Top 250 Women in Litigation - South

Alabama

Focused on intellectual property, commercial, and business litigation, Angela Holt of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, has litigated numerous cases involving IP, breach of contracts, domain name disputes, and restrictive covenants, among others. She has ample experience litigating before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and prosecuting claims before the Patent and Trademark Office, and the Copyright Office.

Labella Alvis of Christian & Small is an experienced litigator with more than 30 years of experience. Currently, her practice focuses on professional liability and medical malpractice disputes against healthcare providers. She also has vast experience on employment and product liability cases, most notably in the trucking and aviation industries. "She is an absolute star! It's always refreshing to see someone who genuinely enjoys what they do, and she, for certain, is someone who does. She wraps herself up in her cases so that her level of expertise is never in question. She's really as thorough as they come," voices a peer.

Based out of Lightfoot Franklin & White's Birmingham office, Lana Olson has established a practice inclusive of product liability, business, employment, personal injury, and environmental litigation. She regularly participates in class action disputes and arbitration cases as well. She recently represented U-Haul Company of Florida in a multi-day arbitration involving two plaintiffs, one of which is a minor, before a single AAA arbitrator.

Florida

Based in the Tallahassee office of regional firm Akerman, Kathi Giddings is recognized for her representation of companies in civil and administrative appeals in both state and federal courts, Giddings also maintains a strong practice monitoring, advising, and litigation on bar ethics issues. "The market is always paying attention to Kathi's work," voices a competitor. Giddings obtained two significant wins in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, one representing client Wells Fargo on the law of receivership. This case in particular was one of first impression.

Wendy Lumish, a member of Bowman and Brooke's Appellate and Advance Motions practice group, maintains a strong appeals practice representing clients from different industries within the sporting goods, automobile, medical and pharmaceutical industries. "Wendy is a tremendous asset to have on any team. She's an automatic boost." Her primary focus throughout recent years has been defending product liability-most notably in asbestos-containing products, personal injury and medical malpractice cases.

Joy Lundeen, Chair of the Construction Law Practice Group at Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson specializes in appellate and class-action litigation. She has significant experience working on construction defect cases. Lundeen recently represented the homeowners association on a suit against West Palm Beach-based company Kolter Signature Homes and its subcontractors. The parties reached a settlement totaling $22.5 million.

Georgia

Nancy Rafuse manages her general commercial and employment litigation practice out of Atlanta office of the sprawling Polsinelli firm. As the Labor and Employment Practice Chair, she has developed a national reputation due to her frequent lead counsel role defending companies in response to alleged Rule 23 class actions, alleged FLSA collective actions, and all areas of employment litigation, including cases filed under the anti-discrimination statutes.

Jennifer Fletcher recently decamped from Sutherland Asbill to launch her own practice called Jennifer Wheatley Fletcher PC, dedicated exclusively to construction industry issues. Fletcher gained tremendous success throughout her career as lead counsel in a variety of trials, arbitrations, appellate arguments, and mediations, along with her significant jury trial experience. She has represented construction managers, developers, and contractors on complex construction disputes throughout the country.

Lori Cohen 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 Greenberg Traurig's Atlanta Litigation Practice. Peers acknowledge her "tremendous skill" adding that she "works as hard as anybody and her success rates prove it."

Cari Dawson of Alston & Bird Chair's the Class Action Practice Team and has developed a practice defending hundreds of class actions in a variety of industry sectors. Peers praise Dawson's work stating "it's impeccable. Her methods, her guidance…it never fails." From policyholder class-action defense to high-exposure claims and bad faith defense, she continues to add to her successful track record on high-profile disputes. She currently serves as lead defense counsel to Porsche Cars North America Inc. and Porsche AG in a multidistrict litigation in the "clean diesel" Volkswagen multidistrict litigation.

Chilton Varner of King & Spalding has for decades been recognized nationally for her 30-plus years of experience in defending corporations in product liability, business torts contract, and other commercial disputes. She has served as trial and appellate counsel for some of the largest pharmaceutical, medical device and automotive manufacturers in the country.

Kentucky

Virginia Hamilton Snell Chairs the Appellate Advocacy Practice of Wyatt Tarrant & Combs. She routinely represents clients in appellate courts, as well as in lower courts where issues are likely to proceed to the appellate level. Her diverse practice has led to her handling constitutional, contract, statutory, class action, regulatory and many other practice areas.

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 business and commercial litigation matters. She represented Elizabeth A. Osborn on a trust and estate matter involving breaches of fiduciary duty claims among seven siblings related to the disposition of commercial real estate and closely held stock in Griffin Industries, Inc. After five years of litigation and a bench trial in the district court, she obtained a successful resolution on behalf of her client. The case is currently on appeal to the Sixth Circuit. Fellow senior partner Margaret Keane serves as a member in the firm's Litigation Practice Group. Her practice is focused on defense of product liability actions, general commercial litigation, defending employers in various employment actions, and parties in family law actions.

A member of Stoll Keenon Ogden's Louisville office, Lea Pauley Goff serves as the Chair of the Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring practice and co-chair of the Banking Litigation practice. Her expertise extends to include informal liquidations, commercial foreclosures, lender liability matters, and commercial litigation. She represented a Kentucky community bank in defense of a borrower's claims related to his investment with another borrower. The bank won summary judgment on all claims. An appeal is pending.

Mindy Barfield, a partner in the Lexington office of Dinsmore & Shohl, specializes in complex commercial litigation, with a focus in business tort litigation, insurance coverage, and bad faith litigation. She also represents clients in administrative matters including challenges to market conduct studies and regulatory violations and penalties. Fellow partner Barbara Edelman specializes in commercial litigation and business disputes. She also represents clients in employment related disputes. Over the course of her career, she has tried more than 50 jury trials and has handled more than 30 appeals to both the Kentucky Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Theresa Canaday Frost Brown Todd serves as Chair of their business litigation practice group, the largest of the firm's practice groups. She focuses on complex business matters, such as business, franchise, construction and energy-related contract disputes, as well as unfair competition cases.

Anne Oldfather manages a diverse practice dedicated to product liability, plaintiff's personal injury, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, appellate matters, family law, and commercial litigation. She has developed her career being the sole trial counsel on numerous high-profile, high-stakes matters.

Louisiana

Judy Barrasso, founding and name partner of Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, is recognized for her consistent success within her insurance coverage practice. She additionally focuses on class action suits, complex commercial litigation, securities fraud, and bad faith claims, among others. She serves as lead counsel to excess liability insurer, Liberty, on a dispute filed by homeowners, pipeline companies, and state and local government agencies arising out of the discovery of a sinkhole and its impact on the neighboring area. Barrasso has already secured several important wins arising out of pretrial litigation.

Kim Boyle hails from the New Orleans office of Phelps Dunbar where she focuses her practice in the areas of labor and employment law, civil rights, constitutional law, commercial, tort, and general litigation. She has built her career representing employers in employment-related claims, such as retaliation and discrimination claims. Additionally, Boyle's practice includes public and private clients in commercial disputes, such as breach of contract, business torts, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair trade practices and class actions.

Lori Mince of Fishman Haygood is an experienced trial lawyer and a member of the firm's Litigation Section. A media law, commercial, and tax litigator, she often represents telecommunication companies and reporters on civil proceedings and defamation suits in cases seeking access to government records.

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, and product liability matters. A notable portion of her practice also focuses on employment and labor disputes, including federal and state anti-discrimination statutes and employment policies, among other issues.

Mississippi

With more than 30 years of trial experience, Christy Jones of Butler Snow enjoys a nationwide reputation for her product liability practice, as well as for her expertise in bellwether trials. She serves as head of the firm's product liability group and pharmaceutical, medical device, and health care industry team in the Southeast region. "Christy's practice is a healthy one. She's got such a quick mind and her assessment on legal issues has never faltered, no matter the issue at hand. She's stellar." Fellow partner, Kari Sutherland practices in the areas of drug and device litigation, as well as appellate and written advocacy litigation. She is currently a member of a national counsel team and international coordinating counsel in defending prescription medical devices.

Stephanie Rippee of Watkins & Eager manages a practice focused on commercial and products liability litigation, as well as a significant class action and mass torts practice. "Her stature continues to increase on a regional and nationl scale, for sure" expressed a peer. She currently represents a national product material supplier in a products defect matter concerning talc. Fellow Watkins & Eager litigator Rebecca Wiggs specializes in employment and labor, healthcare, and tort and general litigation, along with mass tort and product liability disputes, most notably in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors. "Rebecca is a really, really, outstanding trial lawyer."

North Carolina

Alice Carmichael Richey of Alexander Ricks focuses her practice on business, commercial, construction, employment, and intellectual property litigation. She has significant experience trying numerous jury and bench trials to verdict in both state and federal court, as well as before administrative agencies. She also boasts a robust arbitration and appellate practice.

Jennifer Van Zant of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP represents clients in a variety of complex business disputes. Hailing from the Greensboro office, Van Zant's experience extends to include antitrust litigation, health care litigation, and class action defense. She currently serves as co-lead counsel representing AQ Textiles on a product label matter that is pending in the District Court in the Southern District of Illinois.

From the Raleigh office of Ellis & Winters, Leslie Packer focuses her practice on civil litigation matters, most notably in the areas of products liability, medical malpractice, intellectual property, and commercial litigation. She is often invited to sit on corporate boards to assist with internal investigations due to her expertise. Clients include pharmaceutical companies, product manufacturers, health care practitioners and institutions, engineering companies, and many others.

Sally Higgins, the founding and name partner of Higgins & Owens, manages a practice concentrated on ERISA, torts, and securities litigation at the Charlotte-based firm. She has experience in both state and federal courts, arbitration proceedings, mediations, and appellate courts.

Hailing from Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein is Catharine Biggs Arrowood who manages a robust practice and offering services on antitrust & business torts, intellectual property litigation, alternative dispute resolution, class action defense, commercial litigation, international business, and transnational litigation and arbitration.

Allison Mullins of Turning Point Litigation (Mullins/Duncan) heads a diverse litigation practice that has propelled her to national acclaim as she obtained a favorable $2 million verdict in her representation of the plaintiffs in the first bellwether case in a medical device multidistrict litigation.

Tennessee

Patricia Head Moskal hails from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings's Nashville office where she has bolstered more than 25 years of experience as a trial and appellate lawyer, as well as experience on business disputes, insurance litigation, real estate litigation, and municipal law matters. In addition, she represents clients on government contract and bid protest matters against government entities.

Texas

Kat Gallagher of Beck Redden manages a high-stakes practice focused on products liability matters, and medical malpractice disputes. She has also represented clients in professional malpractice, intentional torts, premises liability, and environmental negligence cases. Her in depth trial experience has made her the "center of attention amongst her peers." She currently represents Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary Ethicon Inc. on a product liability dispute.

Kathy Patrick of Gibbs & Bruns focuses on complex commercial litigation, and more specifically, in securities law, creditor recovery litigation, and institutional investor litigation. She is nationally recognized for her representation on high-profile matters. She recently helped obtain a $2.416 billion settlement agreement with Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and other debtors in the Lehman bankruptcy proceeding.

Melanie Gray, who hails from the Houston office of Winston & Strawn, manages a practice focused on complex commercial litigation and bankruptcy litigation matters. In addition, her expertise extends to include the management of corporate internal investigations. Competitors rave about "the level of talent she possesses" adding that "any firm would love to have her on the team. She adds tremendous depth." Fellow partner Paula Hinton's practice has developed over the course of more than 30 years of experience wherein she has been focused on complex civil and business litigation as well as intellectual property matters. She is currently defending the city of Gainsville, Florida on a dispute underway in arbitration regarding a biomass fuel plant contract. Dallas-based partner Natalie Arbaugh represents clients in complex business and intellectual property disputes. She is recognized for her high-profile representation in high-profile matters, including her involvement in one of the largest fraud cases in Texas history. She also boasts a strong class action practice.

Tracie Renfroe, managing partner of the Houston office at King & Spalding, focuses her practice on toxic tort, environmental, product liability, and commercial disputes. She also co-chair's the Energy practice and has represented clients in international arbitrations on environmental disputes with known clients such as Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

Nina Cortell of Haynes and Boone represents corporations, public entities, and individuals in appellate and litigations matters, and has won significant victories in both state and federal appellate courts. Cortell brings nearly four decades of experience to a practice dedicated to trial, appellate, and crisis management. Her recent experience includes affirmance of a $3.6 billion liquidated damage provision plan of reorganization in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Throughout the course of her 20-plus year-career, Jennifer Haltom Doan of Haltom & Doan has amassed significant high-stakes experience as a trial lawyer. She manages her practice with a focus on business and commercial litigation, class-action disputes, insurance defense, environmental issues, product liability, personal injury, and intellectual property litigation. She has achieved highly publicized success in her career defending clients such as the favorable verdicts in patent infringement cases on behalf of Yahoo! and Amazon.

Marie Yeates serves as the practice group leader of Vinson & Elkins' Appellate practice. She has created a reputable practice representing clients on commercial disputes, business torts, oil and gas, securities law, class actions, tax, trade secrets, and labor litigation in both state and federal appellate courts. "It's such an honor to see her in action" voiced a competitor, adding "she's simply spectacular."

Hailing from Kirkland & Ellis's Houston office, Anna Rotman focuses her practice on general commercial litigation matters with a deep focus on energy, technology, and aviation, in particular. Rotman's global practice ranges from North and Latin America, to Europe and the Middle East on energy and technology disputes. She served as lead appellate counsel for Sabine Oil & Gas Corporation and was successful on its motion to reject midstream contracts during its Chapter 11 cases in the Southern District of New York.

Retta Miller of Jackson Walker has composed more than 30 years of reputable trial experience focusing on civil litigation, arbitration, and appeals. She is recognized her for work defending multiple financial institutions in claims arising from a participated loan in connection with a leveraged buyout on a matter where plaintiffs sought $45 million in damages for claims asserted for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, tortious interference, and business disparagement.

Kim Askew of K&L Gates' Dallas office focuses her practice representing clients in complex commercial litigation disputes. "She is very highly regarded and is, just a true professional." She additionally has developed an in-depth employment practice involving race, disability, gender and age discrimination, and sexual harassment as well as litigation involving trade secrets, non-compete, and non-solicitation and employment agreements. Throughout her career, Askew has tried numerous jury and non-jury cases to verdict on behalf of Fortune 500 companies.

Yvette Ostolaza, managing partner of Sidley Austin's Dallas office, is also a member of the firm's Executive Committee, and co-leader of its securities and shareholder litigation practice. She has developed a well-known global practice where she routinely spearheads internal investigations on behalf of directors, companies, and board committees and in defense of shareholders and securities class action suits.

Virginia

Cassandra Collins of Hunton & Williams serves as the Administrative Team Partner for the litigation group. Her experience involves litigating contracts, franchise and distribution agreements, energy and environmental litigation, power purchase agreements, leases, consumer finance, insurance policies, condemnations, business torts, and many other issues. She is currently involved in a multimillion-dollar construction litigation dispute in connection with expansions to an energy power plant.