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Top Legal Industry News for August 2021: Law Firm Pro Bono, Hiring & Innovation
by: The National Law Review, Chandler Ford of The National Law Review / The National Law Forum LLC - NLR  -  National Law Review News
Monday, August 30, 2021

Welcome back to another edition of the National Law Review’s legal industry news column. Read on for the latest news on law firm pro bono, innovation and hiring as selected by the NLR’s editorial team.

Law Firm Hiring and Moves

Elizabeth Hermann Smith joined Mayer Brown’s Chicago office as a partner in their Banking & Finance practice group. She represents clients in all areas of the financial industry, including investors, borrowers, administrative agents, lenders and more. Ms. Smith’s specialty is in the field of leveraged finance, where she has focused on buyouts, dividend recapitalizations, and other financial transactions.

“Continuing to expand our leveraged finance capabilities, particularly with private credit funds, is a primary goal of the firm’s Banking & Finance practice. Elizabeth’s addition reflects our commitment to growth and strengthens our global finance offerings,” said Frederick Fisher, a co-leader of Mayer Brown's global Lending group.

Mayer Brown also added Brett E. Moskowitz as Counsel to the Banking & Finance practice group. Located in the firm’s Charlotte office, Mr. Moskowitz focuses on bilateral and syndicated loan transactions, specializing in acquisition financing, real estate financings, and cash flow and asset-based lending.

Campos Mello Advogados added Antonio Tovo as a partner in the firm’s Corporate Criminal Law, Compliance and Cybersecurity practice group through an agreement with DLA Piper. Mr. Tovo works  in industries such as agriculture, real estate, healthcare, and hospitality.

Mr. Tovo works in Campos Mello Advogados’ São Paulo office. Ricardo Caiado Lima, a partner at Campos Mello Advogados: “We’re delighted to announce that Antonio [...]  has joined our team. We’re seeing significant growth in our corporate criminal law and cybersecurity practices, and it is key for us to have highly qualified professionals with extensive experience, like Antonio [...] .”

Robinson+Cole  added partner Danielle H. Tangorre to the firm's Health Law group. At the firm’s Albany office, she will focus on guiding clients through state and federal health law regulations, in particular abuse and fraud laws such as Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statutes. Further, Ms. Tangorre has experience in  healthcare transactional matters,  litigation and  HIPAA compliance.

“Danielle has impressive experience and I’m delighted to welcome her to our team,” says Rhonda J. Tobin, Managing Partner at Robinson+Cole. “Continuing to expand the depth and geographical diversity of our health law practice is another step in the execution of our strategic plan to expand some of our strongest practices in our most strategic locations.”

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC opened three new offices in Texas located in Dallas, San Antonio, and Collin County.  Steptoe & Johnson's new Texas operation includes –eleven new attorneys specializing in an array of fields including  commercial real estate, corporate transactions, energy, and tax law. The Dallas, San Antonio, and Collin County offices will be managed by Elizabeth Cromwell, Katherine David, and Brad Fletcher, respectively.

Steptoe & Johnson CEO, Christopher L. Slaughter said “These locations represent a strategic investment for the firm to better serve our existing clients in Texas and widen our scope of services to new clients. Our new lawyers bring substantial experience and knowledge to the firm’s practices. They are valued additions to the Steptoe & Johnson team.”

Legal Industry Recognition

Reginald Turner of Clark Hill PLLC is the new President of the American Bar Association (ABA).  Mr. Turner specializes in government policy and labor and employment matters and served as President of the National Bar Association and the State Bar of Michigan in the past. Mr. Turner will serve his role as President of the ABA through August 2022.

“Serving as ABA president and representing the legal profession is an honor. The ABA is committed to advancing the rule of law and increasing access to justice. As president, I will work tirelessly towards achieving those goals,” said Mr. Turner.

Ankura is one of 83 firms to contribute intelligence to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), which provides an analysis of data breaches and security incidents and provides ways to proactively mitigate future risks. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations report is important for law firms because of the technical information and metrics that are associated with cyber-attacks. Ankura’s team provided intelligence related to almost one hundred cyber matters including ransomware, espionage and other financially motivated actions.

“Leaders at every level need to understand technology and the benefits and risks it poses to their organizations.  The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report does an extraordinary job capturing many of these risks, and Ankura’s inclusion on the DBIR team is testament to the quality of work and collaboration our team brings to every engagement, every day,” says Hon. Patrick J. Murphy of Ankura’s Cybersecurity practice.

The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) announced Adam M. Sheinvold of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC  their team. The IADC is a legal organization for attorneys who represent corporate and insurance interests designed to help members develop skills, promote professionalism and facilitate camaraderie among clients.

Mr. Sheinvold brings the expertise of commercial and business litigation, regulatory and administrative litigation and product liability defense to the IADC team. “I am honored to be invited as a new member of the prestigious International Association of Defense Counsel and to join my distinguished colleagues of the corporate defense bar who rely on the IADC to provide valuable, high-level education and professional support and development opportunities,” said Mr. Sheinvold.

Legal Innovation & Pro Bono Programs

In July, Ropes & Gray hosted a “Legal Bootcamp” in partnership with BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development), a Chicago youth development organization that focuses on gang intervention and violence prevention.

“A hallmark of Ropes & Gray Chicago has always been our commitment to the Chicago community,” said office managing partner Paulita Pike. “This dedication is evident by the extensive efforts from our Chicago office family in launching the Legal Bootcamp. We’re thrilled at the positive responses we’ve received from the students and BUILD, and I’m proud of my colleagues.”

Ropes & Gray worked with five high school and college age students to participate in a three week pilot program, which highlighted professions in the legal industry, including judges, attorneys and commercial support professionals. The curriculum included a corporate legal clinic, a speaker series and a preliminary injunction hearing workshop.

“Launching our inaugural Legal Bootcamp, together with BUILD, has been a highlight for our Chicago office over this summer,” said Ropes & Gray litigation and enforcement partner Tim Farrell. “We hope that by giving students who otherwise would not have access to or a background in the legal industry a front row seat at a corporate law firm, we’re advancing our mission of inclusion while hopefully the students are getting a broader perspective of the world of possibilities that lie ahead for them.”

Barnes & Thornburg selected five undergraduate students as members of the first class of its Pre Law Scholars Program, which aims to assist students’ pursuing a law degree. Through the program, Barnes & Thornburg will cover the cost of the students’ Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and LSAT prep coursework, as well as helping with the cost of law school applications. Additionally, attorney mentors from Barnes & Thornburg will work with the students to help guide them through law school.

“We are very excited to welcome the inaugural class of Prelaw Scholars to the Barnes & Thornburg family. They are all amazingly accomplished individuals and we are thrilled to be a part of their journey to law school,” said Sarah Evenson, Barnes & Thornburg’s director of law school programs. “Our hope is this program not only lessens the financial burden and administrative obstacles of applying to law school, but also provides key mentoring connections helping to prepare them for law school and ultimately rocket them to the legal career they desire.”

The Pre-Law Scholar program is presented in conjunction with Barnes & Thornburg’s Racial Justice Committee, which strives to support diverse candidates interested in pursuing law as a career.

“Our core belief as a firm and as a committee was to identify ways to build relationships with a pipeline of diverse legal talent and to mentor these aspiring legal professionals as they prepare to enter law school. The Prelaw Scholars Program does just that and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said William A. Nolan, member of the firm’s management committee and Racial Justice Committee.

The first class includes:

  • Phillip Arrington IV, Loyola University Chicago, B.A. in Political Science

  • Natalie Frazier, Emory University, B.A. in Women’s Gender and Sexualities Studies

  • Esther Oluwapelumi Durosinmi, Loyola University Chicago, B.A. in Political Science

  • Alexa M. Carpenter, Central State University, B.S. Criminal Justice

  • Jasleen Gill, University of California Berkeley, B.A. Philosophy and Legal Studies

Benchmark Litigation included Bradley Arant Boult Cummings partners Leigh Anne Hodge, Lela M. Hollabaugh and Kimberly B. Martin on its 2021 Benchmark Top 250 Women in Litigation list, developed through client feedback and research.

“Leigh Anne, Lela and Kim continue to demonstrate superior skill and client success in their litigation practices, and we are proud to see them recognized once again in this prestigious list,” said Bradley Chairman of the Board and Managing Partner Jonathan M. Skeeters.

Ms. Hodge is leader of the Litigation Practice Group and a member of the firm’s Healthcare Practice Group and is based in the Birmingham office. She represents clients in the healthcare industry in cases involving product liability litigation, medical malpractice litigation, peer review and staff privileges matters, administrative hearings before licensure boards, ERISA litigation, Medicare Advantage plan litigation, managed care litigation, insurance disputes and insurance fraud cases.

Ms. Hollabaugh works in the firm’s Nashville office, and advises leading natural gas pipeline companies and other infrastructure clients on issues involving location, land acquisition, construction and operations. She recently co-authored an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the industry's position on the scope of the Natural Gas Act and the state’s 11th Amendment immunity.

Ms. Martin focuses on general litigation with an emphasis on medical device and pharmaceutical products liability litigation. She is based in the firm’s Huntsville office, and recently served as trial counsel defending a nationwide hospice provider in a three-month False Claims Act trial brought by the Department of Defense, which resulted in a dismissal.

Rachel Popa also contributed to this article.

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