The Female Attorneys You Admire

Mar 06, 2015   


By Law 360 Staff
March 6, 2015

Law360, New York (March 06, 2015, 4:21 PM ET) — In honor of International Women’s Day, which recognizes women for their achievements around the globe, we asked attorneys to tell us the female lawyers they admire and why.

Read on to find out who inspires the more than 30 lawyers who answered our call.

Bill Bay, Thompson Coburn LLP
“At 98, Frankie Muse Freeman is a civil rights pioneer who shows no signs of slowing down. Ms. Freeman earned a law degree from Howard University in 1947, graduating second in her class. As an attorney in St. Louis, she led a 1952 class action that successfully challenged racial segregation in public housing. She was a passionate advocate in a hostile world. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Ms. Freeman as the first woman named to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Ms. Freeman, who was recently appointed by President Obama as a member of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, truly exemplifies one of her own frequent sayings: ‘Serve, in any way you can, every day.’”

Hilarie Bass, Greenberg Traurig LLP
“I admire Greenberg Traurig shareholder Lori Cohen for both her extraordinary trial record of 56 defense verdicts and the way she leads by example both in our firm and the legal profession. Lori’s commitment to mentoring younger attorneys and helping develop the next generation of trial attorneys is just one reason that she is a key member of our executive committee and women’s initiative. At the same time, Lori remains dedicated to her clients, maintaining a busy and thriving practice handling some of the largest and most high-profile pharmaceutical and medical device products liability matters across the nation.”

Hillary Bean Schumaker, Armstrong Teasdale LLP
“I admire Amy Lorenz-Moser, a partner at Armstrong Teasdale LLP, for her passion and commitment to pro bono work on behalf of abused women in addition to a busy litigation practice. Her pro bono work includes winning the release of two women who had been imprisoned for more than 30 years after killing their violent husbands.”

Ira Bogner, Proskauer Rose LLP
“Amanda Nussbaum, Proskauer tax partner, is a lawyer I admire. The youngest woman to make partner at Proskauer, Amanda has led the tax team in over 38 transactions representing over $18 billion in the past year. She serves on the executive committee of the tax section of the NYSBA. She contributes to the firm’s advancement of women by serving on the hiring and evaluation committees and mentoring associates on a daily basis. Although one of the hardest working partners, she participates in a variety of pro bono projects and was inducted to the YWCA of the City of New York’s Academy of Women Leaders.”

Robert D. Boyd, Boyd Collar Nolen & Tuggle
“Judge Cynthia Wright is the quintessential example of the ‘power of the second act.’ You might think after nearly 20 years as a Fulton County (Atlanta) Superior Court judge, chairing its Business Court and the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution’s Ethics and Budget committees, wrapping up her service with two terms as chief judge, this highly regarded jurist would have ridden out her career on the bench, or even considered early retirement. Instead, Wright made the brave decision to embrace her passion for expedient access to justice by launching — within a family law firm — a private courtroom practice that will handle civil, business, governmental and family law disputes.”

Patricia Menendez-Cambo, Greenberg Traurig LLP
“It’s a privilege to work alongside Mary-Olga Lovett. She embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Greenberg Traurig, and is an inspiration for other women attorneys. If we want to make strides in the advancement of women in the profession, we need to learn from women like Mary-Olga who have blazed new paths and developed new solutions for serving clients and inspiring growth. As co-managing shareholder for Houston and co-regional operating shareholder for Texas, Mary-Olga is an important voice of our firm. Her exceptional work on behalf of clients, which she seamlessly manages while leading business efforts in Texas, deserves much praise.”

Emily Campbell, Dunlap Codding
“While many women motivate and inspire me, Ashley Smith stands out. Ashley balances many facets of life with grace. Not only is Ashley “leaning into” her career as corporate counsel for Quibids, she is very involved with the local community, devoting time to her church, LOYAL (Linking OKC’s Young Adult Leaders), Rotary Club, and Junior League of Oklahoma City. Ashley is also co-chairing a community networking event, IgniteOKC. Surrounding myself with women like Ashley who have enthusiasm for the law and passion for giving back to the community encourages me to work hard, give back and be a better me.”

Marilyn Chinitz, Blank Rome LLP
“Karen Andrews has a distinguished legal career including SVP, legal and business affairs of Hachette Book Group in New York and general counsel of BBDO Worldwide Inc. Karen’s unwavering passion has made an enormous impact on everyone she touches.For example, when her twin sister, Kathy Giusti, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the sisters founded Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) in 1998. Today, the foundation builds collaborative research models, leading to the life-saving treatments. Their work transformed the treatment landscape for multiple myeloma patients and it stands as a new paradigm for other research groups.”

Mayanne Downs, GrayRobinson PA
“I admire Amy Starr, a powerhouse litigator with Davis Polk in New York, and Karen Dyer, another powerhouse New York lawyer at Boies Schiller. Amy is smart, elegant, always prepared and even-keeled. I admire Karen Dyer as the most successful lawyer I know, whose passion and loyalty amaze me year after year.”

Kim Ebert, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC
“I admire Melissa Bailey, who is an equity shareholder and a member of the board of directors of Ogletree Deakins.  First of all, Melissa is a nationally recognized workplace safety expert. Second, Melissa plays a key role in our firm’s governmental affairs practice, representing employer interests before Congress and administrative agencies. Finally, Melissa is a leader. She is the co-chair of our large workplace safety practice group; she previously was the managing shareholder of our firm’s D.C. office; and she is now a member of the firm’s board. Melissa has accomplished all this while safeguarding time with a very active 8-year-old daughter.”

Ofer Elitzur, Cox Castle & Nicholson
“Annie Mudge stands out as a passionate mentor in her role as co-leader of Cox Castle & Nicholson’s land use practice. Over the past 10 years, Annie set herself apart as permitting counsel for more installed megawatts of renewable energy than any other lawyer in California. Steering through the requirements necessary to build utility-scale energy projects is a high-stakes venture, with millions of dollars of investment riding on the ability to obtain permits. Annie helps clients move from application to approval to construction. Annie served on Oakland’s Planning Commission under Jerry Brown, shaping projects that are revitalizing the city.”

Carol Faber, Akerman LLP
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an accomplished and respected advocate, professor, author and jurist, who paved the way for women in many arenas, often as the first woman. It may be hard to imagine (thanks in large part to her trailblazing), but she did this at a time when women were not in, and were actively discouraged from, these positions. She is a strong and outspoken supporter of women’s equality and rights, and her example, work and opinions have effectively strengthened those rights. Nearly 82 years old, she continues to set an example for the next generation of female lawyers and tomorrow’s advocates for social justice.”

Monte Falcoff, Harness Dickey LLP
“Beth Coakley, a principal at Harness Dickey, has been deftly practicing IP law for 30-plus years and while her remarkable track record is itself admirable, it’s the way she succeeds that makes her a true inspiration. For instance, when a client was sued for importing counterfeit children’s shoes, she not only proved they were innocently imported, she suggested the client remove the labels and donate the shoes to a children’s orphanage, which it did. She turned a tough situation into one that benefited others. Beth is smart, creative and an inspiration to all attorneys at Harness Dickey — male and female.”

Mitchell Fuerst, Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph PL
“Jennifer Correa Riera, an attorney with Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph in Miami, Florida, focuses her practice on tax litigation and has made a name for herself litigating with theInternal Revenue Service. She is an entirely self-taught tax lawyer, specializing in a particularly difficult area of tax litigation: collection due process appeals. She has worked on dozens of these cases and continues to win these thorny matters on a regular basis. As the senior female associate at the firm, Riera serves as a mentor and inspiration to the other female attorneys at the firm. I admire her for being self-taught and being able to win these extremely complex and difficult cases against the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of clients. As you can imagine, it takes some chutzpah to go up against the IRS, and she does this successfully on a regular basis.”

Ted Gavin, Gavin Solmonese LLC
“Meg Manning is an infallible ally as an attorney and an inspiration as a woman. She has exemplified women’s strength in the profession at every step of her career: as a child advocate; a working mother; reliable and steadfast legal associate, meeting the pressures of billing and servicing clients while opening new offices for an established firm; a seasoned adviser and, now; trusted counsel to the leadership of a growing firm. Meg’s leadership of the Delaware Network of the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation earned honors and her service on the IWIRC board sets the example for others.”

William Geary, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
“I have worked with Lisa Adams for 15 years and have always been impressed by her analytical ability, her skills as lawyer, and the attention that she applies to client needs.  The latter point endears her to clients. In addition to her busy practice, she has two young children and manages to balance the demands of both her practice and family without sacrificing quality or excellence. She also manages to be active in bar-related activities and charitable activities.  Lisa gives 100 percent to everything she does as evidenced by the confidence she instills in her clients and the esteem in which she is held by her peers.”

Lawrence L. Ginsburg, Moses & Singer LLP
“Deirdre Stanley is EVP and general counsel of Thomson Reuters Corp. She is, of course, an extraordinarily gifted attorney — brilliant, insightful, always engaged and always on point. Her academic and professional credentials are beyond first-rate. But admiration — that comes from Deirdre being a unique person who approaches every professional and life situation as a challenge —a problem to be solved constructively and with the brightest gleam in her eye. I admire Deirdre because she is profoundly fair and generous; never boring to be around; and, finally, because, in the best sense, she is a true leader.”

Joanna Horsnail, Mayer Brown LLP
“Debora de Hoyos has been a critical role model for me and many women. I admire Debora because she leads by example and with purpose — she became managing partner of Mayer Brown at just 38, a position she held for 16 years. In addition to being smart, funny, strategic and accomplished, she still devotes much time to helping younger lawyers navigate their careers. After stepping down as managing partner, she has remained very active in helping lawyers develop business, encouraging the firm to innovate and furthering the firm’s diversity initiatives. She continues to get in the trenches, leading by example.”

Sandy Jeskie, Sharon Caffrey and Jane Dalton, Duane Morris LLP
“We’re not alone in admiring Bobbi Liebenberg for everything she’s done to promote gender equality in the legal profession. Not only is she a top antitrust litigation attorney, she’s served as chair of the ABA’s Commission on Women in the Profession and on the Gender Equity Task Force. For her exemplary legal career that shows that women can be just as successful in this profession as men, and for her leadership in advancing women’s equality and issues, Bobbi personifies the values and spirit of International Women’s Day.”

Karen Jacobs, Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP
“Heidi Keefe has successfully tried cases for clients such as Facebook and prevailed in countless Markman and summary judgment disputes for clients such as HTC andLinkedIn.  I greatly admire her unmatched level of preparedness and ability to persuade in a thoughtful, deliberate manner.  As a partner at Cooley LLP, she also serves as a mentor to countless associates that have come through the ranks, both with her unique writing style and in such matters as business development.”

Hilary L. Lewis, Hollingsworth LLP
“Katharine R. Latimer’s remarkable success as a trial attorney underscores her status as a role model for, and mentor to, junior women attorneys, including minority women attorneys just beginning their careers. Women who work with Kate obtain a first-class legal education through immediate involvement in substantive trial work, in which they are given extraordinary responsibility, thus bolstering their skills and their confidence. Despite her demanding trial calendar, Kate takes time to serve on the grants committee for Sharing Montgomery, operated through The Community Foundation for Montgomery County (Maryland) focusing on nonprofits serving the county’s low-income children, families and seniors.”

Lois Liberman, Blank Rome LLP
“I admire my partner, Sheila Ginsberg Riesel. She is one of the most successful female matrimonial attorneys in New York City, and participates in the highest levels of leadership within our firm by having been a former member of the distribution committee and current member of the executive committee. Sheila has never been afraid to speak her mind or to stand up for what she believes in. I admire her high expectations and marvel at what she been able to spur others to achieve, all the while being a great wife and mother of two very successful young women.”

Mary McNulty, Thompson & Knight LLP
“Throughout her career as a tax controversy lawyer, law firm leader at Thompson & Knight and senior government official, Emily Parker has excelled in industries and practice areas not traditionally associated with women, paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps. An excellent communicator, outstanding mentor and distinguished lawyer, Emily provides invaluable advice on client matters, tax law, career and management issues. She has a keen ability to zero in on the issue, understand what motivates people, and provide a practical solution. After 25 years of practicing together, I am amazed at how much I continue to learn from watching Emily in action.”

Carolyn S. Moskowitz, Pomerantz LLP
“As a young mother and practicing nurse, Jayne A. Goldstein returned to school to fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer. In 28 years of practice, she has the exceptional distinction of having been lead counsel in securities, antitrust and consumer class action cases, a number of which have set important precedents. Ms. Goldstein fights fiercely on behalf of aggrieved plaintiffs, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars and punishing corporations for price-fixing and monopolization. Her demanding responsibilities take her across the country, yet she always finds time for family and to mentor other women. That’s why we admire her.”

Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
“Kathleen Bliss is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a partner and chair of the white collar criminal practice and vice chair of the Indian nations law and policy practice at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP. Kathleen is an extraordinary woman whose life is dedicated to protecting others.  Kathleen is a strong Native American woman and a leader in her fields. I admire her ability to push through resistance — not through force or argument, which is what lawyers generally do — but with grace and unshakable confidence.”

Joe Orlet, Husch Blackwell LLP
“Husch Blackwell’s Cynthia Cordes is a real-life hero winning the fight to end human-trafficking. Cordes is a nationally recognized former federal prosecutor and leader in complex criminal litigation. She has prosecuted more human trafficking cases than any assistant U.S. attorney in the country and her pioneering work involved some of the most complex human trafficking cases in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice. She has continued her innovative work by spearheading Husch Blackwell’s human trafficking clinic; the first of its kind in the country. Because of Cordes, Kansas City may be the American community with the fewest illusions about the prevalence of human trafficking, as well as the greatest willingness to do something about it.”

Usha Parker, Cantor Colburn LLP
“I admire and appreciate Anne Davis Barry’s focus and dedication to client satisfaction. The first case I worked on for Anne was a difficult one. She directly addressed the issues while maintaining a positive momentum by not getting mired in blame or a rehashing of past decisions. She has a knack for quickly assessing the options and getting on with the most efficient course of action, and she’s exceedingly kind while being brutally honest.  Anne is the only female partner I have worked with who does patent prosecution in the electrical arts, so I’m happy that she’s such a good role model.”

Chip Phinney, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
“I admire Betsy Burnett for serving as head of Mintz Levin’s litigation section and its hiring partner at a time when it was still rare for women attorneys to hold these posts at law firms, showing that you can be the toughest attorney in the room and also the friendliest and most compassionate, always looking for ways to champion women lawyers and clients, remembering to ask about your family and actually listening to the answer, and believing in the importance of a firm really caring about its clients, community, attorneys and staff.”

Darren Robbins, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP
“I’m proud to recognize my partner, Willow Radcliffe, a key member of the lead plaintiff’s trial team in the securities class action brought against the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer, Pfizer Inc. Her tenacious efforts and investigation led to the proposed $400 million settlement presented to the court last month. Radcliffe uncovered convincing evidence that Pfizer insiders were keenly aware of the enormous returns Pfizer earned through off-label promotion and revealed that Pfizer was aware that its actions would be subject to enormous fines, penalties and exclusion from government programs.”

Michael Rosenberg, ROIG Lawyers
“Jessica Z. Martin is an integral part of the fabric, growth and success of ROIG Lawyers. As a colleague, I have a tremendous amount of respect for her and her dedication to her practice. Jessica’s success comes from her tenacity and drive. She became the first woman named partner at ROIG Lawyers and currently serves on the firm’s management committee. Under Jessica’s direction and supervision, our firm established a fraud (SIU) investigations practice that uses sophisticated data analytics to identify potential fraud in litigation and non litigated matters. Jessica is a true leader and visionary that inspires her colleagues and sets the bar for them to live up to.”

Joseph M. Sellers, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
“Anita Hill is a tremendous asset to Cohen Milstein and our efforts on behalf of victims of discrimination and other illegal practices in the workplace.  She is one of the nation’s foremost champions of women’s and workplace equality and an icon for civil rights.”

Stacey Slaughter, Robins Kaplan LLP
“I have the privilege of calling Cheryl Thomas my inspiration and mentor. As the former director of Global Rights for Women and one of Newsweek’s ‘150 Women Who Shake the World,’ Cheryl is a courageous pioneer in women’s rights advocacy, most notably in the realm of domestic violence legal reform and offender retribution. Cheryl demonstrates utmost humility while epitomizing the ideals of the legal profession, using her astute capabilities to sow seeds of change that are transforming lives around the world. Words cannot adequately describe the magnitude of Cheryl’s influence, but I join the ranks of others in expressing my gratitude.”

Sheldon Sloane, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP
“Malissa Hathaway McKeith is the chair of our firm’s real estate, energy and public agency law. Ms. McKeith is a superb problem solver; she is thoughtful and innovative, and often seeks solutions that are out of the ordinary course of matters. She is familiar with the usual solutions and willing to think about those that are not readily apparent, and is a tireless worker who will work for days on end to resolve a matter no matter what it takes. She values winning and has taught that ethic to many younger women in our firm, for whom she serves as both a mentor and a role model. Ms. McKeith is passionate about her profession and a pleasure to work with at Lewis Brisbois.”

Taryn Stone, Ice Miller LLP
“Sherry Fabina-Abney is a wonderful example of an attorney, mother, friend and Hoosier. She is active within our firm as well as our community. Not only is Sherry a vibrant and extremely busy partner in the health law group at Ice Miller LLP with more than 20 years of experience and recognitions too numerous to count. Sherry is also an active board member of the Indiana 4-H Foundation and along with the help of her husband and three children runs a full-time farm in Johnson County, Indiana. I marvel at her dedication to her family, her work and others.”

Kimberly Taylor, JAMS
“I have long admired Linda R. Singer for work as a pioneer in the field of ADR and I was so proud when she became the first female chair of the board of directors for JAMS in 2014. In an industry typically dominated by men, she has more than 30 years of ADR experience as a neutral, litigator and trainer. She pioneered the development of mediation as a practice, training fellow mediators and lawyers all over the world and has designed ADR processes for private companies, court systems, and government agencies.”

Amelia Valenzuela, Quarles & Brady LLP 
“I admire Lori Winkelman, a partner in our restructuring, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights group at Quarles & Brady LLP. I think highly of Lori for a number of different reasons: responsiveness, client commitment, dedication to the firm and creative problem solving, to name a few. Lori’s door to her office is almost always open, and I think that provides an easy metaphor for her approach to the practice of law. People, both in and out of the firm, know that Lori’s door is open, be it for tough legal questions, business advice or personal mentorship.”

Carrie Valiant, Epstein Becker Green
“I’m shouting out my admiration for my EBG partner Lynn Shapiro Snyder, who hired me 31 years ago today. An accomplished health lawyer, and more, Lynn makes rain, serves on EBG’s board and sponsors women to leadership. In 2001, Lynn founded WBL, where senior women health care executives learn the value of board service and doing business with each other.  This earned her a spot on the top 100 women in health care list. Lynn inspired me to make a difference — founding the nonprofit Health Care Industry Access Initiative, dedicated to industry-based access solutions, serving on other nonprofit boards and on the EBG board where we now serve together.”

Charlotte L. Wager, Jenner & Block LLP
“’You is kind. You is smart. You is important.’ The Help (Aibileen Clark encouraging her young charge). Starting at Jenner & Block in 1992, Susan C. Levy, a junior partner, encouraged me. Susan was a rising star, developing her practice, working on high-profile matters and raising a family. I admired everything about her. She worked hard, she was smart, she was kind.  She rose up the ranks ultimately becoming managing partner. In that role, Susan worked hard, made smart decisions and was kind. The strategy worked well — she is now general counsel at The Northern Trust Co.”

Cynthia Johnson Walden, Fish & Richardson PC
“One of the women I admire is Terri Chen, legal director at Google. Terri leads Google’s trademark department and has always impressed me with her intelligent, thoughtful and savvy perspective on trademarks issues. She manages the global trademark strategy for one of the most valuable and well-known trademarks in the world and she does so with poise and enthusiasm. She has done a masterful job of protecting and increasing the value of the Google trademarks while navigating the new and challenging issues related to the use of trademarks on the Internet. In addition to her role protecting and growing the value in the Google trademarks, Terri has been an articulate advocate for the power of trademarks through their use in the Google AdWords program.”

Brent Walker, Aldous Law
“Over the past decade, there is no attorney I admire more than Charla Aldous, my colleague and mentor. Charla is a true advocate — often seeking justice against defendants with the resources to avoid or severely limit their accountability. But Charla never backs down. She has gone to trial against the most powerful corporations and elite institutions, consistently winning due to her unmatched passion and preparation. Yet with all that success she still makes an emotional and empathetic connection with each client, most recently the “Ebola nurse” Nina Pham.  In every case, Charla truly listens, and deftly uncovers the truth.”

Natalie S. Watson, McCarter & English LLP
“My contemporary, Leslie Fischer, has been my role model since we attended law school. A senior patent attorney at Novartis and its liaison to the USPTO, Leslie drafts and prosecutes biotechnology and chemical patent applications.  She has changed the industry, having led a litigation that altered how the PTO recalculates patent term adjustments. Leslie was also the first woman to co-chair ACI’s Advanced Summit of Life Science Patents conference. She devotes countless hours mentoring women interested in STEM fields, as well as members of the LGBT community, and brings integrity, intelligence and compassion to all she does. She is everything that is right with our profession.”

Charlene Wright, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP
“Jennifer Merrigan is my touchstone for the profession because of her legal acumen and unwavering ethical commitment.  She is a tireless advocate for clients with everything to lose, and typically, nothing to pay. A principal attorney at Phillips Black, a public, nonprofit law firm, Jenny has devoted her practice to capital defense. She has been appointed and has consulted in state and federal habeas corpus, preauthorization, and trial cases as a mitigation specialist and as counsel on some of the country’s most difficult cases. She is an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University Law School and teaches the Death Penalty Clinic.”

–Editing by Chris Yates.