Top 250 Women in Litigation - South

Alabama

Angela Holt, hailing from the Huntsville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, focuses her practice on the fields of intellectual property, commercial and business issues, and high-technology issues. In particular, she has litigated many inter partes trademark opposition proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Florida

Tallahassee-based Katherine Giddings, who handles a broad range of complex and civil administrative cases in her firm, represented several major satellite companies in a taxation dispute with the Department of Revenue. This case has broad state-wide tax implications for all consumers of satellite and cable television, and is currently pending in the Supreme Court of Florida. She also represented the Seminole Tribe of Florida in a matter which centered on the question of whether Florida's Rental Tax and Florida's Utility Tax violated the tenants of federal Indian law. Her skillful representation led the 11th Circuit to conclude that, though the Utility Tax cannot be avoided, the Tribe has no obligation to pay the Rental Tax. A peer testifies, "Kathi Giddings is whip-smart and sassy; not in an obnoxious or flippant way, but in a manner that allows her to distill the details of a case down to the essence."

Joy Lundeen of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson specializes in appellate and class action litigation and spends a good deal of her time resolving claims under Chapter 558, which deals with construction defects. In February 2016, she obtained a victory for her client, Custom Group, in a breach-of-contract suit against Winston Towers; the settlement included the awarding of $2.5 million to her client. With exceptional experience in handling appeals in both federal and state courts in all areas of law, Sylvia Walbolt of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt presented the oral argument in an appeal resulting in the reversal of a$1.1 billion judgement. She also co-authored another appeal resulting in the reversal of a $1.5 billion judgement. She continues to receive nods for her "excellent appellate work."

Hilarie Bass, who hails from the Miami office of Greenberg Traurig, is Co-President of her firm and serves on its Executive Committee. For more than thirty years, she has represented clients in commercial cases in jury and non-jury trials involving hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently, she serves as Lead Counsel for the Homebuilder Group in the Chinese Drywall multidistrict litigation.

Wendy Lumish is a new member of Bowman and Brooke's Appellate and Advance Motions practice group, where she focuses her practice on appeals defending products liability, personal injury, and medical malpractice cases. Her clients hail from an array of different industries, including automobile, asbestos-containing products, medical and pharmaceutical, and sporting goods. Lumish decamped from Carlton Fields Jorden Burt to join her current firm in February 2016.

Georgia

Nancy Rafuse of Polsinelli specializes in general commercial and labor and employment litigation, and last year, she represented CVS Pharmacy in a matter in which the plaintiffs claimed that they were misclassified as exempt employees and should have been paid overtime. On the grounds that the members of the collective were subject to the executive, administrative and highly compensated exemptions to the overtime requirements, the case was decertified. Hailing from the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, Jennifer Fletcher is the leader of her firm's Construction Industry Practice Group and focuses her practice on appellate, constitutional and public law, general commercial, international arbitration, and white-collar matters. Fletcher represents Lend Lease in a construction litigation matter revolving around the deconstruction of the former "Deutsche Bank Building" in downtown Manhattan. She also represented Michael Utley in a dispute involving a luxury waterfront condominium in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Lori Cohen, located in the Atlanta office of Greenberg Traurig, serves as Chair of the firm's Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, and Health Care Litigation Practice and as Chair of its Trial Practice Group; she is also Co-Chair of its Atlanta Litigation Practice. She has obtained 57 verdicts at trial and, in recent years, obtained defense verdicts after a two-month trial with $30 million in alleged damages. Chair of Alston & Bird's Class Action Practice Team, Cari Dawson has defended hundreds of class actions in many different industries. She currently serves as lead counsel to Mazda in multidistrict litigation in Miami and as co-lead class action defense counsel to The Home Depot in multidistrict litigation in Atlanta. Peers and competitors alike concede that Dawson is "a terrific class action lawyer." Chilton Varnerof King & Spalding has amassed thirty years of experience in defending corporations in product liability, business torts contract, and other commercial disputes. In 2013, she won a unanimous jury verdict for her client, Merck, in the first bellwether case to be tried in MDL litigation in New Jersey. "Chilton Varner is still a hallowed name in product liability circles. Her reputation elicits national reviews."

Kentucky

Virginia Hamilton Snell Chairs the Appellate Advocacy Practice of Wyant Tarrant & Combs. She manages a diverse practice which has led to her handling cases in a wide variety of different areas, including constitutional, contract, statutory, class action, regulatory, and many others. Bingham Greenebaum Doll's Janet Jakubowicz is chair of the firm's Partnership Board and a member of its Litigation practice group and specializes in appellate, securities, and intellectual property litigation. In 2015, she spent the majority of her time handlings fiduciary trust and estate litigation cases.

A member of Still Keenon Ogden's Louisville office, Lea Pauley Goff specializes in banking litigation, bankruptcy and financial restructuring, and business litigation, especially regarding industries including healthcare, construction, manufacturing, mining, entertainment and restaurant, and equine.

Mindy Barfield, a partner in the Lexington office of Dinsmore, specializes in complex commercial litigation, litigation of coal-related disputes, and complex insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. She represented the Kentucky League of Cities, a collection of Kentucky municipalities, in a breach of fiduciary duty matter last year. She also defended a large, national insurance company before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a case that related to the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. Chair of Frost Brown Todd's business litigation practice group, Theresa Canaday manages a practice that emphasizes complex business matters, including energy-related contract disputes, business torts, franchise disputes and related matters, construction disputes, and unfair competition cases. Her client base consists of a wide array of companies, from Fortune 500 organizations to start-up businesses. Barbara Edelman of Dinsmore & Shohl specializes in commercial litigation and many types of business disputes. She acted in a declaratory judgement suit for a large national coal company involving claims of breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, and tortious interference with contract. Anne Oldfather, name partner of the Oldfather Law Firm, manages a diverse practice that has led to her serving as trial counsel in a wide variety of cases, including the sexual abuse strip-search litigation against McDonald's Corporation, commercial litigation between Carrier Vibrating Equipment Company and Rexnord International, and medical malpractice litigation for a man with a missed diagnosis of a metabolic disorder. With a practice focused on defense of products liability actions, general commercial litigation, defending employers in various employment actions, and parties in family law actions, Margaret Keane serves as a member in Bingham Greenebaum Doll's Litigation Practice Group.

Louisiana

Founding member and name partner of the firm Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, Judy Barrasso consistently receives accolades for her exceptional work in the areas of insurance coverage, bad faith, director and office liability, securities fraud, and commercial contracts. Her skill is called upon by clients throughout the country, including in Connecticut and Arkansas, where she handled a number of class action cases this past year. She also notably represented Liberty Insurance, for whom she secured a favorable settlement certified before the Texas Supreme Court. Practicing in the areas of labor and employment law, civil rights, constitutional law, commercial, tort, and general litigation, Kim Boyle of Phelps Dunbar represents employers in employment-related claims, such as retaliation and discrimination claims. She successfully defended a Fortune 500 client in a state court jury trial against claims of racial discrimination and a major pharmaceutical company in federal court against claims of race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. A media law, commercial, and tax litigator, Lori Mince is a partner in Fishman Haygood's Litigation Section. She represents Times-Picayune newspaper, Cable News Network, The New York Times, and many other household-name companies.

Donna Currault of Gordon Arata McCollam Duplantis & Eagon manages a diverse practice which focuses on antitrust and trade regulation, bankruptcy, class actions, commercial litigation, corporate and securities litigation, employment and labor, and product liability matters.

Mississippi

Christy Jones of Butler Snow enjoys a nationwide reputation for her product liability practice, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. She heads of the firm's product liability group and pharmaceutical, medical device, and health care industry team in the Southeast region and has served as the lead counsel on several multidistrict litigations and bellwether cases. "Christy is one of the best trial lawyers in the country," testifies a peer. "She may be based in Mississippi but she's rarely there. Her practice is truly national." Also at Butler Snow, Kari Sutherland practices in the areas of drug and device and appellate and written advocacy litigation. With a practice that has spanned more than two decades, Stephanie Rippee of Watkins & Eager manages a practice focused on commercial and products liability litigation. Fellow Watkins & Eager litigator Rebecca Wiggs specializes in product liability and medical malpractice as well as labor and employment, consumer finance, and appellate advocacy.

North Carolina

Catharine Biggs Arrowood, who hails from Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, manages a diverse practice and offers services in antitrust & business torts, intellectual property litigation, alternative dispute resolution, class action defense, commercial litigation, international business, and transnational litigation and arbitration. In Morris v. Scenera, a case which tests the scope of the work for hire doctrine and the nature or remedies that are available to an employee, she represented Scenera. Managing a practice that focuses on general commercial and intellectual property matters, Parker Poe alumnus Alice Richey has since moved on to the Alexander Ricks firm. Richey has extensive experience representing clients at many levels of court, including before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit. Allison VanLaningham Mullins, who hails from Turning Point Litigation, heads a diverse litigation practice which has led to her representing John Edwards in his criminal campaign finance trail, working with Fortune 100 companies, and helping a young woman in a persistent vegetative state. She also represented the plaintiffs in the first bellwether case in a medical device multidistrict litigation and tried the case to a two million dollar verdict. Representing clients in a wide range of complex business disputes, Jennifer Van Zant of the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce boasts extensive experience representing clients in the areas of corporate litigation, class action defense, antitrust litigation, and health care litigation.

Ellis & Winters litigator Leslie Packer specializes in civil litigation, and especially in the areas of products liability, medical malpractice, and commercial litigation. Her list of clients includes companies in a wide array on industries, including pharmaceutical companies, product manufacturers, health care practitioners and institutions, engineering companies, and many others.

Higgins & Owens founding partner Sally Higgins manages a vibrant practice concentrated on ERISA, torts, and securities litigation at the three-person, Charlotte-based firm.

Oklahoma

Chair of Crowe & Dunlevy's Litigation & Trial Practice Group in Oklahoma City, Judy Hamilton Morse manages a litigation practice which serves clients from a large assortment of different industries, including the securities, financial services, lending, consumer credit, franchising, real estate, and energy sectors. Amy Stipe of Gable Gotwals practices in the areas of class actions, complex contracts, business torts, insurance bad faith, oil and gas, and labor and employment. This edition marks both Morse and Stripes' ascension into this list of the leading 250 women litigators in America.

South Carolina

Molly Hood Craig specializes predominately in product liability matters–specifically, in the area if pharmaceutical and medical devices–and she also handles employment, professional liability, and nursing home litigation matters throughout the US. Among her many tried cases in the last year was a case involving Boston Scientific's pelvic mesh product. After a 10-day trial, Craig secured a victory for her client. With more than thirty years of experience defending individuals and corporations in business torts, employment, professional liability, contract, and many other commercial disputes in addition to product liability matters, Susan McWilliams of Nexsen Pruet is also a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Tennessee

With more than 25 years of experience as a trial and appellate lawyer, Patricia Head Moskal hails from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings's Nashville office. In 2015, before the Tennessee Supreme Court, she served as lead attorney to several client groups, including ACE American Insurance Company and Old Republic Insurance Company, who claimed insurance tax refund claims against the State of Tennessee. The claimants, insurance companies domiciled in Pennsylvania, challenged the imposition of retaliatory insurance taxes against the by the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance relating to workers' compensation insurance.

Texas

With nearly four decades of experience, Nina Cortell represents corporations, public entities, and individuals in appellate and litigations matters, and she has won significant victories in both state and federal appellate courts. Most recently, she achieved the voiding of a $29 million liquidated damages provision in the Texas Supreme Court. Head of Baker Botts's appellate section, Macey Reasoner Stokes boasts more than twenty years of experience in many varieties of civil appeal. She has handled over sixty cases in the Texas Supreme Court and argues frequently before it. Marie Yeates, practice group leader of Vinson & Elkins' Appellate practice, has presented one hundred appellate arguments in federal and state appellate courts. She once obtained a reversal of a $100 million judgement based on claims of business disparagement and tortious interference with prospective business relations.

Melanie Gray, who hails from the Houston office of Winston & Strawn, focuses on complex commercial litigation, and especially on bankruptcy cases. She served as lead attorney in more than 30 lawsuits seeking to recover more than $1 billion, and she also handles corporate internal investigations. "Melanie is a superb litigator with great command and award-winning skills," confirms a peer. "In fact, she didwin an award [the Karen H. Susman Jurisprudence Award] in Houston in April of 2015!" Another Winston & Strawn Houston partner, Paula Hinton focuses her practice on representing businesses in complex civil litigation. She successfully defended a waste disposal company against a $3 billion environmental lawsuit and is also helping client Kemco resolve a three-year contract suit by finding issues in a case that other lawyers have overlooked. "Paula has a great beat on the market," claims a peer. "She has great people skills, is very active, and is a great person to get to know. She has a delightful personality, is hard-working, and has done very well on developing business."

Operating out of the Houston office of Kirkland & Ellis, Anna Rotman manages a general commercial litigation practice focused on energy, technology, and aviation, in particular. Recently relocated from her position at Yetter Coleman, Rotman runs a truly international practice, as she represents clients on issues not only in North America, but also in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.

Managing partner of Sidley Austin's Dallas office, member of the firm' Executive Committee, and co-leader of its securities and shareholder litigation practice, Yvette Ostolaza litigates matters on behalf of global clients, including MGM Resorts, Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment, and Neiman-Marcus. She served as lead litigation counsel in a federal diversity action involving excess of $500 million in damages alleging fraud diversity. "Yvette is an alpha," comments a peer. "She definitely has the backbone to take cases to trial." Another repeatedly mentioned "alpha," Kathy Patrick of celebrated Houston litigation boutique Gibbs & Bruns focuses on complex commercial litigation, and more specifically, in securities law, creditor recovery litigation, and institutional investor litigation. Her clients have included such companies as Huntsman Corporation, Trust Company of the West, and Western Asset Management. "Kathy needs no introduction," asserts a peer. "She is as nice as can be, but do not cross her or start goofing around. She has zero tolerance for suffering fools, and brings real teeth to a case."

Jennifer Haltom Doan of Haltom & Doan boasts more than 20 years of experience in serving as a trial lawyer. She has served clients in a wide array of complex litigation involving product liability, intellectual property, environmental and toxic tort claims, pharmaceutical litigation, personal injury, class actions, and complex business controversies. "Jennifer Haltom Doan has an interesting practice that straddles IP and commercial litigation," states a peer, reinforcing, "Appropriately enough, she is an interesting and creative litigator." Managing partner of the Houston office of King & Spalding, Tracie Renfroe focuses her practice on toxic tort, environmental, product liability, and commercial disputes. A wide array of nationally-recognized companies, including Shell, Chevron, and Marathon Oil Company depend on her skillful representation. Another litigator known for honing her skills at a renowned Houston trial shop, Beck Redden's Kat Gallagher also manages a practice centered on products liability in addition to medical malpractice matters and has represented clients in professional malpractice, intentional torts, premises liability, and environmental negligence cases, as well. "Kat is a great litigator, vivacious, and not afraid to try a case."

Virginia

Cassandra Collins of Hunton & Williams has extensive experience litigating contracts, franchise and distribution agreements, power purchase agreements, leases, consumer finance, insurance policies, condemnations, business torts, and many other issues. In 2015, she spent a good portion of her time handling construction contract disputes, and in particular, two disputes filed in the eastern district of Pennsylvania. In one case, in which she was able to secure a summary judgement for her client, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation, the contract in question was valued at over $250 million.