Leigh-Ann Durant is a senior legal and business executive with over 20 years of experience in the global biopharmaceutical industry, 10 of those years were with a major Boston law firm (partner) and 11 years have been in-house at a fast paced, dynamic global biopharma company.
Leigh-Ann currently oversees the day-to-day legal affairs for all US research, development and medical activities for EMD Serono, Inc., the US division of world’s oldest chemical and pharmaceutical company, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. She has demonstrated expertise in oversight, provision and management of legal services to global clients, turning legal strategy into business action, analytical problem solving, strategic thinking, corporate governance, commercial and corporate transactions, legal and regulatory compliance, risk mitigation, business operations, and executive leadership and management skills.
Prior to going in-house, Leigh-Ann was a Partner at Nixon Peabody, LLP, where she was responsible for complex commercial litigation, healthcare litigation, medical privacy issues, FDA issues, HIPAA and regulatory compliance for companies in the health care, pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology sectors. She also successfully litigated various high profile cases, including the first medical privacy class action case in Massachusetts.
Leigh-Ann has a lengthy history of service to and leadership on women’s issues and civil rights. Leigh-Ann currently serves as the Massachusetts Delegate and Board Member to the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (“NCWBA”). She served as the Chair of the NCWBA’s 2014 National Gender Equity Summit, and has served as its Chair of Awards Committee for the past three years.
She also serves on the NCWBA’s Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity (“GOOD”) Guys Committee which leads programs designed to break the impasse in women’s advancement by engaging people who have been missing from the conversation for too long – the GUYS! The GOOD Guys program presents the financial case for diversity and inclusion and provides up-to-date information about bias interrupters.
Leigh-Ann was the 2001-2002 President of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, one of the largest and most influential women's bars in the country. One of the signature initiatives of her Presidency was passage of the Massachusetts Contraceptive Coverage Bill. She served on the WBA’s Board of Directors for over 16 years. She also served on numerous WBA committees including as Chair of its In-House Counsel Committee, its Leadership Initiative Task Force, its Law Firm Advancement Committee, Pro Bono Committee, Publication Committee and Gala Chair, its Emeritus Board, and as a mentor on the WBA’s Women’s Leadership Initiative. For a number of years, Leigh-Ann served on the Board of the Woman’s Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the WBA.
While at Nixon Peabody, she founded, developed and implemented the Nixon Peabody’s Women’s Initiative, leading the program and developing curriculum to provide business development and advancement skills to women lawyers at the law firm.
Leigh-Ann also served on the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project (MassGAP) Steering Committee for Governor Mitt Romney, a group whose purpose was to increase the number of women appointed by the Governor to senior-level cabinet positions, agency heads and selected authorities and commissions in the Commonwealth. This Committee provided Governor Romney with the infamous “binders of women” for potential Gubernatorial appointments.
Leigh-Ann is a Charter Member of the National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. The Museum researches, collects and exhibits the contributions of women to the social, cultural, economic and political life of our nation in a context of world history.
Leigh-Ann was a speaker at the 2008 Gender Equity Conference and has spoken numerous times at the Massachusetts Women’s Conference.
She served on the Executive Committee of the Boston Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights and on its Board of Directors for a number of years. In 2009, the Lawyer’s Committee awarded her its Outstanding Civil Rights Leadership Award. In 2007, the Supreme Judicial Court awarded her the Adams Pro Bono Publico Awards.
Kate Peterson is Vice President and Senior Counsel for Employment & Litigation at Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a highly-regulated global banking and financial services company with over 17,500 employees. Kate is responsible for advising Citizens Bank and subsidiary entities on all labor and employment matters, including those relating to wage and hour issues, leaves of absence or accommodations, workplace investigations, reductions-in-force and post-employment restrictive covenants. Kate provides strategic advice on projects and initiatives that impact Citizens’ colleagues as well as day-to-day guidance, training and solutions. She has a comprehensive employment law counseling practice andpartners closely with Citizens’ employee relations function. Kate also manages a broad range of employment related litigation and investigations and provides advice to internal business clients in a complex, fast-paced environment. Kate effectively partners with division heads, human resources, compliance personnel and key stakeholders to meaningfully respond to and defend litigation or regulatory inquiries. She is also frequently called upon to train Citizens’ colleagues and managers on employment law issues, with an eye towards compliance practices and risk mitigation.
Throughout her career, Kate has been a frequent speaker on a variety of labor & employment topics, ranging from wage & hour issues and ADA/FMLA concerns to the impact of social media on the workplace and related privacy implications.
Before joining Citizens, Kate was a labor & employment litigator counselor at Sullivan & Worcester LLP in Boston and Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP in both Boston and Providence. Kate received her BA from Providence College and her JD and MPH from Boston University.
Priya joined Novartis in June 2009 as Executive Director and Associate General Counsel for the Novartis Institutes of Bio Medical Research, Inc. (“NIBR”) in Cambridge, MA. She is currently the Global Compliance Officer for NIBR in addition to her legal responsibilities. Prior to joining NIBR, Priya was a Senior Regulatory and Compliance Counsel at Baxter International Inc., in Deerfield, IL. At Baxter, Priya was a Senior FDA Regulatory and Compliance counsel managing the commercial operations for the Biologics division. Priya’s first in-house position was at Pfizer Inc., in New York followed by Medtronic Inc., California where she was responsible for clinical, research & development, regulatory and commercial compliance. Before joining in-house, Priya was associated with the firms of Reid & Riege and Cantor Colburn based in Hartford, CT where she practiced healthcare law. She received her undergraduate degree from Madras University majoring in Bio Chemistry and Chemistry and her JD and LLM degrees from St. Louis University School of Law.
Margaret ("Marnie") Seif is Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President of Communications of Analog Devices.
In her position as General Counsel, Ms. Seif is responsible for all aspects of the company's legal work, including securities, M&A, governance and compliance matters, intellectual property strategy and management, and litigation.
As Senior Vice President of Communications, Ms. Seif leads the development and implementation of the company’s internal and external communication strategy, which is designed to support ADI’s overall business objectives, as well as development of ADI’s corporate brand.
Ms. Seif currently serves as a Director of Nantero, Inc., a next generation memory company. She isalso a member of DirectWomen, an organization focused on identifying and preparing female leaders to serve as Directors of corporate boards.
Ms. Seif is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Michigan Law School.
Leslie Pearlson serves as Senior Litigation and IP counsel at LogMeIn, a cloud based software company. Ms. Pearlson oversees all company litigations, including numerous patent disputes, as well as manages LogMeIn’s patent and trademark portfolios. Prior to working at LogMeIn, Ms. Pearlson was a patent litigator at Wilmerhale. In addition, Ms. Pearlson has an active pro bono practice supporting the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Family Law Project, providing free legal services to survivors of domestic violence.
Kristin A. Connarn focuses her practice on life sciences patent prosecution and patent portfolio development and management in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Kristin advises clients on intellectual property (IP) issues, develops and delivers training session for employees and managers, and counsels in-house patent team members regarding invention disclosures. She has experience with preparing patentability, invalidity and non-infringement legal opinions, landscape and freedom to operate studies, due diligence, prior art searches and coordinating in-house patent committee meetings.
Ruth Ma Swilling is senior counsel of intellectual property & licensing for Raytheon Company, a Fortune 500 company with sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide. Raytheon is dedicated to providing solutions in the areas of defense, civil government and cybersecurity. Ms. Swilling also currently serves as the acting intellectual property director for Forcepoint LLC, a commercial cybersecurity joint venture with Raytheon. Prior to joining Raytheon, Ms. Swilling served as vice president and assistant general counsel of intellectual property at Cantor Fitzgerald, a premier capital market investment banking firm, specializing in global financial services, commercial real estate financing, gaming technology and e-commerce. Previously, she worked in private practice at Fish & Richardson and Foley Hoag.
Ms. Swilling graduated with honors from Rice University with a degree in electrical engineering and from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Joaquina Borges King is a seasoned attorney with over twenty-five years of legal experience, the past decade of which has involved energy and public utility representation. She is Senior Counsel with Eversource Energy, New England’s largest energy provider, where she has significant experience with energy procurements, renewables, distributed generation, rate applications, customer service and other regulatory representation and counseling. She began her career in Washington, DC in a legislative practice representing international clients and governmental entities. She also practiced commercial litigation for several years, served as an assistant town attorney and performed appellate work for the State of Connecticut, Public Defender Unit. Joaquina earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. She is the Vice President of Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, serves as an executive board member of My Sister’s Keeper and Inextricably Bound (CDC), and is a past board member and supporter of several other nonprofit organizations. She is a committed mentor to several law, college and highschool students, and a strong advocate for building healthy, strong and inclusive communities. Besides enjoying international travel, movies, an occasional golf round and observing politics, Joaquina and her husband enjoy supporting and proudly watching their three children pursue their academic and personal goals.
Karen Lorenzo is General Counsel of Tribeca Enterprises, which owns and operates a number of branded media and entertainment platforms including the Tribeca Film Festival. Prior to joining Tribeca, Lorenzo was Chief Privacy Officer and Corporate Counsel for CMP Media, a subsidiary of United Business Media. Previously, she was an associate in the technology transactions group of a top-tier Silicon Valley law firm and started her career with a boutique New York entertainment law firm. Lorenzo graduated from The Johns Hopkins University (B.A., 1992) and The New York University School of Law (J.D., 1995).
Melicent has over twenty years of experience as a litigator. Her coverage law practice encompasses all areas of coverage litigation, including declaratory judgment actions, bad faith litigation, reinsurance matters, and coverage analyses in both the first and third party contexts. She has similarly broad litigation experience in both Connecticut state and federal courts in the areas of corporate counseling, business disputes, construction defect claims, employment, professional, executive, non-medical malpractice, general liability claims, defense of educational and financial institutions, and toxic tort defense.
Melicent also has substantial appellate court experience, having briefed and argued appeals before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut and both the Connecticut Supreme and Appellate Courts.
Before joining Litchfield Cavo, Melicent practiced environmental law and defended credit reporting agencies in fair credit reporting litigation in Atlanta, Georgia.
Melicent was elected as Editor-in-Chief of the Connecticut Law Review at the University of Connecticut School of Law. In law school, she received CALI Awards for Excellence in Statutory Interpretation and Constitutional Federalism as well as the University of Connecticut Law School Foundation's Award for “Exceptional Achievement in Scholarship.” Prior to attending law school, Melicent worked as an environmental consultant in Washington, D.C. specializing in regulatory compliance and site auditing.
Melicent has presented regularly on defense and coverage litigation issues at the annual conference of The National Forum for Environmental and Toxic Tort Issues (FETTI), and previously served as the Editor-In-Chief of FETTI’s quarterly newsletters. She served as a panelist at the May 2017 Perrin Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the topic of "Failure to Settle Within Policy Limits" as well as a separate panel addressing Women in the Law. She also has presented continuing education seminars on the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Endangered Species Act.
Melicent currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association's Insurance Law Section. She also serves on Bay Path University’s Advisory Counsel and as the Chair of the Governance Committee for Gifts of Love, a local charity devoted to providing basic necessities to the working poor in central Connecticut. Melicent formerly served as Chair of the Board of Directors of Gifts of Love. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her family, playing the piano and the french horn, golfing, swimming and cycling.
Gemma M. Dreher is General Counsel at Velcro Group Corporation in Manchester, New Hampshire. Before joining Velcro Group Corporation, Gemma most recently served as Senior Counsel in the ES Sector at BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire. Prior to taking her first in-house position as Vice President and General Counsel of Pragmatech Software in Amherst, New Hampshire, Gemma was in private practice, including having founded and managed her own law firm, with a focus in business law, technology licensing and intellectual property management. Gemma earned her J.D from Northeastern University School of Law in 1990. She is admitted to the practice of law in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She is a member of the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and International Bar Associations.. Gemma serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Northeast Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) and is also a member of Programs Committee. Through the ACC, Gemma has served as a volunteer mediator in the Massachusetts District Court system. Gemma is on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation. She is a Managing Partner of the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center, a business she founded in 2012. She resides in Francestown, New Hampshire with her husband, five children and an assortment of animals that she rescues from time to time.
Ms. Martel is Senior Corporate Attorney and Assistant Secretary at SeaChange International, Inc. and has been an in-house counsel with several other high technology companies for over twenty years. She practices in the areas of intellectual property, U.S. and international employment law, corporate, commercial, SEC, mergers & acquisitions and international tax. Prior to becoming an attorney, she held various engineering, marketing, and product management positions at various high technology companies. She received her LL.M. in Taxation from Boston University Law School, her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, her High Technology M.B.A. from Northeastern University, her S.B. in Computer Science and Engineering from M.I.T. and is a United States Registered Patent Attorney. Ms. Martel was appointed as a Lecturer in Law in the Boston University Law School Graduate Tax Distance Learning Program, and has facilitated multiple tax courses since the inception of the Program. In addition, she has published articles on software licensing law. Ms. Martel was elected to the Marlborough (MA) School Committee, and served as Secretary and chaired the Negotiations Committee. She also served on the Technology and Resolutions Committees and chaired the Advocacy Committee for the Massachusetts Association of School Committees during her term in office and hosted “Making the Grade” television show on Marlborough local access discussing local educational issues. Ms. Martel was Chairman of the M.I.T. Worcester Educational Council for over twenty years, and is a recipient of the George B. Morgan Award from the M.I.T. Alumni Association.
Heather B. Repicky is a partner at Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP where she focuses her practice on civil litigation, with an emphasis on intellectual property matters. She works alongside her clients to resolve their complex IP disputes throughout all stages of the litigation lifecycle—pre-trial, trial, and appeal. Most recently, Heather served as lead counsel in a jury trial in the District of Delaware where she defended a medical component manufacturer from claims it infringed two of its competitor’s patents.
Because Heather spends the majority of her time counseling clients on IP, she has a depth of knowledge on patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret issues facing companies both large and small from both a business and legal perspective. This substantive knowledge, combined with her strategic thinking, garners positive results for clients in cases across the country. The District of Massachusetts, however, is truly her home court. Because Heather brings a unique local perspective to cases in the Commonwealth, she has been recognized by several Fortune 500 companies who have retained her as counsel for their patent litigation in Massachusetts.
Sarah Rathke is a trial lawyer specializing in manufacturing litigation, particularly complex supply chain disputes. She has argued and tried cases on behalf of manufacturers in forums throughout the US. Her clients include foreign, domestic, and multinational manufacturing entities. Her skills include a deep understanding of the process of bringing highly engineered products to market and conveying that understanding to judges and juries.
Sarah has litigated supply chain disputes involving automotive, aerospace, medical, construction and office products. She has also litigated trade secret disputes involving manufactured products and cases involving the purchase and sale of manufacturing entities.
Sarah has gained a reputation as an accomplished trial attorney. In 2012, she was one of three lawyers nationwide appointed to the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s (NITA) Next Generation faculty. She has lectured on trial advocacy at the Cleveland Marshall School of Law.
Sarah’s interest and involvement in manufacturing supply chain issues extends beyond the litigation context as well. She provides counselling to manufacturers concerning their supply chain contracts, the applicable law governing international supply chain relationships, and the advisability of incorporating alternative dispute (arbitration) clauses into supply chain agreements. Sarah also sits on the advisory board of the Friends of Max Hayes High School, a nonprofit organization that promotes the mission of the Max Hayes Career & Technical High School in Cleveland, a public high school that educates and trains high-quality manufacturing sector employees.
Sarah also has an active sports practice. Her representations include athletes, sports agents, and teams. Her sports-related litigation victories include the representation of NBA superstar LeBron James.
Honor S. Heath is a litigator at Eversource Energy, where she represents the six Eversource public utility subsidiaries in the state and federal courts in employment, bankruptcy, and general commercial matters. Prior to Eversource, Honor was Senior Counsel at FleetBoston Financial and Counsel at Day, Berry & Howard LLP. She also served as an attorney advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee in Region 2, and a law clerk to the Hon. Alan H.W. Shiff, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Denise is dedicated IP Counsel for Velcro Companies, where she has worked for 2 years to develop and implement Velcro IP interests and strategies. She partners with Velcro’s Innovation and Technology Center and the Global Business Units to oversee IP legal matters including patent application preparation and prosecution, litigation, freedom-to-operate opinions, licensing, and trademark, copyright and trade secret matters for the global enterprise. Prior to her position at Velcro, Denise worked for Preti Flaherty, Medtronic Advanced Energy, Blank Rome LLP, and Sherin and Lodgen LLP. Denise earned her JD from Boston University School of Law and is a US Registered Patent Attorney. She is also the holder of two patents, one for electrosurgical cutting devices and mold-in touch fastener systems with wave-shaped wall.
Lauren Ingegneri is Intellectual Property Counsel at Abiomed, Inc., maker of the Impella® heart pumps and ranked #4 on the Forbes list of 100 fastest growing companies. She is one of three in-house counsel at Abiomed and has been working for the Company for two years. Lauren manages IP litigation matters, patent and trademark portfolios, and counsels marketing on branding strategy, domain names, and proper trademark usage. Prior to joining Abiomed, Lauren was an Intellectual Property Associate at Nutter, a Boston based law firm.
Ms. Clancy concentrates her practice on patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret litigation. In her 20 years of practice, she has led cases to verdict in hotly contested jury trials as well as bench trials and has led teams to key victories on summary judgment motions, Markman hearings and Patent Office post-grant proceedings. Ms. Clancy has experience with a variety of technologies, including chemical compositions, nutritional supplements, heat transfer equipment, medical devices and procedures, ion implantation systems, networking hardware and software, transport systems, and packaging.
Prior to her legal career, Ms. Clancy worked for the Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company first as an engineer designing capital projects in the papermaking division and then as a business manager responsible for managing the people, pay, production, and profits in the industrial chemicals division. She has design and on the ground experience in mechanical and chemical manufacturing processes.
As an experienced trial attorney with the background of working in a multinational corporation, Ms. Clancy knows when to take a case to verdict and when to leverage the litigation to meet business goals.
Michele Sears focuses her practice of defense litigation in the areas of aviation, professional liability, premises liability, personal injury, product liability and personal and commercial automotive liability. She is a co-chair of the firm’s national Aviation practice. Michele also directly represents insurance carriers in coverage and bad faith matters. She has represented major insurers and other clients in both state and federal courts in a wide range of complex claims and disputes. Many of these matters have included issues involving contracts, insurance coverage and indemnity claims. Michele has 15 years of complex tort litigation and trial experience. She served an internship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division.
Michele believes, first, in delivering value to her clients. She consistently stays ahead of the opposition, leveraging her knowledge of the case and her relationship with her client to find the right strategy every time. Michele uses her superior communication skills at every level – from regular reports for clients to dealing with difficult situations in the courtroom or at the conference table.
Pamela has been the Patent Counsel at Hasbro since mid – 2013 and continues to manage all clearance activities, domestic and international filings and litigations. Prior to her work at Hasbro, she was a patent attorney at the law firm of Ohlandt, Greeley, Ruggiero and Perle LLP in Stamford, Connecticut handling preparation and prosecution matters in areas ranging from textiles, medical and industrial and consumer products in addition to opinion matters. She was a Patent Examiner at the USPTO for several years after beginning her career as an engineer at Westinghouse Corporation.
GEORGIA concentrates her practice on intellectual property and information technology litigation and counseling. Georgia has experience in patent, trademark and copyright infringement, as well as cases involving claims of false advertising, unfair competition, breach of contract, and trade secret misappropriation.
Georgia’s experience includes representing clients in infringement matters concerning a wide variety of technological fields including pharmaceuticals, medical products, mobile devices, payment and authentication systems, and consumer products. She regularly assists in freedom to practice projects and counsels clients as to licensing and portfolio strategy.
Georgia has led all aspects of the litigation process, including the preparation of initial pleadings and joint defense agreements, fact development and depositions, Markman hearings, written and oral motion practice, negotiation of settlements, and trials.
Georgia has taught as an adjunct professor of trademark law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Georgia has served as chair of the Copyright Committee for the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association and is a member of the American Bar Association. She is listed in World Trademark Review’s WTR 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals.
She previously was an attorney with Jones Day, Cleveland and New York, and with Goodwin Procter of New York. She joined Calfee in 2005, became a partner in 2009 and a member of the Executive Committee in 2016.