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Top Legal Industry News for Spring 2022: Law Firm Hiring, Industry Recognition, Women in Law
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

We’re back with another edition of our legal industry news roundup. Read more below for the latest updates in law firm hiring and expansion, legal industry awards, and recognition of leading women in the field today.

Law Firm Hiring and Expansion

Keller and Heckman added Counsel Daniel P. McGee to the firm’s Tobacco and E-Vapor practice. Mr. McGee’s experience includes counseling companies on a broad range of complex tobacco industry and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory matters and developing strategies to help companies bring new products to market.

“Daniel’s expertise and industry perspective will be invaluable to Keller and Heckman clients who are carefully navigating the challenges and pitfalls of a highly regulated and rapidly evolving legal landscape,” said Azim Chowdhury, a Partner in the firm’s Tobacco and E-Vapor and Food and Drug practices. “In addition to expanding our tobacco and e-vapor capabilities, we are especially looking forward to utilizing Daniel’s expertise in state law compliance, particularly for clients expanding into the hemp and CBD categories.”

Richard Mann, Chair of Keller and Heckman’s Management Committee, expressed excitement over Mr. McGee’s joining the firm, saying. “The addition of Daniel to our practice demonstrates Keller and Heckman’s commitment to helping our clients understand and comply with continuously evolving regulations in this growing field.”

Mr. McGee said he’s looking forward to collaborating with the Tobacco and E-Vapor team at Keller and Heckman.

“After spending the bulk of my legal career as in-house counsel to the tobacco industry, I made a strategic decision to focus on the industry as a whole and join a law firm that is a leader in tobacco regulatory compliance and public policy initiatives.”

Norris McLaughlin, P.A. welcomed Michael J. Willner as a Member in the firm’s New York office. Mr. Willner joined the firm’s Real Estate, Finance, and Land Use Practice Group.

Mr. Willner works with individuals and entities involved with managing real estate assets, as well as condominiums and co-ops. He specializes in condominium and cooperative law, commercial and residential real estate transactions and related litigation.

Holtzman Vogel Baran Torchinksy & Josefiak PLLC opened a new office in Phoenix, Arizona. The firm held its ribbon cutting ceremony on April 26 for the office at the Esplenade with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. 

The office is led by resident Partner Christine Fort and Dallin M. Holt, Of Counsel. 

“After over 20 years representing high-profile clients in all aspects of political and regulatory law, we are grateful to now open our fourth office to help support our growing roster of clients in the West,” said Managing Partner Jill Holtzman Vogel, former Chief Counsel for the RNC and a sitting member of the Virginia General Assembly. “We could have chosen anywhere to expand our reach, but Arizona and the Phoenix metro area is dynamic and fast-growing – just like our team. This is absolutely the right place for Holtzman Vogel to put down roots, and we are thrilled to open the doors and get started.”

Goldberg Segalla added Ian G. Zolty to the firm’s Workers’ Compensation group in Princeton, N.J.

Mr. Zolty has experience counseling and defending employers, insurance carriers, and third-party administrators in workers’ compensation matters throughout New Jersey, including hospitals, insurance companies and school boards, among others. 

Legal Industry Recognition

City & State New York named three shareholders at Greenberg Traurig, LLP to its 2022 Energy & Environment Power 100 list: Steven C. Russo, Doreen U. Saia, and Zackary D. Knaub. The recognition spotlights significant legal professionals in the New York area that are “reshaping the energy industry – and rescuing our environment.” 

Mr. Russo is the co-chair of the firm’s Environmental Practice, focusing his practice on environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act, the State Environmental Quality Review Act, and more. Ms. Saia is the chair of the Albany Office’s Energy & Natural Resources Practice, where she focuses her efforts on supporting national and international electricity corporations and aiding in related financial transactions. Mr. Knaub is a shareholder in both the Environmental and the Government Law & Policy groups, practicing specifically in energy and environmental legal and government affairs matters, including litigation, dispute resolution, government procurement, and regulatory matters.

Tammie Alexander, chair of the Business Department at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, is a 2022 Bar Foundation Fellow, appointed by the West Virginia Bar Foundation Board of Directors.  Recognizing lawyers and judges in West Virginia with noteworthy dedication to the practice of law, the Bar Foundation has nominated only 450 out of 6,000 eligible individuals since 1999. Since the program’s inception, 22 Steptoe & Johnson attorneys have been selected as fellows.

Ms. Alexander, located in the firm’s Morgantown office, focuses her practice on an array of topics, including banking, real estate, commercial transactions, title insurance, and construction matters. She primarily assists with large scale projects that involve multiple property owners, governmental agencies, and financial investors.

The South Carolina School of Law provided the Platinum Compleat Lawyer Award, the school’s highest alumni honor, to Erna Womble, retired litigation partner at Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP. Established in 1992, the Compleat Lawyer Awards are meant to recognize alumni for notable professional, civil, and legal accomplishments. Recipients are members of the field who exemplify professional competence, ethics, and integrity.

Erna Womble, who graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1986, joined Womble Bond Dickinson in 1987. Today, she serves as the Co-President of Clearly Bespoke Strategies, Inc., a strategic advising company. Ms. Womble said of the award: “I am profoundly honored by the award from the law school which began my career as a lawyer-in-training. One of my excellent professors often admonished that when lawyers cease to learn, they cease to be good lawyers. More than three decades later, I’m still a lawyer-in-training. I am forever grateful to my beloved firm which afforded me the singular privilege of raising children whilst working with scions of industry and holders of the public trust in serving some of the firm’s best clients.”

Women in the Legal Industry

The Los Angeles Business Journal announced their “Women of Influence: Attorneys,” list which included Stubbs, Alderton & Markiles’ Heather Antoine. The list highlighted lawyers working for large businesses in legal areas such as data protection and intellectual property law.

Heather Antoine focuses her law firm practice on corporate property and data protection as Chair of the firm’s Trademark & Brand Protection practice, and Co-Chair of the Privacy & Data Security practice group. Some of her credits include features in the Los Angeles Times and CNBC.

Robinson & Cole LLP voted partner Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson to join the firm’s Managing Committee, allowing her to participate in the firm’s policy and practice strategic development. This comes after a series of noteworthy recognitions in the legal field: Cole-Johnson was recently presented with the Distinguished Leader Award by the Connecticut Law Tribune’s Connecticut Legal Awards, and she was additionally selected as an honoree for The 100 Women of Color Gala & Awards.

“[Ms. Cole-Johnson] is well-known for her talents as a legal advisor but also for her deep commitment to community organizations. She joined the firm thirteen years ago after law school and has been a true and constant champion for equitable and inclusive business practices within the firm, with her clients, and within the community. I look forward to her bringing that leadership and perspective to our Managing Committee,” said Robinson & Cole colleague Rhonda J. Tobin.

The accolades followed a recent appointment by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont for the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority board. 

Romer Debbas, LLP formed an all-female, diverse Agency Lending & Affordable Housing Department, focusing on representation in the property market. Partner Carmen I. Pagan, and Associates Catherine M. Azevedo and Pamela U. Norbert lead the new team with years of legal knowledge in real estate financing, commercial property law and lending service providers.

The new department expanded the firm’s practice areas in bankruptcy, corporate and business law, immigration, litigation, taxation and trusts and estate law.

Rachel Popa and Jessica Scheck also contributed to this article.

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