Trenton Ward, Finnegan, Atlanta. John Disney/ ALM

After serving as a top patent judge with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Trenton Ward has returned to Atlanta, joining intellectual property firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner as a partner.

Ward headed for Washington in 2012, where he spent five years as a lead administrative patent judge for the USPTO’s newly formed Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Before that, he was a partner at Troutman Sanders, where he’d worked since 2003.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board formed in September 2012 as part of the America Invents Act to streamline the patent review process. The appeals division, with more than 100 administrative patent judges, handles appeals of patents that have been rejected by USPTO patent examiners. The trial division handles contested cases. Ward adjudicated more than 250 trial proceedings during his tenure.

At Finnegan, Ward is focusing—no surprise—on patent litigation. “His experience and insight into how to succeed at the PTAB will be an invaluable asset to the firm,” said Jason Stach, who heads Finnegan’s PTAB trial practice, in a statement.


Taylor English Duma has added five attorneys since July, giving the firm about 150 lawyers. Masae Okura and Mark Hanrahan joined as partners—Okura joined from FisherBroyles and Hanrahan joined from Autry, Hanrahan, Hall & Cook. Okura represents multinationals investing in the United States, advising on immigration, employment, contract and corporate matters, with an emphasis on Japanese companies. She speaks Japanese and Chinese.

Hanrahan is a construction lawyer with 35 years of industry experience, first as a project manager and engineer for HCB Contractors and then as a lawyer. He handles both transactions and disputes.

Three lawyers joined as counsel: patent attorney John Graves from FisherBroyles; corporate attorney Karen Neely Louis from Altisource, where she’d been compliance director; and Hubert Barnhardt in the intellectual property group from Cisco Systems, where he’s been senior corporate counsel.


Smith Gambrell & Russell partner Steve Rossum has become the CEO of a firm client, Silver Airways, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rossum was outside counsel for Silver Airways as part of the firm’s airline practice, as well as the CEO and managing director of its consultancy, SGR Aviation Consulting, since 2013. As Silver’s CEO he will take delivery of up to 50 ATR-600 Series aircraft, for which he worked on the purchase and lease financing at Smith Gambrell. He’s held executive and general counsel positions with other airlines since starting his legal career as an associate in Smith Gambrell’s air transport and corporate practice in 1987.


Corporate partner Tom Schramkowski has left Seyfarth Shaw and joined Miller & Martin as a member. He represents private and public companies in mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments and other transactions, with broad experience representing buyers and sellers in $1 million to $100 million transactions. Schramkowski had joined Seyfarth Shaw in 2016, after 16 years at Troutman Sanders.


Health care and business lawyer Kevin O’Mahony has left Miller & Martin, where he was a member, and started the Law Office of Kevin P. O’Mahony. He represents health care providers in transactions and litigation. O’Mahony has spent most of his career at his own firm, joining Miller & Martin in 2015 as its lead Atlanta health care lawyer after 19 years at Allen McCain & O’Mahony and O’Mahony & Vancil.


David Lin has joined Smith Moore Leatherwood‘s transportation industry group as an associate. Lin defends commercial vehicle companies and insurers in collision litigation. Lin was previously at McAngus Goudelock & Courie. McAngus, a Southeastern insurance defense firm based in Columbia, South Carolina, opened an Atlanta office last year.


Ronald Negin has become a neutral for Henning Mediation & Arbitration Services. As a partner in Busby & Negin, he has a defense litigation practice, handling all types of general liability cases including product liability and vehicle litigation for insurance companies and self-insureds.


Judge W. Homer Drake Jr. of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia is the 2017 recipient of The American Inns of Court‘s Bankruptcy Inn Alliance Distinguished Service Award. Drake has been a U.S. Bankruptcy judge since 1964. He founded the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute and was the first chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s bankruptcy law section in 1976.