DRI Faculty List

Diversity for Success and Corporate Expo Seminar

Swissotel Chicago | Chicago, IL | June 15 - 16, 2017

Michael C. Blanchard
Principal & CEO
Law Practice Advisory Group LLC

Michael C. Blanchard is Principal & CEO of Law Practice Advisory Group, LLC. Mr. Blanchard has more than 18 years of experience working with law firms. As a Principal of Law Practice Advisory Group LLC, located in Rochester, NY, his primary areas of expertise include strategic planning mergers and acquisitions, partner compensation and capitalization, financial management and general counseling. Mr. Blanchard has extensive experience in law firm management and administration. Prior to forming Law Practice Advisory Group LLC, Mr. Blanchard held several senior level and executive management positions with many of the nation's leading law firms.

Bryan R. Browning
Bassford Remele PA

Bryan R. Browning is a partner at Bassford Remele PA, where he specializes in litigating complex cases, including fire/explosion, catastrophic losses, and product liability matters. Bryan also represents clients in matters involving commercial disputes, construction related claims, and environmental matters. Bryan is the 2016-2017 President of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, the Co-Chair of the MDLA Diversity Committee, a MSBA Council Member and Co-Chair of the MSBA Diversity and Inclusion Council, and was the Chair of the 2016 DRI Diversity Corporate Expo, and Marketing Chair for the 2017 DRI Diversity for Success Seminar. In addition, Bryan serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Minnesota's National Diversity Advisory Board. Bryan is a 2012-2016 Rising Star, a Fellow with the American Bar Foundation, the 2012 DRI Young Lawyers Outstanding Newcomer Award recipient, the 2016 DRI Young Lawyers Outstanding Committee Chair Award recipient, and the 2016 MDLA Deb Oberlander Award recipient.

Taren N. (Stanton) Butcher
Associate General Counsel
Allegis Group Inc

Taren N. (Stanton) Butcher serves as associate general counsel at the Allegis Group where she manages employment related issues. Prior to going in-house, Mrs. Butcher represented corporate and individual clients in complex business torts and commercial disputes related to breach of contract, contract and commercial disputes, and breach of fiduciary duties. Mrs. Butcher also has experience with matters concerning product liability and tort litigation. Mrs. Butcher regularly practices in Maryland's federal and state trial courts and has experience in both Maryland and the District of Columbia. She is admitted to practice in Maryland, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

James G. Bynoe
VP & Dir
Liberty Mutual Insurance

James G. Bynoe is Vice President, Liberty Mutual Insurance Commercial Insurance Claims, where he serves as Director of Claims Litigation Management. The Claims Litigation Management group oversees and directs efficient utilization of legal services across all lines of business. Jim's unit has responsibility and oversight of the legal fees, allocated expense, and total loss dollars associated with litigated and non-litigated matters for Commercial Insurance Claims, in addition to the creation and implementation of litigation management processes that support the business unit's strategic and tactical priorities.

Gary M. Carter, Jr.
Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP

Gary M. Carter, Jr. is a Partner at Kelly Hart & Pitre, a full service law firm with offices in Louisiana and Texas. His law practice focuses on general litigation, regulatory affairs and general counsel services. He is a frequent speaker on trial tactics, crisis management and litigation strategy, including on topics such as using political campaign messaging strategies to communicate with jurors. Gary is also a Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, where he represents the Westbank of the City of New Orleans. Elected in October of 2015, Gary serves on the Appropriations, House and Governmental Affairs and Judiciary Committees. He also serves on the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and as an appointed Member of the Energy Council, which is a committee comprised of select state legislators of the energy producing states. He currently serves as on the Presidential Advisory Board of Xavier University of Louisiana. He founded and currently chairs the Defense Research Institute's Public Utility Task Force, which provides a forum to address the legal issues and risks common to public utilities. He is the 2016 recipient of the Sheryl J. Willert Pioneer Diversity Award, an honor bestowed on an individual who has embraced, celebrated and applied diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. He was proclaimed "One to Watch" by New Orleans City Business in 2015, and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association named him a Rising Star in 2013. Gary earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1996, and his juris doctorate from Tulane Law School in 2002. He is married to Dr. Desiree M. Carter, and they have three children: Theresa (9), Gary (8) and Daniel (5). Gary can be reached at gary. carter@kellyhart.com.

Tobey M. Daluz
Ballard Spahr LLP

Tobey M. Daluz is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and she is the founding Chair (now member) of the Delaware Network of the International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC). She is a member of the Bankruptcy Law Section and Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section of the Delaware State Bar Association. Ms. Daluz was appointed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to serve a three-year term on its Lawyers Advisory Committee, which comments on proposed rules of the Circuit and serves as a liaison between the court and legal community. Over the past decade, she has served on the Third Circuit's Merit Selection Panel and participated in the review and recommendation of candidates for five Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Judge positions.

Stacy Lynne Douglas Thompson
Collinson Law APC

Stacy Lynne Douglas Thompson is a Partner at Collinson Law, APC, a female owned firm in Los Angeles, California that she recently joined in May 2016. Prior to joining Collinson Law, Ms. Douglas was a Partner at a majority owned national law firm where she practiced for 14 years. During the 14 years at her former firm, Ms. Douglas was responsible for implementing and enforcing the firm's diversity initiatives as well as marketing of the firm's diversity status. Due to Ms. Douglas' efforts, her former firm was awarded the DRI Diversity Award in 2014. Ms. Douglas was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and raised in a small farming town, her family being the only African American family in the community. Upon high school graduation, she moved to California and received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of San Diego. Thereafter, she moved to Washington DC where she obtained her law degree from The Catholic University of America in 1998. She was admitted to the California State Bar in November 1998 and has resided in Los Angeles since her admittance. Ms. Douglas has extensive experience in a variety of areas, defending companies, homeowner's associations, individuals and public entities in personal injury, product liability, employment, toxic tort, trucking/transportation and real property disputes.

Laura P. Gordon
Orleans Canty Novy, LLC

Laura P. Gordon is with Chilton Yambert & Porter LLP in Chicago, IL. Laura's practice involves the defense of corporations and individuals with concentration in tort defense in all areas of construction litigation, transportation litigation, construction injury, construction defect litigation, and insurance defense. Her practice also includes insurance coverage litigation in State and Federal courts, with an emphasis on coverage disputes arising from construction and transportation related losses. Laura received her Juris Doctor cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2007. While in law school she served as an editor of the Vermont Law Review, interned with a judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem. Following graduation from Vermont Law School, Laura was admitted to the State Bar of Illinois.

Sean C. Griffin
Dykema Gossett PLLC

Sean C. Griffin is a member in the Washington, D.C. office of Dykema. He litigates breach of contract and fraud cases before courts, arbitrators, and mediators around the country. He also responds to subpoenas investigating violations of federal or state laws, including the False Claims Act, anti-bribery laws, and securities laws and regulations. Additionally, he assists clients with data security and responding to data breaches.

James S. Grossman
Barclay Damon LLP

James S. Grossman has more than 38 years of experience representing not-for-profit agencies in the healthcare field, specifically with agencies serving individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness or alcohol and drug abuse issues. He routinely counsels healthcare clients in the fields who are responding to Medicaid and other government investigations and audits as well as related employment and contract matters. Jim has substantial experience in dealing with the Medicaid central fraud unit of the New York State Attorney General's office and the Office of Medicaid Inspector General, as well as the office for people with developmental disabilities, mental health and alcohol and substance abuse. Jim has been an active contributor to community and civic activities throughout his career. He has chaired multiple not-for-profit agencies and boards in the social service and disability fields including the Al Sigl Center, Mary Cariola Children's Center, Jewish Family Services, PRALID (People Rebuilding and Living in Dignity) and several others. Jim also has chaired the Monroe County Bar Association and New York State Tax Assessment and Certiorari Committees as well as having chaired the 5400-member Real Property section of the New York State Bar Association. Jim received his bachelor's degree from Hobart College and his juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School.

Atoyia Scott Harris
Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC

Atoyia Scott Harris is an associate at Ogletree Deakins. Her litigation practice includes but is not limited to labor and employment matters. Atoyia serves on DRI's 2016-2017 Young Lawyers Steering Committee as the Vice-Chair of the Diversity Subcommittee. She is also a member of DRI's Diversity and Inclusion Committee and serves on the 2016-2017 Diversity for Success Seminar Planning Team. Atoyia received her Bachelor of Music in Music Industry Studies with an emphasis in classical piano from Loyola University New Orleans and was a member of the Loyola University Women's Basketball Team. She received her Juris Doctor and International Law Certificate from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

Rosary A. Hernandez
Tiffany & Bosco PA

Rosary A. Hernandez is a first generation Cuban American. Rosary's areas of practice include commercial and business litigation, professional liability defense, construction law, and tort defense including tortious interference and related claims. Since 1993 she has represented clients in litigation and arbitration in Texas, Arizona, and California. Rosary's last several years of practice have involved construction related matters, assisting developers builders, and contractors manage their risk through difficult economic circumstances.

The Honorable Cecilia A. Horan
Circuit Court of Cook County

The Honorable Cecilia A. Horan is the President of LAGBAC. She concentrates her practice in the defense of cases involving personal injury, premises liability, products liability and the representation of insurance companies in determination of claims for coverage. Cecilia is responsible for organizing and arranging LAGBAC's annual Judge's Pride Reception, the LAGBAC booth at Halsted Market Days and other social and networking events throughout the year. She is also and active mentor to LGBT law students involved in LAGBAC's mentoring program.

Melissa Lin
Righi Fitch Law Group

Melissa Lin is a partner at Righi Fitch Law Group in Phoenix, Arizona. Her practice includes the representation of individuals, contractors, businesses, and governmental entities in the areas of general liability, construction defects, personal injury, insurance coverage, and product liability. She is an AV rated litigation attorney and a 2012 through 2016 Southwest Super Lawyers Rising Star. Ms. Lin was the 2016 DRI Diversity for Success Seminar Chair, 2016-2017 DRI Construction Law Membership Chair, and 2016-2017 DRI Women in the Law Diversity Subcommittee Vice-Chair.

Lori A. Lofano
Bowman and Brooke LLP

Lori A. Lofano is a partner in the Phoenix, AZ, office of Bowman and Brooke, LLP. Her practice is focused on the discovery and eDiscovery aspects of litigation for Fortune 500 companies and other corporations, including implementing litigation hold plans and uniform discovery processes, responding to discovery requests and motions in federal and state courts across the country, helping clients gather electronically stored information, supervising document review teams, and generally acting as a source of institutional knowledge for her client's trial teams. Lori received her B.A. in English from Stony Brook University, her M.A. in English from New York University, and her J.D. from Arizona State University. She is Publications Chair for the DRI Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Jaime W. Luse
Tydings & Rosenberg LLP

Jaime W. Luse defends businesses of all sizes in commercial and employment litigation. An advocate who has prevailed in many difficult trials, she has experience in the state and federal courts of Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia. She is also adept at negotiating with adversaries to resolve disputes efficiently on behalf of her clients. Ms. Luse has handled numerous commercial cases, including negligence, insurance coverage, breach of contract, and leasing disputes. In addition to her commercial litigation practice, Ms. Luse defends employers against employment-related claims, including discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, violations of the Family Medical Leave Act, claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and unlawful retaliation. Ms. Luse also has appellate experience. She has briefed and argued before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, and briefed before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Todd S. Manuel
Senior Counsel
Entergy Corporation

Todd S. Manuel is Senior Counsel with Entergy Corporation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a member of the company's litigation team and represents its interests in casualty and commercial matters. Prior to joining Entergy, Mr. Manuel was a partner with one of Baton Rouge's oldest law firms where he served as a member of its executive committee and chair of the diversity committee. He is a past program chair of DRI's Diversity for Success seminar and a past member of DRI's Law Institute.

Rosevelie Márquez Morales
Sidley Austin LLP

Rosevelie Márquez Morales is the East Coast Diversity Director of Sidley Austin, LLP. Ms. Márquez Morales is Chair of DRI's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Rosevelie has served as a co-chair of the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, general counsel of the Hispanic National Bar Association. She is also president of the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program and past president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, among many other leadership roles.

Raven Moore
Litigation Counsel
McDonald's Corporation

Raven Moore serves as in-house litigation counsel at McDonald's Corporation, handling a variety of litigation, including intellectual property, employment, real estate and franchising matters. She also chairs the Legal Department's Diversity Committee. Prior to joining McDonald's, Ms. Moore spent nine years in private practice at Reed Smith. While at Reed Smith, Ms. Moore was a partner in the firm's intellectual property group, representing clients in patent, trademark and copyright disputes. She is a current board member of Resolution Systems Institute, a non-profit dedicated to strengthening justice by enhancing court ADR systems through expertise in program development, research and resources. She also works on pro bono matters with the National Immigrant Justice Center. Ms. Moore received her B.A. from the University of Dayton in 1998 and her J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in 2003, at which point she joined Sachnoff & Weaver (which then merged with Reed Smith in 2007). Ms. Moore lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two sons.

Kathleen Nalty
Kathleen Nalty Consulting LLC

Kathleen Nalty is a consultant focused on diversity and inclusion in the legal industry. In 2015, she wrote "Going All-In on Diversity & Inclusion: The Law Firm Leaders' Playbook" which includes new tools to advance D+I. Previously, Kathleen founded the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI) in Denver, Colorado and led the nonprofit as its Executive Director from October 2007 - January 2013. She started her legal career as a federal civil rights prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Alan Carroll (A.C.) Nash
Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin PC

Alan Carroll (A.C.) Nash is an attorney at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. He focuses his practice in the defense of claims made and suits brought against insureds in product, automobile, commercial, construction and premises liability matters. His practice also includes public sector and municipal liability matters, including the representation of municipalities and law enforcement agencies against allegations of the violation of civil rights, false arrest, malicious prosecution and excessive force. He is currently the Chair of the Diversity Corporate Expo for the Diversity for Success Seminar.

Lana A. Olson
Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC

Lana A. Olson is a partner at the litigation-only boutique law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama. She focuses primarily on product liability, catastrophic/personal injury, business and toxic torts litigation. In addition to her normal litigation practice, Ms. Olson serves as Assistant General Counsel for a leading heavy truck component distributor. She is a member of the DRI Board of Directors and was the Chair of the DRI Women in the Law Committee from 2013 to 2015.

Eugene K. Pettis
Managing Partner
Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm PA

Eugene K. Pettis, a co-founder of Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, PA, focuses his practice in the areas of medical malpractice, personal injury, commercial litigation, professional liability and employment law. Mr. Pettis attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, where he received a bachelor's degree in political science in 1982 and graduated from the University of Florida's Levin College of Law in 1985. He co-founded Haliczer Pettis and Schwamm in 1996. Mr. Pettis, in June 2013, was sworn in as President of The Florida Bar, becoming the first African-American to serve in this position. His role at the helm of The Florida Bar, which governs nearly 100,000 attorneys, is clear evidence of his impressive leadership abilities and his passion for giving back to his profession and his community.

Katie S. Phang
Berger Singerman LLP

Katie S. Phang is a partner on Berger Singerman LLP's Dispute Resolution Team, where she represents a diverse group of clients in commercial litigation matters. She has more than 15 years of trial experience in state and federal courts. Prior to joining Berger Singerman, Phang was a founding partner with Arrastia, Capote & Phang, LLP. Previously, she held positions at the Miami-Dade County and Broward County State Attorney's offices, where she rose to the level of homicide prosecutor and Division Chief. As a former prosecutor and private practitioner, she has tried dozens of jury and bench trials throughout Florida, several of which as Lead Trial Counsel.

Dawn S. Pittman
Managing Counsel
Toyota Motor North America Inc

Dawn S. Pittman is managing counsel of Toyota Legal One c/o Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. She is part of the group of attorneys responsible for managing all product liability suits, including class actions, filed against Toyota in the U.S. and its territories. Prior to joining Toyota, Ms. Pittman was a partner at a national law firm, where she handled environmental, toxic tort, and insurance coverage litigation.

Damany F. Ransom
The Ransom Firm

Damany F. Ransom is a partner in the Atlanta office of The Ransom Firm. For more than a decade, he has represented individuals and corporations in civil litigation. He focuses on business disputes—such as claims for professional liability, breach of contract, fraud, and other business torts—and defending personal injury and premises liability cases. Mr. Ransom has obtained dismissals, summary judgments and defense verdicts for a number of his clients. He has been just as successful on the plaintiff side, having obtained sizable settlements for companies and corporate officers in business tort and contract cases. Mr. Ransom received his B.A. from Morehouse College and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. After law school, he served as a law clerk in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Mr. Ransom currently serves on the board of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and was recently selected by the Judges of the Northern District of Georgia to serve a three-year-term on the Court's Magistrate Judge Selection Panel. Mr. Ransom lives in Atlanta with his wife, three-year-old son, and nine-year-old English Bulldog named Pork Chop.

Keshia L. Rodriguez
Divisional Vice President & Assistant General Counsel
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc

Keshia L. Rodriguez currently serves as Divisional Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, Inc. managing a wide variety of legal issues for the company. Prior to her current role, she practiced in a private, international law firm for seven years in the area of complex commercial litigation representing clients in a wide variety of matters in both state and federal courts, some of which include product liability, specialty torts, business torts, premise liability, insurance coverage, and insurance defense cases. She has represented clients from many industries including, but not limited to, insurance, manufacturing industries, retail, hospitality, real estate, automotive and construction.

Mary E. Sharp
Sharp Law Firm LLC

Mary E. Sharp is a member of Griffith, Sharp & Liipfert, LLC, where she represents individual and corporate clients in trial and appellate proceedings. Mary is an experienced litigator, and has tried approximately 50 cases to verdict in the state and federal courts of South Carolina. She currently serves as a Municipal Court Judge for the City of Beaufort, and is a certified mediator. Mary is currently Chair of the DRI ADR Committee. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Bar Foundation, and on the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Bar. Mary is a Past-President of the National Conference of Women's Bar Association, and a Past President of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association. She has been named a South Carolina "Super Lawyer" in the field of civil litigation.

Moses Suarez
SmithAmundsen LLC

Moses Suarez is a partner in the Health Care Practice Group in SmithAmundsen's Chicago office. Moses focuses his practice on representation of hospitals, health care professionals, medical groups and long term care facilities. His extensive malpractice litigation experience includes adverse maternal and fetal outcomes and complex vascular injuries. Moses also represents medical professionals before state licensing boards. Moses advises clients on interpretation and compliance with state and federal health care regulations as well as risk reduction and crisis management. He collaborates with his clients to develop and implement policies to increase efficiency and to promote a culture of safety. When his clients are faced with surrogate decision making crisis, Moses also provides counsel for probate and guardianship matters. Moses frequently presents on practice improvement, informed consent and medical documentation on both a national and state level.

Ricardo A. Woods
Burr & Forman LLP

Ricardo A. Woods is a trial lawyer and shareholder in Burr Forman LLP's Mobile office. He is the Program Chair for the 2017 DRI Diversity Seminar and Corporate Expo. He is a creative problem solver who provides his clients with innovative and cost effective solutions and strategies. He is no stranger to the courtroom and he is experienced in handling all stages of complex litigation. Ricardo has first-chair jury trial experience, as well as extensive pre-trial litigation experience. He has successfully defended matters, which included allegations of wrongful death, paralysis, severe bodily injuries, and catastrophic property loss. Ricardo serves as the Chief Legal Counsel and City Attorney for the City of Mobile. He was appointed to this post by the Honorable William S. Stimpson in 2013. In his capacity as City Attorney, Ricardo manages all of the City's outside counsel, serves as chief legal adviser to the executive branch of the local government, and serves as the executive director of the City of Mobile's internal legal department. Ricardo's insurance litigation experience includes issues related to defalcation, bad agents, fraud and coverage agents. His product liability experience includes industrial grade machinery, warranty claims, automobile components, toxic torts and chemical agents. He is a self-identified generalist.