Legal Industry News September 2021: Law Firm Hiring, Legal Innovation & Pro Bono


Happy Fall, y’all! We’re back with the second September 2021 edition of the Legal Roundup News Column. Read on for the latest news in law firm hiring, pro bono work and law firm innovation.

Law Firm Hiring & Moves

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP expanded its Investigations, Compliance and White Collar Defense practice group with the addition of Karin M. Bell as partner. Joining the firm’s Boston office, Ms. Bell is experienced in white collar and civil litigation, as well as the prosecution of criminal cases. She previously served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts as the Chief of the Criminal Division. 

Scott T. Lashway, co-leader of the firm’s Privacy and Data Security practice group and head of the Boston office, said, “Karin’s excellent reputation, as well as her achievements inside and outside the courtroom, make her an invaluable asset to our U.S. and international clients, and to our diverse client base that calls New England home.”

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP continues to grow its Corporate law department. Recently, the firm added partners Dilen Kumar, Ilana N. Rubin, and Roger J. Griesmeyer to the Mergers & Acquisitions/Private Equity practice group, as well as Timothy J. Kirby to the Capital Markets practice group. Mr. Kumar joins Katten’s Dallas office, whereas Mr. Kirby, Ms. Lubin, and Mr. Griesmeyer join the firm’s New York office. 

“These individuals are key hires who make our bench of talented attorneys even stronger,” said Kimberly Smith, global chair of Katten’s Corporate department. “They bring considerable skills to our platform that broaden the dynamic capabilities we offer to our clients to ensure deals get done.”

Trent Bridges  joined Sidley Austin LLP as a partner in the Energy and Infrastructure practice group. Formerly the Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. Mr. Bridges is well-practiced in commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, joint venture agreements, and more. He also has experience representing major companies in capital markets transactions at McAfee & Taft.

Cliff Vrielink, global leader of the Energy and Infrastructure practice group, said, “We have known Trent for many years as both a client and across the table and know the quality of his work, his negotiating skills, and his entrepreneurial drive. His experience as an executive at a preeminent energy infrastructure company will help bolster and expand our work for strategic clients and private equity and infrastructure funds.”

Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP  named nine new partners. They are: Michelle Gallagher (Boston), John Stiglich II (Detroit), Mark Severino (Las Vegas), Otis Felder (Los Angeles), David Morrow (Los Angeles), Connor Stinson (Los Angeles), Noelle Sheehan (Orlando), Nicholas McCann (Seattle), and Golriz S. Chrostowski (Washington, DC). 

“Congratulations to our new partner class as they join the next generation of our firm’s leadership,” said Daniel J. McMahon, Chair at Wilson Elser. “Each of these nine has a great understanding of our clients’ needs, and their contributions will continue advancing Wilson Elser and our clients’ businesses.”

Pro Bono & Recognition

Barnes and Thornburg’s Atlanta office has been named one of Atlanta’s “Best Places to Work,” according to Atlanta Business Chronicle. Barnes & Thornburg ranked fifth in the medium-size company category, and this year’s results highlight employee satisfaction in multiple categories, including trust in leadership, communication, manager effectiveness, personal engagement, and more.

“It’s a privilege to be named to this significant workplace ranking because it is based on the voices of our own employees. This recognition is a testament to the culture we have built within our Atlanta office as we all seek to support our clients and their endeavors,” said John T.L. Koenig, the Atlanta office managing partner.

CMBG3 attorneys David Goldman and Seta Accaoui are wrapping up their 2021 term on the Rhode Island Leadership Program board, where they met monthly with local legislators, government officials and experts to solve some of Rhode Island's most prominent issues. When they leave the program, each class member must assign themselves a social contract to resume working on when they leave the program.

Both Mr. Goldman and Ms. Accaoui, in conjunction with CMBG3’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee set up a scholarship and mentorship program with Rhode Island’s Central Falls High School to help high school students interested in pursuing a legal career.

Mr. Goldman is working to help facilitate the development of 25 Bough Street in Providence into a community resource for education, youth development and commerce. In addition, Ms. Accaoui will be working with CrossRoads, Rhode Island, a non-profit organization serving Rhode Islanders that provides housing and housing-related services to more than 3,000 people a year.

Eight Bradley Arant Boult Cummings attorneys  are included in the 2021 Benchmark Litigation Labor and Employment guide as ‘Labor and Employment stars.’ 

“This recognition affirms the exceptional client service and capabilities of this group of attorneys and our labor and employment practice as a whole, and we are proud to be recognized by this prestigious list,” said managing partner Jonathan M. Skeeters.

The eight Bradley attorneys recognized were:

Legal Industry Awards & Innovation

Norton Rose Fulbright teamed up with nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis to hold a Run Against Racism charity event in Houston through virtual participation Sept.19. The event supported Norton Rose Fulbright’s 2021 Global Charitable Initiative focused on fighting systemic racism and championing social justice worldwide.

“Fighting racism and championing social justice are critically important to our global firm. While we are raising funds and awareness for this serious initiative, our run also gives us an opportunity to come together as a community – locally and globally – and have some fun. In our Run Against Racism, we are excited to help three trailblazing nonprofit organizations: ADL, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Tahirih Justice Center, ” said Shauna Clark, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global and US Chair.

The race included a 10K and 5K event, as well as a 1K for children 14 and under. The race series was part of the Run Houston! Race Series. Norton Rose Fulbright invited the men’s and women’s cross country and track teams from Yates High School, Worthing High School and Wheatley High School to participate in the Run Against Racism. 

“Teaming up with Norton Rose Fulbright in its charitable efforts to fight racism means so much to me, especially with the tragedies in recent years that have shaken us all. I encourage everyone to make meaningful and positive change in their communities,” Mr. Lewis said.

Nelson Mullins launched the Rural Healthcare Initiative (“RHI”), which aims to increase healthcare delivery for 20 percent of Americans living in non urbanized areas through a collaboration with healthcare consulting firms. Nelson Mullins partnered with Ascendient Healthcare Advisors, Criterion Healthcare, Health Management Resources, with support from Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, to form the Rural Healthcare Initiative. 

Nelson Mullins’ initiative has both a nonprofit and consulting arm to educate stakeholders on the issues facing rural healthcare, as well as creating comprehensive services to address areas in need of improvement. Specifically, the non-profit arm offers  no-cost or at-cost educational resources such as peer-to-peer events, educational opportunities, staff training, expert testimony, and board retreats. 

“We started with the mission of strengthening rural healthcare providers and then asked ourselves how we could deliver on that mission with maximum reach and sustainability,” said Robert Wilson, Raleigh-based partner at national law firm Nelson Mullins. “By structuring RHI as a consulting collaborative with a nonprofit arm, we see the opportunity to provide a much more cost-effective solution for rural clients while creating a funding stream to advance our core aim of providing education and best practices for these healthcare organizations. It’s this approach that makes RHI unique, with our group the only one in healthcare consulting using the social enterprise model at this scale.”

Frost Brown Todd (“FBT”) earned the Mansfield Rule™ Plus Certification for its year-long diversity tracking program through Diversity Lab. To earn the certification, Frost Brown Todd showed that at least 30 percent of those considered for various leadership roles, lateral attorney positions, equity member advancements, and formal pitch teams were attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ attorneys, and women, while also achieving 30 percent representation from these groups in 70 percent of nine Plus Certification designated categories. 

“Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic during this evaluation period, tracking our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts through Diversity Lab remained a priority,” said the chair of FBT’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Kimera Hall. “After falling just shy of meeting the plus-level requirements last year, earning the Mansfield Rule Plus Certification shows that we’re committed to improving our culture and fostering opportunities that will hopefully lead to more equitable outcomes across the firm.”

The Mansfield Rule is named for Arabella Mansfield, the first woman in the U.S. admitted to the practice of law 150 years ago. Since implementing the Mansfield Rule, 94 percent of participating law firms report their candidate pool for pitch teams was more diverse.

Frost Brown Todd is also participating in Mansfield 5.0, which began in mid-July 2021. For the next year, the firm will continue to track its diversity efforts under Mansfield guidelines, which requires firms to track nominations to Chambers USA, as well as  track individuals considered for C-suite or senior-level business professional positions.

Rachel Popa also contributed to this article.


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National Law Review, Volumess XI, Number 272