Kean J. DeCarlo, Womble Bond Dickinson, Atlanta.

Womble Bond Dickinson has recruited longtime patent lawyer Kean DeCarlo as a partner from Taylor English Duma, where he led the mechanical and medical device team.

Now a trans-Atlantic firm with more than 1,000 lawyers in the U.S. and the U.K., Womble Bond Dickinson formed Nov. 1 from a combination between North Carolina-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and the U.K.’s Bond Dickinson.

“My clients will benefit from this move, especially now that the firm’s capabilities extend to the U.K. and Europe,” DeCarlo said in a statement. His practice includes international and domestic patent, trademark and copyright prosecution, as well as IP strategy, licensing and portfolio management for clients ranging from startups to international corporations.

Womble Bond Dickinson has more than 100 lawyers on its intellectual property, technology and data service team, according to its website.

Before joining Taylor English in 2015, DeCarlo spent 20 years at Ballard Spahr (formerly local IP boutique Needle & Rosenberg), where he similarly headed the mechanical and medical device practice groups. He is also an adjunct professor of intellectual property and IP licensing law at Georgia State University and Mercer University law schools.

Before becoming a patent lawyer DeCarlo spent almost 12 years as a pilot for Delta Air Lines, and he served in Operation Desert Storm as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot.


Chip Presten, a corporate and transactional lawyer, has left Womble Bond Dickinson to become a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in its corporate finance and securities group. Presten serves on Zoo Atlanta’s leadership council and on the board of Crime Stoppers Atlanta.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has landed Kelly Whitehart as a partner from Duane Morris. The addition of Whitehart, a litigator who focuses on intellectual property disputes for tech companies, gives the South Carolina-based firm 57 litigators in Atlanta.

Nelson Mullins’ Atlanta managing partner, Michael Hollingsworth, said in a statement that the firm will “continue investing in our core areas of litigation, corporate, finance, real estate, health care and intellectual property,” for the local office, which is one of the firm’s largest with almost 150 lawyers.

Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial has recruited LouAnn Kelleher for its insurance practice as partner of counsel from Starr Cos., a global insurance and investment company, where she was senior vice president for casualty claims. Kelleher has handled complex commercial litigation claims, including manuscript coverage disputes, as well as insurance coverage, products and premises liability claims. She also practices international arbitration and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London. She recently earned an LL.M. in global business law from Suffolk Law School.

The litigation firm added two first-year associates to its Atlanta headquarters: Ross Bundschuh, who earned his J.D. from the University of Kentucky, and Carter Weathington, who earned his J.D. from the University of Georgia.

Hahnah Williams has joined Peters & Monyak as an associate from Troutman Sanders. Williams, who is also a registered nurse, is handling medical malpractice defense and professional licensing matters for the litigation boutique.

Michaela Mericle has joined family law firm Hedgepeth, Heredia & Rieder as an associate from Stern & Edlin Family Law. She chairs the family law committee for the State Bar of Georgia’s Young Lawyers Division. Mericle, who lives in Brookhaven with three rescue dogs, is an active volunteer for pet rescue groups including Angels Among Us, Re-Leash Atlanta and All About Animals.

Baker Donelson has hired two first-year litigation associates in Atlanta, Sarah Carrier and Tanisha Pinkins. Carrier is a 2017 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. Pinkins earned her law degree from Emory University the same year.

Miller & Martin has also added two first-year associates locally: Meghan Gordon and Tamra Harris. Gordon, who is focused on real estate and transactional law, earned a J.D. and an LL.M. in tax from Georgia State University. Harris, a business litigator, earned her law degree from Washington and Lee University, where she was a member of the Uvaldo Herrera National Moot Court championship team and earned a first place as an oralist.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein has hired Sharad Bijanki as a first-year associate for its Atlanta office, which it launched two years ago. Bijanki is in the intellectual property practice, focused on patent litigation and post-grant proceedings. He worked as a staff attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after earning a J.D. in 2013 from the University of Iowa.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has promoted four lawyers to partner in its Atlanta headquarters: Nicki Chollet on the trademark and copyright team, Alisha Gibson and Robert Shaw on the mergers & acquisitions and securities team, and David Reed on the patent litigation team.

Morris Manning & Martin has promoted four lawyers to partner, all in its Atlanta headquarters. Justin Barry represents financial institutions in real estate lending deals. Marc Bulson handles commercial real estate transactions, representing developers, owners and investors. Matt Peurach also handles commercial real estate deals, focusing on agreements for private equity funds, partnerships and other joint venture-related entities. Mark Zisholtz, an employment lawyer, heads the firm’s contingent labor team, which addresses the gig economy.

The Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, which helps nonprofits with corporate legal matters, has added two new board members, Mindy Doster and Will Ledbetter. Doster is deputy general counsel of payment services for U.S. Bank and general counsel for its Atlanta payments subsidiary, Elavon. Under her leadership, Elavon’s entire legal department volunteered with Pro Bono Partnership last year. Ledbetter is senior counsel at Southern Company Services. He’s done pro bono work for Warrior 2 Citizen and two of the nonprofit’s clients, Georgia Micro Enterprise Networks and Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs.

Daraka Satcher of Taylor English has been named to the board of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, an Atlanta nonprofit that analyzes tax policies and proposed budgets for the state of Georgia, as well as local governments in the state.

Simon Bloom of Bloom Sugarman has been named to the board of the Atlanta Police Foundation, created in 2003 to support the Atlanta Police Department, the police chief and the mayor.