Under 40 Hotlist - South


Balch & Bingham's Conrad Anderson spends his time litigating business disputes and defending class action lawsuits. In May 2017, Anderson received a defense verdict in a jury trial in a personal injury action where the plaintiff sought $25 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Adam Israel's practice is based on business torts and unfair competition as well as commercial and spent nuclear fuel litigation. Israel has spent a significant amount of time working on a case involving a breach of non-solicitation action filed in December 2014. He represents four individual insurance brokers who were fired from a local insurance brokerage firm. They were then hired to open a national insurance brokerage firm's office in Birmingham. The matter has included more than 30 depositions, a three-day preliminary injunction hearing and an appeal to the Supreme Court of Alabama. Lane Knight represents some of the nation's largest banks and loan servicers in litigation in the Southeast. Knight's practice includes various financial services clients with a concentration on banking and mortgage servicing litigation. His knowledge also extends to class-action litigation, education law, environmental litigation, franchisor/franchisee disputes, patent litigation, personal injury and products liability cases, title insurance litigation and wrongful death.

The Birmingham office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings hosts a rich reserve of young stars. Jason Bushby's practice has shifted from civil litigation primarily in financial services to include regulation compliance, government investigations, and enforcement. However, Bushby continues to represent some of the largest mortgage lenders and servicers in the industry. In the last year, business and commercial partner Tiffany DeGruy has also has gotten a taste of the increasingly popular issue of online travel companies and occupancy tax. She and colleague Jennifer McGahey deal with matters related to the companies accused of not paying proper taxes on their profits. With the growth of the online travel marketplace in the last decade, DeGruy says, companies across the country including Priceline.com have been sued for back taxes. Commercial litigator John Mark Goodman has a wide-ranging practice, which includes cybersecurity/privacy and construction matters, as well as an engineering background. Goodman and bankruptcy attorney Thomas Richie were part of a winning team of lawyers who defended iron ore company Cliffs Natural Resources (eventually owned by Seneca Coal Company) in a case involving its mining property and relocation of Southern Natural Gas pipelines in Bessemer–potentially worth $50 million. In March 2017, the case settled for $2.5 million payable to Cliffs/Seneca.

In Birmingham, Jonathan Macklem is a member of Christian & Small's Labor & Employment Practice group whose practice includes business and commercial litigation for corporate clients. Macklem defends clients in contractual and business tort proceedings involving directors and officers liability issues, shareholder disagreements, and franchise disputes. He helps represent Community Health Systems Professional Service Corporation and its hospitals, which were sued in 16 class-action data breach cases–possibly affecting more than 5 million patients. They were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Alabama. Macklem and his team completed briefing on motions to dismiss and received rulings significantly narrowing claims and persons in class.

A peer raves that John Holmes with Maynard Cooper & Gale is a "smart and good [litigator who] everyone likes and respects." In the last year, Holmes' practice has included a mix of issues including labor and employment, health and safety work, and company investigations. He is an established Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigations expert, recently dealing with several fatality investigations by the agency.


Joseph Falasco is a managing member at Quattlebaum Grooms and Tull, where he focuses on appeals, class actions, product liability and real estate litigation. Falasco was a lead attorney in representing defendants facing allegations including breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste and misappropriation, and others in the development and sale of a more than $12 million convenience store. He and his team got the majority of the case dismissed on summary judgement. After a two-week trial, a judgement was entered that awarded plaintiffs nothing. An appeal was filed and the parties reached a settlement favorable to the client. A companion case is pending in state court. Falasco handled the matter alongside fellow litigator Joseph Price, whose practice focuses on civil litigation. Colleague Clarke Tucker is a litigator with a diverse practice and a state representative in the Arkansas General Assembly. Tucker landed a more than $1 million win for a client who filed a claim against an insurance company for breach of contract and negligence in handling annuity policies. Michael Heister and Ryan Younger helped represent a subsidiary of pharmaceutical and medical supply distributor McKesson. The company tried to prevent the state from using its drug to execute eight death row inmates in April 2017. It alleges that the Arkansas Department of Corrections misled a McKesson employee in order to obtain a drug used for lethal injections although the agency's license covers only supplies for medical use. The Arkansas Supreme Court stayed the circuit court's preliminary injunction but McKesson's claims are pending. Heister's practice focuses on appeals, business litigation, personal injury and regulatory compliance from both agency and trial court decisions. Younger practices business-related litigation, class actions, and appeals.

David Mitchell's practice centers on business, financial services, and class action litigation at Rose Law firm, purportedly the oldest firm west of the Mississippi River. In August 2016, Mitchell was a lead attorney in representing a company in enforcement of an approximately $30 million dollar foreign judgement through federal court veil-piercing action and other collection efforts against various entities and trusts affiliated with the judgement debtor.


Bilzin Sumberg partner Lori Lustrin is on the firm's antitrust team, which represents Tech Data Corporation in the prosecution of claims against the major worldwide manufacturers of cathode-ray tubes (CRTs), the predecessor technology to liquid-crystal displays. The company alleges that the CRT manufacturers conspired to raise prices and control production capacity of CRTs in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. As a result, the client was unlawfully overcharged for products containing CRTs purchased over the course of 12 years. Tech Data seeks more than $140 million in damages. Lustrin also specializes in appellate, commercial, and class actions matters.

Jason Alperstein with Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd is lauded for his work in his consumer class-action cases. Alperstein works with name partner Paul Geller to prosecute claims on behalf of almost 600,000 consumers who were misled into purchasing and leasing Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen vehicles that were marketed as environmentally friendly, yet emitted toxic pollutants. He also is involved in nationwide class actions pending throughout the country regarding the National Hockey League's failure to warn players of the risk of long-term neurological damages from constant head trauma. Securities partner Maureen Mueller was on the winning litigation team, which obtained final approval of a record-breaking $1.575 billion recovery in the securities class action for consumer finance business Household International. Mueller helped end the 14-year matter, which arose when shareholders alleged that Household stock was artificially inflated to hide its poor lending practices and loan quality. The matter took place before HSBC acquired the company.


Balch & Bingham partner Anne Kaufold-Wiggins has spent 10 years earning courtrooms wins for her corporate clients on appeal, in trial and upon dispositive motions. Many of Kaufold-Wiggins' clients are electric utilities including both investor-owned utilities and electric membership corporations. She recently defended Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) before the Georgia Court of Appeals in a pivotal career victory. In June 2017 in a 75-page decision, the Court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of two class action, patronage capital lawsuits filed against three of the firm's distribution EMC clients. In both cases–with a total of $2 billion potentially on the line–distribution EMC members challenged the company's patronage capital distribution practices involving multiple alleged violations. Those violations were of the EMC enabling act, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty, money had and received, conspiracy, conversion, and breach of the implied obligation of good faith.

Christopher Wiech with LeClairRyan handles business matters with a concentration on technology and corporate compliance. Wiech, who leads LeClairRyan's Technology and Innovations practice, advises clients on legal and regulatory issues facing emerging technologies such as blockchain technologies, digital currencies, and "Internet of Things" companies. He represents clients in high-stakes litigation including class actions in federal and state courts and has extensive jury trial, arbitration, and appellate experience.


For nearly 10 years, Monica Braun has focused on business, commercial, and intellectual property matters in her practice from the Lexington office of Stoll Keenon Ogden. Braun continues her work for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, participating in an administrative trial involving an alleged drug violation by a Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. Antitrust and insurance litigator Carl Frazier holds his own while representing individuals and businesses in disputes in state and federal courts and before regulatory agencies. Frazier is a member of the firm's Business Litigation and Tort, Trial & Insurance Services practices and is knowledgeable in industries including government education, entities, insurance, public utilities, technology, and transportation. A peer offers, "He's excellent at identifying strategies and issues, and he's talented beyond his years."


Michael Balascio with Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver "has a stellar ability to manage litigation and the ins and outs down to the minutiae of what it takes to go to trial," a peer says. "He keeps the overall strategy in mind." Balascio focuses on securities litigation and arbitration, high-stakes insurance coverage and bad faith cases, and commercial litigation. Balascio defends Allied World Assurance Company in a declaratory judgement suit, filed in bankruptcy court in San Antonio, Texas, by a litigation trustee. The suit involves recovery under directors and officers liability Insurance policies issued by Allied World, and others, for damages totaling $20 million. David Luder and Stephen Miles help represent an excess liability insurer that issued a $50 million excess policy after the discovery of a sinkhole formation and its impact on the surrounding area. They facilitated important wins for the client in pretrial litigation, and they also convinced an appellate court to reverse a temporary restraining order and a finding of contempt and a trial court's rulings on certain coverage issues. Luder primarily works in litigation and multi-party arbitration including contracts, business torts and commercial disputes as well as securities litigation and arbitration. Described as a "lawyer's lawyer" by a peer, Miles contributes his expertise in high-stakes insurance coverage and bad faith litigation as well as commercial litigation both at the trial and appellate levels. "Although he can comprehend complicated legal arguments, he also can distill it down to a court or jury to make it very simple and straightforward," a peer says. "He's able to both defend a client against the allegation but also understand the entirety of the litigation, knowing what has to happen in an underlying suit."


In Balch & Bingham's Jackson office, Brant Pettis handles matters in construction, environmental, financial services, and insurance. In the last year, Pettis successfully defended the Mississippi State Port Authority at Gulfport in a bid protest appeal that challenged the organization's determination that the award of a $44 million construction contract would not be made to the lowest bidder.

Appellate and commercial litigator Michael Bentley with the Jackson office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings is a part of the legal team that represents Horne, LLP, an auditing firm that is accused of professional malpractice that led to the bankruptcy filing and underselling of Natchez Regional Medical Center, which seeks $19 million in damages.

Based in Brunini Grantham's Jackson office, Karen Howell's specialties include appellate, commercial, government contracts, healthcare, intellectual property, and product liability litigation. Howell has a hand in supporting some of the firm's major cases for clients including Centric Group, which faces a $40 million lawsuit on allegations stemming from possible bribery for correctional facility commissary management services contracts. In Biloxi, litigator Taylor McNeel's practice involves high-stakes litigation for businesses and governmental entities as plaintiffs and defendants. In the past year, McNeel has led in representing a Big Four accounting firm in a highly publicized matter involving hundreds of lawsuits related to overstatement of accounts receivables of a large public entity.

Corey Hinshaw with Watkins & Eager has a wide-ranging practice with specialties including commercial and product liability litigation. Hinshaw has significant experience in toxic torts and mass torts, premises liability, bad faith, and nursing home litigation. Hinshaw helps represent the property owner and management company being sued by a plaintiff who was shot on their grounds, which were allegedly inadequately secured. Fellow partner Jennifer Rogers, who is well known for her extensive labor and employment as well as motorized vehicle litigation work, is getting ready to defend engine manufacturer Deutz AG in an upcoming trial. Plaintiffs say that the company produced a tractor that was defective due to the lack of roll bar protection, which may have fatally injured a man while operating the equipment. Timothy Sensing specializes in medical malpractice, pharmaceutical and medical device and product liability cases as well as Medicaid fraud action. Sensing serves as the lead lawyer for Magnolia Health Plan, which faces a whistleblower violation allegation under the False Claims Act. The plaintiff seeks several million dollars in damages. Sensing also works on behalf of a doctor in a wrongful death case in which the pulmonologist allegedly failed to adequately evaluate a patient following gastric bypass surgery. Afterward, the patient was transferred to the intensive care unit, went into cardiac arrest and died. James Tyrone is a member of the firm's White-Collar Criminal Defense group but he also devotes his practice to products liability cases, catastrophic commercial or industrial accident cases, and attorney malpractice litigation for both the plaintiff and defense bar. In March 2017, Tyrone and a colleague handled a case on behalf of Cellco Partnership, which does business as Verizon Wireless. A family took a $55 million action against the company after the husband, wife and a six-year-old were sexually assaulted and held hostage. They allege that they tried to call 911 from their cell phone, but the call was routed to the wrong jurisdiction. Tyrone and his colleague successfully compelled the case to arbitration, and the plaintiffs chose not to initiate arbitration.

North Carolina

Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard litigator Clint Morse assists in defending Dazzle Up in intellectual property-related cases, including a priority dispute over the retailer's application to federally register its Simply Southern brand as a trademark for costume jewelry. Another business opposed on the grounds that it used the name for jewelry before Dazzle Up did. In May 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board denied the plaintiff's motion for additional time to respond to Dazzle Up’s motion for summary judgment. Said motion for summary judgement is pending.

For construction litigator Jason Herndon with Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, a career highlight in the last year was gaining a win for a defendant in a matter involving utilities and real property issues. Herndon was first chair in the case, which could have voided about 25 miles of utility easements of high value. Herndon successfully resolved a case with more than 30 parties for what he called a "nuanced legal issue with respect to construction and municipal law." Seasoned litigator Sarah Hutchins has experience in antitrust matters, commercial litigation and government defense. Hutchins recently conducted work in data privacy, helping prepare clients for security breaches and the lawsuits or regulatory scrutiny that may follow.

Richard Worf of Robinson Bradshaw in Charlotte runs a diverse practice encompassing civil litigation with an emphasis on mass tort bankruptcy, and helps a team manage various matters for Verizon. Worf is involved in defending the telecommunications company in six actions in different states against allegations that Verizon and other related companies violated the False Claims Act by under-billing and under-collecting 911 taxes on certain complex telephone technologies. Nathan Chase is an "amazing antitrust lawyer who handles business disputes and national" matters, a peer says. Chase, who also specializes in government investigations, is on lead counsel for drywall makers National Gypsum Company in ongoing multidistrict class action litigation involving price-fixing claims brought by direct and indirect purchasers of gypsum wallboard. Pearlynn Houck represents companies and executives in business and employment disputes and bet-the-company litigation. Houck serves as lead counsel in representing the estate of a 36-year-old man who was killed by a carbon dioxide can used for playing paintball when it exploded in his hands. The estate is suing the manufacturers and a major sporting goods retailer. Ty Shaffer chairs the firm's Condemnation and Real Estate Disputes Practice group and represents commercial and individual property owners in condemnation actions brought by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the City of Charlotte. In December 2016, Shaffer helped represent Liberty Healthcare Properties of North Carolina in a case involving NCDOT's condemnation action of part of the company's property for a road project in Salisbury. NCDOT's estimate of just compensation owing for the taking was $175,000, but after litigation, the agency agreed to settle the case for a total compensation of $1.15 million.

Ward & Smith partner Hayley Wells is a member of the firm's Alcoholic Beverage Law group, which she helped launch in 2012 when the craft beer movement swept through Asheville. She also specializes in labor and employment litigation.


A peer only has positive remarks about the "client service and legal brilliance" Seth Day provides in his practice at Hall Estill Hardwick Gable Golden & Nelson. Day's practice areas include construction, insurance law and tort litigation, product liability, professional malpractice, and transportation. Colleague Elisabeth Muckala has a practice in construction, employment, corporate, and contractual matters, but lately she has worked in the oil and gas, environmental, and media law arenas. The former Oklahoma County Bar Association board member helped defend KOKH, LLC and KOKH Licensee, LLC in a defamation case before the Western District of Oklahoma, which upheld a summary judgement in the client's favor. Bryan Nowlin excels in his practice, which highlights water law, trust and estate litigation, and family law. During the past year, Nowlin obtained reversal of the district court in an appeal to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals and obtained a final settlement of a 10-year water territory dispute between the City of Guthrie and a rural water district.


John Farringer IV practices law in his hometown Nashville with Sherrard Roe Voight & Harbison where he focuses on business and commercial litigation in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate levels. Farringer represents AT&T in federal and state courts in challenging an ordinance to allow Google Fiber to expand its internet service in Nashville. He also manages due diligence issues in large real estate transactions; significant estate and trust matters; a federal class action lawsuit dealing with faulty plumbing materials for houses; and representing privately held companies in disputes.


From Andrews Kurth Kenyon's Houston office, commercial litigator Michelle Scheffler focuses on representing oil and gas clients in federal and state courts throughout the U.S. as first and second trial counsel. Scheffler represents Norwegian national oil company Statoil in two matters including a dispute over whether it was subject to an area of mutual interest (AMI) where plaintiffs allege breach of contract and tort causes of actions. The company faces claims of underpaid royalties unrelated to leases within the AMI. Scheffler and her colleagues at Andrew Kurth obtained a dismissal of the tort claims and about $400 million in alleged damages; the remaining breach of contract underpayment claim is pending with alleged damages of approximately $1 million.

Bracewell commercial and environmental litigator Christopher Dodson represents the owner of plastic plant M&G Resins USA and its engineering arm Chemtex International in a dispute over construction of the facility in Nueces Bay. Contractors, who seek more than $10 million in claims, have taken action against the clients for alleged construction deficiencies, delay damages, and past due payments concerning the project. Dodson handles the matter with litigator Andrew Zeve, who "is a great lawyer and has a pretty substantial oil and gas trial practice," a peer says. Blair Loocke focuses her practice primarily on energy litigation and product liability issues. Loocke contributes to a team of litigators representing energy investor company Bluescape Resources in a $200 million matter involving oil and gas investments with Pickens Mineral Holdings in the Marcellus Shale play in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In May 2017, Brian Mitchell obtained final rulings in favor of Energy & Exploration Partners (EXNP)–now Pardus Oil & Gas–in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding in Fort Worth. Mitchell represented ENXP against 45 oilfield service companies in connection with more than $25 million in claims relating to lien priority. Mitchell counsels plaintiffs and defendants in a host of issues and disputes including banking/financial services, construction, healthcare, real estate, securities and more. "You would be hard pressed to find anyone more highly regarded than" appellate partner Jeffrey Oldham, a peer says. Oldham has presented oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas Supreme Court, federal appellate courts nationwide, and state courts of appeals in Texas. He successfully defended the Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company when a trust unitholder filed a class action lawsuit, seeking nearly $10 million dollars in damages on allegations it violated duties as trustees. Oldham led the briefing and presented oral argument in the Tenth Circuit, which affirmed a dismissal ruling in February 2017. Energy partner Amy Parker played a key role on the legal team in representing Powerex, a Canadian and provincially owned electric utility's power marketing subsidiary, in a game-changing suit brought by the Oregon Department of Revenue. The agency sought to tax electricity exported from Canadian hydroelectric facilities through market hubs in Oregon to wholesale customers in other states. Parker and her team achieved a judgement in Powerex's favor in the matter, which could impact taxation of electricity sales in Oregon and other states.

Gibbs and Bruns partner Sam Cruse has a wide-ranging commercial litigation practice including construction, fiduciary duty, oil and gas, real estate, and securities matters. Cruse represents Sanchez Oil & Gas (SOG) and two related companies in a pending trade secret and breach of fiduciary duty case against three former SOG employers and their new employer Terra Energy Partners. Sanchez obtained a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction. Cruse teamed up with energy litigators Anthony Kaim and Ayesha Najam to defend Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) Company in a lawsuit. Plains Gas Solutions sued TGP over breaches in a gas processing contract in which the companies entered in 2006 and the subsequent divesture of certain offshore pipeline assets by TGP to a third company, Kinetica. TGP countersued for breaches of the same contract, and the companies ultimately reached a settlement that did not require TGP pay anything. Commercial litigator Ashley Kleber represents ExxonMobil in declaratory judgement and breach of contract action against Lockheed Martin in a matter involving defense costs and damages incurred in asbestos litigation. Kleber also represents Trustmark National Bank in two lawsuits related to the collapse of the Stanford Financial Group in which more than $7 billion in damages are at stake.

A move from LeClairRyan's Alexandria, Virginia, office to its Houston location has not slowed down partner Sarah Moffett. Moffett is a member of the firm's Labor and Employment team and tackles workplace-related matters such as employment counseling, defense litigation, and independent, third-party investigations. She also sets aside time to run Power of Hope, an organization that she founded to address racial issues in America.

In Dallas, Ashley Moore is heavily involved in intellectual property litigation in her practice at McKool Smith. The trial attorney uses her engineering background to take the reins in high-stakes situations involving technology. Colleague Joshua Newcomer's practice has an emphasis on energy litigation and arbitration, although it covers a wide range of commercial matters. "He's opposing counsel on a large matter but he's a good lawyer and really smart and practical," a peer says. Newcomer works on behalf of Jeff Compton, the liquidation trustee of gas company Buccaneer Resources and other related entities in a lawsuit against former directors and officers accused of breach of fiduciary duties that cost the company more than $100 million.

In Houston, Jessica Farley's practice focuses on commercial litigation, mass tort, and product liability at Norton Rose Fulbright. Farley takes the lead on multidistrict litigation and class action litigation for BMW, which faces allegations of economic damages and personal injuries in relation to vehicle airbags. Farley also participates in pro bono matters including a case that raises questions over whether a person is eligible for the death penalty depending on mental health status.
In 2016, Chris Hogan, who specializes in energy/natural resources litigation at Reynolds Frizzell, represented Balli Steel in a case involving the defense of claims and the prosecution of counterclaims against Mid-Vol Coal Sales, Inc., Concept Coal, and ArcelorMittal over a long-term contract for the purchase of metallurgical coal. Balli sought more than $30 million in damages based on the seller's failure to deliver coal in accordance with the contract. The case settled in July 2016 before trial was scheduled to begin.

At Sidley Austin in Houston, Tracy LeRoy has an extensive practice that shows no signs of slowing down as she concentrates on litigation and dispute resolution in the energy industry. LeRoy defends three former officers of an onshore drilling company, which is in bankruptcy, on allegations that each defendant breached fiduciary duty in drilling wells in Alaska despite not having sufficient data to support expending resources to do so. On the pro bono side, LeRoy worked with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Houston to rescue horses in an animal cruelty investigation.

Dane Ball is a partner in the White Collar Defense & Investigations practice at Smyser Kaplan & Veselka and is considered a "great young trial attorney with a great reputation," a peer says. Ball, who deals with high-stakes cases, is trial counsel for Dawnna Dukes, an 11-term member of the Texas House of Representative who was indicted on more than a dozen charges for alleged public corruption.

Stanton founder James Stanton has made a name for himself in his long-spanning career in Texas. The attorney and former judge has handled more than 60 jury trials, 40 bench trials, and thousands of hearings. In one pending case, Stanton is local counsel for Claymore Holdings, LLC in litigation over an appraisal issued in 2007 before the residential mortgage collapse and the implications for defrauding large syndicated investors by one of the largest banks in the world. The jury returned a verdict for $42 million, and following the subsequent bench trial, the court entered a judgement for $285 million.

At Susman Godfrey, Chanler Langham litigates and manages commercial matters for plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state courts. Langham handles cases involving antitrust, executive compensation, intellectual property, oil and gas, toxic torts, products liability and breach of contract issues. He is part of a team of Susman lawyers who serve as co-lead counsel for a class of consumer plaintiffs in multidistrict price-fixing cases. Settlements have been reached with certain defendants of more than $620 million.

In Dallas, like many of his colleagues, Thompson & Knight appellate partner Chris Chauvin has a specialized practice but he tries to keep it diverse enough to have "versatility to be of use across the spectrum," he says. Chauvin focuses on arbitrating, litigating, and counseling on real estate matters including real estate capital markets with an emphasis on special servicers in the commercial mortgage-backed securities market. Also in the northern Texas city, Jennifer Ecklund is "as good as it gets" in her practice, which centers on commercial, healthcare, and white-collar litigation, a peer says. "Any company that could be in a lot of trouble should look to her to help them navigate it," a peer says. Ecklund took the lead in a suit involving breach of contract and defamation claims that client Encompass Office Solutions brought against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. Following a four-day trial and six hours of deliberation, the verdict found for Encompass, which was awarded a total of $7.5 million in damages. In the last year, Timothy Hudson's wide-ranging practice is divided into pharmaceutical and medical device defense as well as a mix of commercial, intellectual property, and government enforcement litigation. Hudson also serves as National Coordinating Counsel for a worldwide medical device manufacturer. In that role, he coordinates with defense counsel on matters of discovery, deposition preparation strategies, motion practice, and trial strategy. Rob Vartabedian led a trial for BP before the Supreme Court of Texas and subsequent appeal of claims for ending a multimillion-dollar 2,100-acre oil and gas lease. Vartabedian, who represents energy companies in various matters, obtained a finding that the lease produced paying quantities and after a two-week trial obtained a take-nothing judgement in April 2017.

John Sanders is a founding partner of Winston & Strawn's Dallas office, where he focuses his practice on business litigation. In a closely watched case, Sanders obtained summary judgement to allow Bayside Land Partners, LLC to proceed with a $1 billion real estate project in Dallas, saving the client millions of dollars in delay costs. Also in Dallas, intellectual property litigator Michael Bittner specializes in patent litigation for both patentees and defendants in various industries. Bittner achieved several early case dismissals including one in May 2017 for SAP America when a federal judge ruled that the software company did not infringe an InvestPic, LLC patent on a method of analyzing financial data.


Ryan Glasgow with Hunton & Williams is a "fine labor and employment lawyer in high-stakes matters," a peer says. Glasgow enjoys the problem-solving aspect of his practice at the firm's office in Richmond, where it was founded more than a century ago. Glasgow is known for providing strategic advice to his clients and handling labor law matters and wage-and-hour litigation.

Nicole Brakstad is "top-notch with excellent writing abilities and really good instinct; she's everything you'd want in a partner," a peer says. Brakstad has spent her entire career at LeClairRyan developing her practice, which involves litigation and counseling for corporate clients in government contract-related matters. Brakstad steps in on behalf of government contractors in bid protests, protests before the Small Business Administration in the U.S., civil and criminal investigations by state and federal agencies, and U.S. Department of Labor investigations. She also represents individuals and corporations in commercial litigation and handles issues small businesses face as well as those arising in connection with teaming and contracting with small businesses.

Matthew Haynes' practice features commercial, intellectual property, and white-collar crime, enforcement and investigations litigation. Haynes, who also is a business professor at a Richmond university, has been occupied with matters surrounding commercial real estate disputes as well as class action litigation in the honey industry.

Also in the River City, Michael Lacy with Troutman Sanders represents financial services and corporate clients in class action and individual matters and has significant trial experience in state and federal courts. In 2016, Lacy was involved in a case in the Eleventh Circuit in which the Court affirmed dismissal of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act claims against his client FNF Servicing, Inc., a loan servicer.

West Virginia

Bowles Rice labor and employment litigator Jill Hall focuses on areas of employment law and employment benefits as well as Employee Retirement Income Security Act matters in her practice at the full-service corporate defense law firm. Hall, one of a few ERISA litigators in Charleston, also advises employers, insurers, and third-party administrators regarding Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements, which she says has been a "hot topic" in the last year. Hall has seen a trend in plaintiffs throughout the state suing healthcare companies under individual policies purchased through the ACA health exchange.