Fall 2022 Legal Industry News Highlights: Law Firm Hiring and Expansion, Notable Awards and Recognition, and the Latest in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Happy November! As the holiday season approaches, we hope you and yours are remaining safe, happy, and healthy. Please read on below for the latest in legal industry updates, including notable law firm hirings and expansions, legal awards and recognition, and diversity, equity, and inclusion news.
Law Firm Hiring and Updates
Ropes & Gray has named 21 new partners as of November 1st, 2022. They have been selected for their roles as outstanding advisors to the firm’s clients across the globe, representing practices and specialties across sectors such as healthcare, life sciences, technology, labor and employment, and more.
“We are pleased to welcome this new group of partners, who are uniquely positioned to help our clients thrive in today’s uncertain economic environment,” said Chair Julie Jones. “These lawyers are problem solvers and big-picture thinkers, guided by a commercial approach and a deep understanding of the law.”
The firm’s newest partners are as follows: Samantha Barrett Badlam, Stephanie Bruce, Drew Clary, Dan Coyne, Sally Davis, William T. Davison, Gabrielle DiBernardi, Shona Ha, Laura Hirst, Yoni Levy, Nichole Lopez-Tackett, Jessica Marlin, Pascal Mayer, Anthony Mongone, Jessica Reece, Ben Rhode, Scott Rolnik, Alexander Simkin, Annie Sipe, PJ Sullivan, and Dan Zuckerman.
Baker Donelson has added Jill Walters to its Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group. Located in the firm’s Raleigh/Research Triangle office, Ms. Walters joins as a shareholder, providing more than fifteen years of experience counseling clients in restructuring, bankruptcy, insolvency, and complex Chapter 11 cases. Her work spans many industries and sectors, such as healthcare, manufacturing, real estate, and construction.
"I am thrilled to welcome Jill to the Firm. She is an excellent addition to our team and further deepens our bankruptcy and restructuring bench," said Eric L. Pruitt, leader of Baker Donelson's Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group. "Jill joins a dedicated team that has extensive litigation and transactional experience, and is advising clients in highly complex financial restructuring and bankruptcy cases."
Morgen A. Mueller has joined Goldberg Segalla as an associate in the firm’s Chicago office. Now a part of the Workers’ Compensation practice group, Ms. Mueller focuses her practices on representing and defending insurers, administrators, and employers in all aspects of employment law, managing claims at all stages, including discovery, hearings, depositions, arbitrations, mediations, and trials.
Previously, Ms. Mueller served as legal counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance, where she handled workers’ compensation defense cases and personal injury cases.
Davis|Kuelthau s.c. and SmithAmundsen LLC have announced that they will formally merge on November 1st, 2022, to form Amundsen Davis, LLC. The firm will offer services in a wide variety of areas, including labor and employment, intellectual property, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and more. Comprised of twelve offices across the US, Amundsen Davis will serve clients both nationally and internationally.
“SmithAmundsen has grown steadily and strategically over the last 25 years to add service areas and expand our geographic reach to truly benefit our clients,” said Managing Partner Larry A. Schechtman. “The opportunity to combine with a firm that is so like-minded is one we are very excited about. What will set Amundsen Davis apart from its large law firm competition is our ability to maintain a boutique firm feeling in terms of client service while providing the resources and infrastructure of a large national firm.”
Legal Industry Awards and Recognition
Julia Perkins, partner at Varnum LLP, was named Class of 2022 Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. This honor goes to lawyers who have had outstanding accomplishments, exhibited leadership in improving the justice system in Michigan, and have made improvements to the legal community.
Ms. Perkins is the leader of Varnum’s Family Law Practice Group. Her contributions go beyond the legal field as she has served on the advisory committee for Kids Talk Children’s Advocacy Center since 2005. Using her legal experience, she volunteers as a mediator for Lakeshore Legal Aid. Lakeshore Legal Aid provides legal services to low-income families, seniors, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
LMG Life Sciences recognized five ArentFox Schiff lawyers’ outstanding work in the life sciences industry. The organization specifically recognizes key North American law firms and lawyers that work in the field of life sciences, taking into account case evidence, peer feedback, and client feedback for rankings.
The ArentFox Schiff attorneys that were selected, as well as their practice groups, are as follows:
Partner Imron Aly - Hatch-Waxman Patent Litigation
Partner Richard J Berman - General Patent Litigation, Patent Prosecution, Patent Strategy & Management, Hatch-Waxman Patent Litigation
Partner Kevin Nelson - Hatch-Waxman Patent Litigation
Partner Sailesh Patel - Hatch-Waxman Patent Litigation
Partner Stephanie Trunk - Healthcare Pricing & Reimbursement
Rhonda Tobin of Robinson & Cole LLP was one of five women recognized for Managing Partner of the Year in Corporate Counsel’s 2022 Women, Influence and Power in Law (WIPL) Awards. The WIPL Awards are meant to honor general counsel, in-house attorneys, and other law firm leaders who have demonstrated ongoing efforts to empower women in the legal profession, and who have overall made a substantial impact on the field.
Ms. Tobin is a partner at Robinson+Cole and has spent 32 years working on high-profile insurance coverage litigation. She has served as Managing Committee for 12 years and as a chair of the firm’s Litigation Section for 13 years before becoming the firm’s first woman managing partner. This year, she was also listed in the Hartford Business Journal’s 2022 Power Players Section, and she has also been recognized on the Insurance Law Trailblazers list from the National Law Journal.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Global law firm Kennedys and U.S. law firm Miller Canfield have achieved Mansfield Plus Certification from Diversity Lab, a DEI incubator. Diversity Lab adopted the Mansfield Rule, a 12-month program for law firms to boost underrepresented groups in firm leadership, in 2017. The 2021-2022 Mansfield 5.0 program required firms to consider at least 30% historically marginalized groups for at least 70% of senior promotions and enrichment roles, track and document job candidate demographics, submit three-month, six-month, and annual surveys and data collections, and build professional community with other firms.
Kennedys achieved U.S and U.K. certification as a first-time participant in the program. “Kennedys has always been committed to D&I but participating in Mansfield provided both a structure and a mechanism for accountability that allowed us to move beyond words to concrete action. It was a turning point for all of us and has allowed us to continue to identify concrete goals for the future,” says Meg Catalano, US Regional Managing Partner and Global Board Member.
Miller Canfield is a veteran of the Mansfield Program. The firm was the first in Michigan to adopt the rule, one of 27 firms to achieve certification in the program’s first year, and one of 39 to be certified five years in a row.
“When we first adopted the Mansfield Rule, we didn’t know how or if this small, but influential, group would have an impact on the profession and on law firms nationwide,” said Miller Canfield CEO Megan Norris. “We didn’t know whether law firms would be ready to adopt this level of transparency and accountability. We’re pleased to see that the movement is growing and maintaining momentum to create an opportunity for equity in law firms.”
The American Association for Access, Equity And Diversity presented Jackson Lewis P.C. with their 2022 President’s Award at a virtual award ceremony on October 13th, 2022. The award is intended to recognize organizations that have demonstrated ongoing commitment to the AAAED and their mission of expanding access, equity, and diversity.
Jackson Lewis’ Affirmative Action, OFCCP and Government Contract Compliance practice group works with clients and partners to foster a strong DEI culture within a wide range of powerful organizations and industries. The firm has collaborated with AAAED on a number of initiatives, from providing faculty for the AAAED Professional Training Institute to participating on an AAAED amicus brief team to submit two briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina.
“We are thrilled to be recognized for the President’s Award,” says Matthew J. Camardella, co-leader of the firm’s Affirmative Action, OFCCP and Government Contract Compliance group. “I would like to thank Firm Chair Kevin G. Lauri and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer and Principal Kimya S.P. Johnson for continuing to invest in our partnership with AAAED and its mission to promote and protect policies that ensure equity and inclusion in all spheres of opportunity.”