Lewis Brisbois Celebrates Women's History Month
(March 2021) - This Women's History Month, we will be highlighting some of our fantastic female attorneys and staff from around the firm. We begin this series with a message from the Co-Chairs of Lewis Brisbois' Women's Initiative, Los Angeles Managing Partner Jana Lubert and Chief Strategy Officer Janet Eskow, about the importance of celebrating those women who have played a major role in history, while also celebrating the individual stories of our many female colleagues at the firm.
Keep an eye on this page to see some of those inspiring stories throughout the month of March. Learn more about our Women's Initiative here.
The first reflection in our series honoring Lewis Brisbois’ stellar female attorneys comes from Newark Partner Meredith Kaplan Stoma. Meredith describes the familiar experience of being the only woman in the room and shares her gratitude for the lessons that her remarkable mother taught her.
Meredith serves as the vice-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Legal Malpractice and Professional Liability Practices. In addition to having substantial and wide-ranging experience in defending professionals in malpractice actions, she is also an accomplished appellate advocate. Outside of her practice, Meredith has served in several leadership roles in her community, including as co-chairperson of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey and chair of the International Association of Defense Counsel’s Professional Liability Committee.
Learn more about Meredith's professional background here.
As we continue our Women’s History Month series, we shine a spotlight on Los Angeles Associate Esther Yae Shin. Esther provides her insights on the challenges she has faced as a female attorney and describes how her Lewis Brisbois colleagues have helped to empower her.
Esther is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Intellectual Property & Technology Practice. Although she primarily handles intellectual property litigation and trademark applications, she also has experience in complex commercial litigation involving breach of contract issues and related business torts.
Learn more about Esther's professional background here.
Next up in our series celebrating Women's History Month is a contribution from Phoenix Partner Julie Maurer, who shares a childhood memory about witnessing what strong, determined women are capable of achieving. As Julie eloquently describes, she credits her mother with teaching her about achieving excellence and the importance of helping others.
Julie serves as a co-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Transportation Practice and is also a member of the Complex Business & Commercial Litigation and Marine & Energy Practices. Routinely serving as national litigation counsel, Julie represents clients in jurisdictions throughout the United States, and has achieved some of Arizona’s most significant defense verdicts. She also serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Arizona Superior Court of Maricopa County in commercial litigation matters.
Learn more about Julie's professional background here.
In this contribution to our series honoring Women’s History Month, we hear from Chief Administrative Officer Susan O’Brien. Susan describes how, over the course of two decades, Lewis Brisbois’ leadership provided her and other women with important opportunities to advance as the firm grew and expanded throughout the country.
In her current role, Susan oversees Lewis Brisbois’ Office Administrators who collectively manage 53 offices across the country. Throughout her tenure, she has served in several leadership positions, including as a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Management Committee and Compensation Committee for Non-Attorneys.
Learn more about Susan here.
As we continue our series honoring Women’s History Month, we hear from San Bernardino Partner Roxanne Reyna, who reflects upon how, as a first generation Mexican-American, she has been inspired by the strength of the women in her family. She also acknowledges the hard work that must continue to create opportunities for the next generation of women.
Roxanne is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Healthcare Practice and focuses on healthcare defense, including elder abuse and medical malpractice issues, for long-term & residential care facilities, hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.
Learn more about Roxanne's professional background here.
Next up in our series honoring Women’s History Month is Los Angeles Associate Lillian Harwell, who notes her good fortune to come from a family of inspirational female attorneys. In her reflection, she describes the importance of continuing to work toward changing outdated attitudes concerning female litigators.
Lillian is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability Practice and represents a wide variety of clients in liability defense, insurance defense, and general litigation matters. She is committed to the zealous representation of clients at all phases of litigation, from preliminary investigations through trial.
Learn more about Lillian here.
The next contributor in our series celebrating Women’s History Month is San Bernardino Partner Jennifer So, who expresses deep admiration for her mother. In her moving words, Jennifer describes her mom's remarkable ability to balance work and family life throughout evolving and often challenging circumstances.
Jennifer is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Healthcare, Medical Malpractice, and Long-Term & Elder Law Practices. She has experience representing a range of healthcare professionals in all phases of litigation, appeals, government audits, investigations, and enforcement actions.
Learn more about Jennifer's professional background here.
As we continue with our celebration of Women's History Month, we hear from Orange County Partner Julie O'Dell, who shares her gratitude for the trailblazing women who came before her. She also describes how expectations for working moms around family obligations have changed for better.
Julie is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Labor & Employment practice. She focuses on wage and hour issues, and regularly handles cases involving employment-related claims brought under Title VII and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Learn more about Julie's professional background here.
The latest contribution to our series honoring Women’s History month comes from Atlanta Associate Nicole Holtzapple, who reflects upon how growing up in a household with four generations of strong women taught her the value of hard work and determination. She also expresses appreciation for her female mentors in the legal profession and hopes to pass along her own knowledge to others.
Nicole is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Intellectual Property & Technology Practice. An experienced litigator, she has managed cases involving trade secret issues, patent matters, and a wide range of technologies.
Learn more about Nicole's professional background here.
Next up in our series celebrating Women's History Month, Los Angeles Office Administrator Nancy Simas talks about the support she's received from the network of outstanding women at Lewis Brisbois throughout her 21 years with the firm. She also thanks those barrier-breaking women who cleared a path for her and others to succeed in what used to be a male-dominated space.
As LA Office Administrator for over two decades, Nancy has overseen a tremendous amount of growth in Lewis Brisbois' home office. We thank Nancy for her hard work and dedication to the firm and its people.
Learn more about our LA office here.
As we continue celebrating Women's History Month, we hear from San Diego Partner Corinne Bertsche, who reflects on how the women's movement has evolved during her lifetime. She also expresses her gratitude for the many women who have inspired her to pursue a career in law.
Corinne is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Professional Liability Practice and has over 23 years of experience as a civil litigator. Focusing on legal malpractice defense and appellate practice, she is a Certified Specialist in Legal Malpractice with the California Bar Legal Specialization Board.
Learn more about Corinne's professional background here.
In our latest spotlight post celebrating Women’s History Month, Wilmington Associate Cheneise Wright reminds us that although female attorneys have made tremendous progress, they must continue to forge ahead by not merely participating, but leading.
Cheneise is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practice, focusing primarily on commercial litigation. Prior to joining Lewis Brisbois, Cheneise served as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Jersey City, and in her spare time she volunteers as a Big Sister for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Learn more about Cheneise's professional background here.
Next up in our series honoring Women’s History Month is New York Associate Simi Bhutani, who describes how the strength she derived from women who came before her allows her to face implicit bias in her own life. She also shares her gratitude for her immigrant parents, whose unwavering support has helped her achieve success.
Simi is a member of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice. She counsels clients and litigates claims of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and defamation, as well as wage and hour disputes in single-plaintiff and class/collective actions.
Learn more about Simi's professional background here.
As we continue our Women’s History Month series, we hear from Newark Partner Afsha Noran, who describes how moving to the United States from Pakistan provided her with opportunities that her mother never had. She also expresses gratitude for her parents’ unyielding support and for her Lewis Brisbois mentors.
Afsha is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability, Products Liability, and Commercial Litigation Practices. She focuses primarily on handling matters involving premises, products, transportation, and asbestos liability.
Learn more about Afsha's professional background here.
In our latest spotlight post celebrating Women’s History Month, San Diego Associate Tracy Forbath explains that trailblazers are often “in plain sight,” and include family members, teachers, and others whose daily actions inspire. She also discusses the importance of fostering the next generation of female lawyers.
Tracy is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Appellate Practice. She focuses on civil appeals, writs, and administrative mandamus matters across several areas of law.
Learn more about Tracy's professional background here.
As we continue our Women’s History Month series, we hear from New Orleans Partner Nancy Cundiff, who shares how her extraordinary grandmother challenged traditional gender norms by securing an education and career during a time when she was not even permitted to open a bank account.
Nancy further expresses her desire to address inequities and help create an even playing field for women. Nancy is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Complex Business & Commercial Litigation and Real Estate, Land Use & Environment Practices. She has extensive experience litigating complicated contract disputes and large tort claims, as well as a knack for finding practical solutions to complex legal issues.
Learn more about Nancy's professional background here.
Next up in our series honoring Women’s History Month is Seattle Partner Rachel Tallon Reynolds, who describes how she has used her voice to succeed academically and professionally since she was a child. She also expresses gratitude for her female colleagues at Lewis Brisbois who, in keeping with this month's theme, similarly “refuse to be silenced.”
Rachel is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Toxic Tort & Environmental Litigation, Products Liability, Public Agency & Municipal Law, and National Trial Practices. An experienced first chair trial attorney, she prides herself on providing creative solutions to legal challenges.
Learn more about Rachel's professional background here.
In our latest spotlight post celebrating Women’s History Month, Chicago Partner Mary Smigielski explains that even after practicing law for nearly three decades, she occasionally is still the only woman in a room. However, she never doubts her place in the profession thanks to her inspirational mother, who challenged gender stereotypes throughout her life.
In addition to co-founding Lewis Brisbois’ Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) Practice, the first in the nation, Mary is also the head of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice in Chicago. She continues to be on the cutting edge of employment law defense and BIPA litigation, frequently providing commentary to the media, as well as guidance on the potential nationwide implications of BIPA during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about Mary's professional background here.
As we enter the final week of Women’s History Month, we hear from Los Angeles and Phoenix Partner Jessica Beckwith, who explains that although having female advocates has helped her career, having male advocates has been equally important. She also reflects upon the lessons that her determined mother taught her, including how to balance work and family.
Jessica serves as a firmwide assistant general counsel for Lewis Brisbois and as vice chair of the firm’s Public Agency & Municipal Law Practice. Her practice is focused on attorney regulation and ethics as well as public agency and municipal law.
Learn more about Jessica's professional background here.
In our penultimate spotlight post celebrating Women’s History Month, New York Partner Bindu Nair describes how, in her new role as partner, she is particularly cognizant of the progress that the legal profession has made with respect to inclusion. She also emphasizes, however, that further change is necessary, and she looks forward to mentoring and advocating for others.
Bindu is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability, Data Privacy & Cybersecurity, and Medical Malpractice Practices. She has experience in all aspects of complex civil litigation, representing healthcare professionals, property owners, managers, tenants, and service establishments, as well as assisting clients dealing with data breaches.
Learn more about Bindu's professional background here.
In our final spotlight post of Women’s History Month, Salt Lake City Associate Abby Dizon-Maughan describes how, through becoming a wife, mother, and attorney, she now appreciates the sacrifices that her own mother made. She also explains that she regularly finds comfort in the words of her mom when facing the challenge of balancing her career with her role as a mother.
Abby is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability Practice. She has extensive trial and courtroom experience and has been recognized by the Utah State Bar for her mentorship of young attorneys.
Learn more about Abby's professional background here.
We end this month of recognition and celebration with a closing message from the Co-Chairs of Lewis Brisbois' Women's Initiative, Los Angeles Managing Partner Jana Lubert and Chief Strategy Officer Janet Eskow. Thank you to all of the women who contributed their voice to this campaign and to all of those who read and shared these messages.