May 21, 2020

Alumni News and Moves – Spring 2020

Our alumni have forged diverse career paths and taken on interesting new adventures and personal challenges. They are thought leaders, industry experts, advisers, mentors, advocates, business executives, elected and appointed officials, and trusted professionals.

We are proud of the contributions our alumni continue to make to the legal and business communities, grateful for the time they spent with the firm and honored that so many have stayed in touch with the firm and with each other.

Here are recent News and Moves from our alumni community over the past few months.

  • Vincent Montalto (Florham Park, N.J./Litigation/2007) was named one of the 2020 recipients of the Association of Corporate Counsel's Top 10 30-Somethings Award. The awards are a special opportunity to celebrate the achievements of 10 international in-house counsel between the ages of 30 and 39. The selection criteria take into account contributions to their corporate law department, company, or organization, as well as the depth and context of their participation in efforts to advance advocacy, pro bono services, and diversity in the legal profession. Vinny is currently senior litigation counsel at BASF Corporation.
  • Marlon Cush (Minneapolis/Corporate/2007) was named a Carlson Scholar in recognition of his academic performance in the Carlson Executive MBA Program at the University of Minnesota from which he graduated on May 16, 2020. Marlon was also named Board Chair of the Minnesota-based educational non-profit, Breakthrough Twin Cities, and in January 2020 joined the board of St. Paul, Minnesota-based Gillette Specialty Children Healthcare whose goal is it help children with some of the most complex medical conditions realize their potential. Marlon is currently senior associate general counsel at UnitedHealth Group.
  • Amanda Rome (Minneapolis/Litigation/2010) has been named executive vice president and general counsel at Xcel Energy effective June 1, 2020.
  • 2020 Spring Faegre Drinker Alumni Amy BergquistAmy Bergquist (Minneapolis/Litigation/2008) and Theresa Dykoschak (Minneapolis/Finance/2005) are both celebrating recent promotions at The Advocates for Human Rights. The organization promoted Amy to senior staff attorney with the International Justice Program and Theresa to pro bono counsel. As firm alumnae, Amy and Theresa are thrilled that they continue to get to work together on a variety of pro bono projects, including amicus briefs to the Supreme Court, reporting to the United Nations, and case law research for partner organizations in the Philippines. They also had the opportunity to collaborate on The Advocates’ Legal Training Academy, for which they traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, Chisinau, Moldova, and Tbilisi, Georgia, to train a cohort of 16 Russian-speaking human rights defenders on using the U.N. and strategic litigation to combat gender-based violence in their home countries. They managed to squeeze in four escape rooms during their down time in Sofia, which they learned is striving to become the European capital of escape rooms. They are proud to report that they maintained their perfect escape streak. While working from home, they have launched The Advocates’ Human Rights Happy Hour Trivia.
  • Jeff Cohn (Minneapolis/Corporate/2008) is associate general counsel and assistant secretary for Heron Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly traded commercial stage biotechnology company located in San Diego, California. Prior to joining Heron Therapeutics in late 2016, Jeff was senior counsel to the commercial division for Becton, Dickinson and Company (following its acquisition of CareFusion Corporation in 2015) and, before that, corporate counsel to the M&A and Integrations department for Life Technologies Corporation (until it was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. in 2014).
  • Jesse Goldfarb (Minneapolis/Real Estate/2018) joined Nilan Johnson Lewis PA in May 2020.
  • Ed Bryant (Chicago/Health Care/1967) was happy to report that, under the stellar leadership of Glen Ferencz, he has enjoyed meeting with some of his fellow former firm partners for their monthly meetings virtually via Zoom. The Zoom format has allowed them to overcome the fact that many of them are dispersed across the globe, including in California, Arizona and Florida.
  • Brian Halloran (Denver/Finance/1990) represented a client in the Enron bankruptcy in 2005. He ended up purchasing a subsidiary of Enron's and ran the company until November 2019 when he successfully sold the company's assets to a private equity portfolio company. Brian resides in Southern California now. He is interested in a smaller mid-market acquisition to own and run, and is also available as a consultant and expert witness in the renewable power industry, primarily wind development. His wife, Maureen Weston, is also a firm alum and distinguished full-time professor at the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law.
  • Chris Spataro (South Bend, Ind./Litigation/2000) is one of three candidates on the ballot for judge of the Elkhart Superior No. 5 this spring. Chris is currently a partner at Tuesley Hall Konopa LLP in Elkhart, Ind.
  • Jeff Sprain (Minneapolis/Corporate/2001) and Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc., where he is the current executive vice president and general counsel, were recently featured in Vanguard magazine. Jeff has held the general counsel position since August 2012.
  • Julianne Peck (Philadelphia/Litigation/1996) and Michael Homans (Philadelphia/Litigation/1995) both started their legal careers at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia and formed HomansPeck LLC in 2018. In 2019, for the second consecutive year, HomansPeck was named a Tier 1 Best Law Firm in labor and employment law in Pennsylvania by Best Lawyers of America.
  • Stephen C. Lee (Minneapolis/Litigation/1995), chief intellectual property counsel at Target, was recognized as a Minnesota Lawyer “In-House Counsel Honoree” for 2020. Stephen and other honorees will be celebrated at a breakfast, networking and awards event at the American Swedish Institute on October 2, 2020. Additionally, Stephen’s policy and advocacy work relating to the fraudulent trademark filings flooding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) registry recently culminated in him testifying before the Senate IP Committee.
  • Tracy Drynan (D.C./Litigation/2014) joined OpenText as senior consultant in April 2020.
  • Tonya Evans (Philadelphia/Private Client/1999) joined the MakerDAO Ecosystem Growth Foundation Board of Directors as an independent director in April 2020. Tonya is the associate dean of academic affairs and professor of law at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. She also directs the school’s Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Law online professional certificate program.
  • A.B. Cruz III (D.C./Litigation/1994) joined BarkerGilmore LLC as senior advisor in April 2020.
  • Adam Yoffie (Philadelphia/Litigation/2016) joined Bristol Myers Squibb as Litigation & Government Investigations senior counsel in April 2020.
  • Myriam Soto (Florham Park, N.J./Private Client/2000) joined BNY Mellon as head of International Wealth Planning and Fiduciary Services in April 2020.
  • Lisa Whittaker (Philadelphia/Investment Management/2006) joined Vanguard as associate counsel in March 2020.
  • Diane Flynn (Florham Park, N.J./Private Client/1996) joined KIPP NYC as chief real estate officer in April 2020. Diane also maintains her consulting business.
  • Bree Archambault (Philadelphia/Corporate/2007) joined Airgas as senior counsel to the Mergers & Acquisitions/Procurement division in March 2020.
  • Rob Esposito (New York/Corporate/2015) joined Apollo Group Management as ESG counsel in March 2020.
  • Amanda Gomez (Chicago/Real Estate/2009) joined ComEd as stakeholder outreach strategy manager in March 2020.
  • Anand Shah (Philadelphia/Insurance/2015) joined KPMG U.S. as assistant general counsel in March 2020.
  • Jay Atkinson (Philadelphia/Corporate/2007) joined General Dynamics as director and M&A assistant general counsel in March 2020.
  • Kerri Cutry (New York/Corporate/2013) was promoted to assistant vice president of government relations at MetLife in March 2020.
  • Jaye Campbell (D.C./Intellectual Property/2006) was promoted to general counsel and secretary at CoStar Group in March 2020.
  • Heather Ryan (Chicago/Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation/2004) joined Trane Technologies as the executive compensation and benefits director in March 2020.
  • Justin Linder (Florham Park, N.J./Litigation/2007) was promoted to corporate counsel to the Market Access, Government Access and Supply Chain division at Novo Nordisk in March 2020.
  • Doug Bruno (Philadelphia/Investment Management/2005) was promoted to vice president and associate general counsel at West Pharmaceuticals in February 2020.
  • Michael Osterman (Florham Park, N.J./Real Estate/1985) opened his own firm, Osterman Law LLC, in Somerville, N.J., in February 2020. The firm specializes in transactional real estate and land use matters.
  • John Zen Jackson (Florham Park, N.J./Litigation/1975) joined Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith, & Davis LLP as of counsel in February 2020.
  • Michelle Garvey Brennfleck (Chicago/Health Care/2015) was promoted to counsel at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in January 2020.
  • Steve Herst (Wilmington, Del./Insurance/2013) was promoted to principal at Specialty Audit Services, LLC in January 2020.
  • Margaret Matavich (D.C./Litigation/2017) was promoted to managing counsel at Capital One in January 2020.
  • Ericka Lenz (D.C./Insurance/2009) joined Clyde & Co. as a senior associate in January 2020.
  • Bob Hogan (Chicago/Health Care/2015) joined Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP as an associate in January 2020.
  • Ryan Whitacre (Chicago/1999) joined Bridge Partners, LLC as a partner and executive recruiter in January 2020.
  • Aviva Reinfeld (Philadelphia/Corporate/2013) joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as assistant regional counsel in January 2020.
  • Mary Bartkus (Florham Park, N.J./Litigation/1980) was appointed to the International Centre for Dispute Resolution’s (ICDR) Panel of Arbitrators in January 2020. Mary is currently special counsel at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.
  • Fatema Zanzi (Chicago/Health Care/2006) was named senior vice president and chief legal officer, and corporate secretary to the Board of Directors of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, effective February 10, 2020.
  • Nancy Borders (Chicago/Corporate/1981) retired as senior vice president and chief legal Officer, and corporate secretary to the Board of Directors of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in January 2020.
  • Kelly Martin (Philadelphia/Corporate/2013) joined Figma as legal counsel in January 2020.
  • Wendy Seltzer (Chicago/Litigation/2004) joined Stepan Company as senior counsel to the Labor and Employment division in January 2020.
  • Amber Hough (Philadelphia/Corporate/2008) was promoted to counsel to the Finance and Real Estate group at Dechert LLP in January 2020.
  • Michael Metz-Topodas (Philadelphia/Litigation/2009) was promoted to partner at Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC, effective January 1, 2020. Michael is a member of the firm’s Construction Group and represents general contractors, subcontractors, owners, designers and suppliers on private, public and federal projects.
  • Markita Morris-Louis (Philadelphia/Real Estate/2003) was elected chair of the Affordable Housing Advisory Council of FHLBank Pittsburgh.
  • Tara L. Flynn (Philadelphia/Environment and Energy/1997) is a director at FTI Consulting, Inc. in the Forensic & Litigation segment's Environmental Solutions practice, based in the company's Wayne, Pa., office. Using environmental forensics, Potentially Responsible Parties (PRP) identification, historical factfinding and other industrial research methods, Tara advances environmental cost recovery, allocation and neutral procedures for National Priority List sites, including so-called “mega sites,” through analysis of party-produced documents as well as extensive historical, legal and corporate research. Often these assignments involve unraveling complex, 100-year-old-plus corporate "genealogies" to identify corporate successor relationships. On the personal side, Tara continues to rescue elderly shelter dogs, currently having three, ages 12 to 16. She is also experimenting with hydroponic gardening, which turns out to be a great hobby during the shelter-in-place mandate. Tara's husband, Frank Gorman, continues to work as an IT project management consultant, currently for GlaxoSmithKline. Their daughter, Maeve, is the singer-songwriter and co-producer for Semblance, an alt-rock band she formed three years ago. Music by Semblance can be found on all popular streaming platforms.
  • Matt Homyk (Philadelphia/Intellectual Property/2011) was promoted to partner at Blank Rome in January 2020.
  • Andy Egan (Florham Park, N.J./Litigation/2011) was promoted to principal at Bressler Amery & Ross in January 2020.
  • Michelle Bray (Chicago/Intellectual Property/2001) was promoted to chief privacy officer at KAR Global in January 2020. She was previously vice president of IP & Technology Counsel at the company.
  • Kristy Littman (Philadelphia/Litigation/2010) was named chief of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Cyber Unit.
  • Benjamin D. McCullough (Chicago/Investment Management/2015) was named general counsel at XA Investments in December 2019.
  • Chris Sabis (D.C./Litigation/2008) joined Sherrard Roe Voigt Harbison as a member in December 2019. He was formerly an assistant U.S. attorney.
  • Angela Foster-Rice (Chicago/Environment and Energy/1997) joined Everland as senior vice president of the Business Development, Transportation & Travel Sector in November 2019.
  • Mona Bentz (Chicago/Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation/1997) joined Northern Trust as senior trust advisor in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in November 2019.
  • Elaine Zacharakis Loumbas (Chicago/Health Care/1997) became an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University in the Katz School of Science and Healthy Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship Program in October 2019. Elaine is also a corporate, health, privacy and technology attorney at Zacharakis Loumbas Law LLC.
  • Jeffrey Denman (D.C./Corporate/1997) opened his own law firm, Denman Law Group, in September 2019.
  • Ned Nurick (Philadelphia/Corporate/2007) joined Directly in August 2019.
  • Tim O’Brien (Minneapolis/Construction/1991) was appointed by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in June 2019 to a four-year term on the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards.

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