Welcome to another edition of our legal news roundup. Read on below for the latest updates in law firm hiring, firm recognition and law firm diversity.
Firm Hiring, Promotions & Growth
Passle, a business development tool for legal professionals, is expanding its presence in the United States. As a result of significant demand, the company is adding to its team, based in Annapolis, Maryland. This expansion comes just six months after the opening of Passle’s first U.S. office.
“Our own research shows that in 2020 alone, the top 200 law firms in America were responsible for an incredible 70,000+ pieces of online content from blogs to news articles and YouTube videos,” said James Barclay, CEO of Passle US. “It’s a zeitgeist moment for the industry and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that, using our knowledge and expertise to help firms showcase theirs and realize their potential to reach a wider audience.”
After launching in the United Kingdom in 2013, Passle now has over 100 clients in total, including firms such as Deloitte, DLA Piper, Reed Smith, and Ropes & Gray. “The warm welcome we’ve had from our US clients and those interested in working with us is a clear sign that we’ve made the right decision,” added Mr. Barclay.
Kristin Bryan and Kyle Fath are now partners at Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP.. Ms. Bryan, a data privacy litigator and Editor-in-Chief of the Consumer Privacy World blog, has experience in the fields of data privacy, cybersecurity and data breach disputes.
She represents clients in all contexts, including but not limited to data breach litigations related to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), state and federal regulatory investigations and class action lawsuits. Additionally, Ms. Bryan is CIPP/US certified, and is the co-chair of the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ KnowledgeNet Cleveland Chapter.
Mr. Fath is a member of Squire Patton Boggs’ Data Privacy, Cybersecurity & Digital Assets practice group. An experienced privacy and technology attorney, he focuses his practice on privacy compliance, technology agreements and corporate transactions, with a special emphasis on product counseling. Beyond these specializations, Mr. Fath also provides pro bono legal services to various nonprofits, including an organization that trains and supports people using video to shed light on human rights abuses.
Moore & Van Allen PLLC announced the addition of Michele M. Glessner to the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. Ms. Glessner is a trademark and patent attorney, focusing her practice in areas such as copyright portfolio management, prosecuting foreign and domestic trademark applications and trademark enforcement. She has worked with clients across a wide range of industries, including wireless telecommunications, biomedical devices and consumer packaging.
“Michele joins us at an exciting time as we continue to grow our practice to meet the demand among our IP clients for trusted legal counsel,” said W. Kevin Ransom, head of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. “Her proven track record counseling clients on a wide variety of intellectual property issues and her diverse background will further bolster our ability to serve our clients.”
Paige Taylor Bennett, as a principal
Kenneth J. Harder, as a principal
Chuck Jeremiah, as a principal
Christine Traversi, as an associate
The new additions bring a wide array of experience and knowledge. Ms. Bennett focuses her practice on labor and employment litigation, with a particular emphasis on discrimination, wage and hour disputes, class action, and non-compete negotiations.
Mr. Harder, who is certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, represents multinational energy, manufacturing, transportation and services companies.
Mr. Jeremiah, a labor and employment attorney, focuses his practice on claims brought under state and federal statutes such as Title VII and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as well as drafting employment policies and contracts and litigating wage and hour disputes.
Ms. Traversi advises employers in the field of U.S. immigration law, counseling on matters such as business immigration strategy and implementation.
“Paige, Ken, Chuck and Christine bring an impressive range of experience related to employment litigation and counseling,” said Kevin G. Lauri, Firm Chair. “Our work has considerably expanded in the areas of class actions and immigration, and these additions reinforce the capabilities of our Houston office. We are thrilled this esteemed group has decided to join the firm.”
Firm Recognition & Awards
Ward and Smith attorney Erica Rogers is now a member of the Advancement and Engagement Subcommittee of the North Carolina Bar Association's (NCBA) newly created Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee (SOGI).
The SOGI committee convened for the first time in January 2022, and advocates for equality, diversity, inclusion and respect for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the legal profession by offering educational programming and mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as offering pro bono legal services and advocacy. Ms. Rogers is an intellectual property attorney at Ward and Smith's Raleigh office. She helps small businesses, individuals and corporations with their intellectual property matters, focusing on clearance, trademark prosecution and registration, and trademark portfolio management.
"Never underestimate the importance of good mentoring in the legal profession," said Ms. Rogers. "Had I not had an introduction to a fantastic mentor and member of the LGBTQ+ community relatively early in my legal career, I would not have had the confidence to be my authentic self in this career. It is a huge honor for me to serve on the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee for many reasons, but mostly, because I want to forever be a part of prioritizing mentorship opportunities and meaningful support for the LGBTQ+ members of the legal profession in our state."
Michigan Lawyers Weekly named Varnum LLP attorney Elliott Berlin to the Class of 2022 Up & Coming Lawyers. This distinction recognizes noteworthy accomplishments from attorneys in their first ten years of practice, honoring those who have gone above and beyond in their field. Mr. Berlin, a corporate attorney who focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, has experience in representing clients in areas such as lending, commercial transactions and complex M&A.
“Elliott exhibits the poise and expertise of an attorney far beyond his years,” said Varnum partner Eric Post. “He is highly skilled at managing several deals and a variety of general corporate projects at one time. He often takes the lead role in deals that would otherwise be reserved for a much more seasoned attorney.”
Michael S. Burg, founding shareholder of Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, is set to receive this year’s Kenneth Norman Kripke Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented by the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA), the award recognizes attorneys who embody the CTLA’s core qualities. Mr. Burg, a long-time trial lawyer, has spearheaded several well-known cases, including action against big pharma companies and the Biological Resource Center.
Previously, Mr. Burg has also received a number of impressive awards and recognitions, including the Clarence Darrow Award, the People’s Choice for Best Overall Litigator and an induction into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.
Diversity in the Legal Industry
Katten invited Barack Obama Foundation Chief Executive Officer Valerie Jarrett to be the keynote speaker at its Black History Month event. The event celebrated Ms. Jarrett’s career in public sevice, as well as her civic contributions. Mayor Richard M. Daley, senior counsel at Katten, introduced Ms. Jarrett at the event. She worked with Mr. Daley in various roles for 14 years, including as his deputy chief of staff when he was Mayor of Chicago.
The event focused on resilience in modern politics. Ms. Jarrett described events from her childhood, her career in public service and her time in the White House, where she served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. She is the longest-serving senior advisor to a president in history. She told attendees at the event that effective practices and leadership strategies found in the public sector extend to law firms.
"I can't really think of a time in the White House where I made a presentation to Barack Obama. He heard my voice all the time. He did not need to see me shine, but he needed to see my team. Whenever we would go in for a briefing, I ensured that the person who was principally responsible for the subject matter briefed him. First of all, because it would scare them to death, the thought of briefing him. Also because he would make them own it in a way they wouldn't if they thought they'd be just handing it off to me. Most importantly, he got to see what an incredible team I had," she said. "If you are in a position of power or authority, get out of the way of the people who are behind you, and let them shine."
At the White House, Ms. Jarrett oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Additionally, she is a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.
"We are all inspired not only by Valerie's impressive accomplishments, but also the remarkable passion she pours into her work as a relentless champion and powerful advocate for people, especially our nation's youth and diverse individuals," said Katten Chairman Roger P. Furey. "At Katten, we share that same commitment. We seek to identify the talent and potential that lies within all of our attorneys and business professionals and to continually support them so they can thrive and attain even greater success."
TIME magazine recognized Ms. Jarrett as one of its "100 Most Influential People.” Her book, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, is a New York Times bestseller.
The Los Angeles Business Journal featured Los Angeles Hunton Andrews Kurth Partners Roland M. Juarez and Julia Y. Trankiem as Leaders of Influence: Minority Attorneys. The Los Angeles Business Journal awards recognize the most influential minority attorneys in Los Angeles County.
Mr. Juarez handles class actions, non-compete, non-solicitation and employee raiding cases, discrimination, harassment, disability, wage and hour, Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) and Title III website accessibility cases. Mr. Juarez earned his JD from Columbia Law School and his BA from the University of Mexico.
Ms. Trankiem focuses on representing employers in class, collective, representative and hybrid actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and state wage and hour laws. She received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School and her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Michael Williams, a partner in Bradley Arant Boult Cummings’ Jackson office, is a 2022 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Shundra Manning, an associate in the firm’s Nashville office, and Gabriella Alonso, an associate in the firm’s Houston office are also both 2022 LCLD Pathfinders.
LCLD Fellows and Pathfinder programs are comprehensive legal talent development programs in the country, designed to increase diversity at the leadership levels of the nation’s law firms and corporate legal departments.
“We congratulate Michael on his selection as a LCLD Fellow and Shundra and Gabriella on their participation in the LCLD Pathfinder Program,” said Bradley Director of Inclusion and Diversity George D. Medlock, Jr.
Bradley joined LCLD in 2020 and is proud to help prepare future generations of diverse talent for the highest positions of leadership through the Fellows, Pathfinder, Alumni and 1L Scholars Programs.
Rachel Popa also contributed to this article.