Advisory Board

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, Jr. (Chair)
Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Corporate (Ret.)
Mondelēz International

Willie Miller joined Kraft Foods Global, Inc. in 2007 as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Corporate with responsibility for managing Kraft's corporate legal activities. Prior to joining Kraft, Willie was a partner in the Chicago law firm Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kamholz, P.C. as a member of the firm's Financial Institutions and Finance and Transactions Groups. Before joining Vedder Price, Willie was in the legal department of LaSalle National Corporation for 25 years where for the last six years he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. In his capacity as Chief Legal Officer, Willie led and managed the corporation's legal department consisting of 65+ attorneys and over 30 administrative and paralegal staff. He was largely responsible for the transformation and growth of the bank's internal law department. As a member of the senior management team, Willie was involved in the strategic direction of LaSalle's growth throughout the Midwest.

Willie is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Leadership Council of Metropolitan Chicago. He is also a former member and past president of the Board of Education for Evanston Township High School. Mr. Miller is an inaugural recipient of the Chicago United Business Leaders of Color Award and is a current member of the Fellowship of African American Men.

Willie earned his B. S. from the University of Illinois in 1975 and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1979.

Raymond T. Abbott

Managing Director and Associate General Counsel for Global Research

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Ray Abbott is Managing Director and Associate General Counsel for Global Research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. His responsibilities include managing legal support for Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s global research business. He is also a member of the Legal Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Business Council.

Mr. Abbott joined Merrill Lynch in as Investment Banking Counsel in New York and has since served as Global Markets & Investment Banking Counsel in London, Global Head of Research Compliance, Co-General Counsel for Merrill Lynch's GMI Group, and, immediately prior to his present role, as General Counsel and Global Head of Research Compliance.

Before joining Merrill Lynch, Mr. Abbott was an Associate at Shearman & Sterling in New York, where he specialized in securities underwriting and mergers and acquisitions.

Mr. Abbott has a J.D. from Vanderbilt University and a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.

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

Former President

National Native American Bar Association

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

Chief Impact Officer


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
K&L Gates LLP

Bonita K. Black is a partner at K&L Gates 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 also studied as an ESU Scholar in an international graduate summer program at Exeter College, Oxford University, Oxford, England between college and law school where she studied history. She is recognized as a Kentucky Super Lawyers® and is an AV Rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell.

She was a team leader for former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s transition team for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. She also served as a special advisor to that administration.

Bonita is active in the community as a member of the Board of Trustees of Kentucky Country Day School. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Louisville as Secretary to the Board of Trustees and Governance Chair and was named an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Oldham County and general counsel where she previously served as immediate past Vice Chair, Treasurer and Governance Chair of the Board. 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 20 years.

Michael L. Boykins
Managing Partner (Chicago)
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

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
Head of Diversity & Inclusion, EMEA
Morgan Stanley

Gabrielle Lyse Brown is an Executive Director on the Global Diversity and Inclusion team at Morgan Stanley where she serves as the Head of Diversity & Inclusion for EMEA. She joined the firm in 2018 and previously supported the Investment Management, Technology, Operations, Finance, Risk Management, Internal Audit, Legal/Compliance, and Corporate Services divisions. 

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, 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.

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, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association Presidential Impact on Diversity Award, and the Asian American Bar Association of New York Women’s Leadership Award.

Gabrielle served as 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 Diversity Lab Move the Needle (MTN) Fund Community Leaders Board, The National Association for Law Placement (NALP), the Oberlin College Alumni Council and served 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.

Jeremiah Chan

Director and Associate General Counsel, Head of Patents, Licensing and Open Source


Jeremiah Chan is Head of Patents, Licensing and Open Source at Meta. He and his team are responsible for Meta’s worldwide patent portfolio, intellectual property transactions, open source software, and risk mitigation initiatives, as well as industry-wide efforts to promote greater diversity, equity and inclusion in innovation and the IP profession. Meta’s approach to patents and innovation is described in this blog post, and Jeremiah and his team have launched several industry-wide DEI initiatives, including the Diversity Pledge,, and the Patent Pipeline Program.

Prior to joining Meta, Jeremiah led an international team at Google that was focused on patent portfolio strategy, operations and data science (featured in IAM Magazine, Issue 69, January/February 2015); and before Google, Jeremiah served as Head of IP for JDSU, a global supplier of broadband and optical solutions. Jeremiah started his career in private practice with the law firm of Fish & Neave, where he specialized in litigation, opinion work, and client counseling. He graduated from UC Berkeley with highest honors while working as a marketing assistant at the University of California Press, and he received his JD from Cornell Law School, where he also worked in its Legal Aid Clinic.

Jeremiah is a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force for diversity, equity and inclusion and previously served on the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee. He also serves as an advisory board member for the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law ( and as chairman of the board for the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition (, a nonprofit organization that combats human trafficking in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

Ann H. Chen
Senior Director & Assistant General Counsel

Ann Chen is Senior Director and Assistant General Counsel at TransUnion, overseeing legal matters in corporate litigation, employment, diversity, equity & inclusion, intellectual property, real estate, and tax. She has significant in-house experience advising global businesses, including in the financial services, healthcare, and consumer goods industries. She is a leader in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion, including previously leading the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion program for the in-house legal department of a Fortune 100 company, as a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow, and currently serving as an alumna advisor on the University of Michigan Law School’s Advisory Board on Race and Racism. She also proudly serves as an advisory board member for the Asian American Bar Association (Chicago), the Chinese American Bar Association (Chicago), and as a director on the Asian American Bar Association Law Foundation (Chicago), and the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic. Ann received her BA from Yale University and her JD from the University of Michigan Law School. She clerked for U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan in the Southern District of Florida (now on the 11th Circuit). The National Law Journal previously named Ann a "Top 40 Under 40 - Chicago's Rising Stars.” She is a recipient of the Chicago Bar Association’s Vanguard Award as an honoree of AABA Chicago.

Tom Chen


Haynes and Boone LLP

Tom Chen is a member of Haynes and Boone LLP’s Executive Committee and an experienced patent attorney who prides himself in being trusted and valued by his clients. Tom is dedicated to going above and beyond the standard attorney-client relationship by providing quality patent counsel and by taking the time to learn about the true business goals, strategies, and ambitions of his clients. Clients value Tom for his technical understanding and strategy with regard to their specific patent issues.

Under Tom’s lead, the firm handles patent matters for start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Tom plays a major role in not just expanding his client’s patent portfolio, but more importantly maximizing its value to his clients. He provides his opinion and analysis, at least weekly, on patent related matters for his clients and regularly works with a large number of inventors, as well as various in-house counsel.

Tom’s experience is founded on multiple advanced degrees in electrical engineering and significant engineering work at Hughes Aircraft, covers a variety of technologies, including e-commerce, mobile payments, electrical circuits, semiconductor memories/processing, semiconductor equipment, fiber optic and wireless communications, televisions, mechanical devices, Internet-related applications, microprocessors and other computer architecture. Tom’s experience extends to patent litigation as well, including matters before the International Trade Commission and district courts. He has been involved in all phases of litigation, including discovery, depositions, expert reports and briefs.

Tom has presented alongside key decision makers from his clients’ companies, which has helped Tom strengthen his deep understanding of his clients’ core values. Additionally, he has written on various intellectual property issues and risk management, Supreme Court patent decisions and issues before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Aside from Tom being a skilled and insightful intellectual property attorney and member of the firm’s board of directors, he is co-chair of Haynes and Boone's Attorney Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which focuses on advancing the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse lawyers within the firm. Tom advocates the importance and necessity of a diverse law firm and truly strives to make Haynes and Boone a leader in law firm diversity. Tom is also a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association where he attends events and contributes to meaningful initiatives.

Tom has long been recognized for his accomplishments in patent law and DEI, including having been selected by the Daily Journal, Daily Journal Corporation, as one of the 2016 Top 100 Lawyers in California, and more recently, as “The Lawyer of the Year” in Patent Law in Orange County by The Best Lawyers America, Woodward/White, Inc., 2024. Tom was also listed in Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners, Globe White Page Ltd, 2018-2023. Tom was recognized in Managing Intellectual Property Magazine, Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, as an IP Star in 2019-2023. He was also named in the Lawyers of Color’s inaugural “Nation’s Best” list which recognizes 100 firm partners and senior-level corporate counsel for noteworthy accomplishments and their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Taj J. Clayton


Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Taj Clayton is a litigation partner in the Dallas office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Taj practices in both federal and state court, focusing on complex business, mass tort, and intellectual property litigation. He has successfully represented clients such as healthcare and financial institutions, automotive manufacturers, consumer products brands and entertainment companies.

He represents corporate clients in a wide range of complex litigation practice areas, from products liability and antitrust to patent and other types of intellectual property matters. Super Lawyers honored him as a "Texas Rising Star" and the Dallas Business Journal named him to its "40 Under 40."

Taj was previously chair of Winston & Strawn's Domestic ADR group, and before that served as principal in the Dallas office of another international firm and as law clerk to Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Prior to practicing law, Taj began his career in sports in the Management Council of the National Football League. Later, he worked as a consultant at ICG Commerce, an e-procurement consulting firm.

Simon Des-Etages

General Counsel and Group Chief Legal Officer

The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited

Alan P. Dorantes
Chief of Staff/General Counsel
Feeding America

Alan Dorantes currently serves as Chief of Staff/General Counsel for Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief organization. In this newly created role, Alan serves as a critical partner to the CEO and the Executive Office. He works closely with other Executive Team members in the execution of their strategic priorities. He plays a critical connective role with both internal and external stakeholders helping to build strong relationships and ensure effective communication. Alan is also responsible for overseeing Feeding America’s legal affairs as well as board development and governance.

Prior to joining Feeding America, Alan served as an Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel of Human Resources at AT&T. In this role, Alan supported AT&T’s Chief Diversity Office and the corporate diversity and inclusion team. He also served as co-chair of the AT&T Legal Department’s Diversity and Inclusion committee and has served as a board member of the committee since its founding. Alan also was a member of AT&T’s Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Business Council. In these roles, he went above and beyond his everyday duties to foster diversity within the legal profession. Throughout his 16-year career with AT&T, in addition to Human Resources, Alan advised clients within several other areas of the company, including Government, Education and Healthcare Solutions, Retail Sales Operations, Network Engineering, and Corporate Real Estate.

Outside AT&T, Alan championed diversity as a member of the board of the Dallas Hispanic Law Foundation. He helped organize and raise funds for the annual Amanecer luncheon, which funds scholarships for Hispanic law school students. He actively recruited attorneys with fundraising and advocacy skills to join the organization and develop activities to help stabilize and increase the pipeline for Hispanic attorneys to join the legal profession.

Alan also promoted legal diversity and inclusion programs nationally through organizations such as the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP) where he sits on its Advisory Board and has helped bring IILP’s annual legal symposium to AT&T in Dallas and Los Angeles. He also currently serves on the Executive Board of the SMU Dedman School of Law, where law school diversity remains a key issue and objective. Alan received his undergraduate and law degree from SMU. Alan is active with the Anti-Defamation League serving as a co-chair for the annual 2019 Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award Luncheon. Alan served on the board of The Arts Community Alliance (TACA), a Dallas-based non-profit providing financial resources to Dallas’ many arts organizations. In 2019, Alan received the Texas General Counsel Forum’s Magna Stella Award for Diversity. In January 2020, Alan received the Association of Corporate Counsel/Texas Lawbook Senior Counsel of the Year for a Large Legal Department Award.

David L. Douglass
Managing Partner (Washington, D.C.)
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.

Deena Dulgerian


Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Deena Dulgerian is a fierce advocate for both her corporate clients and all matters and interests related to her Armenian heritage. She is a seventh-year associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Los Angeles office in the Complex Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group. Her clients range from international construction companies, start-ups, real estate technology companies, and crypto investors. She has practiced in both state and federal courts across the country and in ICC arbitrations. She served as the co-chair for the firm’s Middle Eastern and North African affinity group and the Los Angeles office’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee for several years, and currently serves on the firm-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. Her pro bono practice has consisted of asylum work and prisoner’s rights. She is a member of the Armenian Bar Association and an executive committee member of the Armenian Women’s Bar Association, where she has worked on issues related to the 2020 war in Artsakh, and local efforts in mentoring and staunchly supporting female Armenian attorneys. In her spare time, she is an avid skier and rock-climber, and although loves exploring her local community of Pasadena, is often traveling internationally. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in History, Spanish, and Classic Civilizations and received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Following law school, she clerked in the United States District Court, District of Nevada (Las Vegas).

Barack Echols
Kirkland & Ellis

Barack Echols is a partner in Kirkland and Ellis’s Chicago office. Barack concentrates his practice in the areas of antitrust and complex commercial litigation, and has broad experience in class action defense, bankruptcy-related litigation, arbitration and government investigations regarding anticompetitive practices and consumer fraud. Barack has represented corporate clients in arbitration and in federal and state courts throughout the United States in price-fixing class actions, merger litigation, price-discrimination suits, consumer fraud matters and contract disputes. Barack has been recognized as a leading lawyer by 

Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business every year since 2014, with clients noting he is a "terrific lawyer" who is "making a name as a 'sharp' practitioner." He has been selected as an "Illinois Super Lawyer" in Antitrust by Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2013. Barack also was named one of Savoy Magazine's 2015 Most Influential Black Lawyers, a list of the "best of the best" of black partners within leading national law firms and counsel from Fortune 1000 corporations. In addition to serving on the IILP Advisory Board, Barack has served in numerous roles promoting diversity and inclusion. He is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Chicago Scholars; he is a 2013 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity; he has served as a Midwest Lead for the American Bar Association’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program; he is a member of the planning board of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation; and, he is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Barack served as an enlisted active-duty soldier in United States Army Intelligence, and also produced a radio talk-show in Chicago.

Leslie Funk

Community Manager, Employee Resource Groups


Leslie Funk is a Community Manager, Employee Resource Groups at Google, based in New York. Originally from Massachusetts, her background is in mediation (practicing, presenting, and mentoring) and diversity, equity, and inclusion, with a particular focus on religious diversity in the workplace. Leslie serves as a mentor for Brooklyn Law School Mediation Clinic students and mediates through the New York Peace Institute.

Prior to Google, Leslie worked at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and Community Mediation Services, two New York City-based nonprofits. She has previously served on the boards of the Association for Conflict Resolution of Greater New York (ACR GNY) and the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA).

Leslie earned her JD from Hamline University School of Law and BA in Communications from the University of Connecticut. Outside of work, she loves taking walks with her dog Mini and enjoys baking and doing art.

Nora E. Garrote
Retired Partner in Charge, Diversity and Inclusion
Venable LLP

Nora Garrote led the Intellectual Property Transactions Group at Venable, and served as the firm's national partner in charge of Diversity and Inclusion until her retirement in June 2022. Nora's expertise focuses on technology and intellectual property transactions and counseling, internet and new media law, technology transfers, and entertainment. For 30+ years, she has counseled clients in a variety of sourcing engagements, including those involving information technology procurement, cloud arrangements, data exploitation, outsourcing and IT services. She has represented clients in the information technology, social media, hospitality, health, energy, direct marketing, financial, and insurance services, and telecommunications sectors. 

Nora offers clients a combination of in-depth business law, technology, intellectual property, and commercial transactions knowledge that leads to practical and creative solutions to the client's needs regarding procurement, use, exploitation, and disposition of technology, data and other intangible assets. With deep familiarity of the full range of established and evolving technologies, she assists companies with comprehensive technology, intellectual property, and contracting matters.

Nora's work includes:

  • Advising on and negotiating contracts for licensing, development, procurement, integration, implementation, and support of software, digital platforms, and computing devices 
  • Negotiating software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, hosting and managed services transactions, and data and content licensing agreements
  • Preparing joint venture agreements, intellectual property sale agreements, marketing and advertising affiliation agreements, professional services contracts, website and e-commerce arrangements, and collaboration and partnering agreements
  • Drafting trademark use agreements, patent and copyright licenses, entertainment program agreements, and intellectual property infringement settlement agreements
  • Negotiating mergers and acquisitions and related due diligence involving key technology, data, and intellectual property assets
  • Representing businesses in marketing and sponsorship contracts

As partner in charge of Diversity and Inclusion at Venable, Nora developed and implemented programs, outreach, and mentoring opportunities that foster equity and inclusion within the firm. She previously chaired Venable's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

Josie M. Gough

Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (Ret.)

Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law

Josie M. Gough most recently served as the assistant dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law, where she led the school’s on-going efforts to further enhance and cultivate a learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff  and that promotes inclusion and advances its diversity goals.  During her tenure at the law school, she was named as a Curt and Linda Rodin Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Justice.  Ms. Gough also served the law school as its first director of Experiential Learning and Professional Development, where she was instrumental in strengthening the connection between diversity and academic excellence.  Ms. Gough will continue to teach a course devoted to diversity, inclusion and equity at the law school in the fall.

Ms. Gough has practiced law in Illinois on behalf of public and private sector clients for since 1984.  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, the Justice John Paul Stevens Award presented by the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Chicago Bar Association’s Earl B. Dickerson Award. Most recently she was honored as one of the Women’s Bar of Illinois Class of 2020 Top Women in Leadership.

Ms. Gough is a member of the American Bar Association, Black Women’s Bar Association of Greater Chicago, Black Men Lawyers Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Illinois State Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, National Bar Association , National Association of Women Lawyers and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.

Gough continues to serve aa a member of the law school’s  Dean’s Diversity Council, advisory board member of Legal Prep, advisory board member of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, member of the University of Chicago Women’s Board and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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
Zuber Lawler LLP

 Martin Greene is a nationally recognized trial lawyer whose expertise and consultation is routinely sought by Fortune 500 corporations, public entities and middle market businesses alike. Clients appreciate his forthright assessment of their state of affairs. He is well known to opponents and the plaintiffs’ bar as a formidable adversary.

Mr. Greene has represented many private and public corporations in a variety of matters including: municipal law, commercial and contract litigation, contract negotiations, election law, Civil Rights, and most facets of employment law, including collective bargaining negotiations and labor arbitrations. Mr. Greene has acted as lead counsel on dozens of federal and state court trials, including jury trials. He provides specialized services to clients in the form of highly sensitive internal investigations where he reports findings to the highest levels of the organizations.

Prior to Zuber Lawler (2016), for 26 years Mr. Greene was a Founder and Co-Managing Partner at Greene and Letts; at Jones Ware & Grenard/Lafontant, Wilkins and Butler for 10 years, and; an associate at Tenney and Bentley for 3 years.

He regularly participates in programs, conferences and seminars concerning employment law. He is also dedicated to the concept of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Mr. Greene earned his JD at University of Chicago Law School (1977) and BA from University of Illinois at Chicago (1974).

Joan Haratani
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

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)

Jason E. Hazlewood
Managing Partner (Pittsburgh)
Reed Smith LLP

Jason is a partner in the firm's Global Commercial Disputes Group, and has a practice that focuses on both complex commercial litigation and financial services litigation, including numerous class actions related to both. Jason has handled a wide array of matters involving diverse areas of litigation, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, complex business disputes, securities litigation, and vast array of general commercial litigation. He has advised Fortune 500 companies, global financial institutions, corporate directors, foreign issuers, and various other corporate entities. For two years, Jason served as in-house counsel for a large financial institution, managing and defending a significant portfolio of mortgage related litigation which has given him a unique perspective of the rigors and pressures on in-house counsel that enables him to provide ultra responsive client service. He performed all functions of an in-house counsel, including overseeing more than 300 matters, developing strategy and settlement recommendations, supervising outside counsel, and advising client decision-makers. In addition, Jason managed a team of lawyers at Reed Smith providing similar in-house functions. Upon returning to Reed Smith, Jason managed a large portfolio of those same cases as outside counsel for the same client.

Erika A. James
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Erika A. James is an associate in the Litigation Department at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP where she specializes in white collar criminal defense and investigations. Her matters have included grand jury, regulatory and independent investigations, representing companies and individuals in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct, securities fraud, and anti-money laundering violations, among other areas. Erika also has experience in representing corporate directors and officers and companies in complex civil matters, involving antitrust aspects of mergers and acquisitions, whistleblower claims and securities fraud. 

Erika maintains a robust pro bono practice. She recently briefed and argued a criminal resentencing appeal before the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, and co-authored an amicus brief concerning federal gun possession laws before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Everytown for Gun Safety, which is the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization. Erika also has worked on a myriad of other pro bono matters, including immigration, contract disputes, criminal, and civil rights cases. In 2019, she received a Davis Polk Pro Bono Award for her outstanding work and dedication to pro bono services. 

Erika also engages in leadership at Davis Polk, including currently serving as a Steering Committee member of Davis Polk’s Black Affinity Group. She is also a 2019-2020 fellow of the New York City Bar’s Associate Leadership Institute (ALI). 

In 2015, Erika served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Susan G. Braden in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Law from Temple University, and a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Law Journal. Prior to law school, Erika worked as a paralegal in the Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Bureau at the Office of the District Attorney, Bronx County. 

Outside of work, Erika serves on the Executive Leadership Team of C.O.O.L. Kids, Inc., a New York based not-for-profit organization that is committed to cultivating the next generation of socially conscious leaders in underserved communities by mobilizing young professionals of color. She also is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Sylvia P. James
Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Winston & Strawn LLP

Sylvia F. James is the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer 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
Associate General Counsel - Litigation and Senior Vice President
BMO Harris Bank

Jeffrey Jamison is Associate General Counsel-Litigation and Senior Vice President at BMO Financial Group in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to joining BMO, Mr. Jamison counseled and represented a diverse group of clients in a broad range of litigation, regulatory, and compliance matters, including complex class actions, statutory consumer lending violations, securities and commodities, bankruptcy, appeals, white-collar criminal, and internal investigations. Mr. Jamison also provided regulatory and compliance services to clients, including conducting compliance reviews and internal audits, developing policies and procedures, and creating auditing and monitoring programs.

Mr. Jamison has authored several articles on governmental regulations and compliance, consumer financial services, and corporate governance. In 2018, Mr. Jamison was named one of the top in house litigation attorneys in world by the Association for Corporate Counsel. In 2018 and 2019, Mr. Jamison was recognized as top in-house litigation counsel by First Chair. In 2012 and 2013, Mr. Jamison was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star. At Harvard Law School, Mr. Jamison served on the editorial board of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, was awarded the David Westfall Memorial Dean’s Award for Community Leadership, and was a student attorney/Public Interest Law Initiative Fellow with the Wilmer Hale Legal Services Center. Prior to law school, Mr. Jamison served as the Litigation Assistant to Laurence Tribe.

Tara Goff Kamradt

Chief Legal Officer and Vice President for Corporate Strategy

NANI - Nephrology Associates

Tara Goff Kamradt has more than 25 years of experience counseling closely held businesses in a variety of industries including healthcare, entertainment, packaging, manufacturing, professional services and food and beverage in matters related to their formation, operation, strategic growth, succession planning, and change in control transactions. She has significant experience in the dialysis industry and represents nephrology practices with respect to joint venture arrangements, medical director agreements, strategic partnerships and relationships with other healthcare providers. Tara currently serves as outside general counsel to one of the largest single specialty nephrology practices in the country.

Tara is also active in community initiatives and has served on the Board of Directors and in other capacities for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana and the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. She is an avid supporter of diversity and the advancement of women in the legal profession and participates in numerous formal and informal mentoring networks and leadership programs. She has received the Chicago Coalition of Women in Law Leadership Award, been listed as a Crain’s Chicago Notable Woman Lawyer and consistently been recognized by her peers in Best Lawyers in America.

Erica Kelley

VP, Deputy General Counsel

Palo Alto Networks, Inc.

Erica oversees a broad range of legal advice and programs within the business. It includes legal advisor to the people team providing global labor and employment advice in over 60 countries, including, inclusion and diversity initiatives, pay equity, compensation, reorganizations and terminations. Creating and now overseeing the global ethics and compliance program. Work with business partners across the organization to assess legal risk as it relates to third parties, conflicts of interest, anti-bribery and corruption and all HR compliance-related matters. Oversight for all internal investigations. Create and conduct training on all aspects of the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, e.g. anti-bribery, gifts and entertainment, conflicts of interest, insider trading, among others. Oversight of the intellectual property strategy and portfolio team who ensures IP is identified and protected and our corporate IP portfolio has maximum impact and value to the company. As claims arise, she also oversees global litigation, including IP, Employment, Commercial, Torts. Finally, she oversees the legal operations team within the legal department and is responsible for strategy to optimize the legal function for maximum impact to the business and efficiency within the team.

Erica not only advises the company on important inclusion and diversity legal issues, but she’s a part of the cross-functional I&D team an ally and member of our Employee Networking Groups and a champion of creating the most inclusive environment for everyone to bring their best and most authentic self to work everyday.

Before Palo Alto Networks, Erica worked in private practice for ten years. She started at a medium-sized insurance defense firm, then transitioned to Littler Mendelson for seven years representing employers in advice and litigation, leaving the firm to go in-house just after making partner!

Erica grew up in Michigan and went to University of Michigan for undergraduate studies and ventured to California for law school at Santa Clara University School of Law. The sunny days were alluring, but the work and community of friends and professionals are what keeps her here….along with the sun!

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.

Katherine M. Larkin-Wong

Associate General Counsel for Competition & Regulatory

Meta Platforms Inc.

Katherine Larkin-Wong is an Associate General Counsel for Competition & Regulatory at Meta Platforms, Inc. Before joining Meta, Katherine practiced in the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins LLP. She has dedicated a substantial amount of her time towards worthy organizations including the American Bar Association President’s Gender Equity Task Force and the Commission on Women in the Profession. She co-chairs the Commission on Women in the Profession’s Men in the Mix Project and was a founding Co-Chair of the Commission’s Grit Project. Katherine also sits on the board of the First District Appellate Project which manages the panel of attorneys serving indigent criminal defendants in California’s First District. Between 2011 and 2016, she served as President of Ms. JD, a national nonprofit that supports aspiring and early-career women lawyers. The organization, which began as a law school blog, now boasts a nationwide network of campus chapters, the largest readership of any blog of its kind, and an array of other programs including an international scholarship fund. In 2014, Ms. JD’s blog was inducted into the ABA Journal’s Blawg Hall of Fame as a leading source of information for aspiring and early career women lawyers.

Katherine is a frequent speaker and writer on issues related to millennials, women law students, and young lawyers and has been featured in Forbes Woman, The Glass Hammer, The American Bar Association's Woman Advocate, The National Journal, AmLaw Daily, and Today’s Chicago Woman. She has been invited to speak at national conferences including the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting, The University of Texas Center for Women in the Law’s Women in Power Summit, Ark Group’s Women Legal and the National Association of Women Lawyers Annual Meeting. She was also an advisor to the winning team at the first Women in Law Hackathon, sponsored by Diversity Lab.

Andrew Lipton
Executive Director
Morgan Stanley – Legal and Compliance

Andrew H. Lipton is an Executive Director and Head of Americas Market/ Conduct Regulatory Relations Group at Morgan Stanley. Previously, Mr. Lipton worked in the Client Litigation Division of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management focusing primarily on securities customer arbitrations and regulatory investigations. Mr. Lipton is an active member of the Morgan Stanley Legal and Compliance Division Diversity and Inclusion Network. Mr. Lipton is on the Board of Directors for PALS (Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program), a group that provides career and skills development for diverse lawyers and law school students). Mr. Lipton is also on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (“IILP”). Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Mr. Lipton was an associate at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP. At Skadden, Mr. Lipton was a general litigator whose practice focused primarily on securities class actions. Mr. Lipton received a B.A. from Binghamton University and graduated magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School.

Deborah Lloyd
General Counsel
SUEZ – Water Technologies & Solutions

Deborah Lloyd is General Counsel for SUEZ Water Technologies and Solutions reporting directly to the CEO. The Water Technologies and Solutions business comprises a broad portfolio that includes water and wastewater treatment, reuse and outsourcing, chemical treatment solutions for multiple industrial businesses, hydrocarbon processing technology, and services.

In her role, Deborah is responsible for overseeing and providing legal, ethics, compliance, insurance and risk mitigation advice that includes litigation, commercial and contract management, international trade controls, corporate affairs and governance, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions and regulatory matters. She has been responsible for implementing a global compliance and enterprise risk management program in over 130 counties with over 11,000 people. She is a member of the parent company’s Performance Management Committee helping to define and implement Group orientations and guide leadership and employees on strategy, culture and overall business direction.

Deborah's most recent role was as General Counsel for GE's Water & Process Technologies business where she led the global legal and compliance department and advised on a wide range of legal and business issues. She joined General Electric in 2004 and held roles of increasing responsibility throughout her time with GE, including Associate General Counsel for GE, as well as leading the Diversity & Inclusion Council for the Legal organization. Deborah remains an active affinity group member within SUEZ being the Executive Sponsor for the LGBTQA alliance. She is also on the advisory board for the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.

Barrington Lopez

Consultant, Board Advisor, and Strategic Investor

Former Vice President and General Counsel, Verizon Wireless-Midwest Division.

Barrington Lopez is currently consultant, board advisor and strategic investor in organizations and companies in the software industry. He is formerly vice president and general counsel of the Verizon Wireless 15 state Midwest division. 

In his recent prior role, Barrington was executive legal advisor to the division senior management team and responsible for strategic policy and legal matters for technology related commercial transactions, state regulatory and enforcement agency investigations, commercial litigation, commercial real estate transactions and local distribution and marketing matters. In addition to his legal department functions, Barrington led the crises management team for the Midwest area supporting operational responsiveness to large scale crises matters impacting customers, employees and state emergency management teams.

He was a past chair of the diversity advisory committee of Verizon’s legal department with a focus on diversity efforts within the department, law school pipeline and with external counsel. Barrington believes in our obligation as mentors and change agents to ensure future generations of leaders both fully realize their potential and reflect the diversity of our country.

Bendita Cynthia Malakia

Director of Diversity & Engagement

O'Melveny & Myers

Bendita Cynthia Malakia is a global justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) executive and talent cultivation expert whose aim is to ensure that individuals that are underrepresented, underserved and underestimated can thrive in the workplace. She serves as the Director of Diversity & Engagement at O’Melveny & Myers and the Founder & C-Suite JEDI Consultant at Malakia Group.

Bendita is a catalyst for underrepresented colleagues to be their authentic selves in the workplace and helps organizations structure for their success, including working across difference to create community – by building systems, inspiring investment, and fostering connections. With a people-centric, metrics-driven approach, Bendita also leverages her JEDI, leadership development, and executive coaching capabilities to help clients achieve their DEI ambitions.

Bendita draws on her prior experiences as a chief diversity & inclusion officer, a large law firm lawyer financing projects in emerging markets, in-house counsel at two global financial institutions, and as a diversity consultant for large and mid-size organizations, and a certified professional coach to co-create change individually and institutionally.

Bendita's thought leadership and advocacy extend to being a prolific writer and speaker on JEDI in the workplace, with specialized capabilities in intersectionality, women of color and LGBTQ+ issues. She is President-Elect of the National LGBTQ+ Bar, and contributes to the development of JEDI more broadly through initiatives bringing metrics and accountability globally. Bendita graduated from Harvard Law School, Barnard College and Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

Deloris McClendon

Director, Global Corporate and Legal Affairs Operations

Mondelez International

Sarretta C. McDonough

Associate General Counsel, Antitrust and Commercial Litigation

Intel Corporation

Sarretta McDonough is Associate General Counsel, Antitrust and Litigation, at Intel Corporation. Sarretta joined Intel in 2018 after practicing at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where she represented multinational clients in litigation and regulatory competition matters around the globe. Global Competition Review recognized Sarretta in 2018 as one of the leading practitioners in competition and named her a "Future Leader" in 2017. Sarretta served as President of the National Association of Women Lawyers for 2018-2019 and continues to serve on its Advisory Committee and as NAWL’s representative to the ABA’s House of Delegates. She currently serves as an officer for the Antitrust Section of the International Bar Association, is a member of the ABA’s International Task Force, and is an advisor to the Antitrust Section of the California Lawyers Association. She is a member of the California Bar and a solicitor of England and Wales.

Nerissa Coyle McGinn


Loeb & Loeb LLP

Nerissa Coyle McGinn’s practice focuses on matters involving the convergence of advertising and promotions, emerging media, technology, privacy and intellectual property law. She has particular experience advising on matters involving the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU). Nerissa works with many of the best-known brands in the country, including H&R Block and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and its confection brands. Embracing a business-minded approach, she helps clients develop new brand assets and assists them in promoting and advertising their brands and products.

Clients — including Turner Broadcasting and its programming properties, for which she handles trademark clearances for new shows, web properties, interstitials and sweepstakes — regularly turn to Nerissa for trademark counseling services.

I try to anticipate issues and provide innovative, effective solutions expeditiously for my clients.

In the advertising and promotions facet of her practice, she works with clients on sweepstakes review, copy review, and promotion design and fulfillment, with an emphasis on internet and interactive advertising and promotions.

Her diverse roster of clients includes advertising agencies, large corporations, and professional sports teams including the New York Giants, the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Red Wings.

Nerissa also provides legal services for digital companies and app developers, handling a variety of IP matters and privacy policies and practices relating to websites and mobile applications.

As a thought leader in her industry, Nerissa frequently speaks at events and conferences. She also serves as the firm’s first chief diversity partner and co-chair of the Diversity Committee, overseeing and revamping diversity policies and initiatives.

Luisa Menezes

Former VP & Associate General Counsel Regulatory Frameworks & Policy

Philip Morris International

Luisa Menezes served as VP & Associate General Counsel Regulatory Frameworks & Policy. 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, regulatory frameworks, consumer protection, human rights, marketing and advertising, merger & acquisitions, employment and collective bargaining, data protection and privacy, and competition law.

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 Leadership programs at the IMD, and the Management Program for Lawyers at Yale School of Management.

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

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

Gillian Emmett Moldowan
Shearman & Sterling LLP

Gillian Emmett Moldowan is a partner in the Compensation, Governance & ERISA practice.

She advises companies, boards of directors, executives and investors on compensation and benefit matters, including equity-based incentives, deferred compensation programs and employment, retention and severance arrangements. Her practice focuses in particular on issues that arise at the intersection of human capital management and corporate governance and in securities offerings and mergers and acquisitions transactions. She regularly counsels clients on disclosure, trading rules (including Section 16) and the negotiation of executive employment arrangements. Gillian also advises on the applicability of federal securities law, tax law and general employment-related legal issues.

Robert H. “Bobby” Moore


Baker & McKenzie

Robert Moore is a partner in the Firm's North America Tax Practice Group and the former managing partner of the Miami office. He focuses his practice mainly in the areas of international tax planning, supply chain tax management, reorganizations, funds formations, inbound real estate investment, and wealth management. He regularly advises U.S. and foreign-based multinational corporations and partnerships focused on luxury hotel, residences, and resorts, real estate development, and consumer goods and retail in luxury and fashion. He is Chambers rated in Chambers USA for Tax.

Robert is actively focused on the Firm's inclusion and diversity efforts and is the Chair of the North America Diversity and Inclusions Committee, was a member of the North America Anti-Racism Taskforce, and was the past co-chair of the New York and Miami I&D Committee. In 2020, Robert led the team in establishing the North America Tax Practice Group's first annual tax mentorship program in partnership with the National Black Law Students Association. Robert received the Firm’s “Outstanding Pro Bono Volunteer Award” in 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 for his work with numerous organizations and continues to be actively involved with several pro bono initiatives as part of his practice. In 2013, he was recognized as one of the Daily Business Review's "40 Under 40 Rising Stars" and was a finalist in the Daily Business Review's "Most Effective Lawyer" contest.

Nuris Portuondo

Executive Director and Assistant General Counsel

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

At JPMorgan Chase, Nuris manages the Executive Office Legal Team, a team of lawyers and legal specialists empowered to respond to regulatory inquiries, mitigate media and litigation threats and create resolutions for escalated customer complaints. Nuris started her career at Chase in March 2011. She managed the Legal Review Team which conducted third party oversight activities for legal vendors. She also managed a legal team that provided regulatory change management support for the Consumer and the Asset & Wealth Management businesses. A graduate of Purdue University with a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law in 1997. Intern to U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlene Lindsey, in the District Court for the EDNY; Intern to Edgardo Ramos, in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the EDNY; and Judicial Clerk in the Superior Court, Essex County, NJ. Nuris is of Cuban descent, is fluent in Spanish and French, and is a certified wine educator.

Jennifer M. Reddien
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Venable LLP

Jennifer Reddien has spent much of her career pursing diversity and inclusion efforts. In addition to her background and personal experiences, Jennifer’s passion for equity makes her an effective and invaluable leader as Venable’s inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer.

Jennifer’s charge is to build upon Venable’s award-winning  diversity initiatives by strategizing, elevating, implementing, and executing the firm’s diversity plan. She will closely monitor progress and hold the firm accountable for results. Jenn will also focus on education by training the firm’s attorneys on implicit bias and similar topics, as well as by speaking and serving on panels outside of the firm.

Prior to joining Venable, Jennifer served as the director of diversity and inclusion at Haynes and Boone, a global law firm and one of the largest in the United States. Before that she served as the executive director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, a nonprofit organization that promotes racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. Jennifer also spent many years as a litigation lawyer and served as co-chair of the Diversity Task Force at her previous law firm.

Jennifer was recently appointed to serve on the advisory board for the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. She was recognized in D CEO’s 2021 Dallas 500 Directory for her achievements as Haynes and Boones’ director of diversity and inclusion. And, in 2019, Jennifer was listed among Profiles in Diversity Journal’s list of Women Worth Watching. She is a member of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals, Inc. and many other minority organizations.

Following the racial protests that erupted in 2020, Jennifer was invited along with other thought leaders to take part in D CEO’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Impact Symposium. During her legal career, Jennifer was named an Illinois Rising Star by Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, from 2009 to 2014.

Jennifer received a bachelor of arts from Duke University, a juris doctor from the University of Michigan Law School, and a master of business administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Leslie Richards-Yellen
Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion
Debevoise & Plimpton 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.

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
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.

Tarek Sultani

General Counsel

JLL Technologies

Tarek Sultani is the General Counsel for JLL Technologies. Previously he was a lead counsel for Google supporting its Devices and Services division. Prior to Google, Mr. Sultani was Director - Senior Counsel at Motorola Mobility and the lead counsel for business development and commercial strategy. Before moving in-house, he was an Associate in the corporate groups at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

Tarek has advised public and private clients in a variety of U.S. and international transactions, including supply chain, sales, distribution, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, auctions, joint ventures, debt offerings, initial public offerings and other corporate matters across a variety of industries.

Tarek was named a UK Young Dealmaker of the Year in 2011 by Mergermarket and Intralinks and was the first ever recipient of Google’s Devices & Services Values award in 2017. He is admitted to practice in New York and is a Registered In-House Counsel in California. Tarek Sultani is also a CFA charterholder, having earned his charter in 2007. He previously worked as a financial analyst for a government contractor supporting the FAA and as a mutual fund accountant for State Street Bank.

He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and received his Bachelor’s from Cornell University

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.

Yasmean N. Tamoor

Assistant Corporation Counsel - Tax and Bankruptcy Division

New York City Law Department

Yasmean Tamoor is an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the New York City Law Department's Tax and Bankruptcy Division. Prior to this role, she worked as an A.C.C. in the Workers' Compensation Division. She is active in several bar associations, including the New York City Bar Association's Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Hispanic National Bar Association as Deputy Regional President for Region II, New York. In March of 2022, Yasmean was named to the National Association of Women Lawyers Rising List. The NAWL Rising List is made up of individuals advancing in their careers, helping others advance in their careers, and/or fighting to advance women under the law. This year, Yasmean joined New York County Lawyers Association's Young Lawyer Section as a C0-Chair, her first time serving as a Chair of a bar association committee. Working with young lawyers, law students and first generation legal professionals is a professional commitment of hers and she looks forward to co-chairing NYCLA's Young Lawyers' Section this upcoming year. In her leisure time, Yasmean is a supporter of performing and visual art institutions, including Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum and the National Arts club in New York City.

Derrick M. Thompson, Jr.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Derrick Thompson is partner and trial lawyer at Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Chicago who focuses his practice on complex business disputes. He has significant experience as lead trial counsel in a range of litigation matters, including partnership disputes, real estate litigation, employment litigation, intellectual property disputes, wealth transfer litigation, injunctive relief, and sports and entertainment-related disputes. In addition, Derrick has been retained as appellate counsel in cases involving business and contract disputes.

Derrick has an extensive background in sports. His experience includes playing college football for Northwestern University in the late '90s and representing professional athletes as a National Football League contract advisor. Derrick’s experience gives him a unique perspective in helping sports and entertainment-related companies resolve their legal disputes. He has represented individuals and businesses in contract negotiations and counsels corporations, not-for-profit entities, religious organizations, and sports and entertainment-related companies.

Mark G. Tratos
Greenberg Traurig LLP

Mark Tratos is the founding and former managing shareholder of the Las Vegas office of Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm with more than 2100 lawyers in 40 offices across the U.S. and overseas. Mark focuses his practice on entertainment and intellectual property litigation matters including copyright, rights of publicity and privacy, trademark and brand management, art law and cyber law. Mr. Tratos focuses his practice on protecting artists, inventors, athletes, entertainers and business proprietors who innovate and develop international brands.

Mark is the Past Chair of the Board of Trustees for the National Judicial College, where he is now Trustee Emeritus. Mark is Past Chair of the Nevada Entertainment Development Corporation, (the CineVegas Film Festival). Mark currently serves as Secretary and outside counsel to the Smith Center for Performing Arts in Las Vegas. Mark was both the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board for the Discovery Children’s Museum and is Secretary and outside counsel for the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and Chair of the Board of Lewis & Clark Law School and Trustee of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Mark has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America 17 years and has received 8 Lawyer of the Year designations in the areas of copyright, trademark, and intellectual property litigation.

Mark is the author of the Nevada Chapter of the International Trademark Association’s State Law Handbook chapter on Nevada; he is also the author of the New York Bar Association’s Siegel on Entertainment chapters on “Entertainment on the Internet: The Evolution of Entertainment Production, Distribution, Ownership and Control in the Digital Age”; and “Exhibitions: Art and Artifacts Exhibits as an Expansion of the Entertainment Industry”; and has taught extensively at law schools such as Arizona State, Lewis & Clark, and the Boyd School of Law at UNLV.

Lysha Weston

Sr. Vice President - Assistant General Counsel


Charys Scotton Williams
Senior Counsel - Employment
Walmart Inc.

Crystal T. Williams

Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary

Eli Lilly and Co.

Crystal Williams is currently Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at Eli Lilly and Company and has been with Eli Lilly for nearly eight years. In this role, she manages two of the five committees of the Eli Lilly’s Board of Directors and counsels the business and other support functions on disclosure requirements pursuant to the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. Prior to this role, Crystal was the Global Brand Counsel in Eli Lilly’s Bio-Medicines Business Unit, counseling the neuroscience and cardiovascular sales and marketing leadership responsible for establishing and carrying out U.S. and/or global brand and marketing strategies. Prior to working at Eli Lilly, Crystal worked at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in litigation, focusing on food and drug law and policy.

Crystal received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University and her law degree from Duke University School of Law. Throughout her career she has been actively involved in several civic and professional organizations, including has been a board member for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Heritage Place, and Indiana Fair Chance.

Latham Williams

Co-Founder, Principal

HeadLights LLC

James H. Wooten, Jr.

Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary (Ret.)

Illinois Tool Works Inc.

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).

Melanie E. Younger

Associate General Counsel, Privacy Commerce


Melanie E. Younger is Associate General Counsel, Privacy Commerce at Meta. She has experience in marketing law, product development, compliance, procurement, and privacy. She has provided marketing counsel as well as legal counsel on products and features from concept to launch, ensuring that the products being developed are not only ushered into the marketplace expeditiously, but are legally compliant.

Melanie received her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and received a Health Law certificate and was recognized as a Beazley Health Law Fellow. During her time before, during, and after her Juris Doctor candidacy, she participated in various programs (CLEO, JIOP, MSK/MBK and others) and sought mentors who helped orient, guide, and expose her to the legal profession as well as the many professional angles one could explore after completing her degree and passing the bar.

After receiving and benefiting the love and labor of so many throughout my professional journey, I now see it as my duty to support and lead inclusion and diversity efforts for those in the pipeline. At my company I have joined the newly created Legal and Compliance Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging group where my intent is to expand access to more diverse outside counsel as well as improve my company’s processes with respect to attracting and retaining diverse talent.

Michael D. Zeoli
Vice President, Litigation & Vendor Management
IAT Insurance Group, Inc.

Michael joined IAT in 2019. Michael is responsible for the Litigation & Vendor Management team which includes management of panel counsel, nonpanel counsel utilization, audit services and processes and all claim vendor relationships and utilization.

Responsibilities include oversight and management of:

- Legal (panel and non-panel counsel)

- Litigation related vendors

- Nonlegal vendor relationships

- Quality Assurance, Audit and ebilling processes

- Utilization and supply chain management; provide strategic oversight of supply chain of service providers

- Advancement of diversity and inclusiveness in litigation services supply chain

- Engagement as advisor in dispute resolution and practices; overall strategy and on case-by-case basis

- Financial and quality review and analysis

- Advancement of operational efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of the litigation and vendor management processes and resolution initiatives

Prior to joining IAT, Michael held various roles at Chubb, including:

- Vice President, Head of Litigation and Legal Vendor Management, North America

- Assistant Vice President, Home Office Litigation Management Specialist

- Assistant Vice President and Manager of the Litigation Cost Management Group.

From 2001 to 2010, Michael held various roles at The Hartford including:

- Regional Manager of Panel Counsel

- Counsel

- Trial Attorney

He also held positions with Sentry Insurance as Trial Attorney and The Public Consulting Group, Inc. as a Case Director and Counsel.

Michael earned his JD from Suffolk University Law School where in his 3rd year he participated in the prosecutor’s clinical program representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in criminal proceedings. Michael earned his MBA from Southern Connecticut State University and his BA in Economics from Albertus Magnus College, where he later served as an Adjunct Professor teaching Business Ethics, Business Law and Sports Law.

Michael has been a speaker and faculty member on litigation management and claim topics. Michael is a Certified Litigation Management Professional (LMI – CLM designation), Certified Claims Professional in Casualty Claims (CLM designation) and a member of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC). Michael is also a member of NAMWOLF’s Advisory Council (National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms) and IILP’s Advisory Board (The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession).

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