RISING STARS 2020
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”. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their practice areas, but what these Rising Stars have in common is their love of law and pursuit of excellence, while possessing a compassion for those in need and a strong desire to give back to others.
MCCA is proud to announce the Top 20 Rising Stars of 2020! As we push for greater equity and systemic change, it is more important than ever we celebrate the achievements of these 20 talented diverse attorneys leading the charge for systemic change in their communities and workplaces.
The 2020 MCCA Rising Stars will be profiled and recognized on our website and social media and honored at our Creating Pathways to Diversity Virtual Conference on October 27.
Deputy General Counsel & Information Governance Counsel,
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Associate Vice President, Litigation Employment Department,
PAST MCCA RISING STARS
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