Leadership

Founders

Angelina Jolie

Co-Founder & Patron
UNHCR Special Envoy

Angelina Jolie is the Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), as well as the co-founder of KIND.

She began her work with UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador in 2001, and in 2012 was appointed to the role of Special Envoy. As Special Envoy she focuses on major crises resulting in mass population displacements and undertakes diplomatic advocacy on behalf of UNHCR. Since 2001 she has carried out nearly 60 field missions to refugee locations worldwide.

The protection of the rights of children on the move has been a core focus of Angelina’s humanitarian efforts. Early in her work on behalf of displaced people, she identified the lack of legal representation of unaccompanied children in deportation proceedings in the U.S. as a critical gap in their protection that put their lives and safety at risk.

In 2008 she co-founded KIND. She led in the effort to engage the private sector to draw on the time, expertise, and resources of law firms, corporate legal departments, law schools and bar associations, to open avenues to protection for thousands of vulnerable children and young people caught up in the U.S. immigration system.

In 2012, Angelina began the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI), a global campaign to end the use of rape as a weapon of war, in partnership with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The initiative strives to address the culture of impunity that exists for crimes of sexual violence in conflict, to tackle stigma and increase the number of perpetrators held to account. It has attracted the support of over 155 countries and led to new breakthroughs including the first International Protocol for the Documentation and Investigation of conflict-related sexual violence.

In June 2016 Angelina was appointed a Visiting Professor in Practice at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics (LSE). The Centre works to develop strategies to promote justice, human rights and participation of women in conflict-affected situations around the world.

Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award® and three-time Golden Globe Award winner. Her most recent Directorial project, First They Killed My Father, tells the story of the Cambodian genocide through the eyes of a child.

Brad Smith

Co-Founder & Board Chair,
President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft Corporation

Brad Smith is the president of Microsoft, where he leads a team of more than 1,400 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals in 56 countries. He serves as the company’s chief legal officer and leads work on a wide range of issues involving the intersection between technology and society, including cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and artificial intelligence, human rights, immigration, philanthropy and environmental sustainability. Described by the New York Times as “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large,” Smith has testified numerous times before the US Congress and other governments on key policy issues.

Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, first spending three years in Paris leading the legal and corporate affairs team in Europe. In 2002, he was named Microsoft’s general counsel and spent the following decade leading work to resolve the company’s antitrust controversies with governments around the world and companies across the tech sector. This past decade, Smith has spearheaded the company’s work to advance privacy protection for Microsoft customers and the rights of DREAMers and other immigrants, including bringing five lawsuits against the US government on these issues.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Smith was an associate and then partner at the law firm of Covington and Burling, where he is still remembered as the first attorney in the long history of the firm to insist (in 1986) on having a personal computer on his desk as a condition for accepting a job offer. In addition to his work at Microsoft, Smith is active in several civic organizations and in the broader technology industry. He has served on the Netflix board of directors since 2015 and chairs the board of directors of both Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program.

Smith grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Green Bay was the big city next door. He attended Princeton University, where he met his wife, Kathy (also a lawyer). He earned his J.D. from Columbia University Law School and studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. He can be followed on Twitter @bradsmi and LinkedIn at bradsmi.

Board of Directors

Brad Smith, Chair

President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft Corporation

Brad Smith is the president of Microsoft, where he leads a team of more than 1,400 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals in 56 countries. He serves as the company’s chief legal officer and leads work on a wide range of issues involving the intersection between technology and society, including cybersecurity, privacy, ethics and artificial intelligence, human rights, immigration, philanthropy and environmental sustainability. Described by the New York Times as “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large,” Smith has testified numerous times before the US Congress and other governments on key policy issues.

Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, first spending three years in Paris leading the legal and corporate affairs team in Europe. In 2002, he was named Microsoft’s general counsel and spent the following decade leading work to resolve the company’s antitrust controversies with governments around the world and companies across the tech sector. This past decade, Smith has spearheaded the company’s work to advance privacy protection for Microsoft customers and the rights of DREAMers and other immigrants, including bringing five lawsuits against the US government on these issues.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Smith was an associate and then partner at the law firm of Covington and Burling, where he is still remembered as the first attorney in the long history of the firm to insist (in 1986) on having a personal computer on his desk as a condition for accepting a job offer. In addition to his work at Microsoft, Smith is active in several civic organizations and in the broader technology industry. He has served on the Netflix board of directors since 2015 and chairs the board of directors of both Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program.

Smith grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Green Bay was the big city next door. He attended Princeton University, where he met his wife, Kathy (also a lawyer). He earned his J.D. from Columbia University Law School and studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. He can be followed on Twitter @bradsmi and LinkedIn at bradsmi.

Pamela Passman, Vice Chair

Founder and President, Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade – CREATe.org

Vice Chair, Ethisphere Institute

Pamela Passman is founder and President of the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade (CREATe.org)  and Vice Chair of the Ethisphere Institute, distinct entities with a common mission to promote leading practices to manage key governance, compliance and risks for companies and their global value chains.

Prior to founding CREATe.org in October 2011, Passman was the Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Global Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Microsoft Corporation. From 2002 to 2011, Passman led Microsoft’s regulatory compliance work across a range of issues, including privacy, security, law enforcement, telecommunications and other issues related to cloud computing. Passman also led Microsoft’s global government relations and public policy work and philanthropic programs and had leadership responsibilities for its cross-company global corporate citizenship efforts.

She first joined Microsoft in 1996 and until 2002 led the Legal and Corporate Affairs organization in Asia, based in Tokyo, with a focus on Japan, Korea and the People’s Republic of China. Prior to joining Microsoft, Ms. Passman practiced law with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. and Nagashima & Ohno in Tokyo, Japan.

Ms. Passman serves on the Board of Kinaxis Inc., a Toronto-listed SAAS supply chain management company.

She serves on the Board and as Vice Chair of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), and as a Trustee and Chair of the Student Life Committee of Lafayette College. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on its Nominating and Governance Committee.

Robert Cundall, Treasurer

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Robert Cundall serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  Prior to joining Lincoln Center in 2016, he held the positions of Managing Director at the Museum of Arts and Design, and Chief Operating Officer at the Seattle Art Museum. His corporate experience includes ten years with Mobil Corporation in a series of finance and operations positions, as well as time with the Business Software Alliance, a leading technology trade association, where he was Vice President of Worldwide Operations. Mr. Cundall was also Chief Financial Officer for the 1993 Presidential Inaugural Committee, and Treasurer of the 1997 Presidential Inaugural Committee. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. 

Sonia Nazario, Secretary

Author, Enrique’s Journey, and Contributing Opinion Writer, The New York Times

Sonia Nazario has spent more than 20 years reporting and writing about social issues, most recently as a projects reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She has won numerous national journalism and book awards tackling some of this country’s most intractable issues: hunger, drug addiction and immigration.

In 2003, her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S., entitled “Enrique’s Journey,” won more than a dozen awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, the George Polk Award for International Reporting, the Grand Prize of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists Guillermo Martinez-Marquez Award for Overall Excellence.

Expanded into a book, Enrique’s Journey became a national bestseller, won three book awards, and became required reading for incoming freshman at 71 colleges and scores of high schools across the U.S.

In 1998, Nazario was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series on children of drug addicted parents. And in 1994, she won a George Polk Award for Local Reporting for a series about hunger among schoolchildren in California.

Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and in Argentina, has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a “trendsetter” by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012 Columbia Journalism Review named Nazario among “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years.” She is now at work on her second book.

Maya Ajmera

President and CEO, Society for Science & the Public, and Publisher, Science News

Maya Ajmera is the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (the Society) and Publisher of its award-winning magazine, Science News. Founded in 1921, the Society works to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. It is best known for its world-class science competitions, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and Broadcom MASTERS.

As an alumna of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, now sponsored by Regeneron, Maya has helped to transform the nearly 100-year-old Society into a dynamic, entrepreneurial organization. During her second year as President and CEO, Maya spearheaded a $100 million, 10-year sponsorship for the Science Talent Search with Regeneron. In addition, Maya has brought Science News Media Group from a decade long deficit into a bullish enterprise by developing a new education pillar and diversifying SN Media Group’s income stream. She has also founded a new series of outreach and equity programs to reach more underserved STEM students in the United States with an $11 million investment.

In 2013-2014, Maya served as the inaugural Social Entrepreneur in Residence for Duke University and Visiting Professor for the Practice of Public Policy at The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. From 2011-2014, Maya was a Visiting Scholar and Professorial Lecturer at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at The Johns Hopkins University. She continues to serve as an adjunct on the faculty of the International Development Program and teaches the course, “Social Innovations in International Development for Children and Youth.”

In 1993, Maya founded The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a nonprofit organization that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Under Maya’s 18 years of leadership, GFC grew from a vision into one of the largest networks of grassroots organizations working on behalf of vulnerable children. To date, GFC has awarded nearly $40 million to more than 700 grassroots organizations in 80 countries, touching the lives of nearly 10 million children.

Maya is also an award-winning children’s book author of more than 20 titles, including Every Breath We Take,  Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, and To Be a Kid, with more than 5 million readers worldwide.

Maya is a recipient of numerous leadership awards, including the 2011 Henry Crown Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, the Echoing Green Fellowship, the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, and the Rotary International Graduate Fellowship. She is sought out nationally and internationally to address audiences on STEM education, local and global philanthropy, global children’s rights, international development, and social entrepreneurship. Her work and life story have been profiled by such media outlets as CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Financial Times, NPR, and many others.

In addition to her board position for Kids in Need of Defense, Maya is co-chair of the board of Echoing Green and a recent trustee of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. In 2008, she served as a member of the Innovation and Civil Society subgroup of the Obama presidential transition’s Technology, Innovation and Government Reform Policy Working Group.

Maya holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and a M.P.P. from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter.

Rafael Borrás

Partner, A.T. Kearney

The Honorable Rafael Borrás is broadly recognized as a leader who has created value for the American public as well as corporate shareholders, and has executed and implemented his strategic management vision at the intersection of the public and private sectors.  He is currently a Partner with the global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, specializing in homeland security, cybersecurity, and enterprise risk management.

Mr. Borrás was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the Under Secretary for Management at the Department of Homeland Security. He was also appointed by the President to serve as Acting Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of DHS in September, 2013.  Mr. Borrás oversaw DHS’s $60 billion budget and appropriations, and also administered control over the Department’s $19 billion in procurement as the DHS Chief Acquisition Officer.

Prior to his appointment with DHS, Mr. Borrás served as a Vice President and corporate officer with URS Corporation, a global engineering services firm from 2000 – 2010, responsible for multiple P&L groups and major public and private infrastructure projects throughout the U.S.

Prior to joining URS, Mr. Borrás served in senior executive positions with multiple federal agencies and local governments.  He is also a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration. He received the lifetime distinguished service award from the Homeland Security and Defense Business Council for his transformation success at DHS.

Rachel Brass

Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Rachel S. Brass is a partner in the San Francisco office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  She is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department where her practice focuses on investigations and litigation in the antitrust, labor, and employment areas.  Ms. Brass has extensive experience representing international and domestic clients in high-stakes appellate litigation in the Supreme Court, as well as Federal and state appellate courts throughout the United States.

Her extensive antitrust and competition experience includes international cartel matters, mergers and acquisitions, grand jury investigations, and other antitrust investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, United States Department of Justice, European Commission, Canadian Competition Bureau, Korean Fair Trade Commission, Japan Fair Trade Commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as well as litigation in trial and appellate courts.  Ms. Brass has represented clients in a number of industries, including semiconductors, disk drives, communications, display panels, and other high technology, auto parts, package delivery, transportation, agriculture, and retail, among others.  She has special expertise in international matters and teaches the upper-level course in International Antitrust Law at Berkeley Law School.

In addition to her international competition practice, Ms. Brass has successfully represented companies in single plaintiff and class action Title VII, ADA, FEHA and Unruh Act discrimination claims, as well as wage and hour class actions.  Representative matters include persuading the United States Supreme Court to reverse the certification of the largest class action brought under Title VII; litigating the scope of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protections; persuading the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to vacate the certification of the largest class action brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act on interlocutory review; obtaining clarification of the standards for the business necessity defense and vacatur of a district court’s adverse post-trial rulings under the Americans with Disabilities Act from the en banc Ninth Circuit; and obtaining and sustaining a favorable district court ruling rejecting plaintiffs’ counsel’s claim for attorney’s fees in a California Fair Employment & Housing Act case.

Ms. Brass has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® in Litigation-Antitrust since 2013, identified in the Antitrust category by Super Lawyers, and ranked in the California Antitrust category by Chambers USA.  Concurrences Review recently recognized Ms. Brass at its 2017 Antitrust Writing Awards for her article “Practical Advice for Avoiding Hub-and-Spoke Liability,” which was selected as the winner in the Business category, Concerted Practices section.  The article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of The Antitrust Source. 

She speaks regularly on antitrust and complex class action issues, including programs for Bridgeport, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of California, American Conference Institute, ALI-ABA, CLE International, and the Bar Association of San Francisco.  She is the immediate past co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Antitrust Section.  She is a member of the Boards of the Northern California Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and the Western Center on Law & Poverty.  She was Editor-in-Chief of the Antitrust Report from 2008 to 2016.

Ms. Brass received her law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 2001.  She was Editor-in-Chief of the Minnesota Journal of Global Trade, a member of the Order of the Coif, and recipient of the Ralph M. McCareins Antitrust Prize.  Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Brass served as a law clerk for the Honorable James M. Rosenbaum, United States District Court, District of Minnesota.  Ms. Brass graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Ms. Brass is admitted to practice in the State of California.  She is a member of the firm’s Hiring, Professional Development and Bay Area Diversity Committees.

Aurora Cassirer

Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP

An experienced trial attorney, Cassirer’s varied litigation practice has included many business, banking, insurance, real estate, employment and professional liability matters. She has had substantial experience in securities fraud class actions, breach of contract, qui tam, fraud, and valuation actions. She has counseled companies experiencing financial difficulties and has represented various financial institutions, including foreign and domestic banks, seeking to restructure debt. In the area of professional liability, she has defended professional liability claims against actuaries, attorneys and consultants. Cassirer served as Receiver for Starr & Co., LLC. and Starr Investment Advisors, LLC in the SEC v. Kenneth Ira Starr matter, and has served as the Chapter 11 Trustee in a complex bankruptcy case, The Estate of David Schick (1996—2004) which generated various litigations and reported decisions. She has also represented a number of creditors in a number of bankruptcy cases.

Claudia Romo Edelman

Founder, We Are All Human, Co-host, Global GoalsCast, and Editor in Chief, Thrive Hispanics

Claudia Romo Edelman is a recognized speaker, panelist and media contributor. With an extraordinary background in the most recognized global organizations such as the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, she has collaborated for more than 25 years in the communication, marketing & advocacy for humanitarian causes and the Sustainable Development Goals. It was through this experience that she recognized a lack of humanity and the need to raise her voice for inclusion, equity and representation for all humans.

Claudia is the founder of We Are All Human, co-host of the Global GoalsCast, a podcast about stories that are changing the world, and Editor in Chief of Thrive Hispanics. Prior to this, the Mexican-Swiss diplomat was seconded to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to lead communications and advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Claudia holds degrees in Communications, Philosophy and Photography as well as a Masters of Political Communications from the London School of Economics. Claudia is married and has two children. She enjoys sports and speaks six languages.

Carole Geithner

Author, If Only, and Clinical Social Worker

Carole Geithner has over 20 years of experience as a clinical social worker in schools, hospitals, counseling agencies, and private practice with children, teens, and adults, many of whom had childhoods shaped by significant loss. She was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University School of Medicine, where for many years she taught a class in listening skills to medical students.  She is the author of the novel, If Only, published by Scholastic Press.

Kurt W. Hansson

Partner, Litigation Department, Paul Hastings LLP

Kurt Hansson is the global vice-chairman of the Paul Hastings Litigation department and leader of the GE relationship team. He is based in the firm’s New York office. Mr. Hansson has extensive first chair experience having handled multiple trials for GE and other clients, several of which lasted for over six months. His practice is concentrated in complex litigation matters and he has handled a wide variety of matters including breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims, securities, mass torts, class actions, trade secrets and tax matters.

Mr. Hansson also has extensive knowledge and experience in various forms of alternative dispute resolution matters. He has successfully handled numerous domestic and international arbitrations, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for clients in those proceedings. He was also instrumental in establishing GE’s Early Case Assessment program and has helped develop similar programs for other significant clients such as J.P. Morgan Chase. The ECA program is specifically designed to help reduce litigation costs and liability for the client, by identifying litigation risks and potential business solutions early in the dispute process.

Mr. Hansson is known for his creative and practical approach to resolving complex legal disputes for some of the most important companies in the world. Representative clients, in addition to General Electric include ABC, Apple, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Plaza Realty, UBS and Wolters Kluwer.

Mr. Hansson is a member of the state and federal bars in the states of Connecticut and New York, as well as, the District of Columbia. He is also a member of the bars of the New York Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

Beth Henderson

Senior Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Microsoft

Beth Henderson is a Senior Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at Microsoft, where she leads the company’s Pro Bono program.  Prior to joining Microsoft in 2012, she practiced US immigration law in Philadelphia and proudly accepted her first pro bono case through KIND in 2009.  From 2006-2007, she served as an Attorney Advisor for the New York City Immigration Court through the U.S. Attorney General’s Honors Program.

In addition to leading Microsoft’s Pro Bono program, Beth is an active pro bono volunteer and has a passion for working with individuals in immigration proceedings who have complex cases.    She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Campaign for Equal Justice, which raises, manages, and distributes funds to provide civil justice to low-income individuals in the state of Washington.

Kathleen Newland

Senior Fellow and Co-Founder, Migration Policy Institute

Kathleen Newland is co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute and directs MPI’s programs on migrants, migration, and development and comprehensive protection for refugees and internally displaced people. Her work focuses on the relationship between migration and development, governance of international migration, and refugee protection. Previously, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, she was a Senior Associate and then Co-director of the International Migration Policy Program (1994-2001). She sits on the Board of the International Rescue Committee, and is a Chair Emerita of the Women’s Refugee Commission. She is also on the Board of the Foundation for the Hague Process on Migrants and Refugees.

Prior to joining the Migration Program at the Carnegie Endowment in 1994, Newland worked as an independent consultant for such clients as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Bank, and the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. From 1988-1992, Newland was on the faculty of the London School of Economics. During that time, she also co-founded (with Lord David Owen) and directed Humanitas, an educational trust dedicated to increasing awareness of international humanitarian issues. From 1982 to 1988, she worked at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan. She began her career at the Worldwatch Institute in 1974.

Newland is the author or editor of six books, including the first State of the World’s Refugees for UNHCR in 1993, and No Refuge: The Challenge of Internal Displacement for the United Nations in 2003. She has also written eleven shorter monographs as well as numerous articles and book chapters.

Newland is a graduate of Harvard University and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She did additional graduate work at the London School of Economics.

Ronald A. Schechter

Senior Counsel, Arnold & Porter LLP

Ronald Schechter is a Senior Counsel at Arnold & Porter, a DC-based international law firm. He has served on the firm’s Policy, Compensation, Ethics, and Pro Bono Committees.  Ron has a career-long commitment to pro bono work.  He has represented numerous individuals in political asylum, VAWA, and other immigration cases and has litigated several cases challenging government policies regarding immigrants rights.  Ron also serves on the Board of Directors of The Welders, a DC-based playwrights collective.

Mark Srulowitz

Managing Partner, Brookfield Asset Management

Mark Srulowitz is a Managing Partner at Brookfield and Head of Legal in Brookfield’s Private Funds Group, where he is responsible for private fund formation and structuring for all private investment funds sponsored by Brookfield. Mr. Srulowitz’s role also includes both product development and regulatory matters.

Prior to joining Brookfield in 2011, Mr. Srulowitz worked as an attorney in the Investment Management Group of Debevoise & Plimpton, where he advised private fund sponsors in connection with the formation, structuring and negotiation of their investment funds, as well as economic, governance and related issues.

Mr. Srulowitz serves as a committee member of the Private Investment Funds Committee of the New York City Bar Association, which addresses issues, trends and regulations relating to private investment funds. Mr. Srulowitz also serves on the Advisory Board of Kids in Need of Defense.

He holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Catalina Joos Vergara

Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP

Catalina Joos Vergara, a partner in the firm’s Financial Services practice group, specializes in crafting perceptive and responsive solutions to complex disputes. She believes that an effective litigator must first be a mindful listener—that clients are best served by individualized, cost-efficient strategies, not a one-size-fits-all playbook. Catalina is also a skilled trial lawyer and appellate advocate who recognizes that a successful representation calls for a comprehensive trial and appellate strategy, even at the earliest stages of a case. Her guidance has helped financial services, insurance, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods companies navigate high-stakes nationwide litigation.

ERISA matters are a significant part of Catalina’s portfolio.  She represents retirement plan sponsors and service providers in class actions brought by plan participants alleging the plan’s fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties or committed “prohibited transactions” in selecting and monitoring plan investment options, or in causing the plan to pay excessive fees.  At present, Catalina is representing a number of major financial, energy, and entertainment companies in ERISA fiduciary breach cases pertaining to the companies’ 401(k) plans.  Outside of the ERISA context, Catalina represents financial institutions in a range of complex civil matters, including claims brought by borrowers against mortgage servicers and claims brought by account holders challenging bank overdraft fees.

A native Spanish speaker and a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Catalina also brings a global perspective to her practice. She has counseled clients facing litigation and government investigations abroad, including in Latin America. She has also devoted significant time to representing Spanish-speaking immigrants pro bono, both before the Ninth Circuit and in the immigration courts.

Catalina was O’Melveny’s 2012 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow, and she speaks regularly on diversity in the legal profession. Within O’Melveny, she serves on the Women’s Advisory Board and the Diversity Council, and co-founded both the Women Attorneys’ Network and the Community Involvement Committee in her office. For her contributions, Catalina was awarded a Warren Christopher Values Award, an honor bestowed on those who exemplify the Firm’s legacy of excellence, leadership, and citizenship.

Elpidio Villarreal

Senior Vice President of Litigation, Allergan

Elpidio (“PD”) Villarreal is Senior Vice President of Litigation of Allergan. Prior to joining Allergan, PD was Senior Vice President, Head of Global Litigation at GlaxoSmithKline, where he had responsibility for all of the Company’s non-patent litigation. He was also Vice President of Litigation at Schering Plough from 2005 to 2009.  From 1995 to 2005, PD was Senior Litigation Counsel for the General Electric Company.  Before GE, PD was a partner at what is now the Dentons firm in Chicago.  He is a 1982 graduate of Columbia University (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a 1985 graduate of the Yale Law School.  He clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago for the Late Honorable Luther M. Swygert.  PD has been a quest lecturer at the Harvard Business School, Stanford Law School and Notre Dame Business School, and he is a frequent speaker on ADR, Litigation Management and Diversity topics.  He has won numerous awards for his work in ADR, Litigation Management and Diversity.  He is one of only two lawyers ever to be the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.  In 2012, he was named one of the 10 Most Innovative Lawyers in America by Law360.  He has served, in the past, on numerous non-profit boards including the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, the Latino Justice Fund and the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center. He is currently on the board of the National Book Foundation.  He is a Six Sigma Green Belt and a graduate of executive education courses at GE and Wharton. 

Gary M. Wingens

Chairman and Managing Partner, Lowenstein Sandler LLP


Gary Wingens has served as Chairman and Managing Partner of Lowenstein Sandler since 2008, leading its continued expansion as a national firm with over 300 lawyers working from offices in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC and California. Gary believes that what makes Lowenstein Sandler different from other leading law firms is the intensity of the firm’s commitment to its people, its clients and its communities. Under Gary’s leadership, and following his example, Lowenstein Sandler’s lawyers regularly invest their skills and passion to support their colleagues, advance their clients’ businesses and strengthen their communities. Gary successfully inspires this dedication among his firm’s lawyers because he lives each of these values.

As a highly experienced and widely respected structured finance lawyer, Gary built Lowenstein Sandler’s mortgage finance practice; he is recognized by his peers as a highly effective dealmaker and negotiator. Focused primarily on a client base of participants in the mortgage finance market (many of which are owned or controlled by hedge funds and private equity funds), Gary’s transactional practice spans the areas of structured finance, mortgage finance and commercial real estate, overseeing acquisitions, dispositions and financings of properties, mortgage loans, and servicing rights valued in the billions of dollars. Early on in his practice Gary made the commitment to immerse himself in the mortgage finance industry and understand every step of the mortgage operations and investor reporting process, in order to provide his clients with service and advice distinguished by pinpoint accuracy and complete relevance to their business needs. Today, he teaches Lowenstein Sandler’s lawyers to make the same personal commitment to understanding their clients’ industries and business processes, in order to ensure they can deliver better and more relevant solutions.

Gary is also passionate about the firm’s commitment to public interest and pro bono work. It was his vision that inspired the 2008 creation of the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest to strategically channel all of the firm’s public interest efforts. He is a member of the board of the Victoria Foundation, a leading foundation that funds programs to break the cycle of poverty, reform education, and revitalize families and neighborhoods. He chairs the strategic planning committee and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest. He has previously served as a member of the Board of Public Media NJ (an affiliate of WNET New York), and the Brandeis University Alumni Association, and has served as Board President of Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union, where he and his wife were honored for their volunteer activities. Gary ensures that Lowenstein Sandler makes the same kind of volunteer commitments in each community to which it expands, most recently in Palo Alto and Washington, DC.

Advisory Board Members

Aurora Cassirer

Chair of the Advisory Board

Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP

An experienced trial attorney, Cassirer’s varied litigation practice has included many business, banking, insurance, real estate, employment and professional liability matters. She has had substantial experience in securities fraud class actions, breach of contract, qui tam, fraud, and valuation actions. She has counseled companies experiencing financial difficulties and has represented various financial institutions, including foreign and domestic banks, seeking to restructure debt. In the area of professional liability, she has defended professional liability claims against actuaries, attorneys and consultants. Cassirer served as Receiver for Starr & Co., LLC. and Starr Investment Advisors, LLC in the SEC v. Kenneth Ira Starr matter, and has served as the Chapter 11 Trustee in a complex bankruptcy case, The Estate of David Schick (1996—2004) which generated various litigations and reported decisions. She has also represented a number of creditors in a number of bankruptcy cases.

Jane Ginns

Attorney

Jane Ginns is a Director with the Pollack Badawi Group, LLC, one of the country’s premier attorney search firms. She previously worked at the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc., where she assisted survivors in obtaining compensation for their suffering during the Holocaust. Jane began her career as a commercial litigation attorney with firms in New York and Chicago. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and The George Washington University Law School.

Fortunate to have arrived in the United States as a child refugee from the former Soviet Union, Jane is actively involved with  causes involving refugees, immigration and international affairs.  She serves on the Board of Directors of HIAS and on the International Advisory Council of the International Crisis Group.

Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin

Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Prior to joining CLS, Dean Greenberg-Kobrin worked at Arnold & Porter LLP, where her practice focused on international corporate and securities matters, mergers and acquisitions, sovereign debt issuances and financial institutions.

In her role as Dean of Students, Greenberg-Kobrin oversees the Office of Student Affairs, which is responsible for student life and events, academic counseling, judicial clerkships and judicial outreach and programming, student journals, student organizations and other student-related matters.

Gilbert C. Hoover, IV

Vice President, General Counsel, The Shubert Organization, Inc.

Gilbert Hoover oversees legal compliance at Shubert, the largest Broadway theatre operator which also provides ticketing services through Telecharge. Prior to joining Shubert, Hoover was a commercial litigator at Troutman Sanders. He is a graduate of Emory Law School, Harvard College and the High School of Music & Art.

Danielle Sugarman, Esq.

Vice President, Investment Stewardship, BlackRock

Bio coming soon.

Samuel Witten

Counsel, Arnold & Porter

Samuel Witten has an extensive background in international law, the development and implementation of corporate compliance programs, international dispute settlement, and international law enforcement cooperation. Before joining Arnold & Porter LLP, he served in the US Department of State for 22 years, including 19 years in the Office of the Legal Adviser where he was Deputy Legal Adviser from 2001-2007. He also held several senior foreign policy positions, including Acting Assistant Secretary of State, where he managed the State Department’s international refugee assistance programs and the resettlement of refugees into the United States.

Witten helps companies develop and implement compliance programs and corrective actions related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-corruption legislation. He has supervised compliance reviews under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR). He advises companies on issues of corporate social responsibility. He also represents domestic and international clients in litigation and arbitrations and in domestic enforcement and regulatory matters. His practice also includes economic sanctions and issues relating to international law enforcement cooperation and public international law.

Witten is on the Board of Governors of the Washington Foreign Law Society, a nonprofit group that advances the understanding of international law and foreign affairs, and served as its President from 2010-2013. He is the co-chairman of the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law and serves on the Board of Advocates of Human Right First.

Mary K Young

Consultant, The Zeughauser Group

Mary K  Young is one of the only legal industry strategists and marketing experts who bring a demonstrated track record of corporate strategy and branding success to her work developing and implementing strategic growth plans for law firms. Her experience spans the disciplines of strategic planning, market research, and branding. She is known for her insightful analysis, drive for tangible results and leading through collaboration. Since she joined Zeughauser Group in 2006, leading law firms have come to rely on her skills as a strategist who can craft powerful growth plans and branding programs that resonate with law firm clients.

Young established her reputation as a legal innovator during her tenure as chief marketing officer of Howrey LLP from 2000-2006. Partnering with firm leadership, she was instrumental in the firm’s strategic planning initiatives and the integration of a major merger partner. She developed and launched new positioning and advertising for the firm and led the development of its new corporate identity. Between 2001 and 2004, as Howrey extended its footprint to London, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Paris, Young developed and implemented the strategic growth plans for each of those offices.

Earlier in her career, Young spent several years as a management consultant in Washington, D.C. She received her M.B.A. in 1987 and spent ten years at Kraft Foods in Glenview, IL, where she developed and implemented profit and revenue growth strategies for some of the company’s most important products, including Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, Kraft Grated Parmesan, and Kraft Singles. As Category Business Director for Kraft Singles, Young led a team of 50 professionals and had strategy, revenue, and profit growth responsibility for the $870 million revenue business. She returned to Washington, D.C., in 1997 to serve as Senior Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States where she was responsible for developing industry-wide strategy and positioning for the $34 billion distilled spirits industry.

Young holds an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and an A.B. from Vassar College.

Atlanta Advisory Committee

Tala Amirfazli

Burr & Forman LLP

Tamara Serwer Caldas

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Melissa Carter

Emory University School of Law, Barton Child Law and Policy Center

John Fleming

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Noah Graubart

Fish & Richardson LLP

Terri Hendley

Troutman Sanders LLP

Piereluigi Mancini

Multicultural Development Institute

Cheryl Naja

Alston & Bird LLP

Gigi Pedraza

Latino Community Fund

Rita Sheffey

Emory University School of Law

Boston Advisory Committee

Elaine Herrmann Blais

Goodwin Procter LLP

Elizabeth B. Burnett

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

Dr. Sean M. Dean

Fish & Richardson P.C.

Janet Donovan

Lawyers Clearinghouse

Erin Higgins

Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford LLP

Matthew G. Lindenbaum

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Shirley Paley

Formlabs

Julie Petrini

Petrini & Associates, P.C.

Mary K. Ryan

Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP

Houston Advisory Committee

 

Stan Perry, Chair

Reed Smith LLP

Keri Brown

Baker Botts LLP

Catherine Greene Burnett

South Texas College of Law Houston

Lucrecia Davis

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

S. Joy Dowdle

Paul Hastings LLP

James Duncan III

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Charles Foster

Foster LLP

Irma Diaz Gonzalez

Employment and Training Centers, Inc.

Ellyn Josef

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Karen Lukin

Retired, Marathon Oil Corporation

Emma Mata

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Charles Munnell

Retired, Immigration Lawyer

Susan Sanchez

Retired, ExxonMobil Corporation

John Sullivan

Law Office of John F. Sullivan III, PLLC

Jennifer Tomsen

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Los Angeles Advisory Committee

Dr. Mara Cohen

Senior Fellow, StudyLA, Loyola Marymount University

Linda Dakin Grimm

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP

Dean Andrew Guzman

University of Southern California, Gould School of Law

David Lash

O’Melveny & Meyers LLP

Joseph Lee

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP

Amy Prokop Lenhert

Stone Grzegorek & Gonzalez LLP

Fabricio Lopez

The Walt Disney Company

Annaluisa Padilla

Law Offices of Annalusia Padilla

Stacy H. Wang

Holland & Knight LLP

Washington State Advisory Committee

Rima Alaily

Microsoft Corporation

Theodore Angelis

K&L Gates LLP

Miguel Bocanegra

MacDonald Hoague & Bayless LLP

Thomas Boeder

Perkins Coie LLP

Bart Eppenauer

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

Barcy Fisher

George & Patricia Ann Fisher Foundation

Wendy Kearns

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Robert McKenna

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Salvador Mungia

Gordon Thomas Honeywell, LLP

Kelly Twiss Noonan

Stokes Lawrence, P.S.

Courtney Seim

Summit Law Group PLLC

Martin Shively

Microsoft Corporation

David Zapolsky

Amazon.com, Inc.