The Legal Intelligencer is pleased to announce the 2022 Professional Excellence Award winners. We are delighted to highlight the great work and achievements across the full breadth of the Pennsylvania legal community.

The Legal Intelligencer Professional Excellence honorees will be recognized in special editorial sections. At this time, we are planning to honor the winners at an awards dinner set for June 29, 2022, at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.

You can view more information about the awards dinner here. For information on how to book tickets and sponsorships, please contact Andre Sutton at 757-721-9020 or email [email protected].

Attorney of the Year Finalists

Nadeem Bezar, Kline & SpecterWhen it comes to victims of sex abuse and human trafficking, it is difficult to think about measures of civil justice, but that is the work that Nadeem Bezar of Kline & Specter has been focused on for years, with an especially successful year in 2021. Securing tens of millions of dollars in a series of settlements and trials throughout the year, and pushing his advocacy into the halls of state government, Bezar in 2021 has worked tirelessly to hold responsible the agencies and institutions that have the power to help mitigate this terrible blight on society in the hopes of saving future victims.

Judges Lisette Shirdan-Harris and Daniel Anders, Philadelphia Common Pleas CourtWhat does it take to get the state’s biggest courthouse up and running again after nearly a year with trials having ground to a halt? A roster of dedicated judges to revamp procedures, develop new social distancing guidelines and to diligently guide litigators, courts staff and colleagues in doing the hard work of pushing through growing backlogs. That diligence and meticulous work ethic is exemplified in our nominees, Administrative Judge Lisette Shirdan-Harris and Supervising Judge Daniel Anders, who took leading roles in getting Philadelphia’s civil caseloads back up and running in 2021 to ensure that the wheels of justice would not stop turning despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael van der Veen, van der Veen, Hartshorn and LevinThe 2020 election was the most contentious political contest in most of our lifetimes, with ramifications still being felt today. Philadelphia’s Michael van der Veen of van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin played a key role in a profound moment in our nation’s history—defending former President Donald Trump, the first president to be impeached twice, on charges related to inciting a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol. The decision to take up the former president’s defense was controversial and proved divisive in the local legal community, but few could argue about the significance of the case or the skill needed to succeed in the glaring national spotlight.

Distinguished Leaders

  • Daniel Miller, Walden Macht & Haran
  • Cathleen Devlin, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr
  • George Pallas, Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman
  • Jeffrey Conn, Clark Hill
  • Mena Larmour, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young
  • Michael Frattone, Kleinbard
  • Stephen McConnell, Reed Smith
  • Rubén Muñoz, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
  • Samantha Williams, Philadelphia City Council
  • Su Ming Yeh, Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project
  • Theron Perez, Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel
  • Thomas Zahn, McGuireWoods
  • Wendy West Feinstein, Morgan Lewis & Bockius

Lifetime Achievement

  • Harold Goodman, Raynes & Lawn
  • Louis Kushner, Rothman Gordon
  • Jullia Sheridan, Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel
  • Michael Pillion, Morgan Lewis & Bockius
  • Paul Uyehara, Civil Rights Division at U.S. Department of Justice (retired)
  • Rudolph J. DiMassa Jr., Duane Morris
  • Stanley Ott, Mannion Prior
  • Mark Gottlieb, Offit Kurman

Litigation Departments

Litigation Department of the Year (General)

  • Meyer Unkovic & Scott (Winner)
  • Berger Montague (Finalist)

Litigation Departments of the Year (Specialty)

  • Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check (Winner)
  • Sauder Schelkopf (Finalist)

GC Impact

  • Alex Levit, Context Therapeutics
  • Morgan Barber, The Humane League

Law Firms Innovators

  • Andrew Baer, Cozen O’Connor
  • Community Legal Services
  • Fox Rothschild
  • Bryan Brantley, McGuireWoods
  • Terry Mutchler, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel
  • William Zee, Appel, Yost & Zee

Best Law Firm Mentors

  • Adam Petitt, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young
  • Christopher Tinari, Margolis Edelstein
  • Clancy Boylan, Morgan & Morgan
  • Gary Gremminger, German Gallagher & Murtagh
  • Jane Borthwick Story, Jones Day
  • Joseph Centeno, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
  • John Stoviak, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr
  • Karen Fortune, Philadelphia Law Department, Child Welfare Unit
  • Kay Kyungsun Yu, solo practitioner
  • Kenneth Siegel, Reed Smith
  • Stephen Serfass, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath

Power Players

  • John Lavelle, Morgan Lewis & Bockius
  • Robert Byer, Duane Morris
  • Luke Debevec, Reed Smith
  • Mark Tanner, Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig
  • Danielle Banks, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young
  • David Sumner, Independent Regulatory Review Commission

Unsung Heroes

  • David Antzis, Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld
  • Lynn Ellenberger, FeganScott
  • Jennifer Lin, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office
  • Kelly Locher, Jones Day
  • Timothy Gates, Pennsylvania Department of State
  • Jonathan Grode, Green and Spiegel
  • Laura Ellsworth, Jones Day

Most Effective Dealmakers

  • Brian Trudgen, Jones Day
  • Mary Beth H. Gray, Kleinbard
  • Rachael Bushey, Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders
  • Steve Park, Ballard Spahr
  • Philip Amoa, McCarter & English

Diversity Initiative

  • Kristine Calalang, Law Office of Kristine L. Calalang
  • Lloyd Freeman, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
  • Reginald Streater, Berger Montague
  • Stefan Dann, McGuireWoods
  • Zach Brecheisen, Jones Day

Law Firm of the Year Finalists

  • Jones Day
  • Reed Smith
  • Duane Morris

Lawyers on the Fast Track

  • Leen Al-Alami, Duane Morris
  • Zac Arbitman, Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig
  • Melissa Atkins, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel
  • Ana Calves, Kleinbard
  • Vadim Cherkasov, McCarter & English
  • Jon Cochran, LeVan Stapleton Segal Cochran
  • Caitlin G. Coslett, Berger Montague
  • Kate Unger Davis, Dechert
  • Lynne Evans, Duane Morris
  • Lindsay Fouse-Hopkins, Clark Hill
  • Anne Schmidt Frankel, Burns White
  • Alyssa E. Golfieri, Babst Calland Clements & Zominir
  • Stephen Kulp, Tucker Law Group
  • Christopher Lucca, Conrad O’Brien
  • Derrick L. Maultsby Jr., Frost Brown Todd
  • Matthew Monsour, Fox Rothschild
  • Joseph Motto, Reed Smith
  • Aparna Nemlekar, Fox Rothschild
  • Joshua R. Nightingale, Jones Day
  • Corey S.D. Norcross, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young
  • Jason Rabinovich, Rabinovich Sokolov Law Group
  • Julia Huxman Ronnebaum, VSCP Law
  • Lee Schmeer, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis
  • Navdeep Singh, Novalux Solutions
  • Dara Smith, Ballard Spahr
  • Vanessa Tabler, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath
  • H. Matthew Taylor, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani
  • Emilia McKee Vassallo, Ballard Spahr


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