Career Development & Life Balance
Ani Adjemian is Senior Counsel with WFBM, LLP in the Los Angeles office, where she focuses her practice on defending mass tort/toxic tort, environmental, and product liability cases. Ms. Adjemian is experienced in all phases of civil litigation, having represented clients in both bench and jury trials involving a variety of matters. She enjoys practicing law and working with her clients to come up with creative solutions to resolve matters with their specific goals in mind. She received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law, where she served as Notes and Comments Editor for Southwestern’s Law Review, and was an active member of its Moot Court Honors Program.
Outside of practicing law, Ms. Adjemian serves as Co-Chair for WLALA’s Career Development and Life Balance Committee, as well as participating as a member in the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California. In her personal time, she looks forward to her time with her husband and kids and the rare quiet days at home.
Pro-Choice and Reproductive Rights
Vanessa C. Adriance is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. She currently practices in the firm's Litigation Department.
Ms. Adriance has significant experience advising clients regarding California's Proposition 65, and has represented retailer and manufacturer clients in the defense of a wide variety of Proposition 65 claims relating to a diverse array of products and issues. She also has experience advising clients regarding compliance with Proposition 65. She has extensive experience dealing with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the agency charged with administering Proposition 65, and the California Attorney General's office, on matters relating to Proposition 65. Ms. Adriance also has advised clients on a variety of other environmental issues, including matters relating to California's Green Chemistry initiatives and the California Environmental Quality Act.
Ms. Adriance also has substantial trial and appellate experience, and has worked on several complex matters involving environmental issues, antitrust issues, contract issues, fraud, and legal malpractice defense from inception through verdict and appeal.
Ms. Adriance graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University School of Law in 2006, where she served as Managing Editor of the Tulane Law Reviewand received the Charles Janvier II Award for Production Excellence. She received a Master of Arts Degree from Tulane University in 2003 in English, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University in 2002.
Ms. Adriance also serves on the board of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.
Ms. Adriance is admitted to practice in the states of California and Nevada.
Erin L. Burke is a partner at Jones Day, having joined the Firm in 1996 after obtaining her JD from UC Davis. She is the Administrative Partner of Jones Day's Los Angeles office.
Erin has substantial experience litigating and trying cases in a broad range of complex matters, with an emphasis on toxic/mass torts and product liability. She has represented multinational companies including Pilatus Aircraft, BSH Home Appliances, Chevron, Dole, Textron, and Yamaha in individual and class action litigation involving aviation, consumer goods, microelectronics and semiconductors, off-road vehicles, industrial safety equipment, pesticides, roofing products, and truck/automotive parts. Erin's broad experience in complex litigation matters includes unfair competition, contract disputes, business torts, and bankruptcy litigation.
In addition to serving on the Board of Governors for WLALA, Erin is also on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Corporate Counsel, and the Board of Trustees for Olive Crest, Los Angeles.
Maggie Carter is a partner in O’Melveny’s White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Practice. Maggie counsels organizations large and small in investigating possible criminal or regulatory violations, responding to requests from government investigators, and assisting organizations with making referrals to government investigating agencies. Before Maggie rejoined O’Melveny, she spent eight years as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, where she focused on public corruption, civil rights, and sophisticated fraud cases, including the federal investigation of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officials, and other cases involving charges of embezzlement, money laundering, health care fraud, and identity theft. As a prosecutor, Maggie led dozens of significant prosecutions, won convictions in several high-profile jury trials, and argued and briefed cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She also served as a mentor to new prosecutors in trial.
Maggie clerked for the Hon. Richard A. Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2001 and her B.A. from Harvard College in 1996. Before law school, Maggie was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.
Law Student Mentoring
Melissa Cerro is an Intellectual Property Associate, in-house, with Gamblit Gaming, the industry leader in bringing world class, AAA skill gaming onto casino floors. Ms. Cerro is a member of the State Bar of California and in the process of obtaining her license to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As an IP Associate, she focuses primarily on trademark and patent prosecution, here in the United States, and coordination of both assets around the world.
Melissa graduated with Honors from UC Irvine with a degree in Political Science, from the Straus Institute with a Certificate in Dispute Resolution, and from Pepperdine School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship. While at Pepperdine, Melissa externed for Chief Judge Peter Carroll of the United States Bankruptcy Court and served as a Literary Citation Editor for The Journal of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary, as a member of the Moot Court team, and as President of the Women Lawyers Association.
Prior to attending law school, Melissa worked on political campaigns, including the Presidential primary and general election from 2007-2008 and the New York City Mayoral election in 2009.
Melissa currently serves as Co-Chair of the Law Student Mentoring Committee and previously server on the Financial Development Committee.
Elaine Chang is an associate at Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP, focusing primarily on securities class action litigation. Ms. Chang graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Economics. Ms. Chang received her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, where she served as the Executive Articles and Notes Editor of the UCLA Journal of Law and Technology and the Managing Editor of the Asian Pacific American Law Journal. Ms. Chang was also a member of the UCLA Moot Court Honors Board and volunteered with the VAWA legal clinic during law school. Additionally, Ms. Chang externed for the Honorable Gary A. Feess in the Central District of California. After graduating from UCLA Law, Ms. Chang was a law fellow with the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Prior to law school, Ms. Chang was a litigation consultant for a big four accounting firm. Ms. Chang also worked in the marketing and product management department for an investment management firm in New York.
Connie L. Chen is an Associate in the Los Angeles, California office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Connie’s practice focuses on representing employers in all types of employment-related litigation in state and federal courts and in arbitration. She has broad experience litigating single plaintiff and class action cases involving wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and related claims. She assists employers in a variety of industries, including restaurant, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, construction, health care, transportation, and nonprofit.
In addition, Connie defends employers against wage and hour claims before the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, and charges of discrimination before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She also routinely provides preventative counseling to employers on policies and practices governing day-to-day workplace issues, including wage and hour compliance, employee handbooks, requests for leave, disability accommodation, employee discipline, layoffs, and terminations.
Connie earned her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City. While in law school, she served as Production Editor of the Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal. In addition to serving on the WLALA Board, Connie has served on the California Women Lawyers Board of Governors since 2014, and has been appointed CWL’s Treasurer for 2016-2017.
Hon. Judith C. Chirlin (Ret.)
Member at Large
Judge Judith C. Chirlin (Ret’d), served on the Los Angeles Superior Court from 1985 to 2009. In November of 2011, she became Executive Director of the Western Justice Center (“WJC”) in Pasadena, California. WJC is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a more civil, peaceful society where differences are valued. It designs and implements creative programs that change the way people think about and respond to differences and conflict.
Over her years as a lawyer and on the bench, Judge Chirlin became involved in numerous efforts to improve the legal systems and the administration of justice in California, throughout the nation and around the world. A renowned speaker and educator, Judge Chirlin has traveled extensively, consulting on court reform, human rights and conflict resolution and teaching programs for foreign judges, lawyers, police officers, educators and other professionals in more than 20 countries.
She has served on the WLALA Board for over 30 years. She has also served on the Boards of California Women Lawyers, the National Association of Women Judges and the International Association of Women Judges.
Since joining WJC, she has focused on conflict resolution and the reduction of prejudice and intergroup conflict in schools and communities.
Multicultural Bar Alliance Liaison
Luci-Ellen Chun is an attorney at VACCO Industries. She has served on the Executive Committee and the Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA). She was the first Asian Pacific American to be elected President of the LACBA Barristers. During her term, she focused on providing services to youth organizations, organizing backpack drives and training attorneys to assist with foster youth. She has served on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and California Women Lawyers. She is an advisor to the Multi-cultural Bar Alliance. She is on the LACBA Diversity in the Profession Committee. She was the recipient of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center Pro Bono Award (currently Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles). She is currently serving as the President of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance (APAWLA).
Patricia A. Daza-Luu is a litigation associate at Sedgwick LLP with extensive experience in insurance coverage disputes in a broad range of fields (including entertainment, construction, D&O, and E&O). She recently served as senior associate on a multi-million dollar insurance bad faith trial in federal court, resulting in a complete defense verdict. Ms. Daza-Luu is adept at offensive and defensive discovery, motion practice, and trial and arbitration preparation. Capable of managing large caseloads independently, she has successfully prepared coverage opinions on a broad range of complex insurance issues.
Ms. Daza-Luu is admitted to practice in California. In addition to WLALA, she is a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. When Ms. Daza-Luu is not “lawyering,” she enjoys spending time with her family, spinning, and eating whatever her husband cooks for her.
Ms. De Witt holds undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Riverside in both Economics and Administration, with a minor in Women’s Studies. Ms. De Witt has a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School.
Ms. De Witt joined the United States Attorney’s Office in 1997. Ms. De Witt was a Deputy Chief in the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office before spending two years in Washington D.C. at the Department of Justice as both the National Security Coordinator and Civil Rights Coordinator for the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. In that capacity, Ms. De Witt worked closely with the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee - Subcommittees on Civil Rights and Terrorism and National Security - on the development of national policies, initiatives, and training programs. Upon her return to Los Angeles, Ms. De Witt became the Acting Executive Assistant United States Attorney, where she assisted the United States Attorney, Mr. Birotte, in overseeing an office of approximately 265 attorneys and 200 staff members.
Ms. De Witt is currently a Senior Litigation Counsel. During her more than 18 years as a Federal Prosecutor, Ms. De Witt has investigated and prosecuted numerous national security, violent crime, and financial-fraud matters, including the first ever terrorism trial in the Central District of California, and a case involving serial killings, kidnappings, international money laundering, and attempt to escape from custody that resulted in the first successful death penalty sentences in the Central District in over 50 years.
Prior to working at the United States Attorney’s Office, Ms. De Wit was a Judicial Clerk for the Honorable John G. Davies, United States District Court Judge. She later worked at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and then at White & Case handling complex business litigation matters.
Mary Essuman Teh is an attorney and aspiring writer in downtown Los Angeles. She runs her own legal practice, NMC Legal Consulting, PC, manages a non-profit, Books and More Education Foundation, and in her spare time, tries to keep up with her writing, which includes her blog Work It Gal, and her first novel, Promised Land.
Mary's legal practice focuses on helping other's write their own success stories, as she consults with and provides transactional legal services to start-up businesses.
The non-profit, originally founded by Mary's father, focuses on shipping books to Ghana and allowing Ghanaian children and young adults to get an education and ultimate become self-sufficient.
Finally, Mary's blog focuses on how women must navigate colliding worlds to achieve their own definition of success.
Sara Brazao Ferreira
Sara Brazao Ferreira is an associate in the real estate group in Skadden's Los Angeles office. Ms. Brazao Ferreira’s practice involves transactional real estate matters, including mezzanine and senior loan financing; acquisition and disposition of various real estate assets, including office buildings and luxury hotels and resorts; leasing transactions; and formation and dissolution of real estate-focused joint ventures. Ms. Brazao Ferreira’s pro bono engagements have included, among others, leasing for charter schools, loan refinancing for non-profit organizations, asylum cases and holocaust reparations. Prior to joining Skadden, Ms. Brazao Ferreira worked in international real estate development and sales while living in Brazil. Ms. Brazao Ferreira earned her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and her J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where she served as an editor on the UCLA Law Review and externed for the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Nancy S. Fong is a senior litigation counsel in the Los Angeles office of Allen Matkins. Nancy's practice focuses on construction litigation, employment, commercial, real estate and financial services litigation. Nancy commonly represents contractors, hotel owners, commercial landlords, developers, employers and management in a variety of breach of contract, fraud, tort, construction defect, title disputes, prevailing wage, wrongful termination and discrimination disputes. She also represents national lenders and servicers in complex consumer finance litigation and defends Fortune 500 employers in class action and employment disputes. Nancy has chaired multiple trials and arbitrations, and has argued before both federal and state courts in trial and post-trial phases.
Nancy has served as a contributing author to Business Torts: A Fifty-State Guide in each annual edition since 2011. She has also served on her firm's Recruiting Committee and Diversity Committee. Nancy is also actively involved in the community and runs a local non-profit organization called Kids Reading to Succeed, which provides one-on-one tutoring to underprivileged youth in the Pasadena area.
Nancy completed her bachelor’s degree and graduated magna cum laude in 1998 from the University of California, Los Angeles, with majors in political science and Asian American studies. She received her J.D. in 2001 from UCLA School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor for the Pacific Basin Law Journal and as a teaching assistant.
Hon. Susan Formaker
California Women Lawyers Liaison
Hon. Holly J. Fujie
State Court Liaison
The Hon. Holly J. Fujie was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court of the State of California on December 27, 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown. She is currently sitting in a Civil assignment at the Mosk Courthouse. Prior to her appointment, Judge Fujie was a shareholder in the Los Angeles-based law firm of BuchalterNemer, APC, where she practiced corporate civil litigation. She received A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was an editor of the California Law Review, and in 2008-2009 she was the third woman and the 1st Asian American to serve as the President of the State Bar of California. She has also served as Vice President of the California Bar Foundation, President of the Boalt Hall Alumni Association and of the Chancery Club, and at the time of her appointment to the bench she was Chair of Bet Tzedek Legal Services. Judge Fujie continues to serve on numerous boards and she has received many awards for her work in diversity and for bar leadership, including the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles’ Distinguished Service Award, the National Association of Women Lawyers’ M. Ashley Dickerson Diversity Award, the ABA’s Difference Makers Award and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Trailblazer Award. Since 1991, she has served on Senator Feinstein’s Judicial Advisory Committee, advising the Senator and the White House on federal judicial nominations and on the nomination of United States Attorneys for the Central District of California. Judge Fujie lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Lee Cotugno, an employment lawyer, and their son Thomas. Their daughter, Sabrina, is a Storyboard Artist on Disney TV's Gravity Falls.
LACBA Litigation Section Liaison
Ms. Gerchik currently serves on the firm's Los Angeles Women's Committee, and previously has served on the firm's Pro Bono Committee and the Internal Design Committee. Ms. Gerchik specializes in litigating financial institutions matters, complex business litigation disputes, securities litigation and regulatory matters, and real estate disputes. Ms. Gerchik has considerable experience in all aspects of motion practice, discovery, mediation and both trial and arbitration work in both the federal and state courts.
Ms. Gerchik frequently represents major domestic and international financial institutions and private equity firms, and currently or has represented JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Societe Generale, the Carlyle Group, and the Yucaipa Companies. Ms. Gerchik also has extensive experience successfully defending accounting firms in civil litigation, including Ernst & Young LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP and KPMG LLP. Additionally, Ms. Gerchik handles government and regulatory investigations, representing accounting firms and companies in connection with SEC and DOJ investigations and FDIC, PCAOB, OTS and FINRA inquiries.
Ms. Gerchik has co-chaired the firm’s Securities and Professional Liability practice group monthly videoconference series for the past four years. Ms. Gerchik is also the co-author of "The State of Scienter: A Comparative Survey Ten Years After the Enactment of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act," Securities Litigation Report, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Dec.-Jan. 2006).
Since joining Latham & Watkins, Ms. Gerchik consistently has been involved in a wide range of pro bono matters, including supervising the Holocaust reparations project, drafting the Bill of Rights for a newly created government, successfully defending Public Counsel in a civil litigation matter, leading the representation of a group of low-income individuals in a slumlord action, and guardianship cases.
Ms. Gerchik is a member of the Board of Governors of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Bet Tzedek New Leadership Council, and was recently appointed to the Los Angeles County Bar Access to Justice Committee. Additionally, Ms. Gerchik is a member of the Litigation Section of the American Bar Association and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.
Prior to joining Latham, Ms. Gerchik ran the Law Program and was Assistant Director for the Institute for Democracy Studies in New York. In addition, she worked in a pro bono capacity for Amnesty International's International Secretariat in London, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and human rights attorney Paul Hoffman. Ms. Gerchik is the Contributing Author to a book on civil rights, and also authored several articles on the same subject.
Anne Grignon is a partner at Grignon Law Firm LLP, specializing in appellate law. She has extensive experience in both federal and state courts and has been involved in matters before the California Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeal, the United States Supreme Court, the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals, federal district courts, the US Department of Labor Benefits Review Board and administrative law judges. She has argued before the California Court of Appeal. Anne has drafted appellate briefs, petitions for review and rehearing, writs, appellate evaluations, appellate mediation briefs and dispositive trial motions such as motions for summary judgment, post-trial motions, and motions in limine. She also has extensive experience in trial consulting on appellate issues and appeals, including daily review of trial transcripts, provision of summaries, review of jury instructions and verdict forms and drafting of dispositive trial motions such as motions for nonsuit and directed verdict. Anne has litigated matters in a wide variety of legal areas including commercial litigation, personal injury, products liability, privacy, employment, insurance, contract disputes and admiralty/maritime law.
Maria Rivas Hamar, of Hamar Family Law Corp., is a certified family law specialist who heads the Family Law Section of WLALA, plans frequent WLALA networking lunches, and volunteers at the WLALA domestic violence clinic. She handles the following cases: complex marital dissolution litigation, child custody cases, prenuptial agreements, post nuptial agreements, marital settlement agreements, international child custody cases, domestic violence cases . Maria is also the Legal Counsel for the Colombian Government in Southern California, New Mexico and Arizona advising on international, State and Federal law. Maria was formerly a federal criminal defense attorney with litigation throughout the U.S. She has lectured on family law issues, including as a speaker at the “Iranian American Bar Association and LACBA’s “ Cultural Competency in the Family Law Practice”.
Janet is the managing attorney at The Hong Firm. Her practice consists of criminal defense, employee rights, and personal injury. She served as a public defender both in New York and California and has conducted over 40 jury trials, including four murder trials. She has represented hundreds of individuals charged with all types of crimes. She has also represented those who have been injured by the negligence of others as well as employees who have experienced harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in the workplace and wage and hour violations.
In college, she majored in African-American Studies at Columbia University, earning the highest G.P.A. in her major. She graduated from Columbia with high honors. At USC Law School, she served as the President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, competed in the Hale Moot Court Honors Program, and worked with inmates through the Post Conviction Justice Clinic.
Giving back to the community is a big priority for Janet. Not only is she the Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, she regularly mentors law students and newer attorneys in the practice of law. She is a volunteer judge for local college mock trial and law school moot court competitions, and she is a Board Member for The KW Lee Center for Leadership, a youth leadership organization in Koreatown that trains young people in the art of community organizing.
Janet is a former college basketball player, marathoner, triathlete, and a two-time Ironman Finisher (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). She is a world traveler, having been to all seven continents, most recently to Antarctica.
Shaun Dabby Jacobs
Conference of California Bar Associations
Shaun Dabby Jacobs is a deputy city attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. She currently defends the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department in labor and employment cases in state and federal courts through trial. In addition, she has extensive experience prosecuting and trying misdemeanor criminal cases. Ms. Jacobs has also tried cases where she represented the City and LAPD officers in federal and state court against false arrest and excessive force claims. Ms. Jacobs has served on the WLALA Board of Governors since 2002. She is currently the co-chair of WLALA’s delegation to the Conference of California Bar Associations and serves as a subcommittee chair on the Resolutions Committee of the Conference of California Bar Associations. Ms. Jacobs is a member of the State Bar’s Committee on Administration of Justice. Her term will expire in 2017. Ms. Jacobs is the author of Domestic Confrontation, Los Angeles Lawyer (April 2010) and What You Should Probably Know About the California State Bar, WLALA E-Newsletter (April 2011). She has taught MCLE classes for the City Attorney’s Office and has served as a panelist and speaker on various topics including work life balance issues at law school events. Ms. Jacobs received her J.D. from Loyola Law School and her B.A in political science and philosophy from U.C. Davis.
Member at Large
Lisa Jaskol is the Directing Attorney of Public Counsel's Appellate Law Program, which works in state and federal courts to increase access to justice for people who cannot afford legal representation.
After graduating from Yale Law School, Lisa clerked for the Hon. Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She then worked for two years as a litigation associate at Irell & Manella LLP. In 1991, Lisa joined the appellate law firm Horvitz & Levy LLP, where she became a partner. Between 2001 to 2004, while on a leave of absence from Horvitz & Levy, Lisa served as Directing Attorney of Public Counsel's Homelessness Prevention Law Project.
Lisa rejoined Public Counsel in 2007 as the founding Director of its Appellate Law Program, overseeing and staffing a new appellate self-help clinic -- the first in the nation -- located at the California Court of Appeal in downtown Los Angeles, and working with pro bono counsel to provide representation on appeal to selected litigants. In 2009, the Judicial Council of California awarded a prestigious Kleps Award for innovation in the courts to the Second Appellate District for the appellate self-help clinic. Lisa also oversees Public Counsel's Federal Pro Se Clinic, which assists self-represented litigants in the U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
In 2014, the State Bar appointed Lisa to the California Commission on Access to Justice. In 2012, the Chief Justice of California appointed Lisa to the Judicial Council's Appellate Advisory Committee. In 2010, the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) presented the Pamela E. Dunn Appellate Justice Award to Lisa. Lisa is a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and she is a State Bar certified appellate specialist. Lisa is a past Chair of LACBA’s Appellate Courts Section.
Awards & Recognition
Ruth Kahn is a highly successful civil litigator and trial attorney, who for more than 25 years has obtained favorable jury verdicts and settlements for Fortune 500 clients in products liability and toxic tort cases. Since October 2014, she has defended commercial and individual policy holders of The Hartford Insurance Group in a myriad of complex litigation in state and federal courts throughout the state of California.
For example, she has successfully resolved a multitude of personal injury lawsuits involving foodborne illnesses arising from a much publicized E. coli outbreak in the fall of 2013 in connection with the consumption of pre-packaged salads sold by retail outlets throughout the Western United States; she has defended product manufacturers and distributors in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in which someone claims a product was defectively designed or was sold with inadequate warnings or without sufficient instructions for use; and she has defended employers who are sued based on the conduct of employees. Previously, Ms. Kahn was a shareholder of Steptoe & Johnson LLP where she had worked for more than 17 years.
Additionally, Ms. Kahn has a deep commitment to pro bono service, specifically securing reparations for Holocaust victims for which she has recognized by The California State Bar, through the President’s Pro Bono Service Award in October 2013, by Bet Tzedek, who honored her as its Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in July 2012, and by the California Lawyer, who presented her with a California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) Award in the pro bono category, in March 2012.
Ms. Kahn is a Past President of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) and a long-time board member and supporter of WLALA; she also serves on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s (LACBA) Judicial Appointments Committee and President’s Advisory Committee on Women in the Legal Profession. At one time she served on LACBA’s Shattuck-Price Award Committee, its Board of Trustees, as Co-Chair of the LACBA/WLALA Joint Task Force on the Retention and Promotion of Women in the Legal Profession, and on the Board of Directors of the LACBA Foundation.
Hon. Sandra Klein
Career Development & Life Balance
Judge Klein was appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in April 2011. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Klein worked for more than thirteen years for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Most recently, she served as the Acting Assistant Director, Office of Criminal Enforcement of the U.S. Trustee Program, where she focused nationally on increasing detection and prosecution of criminal conduct in the bankruptcy system. From 2003 to 2009, Judge Klein was a Bankruptcy Fraud Criminal Coordinator with the U.S. Trustee Program, responsible for assisting federal law enforcement agents and Assistant U.S. Attorneys with bankruptcy-related investigations and prosecutions. From 1997 to 2003, she was a special assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of California (on permanent detail from the U.S. Trustee Program), where she focused on complex white collar crime cases, and in particular, bankruptcy fraud cases.
Before joining the DOJ, Judge Klein served as a litigation associate with O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Judge Klein began her legal career as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Arthur L. Alarcón, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Honorable Lourdes G. Baird, Central District of California.
Judge Klein received her bachelor’s degree in music education, magna cum laude, from the University of Lowell, Lowell, MA, her JD, magna cum laude, from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA, where she served as a Senior Note and Comment Editor for the Loyola International and Comparative Law Journal, and her MBA with honors from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Los Angeles, CA.
Judge Klein is the chairperson of the Bankruptcy Court’s Community Outreach Committee and a member of the Ninth Circuit Courts and Community Committee. In addition to be a member of the Board of Governors of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Judge Klein is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, Los Angeles Chapter, and the Board of Governors of Loyola Law School.
Christine Kohler is a partner in Reed Smith’s Labor and Employment Group. She represents employers in a wide variety of litigation matters, including suits alleging claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation, and other related claims in federal court, state court, and arbitration. Christine also counsels employers on day-to-day employment issues such as leaves of absence, reasonable accommodations, discipline, discharge, and other personnel matters. She is Vice Chair of the firm’s Women’s Initiative Network for the LA office and is also a member of the Recruiting Committee.
Christine attended University of California, Irvine where she received her B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Global Peace and Conflict Studies. She thereafter attended University of Southern California School of Law where she was a member of the Interdisciplinary Law Journal.
Kelly Kriebs has more than 15 years of experience advising private equity funds, companies, entrepreneurs and other clients in a broad range of private transactions. As a member of the firm’s Private Equity, M&A and Global Finance practices, Kelly represents buyers and sellers in private company merger, acquisition, divestiture transactions, as well as corporate entities, limited liability companies and partnerships in recapitalization and joint venture transactions. In addition, her practice includes representation of borrowers in acquisition and other financings and of secured creditors in bankruptcy and out-of-court restructurings.
Kelly is a co-chair of the firm’s national recruiting committee and serves on the Greater Los Angeles offices’ Practice Development Committee. She earned her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law, where she served on the UCLA Law Review and earned Order of the Coif honors.
Lara Krieger is an accomplished appellate lawyer, practicing throughout California. She began her career as a commercial litigator in New York City, working at prominent law firms, including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Six years later, Lara switched gears, moving to San Francisco to join the Staff Attorney’s Office of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where she worked in the civil unit for four years. In 2005, she moved to Los Angeles to practice appellate law. After working at law firms, including the appellate boutique Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland, she opened her own practice in 2013. In addition to appeals and writs, she assists trial counsel with substantive pre- and post-trial motions, and serves as an appellate mediator.
Lara is committed to giving back to her community by volunteering in several professional organizations. In addition to being on the WLALA Board, Lara was also a longtime member of the California Women Lawyers Board of Governors. Lara chaired CWL’s amicus committee and was very involved in its judicial committee from 2006 through 2014. California Women Lawyers named Lara a 2011-2012 Notable Woman of the Achievement.
Of particular note is Lara’s commitment to California’s judicial branch through her service on the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (commonly known as the JNE Commission) from 2010 through 2014. The JNE Commission is the statutory body charged with vetting all judicial candidates before appointment to the California bench by the Governor. She served as the vice-chair and then the chair of the JNE Commission.
Lara’s other pro bono activities include her service as a volunteer appellate mediator for the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, in Riverside.
Lara earned her J.D. degree from Yale Law School, and her B.A. degree from Columbia University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Reg Levy is Vice President of Compliance and Policy for Minds + Machines, a vertically-integrated registry services operator and ICANN-accredited registrar. In that position, she consults to new generic top-level domain registry customers of Minds + Machines, including MMX, the third-largest portfolio applicant. Reg is active regarding policy issues at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the governing body of the Internet, including participation in the Registry Stakeholders' Group and New gTLD Applicant's Group.
Reg has worked in the legal field in Germany and in the corporate law department of a Fortune 500 company. She is admitted to practice law in California and is active in her local bar associations. In addition to WLALA, she is Vice Chair of the ABA's Information Technology Legislation Committee and is currently serving on the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Diversity in the Profession Committee.
Reg received her law degree from Pepperdine; holds degrees in History and German Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, where she graduated with honors; and received a Zertifikat Deutsch from the Goethe Institute.
Ms. Lincoln recently joined Robins Kaplan LLP in Los Angeles, CA, to help grow the office’s insurance litigation (focusing on catastrophic loss) and business litigation practices. Ms. Lincoln’s former practices at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and (most recently) Newmeyer & Dillion LLP focused on all aspects of general civil litigation. At Skadden, Ms. Lincoln represented clients through SEC and AG investigations; alleged violations under federal securities laws and the False Claims Act; administrative appeals and corresponding tax refund requests; and general business disputes concerning contracts, unfair business practices, and violations of local city ordinances. At Newmeyer, Ms. Lincoln represented clients on matters involving breaches of contract, contract interpretation, tort liability (such as negligence, fraud, and strict liability), breaches of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets, alter ego liability, partnership disputes, and other related causes of action. In addition to having both civil and criminal trial experience, Ms. Lincoln has served as a Volunteer Deputy City Attorney for the Anaheim City Attorney’s Office and has interned for three federal judges from the Ninth Circuit and the Central District of California.
Shellee Lindstedt is currently serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Holly J. Fujie in the Los Angeles Superior Court. She earned her J.D. from University of Southern California, Gould School of Law in 2015. While in law school, she worked with the Post-Conviction Justice Project, where she represented clients at parole hearings and filed resentencing petitions for juveniles sentenced to life without parole. Shellee received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley, where she majored in political science.
Nina Marino is a partner at KAPLAN MARINO. She is an experienced trial attorney with more than 27 years experience in both Federal and State court cases. Ms. Marino has particular expertise in white collar crime and complex criminal matters, including all areas of fraud, computer crimes, tax crimes, securities cases, and both national and international narcotics cases. She regularly handles matters across the United States. Ms. Marino is also well versed in pretrial resolutions and in avoiding the filing of criminal charges through persuasive negotiation. Ms. Marino is proficient in all sentencing issues and in assuring the best possible outcome. Her clients include business people, professionals, students, and others.
Ms. Marino was born and raised on Long Island in New York. She has lived in Miami and London as well. Ms. Marino's career has always been devoted to the practice of criminal defense law.
Ms. Marino is a State Bar of California Certified Criminal Law Specialist since 2001. Ms. Marino is a long time Board Member of The Women Lawyers of Los Angeles (WLALA), and the founder and Chair of the Criminal Justice Section. She is the Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA), Criminal Justice Section Continuing Legal Education Board, Director of the Communications, Membership and Services Committee, founder and Chair of the Women in White Collar Subcommittee, and previously sat by appointment on the Criminal Justice Section Council (2005-2011). Ms. Marino is a founder and city leader for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women White Collar Defense Association which is an international bar association of women white collar practitioners
In 2011 and again in 2015 Ms. Marino was selected by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Central District of California to serve a three year term on the Standing Committee on Attorney Discipline, assisting the Judges of the Central District in the functioning of the court system.
From 2003-2006 and again in 2015 Ms. Marino was selected to serve as one of 20 lawyer representatives by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, on the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, as a liaison between the bench and the bar, representing attorneys practicing in California's Central District.
Ms. Marino is a frequent lecturer and program coordinator of topics relating to the criminal justice system. She is a regular speaker at the American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, National Institute on White Collar Crime, and the ABA International White Collar Crime Institute, most recently on “Defending High Stakes Cases” (2016) and “Crisis Management and Litigation” (2015). In October and November 2015 she spoke to II-ACFE and CalCPA on “Advising Corporate Clients on International Criminal and Regulatory Investigations”. In June of 2015 she spoke in Washington D.C. at the National Institute on Digital Currency on “Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currencies” and to the National Association of Criminal Attorneys on “The Public Trust: Defending Corruption Cases” in San Diego.
Ms. Marino is author to numerous published articles and treatises also relating to the criminal justice system. “Wanted by Interpol” was the cover story in the ABA Criminal Justice Magazine Fall Issue 2015. “The Accidental Defendant” was the cover story in the March 2015 issue of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine. Her chapter on “Criminal Defense in aSmall Firm Setting” appears in Careers in Criminal Justice (2010) and her article on International Extradition published in the Criminal Justice Section Magazine for the American Bar Association (winter 2008 edition) is a recognized resource. Ms. Marino is author to the chapter on "Public Corruption" which appears in Matthew Bender's two volume set, "Federal Sentencing for Business Crimes". Ms. Marino is author to law review articles, newspaper and magazine articles relating to the criminal justice system, some of which appear on her blog.
Ms. Marino was named one of the top 100 women attorneys in California by the Daily Journal for 2016, one of the top white collar lawyers in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal for 2015, and her firm Kaplan Marino was named among the top 20 boutique law firms in California for 2016. Ms. Marino has been voted by her peers a "Southern California Super Lawyer" since 2004.
Mary McKelvey’s considerable trial experience includes serving as trial counsel in numerous complex toxic tort trials where she secured several defense verdicts for clients, defeating claims often of millions of dollars in damages. A skilled litigator, Mary crafts innovative legal strategies with a keen eye toward the client’s overall objectives. Her practice covers a wide variety of litigation areas, though her focus in the past few years has been mainly on complex toxic tort and product liability cases. She also has experience in employment, personal injury, construction defect and environmental litigation. She brings an unshakable work ethic and passion for excellence to each matter she handles. She is recognized by the defense bar for her ability to coordinate the defense with respect to key defense strategies in complex cases, involving numerous defendants.
She had been recognized for her outstanding commitment and results in pro bono cases and volunteer activities, including her work on cases involving the rights of foster parents, immigrants seeking relief from removal and representation of a death row inmate during his state habeas proceedings. In addition, Mary served as a volunteer Deputy District Attorney for the District Attorney’s office in 2010, prosecuting several criminal cases to verdict. Prior to the practice of law Mary enjoyed a successful career in finance - designing, implementing and funding pension plans for Fortune 500 and other companies.
She has served on the WLALA Board of Governors since 2012 and currently serves as the co-chair for the Conference of California Bar Associations Committee.
Victoria M. McLaughlin is an attorney at the Law Offices of William E. Crockett, where she focuses on business litigation. Victoria received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis, and her law degree from the University of La Verne, where she graduated cum laude. In addition to serving on the WLALA board, she sits on the executive committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers and is a member of the Junior League of Los Angeles.
Noelle M. Natoli is an attorney in Foley & Mansfield’s Los Angeles office. Prior to joining Foley & Mansfield, Noelle worked as an associate and managing attorney with various other law firms in Southern California. Her civil practice has focused primarily in the areas of elder abuse, transportation, and medical malpractice claims. She has represented individuals, family-owned businesses, and national corporations. Her litigation experience has also been instrumental in the successful defense of numerous fraudulent insurance claims through her investigative efforts and law and motion practice.
Noelle received her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in 1999. While in law school, she was an Academic Scholarship Recipient, a Camillo-Cochran Scholarship Recipient, and Phi Alpha Delta Service Scholarship Recipient. Noelle was also a Student Liaison to the Italian American Lawyers Association, a member of the Criminal Law Society, Secretary of the Student Bar Association and Justice, Vice Justice and Social Chair of Phi Alpha Delta International Law Fraternity.
She is a member of the Transportation Lawyers’ Association, Trucking Industry Defense Association, Southern California Association of Healthcare Risk Managers, Womens’ Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Italian American Lawyers’ Association, Defense Research Institute (including Trucking Law and Health Care Law subcommittees), and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International.
Hon. Beverly Reid O'Connell
Federal Court Liaison
Beverly Reid O’Connell sits as a judge in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to her federal appointment, in 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Judge O’Connell to the Los Angeles Superior Court. She was the Supervising Judge of the North Valley District, supervising three courthouses and 26 judges. As a sitting judge, Judge O’Connell tried over one hundred cases, including special circumstance murders, gang cases and fraud cases. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge O’Connell served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Central District of California. Judge O’Connell served as the Deputy Chief of the training section, training all new Assistant United States Attorneys in the greater Los Angeles area. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Judge O’Connell was an associate at the law firm, Morrison & Foerster, specializing in litigation matters. Judge O’Connell also lectures as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School and Pepperdine University School of Law, teaching basic and advanced trial advocacy skills. She graduated from UCLA, with a B.A. in Political Science, and graduated, magna cum laude, from Pepperdine University School of Law, where she was the Managing Editor of the Pepperdine Law Review.
Law Student Mentoring
Krysta Kauble Pachman is an associate at Susman Godfrey, L.L.P. where she litigates complex cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Prior to joining Susman Godfrey, Krysta was a law clerk to the Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, United States District Court for the Central District of California. She attended UCLA School of Law, where she was Chief Comments Editor of the UCLA Law Review, and graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University.
Christine A. Page is a mediator and arbitrator at Page Dispute Resolution. A former partner of Gilchrist & Rutter, she has thirty years of litigation experience and twenty two years of mediation experience specializing in employment, real estate, and FINRA-related matters. Her prior legal experience includes advising employers on compliance with state and federal employment laws; defending employers against claims of wage and hour violations, discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination; prosecuting and defending claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and related unfair competition matters; representing financial advisors and broker dealers on employment and regulatory matters before FINRA; and representing commercial landlords and tenants and homeowners in real estate litigation. Christine serves as a neutral on various panels, including the American Arbitration Association, FINRA Dispute Resolution, U.S. District Court, and California Association of Realtors. She also serves part-time as a mediator for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s Dispute Resolution Division.
Courtney Powers is Vice President and General Counsel of GRACE, a ministry of the Daughters of Charity dedicated to reducing barriers to full human development and economic stability. She previously served as Vice President of Public Policy for the Daughters of Charity Health System (DCHS). At DCHS Powers played a leadership role in shaping and executing DCHS’ public policy agenda. She led the creation and administration of the Right to Health Project, a medical-legal partnership at St. Francis Medical Center providing legal services to low-income community members.
Powers received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. After graduation, she worked as a litigation associate at Folger Levin & Kahn LLP. A lecturer at UCLA School of Law, she teaches a course entitled “Intersection of Law, Health and Public Policy: Medical-Legal Partnerships” and a Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic. She has also taught a “Women and the Law” course at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.
Powers’ recent publications include: Judges Should Not Have To Open Up Their Private Lives,” Sacramento Bee (June 2011); “Strange Bedfellows: Lawyers and Doctors Work Together to Advance Patient Care,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (April 2011); and “Get Set for ‘Girl Territory’ on Court,” Sacramento Bee (July 2010).
Powers serves as the Vice President of the UCLA Law Alumni Association. She previously served on the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women. She has helped form the National Foster Youth Institute, a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. dedicated to improving the well-being of foster youth.
Amy Proctor is a senior associate in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP, where she is a member of the firm's IP litigation practice group. Ms. Proctor specializes in handling patent disputes across a wide range of technologies, including computer architecture, signal transmission, and pharmaceuticals. Most recently, Ms. Proctor represented the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s non-profit technology transfer foundation, WARF, in its trial against Apple, Inc., and helped to secure a $234 million jury verdict. In addition to her work in patent litigation, Ms. Proctor is actively involved in the Irell community as a member of the firm’s hiring, diversity, and mentoring committees.
Prior to joining Irell, Ms. Proctor served as a law clerk to the Honorable John A. Kronstadt of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Ms. Proctor earned her J.D. from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law where she received the Malcolm Lucas Award. She earned her B.S. in Physics from the University of Florida. While completing her degree, Ms. Proctor worked as a research assistant in the University of Florida Chan Physics Lab, where she helped implement a method for measuring the Casimir force using microelectromechanical systems.
Investment Supervisor and Annual Sponsorship Coordinator
Meehan Rasch is an appellate court attorney for Justice Brian M. Hoffstadt of the California Court of Appeal, Second District. Prior to joining the Court of Appeal, Meehan was a civil appellate attorney in private practice at boutique appellate litigation firm Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland, where her practice included Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit, and California and U.S. Supreme Court appeals, petitions, and amicus briefs, as well as trial monitoring and assisting with summary judgment motions and statement of decision processes for clients still in trial court.
Meehan also teaches at USC Gould School of Law as an adjunct Lecturer in Law, Legal Writing and Advocacy, and taught at UC Davis School of Law in 2011-2012 as a Wydick Fellow. She is a past Legal Writing Institute Scholarship Grant recipient and winner of the ABA Journal Ross Essay Contest, and a former board member of California Women Lawyers, Stanford Pride, and the Third Wave Foundation.
Christiane (“Chrissy”) Roussell Willis is Counsel in the Employment Services Group at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Los Angeles. She provides human resources and employment-related counseling and training to employers on a wide variety of issues, including recruiting, hiring, performance management, discipline, transfers, medical-related accommodations, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, contingent labor, reductions in force, and workplace violence. She also conducts workplace investigations and audits of workplace policies and procedures. In her litigation practice, Christiane represents employers in complex and single-plaintiff labor and employment matters, including wage and hour class and collective actions and litigation of claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, employee raiding, and trade secrets.
Outside of DWT, Chrissy serves as a Diversity Co-Chair on the board of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA). She also serves as Chair of the Ambassadors Council of the California Minority Counsel Program, through October 2016. Chrissy is a Past President (2015) of the John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles. In 2009, 2010, and 2012, she received the Langston Bar Association’s President’s Award. Chrissy also serves on the California State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness, beginning in October 2016. She has also served on the board of the California Young Lawyers Association, a California State Bar Section, for which she served on the Education/MCLE Committee, creating learning and presentation opportunities for young attorneys throughout the state, and the Appointments Committee. She has also served on the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Barristers Executive Committee. In 2011, Chrissy was honored as one of the Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 by the National Bar Association and IMPACT. In 2013, she was selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers.
Chrissy is a Los Angeles native. She received her B.A. in English from Georgetown University in 2003 and her J.D. from USC Gould School of Law in 2006.
Arin Scapa is a staff attorney with The Hartford, a Fortune 500 Company, where she practices insurance defense. Since joining The Hartford in 2015, Arin received an attorney of the year award and an award for delivering outcomes for the successful negotiation and settlement of numerous claims. Prior to joining The Hartford, Arin worked for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in the Criminal Division’s Major Frauds Section. There, Arin handled sensitive federal investigation material for indictment, produced voluminous discovery, prepared for trial and assisted at counsel table during trial, and wrote post-trial motions and appeals filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Arin was a law clerk for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, a paralegal for a private criminal defense firm, and an intern for the Orange County Public Defender’s Office. Arin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California Irvine and her law degree from the University of La Verne College of Law.
Fernanda Schmid is the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Cornerstone Research, Inc., an economic and financial consulting firm providing analysis and expert testimony in all phases of commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings. As the General Counsel, Ms. Schmid has oversight of all legal, risk and compliance matters affecting the firm. Amongst her other positions, Ms. Schmid sits on the firm’s Operating Policy Committee and Retirement Benefits Committee. She also chairs the firm’s Risk Management Committee, which has oversight of, among other topics, data security matters. Prior to joining Cornerstone Research, Ms. Schmid was the Associate General Counsel at LECG, LLC, a publicly traded international expert consulting and testimony firm with offices in North and South America, Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand. While at LECG Ms. Schmid established LECG’s Chinese and Hong Kong subsidiaries, sat on the board of the Canadian subsidiary, and managed LECG’s Legal, Conflicts and Contracts departments’ transitions post-merger to an east coast headquarters. Prior to becoming in-house counsel, Ms. Schmid was a litigation attorney. Ms. Schmid lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 11 year old son and 5 year old daughter.
Andrea M. Schoor is senior counsel in the Los Angeles office of Allen Matkins and part of the Litigation Department. She is a member of the Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy, Receivership, Lenders and Special Creditor's Remedies, and Commercial Finance practice groups. Andrea's practice focuses on representing lenders, receivers, developers, general contractors and other companies and individuals in litigation, bankruptcy and real estate matters in state, federal and bankruptcy courts. She regularly represents clients in cases involving claims for breach of contract, fraud, quiet title, wrongful foreclosure, slander of title, promissory estoppel, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, elder abuse, violations of TILA, RESPA, and other common law, statutory and regulatory issues. Andrea advises clients and mediates disputes in those areas as well. Andrea also has experience representing SEC receivers, contractors in construction disputes, and has assisted with the defense of pharmaceutical and medical device companies in class actions and mass tort litigation. Andrea also prepares appellate briefs and writs.
Andrea is a volunteer at the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Domestic Violence Project, where she assists victims of domestic violence with applying for orders of protection. This continues the work Andrea did on behalf of domestic violence victims in St. Louis, Missouri, through Legal Advocates for Abused Women. Andrea also is a volunteer docent at the Getty Center, where you can find her on weekends giving architecture and garden tours. Andrea also is involved with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, as well as the Anti-Defamation League, having recently completed leadership programs run by those organizations.
Andrea received her B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She spent one year at Pembroke College, Oxford, studying English Literature. She earned her J.D. from Washington University School of Law, where she served as executive articles editor of the Global Studies Law Review.
Career Development and Life Balance
Ariella Thal Simonds is an associate practicing corporate restructuring and bankruptcy at Sidley Austin LLP. In that practice, she represents clients in all aspects of financial restructurings, including debtors, prepetition secured lenders, debtor-in-possession lenders, potential purchasers and other stakeholders in chapter 11 proceedings and out-of-court restructurings. Her pro bono practice includes her representation of an Alabama death-row inmate in the appeal of his unconstitutional death sentence as part of Sidley’s Capital Litigation Project. Ariella is also a member of the firm’s Los Angeles office Associates Committee and Summer Program Committee. In addition to serving on the WLALA Board of Governors since 2012, Ariella sits on the policy board of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Reform Jewish Movement’s Washington policy office, and is a member of Bet Tzedek’s New Leadership Council. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship and served as the Co-Chief Articles Editor of the Women’s Law Journal and a Managing Editor of the UCLA Law Review.
Pro-Choice and Reproductive Rights
Awards & Recognition
Anne C. Tremblay is an assistant city attorney for the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, where she supervises the Anti-Gang Section. Ms. Tremblay leads the City Attorney’s efforts in gang, firearms and graffiti prosecution. She worked with a team to create and now oversees the gang alternative sentencing program and the gang injunction removal process. Previously, Ms. Tremblay was a deputy city attorney selected to work as a community prosecutor for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Area. In this position, she worked in partnership with the police, city agencies and area stakeholders on projects designed to improve the quality of life and increase safety in the community. Before joining the City, Ms. Tremblay spent six years as a deputy district attorney for the County of Orange. As a deputy district attorney, she tried cases in the juvenile and superior courts and prosecuted a variety of crimes including child molestation, sexual assault, attempted murder, robbery, domestic violence and narcotics violations.
In 2005, Ms. Tremblay was honored by the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County with their Centurion Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Area of Innovations and in 2007 was awarded the Los Angeles Police Commission’s Distinguished Service Medal. Both awards recognized Ms. Tremblay and her colleague for their work abating a notorious gang stronghold located adjacent to a middle school in South Los Angeles
Ms. Tremblay is the author of Beyond Community Policing: Engaging Prosecutors in Community Safety Partnerships and co-author of a forthcoming paper on collaboration and creative problem solving among police, prosecutors and other criminal justice partners. The paper will be published later this year as part of the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Executive Sessions on Police Leadership for the 21st Century. Ms. Tremblay also provides training and information on public safety related best practices for community based organizations, community developers and law enforcement agencies here in California and throughout the United States.
Ms. Tremblay holds a J.D. from Emory University, School of Law and a B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley. She was the WLALA President-Elect in 2012-13 and has served on the WLALA Board of Governors since 2007. She is the foster mother of a first grader and her nineteen-month-old sister.
Taylor C. Wagniere is an associate at Blecher Collins & Pepperman which handles complex business litigation with an emphasis on antitrust and unfair competition cases. She has worked on a wide range of commercial litigation and appellate matters, and is the author of two law review articles. During law school at the University of Southern California, she externed for the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, and worked for both the Attorney General’s Office and the Los Angeles District Attorney. In addition to being on the WLALA Board, she is a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, American Bar Association, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Jessica N. Walker is a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Nixon Peabody LLP. Her practice includes representation of clients on class action, false advertising, unfair competition, business tort, investigations, warranty, product liability, securities and other litigation matters. Jessica also represents museums, foreign sovereigns, and artists in artwork ownership disputes. Jessica is one of the Los Angeles office representatives on her firm’s Pro Bono Committee. Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, Jessica was a litigator in the Los Angeles office of Skadden, Arps.
Jessica received her J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. While in law school, Jessica was the 2007 Frank Rothman Scholar and externed for the Honorable R. Gary Klausner of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Prior to law school, Jessica graduated with a B.S. in Business from Indiana University.
In addition to serving on the WLALA board, Jessica sits on the board of Mental Health Advocacy Services.
Jeanne “Gigi” Wanlass
G. Lisa Wick
Solo and Small Firm Practice
G. Lisa Wick is a 2004 graduate of Yale Law School and a 2001 graduate (with honors) of the University of California at Berkeley.
Lisa’s practice focuses on all aspects of Trust and Estate litigation and administration. Prior to starting her own firm Lisa was Of Counsel at Sacks, Glazier, Franklin & Lodise LLP. During Lisa’s seven-year tenure at SGF&L, she practiced exclusively in the area of trust, estate, and conservatorship litigation. Before joining SGF&L, Lisa was a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP, where her practice included complex commercial litigation, securities, entertainment law, white collar crime and enforcement of intellectual property rights in patent and copyright cases. While at Quinn Emanuel, Lisa also provided pro bono representation in an interstate adoption benefits dispute, securing benefits for her clients who had previously been denied benefits by two States. Lisa brings her past experience as a trial lawyer to her trust and estate litigation practice.
Lia has spoken on Estate Accounting and Discharging Fiduciary Responsibility for the Continuing Education of the Bar and co-wrote “Surviving Trial Crunch Time” with Benny Roshan, which was published in The Recorder on February 15, 2013. She is on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Trust and Estates Committee; she is a former Regional Editor for the American Bar Association’s Trust and Estate Litigation Section; and a has volunteered with the Bet Tzedek Self Help Conservatorship Clinic. Lisa has also been selected by Super Lawyers magazine as a Rising Star in the field of Estate and Trust Litigation every year since 2013 and this year was named Up-and-Coming 50 Women in Southern California.