2016's Top 40 Lawyers Under 40
DC has some of the country's most talented young lawyers. That's why we're taking the time to honor 2106's Top 40 Lawyers Under 40. Come celebrate their legal skills, from appellate litigation to M&A, with us at a networking cocktail reception on the Bowen Building rooftop on Wednesday, June 15.
Take a look at some of the honorees' profiles below, and look out for more this week. (Click here for a full list.)
ERIN MURPHY: PARTNER, BANCROFT PLLC
Practice area: My practice focuses on Supreme Court, appellate, and constitutional law. I frequently brief major cases in the Supreme Court (including 5 this term), and I argued two cases before the Court this term – Husky v. Ritz, a statutory interpretation case about a provision of the Bankruptcy Code, and United States v. Texas, a separation of powers case about the scope of the Executive’s power under the immigration laws. I was the only woman in private practice to argue before the Supreme Court twice the term, and one of only four women outside the government to argue before the Court at all.
Recent matters: Arguing United States v. Texas, the 26-State challenge to the administration’s DAPA program, on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives an amicus supporting the States was certainly a fascinating—and very challenging—experience. The case involves a very complex intersection of immigration, administrative, and constitutional law, and it’s obviously very high profile, which is always its own challenge. The matter that the rest of the world probably finds most interesting, however, is our representation of the NFL in the Tom Brady “Deflategate” litigation. We represented the NFL in its successful appeal to the Second Circuit, which resulted in the reinstatement of Brady’s four-game suspension. I didn’t argue the case, but I’ve been heavily involved in the briefing. It’s probably the only time in history that anyone will ever tell me they just read about me in Sports Illustrated.
Career highlight: My first Supreme Court argument, in McCutcheon v. FEC (October 2013). Although actually winning the case a few months later was definitely a close second.
Community involvement: I’m a member of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, and I frequently participate in moot courts for organizations around town that help people prepare for Supreme Court arguments (e.g., Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute, the National Association of Attorneys General, the Chamber of Commerce, the Heritage Foundation).
Why this career: I was one of those kids who loved arguing about pretty much anything, so law was something that always interested me. It was my year as a Bristow Fellowship in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office (which I did in between my two clerkships) that really sparked and solidified my interest in appellate law. Of course, spending the following year working at the Supreme Court didn’t hurt either.
Mentors: Paul Clement, with whom I’ve worked throughout my entire career in private practice. Chief Justice Roberts, for whom I clerked in OT08. Judge Diane Sykes of the Seventh Circuit, for whom I clerked in 2006-07. They’ve each had a huge influence on the kind of lawyer, and the kind of person, that I strive to be.
Why DC: I grew up in Naperville, IL, a suburb of Chicago. I came to DC for law school (Georgetown) with the intention of sticking around, which, with the exception of my clerkship on the Seventh Circuit, I have ever since.
Family: No spouse or kids. I spend as much time as I can with my parents, my sister, her husband, and my two adorable nieces, all of whom still live back in Chicago.
First job: I had a lot of odd jobs throughout high school and college, but my first full-time job was as a legal assistant to a plaintiffs’ personal injury firm in Chicago.
Free time: Mainly, I like to save up my free time for travel, whether it’s back to Chicago to visit my family or on vacation to slightly more exotic destinations. I also enjoy U.S. travel quite a bit; I try to make a point of visiting at least one local site of interest whenever I travel somewhere new for work. Hitting Alaska for an argument earlier this year was definitely a highlight. I only have about 6 or 7 states to go at this point.
MICHAEL GOTTLIEB: PARTNER, BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER
Practice area: I practice in two of the firm’s most rapidly growing practice areas: Crisis Management & Government Response, and Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, and Technology. We represent clients who are facing serious problems that may involve simultaneous investigations by federal or state regulators, civil litigation, intense media scrutiny, and challenges to their business operations. The problems our clients face can include data breaches, issues that arise under the federal securities laws, whistleblowers, antitrust concerns, and more. I also manage the D.C. office’s pro bono practice, and maintain a number of paid and pro bono appellate matters.
Recent matters: We have represented LifeLock, Inc. in response to simultaneous inquiries by the Federal Trade Commission, a nationwide consumer class action, and interest from various state attorneys general, relating to the company’s marketing and information security program. We helped negotiate a global resolution to these matters that will allow the Company to focus its energy on identity-theft protection and becoming an industry leader in information security. We also recently represented an investment fund and its founder in an SEC administrative proceeding following a lengthy criminal investigation by the Justice Department, with additional interest from both Congress and the CFTC. We helped the client obtain a favorable settlement that avoided any long-lasting sanctions or monetary penalties, and will allow the fund to resume ordinary operations in short order.
In another matter, we represented the Kurdistan Regional Government in litigation brought by the Iraqi Ministry of Oil challenging the KRG’s right to sell and export oil from the Kurdistan Region under the terms of the Iraqi Constitution. The Iraqi federal government brought suit in a U.S. district court to prevent the KRG from selling its oil in the United States, and the suit was ultimately dismissed without resolving the merits after argument in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Finally, we recently helped my client Pras Michel, a former member of the hip-hop group The Fugees, obtain a reversal of a district court’s dismissal of his defamation lawsuit against the New York Post. The district court had held that a defamatory article about Mr. Michel constituted protected “opinion” rather than fact reporting. After argument and briefing, the Eleventh Circuit agreed with our position and sent the case back down to the district court, where we are continuing to litigate on Mr. Michel’s behalf.
Career highlights: I’ve been very fortunate in the opportunities I’ve had to serve during my career. Clerking for Justice Stevens was certainly one of my career highlights, in large part because Justice Stevens was the best boss I’ve ever had. I’ll always appreciate his intellect and sartorial elegance, of course, but what I admired most was the compassion and decency he showed to his colleagues, the staff of the Court, and to the parties whose cases came before the Court. It was also an honor to serve in Joint Task Force 435 in Afghanistan (2010-2011) alongside many remarkable civilian and military colleagues. I am certain I learned more from that job than all others I have had combined. And it was a great honor to serve as Associate Counsel in the White House.
Community involvement: I have been involved for many years with, and now serve on the Board of Directors for, the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues. Our organization seeks to help expand policy debate programs in under-served junior high schools and high schools throughout the United States. We now reach 9,500 students in twenty-two cities. I was fortunate to attend a public high school in Lawrence, Kansas that offered a terrific debate program, and I owe all of my career success to the debate teachers and mentors I had in both high school and college debate. As I mentioned before, I also help manage the Boies, Schiller & Flexner D.C. office’s pro bono program, so I maintain responsibility for and visibility into all of the pro bono work we do. Next week we will receive an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights for an important settlement that our firm, led by my colleague Ryan Park, helped reach in the area of family and medical leave rights.
Why this career: My dad was a law professor, so I decided fairly early on in life that I also wanted to be a lawyer. I debated in high school and at Northwestern University, and I think I always saw myself as someone who could effectively advocate on behalf of a variety of clients’ interests. As for my current practice areas, I gained an interest in national security law in law school, and in cybersecurity, in particular, during my time as an AUSA in California and in the White House Counsel’s Office.
My time in the White House Counsel’s Office and helping to run Joint Task Force 435 (which focused on detainee operations and rule of law development) in Afghanistan developed my interest in crisis management work; we were frequently dealing with problems involving multiple executive branch agencies, Congress, and state regulators. (Earlier in my career, I did a stint on the Senate Judiciary Committee.) The issues were complex and fast-moving, and required a nimble response to the confluence of intense media scrutiny, policy debates at the highest levels of government, and a background of civil or criminal litigation. Learning to play that game of three-dimensional chess was fascinating, and when I joined BSF in 2013, I did so because it was a place that offered a platform for helping clients with problems like the ones I had navigated in government.
Mentors: My college debate coach, Scott Deatherage, who sadly passed away in 2009, was one of my greatest mentors. He helped teach me critical thinking, writing, and argumentation skills that stay with me to this day. In the law, both judges for whom I clerked – Justice John Paul Stevens, and Judge Stephen Reinhardt – were great mentors, and I’ve been blessed to interact with some of the best and brightest public officials our country has to offer during my time in government: including but certainly not limited to Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Solicitor General Don Verrilli, and Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines.
In 10 years: I don’t really have a ten year plan, or a five year plan for that matter. I hope that I’m fortunate enough in ten years to still have the opportunity to work with smart and engaging people on challenging legal issues, including some legal issues that are at the cutting edge of economic, social, and/or political issues that are important to our country.
Why DC: I grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and moved to D.C. shortly after I graduated from law school. I’ve tried to move to California twice because I like the weather better, but the work has brought me back here!
Family: I’m married to Julianna Goldman, a reporter for CBS News, formerly the White House correspondent for Bloomberg News (we met when we both still worked at the White House). My father is a retired law professor who spent nearly all of his career teaching at the University of Kansas. My mother is a pianist and professor of music studies at the University of Maryland. I have an older brother and younger sister, the latter of whom is a public defender in Baltimore, MD.
First job: Delivering newspapers with my brother as a kid in Lawrence, Kansas. We also collected, traded, and sold baseball cards during the late 1980s and early 1990s – it was a great profession for a kid.
Free time: Spending time with my wife and our puppy, Mason (bulldog/pug mix). Cooking and generally enjoying food and wine. I’m an avid Kansas sports fan (especially the Kansas Jayhawks), and enjoy biking, hiking, skiing, and most outdoors activities.
Bucket list: Heli-skiing in some remote location like Greenland or New Zealand; finding tickets to Hamilton; seeing the Jayhawks visit the White House after a national championship.
Daily habit: My dog Mason dictates most of my daily habits at this point, depending on his mood.
Favorite vacation spot: My mom has taught at the Aspen Music Festival since I was a kid, so we’ve gone out there since I was little, and my wife and I got married there. It remains my favorite place to be whenever I can get out there.
Surprising fact: I was a hyperactive disciplinary nightmare as a child and put myself in the emergency room more times than anyone in my family can at this point recall. It’s a miracle that I made it through grade school in one piece.
CHIRAAG BAINS: SENIOR COUNSEL, CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Practice area: I work on a variety of criminal justice reform efforts, including combating the criminalization of homelessness, the incarceration of people for being unable to pay fines or afford bail, and the overuse of solitary confinement. I also help review trial and appellate litigation and manage oversight inquiries from Congress. Prior to my current role, I was a prosecutor with the Division’s Criminal Section, where I prosecuted police misconduct, hate crimes, and interference with access to reproductive health clinics.
Recent matter: Investigating the Ferguson, MO, Police Department for a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct. Our team was on the ground in Ferguson in September 2014, meeting with officers and community members. Six months later, we released our report finding a pattern of unconstitutional police and municipal court practices. We explained that the misconduct stemmed from the city’s undue focus on revenue generation through policing and pervasive racial bias in the police department and court. We ultimately filed suit, and in April 2016 a federal court entered a consent decree to bring about reform.
Career highlights: Prosecuting a cross burning in Alabama, in which two members of the Ku Klux Klan planted a six-foot cross at the entrance to a black neighborhood at night and set it ablaze. The offense terrorized the community. I worked closely with the FBI and questioned senior KKK officials to build the case, ultimately convicting both defendants and securing justice for the victims. On the policy side, the highlight has been working on the Justice Department’s report on solitary confinement and other forms of restrictive housing in prisons. The report, which was transmitted to the President and released to the public in January 2016, set out guiding principles and concrete steps to scale back the use of solitary—for special populations like juveniles and the seriously mentally ill, but also more broadly—while ensuring officer and inmate safety.
Community involvement: I’m involved with organizations that encourage young people to go into public service, including the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. I also try to stay abreast of local issues, including those that affect Ward 6 in the District, where I live.
Why this career: As a kid, I was fascinated by history and wanted to be a civil rights lawyer like Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall. (I was a nerdy kid.) Over time, I became more interested in criminal justice. It’s been a blessing to work at the Justice Department—the cases are incredibly important and my colleagues are a joy to work with. Two years ago, I switched from being a line attorney to serving in the front office because I wanted to broaden my portfolio and support more of the Division’s work.
Mentors: Too many to name, and I’m thankful to all of them. Two that stand out are Judge Nancy Gertner, formerly of the District of Massachusetts, and Judge Karen Nelson Moore of the Sixth Circuit. Both taught me to be intellectually rigorous and committed to justice at the same time. And my current boss, Vanita Gupta, has been incredibly supportive.
In 10 years: Hopefully, helping to build community in some capacity, while being a good father and husband.
Family: My wife is a charming and fierce civil rights litigator at a plaintiff-side law firm in town. We met in law school and still love to talk about the law together. We have a discerning 3-year-old daughter who keeps us on our toes. I also have two sisters, including a twin who works for DOJ as an Assistant United States Attorney in Massachusetts.
First job: Tennis instructor.
Free time: Running, reliving my childhood through 1990s hip hop, and spending time with my wife and daughter.
Bucket list: Run a sub-3:00 marathon. Learn to fly a plane. Take an Alaskan cruise. See the Great Wall of China.
Daily habit: Serving my toddler oatmeal and a spinach smoothie every morning, and checking the news incessantly.
Favorite vacation spot: Los Roques, Venezuela
Surprising fact: I was a DJ in college.
KATIE BROSSY: SENIOR COUNSEL, AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD
Practice area: I work in the American Indian Law and Policy group, where I focus on representing tribes and tribal interests on a variety of issues, particularly water settlements and their implementation.
Recent matter: I've been very fortunate to work on passing one of the largest Indian Water Settlements in US history in 2010: the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act provides over $460M to the Crow Tribe to repair their dilapidated irrigation system, build a Reservation-wide clean drinking water system and provide funds for energy development projects. There are a number of Congressionally mandated requirements that must be met before the Act is considered fully enforceable, and we are currently finalizing the last of those requirements and anticipate that the Act will be enforceable by the end of June. This will be a huge step forward for the Crow Tribe and will enable it to access appropriated funds to begin important energy development projects.
Career highlights: In addition to the Crow Tribe water settlement discussed above, I was also a key member of the team that secured the largest tribal trust claim settlement against the United States. This was not only hugely significant for the client, the Osage Tribe of Indians, but for all tribes seeking trust fund claim resolution against the United States. After 11 years of litigation concerning the US government’s mismanagement of tribal assets, the case resulted in a $380M settlement for the tribe.
Community involvement: I am very active in the Native American Community both in DC and in Nebraska, where I am originally from. I have served as the past president of the Native American Bar Association of DC and have made it a priority to bring together Native attorneys, their families and the larger Native American community in the DC area to legal events and social gatherings. In Nebraska, I remain very connected to my Tribe, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, participating in tribal events and continuing to represent the Ponca Tribe in a pro bono capacity on important issues. I currently serve on the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F), a nonprofit organization that is the only national Native American organization dedicated to reversing Native American childhood obesity and type-2 diabetes. As a member of the board, I am committed to supporting evidence-based, community-driven and culturally relevant programs that prevent childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the Native American community. As a mother to a 2-year old boy, I am very passionate about addressing this significant issue early on in children’s lives to support a healthy way of life.
Why this career: My tribal citizenship and connection to my Tribe has always been a very important part of who I am and has directly impacted what I wanted to do with my career. I knew at an early age that I wanted to work for Native people, specifically for my own Tribe, and the law seemed the perfect career to meaningfully address issues affecting my Tribe and Indian communities across the country. I chose Akin Gump because of its strong commitment to American Indian law and policy, which includes a practice group dedicated to representing tribes and tribal interests in which I have been practicing for the past nine years. I love the tough issues that we address on behalf of our tribal clients.
Mentors: My mother has been my most influential mentor both in life and in my career. She taught me from a young age to have respect for myself and my elders and she always emphasized hard work and led by example. She has been the Executive Director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs for the past 20 years and works tirelessly every day to work on difficult issues in Indian Country in Nebraska.
Fred LeRoy, the former Chairman of my tribe, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, worked to get my Tribe restored to federal recognition after we were terminated by the US government in the 1960s. He passed away a few years ago but was a very strong influence in my teenage and adult years and always encouraged me to go to law school. As a result, I was one of the first, if not the first, member of my tribe to attend and graduate from law school.
Don Pongrace, the head of Akin Gump's American Indian Law and Policy group, and Rod Lewis, a consultant with the firm and the first Native American to argue a case before the US Supreme Court, have been the most influential mentors in my legal career. They have taught me everything I know about Indian water rights and zealously working to represent our tribal clients. I am so thankful for their mentorship, the wealth of knowledge they have shared with me and the camaraderie that they instill within our practice group.
In 10 years: If the stars align, I see myself as a partner at Akin Gump continuing to work on important issues in Indian Country.
Why DC: I grew up in Lincoln, NE, where I went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for my undergraduate degree and then I moved to New York City where I received my law degree from Columbia University in 2005. Many people say that all roads in Indian Country lead to Washington, DC, and I found that to be the case for myself. Following my graduation from law school, I have been here practicing Indian law.
Family: I am married to Jackson Brossy, a member of the Navajo Nation and Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Washington DC Office. We have a 2 1/2-year-old son named Evan who brightens my day and is the center of our world.
Free time: I enjoy spending time with my husband and 2 1/2-year-old son. I also enjoy yoga and Pilates.
Bucket list: I would like to attend all of the tennis Grand Slam tournaments—the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the French Open and the US Open. I was able to attend the US Open when I was at Columbia so I have three left.
Daily habit: I like to start out my day going on a walk with my husband and son to Starbucks—a little bit of exercise and I’m also able to satisfy my Starbucks addiction.
Favorite vacation spot: My husband has family on Oahu, so I would say that Hawaii is our favorite vacation spot (although a rather long plane ride from DC, especially with a 2-year-old in tow).
Surprising fact: I descend from Ponca Chief Smoke Maker who signed one of the Ponca treaties with Lewis & Clark.
KELSI BROWN CORKRAN: PARTNER, SUPREME COURT & APPELLATE GROUP, ORRICK HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE
Practice area: Complex appellate commercial litigation with an emphasis on financial services, bankruptcy, and intellectual property. I've presented oral arguments in 24 cases before 10 different federal appellate courts, and drafted more than 20 significant Supreme Court briefs.
Recent matter: Last month, we had a big win on behalf of a former bank executive, Rebecca Mairone, who was wrongly found liable for fraud – the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the judgment based on our argument that the government overstepped in attempting to secure a fraud finding based on allegations that amounted to no more than a breach of contract.
Career highlights: I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had in public service and private practice, but my clerkships with Judge Tatel on the D.C. Circuit and Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court still feel like I won the lottery twice.
Why this career: I was a social worker in the foster care system after I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and was on the fence between getting a Masters in social work or going to law school. Once I went to law school, I got a Master of Public Policy concurrently and focused on family law and policy. Then I got much more interested in constitutional law and statutory interpretation. (But I did work on the 2013 Supreme Court case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, so it did come full circle.) Before joining Orrick, I also worked on the DOJ's Civil Appellate Staff, in the Communications Office of the White House’s Executive Office of the President, and at Bancroft.
Community involvement: I am on the Board of Trustees for the Legal Aid Society of D.C., and I teach Sunday School at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church.
Why DC: I grew up in Vienna, VA and married my high school sweetheart, so we always planned to come home and raise our family here after we finished school.
Family: My husband teaches eighth grade history and AP economics; we have two children (9 and 5).
First job: Concession stand at the Vienna Little League baseball fields.
Daily habit: Reading to my kids before bedtime.
Surprising fact: I’m a lifelong pescetarian – I’ve never eaten a hamburger, hot dog, or chicken.
NEAL SETH: PARTNER, WILEY REIN LLP
Practice area: Patent litigation. I’ve handled cases across a wide array of technologies, and more recently pharmaceutical patent litigation has been more prominent, including Hatch-Waxman ANDA litigation. I'm also a member of Wiley Rein's Management Committee.
Recent matters: In the past year, I led litigation teams in matters involving Abilify®, Treanda®, Toviaz®, and Daliresp®, among other pharmaceutical products. It's interesting to work on matters that directly affect people's lives, whether that is in the pharmaceutical area where people’s health is at issue, or other technology that people use everyday such as their smart phones and social media.
Community involvement: I've served as President of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC and a Vice President on the Executive Committee of the North American South Asian Bar Association.
Why this career: I have an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering; many of the issues litigated in pharmaceutical patent cases are chemistry-related, so it allows me to stay in touch with my technical background. After law school in DC, I stayed in town and never left.
Mentors: I've found it helpful to observe how more experienced people do things, and then incorporate aspects that would work for me. This applies broadly, from litigation strategies to business development.
Family: My wife is a doctor, and we have two daughters (ages 8 and 5). We live in McLean.
First job: During college, I was an intern in America Online's legal department, which probably played some role in later getting into law school and IP.
Free time: I enjoy playing soccer and tennis, which I played in high school. I play soccer in the District Sports league, which is one of the biggest rec soccer leagues in DC. I usually play tennis in the mornings at my tennis club.
Bucket list: It might involve travel to an extreme place, like Antarctica. I understand there is a marathon/half-marathon there too.
Daily habit: I try to get in some exercise every day if I can.
Favorite vacation spot: I don't have one because I like to travel and visit new places – for me it's more fun to go somewhere new rather than have a vacation home or return to the same spot. But Venice is one place I'd like to go back to. We also go skiing out west every year; our favorites are Snowbird, Alta, and Solitude in Salt Lake, and Winter Park and A-Basin in Colorado.
JOEL GREEN: PARTNER, WILMERHALE
Practice area: I represent corporations, individuals, and financial institutions in government enforcement proceedings, internal investigations, and litigation, with an emphasis on parallel proceedings. I like to think that I combine subject matter expertise with a practical approach that takes into account the client's business and legal goals.
Recent matters: One of the reasons I really enjoy my practice is because of the wide range of matters I work on. I just wrapped up recently an internal investigation in China, which presented a lot of interesting and challenging issues. I’m working on a complicated set of parallel regulatory investigations and litigation for a renewable energy company, and I’ve recently represented professional athletes and sports agents in connection with matters involving allegations of performance enhancing drug.
Career highlight: I've had a number of significant internal investigations and enforcement proceedings over the last several years, and it’s always a highlight when we’re able to resolve them in a way that keeps clients out of the papers and puts the issue behind them so they can focus on their business.
Community involvement: I’m involved in a lot of pro bono work, which is typical for many WilmerHale attorneys. I do a lot of work with the Hillcrest Children's Center, which is a great organization here in DC that was founded by Dolly Madison after the War of 1812 and helps at-risk youth and families. Hillcrest was taken advantage of by a Ponzi scheme, and I helped them recoup part of the money they lost, and since then have done a number of other matters for them. I also work with the Children's Law Center on a number of custody or guardianship cases and trying to positively impact a child's life by helping them get into a more stable situation. I really enjoy my pro bono practice because the legal work is interesting and varied from my typical work of representing large companies, but more importantly, it’s always rewarding to help kids and their families.
Why this career: I've always had an interest in business and finance so securities law was a natural place for me to practice. I got some early experience with investigations and enforcement at WilmerHale and really enjoyed it. I liked learning about different industries and enjoyed helping clients through difficult situations, and so I’ve been fortunate to build a practice in this area.
Mentors: I've worked with great people who also happen to be very talented lawyers, at all levels, and really at every stage in my career; that's one of the reasons I enjoy practicing at WilmerHale so much. I think there are two people in particular-- WilmerHale Litigation/Controversy Department chair Howard Shapiro and WilmerHale Securities Department chair Bill McLucas--I look to as mentors. Not only because they're exceptional lawyers, which they are, but also because of the positive way they approach their practice and how they deal with colleagues and clients. They've taught me a tremendous amount so I've been very lucky to work with them.
Why DC: I’m a huge DC fan and always have been. I went to college and law school in DC and just never left. I was a summer associate at WilmerHale and joined the firm's DC office after graduating from law school. I think the city has a lot to offer and is a great place to work as a lawyer and raise a family.
Family: My wife is an attorney, although now she’s involved in more creative pursuits and just finished writing a book. She also has the more hectic full-time job of helping raise two kids: our son, Kane, is seven, and our daughter, Cami, just turned six. They're probably both aspiring lawyers, since I can't win an argument with them even now (but I guess that's not surprising considering both of their parents are lawyers).
First job: I’m from New Jersey, and my first job was as a busboy in a restaurant at the Jersey Shore. It's still one of the hardest jobs I've ever had, and I learned a lot about dealing with all types of people and chaotic situations.
Free time: Spending time with my family. We like to get outdoors and hike in Rock Creek Park, Great Falls, or West Virginia. I'm also a sports nut, and so I spend a fair bit of free time either participating in sports, watching sports, or coaching my kids in the various sports that they play. I’d say on most weekends, you can find me coaching on the sidelines or in the stands at my kids’ practices or games.
Bucket list: I would love to go on a safari, and also live abroad at some point.
Daily habit: Every morning, I think of what I want to accomplish that day, which helps get me organized and keeps me on track.
Favorite vacation spot: Italy's Amalfi Coast.
Surprising fact: I was a bartender in college and law school (which helped me hone my people skills). But according to my daughter, people would be surprised that I am funny. She's very funny, so if she's giving me even a little bit of recognition, I'll take it.
MEGAN LEWIS: TRIAL ATTORNEY, US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
The views expressed do not purport to represent those of the US Dep't of Justice.
Practice: I am currently employed by the US Department of Justice as a career attorney. My home section is the Antitrust Division, but I am currently on detail to the Office of Legislative Affairs. My work at the Antitrust Division was in the Washington Criminal II section, which investigates and prosecutes corporations and individuals who criminally violate the antitrust laws. To me, the most interesting aspect of these cases is how we develop evidence, which may include working with FBI agents and other investigators, cooperators, and grand juries, as well as conducting independent research from public sources and reviewing consumer complaints.
Prior to joining the Department of Justice, I worked at a private law firm, where my practice included antitrust and other commercial litigation, as well as governmental investigations.
Recent matters: I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to go on detail to the Office of Legislative Affairs, where my practice includes responding to Congressional inquiries and request for information from the Department of Justice, as well as coordinating assistance and input on legislation and other matters that impact the department. It has been a unique opportunity to work with the leadership of the Department and its components on topical issues that can impact broader policies.
Mentors: My career has been shaped by both peer-level and more senior mentors; I believe both have been instrumental in helping me become a better lawyer and providing opportunities to demonstrate my skills. In turn, I have tried to be a resource to more junior attorneys, paralegals, and others to pass along advice about what has helped me have a successful career in both the private sector and government.
Why DC: I grew up just outside of Kansas City, where I was the youngest of three children of first-generation parents. I chose to come to Washington DC for law school because I could not imagine a better place to become a lawyer and have opportunities for a variety of interesting and cutting-edge legal jobs. After more than a decade in DC, I have not been disappointed!
RYAN TISCH: PARTNER, CROWELL & MORING
Practice area: I handle antitrust in complex transactions, and also do a great deal of antitrust counseling. My favorite part of my practice is spending years working with a client through its most complicated competition-related problems. That long-term partnering leads to their calling when there are big opportunities (deals) or problems (litigation).
Recent matter: My most interesting current issue is a pro bono issue – a very complex refugee matter that has been going on in one form or another for 15 years. Dealing with that client, who has been incarcerated for over a decade, has reminded me for years of how lucky most of us are to be free to pursue our goals, whatever we decide they should be. I’m hopeful that case will be resolved soon.
Career highlight: Trying a merger case before the Competition Tribunal of South Africa and winning (admittedly, on appeal).
Community involvement: As the firmwide hiring partner at Crowell & Moring, I am involved in our efforts to identify and develop diverse talent in order to make sure we have the best possible human capital. That has meant a lot of involvement with students and young lawyers on sponsorship, talent identification, and connecting people to resources, particularly within our LGBT affinity group at Crowell.
Why this career: I originally decided to be a lawyer watching L.A. Law as a kid. I was deeply disappointed to find out how much less exciting life in practice was. But I came to this position mainly because I connected – mostly at random – with smart people who loved antitrust law and liked being trusted guides to their clients. It took years to get good enough to feel I was always adding value, and those people stuck with me through all that time.
Mentors: There have been lots. Randy Smith, the chair of our group, and Kent Gardiner, the former chair of our firm, have taught me that there are many different styles that work in this job, as long as you are passionate and can connect with your clients. Ellen Dwyer, our managing partner, has been a great mentor with respect to the recruiting and management of people.
In 10 years: I hope that a lot of the associates I work with now will be sitting around the partner table. We have a young, deep team and I can’t wait to see what those folks will do.
Why DC: I mostly grew up in Tucson, Arizona and felt it was odd that it almost never rained. DC made sense to me as a place with lots of lawyer jobs and smart people for a peer group. It’s worked out great.
Family: My husband, Curtis (at left), and I have a 1 year old son, Luke. We’re hoping for more, soon.
First job: My first job was at a Baskin Robbins. The owner was really proud of paying us under the table because “you get to keep more money.” I told him I wanted a regular paycheck. Should have known I’d grow up to be a lawyer then.
Free time: Community theater. I was in a production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard that was put on by our amazing neighborhood company in Baltimore. It nearly killed me but was so much fun. I hope I can do it again soon.
Bucket list: I want to do a long trip across another continent – something like the Trans-Siberian Railway, or the Cape-to-Cairo.
Daily habit: I look at the Wall Street Journal to see which of my clients is doing something, or being discussed. It really helps me feel prepared for what they bring me during the day.
Favorite vacation spot: Kruger National Park in South Africa. It’s a good thing it’s hard to get to or I’d probably just stay on safari forever.
Surprising fact: I was once booed off the ice during a minor league hockey game. It didn’t occur to me that I should know how to use a hockey stick when I agreed to do the challenge. The other guy had been a minor league player and housed me. Management suggested I should “just go home, these people are pretty drunk.” I got a free t-shirt, though.
JEREMY SCHROPP: PARTNER, MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP
Practice area: I help companies at all stages of development with their corporate transactional matters. The bulk of my practice involves M&A matters and assisting start-up and emerging companies with formation, funding and growth transactions. Most of my clients have businesses that create, develop, integrate or improve technology and a large proportion of them have a government contracting component to their model.
Recent matter: In the past few months I have assisted two large federal contractors on buy-side acquisitions, advised a management team over the course of a PE buy-out and assisted a start-up online educational community in securing the funding they need to accelerate growth. The diversity of the transactions and the client base I am privileged to serve have made the work stimulating and engaging over the course of my career.
Career highlight: Among the more rewarding experiences during my career have been the long-term client relationships that span years and cover every stage of growth and success. From the earliest planning stages with the founders, to the formation and initial funding transactions, through the expansion and growth stages and then finally helping the team achieve their ultimate goals – whether that is continued growth, an IPO or M&A exit. It is an incredible journey.
Community involvement: I work with several business incubators in the DC region that aim to provide start-up companies with office space, networking connections, mentorship opportunities and other support. Through educational events and opportunities to talk informally about start-up issues, the goal is to help entrepreneurs avoid some of the common legal pitfalls faced by early-stage companies.
Why this career: Many members of my extended family are attorneys or have law degrees, including my father, two brothers, and several aunts, uncles and cousins. So perhaps it was by gravitational pull that I ended up in law school. By the time I graduated I was confident that corporate transactional work would be better suited to my skills and interests. The process of working on business solutions for our clients and finding a way to get all parties to arrive at a final deal is always unique and challenging. I also have the pleasure of working with incredibly brilliant minds who have made it their mission to solve problems big and small. Whether it’s a seasoned executive or a first-time entrepreneur, their desire for their company to succeed is the same. Being able to assist with that effort will always be rewarding work.
Mentors: My father – he demonstrated the hard work, attention to detail and dedication required in the legal profession, and the importance that family holds outside of work. Professionally, there is a core group of partners in the corporate practice in our Northern Virginia office that I have worked with since my first day out of law school. They taught me everything I know about our practice, and I am grateful for their guidance.
In 10 years: I hope that I’m still sitting down with clients on the cutting edge of technology talking about the future and not sitting around talking to myself about the glory days.
Why DC: The DC region allows me to thrive in my practice while remaining close to my family. I grew up 10 minutes from Annapolis, and I still live nearby. My wife and I could never live very far from our extended families.
Family: My wife, Amy, and I met in high school and have been married for 11 years. After completing her doctorate in clinical psychology, she focused on raising our four kids: Allie (9), Mary (6), Sam (2) and Ben (4 months). I can’t thank her enough for her sacrifices and ability to hold our wonderful family together.
First job: Paper route – always deliver to the doorstep!
Free time: I spend as much time as I can with my family and our weekends are usually busy with the kids’ sports, theater or other activities. My wife and I always have at least one home improvement project in process. And I spend entirely too much time following the Orioles and Ravens.
Bucket list: Visit Germany, learn more about my ancestors and experience locations significant to my family’s history.
Daily habit: Coffee - lots of it.
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere warm with a nice beach. I’m also someone who actually enjoys taking that big family trip to Disney World – maybe even more than the kids.
Surprising fact: While staying at a haunted B&B, my firm’s logo mysteriously disappeared from the front of a hat I had packed; then reappeared the next day. Yes, this is a fact.
MEGAN CACACE: PARTNER, RELMAN, DANE & COLFAX
Practice area: I’m a partner at Relman, Dane & Colfax, a civil rights law firm focusing on fair housing, fair lending, employment discrimination, public accommodations and police accountability. I represent individuals, nonprofits and advocacy groups, and whole classes of people who have been subjected to unlawful discrimination whether it be on the basis of race, gender, disability, familial status, or any other protected characteristic under the law.
Recent matter: In January 2016, I was trial counsel in a race discrimination case against a local DC establishment. My client was an African-American bartender who was looking to for a job to help finance her education at Howard University and was fired within an hour of meeting the bar’s owner for the first time. Former managers testified at trial about how the owner stated many times that he wanted to hire white bartenders. The jury found in my client’s favor on all counts an awarded $687k in damages.
Community involvement: For the last two years, I have served as Co-Chair of Steering Committee for the D.C. Bar’s Labor & Employment Section.
Why this career: After having worked for various nonprofits and civil rights organizations during college, I knew I wanted to work in civil rights and went to law school specifically to go into civil rights law. There’s just something about others being treated unfairly—especially by more powerful entities—that motivates me.
Why DC: I grew up in a suburb of Boston and came to DC after receiving a fellowship to work at the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. I’ve managed to never have more than a 20-minute walk as my commute, despite living in four different places in DC.
Family: My husband, Rob, is a lawyer and career counselor at Georgetown Law. We have two amazingly fun kids who are 4 1/2 and 2 1/2. A third is on the way, though I wouldn’t describe it as “amazingly fun” to be pregnant in DC during the summer.
First job: Sports were my life when I was a kid. My first several jobs involved either coaching basketball or teaching soccer and basketball at sports camps.
Free time: I make a point of juggling my workload so that I’m home each night to eat with my family and put the kids to bed; if any spare time is lying around on the weekends, we’re usually running around a local playground or trekking around the zoo.
Bucket list: Travel. Visit Australia and New Zealand, travel around Europe with my family, go wine-tasting in the South of France, and return to the Amalfi Coast.
Daily habit: Running. Having run track through college, running is part of my daily routine such that the day doesn’t feel right if I haven’t had a chance to go out for at least 45 minutes (even if it means getting up when it’s still dark).
Favorite vacation spot: Paris; the coast of Maine.
Surprising fact: I’ve never been to Disney World (and don’t plan on it). It’s not that I’m a Mickey hater; I just don’t see the “magic” and I’m pretty sure it’s not a “kingdom.”
KENNETH REINKER: ASSOCIATE, CLEARY GOTTLIEB STEEN & HAMILTON
Practice area: I’m an antitrust lawyer at Cleary. My practice covers antitrust litigation, merger review, government investigations, and general counseling for clients across a wide range of industries.
Recent matter: We recently were able to rapidly obtain worldwide antitrust clearance for Western Digital’s acquisition of SanDisk. Western Digital is a longtime client that produces hard disk drives, as well as a limited number of solid state drives. The transaction is transformative as it allows Western Digital to expand its portfolio of solid state drives and to vertically integrate into the production of flash memory used in solid state drives.
Career highlights: One that comes to mind is representing Family Dollar when both Dollar Tree and Dollar General were trying to buy it. The matter involved a complicated interplay between corporate law and antitrust law, with two competing bidders, a hostile tender offer, activist shareholders, and intense scrutiny of the antitrust risks by shareholders and the press. On the antitrust merits, the matter involved sophisticated econometric work to analyze competition in thousands of local markets. Our advice throughout the yearlong battle secured both FTC clearance of Family Dollar’s sale to Dollar Tree and shareholder approval.
Why this career: I chose antitrust because it combines law and economics. The cases we handle are extremely important to clients and involve complex legal and factual issues. I am constantly learning about new businesses, and using a wide range of legal skills—from litigation to corporate law. I joined Cleary because I wanted to practice antitrust law, and Cleary’s practice is unmatched.
Mentors: I’ve been lucky to have numerous mentors. The antitrust partners at Cleary have all been great mentors. I clerked for Judge Boudin—who was mentored by Judge Friendly—who showed me how to approach the law in a very pragmatic, practical way. Professor Einer Elhauge taught me antitrust law at Harvard, and I worked with him as an economic consultant advising on complex antitrust matters for several years.
In 10 years: Hopefully continuing to advise on the most challenging antitrust matters.
Why DC: I’m from Atlanta. I lived in Boston for a while, but moved to the DC area because it is the place to be for antitrust.
Family: I’m married to my high school sweetheart Erin. She is an ER doctor at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
First job: My first full-time job was working as an economic consultant on antitrust cases.
Free time: I like to cook, read great books, watch TV, go outside.
Favorite vacation spot: My last trip was to Hawaii where we stayed inside the Volcano National Park in a hotel overlooking an active volcano. That was a pretty unique experience.
Surprising fact: My cousin is a German soap opera star.
CHRISTINE BURKE: COUNSEL, LORENGER & CARNELL
Practice area: Labor and employment. I represent employers in litigation and counseling. I have experience litigating before federal and state courts, administrative agencies, and in arbitration, including discrimination and harassment claims, wage payment issues, non-competition and trade secret issues, and claims relating to disability and leave. I also provide counseling to employers on topics ranging from day-to-day workforce management to complex legal requirements, including advising on termination and compensation matters, and the drafting and review of employment policies and agreements. In addition, I have a traditional labor law practice, advising employers facing unionization and representing clients in collective bargaining negotiations and with respect to unfair labor practice charges.
Recent matter: Negotiating a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of a client with employees represented by the National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians (NABET-CWA).
Career highlight: Obtaining judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) in a matter involving employee surveillance, thus overturning a jury verdict in favor of the employees of over $1M.
Why this career: I chose law because I felt it provided a balance between being intellectually challenging and requiring the use of logic and reason on the one hand, and allowing me to work with people and help them solve their problems on the other hand. I chose labor and employment for similar reasons—it provides the opportunity to litigate, which is both interesting and exciting to me—but also involves real stories about real people, and not just companies fighting companies. I also enjoy labor and employment because of the variety of kinds of work within the practice—litigation, counseling and traditional labor work. After a federal court clerkship, I spent over 10 years in the employment group at a big firm, but left last year to join a boutique employment firm where I feel that I am better able to grow my own practice.
Mentors: I have several, but I think it is fair to say that I wouldn’t be here today without the support of the judge I clerked for, the Hon. J. Frederick Motz of the US District Court of Maryland. My mother passed away just two weeks after I graduated from law school, and within the next couple of months, I had to take the bar, get my life in order and start my clerkship. Judge Motz was so understanding and supportive during this time (in addition to being an incredibly smart and fair judge), and he really helped get my first legal job off on the right foot under quite difficult circumstances. I also got my first exposure to employment discrimination cases during my clerkship, which piqued my interest in this area of law.
In 10 years: I hope to still be doing what I’m doing now, exactly where I am now. I have wonderful colleagues and truly enjoy my practice.
Why DC: I grew up in Fairfax County and went to high school in DC, so I’m a local. I came back to DC after law school because it was a great city in which to be a young professional, it’s a great city in which to be a lawyer, and my family and soon-to-be husband were also here.
Family: My husband, Christopher Burke, is a partner at Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino in Tysons Corner, practicing construction litigation. We have two children—Juliet (8) and Alexander (3).
First job: Tower Records. I worked the cash register, stocked CDs, walked the floor answering customer questions. I miss real music stores.
Free time: Like all working parents of young children, between work and kids, there’s not much free time. But I’m an avid student of all things pop culture. My husband and I unwind in front of the TV watching stored shows on our DVR (usually several seasons behind), and trying to catch all the movies that are nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. We also like to go to concerts—most recently, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (my 14th Springsteen show—my husband is from New Jersey) and Taylor Swift (with my daughter, but I definitely enjoyed it too). I don’t like the term “foodie,” but I also love going out to restaurants.
Bucket list: Swimming with dolphins; traveling to as many countries as I can possibly squeeze into a lifetime; and maybe, once my kids are grown, jumping out of an airplane.
Daily habit: Diet Coke—at least one a day.
Favorite vacation spot: The Big Island, Hawaii.
Surprising fact: I was a competitive figure skater growing up, competing regionally, nationally and internationally. My picture is on the "Skaters Wall of Fame" at the Fairfax Ice Arena in Virginia, where I began skating and trained for many years.
JEREMIAH FRUEAUF: DIRECTOR, STERNE, KESSLER, GOLDSTEIN & FOX PLLC
Practice area: I am a director in the Biotechnology/Chemical Group, where I provide strategic advice in all areas of patent procurement, exploitation, and enforcement. I counsel clients across the biotechnology industry, but I particularly enjoy working with technologies in industrial biotechnology, clean technology, and precision medicine. Besides staying abreast of ever-changing patent laws and honing keen listening skills, no nomination or recognition in this field is possible without the team of talented and bright individuals in the trenches with you day-in and day-out.
Recent matter: Representing Scioderm, Inc., in strategically building its patent portfolio to protect its key asset, SD-101, an investigational therapy being evaluated for treatment of skin blistering and lesions associated with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB is a rare genetic connective tissue disorder that typically manifests at birth or early childhood and for which there are currently no approved treatments, only palliative care. Our efforts to develop and build a patent estate for SD-101, which began in 2013, contributed to the favorable acquisition of Scioderm by Amicus Therapeutics in September 2015 for a deal worth $229 million plus an additional $700 million in milestone payments. SD-101 is in late clinical development and holds promise to garner FDA approval in the near-term.
Why this career: Like many in my field, I saw an opportunity to stay at the cutting edge of science by becoming an advocate for the scientists and engineers that are planning and carrying-out the research to improve our lives. I joined Stene Kessler after learning about the firm during law school. Within the first few years at the firm, I recognized the tremendous opportunity to develop a broad skill set across different aspects of IP law and industries, and I have built my practice driven by that diversity. Being at this premiere IP specialty firm has afforded me a robust platform for my clients and my practice.
Mentors: My undergraduate advisor, Dr. Marcia Kieliszweski, who gave me my first job at the lab bench and planted the seed for me to pursue an alternative science career. And Dr. Jorge Goldstein, a founding partner of the firm and trailblazer in IP focused on biotechnology. He taught me that a key to becoming a trusted advisor is establishing deep client relationships through keen technical insight and legal know-how that anticipates and complements the client’s business needs.
Why DC: I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, the birthplace of aviation and long-ago leader in patent application filings per capita. Naturally, an airplane brought me to DC, where the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is headquartered, and where I chose to transition to a new career and attend law school.
Family: I am married to my high-school sweetheart, Anastazia, and we have three spirited children: an eight- year-old son and two daughters who are six and two.
First job: My first job was in my father’s restaurant business, which taught me the tremendous patience required for success in customer-oriented businesses.
Free time: Spend time with my wife and kids; we particularly like to go to the park, hike, farm, and just get outdoors!
Bucket list: Visit every continent, skydive, hike the Appalachian Trail.
Daily habit: Run, lift, workout before facing the demands of the day.
Favorite vacation spot: Watching the aurora borealis from the Arctic Circle in Tromso, Norway.
Surprising fact: In my under 40 years I’ve never had a cup of coffee, though our firm has a top-notch barista bar! Luckily, they also serve other beverages.
STEPHANIE BALD: PARTNER, KELLY IP
Practice area: I specialize in trademark, false advertising, and unfair competition litigation, disputes, and strategic counseling. I also manage domestic and global trademark portfolios; advise clients on trademark enforcement strategies; and render opinions on trademark infringement and dilution; false advertising; and the selection, use, registration, and licensing of trademarks. I represent the owners of a number of iconic brands, including Hershey’s, Harley-Davidson, Fox, Yahoo, Amazon, BBC, Philips, and Panera.
In addition to my day-to-day trademark practice, I am the current vice chair of the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s (AIPLA) Trademark Law Committee, and previously served as the chair and vice chair of AIPLA’s Trademark Litigation Committee. I also serve as an adjunct professor at American University's Washington College of Law where I designed and teach an advanced class on trademark practice and procedure.
Recent matters: I’m currently representing Panera in a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by Great Harvest Bread Company, a bakery with locations across the country. Great Harvest has alleged that Panera’s use of its tagline PANERA BREAD FOOD AS IT SHOULD BE infringes Great Harvest’s alleged rights in the tagline BREAD THE WAY IT OUGHT TO BE.
Career highlight: Being named Partner at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP (2013). Co-Founding Partner of Kelly IP, LLP (2013). Successful pro-bono representation of political asylum seeker and well-known Colombian human rights advocate.
Why this career: After my first year of law school, I worked as a summer associate at a trademark law firm in Washington, DC. I found the subject matter challenging and fun. In particular, I enjoyed that trademark law was constantly evolving due to technological advances. I also liked that trademark law demanded a great deal of creativity.
Mentors: My parents, who taught me the importance of hard work, integrity, and optimism. My partner, David Kelly, a trademark rock-star, who has pushed me, encouraged me, and pushed me some more to seek and (hopefully!) achieve the highest level of professional excellence in this field.
In 10 years: I should be getting around to opening Kelly IP’s Bora Bora office. Shhhhh. Don’t tell my partners.
Why DC: I grew up in Geneva, Illinois, “arguably” a Western suburb of Chicago. I moved to Washington D.C. to attend law school at American University, Washington College of Law.
Family: My husband is a Policy Director at a foundation that addresses human rights issues around the world. We have three kids—a 10 month old daughter, 3 year old son, and 6 year old son.
First job: Swim Team Coach of the Geneva River Rats (yes, that is actually their name). Our swim caps featured a haunting picture of a blue rat. Very intimidating.
Free time: Read The New Yorker. It takes me to my happy place.
Bucket list: Live to see the Chicago Cubs win a World Series. Go Cubbies!
Daily habit: Coffee
Favorite vacation spot: The South of France.
Surprising fact: My amazing grandmother is 102 years old and my amazing daughter is less than a year old. They are more than a century apart in age! Neither has seen the Chicago Cubs win a World Series…
BRIAN BURKE: ASSOCIATE, COOLEY
Practice area: I’m part of the Emerging Companies practice group within Cooley’s Business Department, which means I work with high-growth companies of all shapes and sizes that are disrupting their industries. I advise them throughout their lifecycle, from the idea stage, through funding events, to exit, and everything in between. I also work with several funds that invest in those kinds of companies. Cooley provides an unbelievable opportunity and platform to work with incredible clients.
Recent matters: I recently worked on selling a local company to a very prominent and large tech company on the west coast. Recent venture capital financings for local companies include: Allovue, Aquicore, Avizia, StreetShares, Urgent.ly, Fishbowl, Savi Technology, ThreatConnect, Tuckernuck, Digital Reasoning and Vemo Education. Venture deals generally range from around $500K to tens of millions depending on how mature the company is and what its growth trajectory is; on the M&A side, deals range from $20M to $500M.
Career highlights: The highlights of my career without a doubt are the people I have had the privilege to work with. I’ve met all of my closest friends, including my wife, through work.
Community involvement: I run a men’s group at my church, help coach my daughter’s soccer team and helped start an annual 5K fundraiser for my kids’ school (just had our 5th one at the end of April). On the professional side, I present to venture capital fund associates on legal deal terms and teach a segment of the Venture Boot Camp run by UVA’s Darden School of Business.
Why this career: I chose law because I thought it could help make the world a better place. I ended up in my current practice by accident really. While I was clerking for the Honorable Charles Wilson in Florida, I found out that Cooley (which I knew from my time as an undergrad in California had a great reputation generally) had an office right near where my wife and I wanted to live. I planned on being a litigator, but Cooley only had an opening for a corporate associate, so I had an initial call with one of the partners. The more I learned about the practice and the group, the more interested I became and the more I felt like it was a fit. It worked out for me to join the Emerging Companies group in 2008. After almost three years, I had the opportunity to go in-house with a client, 3Pillar Global. After a great two years at 3Pillar, there was an opportunity to re-join Cooley that I just couldn’t pass up. I’ve been back for over three years now.
Mentors: Cooley Business Department chair and Reston office co-founder Mike Lincoln and Mid Atlantic Business & Finance Group head Andy Lustig, who are both partners here in the corporate group in Reston. They've been instrumental to my growth. Watching and learning from them, and seeing how good they are at what they do and how well they deal with their clients, inspired and encouraged me to develop my practice in a similar way. Additionally, my dad, John Burke, who had a long and successful career at Accenture, has always been a mentor to me.
Why DC: Born in DC, grew up in Alexandria, VA. Lived in California, Connecticut, Indiana and Florida, then came back here in 2008 to be close to family and friends.
Family: Married to my best friend, Julie, for almost 13 years. We have four amazing children: Zoe (12), Heidi (10), Sean (9), and Daisy (5).
First job: Selling running shoes at Pacers in Old Town Alexandria.
Free time: Hang out with family and friends, run, read, play and watch sports (Notre Dame, Stanford, and any track/cross country).
Favorite vacation spot: Every summer since I was born, I've gone to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. My wife and I met on Martha's Vineyard and honeymooned in St. John, so those are also favorites.
Daily habit: Time alone for quiet prayer and reflection.
Surprising fact: I do interesting things in my sleep. I’ve woken up in the shower with the water running, halfway out of a window, and in the middle of the street in front of my house (thankfully on different nights). I never practice law in my sleep though.
ALAN NOSKOW: PARTNER, MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS
Practice area: Private equity, M&A, corporate finance (debt and equity).
Community involvement: I serve on the advisory board to two local nonprofits, one which helps mentor disadvantaged youth in DC and the other which provides real-world vocational training for people with special needs to give them the tools they need to lead productive lives once they age out of the school systems.
Mentors: Doug Boggs and John McJunkin.
Why DC: I'm originally from Maryland and always wanted to return to the DC area after school.
Family: My wife, Julie, is a psychotherapist in private practice. We have three children, Jesse (age 7) and Levi and Sophie (4-year-old twins).
Free time: Spend time with my family, golf and travel.
Favorite vacation spot: Snowboarding in Colorado.
ALEX BERENGAUT: PARTNER, COVINGTON
Practice area: I work mainly on international arbitrations and litigation matters involving international issues. I’ve recently been focusing on tech-related issues, including cybersecurity and data privacy.
Recent matter: I’ve recently been fortunate to work on a series of fascinating cases for Microsoft about government surveillance. The cases raise a number of cutting-edge issues at the intersection of law and technology, including how the law should apply to data as it crosses national borders.
Community involvement: Covington has a terrific pro bono relationship with the Public Defender’s Offices in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. I—and a bunch of my colleagues—have partnered with the two offices in representing indigent defendants in serious felony cases that are going to trial.
Mentors: I have had lots of wonderful mentors at Covington, and my approach to lawyering is basically to try to emulate them. I also learned a huge amount from the judge for whom I clerked, Ninth Circuit Judge Sandra Ikuta.
Why DC: I grew up in Bethesda, so I’m a local kid. I lived a couple of different places when I was in school, but it was a pretty easy decision to come back to DC after law school. My family is here and it is an exciting place to practice law, particularly if you are interested in international issues.
Family: My wife, Bekka, is an assistant professor of chemistry at Johns Hopkins. We have a 5-month-old daughter, Maya.
First job: I was an assistant tennis teacher at the Bethesda YMCA when I was 15. My job was to collect tennis balls and put them back in the hopper.
Bucket list: Improve my Spanish language skills to the point where they could actually be useful in some professional or personal situation.
Daily habit: Listening to This American Life podcasts while I walk to work.
Favorite vacation spot: Truro, MA—a small town near the tip of Cape Cod. My wife has been going there every summer since she was a kid, and I’ve fallen in love with the place as well. It’s where we were married.
PABLO BENTES: MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL TRADE & INVESTMENT, STEPTOE & JOHNSON
Practice area: I assist sovereign states before WTO Dispute Settlement panels and the Appellate Body. It is a highly specialized and complex area, and I am one of only a handful of lawyers in the world who is able to spend 100% of his/her time litigating WTO cases.
Recent matter: Recently landed a landmark victory on behalf of Argentina in a case which established that WTO members may impose more burdensome taxes on service provides located in non-transparent tax havens.
Career highlight: My work as a Legal Officer at the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat in Geneva (2006-2012).
Community involvement: Supporting the Brazilian community in DC.
Mentors: Lucinda Low, Georges Abi-Saab, Werner Zdouc.
In 10 years: I would like to be doing at least one WTO case per year on behalf of a least developed country entirely on a pro bono basis.
Why DC: I grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. International trade brought me to DC; this is where the best practitioners in this field are.
Family: My mother is a retired librarian and my father is a freelance journalist. We were a middle class Brazilian family that struggled to make ends meet but attached a lot of value to reading and books. I'm married to Monica—a Brazilian legal recruiter—who is expecting our first baby daughter, Marina, in two weeks.
First job: Intern in the tax litigation practice of a Brazilian law firm.
Free time: Collect records (vinyl).
Daily habit: Early morning prayer and meditation.
Favorite vacation spot: Naxos, Greece.
JENNIFER SLAGLE PECK: COUNSEL, BUCKLEYSANDLER
Practice area: My practice is focused on litigation and enforcement actions in the financial services industry. I have represented clients in matters involving various government agencies and numerous federal and state courts. Whatever project is before me, I give it my all.
Recent matter: I’m currently involved in a pro bono matter seeking to obtain insurance coverage for lactation support for new moms, as required by the Affordable Care Act.
Career highlight: Working with individuals and companies who are preparing to provide testimony and conducting internal investigations.
Why this career: I grew up with a deep respect for the law and lawyers and have always enjoyed learning everything there is to know about a particular subject so that I can be the best advocate I can be. After law school I clerked for Judge Wollman on the Eighth Circuit and then clerked for Judge Oberdorfer on the DC District Court. These experiences gave me a great foundation for private practice. I did not set out to be a financial services attorney but I enjoy it because it combines complicated laws, intense regulatory attention and technical financial transactions.
Mentors: Robyn Quattrone, a partner at BuckleySandler, has been a wonderful mentor to me. She is a stellar lawyer and a gracious leader. I have also been particularly influenced by my dad and by Pastor Gary Westgard and Ms. Jerie Smith.
Community involvement: I’m deeply passionate about issues affecting children and families. I’m involved in the DC Diaper Bank, advocacy on issues affecting maternal health, and am a member of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Burtonsville, MD.
In 10 years: I hope to have furthered my expertise and that I am enjoying my workweek as much as my weekend.
Why DC: I grew up in the small college town of Vermillion, SD. I went to college at the University of Minnesota, spent a year in Seattle in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps and then moved to DC to attend American University Washington College of Law.
Family: I have two lovely daughters and a caring and supportive husband, David Slagle Peck. My late father, professor Frank Slagle, was a tax law professor at the University of South Dakota. While he never specifically pushed me to become a lawyer, his example and passion for justice certainly left a mark and ultimately inspired me to go to law school and to be the best person I can be.
First job: As a senior in high school, I worked part-time at First National Bank in Vermillion, SD. I did miscellaneous tasks such as scanning checks and cleaning the safe. Little did I know this was just the beginning of my work with the financial services industry.
Free time: Play with my kids, host dinner parties (for which I do the inviting and my husband does all the cooking), spend time outside, and work on various craft projects.
Bucket list: Successfully introduce a couple that ends up getting married.
Daily habit: Drinking multiple cups of Earl Grey tea and getting in my 10,000 steps.
Favorite vacation spot: I enjoy visiting new places where there is history to learn and awe-inspiring views of nature.
Surprising fact: I’m a pastor’s wife. Of course, my husband is a lawyer’s husband.
ADAM BELLACK: PARTNER, CO-HEAD (AMERICAS) LIFE SCIENCES TRANSACTIONS TEAM, HOGAN LOVELLS
Practice area: I am an industry-focused corporate/transactional lawyer who handles a variety of life sciences and healthcare transactions. My clients include startups, midsized and global pharmaceutical companies, venture capital funds and their portfolio companies, universities, academic medical centers, hospitals and health systems. I handle a range of transactions, including M&A, venture financings, licensing and collaborations, affiliations, joint ventures and other strategic transactions. I also handle commercial work and complex contracting for life sciences and healthcare companies. I have been fortunate in having worked on some large and significant transactions, as well as transactions involving exciting new technologies.
Recent matter: I have worked on a few recent transactions involving novel immunotherapies that have shown great promise in treating certain types of cancer. This is a an exciting time for advancements in personalized medicine and immuno-oncology (or using the human immune system to fight cancer), and it has been very interesting to work with the researchers and companies developing some of these cutting-edge technologies.
Community involvement: I have done pro bono work for organizations focused on public health issues, especially mental illness, including NAMI (Montgomery County) and the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis.
Why this career: I fought the idea of going to law school for years, but it was probably inevitable. Both of my parents worked in public health, and I always thought I would be a doctor. I nearly went to an accelerated pre-med / med program after high school, and I did my pre-med requirements in college as a history and science major, but sometime between my introductory science classes and when they became difficult, I realized I was more interested in knowing about science than doing my own science. Representing life sciences companies and working on technology transactions has allowed me to stay somewhat connected to the world of medical research, which has always been an interest of mine.
Why DC: I grew up outside Philadelphia. My folks moved down to Annapolis after I graduated high school, and I moved to DC, in part, to be close to them (but not too close).
Family: Married with two kids (1 and 4). Our 4-year-old is the other lawyer in the family.
First job: After college, my first job was as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska.
Bucket list: Bucket of fried chicken, bucket of popcorn, bucket of beers.
Daily habit: Sleep (almost daily).
Favorite vacation spot: Martha’s Vineyard.
Surprising fact: Humans share 50% of our DNA with bananas.
DOMINIQUE CASIMIR: PARTNER, ARNOLD & PORTER
Practice area: My practice centers around the representation of government contractors in both litigation and counseling. In particular, I litigate pre- and post-award bid protests before the US Government Accountability Office and the US Court of Federal Claims. I represent contractors facing suspension and debarment, help clients negotiate teaming agreements, and litigate contract claims and disputes.
Career highlights: I have helped several small businesses avoid being suspended by the government, which allowed them to maintain their status as government contractors. I also successfully litigated a subcontractor’s dispute against a prime contractor that was improperly refusing to pay several million dollars in invoices. I have also successfully resolved numerous bid protests, through published decisions and corrective actions.
Why this career: As a young associate in a big law firm, I was looking for the opportunity to make substantive contributions to a litigation matter. I sought out a partner I respected and asked him about his practice and he invited me to join a small group of attorneys litigating a bid protest at the Government Accountability Office. I was drawn to the very fast pace of the litigation, which demands that all attorneys on a matter, from senior partner to junior associate, dive in and become experts on the subject matter of the disputed contract. From there, I spent the next several years working alongside the partners in Arnold & Porter’s government contracts practice group, and I learned firsthand that sage legal advice is invaluable to government contractors because depending on government contracts for one’s livelihood can be a very high stakes proposition.
Mentors: All of the partners in the government contracts practice group at Arnold & Porter, but especially Ronald Schechter, Mark Colley and Craig Holman.
Community involvement: I am an active member of the American Bar Association’s Section of Public Contract Law.
In 10 years: I hope I will still be in good health, working hard and loving life.
Before DC: I grew up in Houston. I went to an all-girls boarding school in Connecticut for high school.
Family: My mother is Italian by heritage and was born and raised in Argentina. My father is Haitian. My brother is a skydiver, helped launch Austin’s first cat café, and is developing an app to help landlords combat illegal short-term rentals.
First job: At age 15, I was a cashier at a plant nursery.
Free time: I like to go for walks with my baby and my dog.
Bucket list: Learning to play Frederic Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude (Op. 10 No. 12) on the piano.
Daily habit: Kissing my children
Favorite vacation spot: Nantucket
Surprising fact: I’m the mother of four children and the stepmother of two.
SCOTT BOWMAN: PARTNER, PROSKAUER ROSE
Practice area: Our practice focuses on complex tax and estate planning for wealthy multinational families. We’re privileged to serve as trusted advisers to some of the world’s most influential families, whose interests include business, real estate, politics, sports, art and philanthropy. I think the scope and nature of our practice is unique.
Recent matter: We’ve had a couple very interesting pre-immigration matters recently. It is always fascinating when wealthy families relocate their entire lives to the US, while still trying to maintain their interests and relationships abroad. The tax and legal issues are always complex. But when you add in the emotional and cultural issues, it makes for complex family dynamics as well. There is often pressure between spouses and across generations. These are great opportunities to come to the table and build trust with the family.
Career highlight: I still remember my first big new client. I was a fourth-year associate and flew to South America to meet the family. It’s become a special relationship, professionally and personally.
Community involvement: I’m active in the American Bar Association. It’s been a great way to influence policy and to mentor younger lawyers.
Why this career: I worked a “busy season” at PwC while I was in college preparing tax returns for non-US citizens who had been relocated to the US on temporary work assignments. I was hooked.
Mentors: Lou Rabaut, who is a partner at Warner Norcross & Judd in Michigan. Lou was my hockey coach when I was 12 years old. I was never the biggest, strongest or fastest player. But Lou believed in me. He taught me the only way to predict the future is to make it happen, and he convinced me I had what it takes. There’s no way I’d be who I am today without Lou. Another major influence has been David Pratt, who is the chair of Proskauer’s private client services department. Not only is David a phenomenal technical lawyer, but he is a visionary when it comes to the practice. He understands the blend between professional and personal that is unique to our field. And he’s been very supportive of me growing our international practice. As a young BigLaw partner, I think it is rare to find that the senior partner has your back unconditionally.
In 10 years: I hope I continue to view this as my passion, and not just my practice. Sometimes the pressure to build the business can be daunting. But the intellectual nature of the practice, the constant need for creative problem solving and the opportunities to connect with fascinating people really drive me. I hope that never fades.
Why DC: I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI. My move to DC was recent. When Proskauer was considering launching our international private client group, we decided that DC would be the right fit. My wife and I are loving it here so far.
Family: My family is my wife and our 9-month-old son. My wife gave up her career as a real estate lawyer with a great in-house position to raise our son full time. She’s totally dedicated to him. I really admire her willingness to sacrifice the accolades of professional life in order to give 100% to shaping his little soul.
First job: I used to teach tennis at a summer camp for underprivileged children.
Free time: We have some nature trails behind our house. I put my son in the baby carrier and we disappear in the woods. We watch the wildlife and listen to the streams. We’re present. He is totally at peace, which is really saying something because the little guy has A LOT of energy. For me it’s pure joy to connect with him like this. Plus my wife gets a break!
Bucket list: I love to travel, and given my practice area, I’ve been some amazing places. There are still some places I am dying to go, though—Israel, UAE and India, to name a few.
Daily habit: Running. (Since our son was born, this has become a “less-than-daily” habit, as I find myself hitting the snooze button more frequently…)
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere that I can really check out. Cruises are great because your cellphone doesn’t work when you’re out at sea! And anywhere in the mountains. Reception is spotty there too, or at least I can pretend it is.
Surprising fact: I’m really handy around the house. We’ve done a few remodeling projects. My wife was shocked when she realized that her tax attorney husband could run a table saw.
CARY KADLECEK: ASSOCIATE, GOULSTON & STORRS
Practice area: I practice in the area of land use, zoning, and historic preservation limited to the District of Columbia. In short, I help buildings get built. The nature of my practice is very public-facing, such as frequently attending public hearings and community meetings.
Recent matter: One interesting matter is the entitlements for the new DC United stadium in Buzzard Point. I’m also working on some really interesting mixed-use and residential projects in the Union Market area and in the Hill East/Potomac Avenue Metro station area.
Career highlights: Winning regulatory approval for some particularly contentious projects despite strong opposition was very satisfying. Also, seeing the projects on which I worked get built is always exciting.
Why this practice area: I wanted to practice in this area from the day I started law school. In fact, while I was in law school, I also received a Master’s in city planning. I always liked maps, architecture and the built environment, so I wanted a legal career that incorporated these interests. My practice area perfectly suits this. When I was searching for legal jobs, I targeted firms that I knew had strong land use practices. I was fortunate to get a summer associate position at one of those firms. I find this practice area particularly interesting because every day truly is different, and I have to be adept in many skills, from public speaking, to writing, to negotiating, to reading architectural drawings. And at the end of it all, there is a tangible result with a building being constructed.
Mentors: I am fortunate to have learned from the best zoning lawyers in DC. I can’t say that one person in particular influenced me more than another because all of my superiors have influenced me in different ways.
Community involvement: Lately, I have been involved with People Animals Love, which is a volunteer organization that brings dogs to visit retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, etc. I also enjoy doing pro bono legal work. Recently, I’ve been working with Martha’s Table.
In 10 years: My hair will probably be entirely gray. I hope I am still working in the same practice area at the same firm, and I mean that. Also, I’d really like to have a home with some outdoor space for a garden.
Why DC: I grew up in Colorado Springs. While in college, I spent a semester interning in DC and really loved it. I came back after college to work. I left for law school but came back again after completing law school.
Family: I have a husband, Adam, who works for the Peace Corps headquarters, and a spoiled dog. In all of my extended family, there is only one other lawyer besides me: my brother-in-law.
First job: In high school, I was a busboy at a farmer-themed restaurant, where I had to wear a checkered “farmer” uniform. It was slightly humiliating but taught me some important skills.
Free time: Travel is a big part of how my husband and I spend our free time. We try to travel internationally at least twice per year and take a lot of weekend trips. I take pottery and Spanish classes off and on. I’m a big “foodie,” so I like to sample as many restaurants as I can, and I enjoy going to the theater. I exercise as much as I can, too. I did a triathlon a few years ago and would love to again if I could find the time to train.
Bucket list: Go to Antarctica, learn how to play chess and eat at The French Laundry.
Favorite vacation spot: I’ve been to some spectacular places all over the world, but one of my consistent favorites is the Colorado mountains in the summer.
Surprising fact: Every time I sneeze, I sneeze three times in a row.