silicon Valley market or partner with established Silicon Valley companies.
John was named the “Best California Lawyer – Pharmaceutical M&A” by Acquisition International.
Prior to practicing law, John studied Biochemical Sciences at Harvard University and was a civil rights activist. John is a member of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) which is the nation’s oldest and largest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in the field of law.
Select technology M&A experience:
- Salesforce on its $1.33 billion acquisition of cloud and mobile software provider Vlocity.
- Salesforce on its acquisition of B2B commerce platform CloudCraze.
- Splunk on its $1.05 billion cash and stock acquisition of cloud monitoring leader SignalFX.
- Splunk on its $350 million cash and stock acquisition of Phantom Cyber.
- Cielo on its $670 million acquisition of a California-based global payment solutions provider.
- HP Inc. on the global sale of certain software assets to OpenText involving over 25 non-US jurisdictions.
- HP Inc. on its sale of a highly regulated subsidiary.
- SEGA Networks on its acquisition of Demiurge Studios.
- Symantec on its acquisition of VPN provider SurfEasy.
- Symantec on its acquisition of benefit enrollment provider Excelsior Companies.
- Cooliris, a photo app-maker startup, on its sale to Yahoo!
- Provigent, an Israel-based semiconductor company, on its $335 million sale to Broadcom.
- A non-US company on its $170 million acquisition of a California-based software company.
- Skype on its acquisition of several emerging companies.
Select life sciences M&A experience:
- AstraZeneca on its pending $39 billion acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals.
- Agilent Technologies on its acquisition of Resolution Bioscience for $550 million in cash at closing and up to an additional $145 million based on achieving future performance milestones.
- Fresenius Helios on its $550 million acquisition of leading international fertility company Eugin Group from NMC Health.
- Foundation Medicine on its acquisition of precision oncology company Lexent Bio.
- Hoffmann La-Roche and its affiliates on the $1.7 billion cash acquisition of publicly-traded cancer therapy company Ignyta.
- Genentech on its $1.725 billion acquisition of biotechnology breast cancer treatment company Seragon Pharmaceuticals.
- Hoffmann La-Roche and its affiliates on the collaboration and option to acquire early stage MS development program Versant incubator Inception 5.
- Novira Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical HBV treatment company, on its sale to Johnson & Johnson.
- Roche Molecular Systems on its $125 million acquisition of DNA sequencing company Genia Technologies with up to $225 million in contingent-based payments.
- Roche Molecular Systems on its acquisition of genomic analysis company BINA Technologies.
- A China-based pharmaceutical company on its $95 million purchase of biological compounds and other assets of a San Francisco-based research company.
- A San Francisco-based R&D company on its acquisition of a human antibody producing modified rat platform.
Select joint venture experience:
- The Lagunitas Brewing Company on its 50:50 joint venture with Heineken.
- UniGroup, a global transportation company, in board advice related to structuring and implementing technology joint ventures in Silicon Valley.
- UniGroup on its first technology joint venture.
- Monsanto Company on its life sciences joint venture with Pairwise Plants to advance agriculture R&D leveraging gene-editing technology.
- Monsanto Company on the formation of Innovative Seed Solutions, a life sciences joint venture with Remington focused on sorghum development, including related joint ventures in Mexico and Brazil.
- PayPal on a proposed cross-border technology joint venture related to assets valued at more than $1 billion.
- A state-owned oil and gas company on legal arrangements related to $5.8 billion in assets with two Italian energy companies.
- Experian on its technology joint venture and commercial arrangements with FICO.
- Renaissance Capital on its joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland to issue and market currency, interest rate and credit derivative products in Russia and Eastern Europe, and in the subsequent termination of said joint venture following RBS’s acquisition of ABN Amro.
- Viking River Cruises on a joint venture related to the operation of Russian river vessels.
- Immoeast on the restructuring of a €1 billion cross-border joint venture.
- Goldman Sachs on a joint venture to buy and sell consumer debt.
- New York
- Columbia School of Law, J.D., 2004 Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
Senior Editor, Columbia Law Review
- Harvard University, B.A. in Biochemical Sciences, 1999
Managing Counsel, Global Regulatory Risk & Remediation,
Katisha Fortune serves as Lead Counsel for Walmart Inc., the world’s largest retailer. She is a deeply trusted legal advisor to the executive teams for Sam’s Club Operations, Product Development, eCommerce and Supply Chain. As Sam’s Club continues to drive its omnichannel strategy, Katisha’s creativity, charisma, and dedication to excellent client service has been integral to helping Sam’s become one of the world’s most innovative companies.
Katisha is a key legal partner for several of Sam’s Club’s technology initiatives, including the nationwide launch of curbside pickup, concierge services, grocery delivery, robotics for Walmart stores, clubs, and fulfillment centers, and computer vision technologies. Katisha also provided critical support to Sam’s Club and its leadership team as they navigated and implemented the various orders, rules, and regulations issued by government agencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to joining Walmart, Katisha served as Deputy Attorney General for the Delaware Department of Justice. In that role, Katisha provided advice and counsel to Delaware’s Attorney General on a myriad of litigation and other regulatory matters, including the emerging opioid crisis in Delaware. Katisha also has corporate law firm experience providing support for complex financial transactions and representing a variety of Fortune 50 companies in Federal Bankruptcy Court.
Katisha is deeply engaged with the professional and community organizations of importance to her legal practice and personal values. She was selected to serve on the Walmart Shared Value Network for Criminal Justice; she is a 2019 Leadership Council For Legal Diversity Fellow; she has served on the Walmart Global Governance Council for Diversity and Inclusion since 2017; she is an ambassador to the prestigious Corporate Counsel Women of Color organization; and she is an active volunteer with CASA for Northwest Arkansas.
Katisha is a 2006 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She earned her B.A., cum laude, from The Florida State University in 2002.
King & Spalding LLP
Albert Giang’s cutting-edge practice focuses on defending tech startups and public companies against consumer and employment class actions, regulatory enforcement, and complex litigation, and providing crisis management for disrupters who are navigating novel legal issues. With “an impressive track record for passionate advocacy on some of the most pressing legal issues—a pillar of influence in the technology, appellate and pro bono fields” according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, Albert serves as “go to” counsel for some of the most respected companies in the gig economy, e-commerce, telemedicine, and social media space. He also specializes in appellate litigation, having represented clients in cases in the United States Supreme Court, federal circuit courts, and California appellate courts.
Albert has been named a Minority Leader of Influence, Top California Labor & Employment Lawyer, and Best Under 40. He was recognized for one of the Top California Verdicts in 2020 and NAPABA’s Pro Bono Award in 2018, which cited his longstanding advocacy on behalf of immigrants, LGBTQ+ persons, and Asian Pacific Americans. Albert graduated with honors from Stanford Law School and clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
Kristin T. Givens is an experienced legislative, regulatory, and litigation attorney with a current concentration in insurance and financial services. In her capacity at State Farm, she is responsible for managing the company’s public policy strategy, and implementation on a regional basis.
In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Kristin has been an active member of a number of committees established by the State Farm law department. Over the years, she has served as a key member of the employee Engagement Committee, the Pro Bono/Volunteer Committee, and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Prior to joining State Farm, Kristin was one of the first attorneys to work as a legal talent recruiter for what was then known as Baker and Daniels (currently known as Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP) and she served the City of Indianapolis’s first Community City Prosecutor. Always with an eye on diversifying the legal profession, at Baker and Daniels Kristin developed and coordinated the “Campus Recruiters Program”, developed the curriculum/onboarding for new and summer associates, and played a key role in developing initiatives that focused on the recruitment and retention of associates.
In her role as the Community City Prosecutor, Kristin represented the City of Indianapolis in the prosecution and defense of civil claims. She worked closely with neighborhood groups, law enforcement officials, and other government agencies to strategically solve problems caused by City ordinance violations. Kristin’s efforts led to the closing of numerous illegal businesses and helped reduced neighborhood blight.
Kristin has served on the board of directors of a number of groups, and is currently an executive board member for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Corporate Round Table (Vice Chair) and Opening Doors, LLC, (Secretary) an organization devoted to providing dance for at-risk youth. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Nnedinma “Nnedi” Ifudu Nweke
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
- Assists clients with U.S. and international trade controls and regulatory compliance issues affecting international trade and business.
- Member, Akin Gump Diversity & Inclusion Council.
- Member, Akin Gump Hiring Committee.
- Member, Akin Gump Africa Initiative Steering Committee.
Nnedinma (Nnedi) Ifudu Nweke counsels U.S. and non-U.S. clients on U.S. laws and policy affecting cross border transactions and international trade, including export control laws, economic sanctions and trade embargoes, antiboycott laws and regulations, anticorruption laws including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and anti-money laundering laws.
Nnedi represents clients in international trade matters before several U.S. government departments and agencies, including the departments of Commerce, State and the Treasury. She has helped clients in various industries to effectively manage due diligence reviews in connection with investment fund formation, mergers, acquisitions and other transactions. Nnedi also advises clients on how to respond to U.S. government investigations, develop and implement compliance policies and procedures, prepare voluntary self-disclosures, and conduct internal reviews, audits and investigations.
Nnedi maintains an active pro bono practice, and, in December 2020, joined the board of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, a D.C.-based non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting U.S. policy toward the Americas based on engagement and mutual respect. Nnedi also helped relaunch Akin Gump’s cross-practice Africa initiative, which comprises attorneys working on matters involving the region and who are interested in or view the continent as the next frontier for expanding legal work.
- Counsels clients subject to U.S. sanctions on compliance with U.S. regulatory requirements, delisting applications, requests for OFAC specific licenses, guidance and advisory opinions, and scope of permissible transactions with non-sanctioned business partners.
- Conducts global anticorruption and sanctions risk assessments and investigations in connection with transactional due diligence.
- Advises non-U.S. clients on compliance with applicable U.S. secondary sanctions measures regarding Iran and Russia.
- Assists registered investment advisers, private equity funds and other financial institutions on compliance with U.S. anti-money laundering laws and best practices, and develops related compliance programs.
- Provides legal counsel to global energy companies on U.S. legal and policy developments regarding Russia, Myanmar, Venezuela and Iran, and implications for global business operations.
- “AGOA: Options for Greater U.S.-Africa Partnership,” Panelist, The Association of Women in International Trade Trust AGOA Panel, March 30, 2021.
- “The Most Critical Economic Sanctions Trends Affecting Exports & Reexports: The Lesser Known Pitfalls to Avoid for 2021” Panelist, ACI Conference on US Export and Reexport Compliance for Canadian Operations, January 26-27, 2021
- Introductory Remarks on Russia Sanctions Developments in 2020 and Outlook for 2021, Co-Chair and Moderator, 3rd ACI/C-5 Annual Conference on Navigating Russia Sanctions Complexities, November 9-10, 2020
- “When the Government Comes Knocking: Internal Investigations, Subpoenas and Government Sanctions,” Panelist, Corporate Counsel Women of Color 16th Annual Career Strategies Conference, September 30, 2020.
- “Transformation in the Legal Industry,” Panelist, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Arbitration Centre, Knowledge Series Webinar, June 23, 2020.
- “U.S.-Cuba Investment in 2019: Building on Success or Biding our Time?” Akin Gump Cuba seminar, November 27, 2018.
- “Trump and Trade: 2018 Compliance Implications,” African-American General Counsel Retreat, Miami, March 10, 2018.
- “EU Sanctions Developments,” Akin Gump’s Seminar on International Sanctions and Anti-Bribery Laws, Moscow, March 1, 2018.
- ”International Sanctions and Antibribery Laws: Risk and Compliance Considerations, Akin Gump Seminar, Moscow, March 1, 2018.
- “Cuba, Open for U.S. Business?” LITE (Legal Innovator Talk Experience), Washington, September 25, 2016.
- “Update on EU Sanctions/Russia/Iran/Ukraine,” NielsonSmith’s EU Trade Controls for North American Companies 2016, Washington, May 4, 2016.
- Panelist, “Back to Business in Iran After the Nuclear Deal: Maximizing Opportunity and Minimizing Liability Risks,” Strafford Webinar, October 13, 2015.
- “Policy, Politics and Proliferation: Planning for the P5+1 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding Iran,” Akin Gump Webinar, April 21, 2015.
Public Service and Affiliations:
- Member, board of directors, Center for Democracy in the Americas.
- The National Law Journal, D.C. Rising Star, 2019.
Holland & Knight LLP
Eddie A. Jauregui is a partner in Holland & Knight’s Los Angeles office and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Team. A litigator and former federal prosecutor, Mr. Jauregui focuses on internal corporate investigations, corporate compliance and training, government enforcement, white collar criminal defense and complex business disputes.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Jauregui served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted high-profile fraud and public corruption cases. Notably, Mr. Jauregui was part of the trial team that tried and convicted former Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka for obstruction of justice in connection with a federal civil rights investigation of the Los Angeles County jails. For his role in these landmark prosecutions, Mr. Jauregui received a California Lawyer of the Year Award in 2018 and a special recognition from the Los Angeles County Bar Association Criminal Justice Section.
As a Major Frauds prosecutor, Mr. Jauregui investigated and prosecuted complex financial crimes, including international money laundering, bank and wire fraud, investment advisor fraud, mortgage fraud, defense procurement fraud, import/export crimes, tax crimes and extortion by threat to reputation. He also handled parallel investigations involving the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Fraud Division, and served for several years as the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Procurement Fraud Coordinator. Mr. Jauregui was then promoted to Deputy Chief in the General Crimes Section, where he supervised and trained prosecutors handling a wide variety of federal criminal cases. While serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. Jauregui worked on hundreds of matters, tried six jury trials, and briefed and argued multiple cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Before entering government service, Mr. Jauregui practiced law at two Am Law 100 firms in New York and Los Angeles, where he focused on internal investigations, compliance and white collar criminal defense. Mr. Jauregui represented his large corporate and individual clients in investigations brought by the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. House of Representatives, the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Jauregui is active in the legal community and has maintained a pro bono practice throughout his career. As an advocate for diversity in the legal profession, Mr. Jauregui has led diversity, recruiting and mentoring efforts for more than 10 years in both private practice and government service. He has developed programming aimed at building the pipeline of diverse attorneys and federal prosecutors and mentored numerous young lawyers. His pro bono clients have included children seeking protections under the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status program, an individual fleeing anti-gay persecution abroad and an inmate in a federal civil rights lawsuit. Mr. Jauregui currently serves on the Diversity Committee for the firm’s Los Angeles office.
Mr. Jauregui is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and recipient of the Valentin J.T. Wertheimer and Allen Morrow prizes. During law school, Mr. Jauregui served as an extern to then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Upon graduation, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. Jan E. DuBois of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
U.S. Attorney’s Office Experience
- Obtained guilty verdicts against former Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in separate month-long jury trials for conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI
- Led multi-year, multi-agency investigation of international aluminum extruder and corporate officers for money laundering, import/export fraud and other crimes resulting in a 10-defendant indictment for a complex scheme exceeding $1.8 billion
- Prosecuted two threat-to-reputation Hobbs Act “sextortion” cases presenting complex legal questions; obtained convictions after jury trials in both cases and handled both cases on appeal
- Served as procurement fraud coordinator, overseeing intake of defense procurement fraud cases and other procurement cases brought by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Army Criminal Investigation Command, NASA Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies
- Supervised and trained General Crimes prosecutors handling a wide range of felony cases during all stages of prosecution, including guilty pleas, suppression motions, jury trials, sentencings, appeals and probation violations
Private Practice Experience
- Represented corporation and executive officer in criminal investigation and prosecution brought by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in pharmaceuticals distribution case
- Provided consultation and advice on Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) laws and regulations
- Represented a major multinational corporation in an antitrust investigation by the DOJ in one of the largest global antitrust matters in U.S. history
- Represented a global Fortune 50 corporation in an urgent, high-profile and ultimately public investigation stemming from a product defect
- Conducted a 40-plus country global compliance review on behalf of a multinational automotive firm
- Represented bank executives in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control
- Columbia University Law School, J.D.
- Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, M.P.P.
- Occidental College, B.A.
- New York
- American Bar Association, White Collar Crime Committee, Southern California Region, Program Co-Chair
- California Lawyers Association, Criminal Law Section, Executive Committee Member
- California Lawyers Association, Federal Courts Committee
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association, Los Angeles Chapter
Honors & Awards
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Nominee, Los Angeles Business Journal, 2021
- California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) Award, Daily Journal, 2018
- Special Recognition Award, Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), 2018
- Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40, LGBT Bar Association, 2014
Mr. Jauregui regularly speaks and publishes on matters relevant to his practice. This year alone he has published articles on the key provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases to watch, and the Department of Justice’s likely priorities under Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Associate General Counsel,
Chime Financial, Inc.
Sumit started his legal career at Berkeley Law as a Colbentz Civil Rights Fellow. As a fellow, he worked on education civil rights work with the NAACP LDF, MALDEF and the ACLU to address inequities in the public education system. After graduating from law school, Sumit worked as a Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights focusing on affirmative litigation in the area of educational equality. At the Lawyers’ Committee, Sumit worked as co-counsel on an affirmative litigation against the New Orleans school district for its disparate treatment of disabled students. Sumit was also part of a team that sought injunctive and compensatory relief against the state of Maryland for its long standing disparate funding of the state’s HBCUs. Sumit then joined the law firm of WilmerHale in Washington, D.C. where he was a part of the appellate and while collar groups. Sumit represented clients in a variety of industries focusing on internal investigations, regulatory inquiries, and appellate matters. Sumit maintained a robust pro bono practice while in the private sector. Sumit co-chaired a class action lawsuit with the SPLC against the city of Mobile, Alabama for its practice of long-term suspending students without proper due process which disparately impacted minority students. Sumit also briefed and argued several state appellate arguments on gay marriage and LGBT adoption rights. Sumit transitioned to public service and joined the Department of Justice in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Sumit’s career in public service focused on prosecuting violent crimes, sexual assaults, human trafficking, drug cartels, gun trafficking, cyber crimes, and financial crimes. Sumit more recently has returned to the private sector where he led the Global Litigation and Investigations team at Stripe prior to joining Chime in his current role as the Head of Litigation and Product.
US Region Co-Chair, Global Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Group,
Dentons US LLP
Tania M. Moyron is a partner in Dentons’ Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy group. Tania has significant experience in bankruptcy, corporate restructuring and related litigation matters. She has represented Chapter 11 debtors, creditors’ and equity committees, liquidating trustees, principals and secured and unsecured creditors in all aspects of corporate bankruptcy. She also has advised buyers and sellers of assets in bankruptcy and receivership cases, including representation of a publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) and restaurant franchise.
Tania’s representations span a variety of industries, including health care, retail, entertainment, trucking, commercial and residential real estate and restaurant franchise industries. She also has litigation experience in state and federal courts and appellate experience before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, District Courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prior to joining Dentons, Tania gained experience in complex and challenging Chapter 11 cases at top-ranked national firms for business restructuring and bankruptcy. Tania also served as a judicial and appellate law clerk to the Honorable Christopher M. Klein, Chief Judge for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California and former member of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Verity Health System of California, Inc. (Chapter 11 – Central District of California, August 2018-2021): Tania co-led the representation of Verity Health System, and 16 related entities (collectively, “Verity”), including 6 acute care operating hospitals, in their chapter 11 cases—the second largest hospital bankruptcy case in American history with more than $1.4 billion of debt. During the cases, the Court approved the sale of Verity’s hospitals and senior living facility, and confirmed the joint plan of liquidation, which resolved complex litigation and created a liquidating trust for the benefit of creditors. The sale of Verity Health’s nonprofit assets raised unique issues related to the transfer of healthcare assets in bankruptcy, including the scope of the powers of the Attorney General and the transfer of medical provider agreements, which led to groundbreaking decisions. During the cases, Verity also collaborated with the Attorneys for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to reopen St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, and to set aside beds at Seton Medical Center in the Bay Area to treat COVID-19 patients.
- Air Force Village West, Inc. dba Altavita (Chapter 11 – California): Representing Air Force Village West, Inc., in chapter 11 proceedings that will pave the way for the sale of its continuing care retirement community. The Riverside, CA–based company, which does business as Altavita Village, filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. They have lined up a stalking horse bidder, with the consent of the secured creditors, to sell the 220 acre facility for $58 million in cash and assumption of certain liabilities. A bid procedures motion was approved on May 14, 2019, with an auction to be held on or about June 5, 2019.
- Gardens Regional Medical Center & Hospital, Inc. (Chapter 11 – Central District of California, June 2016-October 2018): Tania played a pivotal role in representing this 137 bed not-for-profit hospital in connection with the California Attorney General’s appeal of the Bankruptcy Court’s sale order. The hospital was initially sold under section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code in a very successful auction (the purchase price went from $8.5 million to $19.5 million). The California Attorney General approved the sale, but imposed such onerous economic conditions on the buyer that the sale failed, which led to the hospital’s closure. The hospital sold again, now as a closed hospital, for approximately $7 million, over the objection of the Attorney General. When the Attorney General appealed the sale order, the firm successfully obtained a dismissal of the appeal. The case resulted in three published opinions, all on cutting edge issues of bankruptcy law, and a distribution to unsecured creditors.
- Recognized as a “Rising Star” by Southern California Super Lawyers, 2013–2015
In the Media
- “The coronavirus pandemic impact on a hospital bankruptcy,” The Bond Buyer, April 30, 2020
- “AHMC Healthcare to Buy Two San Francisco-Area Hospitals for $40 Million” The Wallstreet Journal, April 23, 2020
- “Verity Cleared to Sell Two Hospitals,” The Deal, April 13, 2020
- “Verity Collects Approval to Sell Remaining Hospitals,” The Deal, April 18, 2019
- “Altavita Village Latest Retirement Community Casualty,” The Deal, March 12, 2019
- “$610M Stalking Horse Bid For 4 Verity Hospitals Approved,” Law 360, February 20, 2019
- “Verity Reveals Sale of Remaining Hospitals,” The Deal, January 18, 2019
- Co-author, “Medicare, Medicaid Provider Agreements May Transfer Free and Clear in Bankruptcy,” Journal of Corporate Renewal, September 2020
- Co-author, “The Effect of the Global Pandemic on Hospitals in America: The Rich Get Richer, But for the Rest …” in Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Vol. 29, No. 4 (August 2020)
Activities and Affiliations
- Community Involvement and Pro Bono
- Cycle for Survival, Team Lead
- LA Beats Cancer, Board Member
- Panelist, “How to Effectuate Distressed Hospital Sales Where Prior Efforts have Failed,” Distressed Investing Conference
- Panelist, “Nonprofits in Distress Never Say Never,” Western Conference on Tax Exempt Organizations
- Panelist, “Today’s Health Crisis: Behavioral Health and Opioids,” ABI Health Care Program: The New Reality in Health Care
- Speaker, “Appellate Ethics and Frivolous Appeals,” 4th Annual Bankruptcy Ethics Symposium, Federal Bar Association
- Speaker, “What’s up with Attorney Civility?,” 5th Annual Bankruptcy Ethics Symposium, Federal Bar Association
- Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
- Member, International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC)
- Los Angeles County Bar Association
- University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 2004, Juris Doctor
- University of California, San Diego, 1999, BA
Admissions and qualifications
- US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California
- US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California
- US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California
- US Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of California
- US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- US District Court for the Central District of California
- US District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Languages: English and Spanish
Shaila Lakhani Ohri
Assistant General Counsel,
Shaila Lakhani Ohri is an Assistant General Counsel at Exelon Corporation in the Washington, DC office. Exelon is a Fortune 100 energy company that operates in every stage of the energy business: power generation, competitive energy sales, transmission and delivery. Shaila’s practice consists of negotiating agreements and handling complex transactions, particularly in the areas of innovation, mergers and acquisitions, financing transactions, venture capital, technology and licensing, intellectual property, corporate governance and other commercial work. Shaila’s previous experience includes work in the Office of Corporate Secretary of Pepco Holdings, a utility subsidiary acquired by Exelon, in corporate finance, governance and securities, and in the General Law group in procurement, litigation, antitrust, and licensing. Prior to joining Exelon, she worked in-house at CapitalSource Finance, as an associate at the firm Dyer, Ellis & Joseph (combined with Blank Rome), and as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Herbert B. Dixon at the D.C. Superior Court.
Shaila received her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and her B.A. from the American University. Ms. Ohri is focused on diversity in the law and was a 2018 Leadership Counsel for Legal Diversity Fellow and has served on the Exelon legal department’s D&I Steering Committee since joining Exelon. She is involved in a number of affinity bar associations including as Board Member and Co-Chair of the In-House Counsel Committee of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and serves as a co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Network for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She has also been a Trustee for the South Asian Bar Association of North America Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, since 2015. Shaila participates in pro bono projects and clinics each year, and is an active volunteer in her community, including as a Girl Scout leader and Make-A-Wish wish granter.
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
As an experienced transactional attorney in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, Cedric represents private and public companies, investment banks and private equity firms in corporate and transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and securities offerings. Over the span of his 11-year career, Cedric has completed dozens of corporate transactions and developed extensive expertise in acquisition transactions on behalf of private equity firms and other buy-out sponsors, as well as domestic and international firms in the aerospace, defense, technology, manufacturing, automotive and healthcare industries. Notably, Cedric was also recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2015 (Texas) and 2019 (Washington, D.C.).
Cedric has been an integral part of the growth of the firm’s Private Equity/M&A Practice Group in the Washington D.C. office, which is Chambers-ranked in the District of Columbia for two consecutive years. Since joining the firm in 2015, he served as the lead associate on more than two dozen sophisticated M&A transactions, attaining numerous successful results for the firm’s clients. Cedric brings a measured approach to his legal practice, prioritizing the client’s business objectives while maintaining the integrity of the firm’s and his role as counsel. During his tenure at the firm, he has completed successful transactions for major domestic and international private equity firms such as Arlington Capital Partners, Gryphon Investors, OpenGate Capital Parties Littlejohn and Co. and Triton Investment Management, as well as strategic acquirers such as CACI, Cubic Corporation, Precision Medicine, CA, Inc. and TP ICAP. Prior to joining the firm, Cedric has also completed successful transactions for clients that include AT&T, Amerisource Bergen Corporation, American Airlines, Guggenheim Partners and Satori Capital.
A snapshot of some of the more prominent recent deals include:
- Representing Arlington Capital Partners in its acquisition of the composites business in Milledgeville, Georgia and Rayong, Thailand from Triumph Group, Inc. (NYSE: TGI).
- Represented Flokk AS, in connection with its acquisition of 9to5 Seating, LLC, a leading manufacturer of ergonomic office seating.
- Represented United Flexible, Inc., a portfolio company of Arlington Capital Partners, in connection with its sale to UK-based Smiths Group for $345 million.
- Represented Endeavor Robotics Holdings, Inc., a developer of battle-tested, tactical unmanned ground vehicles and a portfolio company of Arlington Capital Partners, in connection with its sale to FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) for approximately $385 million.
Roy Prather III
Beveridge & Diamond P.C.
Roy Prather maintains a national practice focused on complex environmental and commercial litigation matters. Roy represents businesses and public sector entities across a broad range of industry sectors in federal and state courts. He defends citizen suits and class actions involving toxic tort, product liability, and green marketing claims under federal environmental laws and state analogues, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act. Roy advises clients on issues relating to regulatory compliance, and represents clients in indemnity and other commercial contract disputes relating to construction as well as contaminated site cleanup under the federal Superfund law (CERCLA). Roy also works with clients to proactively manage sensitive multi-stakeholder interactions related to environmental justice, including developing creative solutions to address environmental justice community concerns. Additionally, Roy assists clients in navigating administrative regulatory proceedings under various environmental laws and advises them on mitigating the risks of regulatory enforcement actions and litigation. He currently serves as the Deputy Chair of the firm’s Toxic Tort and Environmental Tort Practice Group.
Roy’s recent representative matters include:
- Successfully resolving a lead in drinking water litigation on behalf of the City of Newark, and advising the City on navigating a public health emergency
- Defeating a nuisance class action involving alleged odors emanating from client’s facility
- Securing the dismissal of a multi-million dollar citizen suit seeking to cease operations of energy company based on alleged RCRA violations
- Representing a major retailer in a consumer product class action involving novel green marketing issues
- Defeating administrative appeal to state trial court and then to intermediate appellate court challenging manufacturer’s Clean Water Act discharge permit
- Successfully negotiating recovery of repair costs and lost profits in commercial dispute with contractor relating to construction of infrastructure for energy-generating facility
- Advising company on management of site cleanup under CERCLA (Superfund) and defense against potential contribution claims
- Obtaining dismissal of a case in New York state court involving alleged contract and environmental claims relating to a dispute over the removal of underground storage tanks
- Counseling energy company regarding Clean Air Act permit compliance and negotiating reduction of penalties related to past violations
- Winning emergency injunction enforcing class action settlement and dismissing pending claims against a large financial services company
- Negotiating favorable settlements for software company while managing its copyright enforcement and litigation efforts.
Roy regularly provides insights regarding environmental litigation to journalists, as well as commenting on diversity and inclusion issues within the legal industry. Law360 recently named Roy to its 2021 Environmental Editorial Advisory Board. The editorial advisory board will provide feedback on Law360’s coverage of environmental law and related matters, as well as providing insight on how best to develop future coverage. Roy holds numerous leadership roles within industry organizations, which include serving on the Institute for Energy Law’s Advisory Board and as a Leadership Council Member for Young Energy Professionals; Co-Chair of the Defense Research Institute’s (DRI) Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee 2022 Seminar; and Co-Vice Chair of the National Bar Association’s Environmental, Energy, & Public Utility Law Section. His influence extends beyond B&D, both in the field of environmental law and in his efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. Roy was named as part of the Young Energy Professionals Leadership Class (2019-2020) by the Institute for Energy Law, received the 2020 National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Chairman’s Award, and was named one of the “Litigators of the Week” for January 29, 2021 by AmLaw Litigation Daily.
Roy also serves as the Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. The firm is Mansfield Plus Certified, indicating that B&D considers women, LGBTQ+, minorities, and lawyers with disabilities for at least 30% of all significant leadership roles, lateral recruiting, and business development opportunities. The “Plus” status signifies that B&D exceeds the baseline certification requirements – achieving 30% representation in firm leadership roles. Roy is also active in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the broader legal community. He is a founder and Board member of The Black BigLaw Pipeline, Inc., a nonprofit established to promote positive outcomes for Black attorneys working in large law firms through training, mentorship, and career planning. He is also an active alumnus of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s (LCLD) Pathfinder program and coordinates with his program class and the larger organization to promote diversity within the legal profession. Roy also serves as the Membership Chair of the In-House Counsel Committee for the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) as the Co-Chair of the Subcommittee of the ABA Real Estate Litigation, Condemnation & Trust Litigation Committee.
Roy also prioritizes being an active member of his local community. He is a member of the National Aquarium’s Conservation Committee, where he facilitates the creation of conservation education programming focused on urban and ocean conservation for students and assists the organization in furthering its larger conservation goals. Roy also contributes to his community through youth mentorship as a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters and as a mentor for Bridges Baltimore.
Additionally, Roy maintains a commitment to pro bono service. He has been recognized by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas’ Pro Bono Honor Roll for assisting indigent and homeless clients in resolving contract disputes and obtaining public benefits. For his service with the Prisoner Pro Se Civil Rights Panel where he represented a prisoner in a civil rights case, Roy received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Judges of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Roy regularly provides pro bono representation in various other areas of law, including unfair wage practice, immigration, and landlord/tenant matters.
Lead Counsel, Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser Practice Group,
Courtney leads MassMutual’s Black Strategic Initiative, which is a cross-functional enterprise effort to examine MassMutual’s external and internal engagement with the Black and African American community and to identify and execute strategies for MassMutual to deploy that will contribute to the elimination of systemic structures that exacerbate racial inequities. Courtney also serves as Chair of Passages Business Resource Group, which focuses on issues relating to the advancement, retention, and development of Black and African American employees at MassMutual. She has been a member of Passages’ leadership team for the past 4 years.
In addition to her roles above, Courtney is also Lead Counsel within the Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser practice group at MassMutual. She is the primary regulatory attorney on FINRA and state securities matters that impact MassMutual’s retail broker-dealer, MML Investors Services, LLC. She represents the company in FINRA and state-related enforcement actions and provides general consultation and advice on issues relating to U4/U5 and 4530 questions, books and records, seniors, and other regulatory-related topics.
Before joining MassMutual in 2016, Courtney was an industry litigator for over 14 years as both in-house and outside counsel. She has represented broker-dealers and brokers in customer and industry disputes before FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Forum and currently serves on FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee.
Courtney has been passionate about advancing diversity throughout her career. She was a 2017 Fellow with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Also, she previously served on the executive board for Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and was a leader within the Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network. She also was an active member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Diversity Committee,
where she served on a task force to study gender and minority equity in Minnesota law firms and corporations.
Courtney received a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications and in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her JD from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, son and two dogs.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Terence Rozier-Byrd is a Partner in the Investment Management practice at Akin Gump in New York. Terence has fifteen years of experience representing private fund sponsors and institutional investors in connection with their alternative investment activities. Terence represents institutional investors, including pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and family offices, in connection with their private fund investments. In addition, Terence advises investors on the negotiation of co-investments, direct venture capital and growth equity investments and secondary transactions for interests in private funds and shares of private companies. On the fund sponsor side, Terence represents both emerging and institutional fund sponsors in connection with the formation and operation of private equity funds, venture capital funds, growth equity funds and hedge funds.
Outside of the firm, Terence is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of Boston University School of Law and serves on the Investor Advisory Council of Alumni Ventures Group.
Terence received his J.D. from Boston University School of Law and A.B. in Politics from Princeton University. While attending Princeton, Terence was a member of the basketball team and made two appearances in the NCAA tournament.
Rahael Seifu is a Senior Counsel at Google LLC where she has served as a product and commercial counsel since 2014, acted as the first Chief of Staff for the Legal department, and currently manages a team of lawyers supporting Google’s internal business functions, corporate engineering teams, and Alphabet Inc. Prior to joining Google, Ms. Seifu was a Corporate Associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP from 2013 to 2014 where she focused on mergers and acquisitions and provided corporate governance guidance for public company boards and special committees. Ms. Seifu served from 2008 to 2013 as a Corporate Associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP where she worked on mergers and acquisitions, investments, and various other corporate transactions, and advised clients on regulatory compliance, securities law reporting, and corporate governance matters. Ms. Seifu served as a law clerk for the Honorable George B. Daniels of the Southern District of New York. She earned her JD from Yale Law School and her undergraduate degree from Stanford University. Ms. Seifu also serves as an independent director on the board of directors of CME Group Inc.
Senior Product Counsel,
Having left Texas for college and after earning a degree in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, Bryan Webster landed a position with the United States Patent & Trademark Office. As a patent examiner, Bryan focused on applications in the digital communications art.
A few years into his tenure as a patent examiner, Bryan attended night school at Catholic University Law School, and graduated with a JD in 2001.
Bryan was recruited by and joined the internationally-recognized law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, drafting and prosecuting patent applications in the mechanical and electrical arts. There, Bryan started to develop a “nose for innovation”, working with inventors to identify and analyze ideas and features.
By 2003, Bryan was ready to expand his practice, joining Arnold & Porter as an associate working in all aspects of intellectual property and technology. Adding to his patent experience, Bryan worked in intellectual property litigation, licensing, and patent development. He continued this training with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, in Washington, D.C.
Bryan was recruited by and joined Microsoft in 2008, moving across the country to Redmond, Washington. As a Senior Attorney in Microsoft’s Intellectual Property Group, Bryan partnered most closely with the Windows Application business. He become a trusted member of the in-house legal team, developing Microsoft’s patent portfolio and counseling their tech leaders on technology strategy. Bryan managed all aspects of the portfolio, including competitor analysis and claim charts. Bryan also worked to develop a strong strategy on patent licensing, including the development of internal innovation programs, both in the US and internationally. Bryan worked to develop and expand Microsoft’s diversity and inclusion efforts, leading the Black lawyers at Microsoft ERG. He was involved in diversity and inclusion at both the legal and corporate levels, for which he recognized with several awards.
While in Washington State, Bryan actively supported the local community, serving as a member of the Board of the Associates Board with the ArtsFund and the Board of Directors of the Artist Trust. Given his commitment to education and his knack for inspiring young people, Bryan served as Mentor for the Community Development and Entrepreneurship Clinic at Seattle University. Bryan acted as a legal advisor to the law students and the small business owners who were coming to the Client for advice.
Given Bryan’s passion for innovation and his interest in learning, Bryan joined eBay in 2017, as a Senior Product Counsel. Bryan takes point in advising multiple product, technology, and business leaders on global user experience projects. For example, on any given day, Bryan might advise on ways to simplify the flow for someone to donate to charity on eBay, how to handle a user’s personal information under US and EU law, and how to structure eBay’s APIs. Bryan manages all aspects of the eBay user agreement, liaising across multiple stakeholders. Bryan has led the legal advice for multiple team including Identity, Charity, API, Artificial Intelligence, Personalization, International, Security, and Mobile.
In the past few years, Bryan has invested heavily in his professional and personal communities, actively volunteering for and participating in the eBay Diversity Committee, Blacks at eBay Community of Inclusion, The Law in Technology Diversity Collaborative, and First AME Church, Oakland. On top of his “day job” has served as a mentor and training manager for multiple student interns, working to expand our diversity and inclusion efforts.
Carlos White is a Partner at Husch Blackwell, an Am Law 100 law firm. Carlos advises and counsels startups and large clients on a wide variety of corporate matters, private equity and commercial transactions, and franchise transactional and regulatory matters.
As franchise counsel and a former franchise owner, Carlos provides legal counsel from a 360° perspective. He has advised franchisors and franchisees on various domestic and international franchise disclosure, registration, relationship and transactional issues, including counseling clients on all legal aspects of franchise offers, sales, advertising, transfers, renewals and terminations. Carlos has created franchise networks for companies in various industries, including restaurants and food service, hotels and hospitality, real estate, wellness and healthcare, senior assisted living, computer and business services, manufacturing, transportation, logistics, and dating services. Carlos has prepared and negotiated numerous franchise and development agreements and assisted companies with restructuring their franchise programs. Carlos has also assisted franchisees on acquiring franchise units, raising capital, and entering strategic partnerships and transactions. He also serves as outside general counsel to many of his clients.
Carlos’s practice areas can be categorized into the following areas: franchising and distribution, corporate and private equity, and system optimization. His representative work includes the following matters:
- representing a multi-billion-dollar hotel company in restructuring its franchise program in the United States. This representation involved revising hundreds of existing franchise and operating agreements.
- representing a multi-billion-dollar company in its sale of a restaurant concept to a San Francisco-based private equity firm. This representation entailed advising the client on due diligence issues relating to the sale of a franchise.
- supervising the annual franchise registration process for over 25 companies. These companies included a multi-billion-dollar hotel and hospitality company, multi-billion restaurant company, well-known Dallas-based pizza chain, and well-known Tampa-based hamburger chains.
International Franchising Matters
- representing a multi-billion hotel/hospitality company in establishing franchise and distribution networks in Australia, Barbados, Singapore, Russia and Thailand. This representation included advising the clients on commercial laws in those countries, drafting franchise and distribution programs, and drafting franchise agreements and operating agreements.
- representing a well-known, California-based beverage company in restructuring its distribution network in the United States and establishing a franchise program in the Middle East. This representation entailed counseling the client on commercial laws relating to the United States as well as Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE and drafting franchise agreements, development agreements, licensing agreements and operational agreements.
- representing an international real estate company in establishing a distribution network in China. This representation included advising the client on commercial laws relating to China and drafting a franchise program and franchise agreement in accordance with Chinese law.
Private Equity & M&A Transactions
- serving as lead franchise counsel on the sale of an oil services company for $650 million.
- representing a private equity firm as lead franchise counsel in its acquisitions (exceeding $600 million in transactional value) of a logistics franchise system.
- representing management team of a consumer product company in connection with a $1 billion private equity transaction.
- while serving as General Counsel, oversaw and implemented the legal strategy for corporate governance matters, supply chain and customer agreements and arrangements, and day-to-day operational matters for telecom company that now has revenues exceeding $700 million.
- as in-house counsel, served as chief administrative lawyer for a cloud computing company whose growth included a work-force expansion from 110 to 600 employees, total revenues from $80 to nearly $400 million, and customer count from 5,700 to over 25,000 in a two-year period.
- go-to in-house counsel with respect to corporate governance issues, domestic and international commercial issues, customer-oriented agreements, and day-to-day operational matters for company and multiple subsidiaries.
Atlanta Office Development Partner,
Micheal Binns is a registered patent attorney practicing primarily in the area of intellectual property litigation. His experience includes the litigation, counseling, and prosecution of all forms of intellectual property related to a variety of industries and technologies, including tech, biotechnology, chemical, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications arts.
Micheal also has significant trial experience involving Hatch-Waxman litigation, including preparing fact and expert witnesses for trial testimony and for cross-examination. He prides himself on providing clients with a competitive advantage in sophisticated intellectual property matters.
Prior to practicing law, Micheal taught mathematics, biology, and chemistry at City Harvest Christian Academy in Yonkers, New York. While attending law school, he was president of the Black Law Students Association and a member of the Pepperdine national entertainment law moot court team. At Morgan State University, he served as president of the Inter-Residence Council and earned the title Mr. Junior Morgan State University.
Micheal is board chair of Page Turners Make Great Learners in Atlanta and an active board member with the Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Spruill Center for the Arts in Dunwoody, Georgia.
Senior Litigation Counsel,
Danielle Coleman is Senior Litigation Counsel at VMware, a technology company headquartered in Silicon Valley, and she oversees global commercial and intellectual property litigation and disputes.
At VMware, Danielle is a Global Co-Lead for the Black@VMware Power of Difference community, helping drive thought leadership, professional development, and representation for Black employees. She also promotes diversity in the legal field by mentoring future and current law students and regularly participating in mock interviews and mock pitches, providing feedback to women and minority attorneys to help them develop and succeed. Danielle has received a “Diversity Award” from the Bar Association of San Francisco for her diversity work in the legal community.
Danielle engages in legal pro bono work, representing low-income tenants in unlawful detainer settlement negotiations and helping a Nicaraguan woman obtain asylum in the U.S. Danielle is the Pro Bono Lead for VMware’s Palo Alto office, and she regularly organizes pro bono opportunities for the Legal Department, such as asylum clinics.
She has great passion for the community and health equity. She is Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Alameda Health System Foundation (AHSF), which raises money for the Alameda Health System a network of hospitals and clinics serving uninsured and under-served patients in Alameda County. As the AHSF Gala co-chair for the last two years, she has helped raise over $1 million. In addition, Danielle is a member of the Board of Directors for the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which supports 1 in 5 residents of Alameda County, with two-thirds being children and seniors. She volunteers at the Food Bank, encourages others to volunteer, and raises funds to support its mission to close the hunger gap, which disproportionately impacts minorities.
Prior to joining VMware, Danielle was Director, Global Litigation at Applied Materials. She previously was an attorney at Morrison & Foerster where she was an active member of the patent trial team winning a jury verdict over $1 billion. She was a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup in the Northern District of California.
Ms. Coleman received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry, with honors in Chemistry and English, from Xavier University of Louisiana, and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to law school, she worked at pharmaceutical companies performing biochemical research, and she is an inventor on four U.S. patents.
She has spoken on multiple panels at summits and conferences on topics ranging from IP litigation to diversity and inclusion. She was a recipient of the “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Under 40” award and “Excellence in Innovation: 40 Under 40” award from the National Bar Association.
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP
Alesha M. Dominique represents clients in intellectual property litigation, with an emphasis on patent, trademark, false advertising, and unfair competition matters. Alesha’s experience includes representing clients before federal district courts, the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She also counsels clients on trademark clearance, prosecution, and enforcement matters. Alesha’s experience cuts across multiple industries, including the entertainment, music, fashion, beauty, food and beverage, software and e-commerce industries. Effective June 1, 2020, Alesha will be named the Global Chair of the Trademark Prosecution Group at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. In 2019, Alesha was chosen as a “Women Worth Watching,” in Profiles in Diversity Journal (2019).
Ms. Dominique’s key representative matters include the following:
- Representing a national food distributor in a false advertising and unfair competition lawsuit relating to the sale of imported rice (lead counsel);
- Represented a multinational retail corporation in trademark infringement case; won motion to dismiss.
- Represented collectively more than 100 producers and distributors of copyrighted television content in disputes regarding their share of hundreds of millions of dollars in copyright royalties.
- Represented hip-hop artist “Drake” in copyright case involving an allegedly infringing “sample” from a jazz album.
- Represented a fashion e-retailer in copyright case involving allegedly infringing textile patterns.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of health insurance industry client in copyright action in Eastern District of Virginia involving allegations of infringement of software code.
- Represented a major international luxury goods manufacturer in a contributory counterfeiting and contributory trademark infringement suit against a leading online marketplace; won motions for summary judgment.
- Represented global technology companies before the U.S. International Trade Commission in a patent infringement investigation related to Power-over-Ethernet products; ended in a full withdrawal of the complaint and a dismissal of the ITC’s investigation.
- Represented golf ball manufacturer against claim of $246 million in damages for infringement of four patents related to golf ball construction; obtained jury verdict invalidating all four asserted patents as anticipated and obvious.
- Counseled clients on compliance with Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, including in the areas of testimonials, endorsements, online advertising, and “Made in the USA” claims.
Alesha’s publications include the following:
In January 2020, Alesha partnered with CODO Design to discuss managing intellectual property through your rebrand in Chapter 12 of the book bundle, “Craft Beer Rebranded: Evolution, Revolution & Creating A Brand That Sells More Beer,” published by CODO Design.
In December 2019, Alesha also partnered with CODO Design to discuss brand strategy and intellectual property issues breweries run into on a daily basis in, “A Designer and a Lawyer Walk into a Brewery: Creating and Protecting a Compelling Brand,” published by CODO Design.
In June 2019, Alesha spoke on the panel, “Marks & Design in the Commercial Industries,” at the WIPO-CPIP Summer School on Intellectual Property in Arlington, Virginia.
Alesha has also published a host of client alerts about various trademark law matters, which can be found here: https://www.msk.com/attorneys-Alesha_Dominique#News
Conway Ekpo is an Executive Director in the legal department of Morgan Stanley and is also an adjunct law professor. Prior to transitioning in-house, Conway practiced financial services litigation as a BigLaw associate for nearly a decade.
In his current role, Conway is responsible for advising Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, as well as Morgan Stanley’s Private Bank. His solutions-oriented approach helps the firm to service the many high net worth individuals, corporations and governments who have invested over $2.4 trillion of their assets under the firm’s management.
A firm believer in pipeline initiatives, Conway co-founded the Black BigLaw Pipeline, Inc. which provides substantive and soft skills training and support to black law students and junior associates at large law firms. He sits on the board for Legal Outreach and also serves on the National and Northeast advisory boards for the National Black Law Students Association. He is a frequent speaker and writer in the diversity and inclusion space and was featured as the 2018 keynote speaker at Harvard Law School for the 14th annual National Black Pre-Law Conference.
Conway received the New York City Bar Association’s 2016 Diversity Champion Award in recognition of his effort in founding 1844, which is a group of 60 black male lawyers practicing in BigLaw and in-house legal departments in New York. The group’s name “1844” is in reference to the year that the first black person, Macon Bolling Allen, was admitted to practice law in America. The group’s purpose is to build genuine relationships between its members and leverage those relationships to help them develop personally and professionally and give back to their communities.
Conway is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge and was also selected as a 2016 Fellow in the Council of Urban Professionals (“CUP”). He earned his B.S. in architectural engineering at the University of Kansas and his J.D. at Rutgers School of Law where he was Managing Editor of the Rutgers Law Review.
Associate General Counsel,
Susan is Associate General Counsel for Thomson Reuters, overseeing the legal function for software solutions and commercial transactions. Over the course of Susan’s career at Thomson Reuters, she has been responsible for a variety of commercial and corporate transactions including mergers & acquisitions, global commercial contracting and partnerships. Susan manages a team of high performing lawyers and legal professionals across the US and in the UK. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Susan was a Senior Corporate and Transactions Counsel for NBC Universal, handling a variety of corporate transactions, including global program distribution, joint ventures, acquisitions and affiliation agreements. Prior to NBCU, Susan was a corporate associate at two major New York law firms (Clifford Chance LLP and Cadwalder, Wickersham and Taft), working on corporate finance, securities and M&A transactions. Susan received a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Susan lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children.
Deputy General Counsel & Information Governance Counsel,
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Christine R. Hardy is a diverse practitioner with a wide breadth of expertise crossing complex transactions, finance, contract management and review, litigation, business practice and workers’ compensation matters. She is also versed in corporate governance and stock transactions. Ms. Hardy is well versed on the transactional side of business matters, advising clients on a broad range of business transactions, including entity formations; internet business matters; share and asset purchase agreements; the preparation, review and negotiation of contracts; financial agreements; and state and federal law compliance. She is an expert on data loss prevention and information governance. Adept in transportation matters, Ms. Hardy has focused this area of her practice in Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) and Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA) defense and occupational disease litigation. An effective litigator, she successfully defended transportation clients against FELA suits in both state and federal courts.
Prior to coming to Norfolk Southern and before her career as a litigator, Ms. Hardy previously served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. S. Michael Yeager of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County (Pa.), where she researched, analyzed and applied court decisions and drafted opinions in all areas of civil, criminal, family and orphans’ court law. During her clerkship, Ms. Hardy participated in civil trials and interfaced with attorneys who appeared before the court.
Ms. Hardy is a member of the Virginia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations, the Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association, and the South Hampton Roads Bar Association. Ms. Hardy is actively engaged in a variety of pro bono work, including Wills for Heroes, the Drive to Work program, and the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia.
Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
Sonny Haynes uses her litigation experience to help clients meet their objectives, whether in federal and state courtrooms or at the negotiation table. Sonny’s litigation practice includes representing a variety of clients from complaint through verdict and on appeal. She has represented clients in both federal and state courts and has appellate experience in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and the Court of Appeals of North Carolina. Her skills and experience in pretrial litigation include extensive motion practice and expert witness development.
Sonny regularly litigates matters involving ERISA benefit and fiduciary liability, life, and disability claims. Her contract and commercial tort experience includes defending insurance companies in actions alleging fraud, bad faith, and unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Product Liability and Mass Tort Litigation
Complex scientific and medical issues arise frequently in the product liability and mass tort actions that Sonny handles. She has represented manufacturers of a variety of products and defended against claims involving asbestos, silica, and talc.
Local Government Defense
Sonny’s experience includes representing county agencies, elected officials, and law enforcement officers in:
- Constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
- State law tort claims
- Employment cases, including Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination claims; Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) interference and retaliation claims; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigations; and cases involving the North Carolina Human Resources Act
- Administrative law hearings, including contested case hearings before the North Carolina O_ce of Administrative Hearings
- Private prison cases
- Department of Social Services (DSS) cases
- Wrongful death cases
Education and School Law
In addition to her broad range of litigation experience, Sonny has extensive experience advising charter schools and education management organizations in the areas of board formation and support, charter applications, and school policy and compliance matters.
M. Janine Jjingo
Partner, Banking Group,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Ms. Jjingo regularly advises a variety of financial institutions, including Bank of America, Barclays, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, ING and Morgan Stanley. She was recognized as a Rising Star in IFLR1000, as well as a Rising Star in Finance at Euromoney Legal Media Group’s 2019 Americas Women in Business Law Awards and as a Rising Star Best in Banking & Finance at Euromoney Legal Media Group’s 2019 Americas Rising Star Awards.
Her representations have included:
- York Capital Management in its sale of The Bay Club Company to KKR & Co. Inc.;
- Visteon Corporation in various amendments to its credit agreement including the replacement and repricing of the existing term facility with a new $350 million term loan facility; and in the $3.6 billion sale of its 70 percent stake in Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp. (South Korea);
- Key Safety Systems, Inc. in its $1.6 billion acquisition of substantially all of the assets and operations of Takata Corporation (Japan), as part of Takata’s Chapter 11 case;
- BlackRock, Inc. in a variety of matters involving revolving credit facilities and its $20 billion acquisition of Barclays Global Investors;
- Synergy Pharmaceuticals in its Chapter 11 filing, DIP financing and sale of substantially all of its assets to Bausch Health;
- Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. in its $2.8 billion acquisition by Penn National Gaming, Inc.;
- DST Systems, Inc. in its $5.4 billion acquisition by SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc.;
- Permira Funds in connection with a first lien $325 million term loan and $50 million revolving facility, in addition to a second lien $120 million term loan to finance its acquisition of DiversiTech Holdings, Inc.;
- Gilead in a variety of matters, including its $11.9 billion acquisition of Kite Pharma, Inc. and its $11 billion acquisition for Pharmasset, Inc.;
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. in its:
- $2.6 billion acquisition of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation;
- $800 million acquisition of Mercury (Cayman) Holdings, the holding company of Amoun Pharmaceutical Company S.A.E. (Egypt); and
- its $15 billion acquisition of Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd.;
- A&E Television Networks in connection with the financing of NBCUniversal Media, LLC’s $3 billion sale of its 15.8 percent stake in A&E to The Walt Disney Corporation and Hearst Corporation; and
- E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company in its:
- $7.4 billion acquisition of Danisco A/S, a manufacturer of food ingredients; and
- in a $3.5 billion revolving credit facility from JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Terry D. Johnson defends employers against employment law claims involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, violations of public policy, and violations of whistleblower rights. He appears before US state, federal, and appellate courts and federal and state administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and the New York State Division of Human Rights.
In addition to litigating, Terry counsels clients on a variety of workplace and personnel matters and works with clients to develop and implement effective policies. He also conducts independent investigations into alleged employment law violations.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Terry practiced labor and employment law at law firms in Princeton and Philadelphia. Before entering private practice, Terry was a law clerk to Justice James R. Zazzali of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He served as a judicial intern to Judge Michael Chertoff of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit while in law school.
Ely Juarez Pennant
As an associate at Squire Sanders, Ely excelled and quickly rose the ranks to lead strategy at Intuition Media as their VP of BD and Strategy. His 6 years there prepared him for the challenging world of licensing and digital distribution at UMG. At the world’s largest record label, Ely ran the Business and Legal Affairs group for the company’s Latin American division in Miami. Continuing his turn in entertainment, Ely moved to media giant Viacom as their International Corporate Counsel and Director of Business and Legal affairs. Samsung the world’s largest Consumer Electronics Company brought Ely in as Sr. Director and Associate General Counsel for their Product & Media Services. After 4 years, Ely continued his journey in the tech industry by joining Spotify, the largest streaming music service.
Goodwin Procter LLP
Jesse Nevarez is a partner in the firm’s Business Law Department and a member of its Technology Companies and Life Sciences group. Mr. Nevarez’s practice centers on representing technology and life sciences companies focused on software, hardware, digital media, advertising, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and other related specialties.
In particular, he regularly advises entrepreneurs, startups, emerging companies and public companies on a variety of matters including company formations, seed, venture and growth equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, SEC compliance, IPOs, and other capital markets transactions. He also represents venture capital funds and investment banks focusing on technology and life sciences companies.
Mr. Nevarez is a member of the Boston Bar Association, the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He is also a member of the Boston College Law School Black Alumni Network and has served as a mentor for the MIT $100K Launch Competition. In recognition of his accomplishments, Mr. Nevarez has been named to the Lawyers of Color “Hot List” and named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer “Rising Star”.
Mr. Nevarez joined Goodwin in 2013. Prior to joining Goodwin, he was an associate at Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP. He received his B.A., cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2006 and his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2009.
At Apple, Smita acts as product counsel for various Apple products. Smita analyzes and advises cross-functional teams (product marketing, engineering, compliance, safety, product documentation) on worldwide regulatory, compliance, and legal issues related to new and sustaining products.
Prior to Apple, Smita worked at two international law firms – Cooley in Silicon Valley and Kirkland & Ellis in San Francisco. At these firms, Smita’s practice was focused on technology transactions and she represented some of the world’s most exciting and disruptive brands and startups. She has also worked on several high-profile M&A transactions having a total value in excess of $10 billion. Prior to moving to the United States, she worked as a litigation attorney before the Supreme Court of India and other appellate courts.
Smita is CIPP/US certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals and served as a “Young Privacy Professional Leader for the San Francisco Bay Area” in 2017.
Smita keenly follows developments pertaining to tech law and is passionate about diversity and inclusion efforts. Smita is on the boards of United Nations Women – SF, the Berkeley Law Alumni Association and the South Asian Bar Association. She is also a Fellow at the Internet Law & Policy Foundry.
Maria R. Salcedo
Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.
Maria represents companies in individual and complex product liability lawsuits and product recalls. She is experienced in all stages of litigation, including fact discovery, expert witness preparation, complex briefing, and trial. Maria has served on more than 11 trial teams and consistently achieves positive results for her clients, including resolving the case before trial or successfully defending smoking-and-health trials in Florida. She understands her clients’ businesses and goals and provides excellent legal strategy.
She has also handled multinational product recalls for a major US consumer goods manufacturer, including matters in Latin America, the Caribbean and Australia. She has fluent oral and written Spanish skills.
Maria provides outstanding service not only to her firm clients, but also to her community. She won the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association President’s Award in 2017. She was president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Greater Kansas City in 2011 and 2016, and she is an active member of the Hispanic National Bar Association. She also represents pro bono parents and children in Family Court and defendants in criminal cases through the Missouri Right to Counsel Coalition Project.
Additionally, Maria is the vice-chair of the board of directors for Citizens of the World Charter School Kansas City, a school that seeks to provide excellent public education focused on developing and demonstrating understanding while building connections within a diverse community. She is also on the board of directors of Visit KC (the entity that promotes Kansas City’s travel and tourism industry) and the Visit KC Foundation.
Recognizing her excellent contributions and promising future, her firm selected Maria to participate in the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity Fellows program in 2018 and nominated her for the MCCA Rising Stars Award.
She graduated with highest distinction from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in journalism and international studies. While studying at the University of Kansas School of Law, Maria won First Place Oralist at the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, was a Dean’s Fellow, and Law School Merit Scholar.
On her free time, Maria volunteers at her church as part of the diversity leadership team and the counting team, plays tennis, lifts weights, and attends live concerts.
Senior Privacy Counsel,
Volha Samasiuk is an attorney with over ten years of experience in providing counsel and managing legal affairs in the US and Europe. She has worked within numerous sectors, advising on national, multi-national and global legal issues, both as a consultant and as an in-house counsel.
At Autodesk, Volha supports its global privacy program and advises across all aspects of data protection laws, including cross-border data transfers, data analytics, marketing and privacy matters in M&As. Prior to Autodesk, Volha worked as Senior Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Wargaming, an award-winning online game developer and publisher. She previously was a national consultant at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the United Nations Development Program in Belarus, and an adjunct professor at Belarusian State University, specializing in IP Law, Civil Law and International Law.
Volha holds a J.D. degree and a Ph.D. in Law degree from Belarusian State University School of Law, and an LL.M. degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She was a Carnegie Research Fellow and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law and obtained Certificate in International Business Transactions from UC Berkeley School of Law.
Volha actively volunteers for Autodesk’s diversity, inclusion & belonging initiatives and its pro bono program. She also contributes to the American Bar Association’s privacy legislation working group and the International Association of Privacy Professionals as an author, speaker and recently as a member of its Research Advisory Board.
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Cecilia Sanabria focuses her practice on complex patent litigation and client counseling in the mechanical, industrial, and electrical fields. She represents clients before U.S. district courts and the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). She has been selected as an “HNBA Top Lawyer under 40” by the Hispanic National Bar Association.
Cecilia’s litigation experience spans the pre-trial, discovery, trial, and post-trial phases of litigation, and includes arguing motions in open court and examining witnesses in jury trials and hearings before the ITC. She manages fact discovery, drafts motions and legal briefs, and works with fact and expert witnesses. Cecilia also works with various aspects of patent prosecution and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) proceedings, including inter partes reviews. She also has experience in drafting licensing and settlement agreements.
In addition to her litigation and counseling practice, Cecilia devotes a portion of her time to pro bono matters. She worked on landlord-tenant and social security disability disputes, representing Spanish-speaking clients, through the firms work with the D.C. Bar, and has represented criminal defendants in the Supreme Court of Virginia.
While obtaining her engineering degree, Cecilia worked for General Electric and was involved in engineering design in the area of aircraft engines as well as technical sales of medical systems.
Editor, LES Insights, 2017-present.
Tiffany J. Smith has over a decade of experience advising and representing broker-dealers and other financial institutions, including financial technology companies, regarding compliance with federal and state securities laws and regulations and the rules of the self-regulatory organizations. Ms. Smith’s practice primarily focuses on three areas: (i) broker-dealer regulatory compliance, (ii) representing clients in connection with enforcement matters and regulatory examinations, and (iii) providing regulatory advice in connection with corporate transactions.
With respect to broker-dealer regulatory compliance, Ms. Smith often advises clients on newly adopted rules and areas of increased regulatory focus, including the rules on market access, securities trading and market activities, short sales, and issuer repurchases. Ms. Smith also has experience advising clients on the regulatory implications of new and emerging technologies (e.g., blockchain) and helping clients navigate the regulatory hurdles associated with these technologies. In addition, she counsels clients on triggers for broker-dealer registration, including those related to offshore activities and those related to the activities of financial technology companies.
Ms. Smith has experience representing clients in connection with regulatory examinations, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) enforcement matters, and the FINRA MC-400 Membership Continuance Process, and conducting internal investigations.
Ms. Smith often serves as regulatory counsel in connection with corporate transactions involving broker-dealers, advises clients through the FINRA new and continuing member application processes, and counsels clients on the triggers for filing a FINRA continuing member application.
At the firm, Ms. Smith has been active on the Diversity Committee, Hiring Committee, Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and various volunteer-based initiatives. From 2016–2019, she was co-chair of firm’s New York summer associate program.
While in law school, Ms. Smith was a Compliance Audit Specialist for M&T Securities. She audited personnel to ensure compliance with internal, federal and self-regulatory organization rules, and held the following securities licenses: Series 6, 7, 24, 53, 63 and 65. Ms. Smith also interned at the Investment Management Division of the SEC and the Litigation Department at FINRA.
In 2014, Ms. Smith completed the Council of Urban Professionals Executive Leadership Program, a year-long leadership development program comprised of leadership training, coaching and keynote conversations with executives. Ms. Smith is also a member of the Wall Street Blockchain Association, the New York City Bar, the National Bar Association, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the LGBT Bar Association of New York; and on the Board of the Legal Aid Society.
Casiya Thaniel is a Washington, D.C. based attorney on the Global Commercial and Field Group team providing legal support to clients responsible for enterprise customers in the multi-billion dollar U.S. Regulated Industries Enterprise Operating Unit. Casiya manages complex deals that require her to understand and navigate evolving global laws and regulations, including data privacy and security, that govern Microsoft agreements and cloud technology. Casiya also assists the U.S. Financial Services business drive revenue by hosting technology events and speaking regularly on digital transformation, artificial intelligence, privacy, cyber security, and the importance of cloud literacy. In her prior role in Redmond, WA, she supported Xbox and PC products for large U.S. retailers, where she primarily focused on marketing, sales, and antitrust concerns.
Casiya continues to represent the legal department and champions Microsoft’s diversity and inclusion initiatives by contributing to the development of a pipeline of a diverse candidate/talent pool. Casiya was the relationship lead for Corporate Counsel Women of Color and the National Bar Association. She was also on the team that organized and executed the Microsoft’s Women and Minority Law Student IP Summit which was recognized as a diversity best practice by the American Bar Association.
Casiya holds a B.B.A. from Howard University, Master’s Certificate in Commercial Contract Management from George Washington University/ESI International and a J.D. from North Carolina Central University. She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional-U.S. and an alum of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. Casiya is on the board of trustees for the Holy Trinity Episcopal Day School in Maryland, the Executive Committee of the National Bar Association – Commercial Law Section, and serves as a business advisor for My Sister’s Closet, an organization serving women in need of mentoring, career development and skills training.
Bernard Williams Jr
Director, Global Head of Anti-Money Laundering Governance & Compliance Training,
Bernard Williams Jr. is a native New Yorker and currently the Global Head of Anti-Money Laundering Governance and Compliance Training for eBay. In his current role, Bernard is leading the effort of building out and maintaining the governance framework around eBay’s AML Compliance Program and also steering the company’s Compliance Training program.
Bernard has over 20 years of experience as both an attorney and as a Compliance Officer. Prior to joining eBay, Bernard served as a Compliance Officer at Goldman Sachs in their Investment Management and Securities Divisions, and also as the Americas Head of Global Compliance Training at Goldman Sachs where he was responsible for leading Compliance training, learning and development for the Americas businesses. Bernard has also served as in-house and outside counsel for various financial services firms on Wall Street where he worked as a litigator specializing in Alternative Dispute Resolution and retail securities claims litigation.
In addition to his work responsibilities, Bernard has led several pro-bono legal efforts for small business entrepreneurs, charitable organizations and entities seeking legal assistance, both on the corporate level and in his personal time. Bernard graduated with honors from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and obtained his Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School.
Associate Vice President, Litigation Employment Department,
Bonnie Lee Wolf is an Associate Vice President at Nationwide in the Litigation Employment Department (“LED”). Bonnie manages a team of attorneys handling the defense of Personal Lines Corporate Contingent Litigation.
Previous to this role at Nationwide, Bonnie served as Managing Counsel responsible for supporting the day-to-day function within LED including compliance and financial reporting, external and internal audits, and leading a team of paralegals and a business information specialist. Additionally, Bonnie managed all aspects of agent litigation, including managing outside counsel, overall litigation strategy of pending matters, and collaborating with business legal partners and clients in mitigating litigation risks. Bonnie also assisted in handling aspects of Nationwide Financial litigation.
When Bonnie first joined Nationwide, she supported the Company’s exclusive sales channel in the P&C Sales Legal Practice group handling a wide variety of legal matters, including agent contracts and programs, investigations and prelitigation matters. Prior to joining Nationwide, Bonnie worked at a regional law fam in its litigation department for seven years. There she gained experience in representing clients in all phases of litigation, including appeals, settlement negotiations, mediations, trial and arbitration.
Bonnie is currently serving as the President and Board member for NAPABA. She is a former President and Board Member to her local affiliate the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Central Ohio (“AP ABA-CO”). Originally from Severna Park, Maryland, Bonnie received her B.A. magna cum laude from Winthrop University and her J.D. from Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law with distinction. Bonnie now resides in Columbus, Ohio and is a proud mother to her 8-year-old son Taylor Lee and 3-year-old Ryne Joseph.
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Maya Yamazaki focuses her practice on intellectual property, media and technology law for clients ranging from startups and emerging companies to global corporations. Her practice includes the structuring, drafting, and negotiation of information technology and digital media transactions. She also counsels clients on a range of issues including advertising, marketing, and promotional matters. Maya also has experience litigating copyright, patent, trade secret, and trademark cases in federal court and before federal agencies.
Draft and negotiate agreements for content acquisition of television and film rights (electronic/digital sell through and video on demand) for distribution via video game consoles
Draft and negotiate agreements for application development and distribution for premier video game consoles and mobile devices
Represents publishers, consoles, and platforms in drafting and negotiation game development, publishing, and distribution agreements
Represent music publishers in drafting inbound licenses with musicians and outbound licenses with music users
Counsel clients on music licensing and negotiate related agreements, including related to public performance of music and related clearances
Represent artists in music publishing and licensing agreements
Advise clients on various intellectual property matters including enforcement of trademarks and copyrights, DMCA compliance, and pre-publication review of content
Counsel clients on social media matters including compliance with applicable FTC and COPPA regulations
Structure and draft digital media contracts such as music licensing agreements and video and content license agreements for Internet portals and websites. Structure and draft advertising and marketing agreements including celebrity talent agreements, co-promotion and sponsorship agreements, and contest rules
Represented illustrators in negotiating publishing agreements for use of their work in books
Structure, draft, and negotiate agency and representation agreements for authors and content owners
Structure, draft, and negotiate technology contracts such as inbound and outbound software license agreements, joint development agreements, hosted (Cloud) services agreements, application development agreements, hardware procurement, services agreements, website design and hosting agreements, distribution and fulfillment agreements, agreements with University IP offices, and consulting agreements
Provide Internet, mobile, and technology-related advice to established businesses and smaller startups
Provide counsel and advice on issues related to open source licenses
Advertising and Marketing
Draft and negotiate agreements related to sponsorship, promotions, and co-marketing for leading technology companies
Draft advertising agreements for advertising inventory sellers, buyers, and advertisers
Counsel clients on contest and sweepstakes rules