Lewis Brisbois Celebrates Diverse 2024 Equity Partner Class, Management Committee Appointments
New York, N.Y. (January 31, 2024) - Lewis Brisbois is proud to introduce its 2024 class of seven equity partners who were elected at its recent annual Equity Partnership Meeting, as well as two new members who were appointed to the firm’s Management Committee.
The new equity partners include New York Partner Erin O'Leary, Portland Managing Partner Jennifer Oetter, Atlanta Partner Christine Tenley, Fort Lauderdale Co-Managing Partner Cheryl Wilke, Los Angeles Partner Tony Sain, Newark Partner Thomas Regan, and New Orleans Administrative Partner Thomas J. Cortazzo.
Notably, 71% of this distinguished group are from historically underrepresented groups and backgrounds.
Lewis Brisbois’ Chief Diversity Partner, Rima Badawiya, said, “The diversity among these elected leaders – including the high percentage of women – is a testament to the firm’s ongoing commitment to fostering, mentoring and retaining diverse talent. We remain dedicated to promoting inclusive and equitable processes that result in our leadership reflecting the significant diversity of the clients we represent. I couldn’t be more proud to welcome these accomplished and distinguished colleagues to our partnership”
Also at the Equity Partnership Meeting, six attorneys were either appointed, elected, or re-elected to serve on Lewis Brisbois’ 15-member Management Committee, which was expanded from eleven members last year.
Los Angeles Co-Administrative Partner and former president of the California State Bar Craig Holden and Minneapolis Managing Partner Michelle Gilboe, who previously served as appointed voting members of the Management Committee, were both elected by the equity partnership to serve three-year terms. Los Angeles Partners Dana Fox and Eric Kizirian were both re-elected to the committee. And two new members, Newark Administrative Partner Malinda (“Mindy”) Miller and New York Administrative Partner Alecia Walters-Hinds, were appointed by the committee to fill the two vacant appointed voting seats.
With the new appointments, three lawyers of color and six women now sit on the Management Committee, increasing the percentage of attorneys of color from 13% to 20% and women attorneys from 26% to 40%.
Also serving on the Management Committee are National Managing Partner Greg Katz, Los Angeles Managing Partner Jana Lubert, Los Angeles Co-Administrative Partner Steven Lewis, Los Angeles Co-Managing Partner Kathleen Walker, New York Co-Managing Partner Alan Kaminsky, Orange County Managing Partner Charles Harris, Chief Diversity Partner and San Bernardino Administrative Partner Rima Badawiya, Fort Lauderdale Co-Managing Partner Michael Platner, and Houston Partner Bill Helfand.
Greg Katz remarked that this “is an exciting time at Lewis Brisbois. There’s a strong feeling of optimism and unity in the firm and we’re anticipating a year of positive evolution and growth in 2024. ”
“Expanding our Management Committee to 15 members has allowed for the addition of talented and diverse leaders who will have a positive impact on the future of the firm,” he said. “I look forward to collaborating with all members of the committee – as well as the newly elected equity partners – and believe that great things are ahead for the firm.”
New Equity Partner Bios:
Erin O’Leary is a member of the General Liability and Professional Liability Practices. She has extensive experience defending high exposure construction and transportation matters, as well as malpractice claims against a variety of professionals. In addition to practicing in New York state, federal, and appellate courts, Erin has served as an adjunct professor at The City University of New York’s (CUNY) Lehman College. She described, "I'm honored to become a capital partner at Lewis Brisbois. Since joining the firm in 2019, I have been guided by smart, encouraging colleagues and supported by a talented team of lawyers and staff. I look forward to many more productive years helping to grow the firm and get the best results for our clients."
Jennifer Oetter, who serves as a vice-chair of the Healthcare, Medical Malpractice, and Long-Term Care Practices, focuses on civil litigation involving hospitals and healthcare professionals. She has significant experience representing providers from a variety of medical specialties and is particularly skilled in unique issues related to birth injury and sepsis litigation. Jennifer, who also is a member of the firm’s National Trial Team, expressed enthusiasm about her elevation to equity partner, describing, "My experience at every level of this firm it that it is an amazing, smart, and hardworking group of people and lawyers. I am proud and fortunate to be a part of Lewis Brisbois and humbled and excited for this new role. I am excited about our future and look forward to continuing to work with our wonderful clients and advancing Lewis Brisbois’ inclusive culture.”
Tom Regan is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Products Liability, General Liability, and National Trial Practices. His multifaceted practice ranges from serving as first chair in trials concerning catastrophic injury, to supervising nationwide portfolios of products liability litigation, to counseling on matters concerning legal malpractice, construction litigation including cases related to commercial and property loss involving HVAC claims, employment law, and general liability. Tom said he is “delighted to be elected to equity partnership and thankful to firm leadership for valuing my contributions and commitment to Lewis Brisbois and its clients. I look forward to continuing to build a better place for the entire Lewis Brisbois community.”
Tony Sain is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability and National Trial Practices. He focuses his practice on high-exposure, high-stakes, and high-profile matters involving catastrophic injury and wrongful death. Tony’s practice spans a number of areas, including personal injury, tort litigation, as well as police civil rights and public entity defense. In sharing his thoughts on becoming an equity partner, Tony stated, "at Lewis Brisbois, we have a nationwide family of the best trial attorneys, appellate advocates, civil litigators, and counselors in the country. I am thrilled to be embraced into the ranks of the equity partners of our firm, as we continue our collective work of developing the next generation of trial advocates and appellate advocates to build our firm to be of great service to our clients and our communities for decades to come."
Christine Tenley is a member of the Complex Business & Commercial Litigation, Labor & Employment, and Real Estate & Land Use Practices. With more than 23 years of national litigation, trial, class action, collective action, and appellate experience, she consistently resolves clients' difficult premises liability and workplace challenges. Christine also has handled investigation and administrative proceedings before federal and state government agencies. She explained that she is looking forward to serving in her new role, stating, "I am thrilled that I have been promoted to equity partner in recognition of my contributions to the firm and our clients. I am grateful for my colleagues' trust and look forward to continuing to demonstrate my dedication to our clients. Most importantly, I am eager to collaborate with my fellow equity partners in our shared commitment to drive the firm’s future growth and success.”
Cheryl Wilke serves as a vice chair of the Labor & Employment Practice and as a member of the Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practice. She has a wide range of commercial litigation experience in federal and state courts, and has developed strong proficiencies in employment law, government contractor compliance, and business litigation involving mid-market and national businesses. Cheryl splits her time between the firm’s Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles offices. In discussing her new leadership role, she noted, “Equity Partner at Lewis Brisbois is more than the hallmarks of partnership at all great firms. Every good firm looks to their equity partners to achieve the goals of drive, dedication, and expertise. But being an equity partner at Lewis Brisbois requires the added commitment to the firm’s unending culture of client service, kindness, and professionalism. I am very grateful to be a small patch in the diversity quilt that is Lewis Brisbois.”
Tom Cortazzo is a member of the firm’s Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practice. For more than 30 years, Tom has litigated cases ranging from various forms of commercial litigation, to toxic tort and asbestos cases, to personal injury and other insurance defense matters, in state, federal, and appellate courts in Louisiana. He is a certified mediator through the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and has helped clients resolve matters through arbitration and mediation. In addition, he has litigated before administrative tribunals. Tom remarked, “I am very excited about my elevation to equity partner at Lewis Brisbois. It will give me new opportunities to work alongside high quality attorneys at the firm around the country and to assist the leaders of the firm progress it into the future. I am grateful to move into this new chapter.”
New Management Committee Appointee Bios:
Mindy Miller serves as a chair of the Healthcare, Medical Malpractice, and Long-Term Care Practices. With a depth of experience in the defense of long-term care and assisted living facilities, she is the preferred counsel for certain large, regional long-term care operators as well as many operators in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Mindy also regularly presents on issues in long-term care litigation and provides in-service training to management and staff of healthcare facilities. “I am so pleased to be joining Lewis Brisbois’ Management Committee,” Mindy said. “I look forward to contributing to the continued growth and success of the firm and to serving alongside my talented colleagues, including the five accomplished women leaders who sit on the committee.”
Alecia Walters-Hinds serves as a vice-chair of the General Liability Practice and as a member of the Healthcare and Medical Malpractice Practices. She also is a member of the firm’s National Trial Practice and the immediate past president of the New York City American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Alecia successfully handles high exposure and catastrophic injuries that range from general liability to medical malpractice claims. She has tried over 100 cases and taken over 50 verdicts. “I am looking forward to serving on the Management Committee and helping to shape a bright future for Lewis Brisbois,” Alecia said. “This is truly a great and unexpected honor. I am happy to be joining such accomplished men and women who sit on the committee. It has been almost 13 years and there is no other place I would rather be.”