In law school there is a strong current that pushes students towards starting their careers at law firms. But, for many who start down this path, the criteria required to succeed at a law firm and ultimately climb the ladder towards partnership can be quite opaque. Unfortunately, law schools don’t offer a class on how to rise to the top at a law firm and make partner. Nor do many law firms provide well defined and transparent criteria on what it takes to make partner, and the absence of information is quite problematic.
The lack of knowledge and understanding as to whether you are on the right path or doing enough of the right things to make partner can be stressful and anxiety inducing. Also, when the criteria to make partner is not well understood, people have difficulty assessing whether the partnership track is right for them. For instance, I know a number of attorneys who took the plunge into private practice only to find themselves wondering what it actually takes to make partner, or if the partnership track is even right for them. As a result, I’ve witnessed attorneys at all stages of their careers – from esquires in training to senior associates – struggle to set goals and sculpt satisfying career paths. Further, when attorneys are unable to meaningfully assess their progress in light of their goals, we are unarmed to constructively adjust our efforts to better ensure we meet our goals.
As Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Section, and someone who is actively working to set a successful path towards partnership, the solution was quite simple: Information. Since a lack of information is the problem, the solution is to obtain as much information as possible from varying sources who have first-hand experience navigating and building a path towards partnership. Accordingly, we have carefully gathered a very distinguished panel of, both, men and women partners at law firms ranging from mid-size to big law firms as well as regional, national, and international firms. While there is not one ‘right’ formula to make partner, this program will provide substantive information regarding the criteria that really matters and increase your ability to set goals this New Year and self-assess whether you are on the right path to make partner.
I. Event Logistics
“Navigating the Path Towards Partnership: An Insider’s Perspective on What You Really Need to Know,” will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015, at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Downtown Los Angeles, 333 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90071. Parking in adjacent private lots is available. Appetizers and beverages will be served at 6:30 p.m. The substantive program will be begin at 7:00 p.m. and will last for approximately one and one-half hours.
This program will cover poignant criteria needed to successfully navigate the path towards partnership. The panel of distinguished speakers will include Jeffrey Dennis of Newmeyer & Dillion LLP; Richard Frey of Venable LLP; Perlette Michéle Jura of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; and Kalpana Srinivasan of Susman Godfrey LLP. The panel will be moderated by distinguished partner Amy T. Brantly of Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP.
II. Why You Should Attend
The program will contain material relevant to men and women as well as all levels of practitioners ranging from lawyers in training to senior associates and of counsel. In addition, the program will cover topics that will appeal to all attorneys interested in making partner as well as those who want to better understand whether the partnership track is right for you. “Navigating the Path Towards Partnership: An Insider’s Perspective on What You Really Need to Know” presents a unique opportunity to gain access to invaluable insider perspectives and years of experience, which will not only enable you to maximize your success in building a path towards partnership, but also provide a vocabulary to discuss partnership development with your peers and firm leaders as well as provide a conceptual framework to set obtainable and focused goals. Attendees will be able to learn from individuals with years of experience and who have successfully navigated a path into partnership. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!
III. Program Panelists and Moderator
To create a powerful, diverse, and all-encompassing panel, YLS chose distinguished men and women partners from varying size firms to be panelists. All panelists are successful partners in the Los Angeles and Southern California legal community. Panelists include:
i. Jeffrey M. Dennis – Newmeyer & Dillion LLP
Jeff Dennis currently serves as the Firm’s Managing Partner and is located in the Newport Beach office. Jeff specializes in a variety of litigation arenas, including construction, real estate and business litigation. Jeff also handles insurance and higher education matters.
He has represented developers and businesses in all aspects of complex litigation matters and handles the insurance coverage issues that arise out of construction claims. Jeff also has experience in business litigation matters involving lease disputes, partnership disputes, employment, breach of contract, negligence and premises liability claims.
As part of his litigation practice, Jeff has represented several Fortune 500 companies in various areas including complex litigation, construction claims, and insurance disputes. He has tried multiple cases to verdict, and has negotiated settlements for his clients, which have a cumulative value in excess of $50 million.
Jeff has long been recognized for his achievements by being named to the roster of Southern California Rising Stars from 2005-2011 and he continues to be ranked a Southern California Super Lawyer 2013 - 2015, he is included in a compilation of the area’s up-and-coming attorneys from the Law & Politics magazine. He has also been published in construction trade magazines for articles related to construction litigation issues.
In addition to his thriving litigation practice, Jeff is active in a number of professional organizations including the BIA of Orange County and San Diego County, Urban Land Institute, and the Associated General Contractors of California. He was also selected to participate in the prominent Presidential Leadership Academy sponsored by the BIA of Orange County.
Jeff believes that community participation is a vital part of his law practice. As such, he volunteered to serve in the Orange County District Attorney’s selective Trial Advocacy Partnership (TAP) program. He is the immediate past president of the Occidental College Board of Governors and helps lead Occidental’s Alumni Association as its Orange County Regional Chair. He also serves on the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association’s Orange County Heart Walk. Under Jeff’s leadership, the firm proudly supports the OC Heart Walk, with over 200 participants joining Team N&D in the 2014 walk. In addition, the firm also hosted a National Eating Healthy Day celebration for executives in Orange County to benefit the AHA.
Awards and Honors:
- University of Southern California School of Law, Honors Moot Court Participant
- Selected to the Southern California Rising Star list by Super Lawyers, 2005 – 2011
- Selected to the Southern California Super Lawyer list by Super Lawyers, 2013 – 2015
- University of Southern California School of Law, J.D., 1997
- Occidental College, B.A., 1994
- Orange County Bar Association
- Building Industry Association of Orange County and San Diego County
- Urban Land Institute
- Associated General Contractors of California
- American Bar Association
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
ii. Richard J. Frey – Venable LLP
Richard Frey serves dual leadership roles as both the Chair of Venable's West Coast Commercial Litigation Practice Group and Chair of the firm’s West Coast Labor and Employment Practice Group. He is a seasoned litigator, focusing his practice on general and complex commercial litigation and business matters, as well as unique labor and employment challenges faced by corporations and individuals. He also has significant experience in trade secret and unfair competition litigation, including litigation involving non-compete agreements.
He has litigated cases in both state and federal courts and has particular skill in defending commercial class actions against alleged violations of the California Business and Professions Code § 17200, as well as wage and hour and shareholder derivative class actions.
In addition to his significant litigation experience, Mr. Frey provides transactional advice on corporate matters including employee-related concerns associated with mergers and acquisitions and executive employment agreements. He also has substantial experience representing clients across a wide range of industries in a variety of business matters including those involving distribution deals, partnership agreements and other contract negotiations.
Mr. Frey represents Fortune 500 companies, as well as prominent hospitals and healthcare groups. He also represents sports and entertainment agents and has provided counsel to movie studios and independent film producers on guild and labor matters.
- Successfully prosecuted whistleblower and retaliation claims on behalf of departed CFO of private software company.
- Obtained dismissal of nationwide class action against a national insurance carrier in federal court on behalf of non-MD providers alleging that defendants had a uniform practice of under-reimbursing out-of-network providers.
- Secured attorneys' fee award in the amount of half a million dollars against plaintiff and his attorney after winning summary judgment in ERISA matter.
- Secured attorneys' fee award in the amount of $185,000 in a state action on behalf of a national insurance brokerage group arising out of threatened trade secret and breach of contract claim by another broker.
- Represented a noted sports agent in connection with trade secret and unfair competition issues arising from the departure of another agent.
- Prevailed on SLAPP motions in two negligent referral cases in which he represented a major communications company.
- Successfully defended through appeal a Fortune 1000 company in an unfair competition claim arising from the California energy crisis.
- Defended high-profile employers, including a leading Los Angeles hospital, in federal and state class actions and all types of employment litigation, collective bargaining, union avoidance, and labor arbitration.
- Successfully represented several executives from large public companies in shareholder derivative actions, SEC matters and other governmental investigations.
Mr. Frey serves on the Board of the Children’s Burn Foundation. He has also served as the Co-Chair of Good Shepherd School’s Annual Golf Benefit.
iii. Perlette Michéle Jura – Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Perlette Michéle Jura is a partner in Gibson Dunn’s Los Angeles office, where she Co-Chair’s the Firm’s Transnational Litigation Group. Her practice focuses on complex business litigation, transnational litigation, and appellate and constitutional law. In 2013, Ms. Jura was named by The Recorder as one of California’s “Lawyers on the Fast Track,” and in 2014 she was recognized by Law 360 as a “Rising Star.”
Complex and Transnational Litigation. Ms. Jura has significant expertise in complex business litigation, global litigation and foreign judgments. She has played a critical role in several high-profile U.S. matters, transnational trials and appeals, and counsels on cross-border matters implicating the laws of more than 50 countries. She regularly plays a key advisory role in foreign trials and arbitrations that threaten U.S. repercussions and is an expert when it comes to conducting U.S. and foreign litigation with a comprehensive strategy. Ms. Jura also has significant experience litigating cases that turn on complex choice of law issues and litigating recognition and enforcement of foreign country judgments.
Appellate & Constitutional Law. Ms. Jura likewise devotes significant time to Gibson Dunn’s Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group. She has played a key role in a broad range of cases at both trial and appellate court levels, in U.S. state and federal courts. Her appellate experience includes drafting briefs and petitions filed in the California Courts of Appeal, the United States Courts of Appeals, the California Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court. She is an active member of the ABA Judicial Division’s Council of Appellate Lawyers, and serves on several of the committees for the division.
Community Involvement. Ms. Jura sits on the Board of Directors and the Board of Governors for the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, where she Co-Chairs the Financial Development Committee. Ms. Jura is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, which is dedicated to addressing the world’s transforming global community and giving the West Coast a more effective voice in global development. In 2013, Ms. Jura became one of the original members of the Pacific Council’s Western Hemisphere Committee. A member-led hub for sustained focus on the Western Hemisphere, the committee aims to delve into a range of issues, including the economic rise of countries like Brazil and Mexico, the challenge of security in Central America, China’s increasing role in South America, and questions of energy, immigration, and environmental cooperation.
Ms. Jura is also a member of the International Bar Association, the American Bar Association’s Transnational Legal Practice Committee, and the Association’s International Courts Committee and the International Litigation Committee.
Since graduating from Stanford, Ms. Jura has maintained her close ties with the law school. She has been a member of Stanford’s Young Alumni Partner’s Circle since 2006, she is an active member of the Women of Stanford Law, and is part of that group’s alumni mentoring program.
In addition, Ms. Jura plays an active role in the Firm’s local and nationwide diversity and recruiting efforts. She is a member of Gibson Dunn’s Hiring Committee and the Diversity Committee, including the Professional Development Sub-Committee.
Ms. Jura also dedicates substantial time to pro bono matters. In 2012, Ms. Jura received the Firm’s annual award for successfully litigating the Firm’s Most Challenging Pro Bono Matter, in connection with her work on Norwood v. Bourland, a complex civil rights appeal.
Education & Background. Before joining the Firm, Ms. Jura served as a law clerk to the Honorable Pamela Ann Rymer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Ms. Jura graduated Order of the Coif from Stanford Law School. Ms. Jura was an Executive Editor of Stanford Law Review and received the Board of Editors Award. She was also the Student Director of the Stanford Community Law Clinic, and a graduate advisor and teacher. During her time at Stanford, Ms. Jura was awarded the Public Interest and Pro Bono Service Award, the John Cushing Duniway Scholarship and a Stanford Law School Fellowship.
Ms. Jura graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she was the Commencement Speaker at the Fine Arts & Humanities ceremony.
Ms. Jura is licensed to practice in the State of California, the Northern District of California, and before the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits. She is also a member of the French American Bar Association.
iv. Kalpana Srinivasan – Susman Godfrey LLP
Kalpana Srinivasan tries high-stakes cases for plaintiffs and defendants in courtrooms across the country. A partner in the Los Angeles office, she has secured significant victories for her clients in patent, copyright, class action, contract and other disputes against major companies. Ms. Srinivasan recently was named one of California's top 20 lawyers under the age of 40 by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal. The annual list honors the best and brightest in California’s legal industry. Click here to view the article. She also has been recognized as a Southern California “Rising Star” and one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California by Los Angeles magazine.
Ms. Srinivasan has substantial experience in intellectual property disputes, including patent and copyright litigation. Ms. Srinivasan has represented microprocessor technology company MicroUnity in its patent litigation against the mobile device offerings of Apple and Samsung; PalTalk, the nation’s premier online video chat community, in pursuing claims for infringement of its patents against major video gaming companies, including Microsoft, Sony and Activision; and PersonalWeb, in its patent litigation, against Google and others.
Ms. Srinivasan also has handled other high-profile commercial disputes for her clients, including The Rawlings Company, for which Ms. Srinivasan obtained a complete defense victory following a jury trial in a class action involving employee classification. Ms. Srinivasan also represents Jerry Moyes in a lawsuit brought by the National Hockey League involving the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team.
Ms. Srinivasan handles cases on a variety of fee arrangements including on a fixed fee, a contingency fee and by the hour.
Ms. Srinivasan sits on the Board of the Western Justice Center and has previously served on the executive committee of the South Asian Bar Association of North America. Ms. Srinivasan also has served as Susman Godfrey’s hiring partner with responsibility for attorney employment across the firm’s five offices and has previously chaired the firm’s Training and Diversity Committees.
Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Srinivasan reported for The Associated Press in Washington D.C., covering national media and telecommunications policy.
Ms. Srinivasan received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, where she completed a double major in Comparative Literature and Yale’s program in Ethics, Politics and Economics. She earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she graduated with distinction, served as editor of the Stanford Law Review and won Stanford’s Marion Rice Kirkwood Moot Court Competition.
Ms. Srinivasan clerked for Judge Raymond C. Fisher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Ms. Srinivasan speaks frequently on topic such as preparing for trial and trying different types of cases, from defending employment class actions to prosecuting antirust claims.
Ms. Srinivasan actively participates in a range of legal and philanthropic organizations in Los Angeles and nationwide.
- Ms. Srinivasan sits on the board of the Western Justice Center, an organization of judges, lawyers and civic leaders that promote research and legal education on alternative forms of dispute resolution and justice reform. http://www.westernjustice.org/home.
- Ms. Srinivasan currently co-chairs the litigation section of the North American South Asian Bar Association. http://www.nasaba.com.
- Ms. Srinivasan sat on the Board of Directors of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California. http://www.sabasc.org.
- Ms. Srinivasan previously served on the programming committee of the Young Advocates Committee of the American Bar Association litigation section.
- Ms. Srinivasan is a barrister of The Judge Paul R. Michel Intellectual Property Inn of Court in Los Angeles
v. Amy T. Brantly – Kesselman Brantly Stockinger LLP
Amy T. Brantly represents plaintiffs and defendants in a range of business litigation cases, in both state and federal courts, including antitrust cases, trade secrets litigation, breach of contract matters, executive compensation disputes, financial fraud cases, and class actions. Before founding KBS, Ms. Brantly was Of Counsel at Susman Godfrey LLP, where she worked on some of the biggest antitrust cases in the country as well as numerous class actions. Ms. Brantly prides herself on efficiently and leanly working cases and enjoys working with clients to gain a keen understanding of their business and legal needs. Ms. Brantly has been acknowledged several times by Los Angeles Magazine as a “Rising Star” in litigation, and in 2013 was named one of the “Top Women Attorneys of Southern California.”
Ms. Brantly sits on the Executive Committee of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) as Second Vice President and Treasurer and has served on the Board of that organization for several years chairing the Litigation Section and Business Development Section. Ms. Brantly is also an active member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and has served as a mentor to high school students at Garfield High School. Ms. Brantly has lectured to both plaintiff and defense lawyers on the subject of class action waivers and class arbitration and frequently speaks as a panelist or moderator at bar events, including the WLALA Litigators Forum and for WLALA’s career development programs. Ms. Brantly graduated from Fordham University School of Law, where she served as a member of the Fordham Moot Court Board and the Fordham Environmental Law Journal. Ms. Brantly is admitted to practice law in both New York and California.
- American Institute of Intradermal Cosmetics v. Society of Permanent Cosmetic Procedures (C.D. Cal.) – Currently representing a manufacturer and distributor of permanent cosmetic products in an alleged group boycott action against direct competitors and their trade association.
- Kleen Products LLC v. Packaging Corporation of America (N.D. Ill.) – Currently representing a putative class of direct purchasers against manufacturers for alleged horizontal price fixing in the containerboard industry.
- Masimo Corp. v. Tyco Healthcare Group (C.D. Cal) – Represented a young and dynamic healthcare company against Tyco in an antitrust case involving challenges to exclusionary contracting practices.
- White v. NCAA (C.D. Cal.) – Represented college athletes in an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA involving restrictions on athletic-based financial aid.
- Tessera Technologies, Inc. v. Hynix Semiconductor, Inc. (Cal. Superior Court, County of San Francisco) – Represented Tessera in an antitrust action against Hynix alleging a conspiracy to boycott under California’s Cartwright Act.
- In re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1663 (D.N.J.) – Defended Lloyd’s of London Syndicates in an antitrust action alleging a conspiracy involving undisclosed contingent commissions and bid-rigging.
- International Oncology Network Solutions v. Eagle (District Court, Collin County Texas) – Defended Raintree Oncology, an emerging health care company, against a division of Amerisource Bergen in a misappropriation of trade secrets case.
- In re Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litig., MDL 2151 (C.D. Cal.) – Represented class members in multi-district litigation against Toyota Motor Corp. based on claims under California’s False Advertising Law, Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition law.
This program is graciously sponsored by: