Rebecca Weinstein Bacon tries and litigates complex cases for Fortune 500 clients. With over 20 years of experience, Rebecca has represented companies in some of their most important cases on a variety of claims: pharmaceutical products liability claims, antitrust cases, consumer class actions, and commercial disputes. She is an expert legal strategist with extensive trial experience, as well as the business sophistication and acumen to know when and how to obtain the best possible settlement for her clients.
Rebecca tried one of the only consumer class action cases to go to trial, which resulted in a defense verdict for Whirlpool. She also tried one of the only “pattern and practice” employment discrimination cases to go to trial. It was brought by the EEOC against Texas Roadhouse. She is currently leading the team defending FedEx Ground against sweeping claims by the EEOC relating to their treatment of deaf package handlers. She serves on trial teams for bellwether cases in pharmaceutical companies’ most important mass torts. She has tried and is slated to try pelvic mesh trials for Johnson and Johnson in 2019 and 2020.
Her representation of Bayer in the WeightSmart litigation led to one of the seminal class action decisions related to ascertainability. In this case, her leadership resulted in appellate review of the only certified state class which she argued before the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit reversed the class certification decision and denied plaintiffs’ request for rehearing.
Rebecca is a nationally recognized attorney. She is Chambers ranked, named one of Crain’s Most Influential Women Lawyers in Chicago (2017), a Benchmark Litigation National and Local Litigation Star, and one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation for many years, including 2019 and on the Lawdragon 500. Rebecca served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law for three years where she taught a class on trial advocacy, and she has published and presented on a wide range of topics related to high-stakes litigation.
Rebecca graduated from Columbia University School of Law as a Kent and Stone Scholar and earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA with honors.
Nicole Sorell is Legal Counsel in the Safety & Insurance Litigation group within the CLO at Uber Technologies, Inc. and is based in Chicago, Illinois. She works closely with outside counsel to defend the company in the Northeast region of the U.S. in insurance and claims litigation matters, which present a host of novel and first-impression legal issues.
Prior to joining Uber, Nicole was in private practice at several insurance defense law firms in Chicago. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
In her free time, Nicole enjoys playing and reading books to her four year old son and going on walks and exploring the West Loop where she lives with her husband, son, and pup, Gizmo.
Rhonda Coleman is a technology attorney currently working for Google where she manages and negotiates a range of complex global cloud technology deals for Fortune 500 enterprise accounts. Rhonda has worked across industries as a corporate attorney for the past 8 years concentrating her practice on complex commercial transactions.
Rhonda received her B.A. in English from Christian Brothers University in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, and an M.A. from the University of Memphis. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago. She has also studied at the University of Beijing’s School of Business and Economics and at the University of Granada in Spain.
Fun facts--Rhonda managed the third highest rated chess player of all time, Fabiano Caruana, as he earned qualification to the 2018 World Chess Championship. She also recently launched a blog and podcast designed to empower, inform and uplift professional women--www.rhondacolemanwandel.com.
She is the proud mother of three teenagers--a college freshman, a high school senior and sophomore-- whom she raises together with her husband, historian Torbjörn Wandel, in Hyde Park, Chicago. Rhonda enjoys giving back to the community by mentoring tech entrepreneurs via University of Chicago’s Polsky Institute, and she currently sits on several boards including the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls in Chicago and the Chicago Chess Foundation.
Caroline Paranikas is a member of the Illinois and New York Bars and a member of the Paris Bar in France (inactive). She has been an Adjunct Professor at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law since 2006. She is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Alliance Française de Chicago.
Ms. Paranikas holds an LL.M from Harvard Law School and received her Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Law from Université Panthéon-Assas-Paris II, in Paris, France.
Ana Maria is a Senior Associate at Fragomen’s Chicago office, where she counsels employers from various industries on a diverse array of immigration matters, including nonimmigrant and immigrant visas and compliance. Prior to joining Fragomen, Ana Maria worked at a boutique immigration law firm, where she advised small and multinational employers from various industries, including higher education, finance, architecture, religion and telecommunications.
Samantha recently joined Spark Therapeutics, the dedicated gene therapy subsidiary of Roche Holdings AG (NASDAQ: RHHBY), leading legal support for the corporate functions, including Human Resources, Real Estate & Corporate Facilities, Finance, Information Technology and Corporate Communications. Prior to joining Spark, Samantha served as Executive Director, Corporate Counsel at Incyte (NASDAQ: INCY), helping the S&P 500 Component biopharmaceutical company build and execute strategies required to take the company global, enter new markets, double its annual revenue to ~$2 billion, and increase its headcount to 1,400. A strategic business partner, senior leadership team member, corporate generalist, and prior business unit general counsel, Samantha serves on several of Spark’s corporate leadership teams with responsibility for advising key stakeholders on enterprise-wide initiatives.
Throughout her 20+ years working with multinational, national, and regional companies across sectors, Samantha has always loved sitting down with business leaders to develop and execute business strategies. She has partnered on projects involving numerous countries, including Switzerland, the EU, Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia, Australia, Canada and the U.K.
Samantha attributes much of her success to her commitment to knowing business models, drivers, pressures, and personalities. She learns every step, from R&D to end user. Samantha’s work has touched nearly every aspect of both corporate functions and day-to-day operations, including executive advising, new market entry, corporate initiatives, product development, business development, corporate transactions, securities litigation, compliance, employment law, employee training, intellectual property protection, software and IP licensing, commercial contracts, supply chain, global trade compliance, risk management, construction, commercial litigation, dispute resolution, team management, and budget and resource allocation.
Since business decision-making is very seldom black and white, Samantha strives to give pragmatic legal advice that helps decisionmakers operate in the inevitable shades of gray, while maintaining their commitments to their company, shareholders, the public, and other stakeholders.
Throughout, Samantha and her teams emphasize integrity, equity, fairness, and humility
Bisi Akinola is an experienced attorney who partners effectively with companies and leaders by providing practical legal advice and support to enable her business partners achieve their objectives. Over the last 20 years, Bisi's practice has focused on inbound and outbound technology counselling, licensing, privacy, commercial legal and marketing support in domestic and international markets. Bisi began her legal career in Aberdeen, Scotland at the Burness Paull law firm before working in-house at several companies including the French multinational, Schlumberger. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she joined one of the leading Silicon Valley firms, Fenwick & West. She worked as a Corporate attorney representing over 40 start up companies from inception to acquisition or initial public offering and representing a number of public company clients. During her time at Fenwick, she led buy-side M & A for Symantec and Cisco acquisitions and sell-side transactions for numerous start-up companies. She joined a vibrant start-up called Zazzle as the second attorney providing IP counsel to the company's C-suite and addressing a variety of legal issues. Bisi transitioned to LinkedIn where she served as Legal Director for two of the fastest growing business units at LinkedIn. As Senior Legal Director at Box, a Cloud Content Management company, Bisi led a team of lawyers counselling on privacy matters and overseeing global commercial transactions. She currently works at Ginger, a telehealth start-up, where she partners with multiple teams on innovative legal issues in the healthcare industry. Bisi graduated Magna Cum Laude from University College London. She is licensed to practice in California, Nigeria, England and Wales and CIPP/E certified. Bisi sits on the board of Unreasonable Capital, an investment fund that partners with entrepreneurs addressing the world's most pressing social and environmental problems.
Sara is an experienced intellectual property attorney focused on trademark, copyright, and advertising matters. She counsels clients of all sizes and industries, including major retailers, technology start-ups, financial institutions, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, marketing, and journalists. She manages U.S. and foreign trademark portfolios, overseeing trademark clearance, prosecution, licensing, and policing. She identifies trademark risks connected with global product rollouts and handles brand enforcement such as domain name recovery, social media takedown notices, and anti-counterfeiting actions.
Although her experience spans countries all over the world, she spends a significant amount of time curbing infringements in the Middle East. Sara is fluent in Arabic and works closely with local counsel to monitor, investigate, and file lawsuits to shut down infringing stores across the region. For one client in particular, she has traveled to the United Arab Emirates to collaborate with local counsel in formulating an aggressive trademark enforcement strategy.
Sara also counsels a variety of health care professionals on IP-related issues. This includes advising dentists and doctors on protecting the names of their clinics, developing their own lines of products and inventions, and advising pharma companies on new product rollouts. Sara has also sent demand letters and, when necessary, handled litigation against third parties infringing on these clients’ trademarks.
As a former journalist, Sara is especially passionate about media law, which includes advising journalists on freelance and publisher agreements, copyright considerations, and fair use factors. She has represented a wide range of players in this space, from large media companies to freelance journalists to podcasters. She also advises clients on the best practices of social media law, including updating social media policies, reviewing terms of conditions and use, and ensuring proper consent when posting photos.
Sara is also an adjunct professor teaching copyright law at DePaul University College of Law.
Susan is a proactive problem solver with success in directing corporate compliance programs and handling high profile, high risk commercial litigation and consumer class actions. She is recognized for her ability to identify and remediate risky business practices to avoid preventable litigation. By effectively analyzing data and creating metrics, Susan identifies key issues and areas of greatest exposure for a company and creates cost-effective solutions. These skills also result in innovative and sophisticated litigation strategies designed to deliver exceptional financial results.
Susan’s expertise stems from 17 years’ experience in overseeing compliance initiatives and complex commercial and class action litigation with Equity Residential. She identified and remediated noncompliant business practices to accomplish business goals within the bounds of Federal and industryspecific state regulations. Through collaboration with business leaders, Susan created win-win outcomes that allowed the company to maintain revenues while at the same time prevent lawsuits and limit financial exposure. In addition, Susan achieved cost effective resolutions of the company’s complex commercial and consumer class action litigation by leveraging her knowledge of the company’s operations to develop litigation strategies that reduced reputational risks and protected proprietary information while achieving the best possible results.
Susan has continued to provide proactive regulatory advice while consulting for AvalonBay Communities. She has focused on providing the company with actionable and timely guidance regarding the ever-changing COVID-19 regulations to allow the company to maintain operations while keeping their employees and residents safe during the pandemic.
Susan earned both her law degree and her BA in Anthropology and Political Science from Northwestern University. While an undergraduate at Northwestern, she was a member of the Varsity Field Hockey Team. She was recruited by Williams, Montgomery & John, LLP, a boutique litigation firm, after completing the firm’s summer associate program. Recently, as an auxiliary board member of Hamlin Park Baseball Association, Susan leveraged her written communication skills to win a substantial grant from the Cubs Diamond Project Charities.
When private equity firms pursue life sciences industry targets, Amy Dow provides a clear picture of the potential regulatory and compliance impacts of their investments. Investors appreciate Amy’s measured approach to addressing risk and her ability to explain challenges in a commercial context. She quickly assembles multidisciplinary teams of lawyers and technical advisors to provide a complete view of a target company’s regulatory risk profile, including existing investigations and enforcement, FDA inspection history, quality and compliance obligations, data privacy and security practices, and litigation risk. Whether she’s advising on a current regulatory enforcement action or recommending post-acquisition compliance program enhancements, Amy tailors solutions to her clients' risk tolerance and investment objectives.
Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies regularly call on Amy’s counsel to support development and commercialization of their products. Her practical advice helps development-stage companies intensify their compliance efforts as they expand their operations, develop promotional strategies, and launch sales teams. Amy frequently helps non-U.S. companies entering the U.S. market to prepare for heightened compliance expectations, tough regulatory scrutiny of their drug and medical device products and the U.S. reimbursement environment. For established companies, she leads teams of lawyers and former in-house compliance officers who assess their existing compliance programs, spot weaknesses, and implement strategies to mitigate future risks. Sponsors, contract research organizations, and clinical research services providers also rely on her advice when structuring relationships for product development and clinical research services.
Amy is Vice Chair of Epstein Becker Green's National Health Care & Life Sciences Steering Committee. She received an undergraduate degree in microbiology. Before she became a lawyer, Amy worked for five years as a senior clinical research associate at a large contract research organization, where she monitored pharmaceutical clinical trials and led regulatory compliance training programs.
Julie is CEO and President of PCH, providing general and professional liability insurance to over 2,200 long term care facilities nationally. As a former litigator and current legal counsel and consultant to businesses including successful tech start-ups, Julie engages a 360 view when addressing the unique demands of running a company. She is on the Board of Advisors of three tech companies. In 2017 she joined the Board of the National Risk Retention Association and chaired NRRA’s Conference. Julie is a thoughtful listener, incisive questioner, generator of ideas and solutions, advocate and speaker. She was recently published in Captive International. She was named to Captive Review’s 2020 Power 50.
Erin McAdams Franzblau is a Partner in the Litigation Practice Group, with a focus on helping companies navigate employment laws. Erin litigates employment matters, counsels employers on nearly every sub-specialty of employment law, and acts as employment counsel for M&A transactions. In her counseling practice, Erin assists organizations with a wide range of day-to-day employment issues, and counsels clients on adapting to the evolving landscape of medical and recreational marijuana legislation. Erin is also experienced in all stages of litigation, from inception through trial and post-trial appeals, and has won summary judgment for her clients on a range of employment matters.
Katrina (Katie) Hausfeld focuses her practice on corporate investigations and compliance, white-collar criminal matters and complex civil litigation. Katie regularly advises both US and multinational companies in connection with investigations and enforcement actions involving financial fraud, bribery (including potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), money laundering, conflicts of interest, insider trading, and whistleblower allegations. She also assists her clients in designing and implementing risk-based compliance programs that meet the ever-evolving expectations of regulatory and enforcement agencies. These enterprise-wide programs include conducting risk assessments, drafting codes of conduct and ethics, drafting corporate policies and creating and implementing training programs. In addition, Katie performs anti-corruption compliance due diligence for acquisitions, joint ventures and other transactions. She co-chairs the Chicago office’s Leadership Alliance for Women resource group.
Susan Miller Overbey is a partner in Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella’s Consumer Financial Services Litigation, Class Action Defense, Religious Organizations, and Not-for-Profit Organizations practice groups. She has defended banks, mortgage lenders, and related entities in individual actions, contested foreclosures, and consumer class actions brought in state and federal courts, including claims under the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Julie Honor is General Counsel at 3Q Digital. She manages the organization's legal risks, negotiates commercial contracts and corporate transactions, and advises on employment, data privacy, litigation, and intellectual property matters. Prior to her role at 3Q, Julie built out and led the legal department at Rise Interactive and managed North American commercial work for Anixter. She brings to 3Q a unique background, having specialized in change management consulting, where she worked with clients to re-engineer processes and optimize organizational design, in addition to her years in private practice focusing on class action, business, and intellectual property litigation.
Julie graduated cum laude from Indiana University - Maurer School of Law and earned a bachelor's degree with the highest distinction in supply chain and information systems from The Pennsylvania State University.
Katherine Johnson is Chief Legal & People Officer at Storj Labs, which is tackling data privacy and security with decentralized data storage powered by the STORJ digital token. Katherine also heads Compliance, and is responsible for overseeing token and corporate governance. Katherine’s work in blockchain and cryptocurrency started at Coinbase during its hyper-growth period, where she led compliance management and regulation. Katherine’s prior work also includes bank regulatory compliance at Ernst and Young, employment law and compliance at Credit Suisse, anti-money laundering and financial crimes compliance at BNY Mellon, and advising clients on corporate, regulatory, and litigation matters at Fried Frank and other international law firms. She previously clerked in the SDNY and served on the New York City Bar professional responsibility committee. Her work emphasizes diversity, inclusion, equity, and ethics.
Tamara's legal experience is anchored in labor and employment advice, counseling and litigation for employers. She started her career at a mid-sized defense firm in San Francisco. At Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. she spent 15 years in the Labor & Employment Practice Group, advising managers and HR on both day to day performance oversight as well as big picture policy and strategy issues, and managing employment litigation. Since 2017, Tamara’s practice has focused on managing employment litigation. Tamara is a seasoned litigator and tough negotiator, known and respected for her pragmatic, collaborative, results-oriented style and strong writing skills.
A significant portion of Tamara’s work at Kaiser is devoted to the Legal Department’s Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Program. As the Department’s Strategic Leader for Equity Inclusion and Diversity, since 2011 Tamara has developed and led the Department EI&D Committee, working tirelessly to promote the Program mission, "to strategically drive the integration of equity, inclusion and diversity into every aspect of our work resulting in a positive and enduring impact on our workforce/department, the legal profession and the communities we serve." The positive, measurable, undeniable and enduring impact of this work on her colleagues, the community and the pipeline of future diverse lawyers drives Tamara's passion for this aspect of her career.
Tamara is a Bay Area native and graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Law School. Tamara’s passion for equity spills over into her non-work life. She serves on the board of a local non-profit that provides respite and support services to children and families. Tamara, along with her adult daughters, host a variety of events for youth and women of color, including empowerment seminars and distribution of essential toiletries and accessories to homeless women.
Julie Baker serves as Assistant General Counsel, Employment at US Foods. In this role, Julie provides advice and guidance to management and human resources on a wide range of employment issues arising from the Company’s day-to-day operations. She also oversees all types of employment litigation including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour claims.
Prior to joining US Foods, Julie worked as Sr. Counsel, Employment Litigation at JLL, a global professional services firm specializing in real estate and investment management. Julie started her legal career at Jones Day as an employment litigator.
Julie holds a Juris Doctor from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. Before law school, she spent two years teaching fourth grade as a Teach for America corps member in Brownsville, Texas and before that she lived abroad in London, England and Santiago, Chile.
Benefits arrangements generally reflect a company's business philosophy, budget constraints and market influences. With this in mind, Vanessa Scott helps employers design competitive benefits packages that comply with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Internal Revenue Code and the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Drawing on more than 15 years of experience in employee benefits, Vanessa works with some of the nation’s leading companies, including global insurers, airlines and financial services organizations. She provides counsel on a broad range of issues, from comprehensive, company-wide benefit plans to the individual compensation arrangements that attract and retain key personnel. She also has significant experience advising large employers and insurance companies on ACA compliance issues. Additionally, Vanessa currently serves as Eversheds Sutherland (US)’s Chief Diversity Officer. Vanessa previously served as Legislative and Tax Counsel for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives where she specialized in financial services policy and legislation. Prior to joining Eversheds Sutherland (US), she was Legislative Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in Washington, D.C., where she represented the benefits and compensation interests of Fortune 100 employers before Congress, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Nicole represents securities and commodities professionals in a variety of regulatory, compliance and corporate matters. She has extensive experience with respect to hedge funds, commodity pools, private equity funds, cryptocurrency funds, venture capital funds, real estate funds, fund of funds and socially responsible investment vehicles. Nicole provides legal and compliance guidance to registered and exempt investment advisers, commodity pool operators (CPOs), commodity trading advisors (CTAs), proprietary trading firms and family offices, as well as providing counsel to boards and investment companies.
Samantha-Anne Horwitch, Associate General Counsel for Select Energy Services, LLC in Houston, Texas, is an accomplished, driven and business-savvy professional, experienced corporate lawyer, compliance professional and Human Resources leader with a demonstrated history in the multiple industries. Her background shows a consistent record of excellence in organizational leadership, corporate advisory, litigation and contract management, policy and process creation and implementation, team building and motivation, and corporate training. Samantha-Anne provides expertise in all aspects of corporate legal guidance, strategic business support, domestic and international regulatory compliance, and risk mitigation across relevant industries and sectors. She adapts quickly to evolving legislation and changes in the law, and educates colleagues and clients as a recognized subject matter expert. With extensive experience in public and private corporations, Samantha-Anne possesses instinctive business acumen and an understanding of how to protect and support a company, it’s mission, and it’s employees. Prior to joining Select Energy in 2020, Samantha Anne served as General Counsel, Chief Compliance and Human Resources Officer for Citelum US-Groupe EDF, and Corporate Counsel for Sterling Construction Company, Inc.
Katherine Bryan is a corporate partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. She has a wide-ranging practice representing public companies and private equity firms, primarily in mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, leveraged acquisitions, equity financings, incentive equity matters, and general corporate counseling and compliance. Katherine has represented clients in transactions ranging in size from several million dollars to more than $7 billion and has been active in a variety of industries, including regulated industries such as financial services.
In addition to her client work, Katherine is the Co-Chairwoman of the Firm’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Planning Committee.
Nikki Odom Dibley is an experienced Senior Counsel with a demonstrated history of working in the chemicals, paint and manufacturing industries. Currently, Nikki serves as Employment Counsel with 3M, a multinational conglomerate with approximately $31 billion in revenue and 91,500 employees world-wide. Nikki handles a wide variety of employment law matters that cover 3M business groups, plants, staff functions, centers of excellence and specialist assignments. Last year, Nikki implemented a sustainable process.
Prior to joining 3M, Nikki was Senior Employment Counsel with Akzo Nobel Inc., a Netherlands- based multinational chemical and coatings company with €14.9 billion in revenue and 45,600 employees world-wide. There, Nikki was responsible for U.S. and Canadian labor and employment matters, benefit plan and ERISA compliance issues, as well as some U.S. compliance and commercial matters.
Nikki is currently the Secretary of the Association of Corporate Counsel Employment and Labor Law Network. Nikki is also an American Bar Fellow and an editor for the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Journal.
Nikki is a two-time Marquette University graduate where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Finance and earned her Juris Doctorate (JD) degree. In addition, Nikki is a certified Professional in Human Resources and a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional.
Janice's career has roots in both personal injury prosecution and defense. Prior to joining Uber, Janice was an associate at a mid-sized insurance defense firm in Chicago, handling auto and commercial trucking liability litigation and corporate work for local trucking companies. In her current role, Janice sits in Chicago and serves as Counsel on the Safety & Insurance Legal team at Uber, handling and overseeing simple and complex insurance litigation in the Midwest, Texas, Colorado, and Canada. She has a passion for D&I, which is reflected in her work at Uber.