IILP's Advisory Board is comprised of representatives of many of the types of organizations and entities with which it works: law firms, corporate law departments, government agencies, law schools, bar associations, and the judiciary. It meets bimonthly so as to keep its members apprised of IILP's plans and activities. Advisory Board members are actively involved in IILP's work, often taking the lead on various IILP efforts. The Advisory Board serves as a sounding board for IILP and a pool of prospective future board members.

Willie J. Miller | Ilah Adkins | Nicole Auerbach | Lawrence BacaGretchen C. Bellamy | Bonita K. Black | Michael L. Boykins
Gabrielle Lyse Brown | Ann H. Chen | Simon Des-Etages | Michele Landis Dauber | Alan P. Dorantes | David L. Douglass | Barack Echols | Peter M. Ellis | Martin P. Greene | Joan Haratani | Carrie J. Hightman Sylvia P. James | Jeffrey JamisonTara Goff Kamradt | Sandra E. Langs | Andrew Lipton | Deborah Lloyd | Barrington Lopez | Luisa Menezes | Sarah "Sally" L. OlsonLeslie Richards-Yellen | Gary Ropski

Marci Rubin | E. Macey Russell Mona Mehta Stone | Mark Tratos | Alexander S. Vesselinovitch | Charys S. Williams | James H. Wooten, Jr |


  Willie J. Miller (Chair) 




Ilah Adkins

Vice President of International Operations and Business Strategy

United Consumer Financial Services


Ilah Adkins is the Vice President of International Operations and Business Strategy for United Consumer Financial Services. Ms. Adkins was a Senior Vice President and Director of Legal Services for Citizens Financial Group. Adkins served as a law lecturer at Cleveland Marshall College of Law from 2007-2010. She also served as HR Director and Legal Consultant for ServiceTime, LLC. Adkins serves as a member of the Board of the Trustees of the Cleveland Rape Society, a member of the 2013 Leadership Cleveland Class, a member of the Cleveland Marshall Visiting Committee, a member of the Growth Opportunity Partners, Inc., Board of Directors  and a member of the Institute for Inclusion, Advisory Board. She has two adult children and dabbles in photography with her spare time.




































Nicole Auerbach

Founding Member

Valorem Law Group


Nicole Nehama Auerbach is a founding partner of Valorem Law Group, a litigation firm formed by BigLaw refugees in 2008 to provide alternative fee arrangements to clients. Prior to Valorem, she practiced for 15 years at an AmLaw 100 firm in Chicago. Nicole has been named “One of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois” by Illinois Super Lawyers and one of “Forty Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch” in 2005.

In addition to litigating cases in federal and state court across the country, Nicole is also a co-founder of ValoremNext, a business designed to help companies prevent problems before they arise. Nicole founded the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law, comprised of +70 firms and 40 corporations in Chicago, to facilitate the advancement of women in law. The Coalition recently expanded to New York.

Nicole is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, a Fellow of the trial lawyer honorary society, Litigation Counsel of America, sits on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession and is a member of WOMP – Women Office Managing Partners, a group currently based in Chicago. Nicole speaks extensively about alternative fee arrangements, the value of prevention and the perils of the billable hour. A self-described “apple-cart upsetter,” Nicole thrives on bringing about productive change.

Lawrence R. Baca

Lawrence Baca, a Pawnee Indian, is President of the Federal Bar Association. Formerly a Deputy Director of the Office of Tribal Justice, United States Department of Justice, during his 32 years with the Department he also served as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division. On the occasion of his retirement, February 1, 2009, he was presented the Attorney General's Medallion, the highest award the Attorney General can present to a retiring employee. The award has only been presented seven times in the past decade. Baca was the leading proponent on behalf of the civil rights of American Indians in the Civil Rights Division for 32 years. His civil rights work on behalf of American Indians in the areas of Credit, Voting Rights and Education was groundbreaking. The Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights has said that Mr. Baca filed more civil rights cases on behalf of American Indian victims than any other attorney in the history of the Civil Rights Division.

A 1976 graduate of Harvard Law School, Baca was one of the first American Indians to graduate from Harvard. He was the first American Indian ever hired through the Department of Justice's Honor Law Program. In 1973, Baca received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in "American Indian History and Culture" from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also taught two courses on Indian issues during his senior year. In 1974, while attending law school, he was a Harvard Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and, in 1976, he taught a course entitled "Perspectives On The Historical Development of American Indian Policy and Law" at the Harvard University Extension School. He was an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer teaching Federal Indian Law at American University Washington College of Law in 2004 and 2005. He initiated the course in Federal Indian Law at Howard University School of Law in 2007.


Gretchen C. Bellamy

Senior Director, Education, Operations and Initiatives

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Gretchen C. Bellamy is the Senior Director, Education, Operations and Initiatives in the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the President & Consulting Director for Bellamy Management Consulting.  Previously, Ms. Bellamy worked as a Senior Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategist in the Office of Global Culture, Diversity and Inclusion at Walmart Stores, Inc.  Through her role, she worked to develop and support global culture, diversity, and inclusion strategies that transform and drive the company’s culture and that embed diversity and inclusion as integral components for supporting the company’s 2.2 million employees and business operations.  Working collaboratively with executive leadership, she developed strategies related to measures and analytics, activating company culture evolution, and embedding the culture into the employee lifecycle.  

In her previous role with the company, Ms. Bellamy served as an Assistant General Counsel where she counseled regarding global internal and external diversity and inclusion and attorney talent development in the Legal Operations group.  In January 2015, she was awarded by the corporation, on behalf of the legal department, the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visionary Award” for an innovative global diversity and inclusion program.  In April 2015, she was honored as the 2015 “Outstanding International Corporate Counsel” by the American Bar Association Section of International Law.  From 2011 – 2013, she served as the Diversity Officer for the American Bar Association Section of International Law (“ABA-SIL”), planning CLE programming related to diversity in the legal profession and corporate accountability, among other topics.  Additionally, she wrote a variety of articles for diversity newsletters and lead ABA-SIL diversity initiatives within the Section, the larger ABA, and external organizations (such as serving as an advisory board member for IILP).  She is an editor of Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Impacts: New Expectations and Paradigms, which was published in April 2014 and is the first book on corporate accountability published by the ABA. 

Ms. Bellamy is a community activist, having co-founded a community group called the Bentonville Public Schools Citizens for Equality, the Mission of which is to encourage the local school board to revise its EEO policy to comply with federal law as well as provide equal protections for unprotected groups.  For this work, Ms. Bellamy and her co-founder were awarded the Arkansas Advocacy Award for 2015. 


Bonita K. Black

Partner

Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Bonita Black is a partner at  Dinsmore & Shohl LLP.  She focuses her practice in the areas of corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions and divestitures, and corporate, structured, and municipal finance law.  She has experience in formation and corporate governance compliance issues, municipal securities law, tax exempt financings, securitization transactions, debt and equity offerings, governmental bonds, non-profit financings, telecommunications regulatory issues, and real estate finance. 

Bonita received her law degree from Harvard Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, where she graduated summa cum laude.  She is recognized as a Kentucky Super Lawyers® and is an AV Rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell.

She is on the firm’s Ethics Committee and Political Action Committee.  She was a team leader for Kentucky’s new Governor’s transition team for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. She continues to serve as a special advisor to the new administration.

Bonita is active in the community as a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Francis School, where she has served in various capacities. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville and the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Oldham County.  Bonita is on the Grants and Social Review Committees of the Community Foundation of Louisville, where she was a Board Member for nine years and was its first Board Development Chairman. She is a former Board Development Chairman of the Family and Children’s Place and served as General Counsel for Women Influencing Louisville and the Business Diversity Network for several years. She teaches women’s and children’s classes at her church and has chaired its Benevolence Committee for 15 years.



Michael L. Boykins

Partner

McDermott, Will & Emery


Michael L. Boykins focuses his practice on corporate finance, representing corporate and individual lenders, investors and borrowers in connection with secured and unsecured credit facilities, asset-based lending, high-yield financings, employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) financings, acquisition financings, over-the-counter derivatives, insurance industry financings, senior subordinated debt, mezzanine and venture capital transactions. Michael also represents debtor committees and secured creditors in debt restructurings and workouts.

Michael advises issuers and underwriters in debt and equity public offerings and other types of secured transactions. On behalf of insurance companies and other institutional investors, he provides counsel in connection with the private placement of debt and related equity investments and exit strategies. Michael draws on his deep experience with the structure and issuance of convertible and nonconvertible debt and equity securities, and secured and unsecured financings, to advise clients on a wide range of US and international equity derivatives transactions, including swaps and over-the-counter derivatives.

Michael is a member of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and was past chair of the Racial and Ethnic Diversity Sub-Committee.



  Gabrielle Lyse Brown 

Executive Director

Morgan Stanley 


Gabrielle Lyse Brown is an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley, where she advises on diversity and inclusion strategy across the Investment Management, Finance, Technology, Operations, Risk Management, and Legal/Compliance divisions. 

Previously, Gabrielle served as the Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the New York City Bar, where she led the Association’s efforts to enhance diversity in the legal profession across a broad range of internal and external constituents, including law firms, corporate legal departments, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. In this capacity, Gabrielle spearheaded the Association’s qualitative and quantitative research and developed individualized strategies to increase the retention and advancement of women and minority attorneys. Additionally, she founded the City Bar’s Pipeline Initiative, where she developed comprehensive programming for inner-city students to address academic support and enrichment, professional and substantive skill development, networking/mentoring opportunities and exposure to the legal profession.  

She is a frequent speaker and trains organizations on data-driven initiatives, implicit bias, professional readiness, mentoring, networking, and developing diversity and inclusion “better practices.” She has spoken at the Practicing Law Institute (PLI), Bloomberg Big Law Diversity Summit, and ALM Legal Week and her work has been featured in publications including the New York Times, New York Law Journal, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and Thomson Reuters. She is a recipient of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association George B. Vashon Innovator Award and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association Presidential Impact on Diversity Award.

Gabrielle is the co-chair of the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellows Board and was a 2014 Fellow. She is a member of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP) Advisory Board, The National Association for Law Placement (NALP), the Oberlin College Alumni Council and serves on the Executive Board of Directors of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, Inc. (PALS). Additionally, she serves as a special advisor to the Pipeline to Practice Foundation and as a consultant to the New York Financial Services Diversity Group.

   

Ann H. Chen

Senior Counsel 

Abbott

 

Simon Des-Etages

Deputy General Counsel

Global Retail Banking & Wealth Management

   
 

Michele Landis Dauber

Professor of Law and Bernard D. Bergreen Faculty Scholar

Stanford Law School

   
Alan P. Dorantes

General Attorney

AT&T

David L. Douglass

Partner

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP 


Mr. David Douglass is a partner in the Government Contracts, Investigations & International Trade Practice Group in the firm's Washington, D.C. office.

David is an experienced trial attorney who has won trials as a prosecutor, plaintiff, and defense counsel. David has represented numerous companies and individuals in criminal and civil, investigations and litigation. A large portions of David’s practice consists of representing health care companies, government contractors, and individuals in criminal and civil fraud investigations and litigation including False Claims Act litigation.

David is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. The College is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship is extended by invitation only and only after careful investigation to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province.

A distinguishing feature of David’s practice has been working on behalf of the government, as well as private companies. In 2013, David was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana as the deputy federal monitor over the New Orleans Police Department responsible for reviewing, assessing, and reporting publicly on the NOPD's compliance with a far reaching Consent Decree. David has also led two high-profile government investigations. In 1994, he served as executive director of the White House Security Review, which resulted in the closing of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. In 1993 he served as assistant director of the Treasury Department's investigation of the raid on the David Koresh compound in Waco, Texas. David served as a Department of Justice Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section. Prior to that he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

David received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Yale College.

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Barack Echols
Partner
Kirkland & Ellis

Peter M. Ellis
Partner
Reed & Smith LLP 

Peter is the national Co-Chair of Reed Smith’s Complex Litigation Group (“CLG”), which specializes in business and corporate disputes, class action and multi-district litigation, litigation strategy and management, managed care, mass and toxic torts and product liability. The CLG, which consists of approximately 250 lawyers in 15 offices, provides comprehensive solutions for clients facing a multitude of litigation, from general litigation to major exposure and “bet the company” litigation. Peter also serves as a member of Reed Smith’s Executive Committee, the Firm’s global governing board.

Peter concentrates on complex commercial and business litigation and advises clients concerning a wide variety of business related disputes and corporate transactions. His practice includes the representation of national and multi-national clients in the areas of franchise, licensing and distribution, product liability, retail, unfair competition, trademark, trade secrets and other intellectual property claims, contract disputes, employment counseling and defense, and defending consumer related claims in numerous jurisdictions.

Peter also handles complex internal investigations for corporate clients in the US and abroad. He has significant experience in corporate franchise and distribution law and representing technology companies, truck and parts manufacturers, chemical and performance materials companies in various business disputes and transactions. Peter often serves as coordinating counsel in connection with domestic and international representations, including a wide variety of employment, corporate governance, health care and financial services matters and real estate transactions.

Additionally, Peter represents private equity funds, hedge funds, international funds, family offices and financiers (and other portfolio companies) in various types of domestic and cross-border transactions and disputes. He also advises boards of directors and management teams on a routine basis.

 

Josie M. Gough

Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity

Curt and Linda Rodin Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Justice

Director of Experiential Learning and Professional Development

Loyola University Chicago School of Law


Josie M. Gough is the assistant dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law, where she leads the school’s on-going efforts to further enhance and cultivate a learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff that promotes inclusion and advances its diversity goals.  She is also a Curt and Linda Rodin Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Justice, and director of Experiential Learning and Professional Development, where she has been instrumental in strengthening the connection between diversity and academic excellence.  Ms. Gough has practiced law in Illinois on behalf of public and private sector clients for more than 25 years. She is a frequent speaker on topics related to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and represents the School of Law as a member of Chicago’s Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium and Alliance for Experiential Learning. 

Ms. Gough has been the recipient of numerous awards for her service to the legal profession, including special recognition from the Constance Morris House Legal Advocacy Program. In 1995, she was listed as one of the 100 Women Making a Difference in Today’s Chicago Women’s magazine. She is the recipient of Loyola’s Donald L. Hollowed Distinguished Service, the National Summit of Black Women Lawyers Exemplary Service Award, and most recently, the United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Award presented by the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Chicago Bar Association.

Ms. Gough is a member of the American Bar Association, Black Women’s Bar Association of Greater Chicago, Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association and Federal Bar Association. She is also a member of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law Diversity Council, advisory board member to Legal Prep, and a member of the University of Chicago Women’s Board.

Ms. Gough is a 1984 graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She also earned her Master in Education, and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Loyola University Chicago.

 
Martin P. Greene

Partner

Zuber Lawler & Del Duca

 













Joan Haratani 
Partner 
Morgan Lewis

Joan Haratani, a Morgan Lewis San Francisco partner and Past President of the Bar Association of San Francisco, represents Fortune 500 companies in commercial and mass tort litigation.  Over the past three decades, Joan has honed crisis management and courtroom skills in high-exposure cases. A co-lead counsel on some of the largest mass tort litigations in the United States, Joan defends her clients in class actions, product liability litigation, complex licensing agreements, and trade secret indemnity issues. While her litigation experience spans industries, including retail and finance, she focuses much of her practice on the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

Known for her work as a California litigator, Joan has been recognized as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in California" and as a "Top 75 Women Litigator" by the Daily Journal. She was selected by the corporate members of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association as a "Female Litigator on the Rise" in Diversity & the Bar. She was also named one of the 500 most influential Asian Americans in America by Avenue Asia Magazine.

Joan plays an active role in the legal community, and has served as a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. She was the first woman of color to serve as president for the Bar Association of San Francisco. She is also a past president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, as well as past regional governor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She is a past board member of several philanthropic organizations, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Northern California (Team In Training)





______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Carrie J. Hightman 

Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer

NiSource


Carrie is the Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI), one of the largest fully-regulated utility companies in the United States, serving approximately 3.5 million natural gas customers and 500,000 electric customers across 7 states through its local Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. Her responsibilities include all legal functions, as well as compliance, business continuity, records management and unregulated real estate investments. She serves as a member of the company's senior management team and is the Executive Champion of Inclusion and Diversity.

Prior to joining NiSource, Hightman served as the President of AT&T Illinois. In that position, she was responsible for all regulatory, legislative, governmental, and external affairs activities, as well as community and industry relations. 

Prior to joining AT&T, Hightman practiced telecommunications and energy law for more than 17 years. She was a partner at the Chicago law firm of Schiff Hardin, where she led its Energy, Telecommunications and Public Utilities practice group. 

Hightman began her career in the public sector in 1983, serving as Staff Counsel at the Florida Public Service Commission. In 1986, she served as associate counsel at the Florida Office of Public Counsel, handling a variety of public utility cases on behalf of consumers.

Hightman serves on the Board of Directors of Fifth Third Bank Chicago. Active in the community, she also serves on the boards of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation and the Chicago Architectural Foundation. 

Hightman was appointed Chairwoman of the Ad Hoc Committee created by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the Gary Airport Authority Board to consider creation of a public/private partnership at the Gary Airport. 

Hightman earned her B.A. from the University of Illinois and her J.D. from Florida State University. 

Hightman is based at NiSource's headquarters in Merrillville, Indiana. 
 



Sylvia P. James

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Winston & Strawn LLP


Sylvia F. James is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Winston & Strawn. Previously, Ms. James was the Diversity Counsel for the law firm of Baker Botts L.L.P. As Diversity Counsel, Ms. James works closely with the Recruiting and Development Department, Client Relations Department, Human Resources Department,  Knowledge Services Department, Diversity Committee and Firm Leadership to develop and implement the  firm’s diversity initiatives; strategizes and advises the  firm with respect to diversity  and inclusion initiatives; monitors and analyzes the  firm’s trends in recruitment, development, retention  and promotion of women and minorities; works closely with the  firm's affinity groups; serves as liaison with clients and external organizations dedicated to fostering diversity in the legal profession; conducts diversity training; advises on internal and external communications relating to diversity; serves on the Pro Bono and Professional Development Committees; serves as the firm's affirmative action administrator; and manages the Firm's Supplier Diversity Program.

Prior to joining Baker Botts, Ms. James was Senior Counsel at the law firm of Holland & Knight in Washington, D.C., specializing in corporate diversity counseling and labor and employment law. In that role, she conducted diversity compliance reviews for  numerous  government agencies and Fortune 500 companies to determine legal vulnerability to employment discrimination threats and litigation and to assess and ensure compliance with state and federal employment laws.  She developed comprehensive diversity action plans for improving clients' diversity programs, performance, and profiles.  She also conducted diversity, equal employment opportunity and sexual harassment training, and defended companies in employment discrimination litigation.  Ms. James served in various roles on the Board of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals (ALFDP) from 2007-2012 including Secretary, President and President Emeritus.  She currently serves as the co-chair of the ALFDP's Training and Development Committee.    She is on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP), Chair of the Communications Working Group of the Duke University School of Law Alumni Board, and Commissioner, American Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion 360 Commission.   Ms. James is a frequent speaker on diversity issues at legal conferences.  She earned her law degree from Duke University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in political science from Vassar College.  




Jeffrey Jamison

Senior Counsel & Vice President

BMO Financial Group

Tara Goff Kamradt

Partner

Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sandra E. Langs
Human Resources and Professional Development Director
Phillips Lytle LLP

Sandra Langs is Human Resources and Professional Development Director at Phillips Lytle LLP. Ms. Langs is responsible for the firm's training programs, both practice-specific and firm-wide. She works closely with associates and their mentors to establish and achieve individual development goals. Ms. Langs coordinates recruiting on behalf of the firm and is responsible for overseeing the summer program. She is chair of the firm's Diversity Committee.

Ms. Langs brings to the firm over 20 years of legal and management experience with New York City law firms as a commercial litigator and employment law specialist. 

She received her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law where she was a member of the Law Review.

 

Andrew Lipton

Executive Director

Morgan Stanley – Legal and Compliance

 

Deborah Lloyd

Senior Vice President

SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions

 

Barrington Lopez







































































Luisa Menezes
VP & Associate General Counsel Regulatory Policy & Strategy
PMI Global Services, Inc.

Luisa Menezes serves as VP & Associate General Counsel Regulatory Policy & Strategy. She has previously served as the Vice-President and Associate General Counsel, Latin America & Canada, for Philip Morris International, Inc. since July 2010.  Luisa joined Philip Morris International in December 1996 as Counsel for Tabaqueira S.A. in Portugal, when this company was acquired by Philip Morris International. Luisa was appointed Counsel for Philip Morris Europe in Switzerland in 1998 and, in 2001, returned to Portugal for three years as Senior Counsel for Tabaqueira S.A.. In 2005 Luisa was appointed Assistant General Counsel for Latin America & Canada and moved to New York, United States, and held this position through June 2010. 

Luisa’s in-house counsel experience spans a wide variety of legal matters, including among others, consumer protection, marketing and advertising, merger & acquisitions, employment and collective bargaining, data protection and privacy, and competition law. She is responsible for giving legal support to the Latin America & Canada Region, for the continued development of the people in her team, and for the organization and management of the LA&C Law function. Part of her role is to actively collaborate with her Regional Management Team peers, sharing her opinions beyond legal advice.

Luisa holds a graduation degree in Law and a Post-Graduation in European Law from Universidade Católica, Lisbon. She has also attended several management and leadership courses, including the Management Program for Lawyers at Yale School of Management.

Luisa is a member of the Advisory Board of The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.

Luisa is Vice-Chair of the International Corporate Counsel Committee (ABA Section of International Law).

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sarah "Sally" Olson
Chief Diversity Officer
Sidley Austin LLP

After twenty-five years as a Chicago litigator, Sally Olson joined Sidley Austin LLP in 2011 to lead its strategic diversity and inclusion initiatives. Sally has built an infrastructure capable of supporting Sidley’s active, multi-faceted and successful diversity and inclusion efforts around the world. Sally works with firm leadership and Sidley’s Diversity Committee and the Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women to formulate and achieve strategic, evidence-based goals. This work includes implementing innovative and effective initiatives to advance the recruitment, retention, development and promotion of diverse and female lawyers and developing policies, practices and programs that promote inclusion at the firm and within the greater legal community.

Before joining Sidley, Sally practiced law at Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP, where she was an equity partner and Litigation Practice Group leader. In 1999, she co-founded Wildman’s Diversity Committee, which she chaired from 2003 to 2011. She has written and spoken widely on legal and diversity topics and in 2011 was named one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in Illinois” by the National Diversity Council. Sally is been a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.  She has co-chaired the Dean’s Career Strategies Task Force of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, and is a former Trustee of the Chicago Theological Seminary.

Sally holds a B.A. with honors in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. with high honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law. 

Leslie Richards-Yellen

Director of Inclusion - Americas
Hogan Lovells US LLP


Leslie Richards-Yellen is the Director of Inclusion - Americas at Hogan Lovells and is a public finance attorney with over 30 years of experience as in-house counsel and in private practice. Ms. Richards-Yellen frequently serves as borrower’s, underwriter’s, issuer’s and work out counsel. Previously she worked in public finance at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Ms. Richards-Yellen was a member of the firm's Executive Committee and served as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and as Chair of the Diversity Committee. Prior to working at Hinshaw, Ms. Richards-Yellen was associate general counsel with The Vanguard Group, where she provided legal services and analysis for the Fixed Income Group. Ms. Richards-Yellen was a member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers’ Steering Committee. She is the President of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL). In 2014, she was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (ISCCP) and serves as the Chair of the ISCCP’s Diversity Committee. Ms. Richards-Yellen sits on the Boards of NAWL, the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms  and the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation, as well as the Advisory Board of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.

Gary Ropski
Shareholder
Brinks Gilson & Lione

When Gary Ropski addresses a courtroom, he speaks with the force and authority of 40 years of trial and appellate experience. During his career Gary has handled more than 125 patent, trademark and copyright cases in every federal judicial circuit, including jury trials, controversies before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and appeals at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and several others. His is a familiar face in high-stakes cases before key patent litigation district courts, and in precedent-setting appeals nationwide.

Clients and colleagues describe Gary as “unflappable,” “overflowing with common sense,” and able to "turn an esoteric subject into something easy to understand" —traits he has honed in virtually every variant of patent, trademark, trade dress and copyright litigation. These qualities also serve him well in helping adversaries resolve disputes as a special master, arbitrator and trained mediator. Gary has long been recognized as one of America’s best intellectual property lawyers. In 2014, Leading Lawyers Magazine ranked him #1 in Intellectual Property in Illinois. In 2013, The Best Lawyers in America named him Chicago's Patent Litigation Lawyer of the Year.

During Gary’s six-year tenure as its president, Brinks Gilson & Lione became the first intellectual property law firm in the Midwest Region and only the second in the country to receive the Thomas L. Sager Diversity Award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.  He graduated from Northwestern University School of Law (J.D. 1976, cum laude) and Carnegie-Mellon University (B.S. Physics 1972)

Marci Rubin

Board Member & Officer

California ChangeLawyers

Marci Rubin has a long history of diversity advocacy within and outside the legal profession.

From December 2009 through July 2015, she served as Executive Director of the California Minority Counsel Program.  During that period, Marci significantly increased CMCP’s stature and influence as a national in the legal diversity community.  In 2013, Marci was named one of the National Diversity Council’s Most Powerful & Influential Women in California.

Prior to joining CMCP, Marci was Deputy General Counsel at Wells Fargo where she practiced law for 29 years, managed a large team of attorneys and developed new attorney teams through three major bank mergers.  While at Wells Fargo, Marci served on the CMCP Steering Committee from 1998-2005.  She also served two terms on the California State Bar, Business Law Section UCC Committee.  She has been an active speaker for a wide variety of organizations, including California Bankers Association, PLI, California State Bar Women in Law Conference, National Conference for Women Corporate Counsel, CMCP, ABA and MCCA, on topics ranging from commercial credit to diversity & women's issues in the legal profession.

Marci received her BA in political theory from UC Berkeley, and her JD from UC Berkeley's School of Law.

Marci is a current member of the Board of Directors of the California Bar Foundation, the Advisory Committee for The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, and the Advisory Board of Beyond Law.

Marci is a past Board member & Board Chair, and current Emeritus Director, of Equal Rights Advocates, Inc. - a non-profit legal organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunity for women and girls, and a past Board member & Board Chair, and current Emeritus Board member, of Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley - a non-profit traditional music education and performing arts venue.

E. Macey Russell
Partner
Choate Hall & Stewart LLP

Macey, a partner at Choate, Hall & Stewart, represents financial institutions, banks, businesses, and corporations in disputes involving contracts, securities, investments, and lending arrangements, as well as in class action matters in state court, federal court, and in arbitrations. In 2007, the governor of Massachusetts appointed Macey to the Judicial Nominating Commission, which recommends judicial appointments at all levels throughout the Commonwealth. After Macey served as Vice Chairman in 2010, the Governor appointed him to Chairman of the Commission beginning in 2011.

In 2009, Massachusetts Laywers Weekly named Macey a “Diversity Hero,” and the Litigation Counsel of America named him to its Trial Lawyer Honorary Society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. In 2011, the American  Bar Foundation named him fellow, which is reserved for one-third of one percent of attorneys in his juridisdiction. Also in 2011, the Boston Bar Association appointed Macey as co-chair of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Additionally, the Burton Foundation and Library of Congress have honored him with a Burton Award for excellence in legal writing for his co-authored article Developing Great Minority Lawyers for the Next Generation. He is also listed in Best Lawyers in America

Since 1989, Macey has been a frequent advisor and contributor to Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop. He co-chairs Choate’s Diversity Committee and is a member of the firm’s Hiring Committee. Macey received his J.D. from Suffolk University of Law in 1983 and his B.A. from Trinity College in 1980. 

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Mona Mehta Stone

Sr. VP, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer

Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona

Mona Mehta Stone serves as Vice President and General Counsel for Goodwill Industries of Central Arizona, where she oversees all aspects of Goodwill’s legal affairs and compliance operations.  In this role, Mona leads Goodwill of Central Arizona’s legal team, providing legal support to all business units, including HR, Finance, Marketing and Workforce Development. She is responsible for providing legal advice on risk management, corporate governance, contracts, personnel, budgetary and real estate matters. Mona contributes to Goodwill’s strategic and tactical legal initiatives as it continues its expansion and diversification of businesses. 

Prior to joining Goodwill of Central Arizona, Mona was in private practice at Greenberg Traurig and at Locke Lord, and as a passionate mentor, was awarded the first annual “Firm Career Development Liaison of the Year” honor by Greenberg Traurig in 2014. She has extensive experience in managing complex litigation and administrative proceedings and was recently named one of the “2016 Top 25 Women Lawyers” by Southwest Super Lawyers, as well as being named one of “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch” by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in 2008.

Mona has authored several books and countless articles regarding best practices, compliance issues, and advancement for minorities in the legal profession.  She is a frequent speaker before senior executives, business clients, and industry stakeholders regarding commercial litigation, employment law, and workplace diversity. Mona has been active in non-profit boards and is a member of the State Bars of Arizona and Illinois.  She earned her juris doctor degree from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana and a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. 

Mark Tratos

Shareholder

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Alexander S. Vesselinovitch

Partner
Freeborn & Peters

Alex Vesselinovitch is a partner in the litigation practice group of Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago. Alex focuses his practice on complex dispute resolution in the courts or in arbitration proceedings. He handles a wide variety of cases involving allegations of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, antitrust and intellectual property disputes. He is also very experienced in conducting internal corporate investigations involving allegations of misconduct or fraud and he provides counsel in civil RICO cases.

As a former deputy supervisor in the criminal division of the US Attorney’s office, Alex was lead counsel in investigations and jury trials involving healthcare, banking, fraud and public corruption. He has tried over 40 cases to verdict in the federal and state courts. He received the Attorney General’s Special Commendation Award. Alex served as a law clerk to US District Court Judge Charles B. Kocoras.

Alex actively represents individuals in pro bono cases, and he has brought several civil cases for plaintiffs under the Illinois Hate Crime statute. In his spare time, Alex is an amateur musician who plays bass guitar and cello.

Charys S. Williams

Director & Counsel - Global Governance Strategy & Operations

Walmart Inc.

James H. Wooten, Jr.

James H. Wooten, Jr. recently retired as the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Illinois Tool Works Inc., a Fortune 200 company with 16.2 billion dollars in revenues. James began his career with ITW in 1988 as a Senior Attorney providing legal counsel to the Company's decentralized business units around the world. He was elected to his current position in 2005 and is responsible for legal, environmental and safety, risk management and governmental affairs.

James was born in Chicago, Illinois, May 31, 1948. He earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois (Chicago Circle), 1978 and his J.D. from the University of Chicago, 1982. He is admitted to the Illinois Bar, 1982. Previously he practiced with Gardner, Carton & Douglas: Associate, 1982-1987;

James is a Member, American and Chicago Bar Associations, Executive Leadership Council, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Junior Achievement. He is a Board member, Children Memorial Hospital, Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago, Congo Square Theatre Company, Window to the World Communications, Inc. (WWCI), University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).











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