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

In this role Smith is responsible for the company’s corporate, external, and legal affairs.  He leads a team of over 1,300 business, legal and corporate affairs professionals working in 55 countries. These teams are responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing business, corporate philanthropy, government affairs, public policy, corporate governance, and social responsibility work. He is also Microsoft’s chief compliance officer.  Smith plays a key role in representing the company externally and in leading the company’s work on a number of critical issues including privacy, security, accessibility, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion, among others

Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, and before becoming general counsel in 2002 he spent three years leading the Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA) team in Europe, then five years serving as the deputy general counsel responsible for LCA’s teams outside the United States.

Smith has overseen numerous negotiations leading to competition law and intellectual property agreements with governments around the world and with companies across the IT sector. He has played a leading role within Microsoft and in the IT sector on government surveillance, privacy, intellectual property, immigration and computer science education policy issues. As the senior executive responsible for ensuring Microsoft fulfills its corporate responsibilities, he has helped the company achieve its consistent ranking in the top 2 percent of the S&P 500 for corporate governance scores. He has played a leadership role locally and nationally on numerous charitable, business and legal initiatives. In 2013 he was named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States. In 2014, the New York Times called Smith “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large.”

In addition to his work at Microsoft, Smith is active in several civic and legal organizations and in the broader technology industry. In March 2015, Smith joined the Netflix board of directors. He also works to advance several significant diversity and pro bono initiatives, serving as chair of the board of directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and as chair of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). In addition, Smith chairs the board of the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program, at the appointment of the governor.

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), and graduated summa cum laude with a concentration in international relations and economics. He earned his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was an associate and then partner at the Washington, D.C.-based 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. He can be followed at http://twitter.com/@bradsmi.

Board of Directors

Brad Smith, Chair

President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft Corporation

Brad Smith  leads approximately 1,100 legal, business and corporate affairs professionals spanning 55 countries and is responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing business, and the company’s government affairs, public policy, corporate citizenship and philanthropic work. He also serves as Microsoft’s corporate secretary and its chief compliance officer.  Smith joined Microsoft in 1993, and before becoming general counsel in 2002 he spent three years leading the LCA team in Europe, then five years serving as the deputy general counsel responsible for LCA’s teams outside the United States.

Smith has overseen numerous negotiations leading to competition law and intellectual property agreements with governments around the world and with companies across the IT sector. He has played a leading role within Microsoft and in the IT sector on government surveillance, privacy, intellectual property, immigration and computer science education policy issues. As the senior executive responsible for ensuring Microsoft fulfills its corporate responsibilities, he has helped the company achieve its consistent ranking in the top 2 percent of the S&P 500 for corporate governance scores. He has played a leadership role locally and nationally on numerous charitable, business and legal initiatives. In 2013 he was named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the United States. In 2014, the New York Times called Smith “a de facto ambassador for the technology industry at large.”

Smith has worked to advance the legal profession through several significant diversity and pro bono initiatives, both within Microsoft and in the broader legal profession. He currently co-chairs the board of directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and is the chair of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD).

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), and graduated summa cum laude with a concentration in international relations and economics. He earned his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to joining Microsoft he was an associate and then partner at the Washington, D.C.-based 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. He can be followed at http://twitter.com/@bradsmi.

Pamela Passman, Treasurer

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

Pamela Passman is President and CEO of the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade (CREATe.org), a global nongovernmental organization dedicated to helping companies and supply chain members implement leading practices for preventing corruption and protecting intellectual property including addressing trade secret theft, counterfeits and piracy.

Prior to founding CREATe in October 2011, Passman was the Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Global Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Microsoft Corporation. Since 2002, Passman led Microsoft’s regulatory compliance and public policy work across a range of issues. Passman also led Microsoft’s philanthropic activities and had leadership responsibilities for Microsoft’s cross-company global corporate citizenship efforts.  Passman was involved in founding Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) in 2008 to expand the Microsoft legal department’s pro bono efforts to a national scale. She was also responsible for launching Microsoft’s global philanthropic program, Unlimited Potential, focused on increasing access to technology skills training.

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 served on the Board of Directors for Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Board from 2006 – 2014, and the Executive Committee of the Board of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and as its Chair during 2010-2011. Passman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving on its Nominating and Governance Committee and having served on its Independent Task Force on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy (2010-2011).

Lydia Tamez, Secretary

Attorney and Counsel at Law

Prior to her current position, Tamez was a partner at FosterQuan in Houston. Previously, until 2011, she directed all of Microsoft’s global immigration programs. Certified in 1993 as a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Tamez guided senior management in formulating U.S. and global immigration policies and practices for the company. She also operationalized Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (VAIJ), a volunteer effort now in its fifth year which represents asylum seekers and other immigrants including unaccompanied children held in immigration detention facilities in the Seattle area. As part of her responsibilities, Tamez oversees Microsoft’s pro bono participation in VAIJ.

Tamez is a member of the American Council for International Personnel, Compete America, the National Immigration Forum, and the Western Immigration Networking Group, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Law Foundation. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Washington State Bar, and the State Bar of Texas.

Before joining Microsoft in 1995, Tamez served as an Associate Attorney for nine years at Tindall & Foster, a prominent Houston firm, practicing a full range of family- and employment-based immigration law services for corporate and individual clients. She graduated from Yale University in 1981, where she was a recipient of the Patterson grant to study immigration reform. In 1985, Tamez graduated from Yale Law School, where she represented detained immigrants in the Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization and authored her thesis on the constitutional right to interpretation for immigrants in removal proceedings.

Maya Ajmera

President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (SSP)

Maya Ajmera is the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and Publisher of its award-winning magazine Science News and its family of media properties. Founded in 1921, SSP 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 Intel Science Talent Search, Intel Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS. Maya is an alumna of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search now known as the Intel Science Talent Search.

In 2013-2014, Ajmera 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, Ajmera was a Visiting Scholar and Professorial Lecturer at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at The Johns Hopkins University. While at SAIS she wrote a foreign policy book on the global plight of children and youth entitled Invisible, which she is now preparing for publication. Ajmera 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, Ajmera founded The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a non-profit organization that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Under Ajmera’s 18 years of leadership, GFC grew from a seedling vision into one of the largest networks of grassroots organizations working on behalf of vulnerable children. To date, GFC has awarded more than $35 million to over 600 grassroots organizations in 80 countries, touching the lives of nearly 10 million children.

Ajmera is also an award-winning children’s book author of nearly 20 titles, including Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, Faith, and To Be a Kid, with over 3 million readers worldwide.

Ajmera holds an AB from Bryn Mawr College and a MPP from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband David H. Hollander Jr., a partner at Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, and their daughter.

Rima Alaily

Assistant General Counsel, Competition Law Group, Microsoft Corporation

Rima Alaily is an Assistant General Counsel in the Marketing Group, Microsoft Corporation Law & Corporate Affairs (LCA) Department.  Ms. Alaily received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Eastaugh, Alaska Supreme Court. From 1999 until she joined Microsoft in 2008, she was an associate and a partner in the Seattle office of Heller Ehrman, LLP. Her practice there focused on complex commercial and competition law litigation, before state and federal courts.

Ms. Alaily’s strong commitment to pro bono activities began in law school. At Harvard, she spent two years as a member and director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, the oldest student-run legal aid organization in the United States. In private practice, she represented pro bono clients individually and in impact litigation, with a particular focus on women’s reproductive rights (Stormans et al. v. Selecky, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) and domestic violence victims (U.S. v. Hernandez, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals). She championed pro bono at Heller Ehrman and at Microsoft, by leading their respective pro bono efforts. Ms. Alaily is a past president of the Legal Foundation of Washington, which provides the majority of unrestricted funding to legal services organizations in the state. She is currently serving as President of LAWFund, which solicits unrestricted funding for legal services organizations in the state. Ms. Alaily also is a member of the Board of Directors for the Northwest Justice Project, the largest legal services provider in Washington. And she is an active pro bono volunteer with KIND, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Veterans Legal Services Program.

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

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.

Robert Cundall

Executive Vice President & 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. 

Carole Geithner

Author 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

Global Vice-Chairman, 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.

Sonia Nazario

Author, Enrique’s Journey

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.

Kathleen Newland

Director, Migrants, Migration, & Development & Refugee Protection Programs, 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

Partner, Arnold & Porter

Ronald Schechter is a partner in Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s government contracts and national security practice group. He has served as lead attorney in litigation involving government contracts, national security, and intellectual property matters before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and its predecessor, the U.S. Claims Court; federal district courts; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Third, and Federal Circuits; the General Accounting Office; agency boards of contract appeals; and various alternative dispute resolution forums.

Schechter has served on Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s Policy, Compensation, Ethics, and Pro Bono Committees.  He has a career-long commitment to pro bono work and has represented numerous individuals in political asylum, VAWA, and other immigration cases.  Schechter also serves on the Board of Directors of Forum Theatre, in Silver Spring, MD.

Mark Srulowitz, Esq.

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 Vergara

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, Global Litigation, GlaxoSmithKline.

Elpidio (“PD”) Villarreal is Senior Vice President – Global Litigation of GlaxoSmithKline.  He has responsibility for all of the Company’s non-patent litigation.  Prior to joining GSK, PD was Vice President for 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

Bio coming soon!

Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin

Dean of Students, Columbia University 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.


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

Blair Davis Law Group, PLLC

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

K&L Gates LLP

Jennifer Tomsen

Greenberg Traurig LLP

 

Washington State Advisory Committee

Rima Alaily

Microsoft Corporation

Theodore Angelis

K&L Gates LLP

Miguel Bocanegra

McDonald Hoague & Bayless

Thomas Boeder

Perkins Coie LLP

Bart Eppenauer

Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

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.

Atlanta Advisory Committee

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