Sources of Success™ Program
The Sources of Success Program (the “Program”) is a twelve-month professional development program tailored for junior and mid-level attorneys from corporate legal departments and law firms. The focus is on identifying successful career strategies and allowing attorneys to develop leadership and management skills, as well as an opportunity for attorneys to find the right mentor to guide their career advancement.
The 2023 Sources of Success Application is now open!
The application deadline is Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at 11:59 PM EST. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
SOURCES OF SUCCESS: CURRICULUM
The Program combines courses that span client development, executive presence, organizational leadership, strategic career management, increasing influence and credibility, effective communication strategies as well as group and individual coaching. SOS participants will also engage with leaders from major companies in various industries as panel participants and mentors.
- Your law firm or legal department must be an MCCA member.
- In-house Counsel: must be three or more reporting levels from general counsel.
- Law firm attorneys: must be an associate with a minimum of five years’ experience.
- Diverse attorneys (underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, LGBTQ+ and attorneys with disabilities) are encouraged to apply. Underrepresented racial/ethnic group is defined as African American/Black, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American/Indigenous, and Multiracial.
COMMITMENT AND SCHEDULE
The success of the Program depends on the commitment that each participant makes to the Program. If accepted, you must be completely free of professional duties during the scheduled in-person sessions and activities. This is a twelve-month program with quarterly meetings and attendance is mandatory. Failure to attend a mandatory session will result in the participant’s removal from the Program.
The following three documents are required to be submitted as part of the application so you are encouraged to complete them before starting the application. You will be able to upload them directly to the application. Please use the following format for all files: First Last_Document Title (ex: Jane Doe_Personal Statement).
Your statement should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the Program, why the Program is a good fit for you, your future plans, note your direct supervisor’s support of your application, and other information that would help the selection committee in evaluating your application.
The recommendation letter should be from your immediate supervisor or manager that directly addresses your suitability for selection in the Program, acknowledges the time commitment required to attend the program sessions, and will support your participation in the Program.
Employer Support Acknowledgment Form (Click here to download the Employer Support Form)
The employer support form indicates that your employer is aware of your interest in applying to the Program, acknowledges the time commitment required to attend the program sessions throughout the year, and supports you for taking time-off and financial sponsorship to attend the Program with the acknowledgment that MCCA will not reimburse these costs (hotel and travel costs not covered by MCCA).
How many participants are selected for the program?
Can an organization have more than one applicant for the SOS program?
Are the minimum experience requirements flexible?
What are the dates and locations of the SOS Quarterly Meetings?
How long are the quarterly meetings?
What is the approximate cost for Quarterly Meetings?
What does the curriculum for SOS Meetings consist of?
What is the time commitment participants must be prepared to make?
Can applicants who have not been selected in the past reapply?
2022 Sources of Success Participants
Associate – Financial Markets Litigation & Enforcement,
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Christina J. Deleveaux
Consolidated Edison Company
of New York, Inc.
Assistant Vice-President & Senior Counsel,
Lincoln Financial Group
2020-2021 Sources of Success Participants
Counsel – Legal Affairs, Entertainment and Lifestyle Group,
NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Senior Vice President & Assistant General Counsel,
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
NATHALIE LE NGOC
Senior Corporate Counsel – Global Labor & Employment,
Senior Counsel, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation,
Puneet Arora is an in-house Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation attorney at AbbVie Inc. in North Chicago, Illinois. Puneet strives to deliver top results for stakeholders by being a problem solver that effectively collaborates with internal and external partners to achieve corporate results through effective communication, creative thinking and logical decision making. He has in-depth knowledge regarding the Internal Revenue Code, Employee Retirement Income Security Act and securities and employment laws applicable to qualified retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, health and welfare benefits, global equity compensation and executive compensation. At AbbVie, Puneet provides interpretive and authoritative legal guidance related to matters that arise from the day-to-day operations and administration of the company’s employee benefits and compensation programs. His responsibilities include maintaining the official employee benefit plan documents, reviewing required notices and participant communications and supporting the company’s leadership to understand the legal implications of program design changes. Finally, he serves as the Secretary of AbbVie’s Employee Benefits Board of Review and has been a key contributor to the company’s cross-functional team involved with evaluating and negotiating business transactions.
Prior to joining AbbVie, Puneet was an attorney and director at Willis Towers Watson in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois where he assisted internal and external clients with understanding the laws that are relevant to retirement plans and executive compensation arrangements. Puneet also spent five-years as an attorney in the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE) in Washington, D.C. At IRS, he interpreted the tax code, regulations, administrative rules and court cases related to issues pertinent for employee benefit plans. Prior to joining the IRS, Puneet was an associate at a private law firm in Chicago, Illinois. Puneet’s interest in pursuing a career in law was solidified after he spent a year as an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, Illinois, where he supported the organization’s Community Reinvestment Division with direct-client service and State and Federal policy matters geared towards reducing the barriers faced by low-income people.
Over the years, Puneet has served in a variety of bar association leadership positions. During his second year of law school, Puneet was the President of the Student Bar Association and during his third-year he served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division. After graduating from law school, he has been involved with the Employee Benefits Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tax Section, most recently as a Co-Chair of the Defined Contribution Plan subcommittee. Puneet also served as a General Director of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C. Puneet has authored articles that have been published in a variety of forums, including the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance. Puneet received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign and his J.D. and LL.M. in Employee Benefits from the UIC John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois where he was a recipient of the Claude Sowle scholarship.
Outside of work, Puneet enjoys spending time with his wife, Avani, a Clinical Pharmacist at Evolent Health and his 5 and 2 year-old children, Milana and Dilan. Puneet enjoys reading, listening to podcasts and being outdoors as much as possible. He is an aspiring golfer and has completed two marathons, several shorter races and a triathlon.
Counsel – Legal Affairs, Entertainment and Lifestyle Group,
NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Courtney Cannon serves as Counsel, Legal Affairs in the Entertainment and Lifestyle Group at NBCUniversal (“NBCU”). NBCU, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies for a global audience. The NBCU umbrella includes a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world- renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses.
In her role, Courtney structures, negotiates, and drafts development and series deals for USA, Bravo, Syfy and Syfy Wire for linear and digital exhibition in connection with docu/occu-series, reality, and host/panel programming. These deals include talent, production services agreements, rights acquisitions, and license agreements. Additionally, she negotiates and drafts movie acquisition and licensing deals for the cable division of NBCU. She advises, interfaces, and coordinates with all internal divisions (creative, business affairs, labor, finance, ad sales, marketing, publicity, and network operations) to provide sound business judgment and solution-oriented guidance. Keen examples of Courtney’s work include Temptation Island and The Great Debate franchises.
Prior to working at NBCU, Courtney worked in Business & Legal Affairs at FilmNation Entertainment (“FilmNation”). FilmNation is a leading distributor, financier and producer of independent films and is a destination for many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers. In this role she negotiated, drafted, and reviewed documentation for feature films including below the line talent agreements, vendor agreements, music licenses, and international distribution agreements. Examples of Courtney’s work at FilmNation include The Big Sick, Late Night, The Personal History of David Copperfield and Greyhound. She also served as one of the founding members of the Diversity Committee.
Courtney graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (“UPenn”) with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English with a concentration in African-American Literature. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and served as the Civic Chairman and Ivy Leaf Reporter. She was the Vice President and a recruiter for the West Philadelphia’s Alliance for Children. She also served as a tour guide for Kite & Key Society, UPenn’s oldest service organization. While at UPenn, Courtney worked in UPenn’s Pre-Freshman Program’s management office, the African Studies Center, and the offices of UPenn’s Upward Bound Program. She was a Robert Aresty Scholar and Paul Robeson Leadership Fellow. Courtney went on to receive her Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law (“NYU”) where she was a Dean’s Scholar and recipient of the Pro Bono Service Award. While at NYU, she was a Senior Editor for the Journal of Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law, a MDRC pro bono intern, a member of the Black Allied Law Students Association, and worked as a law clerk in the Capital Markets group at Morrison & Foerster LLP. During her final semester of law school, Courtney studied abroad at the NYU Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she participated in a clinic on policy advocacy in Latin America.
Courtney is a member of the New York State Bar. She is a native of New Jersey and lives in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to Courtney’s work in the legal field, she is Co-Chair of the UPenn Black Alumni Society of NYC, an Alumni Interviewer for UPenn’s Admissions office, and a mentor for the National Council of Negro Women, Inc.’s Brooklyn Youth Section.
John T. Davis
Associate Patent Attorney,
Barta, Jones & Foley, P.C.
John T. Davis is a registered U.S. patent attorney. He has been licensed to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 2014, following his graduation from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law (J.D., cum laude) and admission to the State Bar of Texas in 2011. His technical training includes a bachelor’s degree in computer science (B.A., magna cum laude) from Southwestern University. He is additionally admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
His practice focuses on preparation, filing, and prosecution of patent applications in the United States and throughout the world. He has experience in litigation, procurement, licensing, and enforcement of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other types of intellectual property. He has also practiced in varied and diverse areas of the law including civil litigation, real estate transactions, business and commercial transactions and disputes, and estate planning and probate.
Mr. Davis has worked with a variety of clients including Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses, and individuals, collaborating closely with both in-house counsel and inventors. His experience spans diverse areas of technology involving software, computer operating systems, networking, computer hardware, hydroponics, fitness products, durable medical equipment, consumer and industrial safety equipment including infrastructure and tools; cryptocurrency, and renewable energy generation and application. Recent projects include patent prosecution in the areas of artificial intelligence; computer vision; image analysis; e-commerce; cloud computing; process controls and supply chain management; next-generation telecommunications; network intrusion detection; human/computer interaction; aerospace engineering; and on-demand multimedia content delivery.
Mr. Davis is deeply interested in and concerned with the positive development of patent policy and professionalism in the patent practitioner and wider legal services communities. To fulfill this interest, he is regularly active in local, state, and international organizations. For example, Mr. Davis currently serves on the following Dallas Bar Association committees: Morris Harrell Professionalism committee, Peer Assistance committee, CLE committee, and Fee Dispute committee. Additionally, in July 2020, Mr. Davis participated as a panelist in the Dallas Bar Association Peer Assistance Committee’s CLE presentation, “The Impact of COVID-19 on an Attorney’s Practice, Clients and Well-Being During the Unprecedented Isolation of Shelter-in- Place.”
Mr. Davis is also an elected Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Patent Practitioners (NAPP). He also serves as the Board Liaison for the Governance Committee, and formerly served as the Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee. While chairing the Legal Affairs Committee, he helped coordinate the formulation of policies and legal contracts underlying NAPP’s Mentor-Mentee Program, launched in September 2019. In April 2020, Mr. Davis participated as a panelist in NAPP’s Marketing Webinar CLE presentation, focused on marketing and business growth for newly licensed solo and small firm patent agents and attorneys.
He is also a member of the NAPP Public Relations Committee and Government Affairs Committee. As a member of the Government Affairs Committee, Mr. Davis participated in strategizing and drafting formal written communications with the US Patent and Trademark Office, advocating for changes in USPTO policies and procedures on behalf of NAPP members and the wider patent practitioner community.
Mr. Davis maintains a small collection of oil paintings and handcrafts. He collects vintage and modern fountain pens. He also enjoys artisanal loose-leaf teas of the Dallas Pen Club and frequently assists with the annual Dallas Pen Show.
Vice President & Senior Counsel,
Monique Delbridge is Vice President and Senior Counsel at Goldman Sachs, specializing in marketing, advertising and brand matters. As an advisor to GS Bank USA’s burgeoning consumer business, she manages all marketing for its credit card business including the Apple Card, Goldman’s first credit card offered in partnership with Apple. She is also the lead marketing attorney for Marcus lending products, which include proprietary personal loans, a retail point of sale loan platform and a small business platform that recently launched its first partnership with Amazon. Monique’s day-to-day work varies and includes concept reviews for various launches and national advertising campaigns, reviewing all consumer-facing marketing to ensure compliance with Regulation Z and UDAAP, editing public relations and press materials, crafting disclosure language and negotiating agreements with creative agencies, affiliates and content service providers.
Prior to joining Goldman, Monique was an advisor on sports and entertainment, media and brand advertising matters at JPMorgan Chase. In that role, she negotiated agreements and counseled business partners across the firm. Her guidance was critical in negotiating large arena naming rights for the Chase Center in San Francisco and in closing numerous talent, influencer, celebrity endorsement and sponsorship deals, including with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the PGA. Monique also advised on launching and marketing the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card across television, print and digital platforms.
Before moving in-house, Monique was a litigation associate, most recently managing a team of attorneys on a long-term engagement for Sidley Austin LLP on matters associated with Wall Street fraudster Bernie Madoff.
Monique has contributed to and volunteered her time for several organizations, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, where she was a board member. More recently, she became a Harvard College Alumni Interviewer, which brings her into contact with promising high school seniors from across New York City every year.
Monique received her AB from Harvard College in 2001 and her JD from New York University School of Law in 2006 as an Executive Editor of the New York University Law Review and Fellow to the United Nations International Law Commission. She lives in Harlem, New York with her husband and two children.
Senior Vice President & Assistant General Counsel,
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
Dendrick F. Gamble serves as Senior Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at Citi in Tampa, FL. In this role, Dendrick provides thought leadership around product development and assists with marketing initiatives by providing guidance regulations to retail bank product offerings. In addition, Dendrick collaborates with other attorneys and business professionals to improve products and communication in lines of business like digital tools to provide enhancements to bring to market. Prior to joining Citi, Dendrick served as Counsel for Wells Fargo providing consumer lending litigation support to Wells Fargo’s Consumer Lending Business. He managed complex consumer finance and other litigation matters, including class actions and mass actions involving a wide range of cases involving FCRA, FDCPA, TILA, UDAAP and RESPA related issues in federal and state courts and forums.
Dendrick has a knack for taking on difficult challenges and delivering successful outcomes. Dendrick has served over 12 years in the United States Army in a number of varied and challenging assignments. Early on in his career, he enlisted in the United States Army as a paralegal specialist and went on to serve as a logistics officer in the Quartermaster Corps. Today, Dendrick serves as a reservist Judge Advocate in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps with the 134th Legal Operations Detachment at Fort Bragg, NC. He provides legal assistance to soldiers, officers and their families. Dendrick has completed overseas tours of duty in Germany and South Korea. Dendrick takes great pride in being a citizen-soldier— successfully fulfilling his obligations as a citizen while proudly serving the Country.
Before attending law school Dendrick started his career in financial services at Wells Fargo as a Credit Manager, working in multiple financial services roles across the industry —mainly mortgage production/sales. Dendrick was recognized for leading high performing sales teams far exceeding sales goals while always ensuring the team was maintaining high levels of great customer service. He was also responsible for examining mortgage loan files for quality assurance and ensuring compliance with all regulatory lending laws.
Dendrick earned a J.D. and M.B.A from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a minor in political science from The Citadel. While in law school, Dendrick was a staff editor on the NCCU Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Law Review. He also served as a mentor/ instructor in the Citizens School Apprenticeship program. The program is designed to help marginalized middle school students build confidence, gain 21st Century skillsets and develop interest in career pathways such as the legal profession. Dendrick was a cadet-student-athlete while attending The Citadel. He was a Dean’s List student, Citadel Football Team Captain and four-year varsity football letterman. Dendrick is also a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated an organization that embodies the motto “Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor” with an expectation for all members to uphold and pay it forward. Among other things, the fraternity sponsors programs providing community service, social welfare and academic scholarship. Today, Dendrick remains a servant leader whenever the opportunity presents, including to his alma maters and fraternity, by staying involved in many community service initiatives and mentor/mentee programs.
As a native of Charleston, SC, Dendrick enjoys beach life, fine dining, traveling, watching all sports, playing basketball, golf and running. Most of all he enjoys spending time with his family.
Nikki Hasselbarth is an associate in Venable’s Nonprofit Organizations and Tax and Wealth Planning Groups in Los Angeles. Nikki focuses her practice on advising tax-exempt organizations, such as public charities and private foundations, on a variety of tax and governance matters, including the formation of new tax-exempt organizations, the termination of private foundation status, charitable solicitation registration, and general tax and corporate compliance requirements. She frequently advises for-profit clients on a variety of charitable fundraising matters, such as commercial co-venture campaigns. She also assists high-net-worth individuals with charitable giving and estate and business succession planning. A respected advocate, Nikki is adept at managing the routine matters critical to maintaining successful tax-exempt operations and navigating her clients through the most challenging and nuanced issues to position them to tackle large projects with far-reaching impact.
With practice at the intersection of nonprofit operations and tax and wealth planning, Nikki brings clients the options and resources necessary to be changemakers.
- To spark overdue reform for women in the workplace, Nikki assisted with establishing the initial structure of the Time’s Up organizational framework, including drafting a memorandum of understanding with the National Women’s Law Center, which served to create the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. She also coordinated with multiple stakeholders to synchronize strategies across charitable activity, marketing, and intellectual property matters.
- On behalf of the Horowitz Family Foundation, Nikki negotiated and drafted grant agreements for six-figure fundraising campaigns to support COVID-19-related research in California prisons and within international and diverse communities across the state that are impacted by the pandemic.
- In her capacity as ongoing counsel for an organization’s separate but related 501(c)(3) charitable and 501(c)(4) advocacy operations, Nikki drafts and reviews independent contractor agreements, talent contracts, and hotel agreements for the organization’s large events.
- Nikki provides ongoing advice and counsel on corporate governance and compliance matters for a prominent family foundation based in Los Angeles, including revising bylaws and advising on grant distributions.
Nikki is a member of the Venable Success Network, the firm’s affinity group designed to empower Black attorneys through fostering and promoting strong professional networks and educational initiatives. She is also a member of the Hiring and Pro Bono Committees for Venable’s Los Angeles office, as well as a summer associate workflow coordinator. In these capacities, Nikki takes an active role in recruiting new associates and in the creation and cultivation of inclusive and progressive workplaces for her colleagues. She is also involved in the legal professional community in her roles as former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Exempt Organizations Committee and member of the American Bar Association Section on Taxation. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust (B.E.S.T.), a nonprofit organization that provides financial and academic support to low-income, academically ambitious Black students attending independent schools in the Baltimore area.
Originally from Baltimore, Nikki attended Columbia University, graduating with a B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies. After graduation, Nikki moved to Houston where she taught third and fourth grade for two years as a Teach For America corps member. Through teaching, Nikki honed her creative problem-solving skills and learned to think on her feet – qualities that served her well as a law student at Duke University School of Law. While there, Nikki was actively involved in the Innocence Project and the Black Law Student Association and served as senior research editor for the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy and as lead editor for the Duke Forum for Law & Social Change.
Director & Associate General Counsel,
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
Charlene Jones is a Director and Associate General Counsel at Citigroup, where she is responsible for litigation matters concerning the Institutional Clients Group and serves as a member of the legal department’s Global Diversity Council. Prior to Citi, Charlene was a litigation associate in the New York office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Charlene received her B.A. with honors from New York University and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. Given her belief that it is important to give back to one’s community, Charlene devotes substantial time to various pro bono endeavors, including, most recently, serving as a volunteer and mentor with Legal Outreach and volunteering for Sanctuary for Families’ Green Card Assistance Project. She is a member of SIFMA’s Compliance & Legal Society’s Future Leaders Committee. Charlene also serves on the Board of Directors for the Urban Justice Center.
Aaron Kleven is an attorney in the Global Client Management group at Visa. After graduating from Stanford Law School, Aaron began his legal career in the Finance and Bankruptcy group at Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton. There he primarily represented large financial institutions in complex, secured transactions, and worked on various bankruptcy-related matters. Aaron has also held positions at Chapman & Cutler LLP, and the digital media company, Wanderful Media. Since joining Visa in 2016, Aaron has, successfully negotiated hundreds of commercial contracts between Visa and various financial institutions and merchants, including some of the most well-known companies in the world. He has assisted Visa’s Deputy General Counsel in managing some of Visa’s most valuable client relationships. Aaron’s pro bono work includes assisting with an adoption for a financially stressed family and helping to secure asylum for a client fleeing domestic violence in her home country. Aaron is based in the San Francisco Bay Area where he lives with his wife and three rescued terriers.
Nathalie Le Ngoc
Senior Corporate Counsel – Global Labor & Employment,
Nathalie Le Ngoc is Senior Counsel, Global Labor & Employment at Salesforce.com. She was previously VP, Deputy General Counsel, Corporate at Salesforce.org, a public benefit enterprise that provides best-in-class technology to social impact organizations. She began her practice at Littler Mendelson, where she advised corporate clients on a broad spectrum of labor and employment issues and represented clients from the administrative agency stage throughout all phases of litigation.
Nathalie serves on the Board of Directors for the Asian American Bar Association (AABA) of the Greater Bay Area, and previously served as Co-Chair of AABA’s In-House Committee. She also served as Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley’s (APABA-SV) Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Nathalie has worked on pro bono matters with Bay Area Legal Aid, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and is also a regular volunteer with San Francisco Unified School District. She has been invited to speak on a variety of topics regarding labor and employment law, in-house legal practice, and diversity and inclusion. Nathalie received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.
Olivene Makerson is Commercial Counsel with Google Cloud where she advises business clients and stakeholders on legal issues and risks related to technology agreements. Olivene works closely with her business partners and is always willing to take on the most challenging problems. Before joining Google, She worked for VMware, Inc., where she focused on shaping and negotiating sophisticated technology agreements related to on-premise software, cloud services, and professional services. She also served as a subject matter expert and legal liaison with the compliance services group, helping to advise and resolve compliance matters.
Olivene also has experience in-house in the financial services industry, working for Primerica, Inc., a company that distributes term life insurance, mutual funds, annuities, and other financial products. Olivene focused her practice on securities investigations, regulatory compliance, and general corporate matters. She served as lead counsel of all company and agent-created advertising and managed a team of analysts to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. She also supported senior counsel in conducting due diligence for new product initiatives and lines of business.
Olivene currently serves as the VP of Communications and Membership for the Association of Corporate Counsel Georgia, a diverse community of in-house counsel that administers educational programs, public service initiatives, and fosters professional relationship building. She is also a member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), an organization that nurtures, supports and galvanizes the power of Black women in the legal profession.
Outside of law, Olivene is a faithful servant leader and has a passion for various local community organizations. She volunteers her time as a board member and advocacy committee member for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve maternal and infant health through advocacy, education, and vital resources. She serves as a leader in the women’s ministry through her church, supporting women connecting spiritually, emotionally, and socially. Also, she is a former member of the Junior League of Atlanta (JLA), an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing women’s potential, and improving the community through trained volunteers’ effective action and leadership. Through JLA, Olivene served on an advocacy-based committee for generational poverty because her state had one of the highest child poverty rates, with more than one-quarter of its children living in poverty. She volunteered with the American Red Cross in local blood donation centers – initiating blood drives, and creating disaster kits for families in crisis.
Olivene received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and graduated from Stetson University College of Law. In her free time, she loves to garden, play tennis, and learn to play golf. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, Rick, and daughters Harris and Ricki.
Vice President/Senior Counsel,
Jermaine McPherson is currently a Vice President/Senior Counsel at Goldman Sachs responsible for strategy and management of consumer litigation matters. He primarily handles litigation and regulatory matters connected to the consumer space but also handles more broad based litigation matters dealing with such areas as ERISA. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 2019, Jermaine served as Vice President Assistant General Counsel at JPMorgan for six years. While at JPMorgan, Jermaine was responsible for managing and devising legal strategy for complex consumer litigation and class action matters involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Housing Act, bankruptcy, tax, employment and regulatory matters, and government subpoenas and investigations. Moreover, he coordinated legal and business interests with outside counsel and business clients including large scale data analysis and managed a team of junior attorneys for consumer litigation matters and served as a relationship manager for various investors. Prior to joining JPMorgan in 2013, Jermaine was a litigation associate at DLA Piper for six years. While at DLA Piper, his practice focused on complex commercial litigation matters involving securities, white collar, real estate, insurance, regulatory enforcement and employment issues. He conducted depositions in commercial matters, supervised complex document reviews, conducted oral arguments and served as a member of various trial teams in state and federal court. Before attending law school, Jermaine taught English literature and history to 7th and 8th grade students in New York City.
Jermaine is a 1999 graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, a 2003 graduate of Yale University and a 2007 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. Jermaine is a member of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest’s Pro Bono Advisory Council. He resides in Long Island with his wife and two children. Outside of work, he is an avid sports fan.
Senior Corporate Counsel,
Luana Mendes Martinez is a Senior Corporate Counsel at Salesforce, based in New York City. She is a transactional attorney licensed in Brazil and New York who currently oversees the commercial legal affairs for the company’s subsidiary in Brazil. She has been instrumental in guiding the company through the complex international commercial customer deals and Salesforce’s growth in Latin America. Luana is recognized by the company’s leadership in Brazil and the commercial team she supports as a business partner and not just a legal advisor. Salesforce is a Fortune 500 company that has been named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” the past eight years, one of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” the past three years and one of Forbes Magazine’s “Most Innovative Companies” since the inception of Forbes’s list.
Through Luana’s leadership, Salesforce merged from a US contracting model to a local business model in Brazil, and is now enabled to contract, sell and bill locally in the region. Her current focus is on supporting the business team in Brazil including the development of policies and contract templates, and negotiating SaaS agreements with strategic customers. She is also responsible for leading legal trainings for the sales teams. Luana manages a local lawyer in Sao Paulo and plans to grow the department and develop a high performing local legal team to accommodate the company’s growth in the region.
Born and raised in Brazil, Luana practiced law in Rio de Janeiro for several years before moving to the United States. She started her career at IRB Brazil RE, the largest reinsurance company in Latin America, counseling the Board of Directors on matters related to international law. Later, she managed the law department for the Brazilian subsidiary of Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc., a global producer of engineered solutions and materials, where she was responsible for overseeing legal and compliance matters for the company. After relocating to the US, she worked in private practice for over 10 years at the law firm of Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler, a New York City mid-sized full-service firm.
Outside of work, Luana enjoys spending time with her husband Steve and their three children: Lucas (13), Nicolas (11) and Carolina (5) in Montclair, NJ, where she is involved as a volunteer in different programs for the school district. One of her favorite tasks is her work in the STEM career fair, where she presents a negotiation class to middle school students, with a focus on technology contracts. Luana is passionate about children’s rights and education and is currently a volunteer attorney for the leading national organization advocating for the rights of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children in the U.S. – KIND: Kids in Need of Defense, providing pro-bono services to unaccompanied migrant children going through immigration proceedings in the United States.
Luana has a Bachelor of Law degree from Universidade Santa Ursula and an LL.M. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She has also completed a Negotiation & Leadership program at Harvard Law School.
Associate General Counsel, IP Litigation,
Shayne O’Reilly is Associate General Counsel for IP Litigation at Facebook, Inc. where he manages domestic and international intellectual property litigation matters. Prior to joining Facebook, Shayne worked for Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP where his practice focused on patent litigation, client counseling, technology transactions, due diligence investigations, and post grant review work. Outside of work, Shayne enjoys working with non-profit organizations and serves on the Board of The Ron Clark Academy and the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League. Shayne has received the Silicon Valley Business Journal 40 under 40 award, MCCA Rising Star award, and National Bar Association Diversity in Tech award. Shayne is a registered patent attorney. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and his Juris Doctor from the UNC at Chapel Hill School of Law.
Corporate & Securities Associate,
Amit Parekh is a member of the Corporate & Securities Practice Group of Baker McKenzie LLP, based in the New York office. He advises on a broad range of corporate and transactional matters, including domestic and international acquisition and other debt financings, with an emphasis on leveraged loans and the public and private offering of corporate securities.
Amit routinely advises leading companies, private equity sponsors, and their portfolio companies, lenders and other financial institutions in connection with a variety of secured lending and other corporate finance transactions, including acquisition financings, high yield bond issuances, bridge facilities and syndicated credit facilities. He additionally advises domestic and international issuers, as well as underwriters, in a variety of SEC-registered and private securities offerings. Amit also regularly advised on securities regulatory and corporate governance matters, including advising companies on a wide range of governance and disclosure issues, including compliance with the Securities Act, Securities Exchange Act and the listing standards of NYSE and Nasdaq.
Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Amit spent several months at a leading international investment bank advising on public disclosure and reporting obligations in connection with legislative developments, the implementation of capital and liquidity requirements and financial market reforms in the United States and Europe.
Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough LLP
Cory Patterson is Of Counsel at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough. He earned his JD and BA, cum laude from North Carolina Central University. Cory’s first legal position out of law school was as an assistant district attorney with the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office in Greensboro/High Point, N.C. At the District Attorney’s office, Cory had the opportunity to handle and try a variety of serious criminal offenses. After several years with the District Attorney’s office, Cory was offered a position as in-house counsel for an upstarting bank, CertusBank. At Certus, Cory advised bank partners on federal bank regulations, interacted with federal and state banking regulators, and advised multiple lines of business within the bank various escalations and legal risks. After Certus, Cory joined Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd as an associate, where he established and grew a practice consisting of insurance defense, construction, and personal injury defense work. At Haynsworth, Cory had the opportunity to become an inaugural member of State Farm’s Rising Star program. Cory also served as the Co-Chair for Haynsworth’s diversity committee.
At Nelson Mullins, Cory focuses his practice on complex civil litigation, primarily bad faith insurance law, insurance coverage issues, toxic torts/asbestos, personal injury litigation, white-collar litigation, along with government and internal investigations. Cory advises insurers, transportation companies, and other businesses on business and litigation strategy. He also represents clients in personal injury cases arising from trucking and bussing accidents, premises liability, products liability, and the like. In his construction matters, Cory has represented general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, and product manufacturers in construction defect claims in arbitrations, state and federal trial courts. Also, he has defended complex civil and criminal cases involving mail fraud, bank fraud, government contract fraud, and other federal crimes.
Cory is involved in various community service, non-profit, and pro bono endeavors. Cory is a member of the Rotary Club of Greenville, and former President of the Board for the Friends of the Greenville County Library System, board member of the Upstate Carolina Education Outreach, and a board member of the South Carolina chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Also, he is a member of the Greenville Cancer Institute Advancement Council that is responsible for raising funds to support the Prisma Cancer Institute in Greenville, South Carolina. Cory’s pro bono endeavors include representing federal inmates in cases in which their civil rights and liberties were violated. Also, representing indigent federal criminal defendants in various violations of federal laws.
White & Case LLP
Alvaro is an associate in the International Arbitration Group of White & Case LLP. He advises private companies, foreign sovereigns, and state entities in the resolution of U.S. and international litigation. Alvaro’s work is focused on international dispute resolution and transnational disputes involving sovereign states and Latin America. These cases have spanned various substantive areas, including infrastructure, energy, and the environment. Alvaro is also involved in pro bono activities relating to international human rights proceedings and the representation of asylum applicants in the U.S. immigration court. He is based in Washington, D.C. and has previously resided in the Firm’s Paris office.
Prior to White & Case, Alvaro worked with global institutions, including the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, and with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Alvaro earned his B.A. from the University of Florida, and his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law. A native of the U.S. and Nicaragua, Alvaro is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Crowell & Moring LLP
Michelle Pham is a counsel in Crowell & Moring’s New York office and a member of the Corporate Group. Michelle represents clients on cross-border and U.S. domestic transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and private equity and venture capital equity and debt financings. Michelle also advises clients on general corporate and complex commercial matters, including entity formation, corporate governance, restructurings and commercial matters relating to products, suppliers, customers, consultants, and employees. Michelle’s corporate practice spans multiple industries, including hospitality, health care, retail, entertainment, technology, and manufacturing.
Representative matters that Michelle has handled include:
- Represented a U.S. hospitality group in its approximately $118 million stock sale and joint venture with a French hospitality group, redemption of its preferred stockholders’ equity interest, and refinancing of its unsecured debt facility.
- Represented a U.S. provider of on-site prevention and wellness services in its approximately $110 million stock sale to a U.S. provider of diagnostic information services.
- Represented a U.S. record label in its approximately $40 million sale of substantially all of its assets, including legacy Latin music master recordings and compositions, to a U.S. independent music company.
- Represented a U.S. private equity fund in its approximately $30 million Series B investment in a U.S. dental aligner products company and approximately $97 million Series B investment in a U.S. packaging products and services provider.
- Represented a U.S. high-end activewear company in its approximately $3.4 million convertible notes offering (led by a U.S. venture capital fund), approximately $9.5 million Series D round (led by a U.S. commercial real estate company), and approximately $30 million Series E round (led by a French private equity fund).
Michelle also maintains an active pro bono practice representing immigrant children in partnership with Kids in Need of Defense and non-profit organizations focused on empowering youth in New York City. Michelle was selected for the 2018 Council of Urban Professionals Fellows Program, a year-long leadership development program in New York City for professionals of color across sectors who are committed to positively impacting their communities, and was recently selected for the 2020 Associate Leadership Institute of the New York City Bar, a year-long series of high-level development trainings for mid-level and senior associates and counsel at law firms in New York City.
Michelle received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Analysis with an emphasis on Politics from Pomona College and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was named a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and received the Parker School Recognition of Achievement in International and Comparative Law. During law school, she spent a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and served as a student editor of the American Review of International Arbitration and as a research assistant to Professor Kimberlé W. Crenshaw and the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. During college, she spent a semester abroad in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Michelle was born and raised in San Jose, California and currently lives in Washington Heights in New York City with her partner, Daniel Vazquez, and their pit bull rescue, Aretha.
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Sunu Pillai counsels construction and energy industry clients on issues throughout the project life-cycle, from contract formation through dispute resolution. Having worked in the construction industry as an engineer, project manager and claims consultant prior to his legal career, Sunu has a deep understanding of issues related to construction disputes. He assists owners, contractors, sureties, subcontractors and engineering firms on issues including differing site conditions, schedule delays, Miller Act claims, loss of productivity, and design issues. He has represented clients in various state and federal courts, and in arbitrations under American Arbitration Association (AAA), International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) rules.
In addition to being an advocate on behalf of his clients, Sunu is an arbitrator with AAA for construction- related cases. He is certified as a Fellow with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb), and is an approved mediator with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Sunu is a member of the editorial board for the Dispute Resolution Magazine, the publication of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Section of Dispute Resolution. He is the vice-chair of the ADR Committee at the Allegheny County Bar Association, and is a recipient of AAA’s Higginbotham Fellowship.
Sunu has represented clients in numerous commercial litigations involving issues ranging from non- compete clauses, title insurance issues and alleged breach of contract, in various state and federal courts. He also assists clients in complying with privacy and cybersecurity regulations and in responding to potential data breaches. He holds the Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP / US) certification from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).
His prior engineering and project management experience on domestic and international energy, infrastructure and construction projects makes Sunu attuned to the business needs and priorities of his clients. In his consulting career, he worked on projects including power plants, offshore oil and gas, shipbuilding,rail construction, industrial plants, road projects and buildings. On these domestic and international projects, Sunu analyzed issues including schedule delays, disruption, acceleration and inefficiencies. He also has broad experience in change management, including quantifying delays and providing advice on dispute avoidance. His engineering experience involved working as a naval architect in the shipbuilding industry, in both design and field engineering. Sunu holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in naval architecture and multiple industry certifications including Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM) and Project Management Professional (PMP).
Sunu has presented at multiple conferences including the Construction Super Conference and the AGC Conference on Construction Risk Management. He has spoken at various CLE events on construction law related topics. Sunu has written multiple articles for the ABA Section of Litigation’s ADR Committee Newsletter, and in Bloomberg Law. He also contributes regularly to his firm’s blogs. He is a member of the Executive Committee at the Hay-Sell American Inns of Court, the Board of Directors at Allegheny County Bar Foundation (ACBF), and the Advocacy Committee at the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (LCLD). Sunu is also active in the ABA Forum on Construction Law, including its Diversity and Technology Committees.
Assistant General Counsel,
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), an Exelon utility
Emma is the Assistant General Counsel for Illinois regulatory matters for Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), an Exelon utility. She is also a stinky cheese enthusiast, a cancer survivor and an avid Chicago Cubs fan.
In her current role as AGC for ComEd, she appears before its state regulator, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), on a variety of administrative law matters, including customer assistance and customer solutions, energy efficiency and demand response, beneficial electrification, rate reconciliation proceedings, formula rate cases, and most recently, ComEd’s COVID-19 response. Emma collaborates frequently on cross-department issues with ComEd and Exelon commercial and litigation counsel, and other business units, including accounting, finance, customer operations, customer service, regulatory affairs and external affairs.
In her capacity as in-house counsel, Emma provides legal and compliance advice to senior leadership. Emma has led several complex settlement efforts through intensive negotiations involving a wide variety of stakeholders.
Prior to joining ComEd, Emma served as senior regulatory counsel at San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E; a Sempra utility) for 8 years. She represented the company before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and served as the lead attorney on diverse matters including nuclear decommissioning, investigations, cost allocation, affiliate transactions, research and development, non-traditional revenue opportunities, and general rate cases. Emma was heavily involved in several matters related to the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS), including the decommissioning of the plant, and related cost recovery and litigation matters.
Emma takes great pride in working for regulated utilities, and approaches each proceeding as an opportunity to arrive at the right solution for the company and its ratepayers. She strives to build strong relationships and trust with Commission Staff and various stakeholders, and looks for strategic settlement opportunities, even in contentious situations.
Before becoming a utility attorney, Emma worked to Jones Day as a litigation associate, and at Legal Aid Chicago as an attorney handling family law and special education law matters. Prior to her legal career, Emma worked and interned for a variety of organizations, including the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the chambers of a federal circuit judge, the United States Attorney’s Office, a crisis communications and public relations firm, a Washington D.C. lobbying group, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Emma graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science of Foreign Service and studied law at DePaul University College Of Law. She has studied abroad in South Africa, France and Germany, and is barred in both Illinois and California.
Emma lives outside of Chicago with her two small children, her husband (a professor of political science who commutes weekly to California to teach), and her beloved Labrador Retriever, SallyBear. She serves on the Ambassadors Board for Legal Aid Chicago and volunteers for multiple organizations, including Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and Lawyers in the Classroom. When not working remotely or virtually volunteering, she enjoys cooking, reading, watching Scandinavian shows, and planning trips for the hopefully not-too-distant future.
Associate Product Counsel,
Jonelle Saunders is Associate Product Counsel at Google Health where she counsels on a mixed portfolio of health-related projects, including providing regulatory guidance, and advising product, research and business development teams dedicated to using technology to help advance human health. In this role, Jonelle advises teams from the initial stages of product development through launch and commercialization on laws and regulations related to the development and commercialization of health technologies, including data privacy, product liability, healthcare fraud and abuse. Jonelle is also responsible for reviewing and structuring agreements with potential partners in compliance with applicable law.
Prior to joining Google, Jonelle was an Associate on the healthcare and government investigation teams at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Jonelle advises clients on internal investigations, regulatory enforcement, compliance strategy and healthcare regulatory counseling (Anti-Kickback Statutes, False Claims Act, Privacy, Transparency Reporting). Jonelle has experience in investigations before the US Department of Justice, the HHS Office of Inspector General, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. Before joining Morgan Lewis, Jonelle was Associate Counsel at JPMorgan Chase focusing on litigation, government relations, government investigations, and regulatory enforcement. Jonelle has co-authored more than a dozen publications concerning various developments in the healthcare industry and hosted several webinars on digital health and healthcare compliance.
In addition to her legal experience, Jonelle has attained a Masters Degrees focused in Bioethics (MBE) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Policy and Management (MS) from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. While at Carnegie Mellon, Jonelle was a Science and Humanities Scholar and completed a joint bachelors and masters degree program in four years. In her time at Carnegie Mellon, Jonelle partnered with UPMC’s Children’s Hospital to create an interactive injury prevention program for Children with Special Health Care Needs in conjunction with the Children’s Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Jonelle is committed to serving her community and serves as an Associate Trustee for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Jonelle has accumulated hundreds of pro bono hours with organizations focusing on access to healthcare, civil rights, voter suppression, domestic violence, and immigration. Additionally, Jonelle is a Board Member and Program Director for the Rising Leaders mentoring program at Capital City Middle School where she manages and trains mentors for individualized mentoring of middle school students and serves as primary liaison between the Executive Board and school leadership.
Jonelle is originally from New York but currently resides in Washington, DC. In her spare time, Jonelle enjoys long distance running, creating content for her food blog, and spending time with her book club.
Director, Global Privacy Counsel,
Leslie Stevens is a Director, Global Privacy Counsel at Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine California and is responsible for their global privacy program. Leslie was previously with Agilent Technologies, working as their Privacy and Compliance Counsel since July 2017. Prior to Agilent, Leslie spent five years pursuing a PhD in Privacy Law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, working with public sector agencies in the UK to unlock the potential of their data. Because of these experiences, Leslie believes that an organization handling privacy responsibly and ethically is critical to their success and is key to unlocking value in the digital economy.
Her journey into privacy law started in 2007 while working for the Irish Government’s Investment and Development Agency in California. Here she was exposed to Silicon Valley technology companies and their concerns over EU privacy laws when expanding their business into Europe. She started her legal career in Fall 2007 by pursuing the evening JD program at Santa Clara Law, while continuing to work full time for the Irish Government.
During her final year at Santa Clara Law in 2011, Leslie knew she had more that she wanted to learn – in particular, about Privacy. Leslie applied to two LLM programs – both in Europe – not exactly the traditional or expected path for someone about to take the California Bar. Ultimately, Leslie chose to move and pursue an LLM in Commercial Law at the University of Edinburgh. It wasn’t until she completed her LLM a year later in 2012 (and first consultancy project in privacy), that she realized her passion for helping organizations to unlock the potential of the data they hold, but in a socially responsible way.
While pursuing her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, Leslie also became a Research Fellow, partnering with leading academics to conduct novel research into ethical and socially responsible ways of using personal data for research. Through her work as a Research Fellow, and her PhD, Leslie established a deep understanding of the principles underlying data governance and how to operationalize privacy law in different contexts. During her time at the University, Leslie was also able to also take on an outreach role which provided opportunities to lead community based activities, such as public forums and social debates on topical Medico-Legal issues.
Five years later in 2017, at the end of the PhD journey, Leslie realized she was ready for a new challenge and to apply the knowledge gained to an entirely different context. Leslie made the transition from academia to in house counsel in July 2017, starting work in Agilent’s UK offices. After completing Agilent’s EU General Data Protection Regulation Project in 2018, Leslie had the opportunity to move back to California and continue her career at their Santa Clara headquarters.
Having lead Agilent’s global privacy program since 2018, in May 2021 Leslie made the move to Edwards Lifesciences where she will be leading Edwards’ privacy program, acting as Director, Global Privacy Counsel. At Edwards Leslie will be directing the company’s efforts to mature a global privacy program that can grow and account for emerging regulations including Brazil’s Lei Geral de Protecao de Dados and California’s Consumer Privacy Act. She is at her happiest when she can partner with the business and consult on the use of new technologies, products and processes to embed privacy and security into their design. Leslie is passionate about her work previously with Agilent, and now with Edwards, as she can contribute to a mission driven company, where the products are designed to improve the wellbeing of patients and where there is a true commitment to carry out business with integrity.
When Leslie is not immersed in all things privacy, she enjoys learning how to make new craft cocktails (preferably with gin), cooking food inspired by her travels or previous life abroad, reading Scandinavian crime fiction or playing her favorite strategy video game.
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Danielle Thompson is a Labor and Employment associate at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, in the firm’s San Francisco office. Danielle started in Sheppard Mullin’s New York office as a summer associate in 2015 and remained there until April 2020, when she transferred to the firm’s San Francisco office. Her practice focuses on employment discrimination and wage and hour litigation, as well as advice and counsel regarding various topics including hiring, discipline, employee complaints, and terminations. She also advises clients regarding employment policies, handbooks, and agreements. In her practice, Danielle also routinely conducts workplace trainings and internal investigations for her clients. Danielle is currently admitted in New York and plans to take the California bar in October 2020.
Danielle is active in her firm’s affinity groups, particularly the firm’s attorney’s of color network. She also co-leads the firm’s Black Associates sub-group. She has helped to plan two of the firm’s last three diversity and inclusion retreats. In 2018, Danielle also organized a firm-wide CLE on Intersectionality, hosted by UC Berkeley Law professor, Russell Robinson, who guest lectured in Danielle’s Intersectionality seminar at Columbia Law, which was taught by Kimberlé Crenshaw.
Danielle attended law school at Columbia Law, where she served on the Columbia Journal of Race & Law as both a 2L staff editor and, as a 3L, the Journal’s Notes Editor. Danielle published her student note, “Midwives and Pregnant Women of Color: Why we Need to Understand Intersectional Changes in Midwifery to Reclaim Home Birth”, in the Columbia Journal of Race & Law in 2016. Danielle was also a member of Columbia’s BLSA, Empowering Women of Color (EWOC), and OUTlaws groups. Danielle also served as a 1L mentor at Columbia during her 2L and 3L years. Danielle graduated from Columbia in May 2016. Danielle received her bachelor’s degree in 2012 from UC Santa Barbara, where she studied Political Science and Philosophy, with an emphasis in Political Theory. She was born and raised in Berkeley, California, where she currently resides with her husband, 18 month-old daughter, and five year- old dog. Danielle is of Jamaican descent. Her mother was born in the parish of St. Elizabeth on Jamaica’s west coast and immigrated to England in the early 1960s. Both Danielle and her mother are dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Danielle is also a trained birth doula and childbirth educator and spends a portion of her free time providing her services and support, as well as evidence-based resources, to expecting and new parents. Danielle is passionate about birth justice and black maternal health. Danielle other interests include hot yoga, sci-fi and fantasy novels, television, and movies, baking, and crocheting.
Danielle hopes to hone her leadership and team building skills in the Sources of Success Program to better her ability to lead and thrive both in her employment practice as well as in her firm’s affinity groups. She also hopes to form strong connections with other Program members and use the skills she learns to further her efforts in birth justice and hopefully begin performing pro bono work in that area to bring her career and personal passions together in a meaningful and constructive way.
Anjum Unwala currently serves as Counsel at Capital One which she joined in April 2020. She advises the Customer Advocacy Office in the review and response of highly escalated consumer complaints, attorney prelitigation demands, and inquiries from state and federal regulatory entities. Anjum also supports special projects in the business and serves as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) complaints lead.
Prior to joining Capital One, Anjum was an associate at both the New York and Washington DC offices of Hogan Lovells, starting in the litigation group and then focusing her practice in the government investigations group of the firm. While at Hogan Lovells, Anjum advised a diverse range of clients, from pharmaceutical companies to an international telecommunications company, on strategies to respond to various federal and state government requests for documents and information and subpoenas. As part of her work, Anjum conducted numerous witness interviews, conducted cross-border document collections and reviews, and represented her clients before various state and federal government agencies.
Anjum is passionate about pro bono service and advocating for those that are disadvantaged by systemic injustices. Of her long list of accomplishments, she notably obtained asylum for a client who fled his home country after being persecuted for his sexual orientation; secured a five year order of protection for a victim of domestic abuse and her daughter from her estranged husband; and negotiated a settlement with a city housing agency to obtain safe housing for her client and her client’s family. In 2016, she was recognized, as part of a Hogan Lovells team, as a distinguished recipient of the Sanctuary for Families “Above & Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Award” for helping create new federal precedent protecting domestic abuse victims from paying legal fees and court costs to their abusers in Hague Convention related litigation (see the Souratgar v. Fair decision).
Anjum helped lead the Asian American Affinity group at Hogan Lovells with other attorneys of Asian descent to support attorneys of color and Asian descent in their legal practice through which she created programming and helped implement mentoring initiatives. Since 2017, Anjum has served on the board of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington DC Area (APABA-DC) in various capacities and is currently serving as the Vice President of Community Affairs. She also will be serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Board at Capital One for a two year tenure starting in the fall of 2020.
After graduating from New York University with a degree in finance and international business and before attending law school, Anjum interned at the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and served as a year long Indicorps Fellow in rural India. As an Indicorps Fellow based with a local non-profit, Anjum helped develop a small business training program, an activity based science curriculum, and a youth Ultimate Frisbee team. She graduated with her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Anjum is a Jersey girl at heart, having grown up in the suburbs of southern New Jersey, and currently resides with her family in northern Virginia. In her spare time, she enjoys running and has completed two half marathons; reading; traveling; binge-watching the Great British Bakeoff and reality TV; and experimenting with baking in her kitchen.
Ali Amirmahani is Corporate Counsel at Amazon where he provides product counseling to existing and upcoming consumer products and services. He supports clients from concept to development and launch, including privacy and regulatory reviews, data collection efforts, open source use, legal terms and notices, and product marketing and sales. Ali also advises on various aspects of hardware and software development, including drafting and negotiating complex commercial partnerships, IP and technology licenses, custom hardware development, and cloud services. Other support areas include cross-functional public policy, privacy and cybersecurity, computer vision, and artificial intelligence engagements.
Originally from Iran, Ali grew up in Germany and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue his educational goals. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from UC Berkeley, and prior to law school, worked as a software engineer and technical co-founder at venture-backed startups, developing computer-vision-powered business analytics and intelligent surveillance solutions. He received his J.D. from UC Berkeley where he participated in a new business clinic helping non-profits and low-income entrepreneurs on transactional matters. Most-recently, Ali provided pro-bono support to a local non-profit that delivered groceries to immune-compromised individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before an unfortunate car accident, Ali enjoyed stand-up comedy, played two Persian instruments, and passionately searched for the perfect cup of coffee. He hopes to resume some of his passions in the future.
Principal Product Counsel,
Zohra Anwari is a corporate attorney at GitHub supporting software engineering teams creating products and services for developers worldwide. As product counsel, her practice is focused on a wide range of matters from intellectual property, to licensing and privacy. Zohra provides front line legal support for product teams, from ideation to mass production as well as handling issues arising after products have launched. Zohra works closely with GitHub’s Accessibility team to support their goal of making technology accessible to as many people as possible.
Prior to joining GitHub, Zohra was product counsel for Microsoft’s Surface hardware engineering team. Before shifting her practice towards product counseling, Zohra practiced law at a boutique health law firm in Washington, DC and AdvaMed, advising on legal, regulatory and compliance issues affecting highly regulated healthcare industries including medtech and pharmaceuticals. Zohra started her legal and regulatory career as a Senior Program Associate in AdvaMed’s Technology and Regulatory Affairs department providing regulatory guidance to companies with emerging technologies in the medtech space. Zohra obtained both her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and her Juris Doctorate from George Mason University. She also holds a Certificate in US Health Care Compliance from Seton Hall University School of Law.
Zohra regularly mentors law students and legal interns interested in the areas of health and technology law and volunteers legal services with several organizations. Most recently, Zohra partnered with the University of Washington, acting as a corporate sponsor and legal advisor on a project to support immigrants, refugees, asylees and other foreign-born individuals gain access to legal and community resources and opportunities. Zohra speaks Dari fluently, as her parents came to the US from Afghanistan as war refugees. She supports the Afghan community by working to assist and support the most recent wave of refugees.
Adrienne D. Baker
Adrienne D. Baker has extensive experience tackling legal challenges in the technology sector. She is currently Corporate Counsel at Google LLC, where she counsels hardware marketing teams and is pivotal in creating strategic alignment among legal and business executives. Additionally, Adrienne has also supported cutting-edge machine learning initiatives at the company. Previous to her tenure at Google, Adrienne was an Associate in the Technology & Intellectual Property Transactions group in the New York office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. She was involved in Weil’s representations of clients in matters relating to the licensing, acquisition, development, and sale of intellectual property. Adrienne has been part of several teams advising on a range of transactions, including aspects of intellectual property and technology for Lenovo in its acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google, Yahoo! in its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr, and Eli Lilly and Company in its $5.4 billion acquisition of Novartis Animal Health.
Despite her demanding corporate legal work, pro bono and volunteer activities remain a priority for Adrienne. Her previous pro bono clients include Start Small Think Big, Inc., Kids in Need of Defense, and Volunteers of Legal Services (VOLS) Elderly Project. She received several awards in recognition of her pro bono service, including the New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel Award and the Weil Pro Bono Service Award. She is currently a volunteer mentor to Black and Latinx employees at Google. As a mentor, she advises on career and professional development strategies.
Adrienne graduated from Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology Digest and was on the staff of the Harvard Journal on Legislation. She received her B.A., cum laude, from Harvard University.
Associate, Financial Markets Litigation & Enforcement,
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
Sheehan Band is a senior associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. He concentrates his practice on litigation and enforcement matters with a focus on the financial services industry and regulatory and internal investigations. Sheehan has represented companies and individuals in state and federal court as well as before various regulators, including the CFTC, SEC, CME, and NFA. He also advises clients on the developing laws and regulations related to crypto-assets and blockchain technology, and regularly participates on panels and authors articles in the space. Sheehan also maintains an active pro bono practice, with a focus on wrongful conviction and immigration matters.
Sheehan is committed to supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion both at Katten and in his broader community. He is a Co-Chair of Katten’s Committee for Racial and Ethnic Diversity (CRED) and a board member of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. In 2020, Sheehan participated in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Pathfinder Program.
Sheehan earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis.
Assistant General Counsel, Direct Digital Commerce,
Ms. Brassel is a trusted, senior legal counsel who provides strategic thinking, risk assessment, legal process management, and practical legal advice to executive leadership. She has practiced law for over 12 years in private, top-tier law firms and international, in-house legal teams. Thallen has advised numerous clients including Fortune 500 companies, advertising agencies, entrepreneurs, and start-up ventures on complex legal contracts and transactions. Her practice areas include Commercial Transactions, Intellectual Property, Advertising, Technology, and M&A. Thallen’s professional interests also include Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Business Strategy.
Thallen currently serves at Nike in the role of Assistant General Counsel, North America Nike Direct Digital Commerce. In this position, she supports the business strategy for Nike.com, Nike App, and SNKRS app. Additionally, she provides counsel to Nike’s Consumer Services and Social Media teams.
Thallen is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Duke University School of Law. She is a Tennessee native, living in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Alandis, and two boys, AJ and Theo. In her free time, Thallen enjoys travel, wine tasting, and tennis.
Christina J. Deleveaux
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.
Christina J. Deleveaux is a senior attorney in the Commercial Litigation Section of the Law Department of Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. As an experienced litigator, she handles property damage matters arising from excavation and construction activities. Christina works untiringly and readily gets in the trenches alongside her clients to tailor litigation strategies for them.
Prior to joining Con Edison, Christina was an Associate at London Fisher LLP where she represented subcontractors in construction-defect litigation. Christina values public service. Before her role at the law firm, she served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Tort Litigation Section of the Division of Law for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. There she represented state agencies in federal and state courts, obtaining favorable jury verdicts in premises liability trials.
Christina is licensed to practice law in the State of New Jersey and the State of New York. She is admitted to practice in the United States District Court of the District of New Jersey, Eastern District of New York, and Southern District of New York. She is a member of the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association, Forum on Construction Law.
She is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law and received an undergraduate degree from Macalester College.
Rodney Dillard II
Baker Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Rodney Dillard II is an associate in Baker Donelson’s Birmingham office and concentrates his practice in high exposure commercial and business litigation, complex transportation, construction, insurance defense and complex tort litigation. Mr. Dillard represents regional and national clients across a variety of industries in all Alabama and Georgia state and federal courts.
Prior to joining Baker Donelson, Mr. Dillard worked as in-house counsel for a large national insurance company, representing the company and its insureds in a variety of disputes including first- and third-party litigation and subrogation matters and providing opinions on coverage issues. Further, Mr. Dillard recovered thousands of dollars for the company by filing and trying numerous subrogation claims on its behalf. He has obtained several defense verdicts throughout his practice in the areas of complex tort defense and construction litigation.
Prior to practicing law, Mr. Dillard worked for several years in the field of grants and contract administration for the City of Birmingham and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While working for the City’s finance department as a grant administrator, Mr. Dillard collaborated with the Grants Management Division of the Mayor’s Office on grant policies for municipal employees, monitored the City’s state and federal grants to ensure compliance, and provided grant management training. While at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he negotiated and redlined state and federal contracts and agreements between the University and federal government, other academic institutions, and health institutions.
Ashlei Ferguson is corporate counsel at Microsoft in the Corporate, External and Legal Affairs group (CELA), where she conducts and reviews workplace investigations. Prior to joining Microsoft, Ashlei served the citizens and employees in the District of Columbia Government as Assistant General Counsel at the Office of Administrative Hearings and a Human Rights Officer at the Office of Human Rights. Ashlei is a graduate of the University of Florida and Florida A&M University College of Law. Ashlei is a member of the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the Women’s Law Division of the National Bar Association (GWAC), the Washington Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the University of Florida Association of Black Alumni. She is also a member of the DC and Florida Bars. Originally from Miami, Fl, Ashlei lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband and daughter.
Alicia Forte is Counsel at Verizon Business Group, specializing in enterprise commercial contracting. Alicia serves as the primary legal contact for a host of customers, including retail and financial accounts located in the Northeast and South areas. Alicia provides sophisticated legal analysis and advice to the Sales teams she supports to close deals and grow Verizon’s Wireline and Wireless business. She consistently provides sound strategic legal advice concerning legal and business matters arising from complex commercial agreements such as managed hosting, integrated services, eCommerce, SaaS, cloud, software licensing, business associate agreements, security services, professional services, consulting, sourcing, reseller/system integrator, non-disclosure, and distribution agreements ranging from $5,000,000 to $40,000,000 annually.
Alicia’s extensive experience and knowledge include providing guidance to the overall enterprise organization, where she has been enlisted to assist on various corporate-wide legal projects. She was selected to draft and negotiate pre-commercial agreements to support Verizon’s enterprise roll-out of its 5G and Mobile Edge Computing products and services. Alicia counsels the Contract Enforcement team relating to Verizon’s ability to terminate enterprise agreements and increase rates for the terminated customers. She also chairs Verizon’s compliance with customer Covid-19 vaccine mandates team supporting Global Enterprise, Public Sector, System Integrators, and Small and Medium Business Units. In January, Alicia’s leadership abilities were recognized when she became a people leader, managing the contract managers on her team.
Alicia has been with Verizon since 2008, then supporting enterprise customers on the Verizon Wireless side, and since its inception in 2012, is part of what has evolved into today’s Verizon Business Group. Prior to arriving at Verizon, Alicia was an associate for Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP and Pepper Hamilton LLP (now Troutman Pepper) where she was a commercial litigation associate specializing in antitrust cases. Alicia received her Juris Doctorate degree from Villanova University School of Law and her Bachelor of Science from the first accredited HBCU, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
Alicia is committed to pro bono causes involving young adults and has been actively involved in Verizon’s Street Law program since it was launched in Basking Ridge and since moving to New York, she remains committed to this program.
Alicia is married with two young children, Bryce (9) and Chloe (5). In her spare time, Alicia has developed a passion for learning and investing in the stock market and she is involved in several groups focused on financial literacy.
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP
Lauren Fortunato is a corporate litigator at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP. Lauren’s practice focuses on the representation of corporations and alternative entities, directors, officers, managers, stockholders and members in both commercial and corporate disputes in Delaware state and federal courts, with a concentration on matters in the Court of Chancery. She has particular experience in prosecuting and defending expedited books and records actions as well as representing corporate special litigation committees.
Lauren graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia where she studied foreign affairs, political history, and Italian. Fluent in Italian, Lauren has studied and worked in Italy; she frequently travels there to visit family. Following college, Lauren attended Villanova University School of Law where she graduated cum laude.
Born and raised in Delaware, Lauren returned to her home state to practice law. As a mother of two daughters under the age of 3, Lauren is committed to promoting the development of women in their careers. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Junior League of Wilmington, previously served on the board of trustees of a local school, and frequently volunteers as a guardian ad litem for children in the Delaware foster care system. Lauren serves on her firm’s attorney training committee and as a mentor to junior associates and summer associates. She is a member of the Rodney Inn of Court and the Delaware State Bar Association.
Micah Galindo serves as a Senior Attorney in the Enterprise Litigation group of the Chief Legal Office (CLO). In this role, Micah oversees the team that manages all USAA Bank consumer financial litigation. In addition, Micah manages complex cases and class actions for USAA Bank and is a part of Enterprise Litigation’s IP litigation team. Micah collaborates with attorneys across CLO on special projects and in working groups, including advising on TCPA compliance and arbitration agreement application. Micah advises the business on risk mitigation, process improvement and litigation trends and forecasts. Prior to joining USAA, Micah served as Vice President-Legal for Assessment Technologies, a property tax consulting firm. There he managed a property-tax litigation docket, provided legal advice to the firm’s Bankruptcy Consulting Practice and advised on a wide-range of corporate matters. Micah entered the consumer litigation field as an associate at Parker Ibrahim & Berg, where he represented mortgage servicers before opening his own law firm continuing to represent some of the same financial institutions. Micah began his legal career as an associate for a small-town firm that handled a wide array of civil litigation matters. Much like his unorthodox career, Micah was also an untraditional law student, but his unique journey has given him a different perspective on how to approach problem-solving. He hopes to see more people like himself overcome barriers of their socioeconomic status, race, and limited connections.
To this end, Micah served as a Family Economic Success Intern for the City of San Antonio, developing an inner-city program to educate low-income high school students about sustainable finance. He also ran two successful campaigns for a school board president who then served as a lobbyist for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, instituted a legal aid program for local veterans as VP of AYLA, and was an active member of a local educational co-op. Micah graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio as a Latino Financial Issues Program Scholar, earned his law degree at St Mary’s School of Law while also completing his Master of International Studies as a Distinguished Graduate.
In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and camping with his family, summiting Colorado 14ers, exploring cultures internationally, concerts and working on his 120-year-old house.
Karla Del Pozo García
Dentons US LLP
Karla Del Pozo García is currently an Associate at Dentons’ New York Office and is a member of their Employment and Labor Practice Group. She is also a member of the ADA Website Compliance and Litigation team—practice area in which Dentons is a market leader—where she defends clients against website accessibility claims across the United States.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Karla started her career as a licensed attorney in Puerto Rico where she represented financial institutions, individuals, and governmental entities in general litigation matters before state and federal court. She also represented more than 100 investors in FINRA arbitration claims due to brokerage firms’ misrepresentation and fraud relating to the sale of Puerto Rican municipal bonds and closed-end funds.
In 2018, due to the aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, Karla moved to New York City, where she continued her legal career as a public interest attorney in The Legal Aid Society’s Housing Unit. In this role, she fought to prevent unlawful evictions, preserve affordable housing and ensure tenants’ rights to safe and habitable living conditions.
Karla graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, and studied law at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law. During law school, she clerked at the Court of Appeals of Puerto Rico and at the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
Outside of work, Karla is a proud member of the Hispanic National Bar Association serving as a Deputy Regional President of Region II, a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Task Force on Puerto Rico, and volunteers with local animal-rights organizations that are helping control the overpopulation of stray dogs in Puerto Rico. Currently, Karla lives in Brooklyn, New York with her partner, Stephen, and their two rescue dogs, Poppy and Lila. She enjoys traveling and trying out all the amazing food that NYC has to offer.
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Michelle Georges is Corporate Counsel at Tyson Foods, supporting its Prepared Foods Division, based in Chicago Illinois. In her role Michelle advises the company’s brand marketing teams on a variety of legal issues pertaining to product innovations, line extension development, various marketing and advertising programming and promotions. She regularly negotiates a number of agreements, including sales agreements, vendor agreements, influencer agreements and joint promotion agreements. In addition, Michelle serves as a business unit attorney, where she interfaces with several business teams, such as food safety, where she regularly advises the team on a variety of legal issues pertinent to the organization. Michelle also serves on the department’s Pro Bono Committee, which also develops a number of pro-bono and volunteer activities for all team members of the chief legal officer’s organization.
Michelle is a member of the leadership teams of the African Ancestry and Alliance and Women’s Business Resource Groups (BRG). As a leader in two of Tyson BRGs she assists in the development of programming and initiatives beneficial to its members, Tyson’s organization and the local communities where the company operates. In addition to her work with the BRGS, Michelle also serves as mentor in the Women’s BRG Mentor Circle. Once a month Michelle meets with a group of team members to discuss topics such as career development, overcoming hurdles and managing stressors such as work overload.
Michelle graduated from St. John’s University, with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Government and Politics and minoring in French. Michelle later received her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Michelle is a member of the Illinois State Bar.
Michelle is a native New Yorker who now calls Chicago home. She lives there with her daughter and their tuxedo cat. This past November, Michelle decided to take up running and is currently training for her first Half Marathon.
Puamuh Ghogomu II
Senior Counsel, Employment Law,
Puamuh Ghogomu is Senior Counsel, Employment Law in the Litigation, Compliance & Regulatory Law group at AbbVie. In this role, he is responsible for partnering with Human Resources and company management and leaders to provide legal counseling and advice on a broad range of employment and labor law matters to AbbVie’s research-based pharmaceutical business. He also represents the company in employment matters pending before administrative agencies. He has significant experience managing litigation, in the development and implementation of employment policies, leave of absence and accommodation administration and support, and providing training to managers and HR professionals on a variety of employment issues.
Prior to joining AbbVie, Mr. Ghogomu was Senior Counsel, Employment Law at Walgreens, and prior to that, he was an associate at Littler Mendelson in Chicago. He is licensed to practice in Illinois.
Mr. Ghogomu received his law degree and Master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Director, Employee Relations Counsel,
Richard Greiffenstein is a Director, Employee Relations Counsel at Target, where he supports Target stores on employment law matters, such as providing day-to-day advice, as well as managing employment litigation, administrative charges, and other claims. He is also a member of Target’s Legal Affairs Diversity Action Committee and its Hispanic Business Council. Prior to joining Target, Richard worked as an attorney for Dorsey & Whitney LLP, where his practice focused on employment litigation and client counseling on a broad spectrum of employment issues, both in English and Spanish. He has also worked at other law firms in Minnesota and South Florida as an employment attorney and litigator, and played active roles in the various diverse attorney networks at such firms.
Outside of work, Richard is the current President of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA) and has served on its Board of Directors for the past five years. As President and Board Member, he has helped lead the MHBA in furthering its mission of unifying and organizing all members of the Minnesota Hispanic legal community, promoting its legal professionals, and serving as an advocates for the Hispanic community of Minnesota. Richard is also an active member of the Hispanic National Bar Association.
Richard received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rollins College and earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. In his free time, he enjoys all things outdoors and traveling, particularly to his native Colombia with his wife and two children.
Laselve E. Harrison
Boies Schiller Flexner, LLP
Laselve is an experienced litigator who specializes in high-stakes litigation and appeals in federal and state court. Laselve’s clients value his responsiveness, creative solutions, results-driven approach, and ability to achieve favorable outcomes in line with their business needs. Laselve represents individuals and corporations in complex contractual and business disputes, securities litigation, antitrust and unfair competition claims, real estate development disputes, and multidistrict litigation. Laselve’s appellate experience includes briefing before state appellate courts and the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as successfully arguing a matter of first impression before Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal.
Laselve is an active presence in the community and seeks to effect positive change through his work with the 100 Black Men of South Florida’s Emerging 100, 5000 Role Models of Excellence, Miami Book Fair, and Caribbean Bar Association.
Prior to joining the firm, Laselve clerked for the Honorable Darrin P. Gayles, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida.
Julian A. Jackson-Fannin
Duane Morris, LLP
Julian A. Jackson-Fannin is an attorney in Duane Morris’ Miami office practicing in the area of commercial litigation. Mr. Jackson-Fannin has litigated complex matters in both state and federal courts. During his career, he has advised and represented companies of all sizes as well as individuals in a variety of commercial matters, including contract disputes, consumer protection, copyrights, employment disputes, administrative and regulatory challenges, and media and art law.
Prior to joining Duane Morris, Mr. Jackson-Fannin clerked for the Honorable Donald L. Graham, Senior United States District Judge, at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Mr. Jackson-Fannin also served as an Assistant Public Defender in Florida’s Twelfth Judicial Circuit, where he represented indigent clients as lead and secondary trial counsel on numerous misdemeanor and felony cases.
Mr. Jackson-Fannin is a 2011 cum laude graduate of Florida A&M University College of Law, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Florida A&M University Law Review and a graduate of Emory University.
Vice President & Assistant Corporate Secretary,
Altus Group Limited
Jessica Lee is Vice President, Legal at Altus Group Limited, a global provider of solutions for the valuation, performance and risk management of commercial real estate assets. In this role, Jessica is responsible for mergers and acquisitions and advising on securities and corporate governance matters. Prior to joining Altus, she was Senior Counsel at Canada Goose Inc., where she led securities compliance following the company’s IPO and advised on corporate and commercial matters. Jessica began her career as a securities associate in the Toronto office of Cassels, Brock & Blackwell LLP where her practice focused on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, representing public and private companies as well as investment dealers in a variety of transactions.
Prior to law school, Jessica was a pediatric Occupational Therapist and worked with children on motor skills, sensory integration and self-regulation in school, clinic and home-based settings.
Jessica received her Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) from Queen’s University and her J.D./M.B.A. from Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business.
Séverine Losembe Botumbe
Séverine Losembe is an associate in the New York office of Milbank and a member of the firm’s Global Project, Energy and Infrastructure Finance Group. Her practice focuses on the representation of project sponsors and financial institutions in financings in the power, infrastructure and mining sectors in the U.S., Latin America and Africa, including the representation of:
- International Finance Corporation and Export Development Canada and the commercial lenders in connection with the $300 million financing of the Tasiast gold mine in Mauritania;
- Export credit agencies and commercial lenders in connection with the $2.1 billion construction financing for a Brazilian steel mill owned by a joint venture between POSCO, Dongkuk Steel and Vale S.A. utilizing iron ore from Vale’s Brazilian operations;
- Lenders in connection with the $200 million holdco financing of Cypress Creek’s portfolio of solar projects totaling 1.6 GW across 13 U.S. states;
- Açu Petróleo, a privately-owned oil export terminal in Brazil, in connection with its $600 million 7.50% senior secured notes due in 2035;
- Arrangers, lenders and investors in connection with the approximately $112 million US private placement, letter of credit and holdco financing of a portfolio of six solar projects in Uruguay; and
- Lenders in connection with the $126 million construction financing of a major gas-fired power plant in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Séverine is involved in her community in New York and Kinshasa. She is a co-chair of the Attorneys of African Descent at Milbank, served as president of the Black Law Student Association while in law school and founded, in 2017, the African Women Attorneys’ Network (a network of over 100 women in New York, Washington D.C. and African countries supporting the professional development of its members while providing them with a meaningful support system). Séverine is also the founder of a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to and implements mentorship programs for law students in the DRC and a supporter of the LINDA Project, a community-based solution providing a sustainable safety net for the Goma Volcano Observatory in eastern DRC.
In her pro bono practice, Séverine works with the Haiti Cardiac Alliance, an organization dedicated to scaling up the availability of life-saving cardiac surgery to Haitian children and the Bureau des Droits Humains en Haiti, an independent human rights defense organization based in Port-au-Prince. She also regularly represents pro bono clients in connection with asylum and VAWA petitions. In 2020, Séverine was part of the Milbank team recognized by the Cyrus R. Vance Center for its work with the Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana (the Panamanian national chapter of Transparency International) on an international comparative analysis of the ultimate beneficial ownership registries.
Séverine earned her J.D., cum laude, from Fordham University School of Law, where she was a Ruth Whitehead Whaley Scholar and a recipient of the Archibald P. Murray Award for Public Service. She received a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University. She is a co-author of the Democratic Republic of Congo chapter in Getting The Deal Through: Project Finance (2014 edition) and an article titled “Battery Metals Energize the Mining Sector, Fueling Resiliency” in Milbank’s ProjectPlus+ publication.
Assistant Vice-President and Senior Counsel,
Lincoln Financial Group
Jassmin McIver-Jones serves as Assistant Vice-President and Senior Counsel for Lincoln Financial Group’s annuities business. In her role, she provides support for all aspects of the annuities business including product development, prospectus and contract drafting, and service operations issues. Previously, she served as Counsel for Lincoln Financial Group’s Life Insurance Business. In that role she provided support for variable universal life product development and registration with the SEC, and support to individual life insurance operations. Jassmin serves as a member of Lincoln Legal’s Diversity Action Team and Jassmin began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Forsyth County, North Carolina. Her criminal trial experience covered all matters arising in district court, including but not limited to matters involving juveniles, impaired driving, domestic violence, and child abuse.
Jassmin graduated from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2015. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and African American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011.
Global Investigations Counsel,
Sebastián J. Mollo is a Counsel with the Global Investigations group at Flowserve Corporation, based in Irving, Texas. There, he leads a multidisciplinary, multilingual team that conducts investigations relating to Code of Conduct violations, and other legal, regulatory, or company policy violations, ensuring that the investigations result in remediation actions that maintain a culture of integrity and compliance. To achieve this goal, Sebastián and his team work closely with other line–of–business legal personnel and with their business partners. Flowserve is one of the world’s leading providers of fluid motion and control products and services. The company operates in 56 countries and produces engineered and industrial pumps, seals and valves as well as a range of related flow management services. Flowserve has been included in Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for the past three years and it has been named as number 13 on Forbes’ list of the World’s Top Female Friendly Companies 2021.
Prior to joining Flowserve, Sebastián spent several years at a leading mobile communications company overseeing its anti–bribery/anti–corruption (ABAC) efforts and other areas of compliance. He also worked as a regulatory attorney at a Washington, D.C. law firm and, for many years, supported global investigations and the product integrity programs of the leading research–based pharmaceutical manufacturers.
A native of Argentina, Sebastián earned his B.S./M.D. from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario, an M.B.A. from Georgetown University and his J.D. from The George Washington University School of Law.
Director & Senior Corporate Counsel,
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – Shirley Chisholm
Natasha Newberry is Director & Senior Corporate Counsel for LexisNexis, a division of RELX, Inc. She is an accomplished and results-driven attorney passionate about contributing to the success of minority women within the legal profession. Natasha earned her Juris Doctor from Northern Kentucky University-Chase College of Law in 2008, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University in 2004. She is admitted to the Ohio bar and the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Natasha began her legal career as associate corporate counsel for a small business where she was able to assist with guiding minority business owners through the legal challenges of owning their first franchise. She then became an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office where she successfully litigated a variety of felony cases including theft, domestic violence, rape, and homicide resulting in her promotion to the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Center where she prosecuted cases on behalf of child victims of sexual and physical abuse. Deciding to go back to her roots in the corporate space, she began working at LexisNexis, a leading global provider of legal, regulatory, and business information and analytics. In her current role, Natasha negotiates complex customer contracts and provides business centric advice to various market segments, including corporate, intellectual property, print and editorial operations, large law firm, and government markets. She collaborates and partners with the business to address current legal needs and mitigate potential legal issues.
Natasha is an active member of various professional organizations including the Association of Corporate Counsel, the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the International Bar Association. Natasha is committed to the underrepresented members of the community and has served on the Board of Trustees for Legal Aid of Western Ohio & Advocates for Basic Legal Equality since 2013. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, binge watching TV, and attending Monster Jam truck shows with her son.
Mohammad B. Pathan
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Mohammad B. Pathan is a senior associate in Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s commercial litigation group in New York. Mohammad draws on his years of experience in complex civil litigation, both in private practice and as a law clerk, to provide pragmatic solutions to resolve disputes. He represents large institutional clients in State and Federal courts in New York and New Jersey in cases arising under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, products liability laws, and commercial laws. At Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Mohammad serves on the Litigation Practice Group’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion Committee and strives to address issues pertaining to the advancement of diverse litigators. Mohammad is also the Law Firm Network Chair of the American Muslim Bar Association, where he has worked to create a pro bono network of attorneys to address issues pertaining to Muslim civil liberties and mentors law students and junior attorneys.
Prior to joining Davis Wright Tremaine, Mohammad was an associate at the New York office of Winston & Strawn LLP, where he represented clients in class action antitrust lawsuits. Mohammad also clerked for the Honorable M. Casey Rodgers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, where he managed a multidistrict products liability case (In re Abilify). Mohammad received his B.S. in Accounting from Rutgers University and J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Outside of work, Mohammad enjoys spending time with his wife, who jointly share an interest in hiking, Formula 1, and exploring new restaurants in New York. Mohammad is also an avid cyclist and enjoys teaching high performance driving at racetracks along the Northeast.
Associate General Counsel,
UnitedHealth Group (Optum)
Porsha Reed-Weidner is an Associate General Counsel at Optum, part of UnitedHealth Group. Porsha provides operations legal support for Optum’s locally owned clinics, Management Services Organizations (MSOs), Independent Physicians Associations (IPAs) and Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) in the western states. Porsha focuses on transactional and regulatory guidance and her practice areas include: physician and provider employment agreements, mergers and acquisitions, management service agreements, risk bearing entity agreements, payor contracts, provider compensation plans, ASC supplier agreements, and patient and provider healthcare service incentive plans. Porsha previously worked as an Associate General Counsel at UnitedHealthcare, providing support in the following areas: Utilization Management operations and licensing, clinical programs development, clinical research studies, facility and provider network agreements, Health Information Exchange agreements, and vendor agreements.
Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Porsha was a Privacy Attorney and provided domestic and global data privacy and security legal support for a medical device company and a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) company in the Twin Cities.
Porsha received her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University and her Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law. Porsha is passionate about education and diversity, equity and inclusion. Porsha sits on the UnitedHealth Group Pro Bono Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee. In her community, Porsha sits on the Act Six Urban Ventures Selection Committee, an organization that provides full undergraduate leadership scholarships and the Summer Judicial Internship Diversity (SJID) Selection Committee, where she interviews and trains diverse candidates to be successful in their Federal judicial clerkships.
Porsha is a Chicago native and currently resides in Minneapolis with her husband, three children and dog named Bruno Mars. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar, Minnesota State Bar and the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, baking and oil painting.
Heidi Ruckriegle is Ethics Counsel at Western Union. In her role, she focuses on ethics investigations, ethics training, and ethics and compliance program work, including the employee Code of Conduct, Conflicts of Interest, DEI, and ESG. Heidi is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado Law School where she teaches “The Evolution of the Whistleblower.”
Heidi joined WU from WilmerHale, where her practice focused on regulatory matters and internal investigations. Her global practice included representation of high-profile companies in connection with whistleblower reports and inquiries conducted by Congress, the DOJ, SEC, UK Serious Fraud Office, and other U.S. and international agencies.
Throughout her legal career, Heidi has dedicated significant hours to helping those in need as pro bono counsel including women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, asylum, and bond and bail reform matters. Heidi received her JD and LLM from the University of Denver. Prior to law school, she worked as an instructor for Costa Rica Outward Bound where she led cross-country treks, raft trips, and surf camps. She is fluent in Spanish.
In her free time, Heidi is passionate about the outdoors–especially backcountry skiing and mountain biking. She also serves on the Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative boards.
Janiella C. Shirley
Janiella C. Shirley serves as Senior Property & Casualty Counsel at USAA, a top ranked financial services company that proudly serves the military community. In this role, Janiella provides solution-oriented counsel on all matters affecting USAA’s property and casualty insurance business, from product conception through delivery and fulfillment. She is lead counsel for auto physical damage and special investigation claims, auto modernization efforts, and membership issues. She previously served as lead counsel for USAA’s international insurance operations located in London and Luxembourg as well as marketing, subsidiary governance, state specific and agency issues.
Janiella is a trusted business and legal partner with a history of achieving innovative solutions to complex problems. In her work as lead international counsel, she led a project team tasked with creating and executing a plan to address the various structural and operational challenges resulting from the UK’s Brexit decision. This project specifically involved restructuring USAA’s London-based operations, incorporating two new entities in Luxembourg, negotiating and meeting with insurance regulators in multiple European jurisdictions to obtain appropriate insurance licenses, and creating multiple boards of directors and management committees. Janiella truly enjoys the process of collaborating and creating solutions that enable her executive clients to efficiently meet their goals while minimizing risk and complying with applicable laws.
Prior to joining USAA, Janiella began her legal career as a prosecutor. She then joined Liberty Mutual as a trial attorney where she successfully managed a high-volume insurance defense and workers compensation caseload, including trying multiple jury trials of various complexities to verdict as first chair. Before attending law school, Janiella was an elementary Language Arts teacher and was awarded Teacher of the Year for excellence and dedication in education.
Janiella is a lifelong learner who earned her BBA from Texas Tech University in 2000, her M.Ed. from Prairie View A&M University in 2006, and her JD from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law in 2010 where she served as the Chair of the Moot Court Board. Janiella is currently completing the final coursework for her MA in Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary. Paying it forward has been a foundational pillar of Janiella’s life. She volunteers her time in youth ministry as well as mentoring and coaching young professionals and anyone else who may need a listening ear.
Janiella is a native of Houston and resides in Dallas, TX. Her personal values are authenticity, vulnerability, integrity, giving back, faith, and gratitude. Janiella is an avid traveler who loves beautiful beaches, live music, spending time with family and friends and candle making.
Senior Counsel, Commercial Litigation
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Sainabou Sonko is a seasoned litigator with extensive experience in high-stakes litigation, including federal class actions and multi-district litigation matters. She currently serves as Senior Counsel in the Commercial Litigation group at Tyson Foods, Inc. In this role, she manages a wide range of global litigation matters, including false labeling class actions, consumer fraud and contract disputes. Prior to Tyson, Sainabou had considerable private practice experience representing multinational corporations in complex commercial litigation matters. In addition to her litigation work, Sainabou has also assisted global corporate clients in various business and regulatory matters, including contract negotiations and drafting, and insurance regulatory advice.
Sainabou has post-graduate judicial clerkship experience and previously served as an adjunct professor of Business Law. She is a graduate of Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where she served as the Managing Notes & Comments Editor for the Rutgers Race and the Law Review Journal. She is also a recipient of the School’s Pro Bono Graduate certification in recognition of her 200+ hours of pro bono services hours during law school. At Rutgers, Sainabou served as a Legal Research & Writing Teaching Associate and held leadership positions in various student activity groups, including the Student Bar Association, the Minority Student Program, and the Human Rights Law Forum.
Sainabou was recognized by the Best Lawyers in America® as a 2021 “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” for her work in commercial litigation, medical malpractice (defense) and products liability litigation (defense). She is currently the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Access of Justice Foundation and previously served on the Board of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. She also served as Chair of Tyson’s Global Governance and Corporate Affairs’ inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and remains an active member of the Council.
Groom Law Group
Levine Thomas is an associate in both the Retirement Services and Litigation practice groups of the Groom Law Group, Chartered, located in Washington, D.C. He represents clients on a broad range of ERISA fiduciary, plan governance and securities law matters. As part of his practice, Levine advises his clients on regulatory compliance, due diligence and risk management issues with respect to investments, acquisitions, and prohibited transactions. He regularly drafts side letters and negotiates investments in private equity funds, hedge funds and other private placement investments to achieve the best terms for his clients. Leveraging his compliance experience, Levine also defends clients in front of government agencies, arbitrators and federal courts. He has extensive experience representing plan fiduciaries in connection with government investigations and federal litigation regarding prohibited transactions, investment products, actuarial assumptions and withdrawal liability. At Groom, Levine serves as an active member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee and assists with the firm’s recruitment efforts.
Levine’s path to the field of law was not the traditional path. Prior to his practice in law, Levine worked in the federal government for over six years – both at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) and at the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”). During his time at the GAO, Levine contributed to reports to congressional requestors and conducted reviews of federal multiagency programs and the internal operations of individual agencies. The largest investigation he worked on at the GAO involved examining how bank regulators and depository institutions could better mitigate cybersecurity threats. At the NIH, Levine analyzed financial disclosure reports and advised federal employees on statutes and regulations governing ethics, including avoiding conflicts of interest, procurement integrity requirements, participation in outside activities, political activities, investments, and use of government resources.
Originally from New York, Levine attended Georgetown University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Theology. During Levine’s undergraduate studies, he did bench research on BRCC2, a potential candidate breast cancer tumor suppressor gene. Outside of the science arena, he had the opportunity to serve as Cabinet Secretary of Student Health in Georgetown’s student government, an editor in Georgetown’s main student newspaper, and President of Georgetown University Men Advocating Relationship Responsibility. He is most proud of his involvement in the Georgetown Center for Multicultural Equity and Access in its Community Scholars Program where he served as a mentor, resident advisor and teaching assistant to first generation and low income college students. He later earned a Master of Science in International Health Policy from the London School of Economics while leading the university’s competitive chess team as captain. Levine went on to receive his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School as a part time night student while working for the federal government during the day. Believing that one cannot have too much education under their belt, Levine is currently finishing his coursework towards a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion at Cornell University.
Outside of work, Levine enjoys spending time, traveling and trying out new foods with his wife, Pallabi Guha, a Neonatologist at the Jersey Shore University Medical Center and his 1 year-old son, Vivek.
Kenya L. Williams
Trademark Enforcement Counsel,
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
Kenya L. Williams currently serves as Trademark Enforcement Counsel for Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., where she is responsible for the protection and enforcement of the company’s worldwide trademark portfolio covering its innovative technologies and industry-leading brands, including Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific, Gibco, and Patheon. Kenya also handles copyright and domain name matters and works cross-functionally with colleagues around the world to enforce Thermo Fisher’s intellectual property rights.
Prior to joining Thermo Fisher, Kenya was a trademark attorney for a national law firm, where she was responsible for trademark enforcement and counseling in the retail, automotive, and fashion industries. Kenya was recognized as a Super Lawyers® Rising Star from 2018-2020.
Kenya began her intellectual property law career at Fulwider Patton LLP, known as the oldest IP boutique firm in Los Angeles, where she counseled clients on trademark and copyright matters in different industries, including entertainment and new media, fashion, automotive and food products.
With over a decade of experience, Kenya has experience in several different areas of law and has actively litigated dozens of cases throughout California and in other states. She uses her background and experience to mentor young lawyers and students considering careers in law. Kenya is an active member of the Whittier Law School Alumni Association and the Whittier College Black Alumni Association.
Kenya is a graduate of Whittier Law School and a member of the Whittier College Board of Trustees as well as Chair of its Governance Committee. While at Whittier Law School, Kenya was the President of the Black Law Students Association and a competing member of the Moot Court Honors Board.
Kenya is a native of Los Angeles, but now lives in the San Diego area with her husband and teenage daughter. Having grown up in underserved communities, Kenya is a lifelong champion of diversity, equity and inclusion and feels honored to participate in the 2022 Sources of Success Program.
Elisha J. Yang
Hanson Bridgett LLP
Elisha is a versatile transactional lawyer with experience in a broad array of commercial, real estate and land use matters. She is adept at project management and in implementation of data and work flow management systems on behalf of the firm’s clients. Elisha has a particular interest in Food Law. A Bay Area native, Elisha is deeply involved in the community, regularly working on behalf of the Community Services Committee of the Asian American Bar Association.
Fenwick & West LLP
Hayan Yoon is a senior associate in Fenwick & West’s Mountain View office and a member of the Patent Group. She is a registered patent lawyer. Hayan represents life science and pharmaceutical companies in all areas of strategic patent counseling, including patent prosecution, patent portfolio analysis and development, IP due diligence, offensive and defensive patent strategy, post-issuance proceeding and opinion work. Her clients include emerging and mature companies as well as banks and investors.
Prior to joining Fenwick in 2015, Hayan was an associate at Ropes & Gray, where she represented life science and technology companies in patent litigation and post-grant proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Hayan leverages her scientific and technical expertise in the fields of biochemistry, immunology, genetics, and neuroscience to fully understand her client’s needs and business. Prior to her legal career, she conducted life science research as a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hayan received her B.S. in Molecular Biology from Seoul National University, a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. While in law school, she was a student fellow at the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences and served as a director of finance of Stanford Biolaw & Health Policy Society.
In 2018, The Recorder named Hayan to its “Next Generation Women Leaders in Tech Law” list, which recognizes lawyers who have shown promise as leaders in law and technology.
Hayan is a native of Korea, and currently lives in the Bay Area with her husband, son and a dog named Teddy.