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April 2024 Legal Industry News Highlights: Law Firm Hiring News, Industry Awards and Recognition, DEI and Women in Law
Friday, April 26, 2024

Welcome back to another edition of the National Law Review’s legal industry news roundup. We hope the spring season has found you happy, safe, and healthy! Please read below for the latest in law firm hiring and expansion news, key industry awards and recognition and a spotlight on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and women in law.

Law Firm Hiring and Expansion

von Briesen & Roper, s.c. expanded their Milwaukee office with the addition of two new attorneys, Steven R. Beckham and Alexandra N. Don.

Steven R. Beckham is an associate in the Litigation & Risk Management Practice Group at von Briesen & Roper, s.c. Mr. Beckham earned his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. and Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri. He is an expert in commercial and business litigation, insurance coverage and liability defense and is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Bar Association.

Alexandra N. Don is a shareholder in the Real Estate Section at von Briesen & Roper, s.c. Ms. Don focuses her practice on transactional real estate, real estate lending and finance, development and business law. She earned her J.D. from Marquette University and a B.S. from Santa Clara University, in addition to her Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) Program which is administered through Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Milwaukee.

Barnes & Thornburg announced the addition of Rebecca J. Bernhard to the firm’s Minneapolis office as a partner in the Labor and Employment Department.

Ms. Bernhard earned her J.D., magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, from the University of Minnesota Law School and her B.S.S. from San Francisco State University. She has more than two decades of experience in helping clients resolve traditional labor and employment problems, as well as issues involving immigration and global mobility. She also advises clients on their business immigration needs, including providing insight on visas and Form I-9 compliance.

Kenneth J. Yerkes, chair of Barnes & Thornburg’s Labor and Employment Department, welcomed Ms. Bernhard, saying, “With extensive experience acting as a dedicated advocate for her clients, Rebecca is a skilled problem-solver who knows how to help organizations navigate the many labor and employment issues that stem from significant changes. Our clients will benefit from her wide-ranging insight and in-depth experience as they continue to navigate this ongoing period of workforce transformation.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Rebecca to the team,” added Connie A. Lahn, managing partner of the firm’s Minneapolis office. “Her experience helping companies promote a performance culture will certainly prove valuable not only to our clients but to our colleagues here in Minneapolis and across the U.S.”

Mike Piazza joined Lathrop GPM LLP’s Dallas office as a partner in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice group. Mr. Piazza is nationally recognized for his authority on white collar defense, securities and complex commercial litigation, bet-the-company business disputes and accountant liability.

Mr. Piazza earned his J.D., magna cum laude and Order of the Coif, from the University of Minnesota Law School and his bachelor's degree cum laude from Carleton College. He is a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and a member of the Association of Securities and Exchange Commission Alumni (ASECA).

"The addition of a partner like Mike, who brings a depth of experience to the firm, is essential for our clients and the firm's strategic growth initiatives," said Charlie Maier, Lathrop GPM's Litigation & Dispute Resolution practice group chair. "Mike's professional experience and demonstrated ability to handle intricate cases is an asset to Lathrop GPM and the clients we serve. We welcome him to the partnership and to the Dallas office."

“I am excited to be a partner at Lathrop GPM, collaborating with a team that holds a wealth of experience matched with a clear and consistent passion for the law and the clients we serve,” said Mr. Piazza. “The increasing scope of government regulation that touches many aspects of business activity has created a situation where more law-abiding businesses and individuals find themselves targeted in regulatory and law enforcement investigations initiated by aggressive regulators and prosecutors. This can be overwhelming and frightening for clients. I strive to give them the best possible representation while simultaneously helping them manage the pressure of dealing with an ongoing government investigation or lawsuit.”

Ropes & Gray LLP added Amy Kossak as a partner in its government enforcement group, located in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. With her experience gained from her time in the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Ms. Kossak further strengthens Ropes & Gray's government enforcement and white-collar capabilities, especially concerning False Claims Act matters.

Ms. Kossak holds her J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center and her A.B., cum laude with highest honors in economics, from Harvard University. She served for a decade in the Civil Division of the DOJ, most recently as a Senior Trial Counsel in the Fraud Section. 

Welcoming Ms. Kossak to the firm, chair Julie Jones said, "We welcome Amy to the firm. She was a formidable leader in matters for the DOJ spanning the pharmaceutical, biotech, health care and insurance industries. Her strong understanding of the FCA, her broad knowledge of our clients' industries and her deep government experience are valuable to our clients.”

Legal Industry Awards and Recognition

Influence Magazine recognized Jordyn S. Ferguson, advisor at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, as a 30 Under 30 Rising Star in Florida Politics in its Spring 2024 issue. Influence Magazine highlights emerging young leaders who are making an impact in Florida in politics, business, and beyond. 

Ms. Ferguson helpss Shumaker advisors’ state clients to plan and execute lobbying strategies, build relationships, and advance their initiatives. She joined the Shumaker Advisors team as an intern in 2021 after interning with a Florida Senate campaign. She earned her B.S. in political science and her M.S. in applied American politics and policy from Florida State University (FSU). 

"I am deeply honored to be recognized as a Rising Star in Florida Politics by Influence Magazine," said Ms. Ferguson. "I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all those who have supported me along this journey. I remain committed to advocating for the issues that matter most to Floridians and striving to make a positive difference in our communities."

Christopher A. Bowles, a partner in Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP’s Nashville office, was elected as a fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL). Admission to ACREL is by invitation only after a rigorous screening process and is reserved for renowned commercial real estate lawyers who are focused on service to clients, colleagues and the profession. 

Mr. Bowles is the co-chair of Bradley’s Solar Energy team. He counsels clients on energy and infrastructure projects, including the real estate, tax and regulatory aspects of development and financing. He is also a board member of the Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association and was previously Nashville’s first-ever director of Environment and Sustainability for Mayor Karl Dean’s administration.

Lawdragon recognized five GLS Capital investment professionals, including principals Jeffery Lula and Joel Merkin and co-founders and managing directors Adam Gill, Jamison Lynch and David Spiegel, as 2024 Global 100 Leaders in Litigation Finance.

The 2024 Lawdragon 100 Global Leaders in Litigation Finance were selected via journalistic research and vetting by peers and clients. This recognition is reserved for leaders of the litigation finance legal profession.

“GLS Capital is proud to have five of our investment professionals included in Lawdragon’s 2024 Global 100 Leaders in Litigation Finance, and for the well-deserved addition of Jeff Lula and Joel Merkin to the list, recognizing their outstanding work and success in litigation finance,” said Mr. Gill.

DEI and Women in Law

Womble Bond Dickinson (U.S.) LLP announced leadership updates to their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee and the Women of Womble (WOW). The DEI Committee is devoted to advancing the firm’s comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. WOW is the firm’s network of women lawyers dedicated to supporting their promotion and retention through mentorship and collaboration.

Lisa Moyles is appointed as the new Chair of Womble Bond Dickinson’s DEI Committee, while Tara Cho is now the Vice Chair of the DEI Committee. Ms. Moyles is an IP partner in WBD’s Raleigh, N.C. office. Ms. Cho is the chair of the firm’s Privacy and Cybersecurity Team and is a leader in the firm’s support groups for LGBTQIA+ and Asian/Pacific Islander team members.

Amy Clayton was named WOW chair. Ms. Clayton is a real estate partner in the firm’s Greenville, S.C. office. Her practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions, commercial finance, commercial leasing, commercial property tax appeals, business formations, and general real estate and corporate law.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are extremely important to our firm, and with Lisa, Tara, and Amy assuming these new roles, we have three great leaders to help us work toward these goals,” said WBD chair and CEO Betty Temple.

Roy Prather, member of Beveridge & Diamond PC’s management committee and the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) committee, accepted an invitation to join the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). IADC is an invitation-only global legal organization for attorneys in corporate and insurance sectors.

Mr. Prather focuses his practice on complex commercial and environmental litigation and environmental justice. “I am honored to join the IADC, and I look forward to being part of a group that strives to promote excellence in legal practice and diversity in the profession,” he said.

Hopkins & Carley announced that managing shareholder Jennifer C. Johnson has been named by GlobeSt. as a “2024 Woman of Influence” in the CRE Legal Counsel category. The GlobeSt. Women of Influence awards recognize commercial real estate female professionals who have personally impacted the market through their invaluable contributions to the field. Ms. Johnson is a finalist for consideration as the GlobeSt. 2024 Woman of the Year for the CRE Legal Counsel category.

Ms. Johnson is a member of Hopkins & Carley’s Real Estate practice group. She advises her clients, including global Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, on leasing and representing landlords and tenants in lease agreements around the world.

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