Brittany M. Bacon is a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth. Brittany volunteers as a welfare advocacy attorney for the City Bar Justice Center’s Legal Clinic for the Homeless and was awarded the City Bar Justice Center’s 2016 Jeremy G. Epstein Award for Pro Bono Service. She also served as a Legal Fellow Staff Attorney for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, counseling low-income artists and arts organizations with corporate, intellectual property and litigation issues.
Dana Berkowitz is a partner at Stris & Maher. Through her leading role in firm hiring and operations, Dana has overseen the expansion of the firm from three lawyers to fourteen and opened its New York office. Her innovative “litigation fellow” program gives recent college graduates the opportunity to work closely with firm attorneys to gain substantive experience before law school. Dana’s pro bono experience includes multiple merits stage representations before the United States Supreme Court.
Anisha S. Dasgupta is a Deputy Solicitor General in the Office of the New York State Attorney General. As Deputy Solicitor General, Anisha co-leads an office of 16 appellate attorneys and works with Attorneys General across the country on multistate litigation. During the last year, Anisha has helped to lead multistate coalitions challenging a variety of federal government actions, including restrictions on entry to the United States from several Muslim-majority nations (the “Travel Ban”) and the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. While at the U.S. Department of Justice, she received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service – the Department’s highest award – for her work on the defense of the Affordable Care Act.
Kelly DiBlasi is a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. The daughter and sister of NYC firefighters, Kelly is deeply committed to our first responders and has served as pro bono General Counsel for the N.Y. Police and Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund since joining Weil in 2004. A leader at Weil and in the larger legal community, Kelly serves on the Professional Development Committee, Work-Life Task Force, the Summer Program Committee and Mothers@Weil Committee (she has two children under 10). She led the associate training program for the Business Finance & Restructuring Department. In addition, Kelly serves on the City Bar Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization and is an active member of International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation.
Lawrence Elbaum is a partner at Vinson & Elkins. Elbaum works with the Women’s Corporate Directors and The Boule (Sigma Pi Phi) to promote gender and ethnic diversity in public company boardrooms. He represents battered and indigent women in connection with divorce, alimony and child custody and support proceedings. As the grandson of four Holocaust survivors, Elbaum is a strong supporter of genocide awareness and prevention charities. Further, he and his wife volunteer at a local soup kitchen that provides gourmet, white tablecloth meals to homeless members of their community and raise funds for NYU KIDS, the NYU’s Sala Institute and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Northeast Region.
Muhammad Faridi is a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. He is currently the chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee and a member of the group’s Capital Punishment Committee. His pro bono work includes representation of Bayonne Muslims in the organization’s lawsuit against the City of Bayonne for its denial of a permit to construct a mosque, a death-row inmate in Missouri in post-conviction collateral review proceedings, and individuals seeking executive clemency from the New York State Governor. Muhammad has also written extensively on commercial litigation in New York.
Brian M. Feldman is a partner at Harter Secrest & Emery. Brian serves on the Board of Editors for Federal Bar Council Quarterly and as a panelist for the Second Circuit Pro Bono Panel. As Circuit-appointed pro bono counsel, he secured heavily-cited precedents in Troma Entertainment v. Centennial Pictures, 729 F.3d 215 (2d Cir. 2013), as well as Williams v. Priatno, 829 F.3d 118 (2d Cir. 2016).
Vishal Gupta is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson. Vishal is committed to diversity and fostering workforce equality. He serves on the firm’s diversity committee and is head of the summer associate program in New York. Vishal also frequently speaks and publishes on a variety of intellectual property issues and serves as faculty for the New York State Bar Association’s advanced trial advocacy program.
David Hammerman is a partner at Latham & Watkins. He maintains an active portfolio of pro bono matters, including representing Holocaust survivors in reparations programs. Also, as part of Latham’s involvement with KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), David plays a leading role on a Latham team representing a 15-year-old from El Salvador in immigration proceedings. Latham has been successful in having his mother appointed as his guardian and obtaining a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status order. David also has served in management roles as a member of the firm’s Recruiting and Mentoring Committee. He is a member of Latham’s Training and Career Enhancement Committee, an education program for younger lawyers, as well as the firm’s Parent Lawyers Group.
Nola B. Heller is a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel. She chairs Cahill’s Workplace Environment committee and is a member of the firm’s Legal Recruiting and Development Committees, working to mentor and train associates on litigation strategy and professional development. Nola is also a member of Federal Bar Council’s Federal Criminal Practice Committee and serves on the Board of The Yale Law Journal.
Brian Horan is a Senior Counsel at the New York City Law Department. As a senior counsel in the Affirmative Litigation division of the Corporation Counsel’s office, Brian Horan handles a wide range of public law cases. Brian has been a leader in shaping the office’s practice in areas including false claims litigation, judgment enforcement, and statutory claims against companies that violate laws designed to protect public health and safety and the City’s quality of life. Brian has also litigated issues critical to defining the City’s powers and duties such as the City’s capacity to sue, separation of powers at the local level, City v. State funding issues, and preemption. Brian has recently been focusing on multiple whistleblower cases alleging contractor fraud and tax fraud, weighing in on novel issues under the New York State and City false claims acts.
Tanisha James is a partner at Cooley LLP. advises some of the world’s biggest companies and investors on complex domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, strategic investments, joint ventures and government and private antitrust investigations. Tanisha has worked on the antitrust aspects of several recent and significant deals, including Meredith Corporation’s acquisition of Time, Plated’s sale to Albertsons, Shipt’s sale to Target, Horizon Pharma’s agreement to acquire River Vision and Cell Design Labs’ sale to Gilead Sciences.
Linton Mann is a partner at Simpson Thacher. He is co-chair of the firm’s Knowledge Management Committee and Summer Associate Program. Outside the firm, Linton is chair of the Board of Trustees for Uncommon Charter Schools in New York City, which oversees 24 public charter schools in Brooklyn. He is also on the Board of Directors for Manhattan Legal Services, a provider of pro bono civil legal services. On average, Linton devotes more than 250 hours to pro bono matters every year, often representing low-income tenants in NYC Housing Court and New York’s trial and appellate courts. Linton also takes on pro bono commitments to advance pressing civil rights causes, including representing the ACLU in challenging Federal Government rules that would allow employers and universities to deny women insurance coverage for contraception on religious or moral grounds. As one of the firm’s former interns in the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Program and fellow in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Linton is passionate about the importance of mentorship and the need to create opportunities for attorneys from a variety of backgrounds.
Lauren Moskowitz is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Lauren is president-elect of the New York American Inn of Court. Her pro bono work includes successfully representing Ms. Montoya Alvarez before the U.S. Supreme Court in an international custody dispute that made new law regarding application of equitable tolling to treaties in general and in particular to the “now settled” defense to a child’s return to her home country under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Ken Suzuki Myers is a partner at Fenwick & West. He concentrates his practice on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and general corporate matters. Ken has led numerous high-profile M&A deals for some of the world’s most well-known and influential tech companies. This includes numerous transactions for Cisco Systems, Facebook and Amazon, as well as some of the largest-ever deals in the burgeoning mobile gaming industry. Ken also represents companies and boards in structuring, negotiating and executing investments, joint ventures, stock/asset acquisitions and divestitures, and responding to stockholder activism situations.
Leigh Nathanson is a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner. Her practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including antitrust, securities and commodities litigation, class actions, and multidistrict litigation. She is well known for her key role representing Barclays in litigation involving LIBOR. The highly-complex LIBOR matters are among the largest groups of consolidated cases in legal history. Leigh is also a crucial member of the team representing the daily fantasy sports company DraftKings in a host of litigation. She maintains a very active pro bono practice. In ‘U.S. v. Robinson’ (SDNY), she tried a case on behalf of defendant Arnold Robinson, who was charged with conspiracy to distribute illicit drugs and faced up to 14 years in prison. Working on a two-person trial team, Leigh played a leading role in her client’s acquittal, obtaining a ruling that key evidence from the government was inadmissible. She is among several attorneys working with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), in efforts to represent the growing numbers of unaccompanied minors who immigrate to the United States and are placed in removal proceedings.
Luke Nikas is a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Luke is a leading commercial litigator with extensive experience representing clients in complex disputes. A prominent art publication called him one of the most “highly influential” art lawyers in the world after he led the defense in a forgery case dubbed by ArtNews as “The Art Trial of the Century.” Luke’s clients include Fortune 100 companies; large private companies and their executives; prominent art galleries, foundations, and collectors and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists. Among other recent victories, he prevailed at trial in a multi-million dollar dispute between two managing partners of a significant New York City law firm, recovered priceless works of art by Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, obtained the dismissal of a $400 million class action against a New York City real estate firm and won an appeal in the New York State Court of Appeals on behalf of workers who cleaned up downtown Manhattan after 9-11.
Jessica Ortiz serves on the New York City Bar Association’s White Collar Crime Committee as well as the Federal Bar Council’s Federal Criminal Practice Committee. She is a member of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association and serves on the Branding Subcommittee of the Development Committee. She is serving as the Chair of the Lideres Board for LatinoJustice, the country’s leading advocacy organization for the rights of Latinos. Jessica is also an active member of the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.
Mahesh (Hesh) Parlikad is a partner at Jones Day. Hesh serves as the chair for Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement in Jones Day’s New York Office. He served as president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York in 2017 and continues to serve on its Private Sector Steering Committee. Hesh’s pro bono work includes successfully representing a Burmese political activist, who was granted asylum in May 2009; assisting Nepal with drafting a post-conflict constitution; defending unaccompanied Central American minors who entered the United States from removal proceedings; and obtaining non-profit exempt status for ProScholars Athletics, an organization that runs a sports-based college preparatory program for underserved youth.
Jim Pastore is a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton. Jim is more than a leading cyber litigator, he also dedicates significant time to a variety of high-impact pro bono cases. Jim recently supervised a team of Debevoise lawyers working with the Bronx Defenders to successfully take on “Mugshot” websites that publish arrest records and then charge fees to remove the publications from the web. Thanks to the Debevoise team’s efforts in marshaling novel legal theories to put pressure effectively on the websites, the client’s information no longer appears on any of these extortionate websites.
Eileen M. Patt is a Partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. Work: Eileen has shown a strong commitment to the next generation of lawyers through her work on Kramer Levin’s Summer Associate Steering Committee and as an adjunct professor of law at Fordham University School of Law.
Kimberly C. Petillo-Décossard is a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel. She regularly speaks and writes on M&A topics. In the last twelve months, she has written about M&A transactions for Corporate Board Member, a leading magazine for public-company directors, and provided her insights as part of Merrill Corporation’s client education materials. She has also served on a panel sponsored by the ABA’s Women in M&A Task Force, moderated an discussion at BIO’s CEO Conference and co-chaired Thomson Reuters’ NY M&A Forum. Kimberly also co-chairs Cahill’s Business Development Committee, serves on the firm’s Women’s Initiatives Committee, mentors a first-year associate and is the Partner Advisor for the firm’s pro bono initiative with Lawyers Alliance for New York. There, she provides transactional-focused legal services to NYC non-profits, with her most recent work helping public schools in low-income neighborhoods receive greater access to arts education. Deeply committed to protecting and promoting equality and opportunity for women and families, Kimberly serves on the Leadership Advisory Committee of the National Women’s Law Center and the Advisory Committee of New York-Presbyterian’s Sloane Hospital for Women.
Sharon Robertson is an Antitrust Partner at Cohen Milstein. She co-chairs the firm’s Professional Development and Mentoring Committee and serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee. Ms. Robertson is an accomplished leader in complex antitrust multi-district litigation and a trial lawyer. She spearheads Cohen Milstein’s efforts in industry-defining pay-for-delay pharmaceutical antitrust lawsuits, and heads up the firm’s generic price-fixing cases, which come on the heels of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. She also served on the trial team in two of the largest antitrust cases tried to verdict, including ‘In re Urethanes Antitrust Litigation’, where the jury returned a $400 million verdict, which was trebled by the court to $1.06 billion, resulting in the largest price-fixing verdict in U.S. history.
Kevin Schwartz is a partner at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz. As chair of the Judiciary Committee of the NYC Bar Association, Schwartz leads a committee of 50 lawyers in reviewing judicial nominees as well as candidates for district attorney and nominees for U.S. Attorney for the Southern and Eastern districts of New York. Recently, he was appointed to the NYSBA’s Task Force on the Evaluation of Candidates for Election to Judicial Office. Schwartz has worked on a number of pro bono matters. As part of the team led by former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, Schwartz represented the New York Judiciary in historic constitutional litigation over the state’s failure to adjust judicial salaries. He represented the Partnership for New York City and the city bar as amici curiae before the Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, including in the landmark case in which the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. As a visiting lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, Schwartz teaches an advanced Corporate Litigation seminar.
Alison Stein is a partner at Jenner & Block. She has served on multiple boards including the Irving Fine Society and the Advisory Counsel of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. At Jenner & Block, she helped start a firm-wide support group for working mothers and is an active mentor to younger lawyers. Alison is also a dedicated pro bono advocate, representing clients through the Times Up Legal Defense Fund as well as artists through Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, among many other representations. Alison has worked on women’s issues internationally in multiple countries.
Arun Subramanian is a partner at Susman Godfrey. Arun was appointed by the Second Circuit to represent Audra Lynn Harris on her appeal to that jurisdiction that her Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights were violated during a body cavity search while she was incarcerated. Arun successfully argued on behalf of Harris which led to the circuit vacating the district court’s decision dismissing the case and remanded for further consideration.
Rebecca Kahan Waldman is a partner at Dechert. As part of Dechert’s efforts to challenge discriminatory voting laws in a number of states, she recently appeared alongside the ACLU in ‘Fish v. Kobach’, seeking a court order requiring Kansas to permanently register thousands of citizens who were denied the right to vote by a highly restrictive Kansas law promoted by Kris Kobach, the Sec- retary of State for Kansas. The U.S. District Court struck down the law, finding that it violated the National Voter Registration Act and the U.S. Constitution. Waldman has also secured immigration relief for the families of a number of victims of domestic abuse as part of an active pro bono practice.
Jennifer H. Wu is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Jennifer directs Paul, Weiss’s first pro bono project expressly for Asian Americans, helping parents of special-needs children obtain services from the New York City Department of Education. Jennifer has also worked with the Innocence Project for over a decade, including on eyewitness misidentification, death penalty, and Shaken Baby Syndrome issues. She is a board member of the Federal Circuit Bar Association; the co-chair of the Women’s Committee of the Asian American Bar Association of New York; a board member of Friends of UNFPA, which supports the work of the United Nations reproductive health and rights agency; and an Advisory Board member of the NYU Law Alumni of Color Association.
Christopher Y.L. Yeung is a partner at Covington & Burling, one of the firm’s hiring partners in New York. He maintains an active pro bono practice, representing clients in cases alleging constitutional violations. He also has served as a member of the Summer Event Committee for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education.
The New York Law Journal’s Rising Stars Awards recognize 29 of the region’s most promising lawyers under 40.
The honorees below are acknowledged for their influence in their practice areas in New York and beyond, developing unique practice niches, employing creative uses of technology, amassing robust books of business, demonstrating strong leadership qualities, showing expertise in litigation or transactional work, contributing to the improvement of their institutions, and committing themselves to pro bono, charitable and professional volunteer work.