Trending 40: Attorneys Under 40
Washington, DC's top young attorneys from law firms, government, and in-house legal departments.
Brian Ashin, Partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, 33
Job: I represent corporate clients throughout their respective life cycles in the energy, hospitality, entertainment, retail and technology sectors. Covering formation to more sophisticated corporate transactions including debt financings, mergers, acquisitions, equity financings and other general corporate matters.
Community involvement: I've represented several community banks and credit unions in negotiations with the Department of Treasury as part of the TARP Community Development Capital Initiative. I've successfully overturned two prior denials of Social Security disability benefits for DC residents living with AIDS. I have also advised the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation on discrete corporate matters. I am also a big advocate of the Children’s Law Center and all the great work that Judith Sandalow and her team does there.
Career highlight: My client, Dividend Solar, has matured from an idea to one of the nation’s leading energy investment platforms in just a few years. More Americans are able to realize the economic and environmental benefits of “going solar.” The company’s co-founders have also become more than just clients; they are good friends and confidants.
Why this career: I sort of lucked into it. When I was a summer associate at then-Dewey Ballantine, my mentor told me it can matter more who you work with and not what you do. I took that advice to heart and picked my specialty because of the people in a particular practice group. It has worked out to date, and I remain very close to my first colleagues from Dewey Ballantine.
Where you grew up: I am a native Washingtonian having lived in and around town nearly my entire life.
Why DC: Being a native Washingtonian, I am admittedly biased in believing DC (and its suburbs) serve as the best metropolitan area to raise one’s family. First job: Washing cars in the neighborhood.
Family: I have been married for over 10 years to Marianna. We have three children, Sydney (7), Madison (5) and Brayden (2).
Free time: Being with family and friends, golf, attending DC sporting events and traveling.
10 years from now: I hope to be doing the same thing I do now, only with far fewer diapers to change.
Favorite vacation spots: Ventnor, NJ, and Aruba.
Bucket list: Learn to golf with skill.
Daily habit: No matter what time I come home from work, I always give my kids goodnight kisses.
Alvaro Bedoya, Executive Director, Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law, 33
Job: I run a privacy think tank. We try to figure out how to protect privacy for a new generation of technology—like facial recognition or wearable devices. We also train lawyers to be tech literate and to be comfortable working with engineers.
Community involvement: In 2009, I co-founded the Esperanza Education Fund, a nonprofit college scholarship that’s open to local immigrant students regardless of their immigration status. We’ve awarded over half a million dollars in scholarships.
Career highlight: Working for Sen. Al Franken. I started on his first day in office and staffed him through two Supreme Court confirmation hearings, immigration reform, and in setting up his new subcommittee, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law. I learned a lot from him.
Why this career: Our privacy laws are stuck in the 1980s—on a good day. The FBI and most states are rolling out facial recognition systems—none of which have any serious privacy restrictions. Online and offline companies have rolled out their own facial recognition systems, too. Companies you’ve never heard of create detailed profiles of who you are, where you shop, your health conditions and your financial situation, and sell that information to the highest bidder. We need better privacy laws, and we need them now. I like that challenge.
Where you grew up: I was born in Lima, Peru, and raised in upstate New York.
Why DC: DC may not be the center of the tech universe, but it is the place where our nation’s key tech law and policy decisions are made. Plus, 2 Amy’s is here.
First job: Mediocre paperboy for the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin.
Free time: I spend a lot of time working on projects for the Esperanza Education Fund. When I have genuine free time, I love movies.
Favorite vacation spots: Big Sur, CA, and Cuzco, Peru
Bucket list: Producing a movie.
Daily habit: Checking Twitter way too often (@alvarombedoya).
Startling fact: I used to be a lead singer in a DC salsa band. We played upstairs at Meze in Adams Morgan. After I left, they became an Irish-Salsa band, which is a real thing. Bonus fun fact: I once petted a rabid kitten and had to get rabies shots.
Adrienne Prentice, Director, Legal- Account Support, Hewlett-Packard Co, 32
Job: HP formed a new legal team as of Feb. 1 that provides support to our enterprise accounts. Essentially, each attorney is the “mini-general counsel” to a handful of our internal account teams, which are largely operated as independent businesses, some with annual revenue in the hundreds of millions. I co-lead the Legal- Account Support team in the Americas region—consisting of about 35 attorneys in the US, Canada and Latin America. (Shameless plug: still recruiting junior and mid-level attorneys if anyone is interested!)
Community involvement: Last year, I participated in the “Street Law” program teaching children about law, democracy and human rights. I also recently completed training through the National Veterans Legal Services Program that will enable me to represent veterans in the Court of Federal Claims. In the past, I represented an unaccompanied minor navigate immigration proceedings through Kids In Need of Defense. I helped prevent the deportation of a 12-year-old girl back to her home country where there was no one to properly care for her and her life was threatened on multiple occasions. Today, she lives with her father and wants to be a police officer.
Career highlights: I worked with a great team of attorneys under enormous time pressure to close athenahealth’s largest deal to date with the top Catholic healthcare system in the country. Once announced, the transaction led to a 15% share price increase for athenahealth. This was one of the first sizable cloud deals in the healthcare sector, an industry that is still reticent to adopt the cloud due to reliability and privacy concerns. It was a cutting-edge solution with significant risk at stake for both parties.
Why this career: I studied labor relations during college. I enrolled in law school planning to become an employment attorney with an interest in arbitration. During my time as a summer associate, however, I became interested in corporate and tech transactions. The rest is history!
Where you grew up: Ormond Beach, FL. Depending on who I’m speaking with, I describe it as immediately north of Daytona Beach or about an hour south of Jacksonville. Yes—spring break, NASCAR, bike week. My parents are still there.
Why DC: I came straight from undergrad to go to law school. I figured this was the place to be when pursuing a legal career. I also married a local boy. Sometimes I miss the beach and get frustrated with the fast pace (and traffic!), but DC is home and I can’t think of anywhere else I would want to live.
First job: Hallmark. It was the height of the Beanie Baby craze—very wild times to be working at a card store. Looking back, it was my first experience managing demanding (and irrational?!) clients. My internal and external clients in my legal career have been a piece of cake in comparison.
Family: I live in DC with my husband, Jackson, and our chocolate lab, Miller. I recently convinced my younger brother to relocate to DC and am currently working my parents to do the same. Whenever we get the chance, we get together with my older brother and his family, who live in Knoxville, TN. Next family trip on the books is the Taylor Swift concert in Nashville! All the boys are seriously amped.
Free time: I enjoy hot yoga and try to go a few times a week. The combined meditative and physical benefits of yoga make it the perfect exercise for me. I spend weekends trying to keep up with DC’s newest restaurants—thrilled at the transformation of the city in the past three to five years. I also am a huge Nats fan—so you may see me at the ballpark. In between, my nose is in a book, usually historical fiction.
10 years from now: I just discovered this great neighborhood in Bethesda where I would love to buy a home. If my husband and I are lucky enough, we can fill it with a couple of children and lots of books, music and love. HP is an enormous company with an entrepreneurial spirit. There is so much to learn here from brilliant and collegial people across the world. It would be great to move up the ladder in the legal department or make a switch to the business operations team. Alternatively, working with startup companies for most of my career, I’ve always had the itch to start something new.
Favorite vacation spot: Cape Hatteras Island, NC. Given the pace and intensity of my job, while I appreciate the foreign and exotic, my favorite vacations are the ones where I do absolutely nothing. I will literally sit in a rocker and watch traffic drive by in Hatteras. Perfection.
Bucket list: Learn to play tennis. Write a book. Start a social enterprise related to gender equality. Buy my Mom a Triumph TR6.
Daily habit: Hitting the snooze button. Eating gummy bears; everyone in the office knows I get “hangry” so there is usually a bag of Haribo laying around somewhere.
Startling fact: At age 30, doctors discovered that I had the early formations of a gill in my neck. No joke, like a fish gill. Turns out my body didn’t quite pick up on the human evolutionary development that we switched from gills to lungs. It was removed a couple of years ago. As my Dad said, just waiting for my wings to turn up…
Charles Borden, Partner, Allen & Overy, 39
Job: I head the firm's political law practice. A nonpartisan corporate political law practice, we advise large multinationals on compliance with international, federal, state and local political law regulatory regimes. We particularly focus on advising financial institutions and working with global political law and public affairs operations.
Community involvement: I'm working with an a nonprofit involved in advocacy work on public policy issues, helping it develop a political law compliance program. I've also been working with a local think tank on several projects aimed at reforming the federal appointments and personnel process. In the past, I've worked on numerous pro bono voting rights matters, including cases relating to voter ID, redistricting and voter registration issues.
Career highlights: Counseling nominees for Cabinet and senior White House positions in both Republican and Democratic administrations; representing major trade associations in significant rulemakings on pay-to-play and other political law issues; working with colleagues in Europe and Asia to develop compliance and risk mitigation strategies for emerging non-US political law regimes.
Why this career: When I was starting my legal career, I was interested in working in an area that combined law and public policy, so political law issues such as campaign finance, pay-to-play and lobbying regulations were a natural fit.
Where you grew up: Larchmont, NY, in Westchester County.
Why DC: My wife decided to attend the University of Maryland to get her doctorate in British literature.
First job: Caddy at the Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.
Family: I'm married with two sons—one is 2 years old, the other is eight days old.
Free time: Reading about British or American history; attending baseball games. I grew up a Yankees fan but since I don't have a National League team, I can get behind the Nats. We took our older son to a Bowie Baysox game recently and hope to take him to a Nats game later this summer.
10 years from now: Continuing to build out the political law practice at Allen & Overy. I was one of the founding partners of the DC office four years ago, when there were four partners and two associates. We now have 40 attorneys. Our goal is ultimately to have an office more than twice that size, comparable to many of the other DC offices of non-DC headquartered firms.
Favorite vacation spots: I'm an Anglophile—London and Edinburgh.
Bucket list: To walk the Old Course at St. Andrews during the British Open.
Daily habit: I try to make sure I'm home in time to put my older son to bed every night.
Startling fact: Before law school, I was going to be a historian with a focus on Medieval Scottish history. I received a master's degree in Scottish history on a Fulbright at the University of Edinburgh, which proved useful last fall when people suddenly became interested in the last time Scotland was independent.
Byron L. Pickard, Director, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, 39
Job: I'm in the Litigation Practice Group. My work focuses on patent disputes, across a wide variety of technologies, in the US District Courts and at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. A large part of my docket includes Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) of patents before the Patent Office (USPTO).
Career highlight: Winning a preliminary injunction for a patent-owner client last year. The client was a small, but successful, startup whose market share was being eaten by a competitor product that was a copy of my client's product. Patent litigations are usually not known for having an emotional impact, but this case was different for me. It was so gratifying to bring home the win for my client and for those who will benefit from his company's innovative product.
Why this career: My father and brother are attorneys, and I can't imagine doing anything else for a living that would be as much fun. Not only do I love my work, but having the shared experience of the law with my dad and brother is priceless.
Where you grew up: Unlike many lawyers in DC, I am homegrown. I was born in the city and grew up in Alexandria.
First job: As a high school student, I worked as a maintenance man in a large apartment complex. It was a good way to take on responsibility as a teen, and I learned a lot of practical skills that still serve me well today.
Family: I am married to my college sweetheart, Cassie, and we have four terrific kids: Sophie (12), Audrey (10), Trevor (7) and Felicity (3).
Free time: In my limited free time after family and work, I try to play as much golf and tennis as possible.
10 years from now: I hope to be doing many of the same things in 10 years. Cassie and I will be parenting college and high school students while I'm managing a vibrant patent litigation practice. My life will continue to be a fun and rewarding challenge.
Favorite vacation spot: Elbow Cay, The Bahamas.
Bucket list: Play a round of golf at Pebble Beach, visit Machu Picchu and the Grand Canyon (via a motorhome with my wife and kids).
Daily habit: I cycle to and from work nearly every day.
Startling fact: When I became a partner a few years ago, my father gave me his desk, which he had practiced law on for 35 years. My mother had bought this desk for my father when he opened his own law firm. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to pass it on to one of my children.
Charlie Galbraith, Counsel, Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, 35
Job: I focus on representing American Indian tribes and tribal entities, using all the legal, political and administrative tools available to protect their right to self-government and to build a better future for their people. The unique government-to-government relationship tribes have with the US and tribes’ deep responsibilities to their people, neighbors, environment and future generations requires comprehensive legal and political representation.
Career highlights: Working with great teams of people to pass legislation that protects and expands the rights of Indian tribes; prosecuting white-collar criminals as a federal prosecutor.
Why this career: Because baseball didn’t work out for me. It turns out Major League teams don’t have much use for slow outfielders who can’t hit a changeup.
Where you grew up: Phoenix, AZ
Why DC: I came for a job with the government.
First job: Washing rental cars outside in the Phoenix summer.
Family: Parents in Arizona, brother in New York, and I’m considering adopting a cat.
Free time: Traveling, playing baseball, running marathons, reading, biking, skiing, hiking, and trying to learn to swim well enough not to drown in my upcoming triathlon.
10 years from now: Either representing Indian tribes or returning to another job somewhere in government.
Favorite vacation spots: Big Sur, The Grand Canyon, most National Parks and anywhere on the South Island of New Zealand.
Bucket list: Visit every National Park and every baseball stadium, attend the Olympic opening ceremonies, speak Navajo and Spanish, play the guitar, and be the oldest person to climb Mt. Everest.
Daily habit: Coffee and some type of exercise every day.
Startling fact: I’ve played baseball every season since age 6.
Greg Jacobs, Shareholder, Polsinelli, 36
Job: As a government contracts lawyer, I represent companies that do business with the government. That can involve helping them stay compliant with complicated regulations or enter into relationships with other companies. I also represent contractors in litigation, including contract disputes and bid protests.
Community involvement: I serve as General Counsel to the Board of Directors of Whitman-Walker Health, a community health center in DC.
Career highlights: The first bid protest I won as lead counsel was a big moment. I have represented major defense and high-tech contractors in litigation in recent years.
Why this career: I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since second grade and never seriously considered anything else.
Where you grew up: Rhode Island
Why DC: I’ve always been drawn to this area. I like the weather, the people and the politics. And for government contracts, there is no other place to be.
First job: Ice cream parlor. Family: Married to Meridith for 9 years, with two daughters (6 and 3).
Free time: Chasing my kids around, cooking, running, and watching the Patriots.
10 years from now: Likely doing the same thing, with a larger role in firm management.
Favorite vacation spot: Anguilla
Bucket list: Traveling around Japan, and eating at all of top 20 pizza places in the US (only 12 more to go).
Daily habit: Starting the day with a good run and meditating at night.
Startling fact: Both of my front teeth were knocked out in sixth grade.
Jonice Gray Tucker, Partner, BuckleySandler LLP, 40
Job: Focus on financial services and products. I represent corporate and individual clients in supervision and enforcement matters initiated by government regulators, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Prudential Banking Regulators and State Attorneys General. I also represent clients in complex private litigation.
Community involvement: I am Vice Chair of the American Bar Association's Banking Law Committee and Vice Chair of the Fair Access to Services Subcommittee of the Consumer Financial Services Committee. I am on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and the Board of Trustees for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. I also serve on advisory boards for the Ron Brown Scholars Program and the National Consumer League’s LifeSmarts Program. I have a special connection to Legal Aid in that I was seconded to the organization for six months about 11 years ago. I was invited to join the Board of Directors last year, and it was a particularly meaningful because I had been down in the trenches experiencing the work they do many years ago.
Career highlights: When I was a first year associate at Skadden, I was assigned to work with legendary white-collar lawyers Bob Bennett and Saul Pilchen on a high-profile case that Bob had taken on, pro bono. We were working to exonerate a young Boston cop, Kenny Conley, who had been wrongly convicted of obstructing justice. We ended up litigating that case for four years, going up to the First Circuit twice, having an unfavorable panel decision overturned when the matter was heard en banc, and ultimately prevailing when the case was remanded to the district court. After the conviction was overturned, our client was reinstated as a Boston police officer. Now a detective in Boston, he has received a number of accolades for his work, including White House recognition for his heroic work in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing.
Why this career: I went to college on a merit-based biomedical scholarship. To the shock (and dismay) of many, I decided to go to law school instead of medical school. One of the first cases to which I was assigned was an FTC enforcement matter against a major US bank. That case set the stage for much that would happen in my career over the next 15 years. The partners leading that matter, Andy Sandler and Ben Klubes, have become lifelong mentors. I worked with them for years, and now they are my own partners.
Where you grew up: Native Washingtonian, and I have lived here almost all of my life.
Why DC: No need to go elsewhere when you live in a fabulous city! DC has the attributes of a big city, but in many ways, retains a small town feel. It’s a livable city that is great for raising a family.
First job: Intern for then Ward 7 City Councilmember H.R. Crawford in the late 1980s.
Family: I met my husband, Stacy Tucker, in high school. We have been married for 15 years and have two children: Jillian, who is 7, and Austin, who is 10.
Free time: Traveling outside the US with my family. We have visited more than 15 countries, including Estonia, Sweden, Turkey and Russia. According to my children, zip-lining in Costa Rica was the coolest experience so far and The Tower of London is a close second.
10 years from now: You can’t predict the future, but if you keep an open mind, experiences that you may not have imagined could come your way. So, 10 years from now, I hope that I still have that open mind, and I can’t wait to see what life brings me.
Favorite vacation spot: The Turks and Caicos Islands. This photo was taken there.
Bucket list: No surprise that it’s travel-related. I would love go to Indonesia, including Bali and Komodo Island.
Daily habit: Indoor cycling. A couple of years ago, I bought my husband a spin bike for Christmas. He managed to convince me that I should start using it even though I had never been a cycler. I did so begrudgingly, and now he has to negotiate with me for time to use his spin bike.
Startling fact: I was born on Friday, May 9, 1975, and am named for my grandfather, John. My daughter Jillian was born on Friday, May 9, 2008 (and incidentally, proclaims that she was the best birthday present I will ever receive). I named Jillian for John and my grandmother Lillian.
Christine Roddy, Director, Goulston & Storrs, 37
Job: Focused on zoning and land use law, historic preservation and urban renewal in DC. I represent clients in the development of mixed-use, office, retail, institutional and residential projects.
Community involvement: I’ve worked with Bread for the City and Jubilee Housing and have helped them build the facilities they need. It is satisfying to be able to help such wonderful organizations fulfill their missions.
Career highlights: It’s a great feeling to walk around the District and see all of the buildings and projects I've had a hand in. There is so much history and so many stories wrapped up in each one that it is exciting to see the physical manifestation of our work.
Why this career: I had applied for a summer associate position with the Office of the Attorney General, hoping to work in their criminal division and instead they placed me in their land use division. I wasn’t exactly thrilled, but I ended up loving it. I felt like I had played an important role in the development of the District.
Where you grew up: Gaithersburg, MD
Why DC: It’s a great city—it’s a major metropolitan area full of culture and history, yet its neighborhoods are still small enough that you know your neighbors. I also enjoy being close to my family and old friends.
First job: The Gap
Family: My husband and I met five years ago at a wedding and we are newly wed as of this past October.
Free time: I enjoy running, hiking and traveling.
10 years from now: I hope to still be doing this. There is a lot of satisfaction in watching the city grow and knowing I played a role in it.
Favorite vacation spot: Pacific Northwest
Bucket list: Seeing the northern lights, walking the Camino de Santiago and visiting the seven continents.
Daily habit: Visiting the snack drawer.
Startling fact: I don’t like chocolate.
Jon Burd, Partner, Wiley Rein, 36
Job: Help government contractors navigate the unique regulatory landscape that comes with selling products and services to the federal government. I represent contractors in litigation involving procurement issues (bid protests) and contract disputes (claim), as well as government investigations and related litigation.
Career highlight: Successfully challenging the US Air Force’s decision to award a $30B-plus contract to Northrop Grumman/EADS to build the next generation of aerial refueling tanker aircraft, in what remains one of the highest-profile bid protests ever litigated.
Community involvement: Member of the US Court of Federal Claims Bar Association’s Board of Governors; active in the American Bar Association’s Public Contracts Law Section as a committee chair. I have worked with a number of clients from the Whitman Walker Clinic on disability benefit and immigration matters.
Why this career: The intersection between business and federal government is dynamic and fascinating.
Where you grew up: Raised in the suburbs of Central New Jersey, where seemingly everything (NYC, the beach, Philadelphia, state parks, a mall) was only “45 minutes away, depending on traffic.”
Why DC: Big city that still has a hint of small-town feel.
First job: I scooped ice cream at a Carvel store starting in sixth grade. After law school, I clerked for two years at the US Court of Federal Claims for the Hon. Lawrence J. Block.
Family: Married, with a 2-year-old son and another on the way, plus Domino the cat.
Free time: Golf, running and grilling.
10 years from now: Learning more about my clients’ businesses and getting better at the work that I do with them.
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with warm sand and a local, island-brewed beer.
Bucket list: When the boys are older, to return to the Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks for hiking and camping.
Daily habit: Coffee and the news.
Hashim Mooppan, Partner, Jones Day, 34
Job: I specialize in appellate advocacy and legal strategy in complex and important cases. I've worked on several landmark Supreme Court cases involving constitutional challenges to federal law.
Community involvement: I worked on behalf of candidates and voters in Kinston, NC, who challenged the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because DOJ had denied pre-clearance to a referendum switching from partisan to nonpartisan municipal elections. After extensive litigation—including an argument in the DC Circuit and two more in the DC District court—DOJ decided to allow Kinston to make the change to nonpartisan elections.
Career highlights: (1) presenting my first Supreme Court oral argument this past October in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC; (2) briefing and second-chairing the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to purchase health insurance; and (3) clerking for Justice Scalia.
Why this career: I've always found the law intellectually engaging, and I love to argue.
Where you grew up: Hewlett, NY (Long Island).
Why DC: This is the place to be for appellate advocates, especially Supreme Court practitioners. I also think DC and its suburbs are a lot more livable than NYC and its suburbs.
First job: Setting aside summer internships during college and law school, my first job was as a law clerk to Judge Luttig on the Fourth Circuit.
Family: I've been married for almost six years to Megan Wernke, whom I met in law school and who is currently a trusts & estates lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale. We've got a 3-year-old daughter named Laila.
Free time: I play pool and poker with friends. I also watch a fair amount of mindless TV/movies.
10 years from now: Probably still an appellate partner at Jones Day, unless lightning strikes with the right government job.
Favorite vacation spot: Vegas
Bucket list: Go skydiving, though I probably won't do it until I'm ready to kick the bucket, just in case.
Daily habit: Read "How Appealing."
Startling fact: I wasn't a debater in college or high school (sadly, this is startling for an appellate attorney in DC).
Jason Abel, Of Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson
Job: I'm a member of the Government Affairs & Public Policy Group and a leader of the Campaign Finance & Political Law practice. I counsel clients on the intersection between law and politics with a mix of federal advocacy, political law, government ethics and responding to congressional investigations.
Community involvement: Chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the American Bar Association’s Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section, and active in its Business Law Section. Member of the MD and DC Bar Associations. At Steptoe, served as co-counsel to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in voting rights litigation stemming from voter suppression actions in Kansas and Arizona.
Career highlights: Served as Counsel to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and later as Chief Counsel of the US Senate Committee on Rules & Administration under Sen. Schumer’s Chairmanship. Why this career: I enjoy developing strategies to help clients promote their interests and solve problems.
Where you grew up: Buffalo Grove, IL (Chicago suburbs).
Why DC: I visited DC my senior year of high school for a national debate tournament and it made a big impression on me. I always wanted to come back.
First job: Mowing lawns when I was in junior high school.
Family: Married for 10 years this September, with a son (5) and daughter (2).
Free time: Spending time with my family and watching all sorts of sports.
10 years from now: I hope to be as happy and fulfilled by my career and family life as I am today.
Favorite vacation spots: Florence, Italy (for the wine), and Minocqua, WI (for the fishing).
Bucket list: Visiting all Major League Baseball ballparks.
Daily habit: I have to have my morning coffee.
Startling fact: I started college planning to major in astrophysics. By the end of freshman year, I decided to pursue law school instead.
Dan Hardwick, Partner, Cozen O’Connor, 39
Job: I'm a commercial real estate attorney and joined Cozen two years ago to expand its real estate practice group into the DC market. I was lucky to find a great associate, Joe Eggleston, who joined me in the fall of 2014. Our clients range from local developers to publicly traded REITs, and we are involved in a variety of real estate transactions including purchases, sales, financings, joint ventures and leasing.
Community involvement: I am active in the John Carroll Society, having served for the past three years as the chairman of the Red Mass Committee, and I am now the chairman of the Membership Committee. I am also on the Development Committee for the Washington School for Girls and co-founded the Fathers of Daughters Club of DC.
Career highlights: Witnessing the growth of the Washington, DC, real estate market, including the purchase of the Westbard Avenue portfolio, construction financing on 51 Louisiana and The Louis at 14th and U, the sale of the Waterview Office building, and most recently, the purchase of the V Street industrial portfolio.
Why this career: For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an attorney. At my first law firm in Chicago, I was originally slated to be in the general corporate practice group, but when the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 I was given the chance to work in real estate. It was a perfect fit and I have never looked back!
Where you grew up: Lansing, MI
Why DC: After living in Chicago for a few years after school, my wife and I decided to move to DC in 2004. We like the size, weather, history and, for us, DC is the perfect compromise between north and south (my wife is from Louisiana).
First job: Concessionist at an AMC movie theater in high school. Best job ever!
Family: Wife, Amy, and three daughters—Mary (7), Catherine (7) and Molly (5).
Free time: I enjoy spending time with family and friends, following Michigan State football and basketball, and playing golf.
10 years from now: I enjoy being a real estate attorney, so I hope to grow my practice and help my clients grow their businesses as well.
Favorite vacation spots: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
Bucket list: Play golf at St. Andrews.
Daily habit: Make sure my girls are properly tucked in bed.
Startling fact: In 2011, I co-founded the Fathers of Daughters Club of DC, which was originally comprised of fathers who only have daughters. We hold two events a year—a guy’s night in the fall and a family picnic in the summer—and raise money for the Washington School for Girls. We've received letters of support from fathers of only daughters including Presidents Obama, Clinton and Bush, and Speaker Boehner and Sen. Mark Warner.
John W.F. Chesley, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, 36
Job: Half of my time is spent litigating against the government on behalf of government contractors and the other half is spent on internal investigations and defending companies and individuals in white collar criminal matters. The diversity helps me stay sharp inside and outside of the courtroom and it definitely keeps each day interesting.
Community involvement: My biggest pro bono matter is an Innocence Project case out of Easton, MD. We represent a gentleman who was convicted 15 years ago of a truly horrible murder without any physical evidence, based on what I will kindly call “highly incentivized” testimony. We recently uncovered physical evidence that points to another suspect.
Career highlights: If I had to pick one, it likely would be the complete acquittal of Ted Urban after a two and a half week SEC enforcement trial. Ted was the general counsel of a prominent Mid-Atlantic broker-dealer who was charged with “failure to supervise” a broker who stole a significant amount of money from his own clients. In a 57-page decision, SEC Chief Judge Brenda Murray dismissed all charges, finding that Ted “performed his duties in a cautious, objective, thorough, and reasonable manner.” This was a terrible ordeal for Ted, who had a storied career in the securities industry. But we were incredibly happy to be a part of his ultimate vindication.
Why this career: I somehow stumbled into my calling in my third-choice career (after baseball and the police). I love stories, and being a lawyer gives me the opportunity to learn about and tell them for a living. It also is a great (albeit weighty) feeling whenever a client entrusts their most difficult and significant problems to you. I would probably still answer the phone if the Orioles called, but until then I can’t think of anything I would rather do.
Where you grew up: Fort Washington, MD.
First job: Laborer for a moving company when I was 16.
Family: Married to a wonderful woman with five incredible children.
Free time: Playing baseball in an adult league, coaching our firm softball team, kayaking on the Chesapeake with my wife, and doing whatever my kids will still do with me.
10 years from now: If I am lucky, I'll be doing this.
Favorite vacation spot: We just bought our “forever” house on the water in Eastport (Annapolis) and as far as I am concerned that is heaven on earth. I foresee “staycations” for the near future.
Bucket list: Learning to sail and becoming a beach-hopper in retirement.
Daily habit: Getting up early and applying copious amounts of hot sauce to just about everything.
Startling fact: Former police officer and have five kids (although three came via a very successful marital acquisition).
Joy Liu, Partner, Ropes & Gray, 37
Job: I help drug and medical device companies navigate and comply with FDA laws and regulations.
Community involvement: Board of Directors of the Food and Drug Law Institute; pro bono work for Reprieve, a human rights organization that focuses on the rights of prisoners from death row to Guantanamo Bay.
Career highlight: Playing a role in convincing FDA to change a policy position it had maintained for almost 30 years.
Why this career: Because my dad told me I had to be a doctor, lawyer or banker, I believed him, and couldn’t stand the sight of blood or stay awake in Economics 101. Thankfully it all worked out!
Where you grew up: Cheshire, CT
Why DC: It’s where FDA lawyers tend to congregate.
First job: Burger King (and I’ll still eat there).
Family: Married 10 years, two sons (5 and 3). Free time: Read novels, tiger-mom the kids (yes, I used that as a verb).
10 years from now: Hopefully enjoying more free time.
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere in the Caribbean.
Bucket list: Hang gliding, writing and illustrating a children’s book, race motorcycles.
Daily habit: Eating candy.
Startling fact: I can’t whistle, but I can move my ears.
Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, 32
Job: I oversee the city’s civil and administrative appeals in the US Supreme Court, US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and DC Court of Appeals. The cases vary widely—everything from the constitutionality of the District’s gun laws to tax issues involving online travel companies.
Community involvement: As a public servant, it’s my full-time job to give back to the District and its residents. I also sit on the board of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, the nation’s only four-year residential liberal arts early college. I'm a proud alumna, having left high school at 15 to attend college there.
Career highlight: In my first argument as Deputy Solicitor General, I successfully argued an appeal to overturn a $2.3M judgment against the District.
Why this career: According to the autobiography I wrote when I was 7, I was either going to be a lawyer or the person who rings the bell at the close of the Stock Exchange.
Where you grew up: Baltimore, MD
Why DC: What better place to be a lawyer?
First job: I spent the summer before college working as a receptionist for a construction-supply company. I can still tell you a lot about different types of bricks.
Family: Terrific fiancé and two mischievous cats.
Free time: Traveling, concert-going, reading, enjoying good food and wine, and training with my running club to balance out said food and wine.
10 years from now: Continuing to serve the public and work on fascinating issues of constitutional law.
Favorite vacation spots: Costa Rica, the Berkshires, and Colorado.
Bucket list: Own an alpaca farm.
Daily habit: Do something active: run, swim, bike, yoga or Solidcore.
Startling fact: Running my first 50-mile ultra-marathon this fall.
Mandy Reeves, Partner, Latham & Watkins, 38
Job: I practice as an antitrust lawyer, representing companies before the DOJ and FTC in investigations relating to unlawful monopolization and merger review and in private litigation. My client base spans a variety of industries, but especially life sciences and high-tech.
Community involvement: Co-chair of the ABA Antitrust Source and co-chair of the Section’s Antitrust Law & Economics Institute for Judges. Active pro bono practice, including currently representing tenants in conjunction with litigation against a landlord for providing inhabitable housing.
Career highlights: Clerking for John G. Heyburn II, former Chief Judge of the Western District of Kentucky; serving as Attorney Adviser to former FTC Commissioner Tom Rosch.
Why this career: I knew I wanted to be a lawyer when I took a constitutional law class at UVA as an undergrad and learned that I could make a career out of writing and running my mouth. I became an antitrust lawyer when I came to Latham and found fun people and a practice that I love.
Where you grew up: Alexandria, VA; proud graduate of T.C. Williams High School of Remember the Titans fame.
Why DC: I live a mile from my mom in Alexandria and work across the street from my dad.
First paid job: Intern at the Washingtonian.
Family: Extremely supportive and fun-loving husband (Lee), son Will (4), and daughter Riley (1).
Free time: Playing airplanes with Will and teaching Riley how to say “mama” before she says “dada.”
10 years from now: If I was doing exactly the same thing, I would be completely happy. Returning to the government again for a stint would be fun too.
Favorite vacation spots: Sanibel Island, FL, in the winter; Bar Harbor, ME, in the summer.
Bucket list: Attend the Summer Olympics; watch UVA win the NCAA Basketball Championship.
Daily habit: Running, Pilates, or feeling guilty about doing none of the above.
Startling fact: National Champion Tap Dancer (circa 1995).
Matt Perault, Head of Global Policy Development, Facebook, 35
Job: I develop the company’s positions on global public policy issues.
Career highlight: Working at Facebook!
Why this career: Excited about making the world more open and connected.
Where you grew up: North Carolina.
Why DC: It's the promised land for public policy.
First job: Digging electrical ditches on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.
10 years from now: If I continue on my current trajectory, there's a very good chance I'll be playing in the NBA.
Favorite vacation spot: A beach.
Bucket list: Annapurna Circuit.
Daily habit: Coffee.
Michael B. Bernstein, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP, 39
Job: Specializes in obtaining antitrust clearance for mergers, acquisitions and other business combinations. Also advises clients in government investigations, civil litigation, and counsels on the antitrust implications of everyday business practices.
Community involvement: American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law; also served on the International Bar Association Antitrust Working Group regarding Proposed US Horizontal Merger Guidelines. An active pro bono practice includes currently representing a client seeking post-conviction relief.
Career highlights: I recently led the antitrust representation for Kroger’s $2.5B acquisition of Harris Teeter, which was cleared with no divestitures (a rare occurrence in grocery store mergers). It not only was incredible to help a longtime client with its largest transaction in about a decade, but it also resulted in Kroger gaining a presence in the DC area; now I finally get to shop on a regular basis at a Kroger-owned store. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work in a great collegial environment that has fostered my development, including working with and learning the ropes from Bill Baer (current Deputy Attorney General for Antitrust at the Department of Justice) and Debbie Feinstein (current Director at the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission).
Why this career: Antitrust is the perfect intersection of law and business.
Where you grew up: Winnetka, IL
Why DC: There is no better place to be than right down the street from the agencies.
First job: Intern at Arnold & Porter.
Family: Wife (Jodi, 4 years); Daughter (Alexis, 15 weeks old).
Free time: Golfing; spending quality time with family and friends.
10 years from now: Hopefully, I’ll continue to be called upon for the most interesting industry-changing transactions and to help clients solve their most difficult problems. But, most importantly, my wife and I will be parents of a 10-year-old, and we are just hoping that time doesn’t go by too quickly.
Favorite vacation spots: Maui, HI, and Boca Raton, FL.
Bucket list: Playing in the World Series of Poker.
Daily habit: I start my day by reading the business press to make sure I stay on top of what may be affecting my clients and end my day with story time with my daughter, which puts everything in perspective.
Startling fact: Loves to cook.
Justin Salon, Partner, Morrison & Foerster, 36
Job: I represent publicly and privately held companies in corporate and securities law matters, including both issuers and underwriters in connection with IPOs, primary and secondary offerings, private placements, senior and subordinated debt financings, tender offers and M&A.
Community involvement: With the Legal Counsel for the Elderly, I coordinate my firm's representation of low-income elderly individuals who need assistance drafting wills.
Career highlights: Nothing is more professionally satisfying than successfully guiding a client through their IPO, which typically is the culmination of years of sacrifice and hard work on their part.
Why this career: Corporate transactional work is intellectually stimulating and exciting, and gives me the opportunity to work for some of the most sophisticated clients while practicing at the intersection of business and the law.
Where you grew up: Philadelphia, Malibu and Longmeadow, MA.
First job: Someone actually entrusted me to operate roller coasters at an amusement park.
Family: Wife, Blair, and two sons, Gavin and Tyler.
Free time: Spend time with my wife and kids.
10 years from now: On the personal side, I hope to be enjoying more time with my wonderful family. Professionally, I hope I'm still working on challenging matters with terrific colleagues and clients.
Favorite vacation spots: Anywhere in the Caribbean and Martha's Vineyard.
Bucket list: Visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums.
Daily habit: Morning iced coffee from Starbucks.
Startling fact: I seriously considered running for public office in Massachusetts.
Michelle Mitchell, Counsel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, 30
Job: I solve complex problems facing multinational companies in the economic sanctions, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption space. This work can be forward-looking compliance program development, monitoring and testing, transaction diligence and risk mitigation strategy or backward-looking internal investigations.
Community involvement: I am supporting a project studying diversity issues within a federal agency and also supporting an organization as it vets high-value funding sources and social project opportunities for AML, sanctions or corruption concerns. Past projects have focused on anti-human trafficking efforts and cleaning up the Anacostia River.
Career highlights: Mastering the Russian sanctions program, in the early days, due to our firm’s deep clientele in Moscow and London and becoming a go-to resource. Helping clients to understand how the constantly shifting sanctions rules apply to their business and transactions.
Why this career: It is interesting, challenging and, at this moment, everything that I expected it would be—maybe a little more.
Where you grew up: Right here in the District!
Why DC: It is the perfect blend of all the things that make a city great!
First job: I worked as a sales associate at a fine art gallery and learned the craft of custom framing.
Family: Mom and Dad—married 34 years! I have an older sister who is local and a younger brother who lives out on the West Coast. Oh yes, there is my boyfriend who loves to travel and introduce me to great restaurants in every city.
Free time: What is that? Never heard of it!
10 years from now: Continuing to challenge myself and living a balanced and enjoyable life.
Favorite vacation spots: Anywhere that has a blend of culture, history, great food, shopping and music—Barcelona, Cape Town, Paris, Pattaya, Kerala, etc.
Bucket list: Hike Machu Picchu, visit an active volcano, start a cool and socially responsible fashion company.
Daily habit: Drink tea, call my mother on the 15-minute drive to work and lose my signal in the parking garage abruptly, every day, just as the conversation gets really good.
Startling fact: I was home-schooled –K-12! Cue the questions!
Rachel D. Burke, Partner, Furey, Doolan & Abell
Job: Focus on estate planning and administration with a heavy emphasis on estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning. I tailor the estate plans of individuals and couples to meet both their tax and non-tax goals. I also advise and assist fiduciaries and beneficiaries in the administration of existing trusts and estates.
Community involvement: Steering Committee Member, Taxation Section, District of Columbia Bar (2013- ); Past Chair, Estate Planning Committee, Taxation Section, District of Columbia Bar (2009-2011); Vice-Chair, Estate Planning Committee, Taxation Section, District of Columbia Bar (2008-2009); Second Vice-Chair and Subcommittee Chair for Important Developments (2011-2013), Fiduciary Income Tax Committee, Section of Taxation, ABA
Career highlights: Honestly, it’s all been rewarding. I’ve helped families resolve major conflicts, address areas of concern and save significant taxes.
Why this career: While I have always enjoyed the challenging technical aspects of estate planning—the property law and tax law side—I am most rewarded by working with individuals and their families. It’s great to help navigate people through complex decisions, often during difficult periods in their lives.
Where you grew up: Chevy Chase, MD
Why DC: I was born and raised here. It is such a great city. I saw no reason to leave!
First job: Counselor at an overnight summer camp.
Family: My husband Malcolm and I met in law school at W&L. We have two children, Caroline (9) and Courtney (6).
Free time: Volunteering at my children’s school, playing tennis, cooking (especially gluten-free baking).
10 years from now: Doing the same thing. I love what I do and like many of my estate planning colleagues, I feel a real sense of responsibility toward my clients.
Favorite vacation spots: Truro, MA, and Isle of Palms, SC
Bucket list: I would love to check out Yellowstone under Canvas. It looks beautiful and I love camping.
Daily habit: At least two cups of coffee.
Startling fact: I’m an estate planner, I don’t share startling facts!
Ria Williams, Commercial Real Estate/Finance Associate, Arent Fox, 32
Pictured: On the couch in Central Perk on the re-created set of the TV show Friends during a tour of the Warner Brothers studio lot in LA.
Job: My clients are primarily in the hospitality and multifamily residential industries. I handle the legal aspects of commercial real estate and finance transactions, which include drafting and negotiating purchase and sale agreements and loan documents, performing due diligence and advising clients on the risks of transactions from a legal perspective, and bringing transactions to closing by preparing the documents and organizing the people, places and things necessary to close the transactions.
Community involvement: I’ve worked on projects involving assisting individuals in obtaining Social Security benefits, assisting victims of domestic violence obtain protective orders, campaign finance reform, and I volunteer at Legal Aid intake a few times per year.
Career highlights: Taking a pro bono domestic violence case to trial during my first year of practice; taking a lead role in a $230M sale of a multi-hotel portfolio.
Why this career: I ask myself this question repeatedly to make sure I’m in the right place (or when I’m having a particularly challenging day at the office). Currently, being an attorney feeds my analytical tendencies and my compulsion for organization, and luckily, I really like real estate and being able to see the tangible results of my work, i.e., the buildings I have helped my clients buy, sell or finance.
Where you grew up: I was born and spent my childhood for the most part in Trinidad in the West Indies. I migrated to the States when I was a teenager and finished off high school in West Palm Beach, FL.
Why DC: I came to DC for the first time for a pre-college program for kids interested in politics, and ended up coming here for college and have never left. I love the convergence of like-minded individuals, especially women of color; and as an added bonus, the city is beautiful!
First job: The mail room/promotions department of the broadcast media company my mom worked for at the time, now called ION Media Networks.
Family: A 9-year-old Bichon Frise named Jazz who I started taking care of five years ago after my mom passed away.
Free time: I like varying experiences, anything entertaining and relaxing. Lately I’ve been taking acting classes and learning the basics of filmmaking.
10 years from now: Happy with who I am at the time, what I am spending my time doing, and how much I’m giving to the people I love and to the world.
Favorite vacation spots: I enjoy exploring places with long, rich histories.
Bucket list: Produce at least one feature film, act in at least one professional theater production and a feature film, and travel to every destination that I’ve ever thought I’d like to visit.
Daily habit: Every day I write a to-do list of some sort (personal or professional), and I engage in daily devotional prayer, usually first thing in the morning.
Startling fact: Many people have been surprised to learn that I drive a Chevy Camaro. I guess it doesn’t fit with their perception of me, but I do, in fact, like fast, powerful cars.
Ryan VanGrack, Senior Advisor to the Chair, Securities & Exchange Commission, 35
Job: I am a senior legal and policy advisor to the Chair of the S.E.C., providing counsel on all aspects of the agency's work—from enforcement matters and regulatory policy to coordination with other federal agencies and international bodies.
Community involvement: While at Williams & Connolly, I worked on several pro bono matters, including (1) second-chairing the jury trial of a defendant charged with armed robbery, (2) drafting and arguing appeals for defendants convicted of various felonies (e.g., attempted murder), and (3) successfully appealing the denial of social security benefits for disabled individuals.
Career highlights: Helping the Commission’s enforcement program experience a record year in terms of both actions brought and monetary sanctions ordered; briefing senior staff while serving as an attorney in the White House.
Why this career: I always had an interest in law, finance and public service. The S.E.C. was a natural fit.
Where you grew up: DC suburbs Why DC: Washington is a great place to raise a family, have an impact, and root for decent sports teams (Redskins notwithstanding).
First job: Working on the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund.
Family: Wife, son and rescue dog.
Free time: Nationals games with my son.
Favorite vacation spots: Santorini, Kyoto, Machu Picchu, anywhere with a beach.
Bucket list: Safari; attending NCAA Final Four when Duke is playing.
Daily habit: Morning walk with my son and dog (best way to get grounded before starting the day).
Startling fact: I have an identical twin, who is also a government attorney.
Seth Safra, Partner, Covington & Burling, 40
Job: I'm in the employee benefits and executive compensation practice, advising employers on tax and ERISA compliance issues. I help people make decisions, manage risks and complete deals, with a sprinkling of advocacy when clients have disputes or wish to influence policy. I also serve as the vice-chair of our practice group and one of the co-chairs of Covington’s summer program.
Community involvement: Recently completed a term as chair of the employee benefits committee of the DC Bar’s tax section. Career highlights: There have been good results along the way, including a unanimous Supreme Court decision in our client’s favor and getting the IRS to reverse a position that would have cost our client a lot of money—but nothing as gratifying as being part of strong teams.
Why this career: I decided in 1996, when I was interning for an architecture/engineering firm that was involved in disputes related to the construction of Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium. At the time, I thought I would go back to Atlanta and practice construction law, but then law school exposed me to a bunch of new interesting things. I like digging into complicated issues and finding practical solutions to tough problems. I’ve stayed at Covington because of the variety of challenges and opportunities that come from the firm’s broad practice.
Where you grew up: Atlanta Why DC: My wife and I decided to move here after law school because it’s between Atlanta and New Jersey, where she is from. We’ve stayed because the town is awesome. I can’t imagine a better place to practice law: the people are great and we get to see the sausage being made.
First job: Bagging groceries at Kroger, followed shortly thereafter by being a Sandwich Artist at Subway.
Family: Wife, Jana; daughter Lauren (10); and son Jared (turning 7 at the end of July).
Free time: Playing tennis, hanging out with my family, and learning to play golf. I also still love to follow the Atlanta Braves.
10 years from now: Ahh, my kids will be grown up. I hope we’ll be doing fun things together.
Favorite vacation spot: Maui is my all-time favorite, but I’ve only been there once. To me, the concept of being on vacation is much more meaningful than where we go or what we do.
Bucket list: Get a decent golf score.
Daily habit: I get up every morning at 6:18.
Startling fact: I have an identical twin brother who lives in Rockville. We both ended up here coincidentally.
Steve Roberts, Associate, K&L Gates, 33
Job: Help my clients achieve political and policy engagement goals without running afoul of the numerous, overlapping restrictions on lobbying, campaign contributions, and gifts at the federal, state and local levels.
Career highlight: Successfully working with the WWE, and members of the McMahon family, to seek dismissal of frivolous complaints before the FEC in connection with Linda McMahon's campaigns for US Senate in Connecticut.
Why this career: In the dozens of federal and statewide political campaigns to which I've served as an adviser, I've seen how the law can be an incredibly effective weapon in boosting your cause—or neutralizing your opponent's attacks. It's a different, and emerging, way to change a political or policy outcome.
Where you grew up: Patriot, OH, a small community in southeastern Ohio of about 50 people. We had a couple of stop signs, a post office and a Coke machine.
Why DC: It's the center of the political world.
First job: Republican National Committee phone bank.
Free time: Brewing beer and playing with my 9-month-old daughter.
10 years from now: Working as a lead attorney in a political law practice in DC.
Favorite vacation spots: Delaware beaches and Virginia state parks.
Bucket list: Winning a constitutional challenge to over-burdensome campaign finance laws at the Supreme Court.
Daily habit: Reading the day's print edition Wall Street Journal with a cup of coffee. It gets my mind going first thing.
Startling fact: I'm (still) a Pete Rose supporter.
Tejinder Singh, Partner, Goldstein & Russell, 33
Job: Partner at a Supreme Court boutique litigation firm. We focus on cases before the Court and on challenging legal problems in the lower courts. We typically collaborate with co-counsel who have subject matter expertise. Working together on teams with other great lawyers is a huge plus to my job.
Community involvement: I am a member of the South Asian Bar Association of DC and regularly speak at events hosted by them and other organizations about Supreme Court cases, trends and issues. I am also an instructor in the Harvard Law School Supreme Court clinic, which exclusively represents pro bono clients in cases before the Court. But even outside the clinic, a large percentage of our practice is pro bono. Because our firm is relatively small (four lawyers at the moment), we have very little overhead. Appellate advocacy is also less costly than trial advocacy (there are no expert witnesses to pay, no exhibits to prepare, etc). That gives us the freedom to take on the most interesting and rewarding work we can find.
Career highlights: Arguing and winning in Lane v. Franks, a Supreme Court case about whether the First Amendment protects sworn testimony by a public employee describing facts he discovered in the course of his duties. My client, Edward Lane, was the director of a program for at-risk youth who discovered corruption and testified about it. He was then fired. The lower courts erroneously held that because his testimony described events that occurred at work, it constituted performance of his job responsibilities and was therefore not protected by the First Amendment. We convinced the Supreme Court to reverse that holding—unanimously.
Why this career: To be honest, I lucked into it. I had no particular desire to do appellate advocacy, as opposed to trial work. But my first summer in law school I worked with my colleague Tom Goldstein, and we hit it off. I meet all kinds of lawyers—and what often distinguishes the happy ones from the sad ones is that the happy ones work with people they like and respect. If that’s the right way to keep score, then I hit a home run at my first at-bat and I’ve never really looked elsewhere.
Where you grew up: Born in Punjab, India. My family immigrated to this country in 1984, and I grew up in San Jose, CA.
Why DC: I came here for work during my first summer of law school. You meet a great mix of interesting people. And of course, if you’re going to do Supreme Court work, then it’s the place to be. Now that I’m a father, I’ve discovered that DC is also an amazing place to raise children. Between the Smithsonian Institution and all of the beautiful parks and monuments, there’s so much for them to see, learn and do.
First job: My first job out of law school was as an attorney in the international capital markets practice at Allen & Overy in London. I went to London chasing after a girl (who fortunately decided to marry me) and it was by far the best job I could land. I started at A&O in 2008, and it was a very strange time to be a transactions attorney because the global financial crisis was just kicking off. But I think I learned more about derivatives, CDOs and monetary policy than I would have learned anywhere else.
Family: I have an amazing wife, Anna, who is herself an attorney, a 2.5-year-old son named Leo, and another little boy due at the end of the month. My father is a scientist and my mother is a schoolteacher, and they both still live in California. My sister is a doctor in NYC.
Free time: I love to cook, and now that we’re home six nights a week with Leo, that comes in handy. I like to play poker. And lately I’ve been exploring opportunities to invest in local small businesses to try to build up a greater connection with the District and my neighborhood in Capitol Hill.
10 years from now: I don’t know yet, but I’m open to ideas. As much as I love what I’m doing now, I don’t suspect that I’ll do it forever. When this stops feeling like an adventure, I’ll move on to something that does.
Favorite vacation spots: My wife is from New Zealand. I’ve been there four times now and loved it each time. I’m also a huge fan of Vieques in Puerto Rico.
Daily habit: Every day I try to read at least one book with my son.
Startling fact: The amount spent on the 2016 presidential election is going to exceed $3B—and might go higher than $4B. That startled me.
Heather Zachary, Partner, Cybersecurity, Privacy, and Communications practice group at WilmerHale, 38
Job: I’ve spent the majority of my time recently on issues relating to privacy and data security, from routine compliance and transactional matters to big data breaches and regulatory investigations. I have clients in nearly every industry, from global Internet companies and financial institutions to tiny startups. I also work on communications issues for telecommunications, mobile, video and Internet providers.
Career highlights: (1) Working closely with innovators whose ideas are changing the world and helping them successfully bring those ideas to market. (2) Being in the thick of the net neutrality battles for more than a decade. (3) Helping companies grapple with, and recover from, headline-grabbing data breaches.
Why this career: I decided to go to law school late in college because I figured a law degree would be good preparation for a career in public policy. When I started practicing, I found that I enjoyed it, especially in the nation’s capital, where policy and legal issues are so often inextricably intertwined.
Where you grew up: Vancouver, WA, a suburb of Portland, OR (much like Arlington is to DC). Vancouver had a small-town atmosphere with all the conveniences of a big city right across the river. Why DC: Throughout high school and college, I was deeply involved in politics and campaigns, and I always assumed that I would end up in DC. The city is remarkably diverse, so whatever your interests, you can find folks who share them.
Community involvement: I have spent hundreds of hours on dozens of pro bono matters. Memorable projects include drafting briefs in the 4th Circuit on behalf of a death row inmate, drafting a Supreme Court brief on search and seizure issues, helping a client bring accountability in the wake of a theft of union funds, assisting a client in lawfully designing a platform for STEM mentoring, and drafting privacy and data security policies for a range of nonprofit organizations.
First job: A short, ill-fated run as a barista at an independent coffee stand.
Family: My husband and I have been married since 2005, but we have known each other since 1993. The newest member of our family is our utterly inexhaustible Australian Shepherd puppy, who has both of us wrapped around his paw.
Free time: Gardening (we have 400 square feet dedicated to just fruits and vegetables). Hiking and camping (which is both more fun and more challenging with the dog). Reading (the more far-fetched, the better).
10 years from now: I am very bad at predicting where I’ll be “10 years from now.” Indeed, I’ve learned that although it’s important to have a general plan for the future, it’s more important to remain open to whatever opportunities life throws at you. That said, I do hope that I’ll still be neck-deep in privacy issues because I’m really having a blast.
Favorite vacation spot: The Oregon coast, where I vacationed a lot as a kid; lots of great memories there. I also love camping; the more rural the better.
Bucket list: Hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, though I’ll have to do it in sections. I’ve already completed a couple hundred miles.
Daily habit: Reading something before I go to bed (even if only for a few minutes) that has absolutely nothing to do with work. Anything from bad science fiction, to a historical biography, to the latest news.
Startling fact: I have the digital footprint of a teenager. Because of my privacy and data security work, I’m always downloading (and vetting) the hottest new apps and services. And I’ve always been an avid video gamer.
Paul R. St. Lawrence III, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, 38
Job: Transactional attorney focusing on structured finance, derivative products, other complex financing transactions, and financial instruments and related regulatory issues. I represent commercial and investment banks, hedge funds and asset managers in a broad range of finance market activity. I also play a role in the firm's recruiting and development initiatives as the chairperson of the summer associate committee.
Community involvement: Member of the NY City Bar Association structured finance committee.
Career highlights: Election to partner at Cleary Gottlieb, January 2013. Part of Cleary Gottlieb’s market leading practice in the collateralized loan obligation market.
Why this career: The synthesis of finance and law. My other educational and professional experiences exposed me to areas of economics and the securities markets that I wanted to make a part of my legal practice.
Where you grew up: Boonton, NJ
Why DC: I attended Georgetown as an undergrad, fell in love with the city, met my wife there, and we never left.
First job: Ever: Marketing a year 2000 solution for Computer Horizons Corp in Mountain Lakes, NJ. First job post-college: legislative aide to a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.
Family: Wife, Gillian; daughter Dagny Taylor (21 months)
Free time: Exercise, travel with family, avid Nationals fan.
10 years from now: Grooming the next generation of finance partners at Cleary.
Favorite vacation spot: Bald Head Island, NC.
Bucket list: Return to Warsaw, Poland, where I studied abroad; take my family to Vienna, Austria; see the Nats win a World Series in person.
Daily habit: Dinner with my wife.
Startling fact: My two favorite music artists are Billy Joel and Lady Gaga.
Teresa Y. Bernstein, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, ACON Investments, 38
Job: Manage legal and compliance issues arising at a $3.6B middle-market private equity firm that invests in businesses across a wide range of industries in the United States and Latin America. Responsible for the firm’s investment adviser regulatory compliance program. Participate in fund formation, fundraising, deal structuring, portfolio company acquisitions and exits, investor communications and reporting, litigation management and employment/HR issues.
Community involvement: Currently, I am helping set up a nonprofit foundation.
Career highlight: Obtaining an in-house job that I love.
Why this career: I became interested in law school as a result of working as a corporate paralegal at a New York law firm—a job I sought because I couldn't make my rent payments! The business issues interested me (despite having been a literature major headed towards a career in journalism or academia), and I discovered I liked problem solving and working in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment. I was lucky early on to be exposed to M&A and private equity work and was drawn to this practice because of the way it works to bring parties together—a win-win for all.
Where you grew up: Born in Singapore, lived in Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland and in California, Illinois, New York and Washington, DC.
Why DC: Because I had a serious boyfriend (now my husband) who was from DC and could not stomach moving to New York City. I took a leap of faith and moved here and discovered that great corporate work does in fact exist outside of New York!
First job: Working the welcome desk at a life-size, animated dinosaur museum exhibit.
Family: Married to someone amazing who has put up with me for 14 years already (nine of them married). Three kids, ages 7, 4 and eight months.
Free time: Running, bicycling, photography, trying to make things I see on Pinterest and failing miserably.
10 years from now: The same thing, but better. Oh, and taking my son on a college tour.
Favorite vacation spots: Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, Denali National Park in Alaska and Rehoboth Beach in Delaware.
Bucket list: Complete a Half Ironman, camp with family in Yosemite, go on a National Geographic photography expedition in Africa, and start doing yoga.
Daily habit: Grande coffee with hazelnut syrup.
Startling fact: My dream growing up was to be a fiction writer.