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May 2022 Legal Industry News: Law Firm Additions, Industry Awards and Recognition, and Pro Bono Efforts
Monday, May 16, 2022

Happy May! As the weather gets warmer, we hope you are remaining safe, relaxed, and healthy. Please read on to find the latest news in law firm hiring and expansion, legal industry recognition, and pro bono and legal aid efforts.

Law Firm Hiring and Expansion

Sidley Austin LLP has expanded its Emerging Companies practice with the addition of Cynthia Bai and Nicholas Frey, both of whom are located in the firm’s Palo Alto office. Ms. Bai, who also joins Sidley’s Global Finance group, focuses her practice on debt financing transactions across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, life science, and technology. Mr. Frey, who also joins the firm’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group, focuses his practice on capital markets transaction support, equity plan and award design, mergers and acquisitions, and more.

Martin Wellington, leader of Sidley’s Emerging Companies and Venture Capital practice and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, said:

“With over a dozen new partners nationally in the emerging growth practice over the past several years, our strategic investment in this sector is only gaining momentum. Cynthia and Nic bring the Silicon Valley-native expertise that entrepreneurial technology and life sciences companies expect in credit and executive compensation matters, as they are intimately familiar with the bespoke practices and market norms that have grown up in this sector.”

Kennedys Law LLP has promoted 22 new attorneys to partner, a record-high number for the firm. With these additions, the firm’s total worldwide partner count stands at 293. The following attorneys have been selected for promotion:

“I am delighted to recognise and reward a record number of new partners this year and to see that success shared so widely across our global offices,” said senior partner Nick Thomas. “We are incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated and diverse workforce, which not only enables us to be where our clients need us most but has allowed us to continue growing even during a challenging couple of years.”

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has added Uri Itkin as a partner in the Investment Funds Litigation practice group. Mr. Itkin, a nationally recognized litigator and trial attorney, represents investment funds in all types of securities and commercial matters, such as real estate transactions, distressed corporate debt, and structured finance. 

“Uri’s arrival is another outstanding addition to our litigation practice,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “Uri is at the intersection of funds, litigation and regulatory, all market leading practices at our firm. He is perfectly situated to add tremendous value to our clients.”

“I am looking forward to continuing to grow my practice and building relationships with Akin Gump’s investment fund clients and my new colleagues at the firm,” said Mr. Itkin. “I am particularly excited about the firm’s wide range of knowledge and experience and its collaborative approach. They give clients valuable access to Akin Gump’s established team of knowledgeable attorneys who are experienced in a wide cross-section of investment fund practices.”

Industry Awards and Recognition

Sordum Ndam and Richard W.F. Swor, attorneys at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, have been recognized as Top 30 Under 30 professionals by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Tennessee Chapter. The honor is awarded to individuals who have shown dedication to their local communities and reached noteworthy achievements in their careers. 

Ms. Ndam, an associate in the firm’s Economic Development and Environmental Law practice groups, is a member of the 2022 spring cohort of the Arts Board Matching for nonprofit board service experience in Nashville. Mr. Swor, an associate in the firm’s Litigation and Intellectual Property practice groups, serves on the board of the Belmont Wesley Fellowship and on the LGBT Law Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association.

“We are proud of Sordum and Richard for their professional and philanthropic efforts and for their recognition by such an important organization,” said Bradley Nashville Office Managing Partner Lauren B. Jacques.

Keith Hebeisen, a partner at Clifford Law Offices PC, is set to receive the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) Leonard M. Ring Lifetime Achievement Award. Each year, an ITLA committee selects one lawyer who has dedicated “a substantial part” of their work to the organization; Hebeisen has been an ITLA member since his induction as a lawyer in 1983. He also served as ITLA President in 2005-06, and has been a member of the ITLA Executive Committee for decades.

Mr. Hebeisen, a longtime medical malpractice attorney in Chicago, has represented clients in a wide array of industries, including but not limited to transportation, product liability and toxic torts. He is a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and he additionally serves on the Board of Governors of the American Association of Justice.

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP has been nominated for the Cyber Law Firm of the Year 2022 award by Advisen, a leading provider of data, media and technology solutions for the commercial property. 

Every year, the award is presented to law firms and legal professionals who are deemed most influential in the cyber risk and cybersecurity industry. The winner will be announced on June 16th, 2022 at Gotham Hall in New York City.

Pro Bono and Legal Aid Efforts

Gilbert LLP, a complex dispute resolution-focused law firm in Washington D.C., has announced a new pro bono project, focused on assisting victims of this winter’s deadly tornadoes in Kentucky. The firm has partnered with Disaster Relief at Work and the town of Mayfield, Kentucky to rebuild the local park, which was heavily damaged by the weather. Gilbert will also make a significant financial contribution to ensure that the park is restored to its former condition.

“Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan realized that rebuilding the park would help revitalize their town and give residents a spirit of hope going forward,” said Craig Litherland, Gilbert’s Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer.  “Our attorneys decided that we wanted to be a part of Mayfield’s rebuilding efforts, and we are pleased to have been able to help in multiple ways.”

Partnering with Lawyers for Good Government (L4GG), law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is providing pro bono legal aid for Ukrainian citizens seeking Temporary Protected Status in the United States. Participating through L4GG’s TPS Pro Bono Project for Ukraine, the firm will offer free legal assistance from volunteer attorneys, who will assist in applying for TPS and answer any legal questions necessary.

Presently, Katten is also working with ongoing pro bono partner Airlink, providing monetary assistance through donation-matching efforts. Airlink developed a response plan to assist refugees of Ukraine through the delivery of aid and the transportation of emergency response teams into neighboring countries.

The Legal Aid Service of Broward County and the Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida recently honored several legal professionals for their commitment to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members in their communities. The Annual Recognition Awards, held May 2-6, 2022, aim to promote a better understanding of the law and its role in society.

2022 Award Recipients are as follows:

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