November 18, 2021

Alumni News and Moves – Fall 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).

  • On November 12, 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz appointed Sarah Wheelock (Minneapolis/Litigation/2004) to sit on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. She will be the first Native American judge to sit on the Minnesota Court of Appeals, filling the vacancy left by the retirement of the Honorable Carol A. Hooten. Judge Wheeler was most recently legal counsel for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Prior Lake, Minnesota.
  • Sue Vinci (Florham Park/Litigation/1997) was promoted to Chief Privacy Officer at Verizon in November 2021. Under Sue’s leadership, the Verizon Privacy Office presides over the company’s privacy program and provides legal counsel to Verizon’s information security and cybersecurity organization. Sue, along with her team, is responsible for operationalizing privacy compliance across the company, deploying internal privacy training, and advising on legal issues that may arise.
  • Kesha Tanabe (Minneapolis/Finance & Restructuring/2013) was appointed to the federal bankruptcy bench for the District of Minnesota in November 2021. Kesha will become the first Asian American woman on the federal bench in Minnesota. Her 14-year term on the bench will begin on January 7, 2022.
  • President Joe Biden nominated Mike Gerber (Philadelphia/Corporate/2009) to serve on the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board in November 2021. The independent agency was established to administer the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-deferred defined contribution plan, by the Federal Employees Retirement System Act of 1986. Mike is currently Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at FS Investments.
  • Mark Schauerte (Chicago/2005) was promoted to Director, Career Development at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago in November 2021.
  • Andrew Weissman (Chicago/Corporate Restructuring/2004) joined State Farm as Counsel in November 2021.
  • Joshua Kaplowitz (Washington, D.C./Litigation/2007) joined American Clean Power Association as Vice President, Offshore Wind in November 2021.
  • Tony Mitchell (Washington, D.C./Government & Regulatory Affairs/2016) joined Gilead Sciences as Director, State Government Affairs – Southern Region in November 2021.
  • Brian Altman (Washington, D.C./Government & Regulatory Affairs/2009) joined Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in October 2021.
  • Vanessa Le joined the Office of the Director of Intelligence as Special Advisor to the Director and Special Counsel to the General Counsel in October 2021. Senator Richard Burr (R-SC) paid tribute to Vanessa in his October 5, 2021 speech on the senate floor. The speech was broadcast on CSPAN. Vanessa was formerly counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Zachary A. Myers (Indianapolis Downtown/Litigation/2008) became the first Black U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. He was sworn in on Monday, November 15, 2021.President Joe Biden nominated Zach for the job in July 2021, and the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination on Thursday, September 30. Zach will oversee the prosecution of federal crimes in Indianapolis and elsewhere in the Southern District. He most recently served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland focusing on national security and cyber matters.
  • Fred Glass (Indianapolis/Insurance/1993) has published a book Making Your Own Luck about one man’s odyssey from skid row to rebuilding a major collegiate sports program. The book can be purchased through the Indiana University Press and various retailers.
  • Jessica Cordero (Denver/Insurance/2019) recently launched her own coaching and consulting practice at JCordero Consulting Solutions. She partners with professionals as they navigate moral and ethical challenges, manage stress and overcome communication barriers to build better and more sustainable practices. She was also elected to serve as an Executive Council-member for the Denver Bar Association - Young Lawyers Division, Board member for the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association Foundation, Docket Committee Chair for the Docket, and DEI Liaison for the Colorado Bar Association - Young Lawyers Division.
  • Philippe Lebel (San Francisco/Labor & Employment/2013) was promoted to Senior Counsel at Proskauer Rose in November 2021.
  • Vik Jaitly (Philadelphia/Labor & Employment/2013) joined Wawa as Counsel, Employment & Litigation in November 2021.
  • Since leaving the firm in 2012, Adam Thimmesch (Minneapolis/Corporate/2005) has been a professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Adam was promoted to full professor in 2020 and was named the Margaret R. Larson Professor of Law this fall. He also leads the law school’s law and business program.
  • Chris Anderson (Chicago/Health Care/2011) joined Arnold & Porter as a partner in November 2021.
  • Abam Mambo (Minneapolis/Labor & Employment/2007) started her own workplace consultancy, BelongingIQ in October 2021. The organization provides employers with a fresh, multi-disciplinary approach to creating or enhancing a diverse, inclusive, safe, and engaged workforce through speaking, training, and consulting.
  • Collette Adkins (Minneapolis/Litigation/2007), whose pro bono work at Faegre Drinker focused on protection of gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act, continues that work as a senior attorney at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity. She was also recently promoted to Director of Carnivore Conservation, the Center’s newest program.
  • After practicing law for 40 years, Jim Fitzgerald (Los Angeles/Insurance/2018) started his own firm where he provides services as a mediator and arbitrator in business disputes, with an emphasis on complex insurance coverage and reinsurance matters. In the last year, Jim has taken several courses in mediation and has presented as a moderator and speaker at webinars on The Rutter Group’s “Path to Better Mediations” and ARIAS’ “Arbitrator Tools: How Much Should the Law Matter?” Jim also counsels on strategic litigation and trial matters, and he continues his 30-year tradition of being an instructor on NITA Trial and Deposition programs.
  • In October 2019, Grant Nichols (Philadelphia/Insurance/2006) along with other colleagues started CAC Specialty, an investment banking, risk management consulting, and insurance brokerage company. By the end of 2021, the company is expected to have over 150 employees and $150 million in revenue. Grant reports that one of the best parts of his role at the company is getting to work with his former Faegre Drinker colleagues including Steve Serfass, Nolan Tully and Justin Watkins.
  • Doug Bonner (Washington D.C./Government & Regulatory Affairs/2012) accepted an invitation to became Chair of the Board of Visitors of Catholic University Law School. The Board of Visitors is chosen from a geographically and professionally diverse cross-section of alumni, parents and friends selected for their ability to provide advice to the Dean on how to strengthen teaching, scholarship and service in the Law School. Doug also began his third year as the University Club of Washington Board of Governors’ Vice President. Doug is happy to share that with widespread vaccination, club activity and events are once again on the rise and many are excited about the Club’s new golf simulator and refurbished squash courts!
  • Duane Krohnke (Minneapolis/Litigation/1970) is one of the champions of Westminster Presbyterian Church’s refugee co-sponsorship team that recently embarked on a co-sponsorship of an Afghani family with the guidance of the Minneapolis Council of Churches. Duane recalls fondly the pro bono asylum work he did while at the firm and is glad to have the opportunity to continue to assist those with complicated immigration issues and potential asylum seekers.
  • After 18 years at Merck, Kirke Weaver (Philadelphia/Litigation/1998) left the company in connection with the spinoff of part of Merck’s business to a new company, Organon & Co., a pharmaceutical company focused on women’s health. Kirke serves as Deputy Corporate Secretary and Senior Vice President in the legal department overseeing regulatory, commercial, labor and employment, securities, and the corporate secretary’s office.
  • After living and practicing law in Philadelphia for 40 years, Fred Greenberg (Philadelphia/Litigation/19) and his wife relocated to North Jersey to be closer to their two daughters and four (soon to be five) grandchildren. Fred continues to practice law full-time and recently launched a firm website.
  • Chris W. Cotterill (Indianapolis Downtown/Government & Regulatory Affairs/2012), Chief Operating Officer at Goelzer Investment Management, will moderate the 2022 Engage Indiana event on December 2 for the fifth year in a row. Chris helped spearhead the initial organization of this event in 2016 when he was at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. The event brings together business professionals, community and educational leaders and students to share diverse perspectives and practical examples of how corporate social responsibility can help build businesses, retain high-quality talent and strengthen communities in the hopes of inspiring others.
  • Retired partner Dennis Ryan (Minneapolis/Finance & Restructuring/1985) is enjoying retirement and is keeping busy and active with the firm and chairing the Board of the Volunteer Lawyers Network. Dennis and his wife recently spent a month in east Africa on a photo safari and they are both looking forward to more travel in 2022.
  • Mark Shope (Indianapolis Downtown/Business Litigation/2012) accepted an offer to have his article “NGO Engagement in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” published in the Buffalo Human Rights Law Review. The article explores how artificial intelligence can impact rights under core human rights instruments and how NGOs should monitor states’ parties under these instruments, providing suggestions to guide NGO engagement in the reporting process. Mark is an assistant Professor of Law at Yang Ming Chiao Tung University.
  • Hunter Metcalf (Denver/Corporate/2018) took on the additional role of Corporate Secretary at Wildlife Defense Systems, Inc. in October 2021. Hunter also serves as corporate counsel for the company and is expecting his second child in May 2022.
  • Ann Donohue (Chicago/Employee Benefits/1995) joined the Mom Project as M&A Program Lead in October 2021.
  • Anika Steffen (Chicago/Labor & Employment/2007) joined NPR as Chief Employment Counsel in October 2021.
  • Patty Beck (Minneapolis/Labor & Employment/2013) received the 2021 Professional Liability Defense Federation Outstanding Young Professional Award in October 2021. The Professional Liability Defense Federation™ is a not-for-profit organization designed to bring together attorneys, claims professionals and risk management specialists to share knowledge and information helpful to the successful defense of professional liability claims. Patty is currently Claims Attorney at Minnesota Mutual Liability Insurance Company.
  • David Berger (Florham Park/Corporate/2001) joined Epsilon Life Sciences and Managing Director and General Counsel in October 2021.
  • Tarik Brooks (Philadelphia/Corporate/2014) was named a member of the Board of Directors of the Enterprise Center Capital Corporation in October 2021.
  • Nicholas Teichen (Chicago/Litigation/2018) joined Steptoe & Johnson as an associate in October 2021.
  • Teresa Tate (Boulder/Litigation/2007) was named city attorney for the City of Boulder in October 2021. In early October, it was announced she was one of three finalists in the nationwide search to fill the job. Teresa most recently served as deputy city attorney for the City of Longport, Colorado.
  • Dan Reilly (Philadelphia/Intellectual Property/2003) was promoted to Assistant General Counsel, Commercial at CommScope in September 2021.
  • Linnea Eiden (Minneapolis/Corporate/2015) was promoted to Vice President, Assistant General Counsel at U.S. Bank in September 2021.
  • Heather Kidwell (Indianapolis/Corporate/2008) was named Senior Vice President, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at ZimVie in September 2021. ZimVie is the combination of Zimmer Biomet’s dental and spine businesses. The spin-out is expected to be completed by mid-2022. The headquarters will be in Westminster, Colorado. Heather is currently Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Zimmer Biomet.
  • Raymond Rushing (Chicago/Products Liability/2018) was named a 2021 40 Under Forty honoree by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer Magazine. Raymond is a partner at Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP. Since 2000, 40 Under Forty has recognized more than 700 attorneys for their accomplishments and giving back to the community through civic or pro bono efforts. Nominees are recommended by their peers and chosen for the honor by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin & Chicago Lawyer selection committee.
  • Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (Des Moines/Litigation/1991) announced he will be running for reelection in 2022. He is currently serving his tenth term in the office. He is the longest serving state attorney general in the U.S.
  • Steven Toeniskoetter (Minneapolis/Product Liability/2009) joined Niagara Bottling, LLC as Director of Legal Affairs and Regulatory in September 2021.
  • Daniel Werly (Chicago/Litigation/2009) was promoted to Vice President, General Counsel & Chief of Staff with the Tennessee Titans in September 2021.
  • Shamar Toms-Anthony (Los Angeles/Litigation/2016) joined Greenberg Traurig LLP as an associate in September 2021.
  • Jackie Haydock (Fort Wayne/Corporate/2008) was promoted to Senior Corporate Counsel, Microsoft Health at Microsoft in September 2021.
  • Jesse Ruiz (Chicago/Corporate/1997) joined The Vistria Group as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer in September 2021. He was previously Illinois Deputy Governor under Governor J.B. Pritzker.
  • Tim Sullivan (Minneapolis/Intellectual Property/2010) and Sean Somermeyer (Minneapolis/Labor & Employment/2011) started their own firm, Somermeyer Sullivan, in September 2021.
  • Brianna Kostecka (Florham Park/Litigation/2011) joined Outfront Media as Counsel, Litigation in September 2021.
  • Kooshan Nayerahmadi (Philadelphia/Litigation/ 2007) was promoted to Executive Director/Managing Counsel – U.S. in September 2021.
  • Eileen Somers (Philadelphia/Products Liability/2013) joined Health, Education and Legal Assistance Project: A Medical-Legal Partnership at Widener University as Staff Attorney in September 2021.
  • Brooke Dunn (Indianapolis Downtown/Corporate/2016) joined Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County as Chief Financial Officer in August 2021.
  • Lariss Maldonado (Minneapolis/Product Liability/2012) was recognized by Minnesota Lawyer as one of its 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Award honorees.
  • Colette Routel (Minneapolis/Litigation/2001) was appointed a District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District in August 2021.
  • Kirk D. Johnson (Minneapolis/Corporate/1999) and Anne Kruger (Minneapolis/Corporate/2015) played substantial roles in Huntington National Bank’s acquisition of TCF National Bank. Both have also accepted permanent roles at the bank, now known as Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. The merger was completed in June 2021. Kirk is now Senior Vice President, Senior Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Huntington, and Anne is Vice President and Associate General Counsel. Kirk and Anne are joined at Huntington by Faegre Drinker alumnus Dan Dvorak (Minneapolis/Finance & Restructuring/2011) who is Senior Vice President and Senior Associate General Counsel.
  • Kathy Herman (Berwyn/Corporate/1997) joined Worthington Armstrong Venture (WAVE) at the end of June as their Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. WAVE is a 50/50 joint venture, owned jointly by Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WOR) and Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (NYSE: AWI). Headquartered in Malvern and entering its 30th year in existence, WAVE manufactures suspended ceiling solutions, and goes to market with its products under the Armstrong name.
  • Mac Parker (Fort Wayne/Private Client/1962) is enjoying retirement and spending most of his time at home but also starting to get out and go to his Cole Foundation office three times a week and the Faegre Drinker offices on occasion. Mac has been involved with the organization since its inception and has been President of the Cole Foundation for many years.
  • Chief Executive magazine announced in May 2021 that Kenneth C. Frazier (Philadelphia/Litigation/1971) was the recipient of the CEO of the Year. Ken was selected by an independent committee of CEOs that recognized his exceptional long-term leadership — a decade of unprecedented transformation and growth at Merck — with powerful results for shareholders, patients and society. Ken was also the recipient of the 2021 Diversity Leaders in Business Awards Lifetime Achievement from the Philadelphia Business Journal in August 2021.
  • Thomas Campbell (Chicago/Litigation/1972) was selected to receive the prestigious 2020 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Seventh Circuit. The American Inns of Court delayed the announcement due to COVID -19. Tom retired from the practice of law in 2018. The American Inns of Court inspires the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education and mentoring and The American Inns of Court Professionalism. Awards are bestowed each year, on a federal circuit basis, to a lawyer whose life and practice display sterling character and unquestioned integrity, coupled with ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law.

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