Legal Industry News from the National Law Review: Law Firm Hires, Attorney Accolades and Recognition and Innovation
As we move into fall, the National Law Review’s editorial team takes a look at the constantly evolving legal industry landscape—paying special attention to law firm hires, attorney awards and law firm innovation.
Law Firm Moves & Hires
Securities attorney Paul McCurdy joined Katten’s Financial Markets and Funds group as a Partner in New York. Before joining Katten, McCurdy led the broker-dealer regulatory practice for over 20 years at his previous firm, and he also previously served as an executive committee member and as the firm’s chairman.
In his practice, McCurdy represents investment banking, retail, clearing and direct broker-dealers and advisory firms in regulatory and enforcement matters. He has defended witnesses in over 200 interviews before the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Department of Justice.
“Katten is a solid leader in the financial services industry, well-known as a one-stop resource with a deep bench of talent and some of the most experienced litigation and regulatory enforcement attorneys there are,” McCurdy said.
“John and Roxanne join our national team at an extremely opportune time,” said Michael L. Stevens, labor & employment practice leader. “Since the start of the year, our clients have increasingly sought our counsel as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to shift their business and employment strategies and operations. Now, we’re starting to see a growing number of disputes with employees on a variety of fronts and adding John and Roxanne will strengthen our support for clients in California and across the country.”
Wilson focuses her practice on advising clients on employment-related class actions regarding drug and alcohol policies, sick leave, employment application and wage and hour issues.
Zaimes advises clients on non-compete agreements, employee non-solicitation agreements, and the protection of trade secrets, and defends clients in actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Grant Schneider joined the Washington, D.C. office of Venable as the senior director of cybersecurity services. Previously, Schneider was the federal chief information security officer for the White House Office of Management and Budget. He also served as the senior director for cybersecurity policy on the White House National Security Council.
During his time working for the federal government, Scheider oversaw the review of the government’s cybersecurity enterprise and worked with Congress on the SECURE Technology Act which established the Federal Acquisition Security Council.
“Grant joins us from a distinguished career in the federal government, where he led numerous initiatives that were pivotal to managing risk and enhancing our national cybersecurity, not least of which was his recent work on supply chain security, encryption, and identity management. We look forward to welcoming him to our team and leveraging this experience in service to our clients,” said Ari Schwartz, managing director of cybersecurity services at the firm.
Schneider also worked as the senior director for cybersecurity policy for the National Security Council, helping gain presidential approval for the first National Cyber Strategy in more than 15 years.
“Venable presented the rare opportunity to work with some of the nation’s leading minds in shaping the future of cybersecurity from within the private sector. I have spent my nearly 28 years of government service implementing innovative programs and policies on a national scale and am eager to stretch these muscles in new ways to advance the cybersecurity goals of the firm’s clients,” Schneider said.
Marc Boiron and Rebecca Rettig joined Manatt law firm as partners in the firm’s financial services group and fintech practice. Boiron will be based out of the firm’s Los Angeles office and Rettig is joining the firm’s New York office.
Boiron, a leading corporate lawyer and blockchain and virtual currency advisor, has experience guiding clients through issues such as token distributions, regulatory compliance and financings. Boiron is admitted in California and Delaware and advises companies on governance and corporate issues.
Rettig was recognized as one of the top 100 women lawyers in New York City by Crain’s New York Business, and represents blockchain and virtual currency companies in litigation and private arbitrations. She works with Fortune 100 companies on securities, shareholder derivative and contract disputes.
“We were really drawn to Manatt due to its groundbreaking approach to client services, which blends legal and business advisory services, as well as its bench of nationally recognized lawyers, consultants and technologists,” said Boiron. “We believe that the firm’s hybridized platform and collaborative culture will resonate with and be an invaluable resource for our clients as they prepare to tackle any challenge they may face in today’s new, and unprecedented, economy,” Rettig added.
Zerjal Fink represents clients in corporate reorganizations and insolvency proceedings, and has been involved in some of the largest reorganization cases in the U.S., including the $74 billion restructuring of Puerto Rico’s outstanding debt load, as well as the $18 billion debt of Caesars Entertainment.
"I am very pleased to welcome Maja to the team. She is a talented lawyer with significant experience in some of the most complex bankruptcy cases and restructuring matters,” said Michael Messersmith, chair of the Bankruptcy and Restructuring group at Arnold & Porter. “Maja's expertise, energy and business-focused mindset will complement our existing strengths and help our clients navigate the challenging restructuring landscape during this unprecedented time."
Zerjal Fink was named a Pro Bono Star by Human Rights First and is a 2020 member of the International Insolvency Institute's NextGen Class IX.
"I am thrilled to be joining Arnold & Porter's world-class Bankruptcy and Restructuring practice," Zerjal Fink said. "I look forward to expanding my practice and helping clients achieve their goals with a sophisticated and collegial team of lawyers."
Cassin will serve as the lead corporate attorney in New York, in the firm’s Business Law Practice Group, and Switkes joined the Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group in the firm’s New Jersey office.
Norris McLaughlin Chairman John N. Vanarthos said the additions of Cassin and Switkes are critical components of the firm’s pandemic strategy.
“To be able to provide services our clients need, in a time of need, is so crucial to us. We are excited to have Jeff bring our already-well-established business group to New York, and to have Ross as an essential member of our bankruptcy group is truly a testament to our firm’s commitment to client service,” Vanarthos said.
Cassin’s expertise includes representing companies at every stage of the corporate lifecycle, and has led successful acquisitions and divestitures and has closed transactions in restaurant management, media, technology and human capital.
“Norris McLaughlin’s approach throughout the pandemic has been to help clients work through it so they come out stronger on the other end, which is a value that I share. I’m excited to be joining the team,” Cassin said.
Switkes’ practice includes corporate restructuring, and commercial litigation, debtor/creditor rights and corporate restructuring. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Lawyers Advisory Committee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey, and is a Trustee of the Mercer County Bar Association.
“I am excited to join Norris McLaughlin and its Bankruptcy Group. It is a privilege to join such a well-respected team. Not only am I benefitting from having access to the kind of business platform and infrastructure that I need to grow my practice, but my clients will benefit from the opportunity to take advantage of the broader range of high-quality legal services that Norris McLaughlin offers, and they can do so without an interruption in value,” Switkes said.
Attorney Awards and Recognitions
Dunning graduated from Harvard Law School in 1977 and went on to achieve equity partnerships at two Am Law 200 firms in a career spanning four decades. Dunning is recognized as a top employment law attorney in Utah and nationwide, and she has dedicated her time to educating others in the profession, serving as a mentor to junior women attorneys.
“Terry truly is the whole package—she is smart, hard-working, and devoted to her clients, her colleagues, her community, and to the rule of law,” said Brit Merril, one of the newer members of Holland & Hart’s Employment team and Denning’s mentee. “Terry is an exceptional mentor, a skilled advocate, and the embodiment of civility and professionalism.”
In addition to her legal career, Denning has served in leadership roles on the Board of Trustees for the Presbyterian Church Foundation and the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment for the Presbyterian Church.
Sise is the co-leader of Armstrong Teasdale’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice and has over 20 years of experience in the field. Sise also serves as co-chair of Armstrong Teasdale’s Inclusion Committee and is involved in the firm’s Women’s Inclusion Network.
DLA Piper announced Paul Klimos, an associate in DLA Piper’s Corporate Practice, was appointed to the Global Future Council on Agile Governance of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Klimos will begin his one-year period of membership on October 1, 2020. The WEF Global Future Council’s is invitation only, and is comprised of thought leaders from across academia, business, civil society and government, dedicated to innovation and sustainability with an eye to the future. Klimos’ experience working with emerging technologies and entrepreneurs will inform his time on the WEF Global Future Council. In his practice, he represents emerging growth companies at all levels, as well as investors.
Nancy S. Shilepsky, partner in Sherin and Lodgen’s Employment Department, has been appointed to a three-year term as Employee Co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Labor and Employment Law’s International Labor and Employment Law Committee. Her term began on September 1, 2020 and will run through the end of August 2023. In this role, Shilepsky will study and report on foreign labor relations law and employment practices, with an emphasis on US executives and foreign executives working in the US. Shilepsky, along with her role at Sherin & Lodgen, has an internationally recognized reputation in executive employment compensation. On her role with the ABA, Shilepsky says:
The International Labor and Employment Law Committee has the unique responsibility of staying apprised of legal developments across the world. I’m honored to receive this appointment and look forward to working with members of the Committee to offer the most up-to-date analysis of international employment law.
Nancy is a leading influence in the world of executive advocacy and employment law and litigation and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She is a champion of the interests of individuals and a trusted counselor to executives, professionals, and partners across a wide range of industries. Nancy has established an internationally recognized reputation representing such clients in complex matters involving executive employment and compensation. She is known for her pioneering efforts in wrongful termination and discrimination cases. Her work includes a high-profile sexual harassment case involving the impact of the First Amendment on workplace speech restrictions and a landmark case dealing with the eradication of race-based discrimination in compensation.
The ABA’s Labor and Employment Law Section is comprised of more than 20,000 members who represent all perspectives of labor and employment law: management, union, plaintiff, neutral, and public. The Section is committed to a balanced discussion of employment issues throughout the world.
Womble Bond Dickinson announced that Sonny Haynes, a partner in the Winston-Salem office, has been named one of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA)’s Rising Stars for 2020. Attorneys who are given this honor must have at least eight years of experience in the legal profession, have leadership and achievements that are outstanding and have demonstrated a commitment to community service, pro bono work, and diversity, inclusion and equality.
Haynes fulfills these requirements through her practice focused on insurance defense, product liability and mass tort litigation. She has been a member of the City of Winston-Salem’s Human Relations Commission since 2013, and she served on the Minorities in the Profession Committee of the North Carolina Bar association. In her community, Haynes has recently focused on improving communication between community leaders and law enforcement on racial inequalities in the criminal justice system, among other community service efforts.
Law Firm Innovation and Development
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” and the stress and constraints of COVID-19 has inspired many ideas to facilitate the adaptation required by the virus. The Pandemic Technology Resource Center, operated at PandemicIp.org is a non-profit website with a searchable database of COVID-19 adaption ideas and technology, contributed to the public domain. The goal of this initiative is to ensure useful adaption ideas are spread quickly, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. PandemiciP.org is led by Jim Sulciner, a technology entrepreneur for over 30 years and former CEO of RTD Company and the website PandemicIP.org was organized by the intellectual property law firm Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, P.A. (Schwegman).
PandemicIP.org’s board members Janal Kalis, a partner at Schwegman, and Russell Slifer, a former Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, infuse the endeavor with their expertise in patent licensing and commercialization. This innovative website is a great place for users to search ideas and solutions, so others may benefit from the adaptations and discoveries made necessary by the virus. By sharing work, innovators can stand on each other’s shoulders and make the innovation’s required by these interesting times.
M&T Bank recently announced Nota, a Fintech tool designed to assist attorneys manage their trust accounts from their bank accounts. The ABA recommends attorneys complete a three-way reconciliation process and balance their books against client ledgers and their bank statement. Mistakes in this process can be time-consuming and expensive errors can lead to being out of compliance with state requirements and could mean inquiries, audits and possible disbarment. Nota was designed to simplify the trust account management process, creating a seamless and efficient tool for lawyers to adhere to their accounting requirements. The tool was designed for small law firms and solo attorneys, which may not have extensive staff for accounting procedures. Paul Garbian, president of Nota, says, “Nota is transforming the way lawyers manage their trust accounts. We’ve reimagined the process by connecting it directly to the bank accounts and making it more intuitive, so attorneys spend less time managing their trust accounts and more time practicing law.”
We’ll be back with more legal industry news in two weeks. Thanks for reading!
Rachel Popa also contributed to this article.