May 17, 2021

Alumni News and Moves – Spring 2021

Our alumni have forged diverse career paths and taken on interesting new adventures and personal challenges. They are thought leaders, 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 (Office/Practice Group/Year of Hire).

  • Juliana Yanez (Silicon Valley/Litigation/2014) is joining Hanson Crawford Crum on June 7, 2021.
  • Cathy Gryczan (Chicago/Corporate/2008) has accepted an offer from the Institute for Justice (IJ) to be the assistant director of the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School starting June 2021.
  • Kennard Weaver (South Bend/Corporate/1993) is in his third year of a six-year term as trustee of Northwest Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan. He also serves on the NMC Board of Trustees Audit Committee, Policy Committee and Presidential Performance & Compensation Committee.
  • Javier Mabrey (Denver/CORE/2019) announced he is running for the Colorado Legislature in 2022. Javier co-founded the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, a nonprofit that defends Coloradans facing eviction.
  • Nancy Hendrickson (Chicago/2004) joined O’Hagan Meyer as a partner in May 2021.
  • Alan Di Sciullo (Florham Park/Litigation/1977) published “The Effect of COVID-19 on Lease Negotiations” in the January-February 2021 edition of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Probate & Property magazine. Alan was also a panelist on the annual PLI program “Negotiating Commercial Leases” in February 2021, and he continues to teach as an adjunct professor at New York University with courses on real estate law and commercial leasing. As chair of an ABA committee on alternate dispute resolutions, Alan moderated a panel on “ADR in These Pandemic Times” (November 2021) and will be moderating a program on “ADR for Transactional Attorneys.”
  • Neela Paykel (Washington, D.C./Health Care/1995) joined Hyperfine, Inc. as general counsel in April 2021.
  • Retired partner Calvin Litsey (Minneapolis/Intellectual Property/1984) released a record album titled “East to West.” It’s available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music.
  • Kara Gainer (Washington, D.C./Government and Regulatory Affairs/2014) joined Walmart as its global public policy director in April 2021.
  • Gabe Marinaro (Chicago/Benefits and Executive Compensation/2011) joined Akerman LLP as a partner in April 2021.
  • Amanda Gomez (Chicago/Real Estate/2010) started a new position as manager of strategic planning at ComEd in April 2021. Amanda has been with the company since 2015 and previously served as ComEd’s stakeholder outreach strategy manager and assistant general counsel.
  • Eric Kassab (Philadelphia/Corporate/2011) was promoted to assistant deputy general counsel at Comcast in April 2021.
  • Marlon Cush (Minneapolis/Corporate/2007), senior associate general counsel at United Healthcare Group, Jaimala Pai (Minneapolis/2005), senior legal director and chief counsel of the Cardiovascular Diagnostics & Services arm of Medtronic, and Mara Garcia Kaplan (Minneapolis/Corporate/2007), vice president and senior counsel at Wells Fargo, were fêted at the Minnesota Lawyer’s virtual 2021 In-House Counsel Awards, receiving honors in the public company category. Marlon, Jaimala and Mara were recognized for their ability to, among other things, navigate complicated contract negotiations, defend their companies in high-stakes litigation, and protect some of an organization’s most important assets.
  • Retired partner Norm Tabler (Indianapolis/Health Care/2013) continues to serve on two ABA and one Indiana State Bar Association editorial advisory boards, write two monthly columns, and write and record a monthly podcast for the American Health Law Association.
  • Jim Hale (Minneapolis/Corporate/1966) was named chair of WGCU Public Media Advisory Board in April 2021. The term will last two years. He is the board’s immediate past vice chair. WGCU is Southwest Florida’s source for PBS and NPR programming. As a member-supported service of Florida Gulf Coast University, WGCU’s mission is to provide educational programming that inspires, informs and engages the community.
  • Rebecca VanZandt (Philadelphia/Litigation/2012) was promoted to counsel at Phillips in April 2021.
  • Jonathan Grossberg (Philadelphia/Corporate/2014) joined Shmuel Law Group LLC as senior counsel in April 2021.
  • Michael Rinaldi (Philadelphia/Litigation/2005) joined Duane Morris as a partner in April 2021.
  • Jeremy Scott (Washington, D.C./Government and Regulatory Affairs/2007) joined Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis (CRD Associates) as senior vice president in April 2021
  • Amy Schneider (Minneapolis/Corporate/2017) was promoted to vice president and corporate secretary of securities at Xcel Energy in March 2021.
  • Grier Raclin (Washington, D.C./Litigation/1986) co-founded Symetry Communications, LLC and was named the company’s vice chairman, EVP and general counsel in March 2021.
  • Jennifer Wnek (Philadelphia/Environment and Energy/2008) joined Allen & Overy as a partner in March 2021.
  • Leslie Lenhardt (Philadelphia/Corporate/2005) joined Brenntag as associate general counsel in March 2021.
  • Justin Lightfoot was appointed as a district court judge by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on March 25, 2021. Justin previously served as the criminal division chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.
  • Michael Hawthorne (Chicago/Health Care) joined Bailey Glasser as a partner in March 2021
  • Amber Haggins (Washington, D.C./Litigation/2007) joined Prophet as global head of diversity, equity and inclusion in April 2021.
  • Jessica Hockemeyer (Fort Wayne/Finance and Restructuring/2014) joined United Healthcare as associate general counsel in April 2021.
  • Samina Kapadia (Chicago/CORE/2015) joined the Obama Foundation as director of compliance and controls in April 2021.
  • Dan Kaskel (Florham Park/1996/Real Estate) is a partner in the Boca Raton, Florida, firm of Sachs Sax Caplan, where he chairs the real estate practice group. Dan is still in touch with many current Faegre Drinker attorneys and alumni. His ties to the firm span more than 30 years; he first met his wife in 1989 during her time as a paralegal at Shanley & Fisher, one of Faegre Drinker’s predecessors.
  • Dan Rotko (Philadelphia/Insurance/2015) joined Kessler Topaz as an associate in March 2021.
  • Matt Brinker (Philadelphia/Corporate/2011) was promoted to partner at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC in March 2021
  • Zachary Jacob (Indianapolis/Nonprofit Organizations/2011) joined Benesch Law as of counsel in March 2021.
  • Gina Rodriguez (Denver/Product Liability and Mass Torts/2002) received President Joe Biden’s nomination to serve as a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Colorado in March 2021.
  • Elizabeth Williams (Chicago/Real Estate/2000) joined Revantage, a Blackstone Company, as senior AVP and senior counsel in March 2021
  • Mark Killingsworth (Dallas/Litigation/2007) joined Viewgol as chief legal officer in March 2021.
  • Ashley Super Pitts (Philadelphia/Litigation/2016) started a new position as assistant U.S. attorney of the criminal division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Trenton, New Jersey in March 2021.
  • Alan Kidd (Philadelphia/Insurance/2011) joined Armstrong World Industries as commercial and strategic transactions counsel in March 2021.
  • Stephen Stroup (Philadelphia/Litigation/1999) joined Fannie Mae as compliance and ethics internal investigation adviser in March 2021.
  • John H. Hinderaker (Minneapolis/Litigation/1974), president of Center of the American Experiment, received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who's Who in March 2021. Marquis Who’s Who is the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles.
  • Brian Altman (Washington, D.C./Government and Regulatory Affairs/2009) joined the Administration for Community Living as deputy director for the Administration on Aging in March 2021.
  • Lora Whitehouse (Minneapolis/Finance and Restructuring/2001) was promoted to senior legal director at Medtronic in February 2021.
  • Giuliano Apadula (Philadelphia/Corporate/2013) was promoted to shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, LLP in February 2021.
  • Nanette Bufalino (Chicago/1986) retired from Lurie Children’s Hospital in February 2021.
  • Michael Pulliam (San Francisco/Product Liability and Mass Torts/2004) joined CodeScience as a business development manager in February 2021.
  • Greg Hosé (Chicago/Litigation/2007) was named partner at Gregorio & Marco Ltd. in February 2021.
  • Nathan Pollard (Washington, D.C./Intellectual Property/2011) joined Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) as associate general counsel in February 2021.
  • Bill McSwain (Philadelphia/Litigation/2006) joined Duane Morris as a partner in February 2021.
  • Christine Baker (Princeton/Litigation/1991) was promoted to chief legal and strategic affairs officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) in January 2021.
  • Steve Hamilton (Chicago/Litigation/2006) joined Reed Smith in January 2021.
  • President Biden appointed Jessica Rosenworcel as the acting head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 21, 2021. Jessica became an FCC commissioner in 2012.
  • Kellie Garson (Philadelphia/Insurance/2014) was promoted to senior counsel at Highmark, in January 2021.
  • Kristi Garrett (London/Corporate/2015) joined QBE North America as AVP and assistant general counsel in January 2021.
  • Lesha Shinn (Princeton/Corporate/2005) joined Integra LifeSciences as deputy general counsel of corporate and business development in January 2021.
  • Ron Tanner (Philadelphia/Corporate/2013) was promoted to executive director and assistant general counsel at FS Investment in January 2021.
  • Christian Fabian (Chicago/Corporate/1998) joined McDermott, Will & Emery LLP as a partner in the corporate advisory group in January 2021.
  • Jennifer Oberhausen (Washington, D.C./Government and Regulatory Affairs/2011) was promoted to AVP of regulatory affairs at CTIA in January 2021.
  • Cindy Ziesing (Philadelphia/Corporate/1991) became IM billing administrator at Stradley Ronon in January 2021.
  • Jaime Walter (San Francisco/Labor and Employment/2011) was promoted to counsel at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in January 2021.
  • Brian Nichols (Washington, D.C./Health Care/2010) joined Cigna as senior counsel in January 2021.
  • Rob Esposito (New York/Corporate/2015) was promoted to senior counsel of ESG at Apollo Global Management, Inc. in January 2021.
  • Jim Provenzale (Des Moines/Real Estate/2019) was promoted to of counsel at Dinsmore & Shohl (formerly Wooden McLaughlin) in January 2021.
  • John Scally, Jr. (Florham Park/Corporate/2007) retired from the practice of law on December 31, 2020. Most recently he was a member at Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC.
  • Indiana Gov. Eric C. Holcomb appointed David Frick (Indianapolis/Corporate/2007) to the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority Board of Directors on December 1, 2020. He will serve until August 31, 2023. The governor also selected Matthew Brown (Indianapolis/Labor and Employment/2013) to serve as the director of the Indiana State Personnel Department, effective December 14, 2020. Matthew previously served as the director of the state Office of Administrative Law Proceedings.
  • Jake Sullivan (Minneapolis/Business Litigation/2005) was appointed national security adviser for the Biden administration in November 2020.
  • Ted Cominos Jr. (Chicago/Corporate/2016) joined Eversheds Sutherland’s Chicago office as a partner and Cristina Audran-Proca (London/Corporate/2016) joined the firm’s Paris office as counsel in November 2020.
  • Sarah (Xiaohua) Zhao (Washington, D.C./Corporate/2016), an international transactions and data privacy specialist, joined Rimon’s Washington, D.C., office as a partner in November 2020.
  • Cynthia Lee (Minneapolis/Benefits and Executive Compensation/2008) joined Allianz Life as benefits senior counsel in November 2020.
  • U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz (Minneapolis/Labor and Employment/1987) of the District of Minnesota was named chair of the federal courts’ Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence. His appointment took effect on October 1, 2020. Judge Schiltz replaced Chief Judge Debra Ann Livingston of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals as head of the committee.
  • Michael Homans (Philadelphia/Labor and Employment/1995) and Julianne Peck (Philadelphia/Litigation/1996) of HomansPeck, LLC, celebrated their third anniversary as a boutique labor and employment law firm and opened a third office in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The firm’s other two offices are located in Philadelphia and Paoli, Pennsylvania.
  • Robert Kabel (Washington, D.C./Insurance/2001) published his memoir “Inside and Out: The Odyssey of a Gay Conservative” in September 2020. He had been working on this project for several years and the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown convinced him to complete it and self-publish. It’s available on Amazon. In 2020, Bob also moved full time to his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

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