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Leveraged Financing 2010

Speaker(s): Angela L. Fontana, Ann Makich, Bradley K. Sabel, C. Allen Parker, David A. Brittenham, Douglas A. Cruikshank, Elliot Ganz, Eric M. Rosof, Jasmine Ball, Jon Kibbe, Kirk A. Davenport, II, L. Francis Huck, Marissa C. Wesely, Thomas M. Canning
Recorded on: Feb. 26, 2010
PLI Program #: 23353

Ann Makich is a partner in Cahill's corporate practice group.

Ann's practice is principally focused on leveraged financings for acquisitions, recapitalizations and going­ private transactions. Her clients include leading investment banking firms and commercial banks. Ann

has represented underwriters, placement agents and initial purchasers in public and private high yield, investment grade and equity offerings and secured bank loans in a wide range of industries including media, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail and natural resources. 

Ann has been a panelist on the Practising Law Institute's Leveraged Financing program for several years, and will be a member of the 2015 program covering financing commitments and acquisition agreement terms. She also was a member of PLl's inaugural "How to Read Financial Statements" presentation in 2012, which has been repeated annually since that time. Ann has been consistently recommended as a leading corporate business lawyer by Chambers USA and The Legal 500.

Selected Matters:

  • Representation of Bank of America and other commercial banks in providing the $2.3 billion senior secured cred it facility in connection with the acquisition by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. of RailAmerica, Inc.
  • Representation of the lead arrangers in connection with a $6.5 billion senior unsecured interim loan and a $2.5 billion senior subordinated interim loan for the acquisition of First Data Corporation by KKR.
  • Representation of the initial purchasers in the $2.2 billion Rule 144A offering by First Data Corporation of high yield notes, the proceeds of which were used to repay a portion of the senior unsecured interim loans that funded part of the acquisition.
  • Ongoing representation of the lead arrangers in connection with securities offerings by First Data Corporation.
  • Ongoing representationof the underwriters in connection with securities offerings by Comcast Corporation.
  • Ongoing representation of the underwriters in connection with securities offerings by affiliates of Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 company and the leading seniors housing and healthcare real estate investment trust in the United States. 
  • Ongoing representation of the initial purchasers in connection with securities offerings by DISH Network. 
  • Representation of the lead arrangers in connection with securities financings for QVC, Inc. 
  • Representation of Citigroup and the other lead arrangers in connection with the $2.0 billion senior secured term loan facility that provided a portion of the proceeds for the acquisition by KKR and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice of USFoods. 
  • Representation of Deutsche Bank and the other lead arrangers in connection with the senior secured term loan financing for the acquisition by Platinum Equity of BWAY Corporation.
  • Representation of Deutsche Bank and the other lead arrangers in connection with the senior secured term loan financing for the acquisition by TPG of Fleetpride Corporation.

Ann has practiced at Cahill since her graduation from Columbia Law School. She became a partner in 2005.

Bradley Sabel is partner and co-head of Shearman & Sterling's Financial Institutions Advisory & Financial Regulatory practice group. Prior to joining the firm in 1994, he was an attorney for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for 18 years, advising on all aspects of U.S. bank regulation and supervision with a special focus on domestic and foreign activities of U.S. and foreign banks, reserve requirements, margin requirements, asset freezes, and related banking issues. His practice continues to focus on advising banking institutions and others on U.S. bank regulations, including the impact and potential consequences of the significant reforms of the financial crisis period beginning in 2007. He has published articles on the Federal Reserve's discount window operations, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation deposit insurance requirements, the Federal Reserve's Regulations D and Q and its margin requirements, banker's acceptances, asset sales, loan participations as "securities," and permissible U.S. activities of foreign banks, and has been a frequent speaker before U.S. and international bank audiences on the same topics.  Commenting on regulatory activity, Mr. Sabel has been quoted in several prominent publications and news agencies, including The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. 

In 2010, American Lawyer named Mr. Sabel a Dealmaker of the Year for his representation of IntercontinentalExchange, Inc., in the formation of ICE U.S. Trust LLC, a New York limited purpose trust company and member of the Federal Reserve System that was the first U.S. clearinghouse for credit default swaps.  Mr. Sabel has represented many major financial institutions in transactions that have become landmarks in the evolution of the international financial system, including Citicorp in its combination with Travelers to form Citigroup, Morgan Stanley in its combination with Dean Witter, the formation of Mizuho Financial Group from three Japanese banks, and the U.S. expansion of Banco Itau Unibanco S.A. of Brazil.

Representative Experience

  • Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. in its acquisition of The Clearing Corporation and its formation of a credit default swap clearing house
  • Mizuho in its acquisition of a minority interest in Evercore Partners Inc.
  • Banco Itaú in its acquisition of Unibanco
  • Merrill Lynch in its acquisition by Bank of America
  • Sterling Bancshares in its sale to Comerica
  • Fairfax in its portfolio investment in the Bank of Ireland
  • Royal Bank of Scotland in its acquisition of ABN AMRO Holding N.V.
  • Citicorp in its merger with The Travelers Group
  • Morgan Stanley in its merger with Dean Witter, Discover & Co.
  • Banco Itaú in its acquisition of the Florida private banking businesses of Bank of America and ABN AMRO
  • National Bank of Greece in its sale of Atlantic Bank of New York
  • Société Générale, S.A. in its acquisition of Trust Company of the West
  • The Industrial Bank of Japan, Limited in the formation of Mizuho Holdings, Inc.
  • The Sanwa Bank, Limited in the formation of UFJ Holdings, Inc.
  • UFJ Holdings in its merger with Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group
  • UFJ Bank Limited in its sale of United California Bank to BNP Paribas
  • Many foreign banks in their acquisitions and establishment of U.S. offices


  • Columbia Business School, M.S. Business Policy, 1983
  • Cornell Law School, J.D., 1975
  • Vanderbilt University, B.A., cum laude, 1970

Bar Admissions/Qualifications

  • New York

Professional Affiliations and Business Activities

  • Mr. Sabel was named a 2009 "Dealmaker of the Year" by American Lawyer for his work on the creation of ICE Trust, a clearinghouse for credit default swaps
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York (former Chair, Banking Law Committee)
  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section


C. Allen Parker is Deputy Presiding Partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Allen has extensive experience in a broad range of finance, banking and related matters, including syndicated loan transactions, acquisition financings and leveraged recapitalizations.  His clients have included JPMorgan Chase, Citicorp and DreamWorks Animation. In addition to serving as Deputy Presiding Partner of the Firm, Allen serves as the head of the Firm’s Corporate Department.

Allen was cited as being one of the country’s preeminent practitioners in the banking and finance area in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in 2008 and 2009.  In addition, Cravath’s banking and finance practice received the publication’s highest ranking for its “incredible quality of legal advice”. Allen was also cited for his banking and finance experience in Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business in 2008 and 2009. He has been recognized in the 2010 edition of The International Who’s Who of Banking Lawyers, 2010 edition of The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America in 2009 and 2010, PLC Which Lawyer? 2007 and The Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America 2007 as a leader in banking law.  Allen is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the New York State Bar Association.  He is also a Vice Chairman of the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund Board.

Allen was born in Jacksonville, Florida. He received a B.A., magna cum laude,from Duke University in 1977, an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1980, and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Columbia Law School in 1983, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and Notes and Comments Editor of the Law Review.  After a clerkship with Hon. Amalya Kearse (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit),he joined Cravath in 1984 and became a partner in 1990. He was elected Deputy Presiding Partner in October 2006.

Douglas A. Cruikshank
Managing Director - Global Financial Sponsors Group
Barclays Capital
New York City


  • Princeton University, A.B. degree in Religion
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg), MBA degree in Finance


  • At Lehman Brothers from May, 2006-2008
  • At CS from Feb, 2000-May, 2006
  • At JPM from Sept, 1992-Feb, 2000
  • At Bankers Trust from Sept, 1991-Sept. 1992

Eric Rosof joined Wachtell, Lipton in 2000, becoming a partner in 2007. Eric advises private equity firms and corporations on financing of all types for mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Rosof also represents buyers, sellers, investors, creditors and debtors in distressed acquisitions, divestitures and restructurings.

Eric received his B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1982 and his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1997, where he was a senior editor and special issue chair of the Columbia Law Review. Following law school, Mr. Rosof served as law clerk to the Honorable Robert W. Sweet, United States District Court, Southern District of New York.  Mr. Rosof is admitted to practice in New York.

Partner, New York Office

Frank Huck is a Partner in the Firm's Corporate Department where he specializes in syndicated commercial lending. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Huck has represented domestic and foreign banks in a variety of bank financing transactions. In recent years, he has been especially active in financing of acquisitions by private equity groups and public companies and in restructuring financings. Recent matters have included the representation of the arranging bank in financings for Realogy, GE Capital, Time Warner, iStar and NBC Universal. He has also represented the bank lenders to the former Yugoslavia through four debt restructurings beginning in 1998 and the division of the external bank indebtedness among the five successor republics in 1996 through 1998.

Mr. Huck joined the Firm in 1972 and became a partner in 1980. He received his A.B. in 1969 from Harvard University and his J.D. in 1972 from Stanford Law School. He is an active member of the American Bar Association and the Bar Association of the City of New York.

Thomas M. Canning is a Managing Partner of CoveView Advisors LLC, a corporate finance and restructuring advisory firm established to assist companies and creditors with challenging situations arising from operational and financing difficulties.  CoveView was established in April 2009 by Mr. Canning, Doug Traver and Dan Tredwell. 

Tom Canning spent 27.5 years of J.P. Morgan and its predecessors.  He has extensive experience in capital markets transaction origination with a focus on leveraged finance, most recently with restructuring clients.  From March 2003 to October 2007 Mr. Canning was a Managing Director in J.P. Morgan’s Restructuring Group with responsibility for capital markets transaction origination and client coverage for stressed, distressed and chapter 11 debtor companies.  In addition, he worked on acquisition financing transactions for other clients.  He has extensive experience in transaction team leadership and contact with CEOs, CFOs, CROs and senior legal and financial advisors for the client firms.

Among his client matters were the following:

  • Bookrunner/arranger of out-of-court financings for Bally Total Fitness, $284mm; Blockbuster, $150mm (convert); Centerpoint Energy, $2bn; Commonwealth Edison, $1bn; Conseco, $675mm; Eddie Bauer, $225mm loan and $75mm convert; Federal Mogul, $3.5bn; NewPark Resources, $150mm; and TECO Energy, $180mm.
  • Bookrunner/arranger of debtor-in-possession credit facilities for Aurora Foods, $50mm; C-BASS, $355mm; Calpine Corporation, $5bn; Collins & Aikman, $150mm; Dana Corporation, $1.45bn; Federal Mogul, $540mm; Fleming Companies, $150mm; and Northwest Airlines, $1.255bn.
  • Underwriter of backstopped rights offerings of common shares for Northwest Airlines, $750mm; and Owens Corning, $2.2bn.
  • Bookrunner/arranger of $2.04 bn acquisition financing for the purchase by GE and Southern Union Company of Transwestern and Florida Gas Transmission from the Enron estate.

Mr. Canning has extensive relationships among restructuring industry professionals and has presented at American Bankruptcy Institute conferences and at a Harvard Business School symposium.

From 2001 to 2003 Mr. Canning was in J.P. Morgan’s London office and played two roles while there: as Co-Head of Credit Risk Management, Investment Bank in EMEA from 2002 to 2003; and as Co-Head of  Credit Origination, Investment Bank in EMEA from 2001to 2002.

From 1988 to 2001 Mr. Canning was a Senior Partner and Team Leader in Global Syndicated Finance.  He served as a leveraged finance and syndications originator, and managed a team of people, in the firm’s market-leading business.  He became a Managing Director in 1993.  He was responsible for heading the largest of four capital markets teams and had responsibility for private equity sponsors, natural resources, real estate, financial services, filmed entertainment and middle market clients.  Client matters included Allied Waste, Time Warner, Simon Properties, Smurfit Stone Container, Waste Management, and Wyndham Hotels.

From 1986 to 1988 he served as Assistant Vice President for Integrated Resources, Inc.

His banking career began at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in 1980 as a Management Trainee and he worked until 1986 in a client management role with corporate clients based in mid-town Manhattan.

Mr. Canning has a B.A. degree from Fordham University and an M.B.A. from University of Toronto.

Angela Fontana is a corporate partner in the Dallas office of Sidley Austin LLP, a member of the firm's Banking and Financial Services, Global Finance and Private Equity groups and is a co-head of the Private Equity group.

Ms. Fontana's practice focuses on financing transactions and debt restructurings across a variety of industries. Angela regularly represents borrowers as well as direct lenders and financial institutions, she has been involved in a wide variety of financing transactions in both the United States and abroad. Angela's extensive experience includes investment grade lending, commercial paper facilities, letter of credit facilities, leveraged lending, asset­based lending, mezzanine financing and workouts and restructurings, including debtor-in-possession and exit financings.

Angela received her B.B.A., from the University of Iowa in 1987 with an emphasis in accounting and her J.D., with distinction, from the University Of Iowa College Of Law in 1989.

Angela serves on the Dallas Heritage Village Board of Trustees, the Iowa Law School Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of the City of University Park Employee Benefits Committee.

Angela was recently selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017 in the fields of Banking and Finance Law and Corporate Law. She was named the Best Lawyers' 2017 Banking and Finance Law "Lawyer of the Year'' in Dallas/Fort Worth. Angela was recognized in Chambers USA-America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2005-2018 in the field of Banking and Finance and was selected as a finalist for the Chambers USA Women in Law Awards 2013 and 2012 in the category of Finance. She was named a "leading" Practitioner in Banking in The International Who's Who of Banking Lawyers 2007-2012. She was a recognized lawyer in The Legal 5OO US 2007, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018; a "leading" lawyer for bank lending in IFLR 1000: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms 2009; named in The Best Lawyers in America 2009-2017 and is included in the inaugural edition of the Guide to the World's Leading Women in Business Law. She was also named a Texas Super Lawyer in 2003-2017 and D Magazine's Best Lawyers in Dallas 2011-2017. Angela has been recognized in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of the IFLR1000 as a "Leading Lawyer" in Banking and Finance in the United States.

David Brittenham is a corporate partner of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and member of the firm’s Finance Group.  He focuses his practice on complex leveraged and acquisition financings, such as the $15 billion acquisition of Hertz by The Carlyle Group, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Merrill Lynch Private Equity and the $5.9 billion acquisition of King Digital by Activision Blizzard.  Mr. Brittenham is ranked as a leading finance lawyer by Chambers Global (2017) and in Band 1 by Chambers USA (2017).  Mr. Brittenham is a contributing author of The Private Equity Primer: The Best of the Debevoise & Plimpton Private Equity Report and the Debevoise & Plimpton Private Equity Report and a regular co-author of articles covering a range of finance-related topics.  He has been a co-chair for PLI’s Leveraged Financing and Private Equity Acquisition Financing Summit programs since 2006.

Mr. Brittenham joined Debevoise in 1985 and became a partner in 1992. He received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1977 and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1984, where he was Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review.  Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Brittenham served as a law clerk to the Hon. Jack B. Weinstein, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, from 1984 to 1985.

Elliot Ganz is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the LSTA.  In that capacity he manages all aspects of the LSTA’s legal affairs and co-heads its Regulatory Policy and Advocacy Committee. 

Mr. Ganz began his long association with loan trading and securitization at Citibank, N.A., where, from 1986 through 1991, he supervised the commercial and real estate Loan Syndications and Trading units of the Investment Bank.  He also supervised the securitization and the par and distressed loan trading businesses at ING Barings Securities from 1991 through 1996, and the entire U.S. loan and securitization platforms at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce from 1996 until he joined the LSTA, in May 2005.

Mr. Ganz began his legal career in 1980 as an associate at the law firm of Lord Day & Lord where he focused on film and media finance and moved to Chase Manhattan Bank in 1983 where he concentrated on secured lending.

Mr. Ganz received his J.D. in 1980 from the New York University School of Law where he served as Research Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law.

Mr. Ganz was the first chairman of the Legal Advisory Committee of the LSTA and has served as a member of its board of directors.  He served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Joint Market Practices Forum on Credit Derivatives that produced the “Statement of Principles and Recommendations Regarding the Handling of Material Nonpublic Information by Credit Market Participants” and was the principal draftsman of the LSTA’s “Statement of Principles for the Use, Communication and Distribution of Confidential Information in the Loan Market.”  Mr. Ganz was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers in April 2011, was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court bar in April 2012 and was recently appointed a member of the Advisory Committee on Financing Chapter 11 by the American Bankruptcy Institute Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11.

Jasmine Ball is a corporate partner and member of the Debevoise’s Restructuring Group. Ms. Ball regularly represents debtors, investors, creditors and other parties in distressed mergers & acquisitions, workouts, debt and equity financing and refinancing, complex restructurings and Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Ms. Ball is recognized by The Legal 500 US (2019) and IFLR 1000 (2019) as a leading restructuring lawyer. She was among the winners of Turnaround Management Association’s 2018 “International Restructuring of the Year”, Global M&A Network’s “Turnaround Atlas Awards 2018 Corporate Turnaround of the Year” and M&A Advisor’s 2017 “Restructuring Deal of the Year ($1B to $5B)” for her role as aircraft counsel to CHC Group in its successful Chapter 11 proceedings.

Ms. Ball is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Ms. Ball is Co-Chair of the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) New York Chapter and serves on the Board of Directors of The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY). She is also a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Turnaround Management Association and on the TMA New York Academic Relations Committee, the International Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the Advisory Board of Practical Law Bankruptcy. She is also a member of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council and is active in various Asian legal associations, including Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Asian American Bar Association activities.

Ms. Ball received her B.S. from Princeton University and her J.D. from the University of Michigan, where she was an executive editor of the Journal of International Law.

Jon Kibbe is a founding partner of Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP, a firm with offices in New York, London and Washington D.C. He is a recognized authority on evolving legal issues in the global secondary loan market and his transactional practice concentrates on complex credit structures and the allocation of credit risk in the fixed income markets. He represents trade associations, industry groups, investment banks, hedge funds, broker dealers and other financial institutions that transact in the bank loan, high-yield debt and credit derivatives markets.  

He regularly advises clients participating in the market for troubled and non-performing financial assets and claims, providing transactional, compliance and regulatory guidance to clients that originate, restructure and trade commercial and industrial bank loans, distressed bonds, portfolios of real estate loans, claims against defaulted obligors arising from terminated derivative transactions, litigation claims and other related obligations. He has helped clients establish “peer-to-peer” electronic lending platforms, build trading capacity in the secondary loan market, support strategic trading programs and develop firm-wide compliance and best-practice initiatives.

Mr. Kibbe also counsels clients engaged in event-driven acquisitions, debt restructurings and innovative financing transactions. He has helped develop and engineer new financial instruments, including the loan credit default swap (LCDS), and new applications of securitization structures, including a vehicle formed to purchase and restructure distressed bank loans.

Kirk A. Davenport is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins. Mr. Davenport is a member of the firm's Corporate Department. He also serves as Co-chair of the national office of Latham & Watkins, a central resource for clients and Latham attorneys facing complex issues arising under the US securities laws.


  • Capital markets
  • Securities laws
  • Debt and equity financings


Mr. Davenport's clients include:

  • US and international investment banks
  • NYSE and NASDAQ-listed companies
  • Leveraged buyout funds
  • Mezzanine investment funds

Mr. Davenport has represented issuers and underwriters in public and private high yield, convertible note and equity offerings as well as tender and exchange offer transactions, both domestically and abroad. In the lending arena, he has represented lenders and borrowers in secured and unsecured acquisition and other debt financings. He has also represented private equity funds and others in prepackaged bankruptcy plans.

Thought Leadership

  • The Good, the Bad and the Offer: Law, Lore and FAQs
  • Desktop Staleness Calendar for 2014 Offerings 
  • The JOBS Act Establishes IPO On-Ramp
  • The Bought Deal Bible
  • Financial Statement Requirements in US Securities Offerings: What You Need to Know
  • Financial Statement Requirements in US Securities Offerings: What Non-US Issuers Need to Know
  • Recent Developments In Recent Developments — Using "Flash" Numbers in Securities Offerings
  • Cheap Stock: An IPO Survival Guide
  • Upsizing and Downsizing Your IPO
  • Adjusted EBITDA Is Out of the Shadows as Staff Updates Non-GAAP Interpretations
  • Navigating Debt Repurchases - Issues and Answers
  • Selecting a Securities Exchange: NYSE, NASDAQ, and Key European Exchange Listing Requirements for Equities
  • The AHYDO Rules and the PIK Toggle Feature
  • Giving Good Guidance - What Every Public Company Should Know


JD, University of Michigan Law School, 1984, magna cum laude; Order of the Coif

BA, Brown University, 1981

Bar Qualifications

New York



Recognition Highlights

"Superstar" Kirk Davenport "cuts through things very quickly," impressed market sources say. - Chambers USA 2014

Featured in Band 1 of Chambers USA and Chambers Global, noting that he is a "highly keen on making sure his clients are happy and he'll do anything for his clients" and an "energetic and technically gifted" lawyer.
Chambers USA2012-2014, and Chambers Global 2014

Mr. Davenport was selected by the American Lawyer in 2013 as one of "The Top Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years," in an article that highlighted "the ideas and initiatives that changed the world of big law over the past half century, and the people behind them."

Marissa Wesely is a partner and member of senior management at the global law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. She has over three decades of experience as a corporate lawyer in New York and London, advising companies, private equity funds and financial institutions on complex acquisition finance, recapitalization and restructuring transactions. Some of her recent representations include: Algeco Scotsman in connection with a multi-jurisdictional ABL facility as part of its global recapitalization; Affinia Group in the financing of the spin-off of its brake business; L-3 Communications in the financing of its spin-off of an independent, publicly-traded government services company; Peabody Energy Corporation in the financing of its acquisition of MacArthur Coal; Sealed Air Corporation in the financing of its acquisition of Diversey; and CB Richard Ellis in the financing of its acquisition of the real estate management business of ING Group N.V.

Marissa is regularly recognized as a leading lawyer in banking and finance by Chambers & Partners, The Best Lawyers in America, Euromoney's Leading Women in Business Law and PLC's Which Lawyer. In 2013, she was honored as the Finance Lawyer of the Year at Chambers' Women in Law Awards.  Marissa speaks and writes regularly on issues relating to her practice, including at the Practicing Law Institute's annual Leveraged Finance Summit. Earlier in her career, she designed and taught courses on international trade and financing for the former Harvard Institute for International Development.

Marissa is the founder and a Steering Committee member of the Kate Stoneman Project, a leadership organization for women partners of 10 leading New York-based law firms. She is on the Executive Committee of DirectWomen, an ABA and Catalyst initiative to increase gender diversity on corporate boards, and on the Boards of Directors of Legal Momentum (The Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund) and The Global Fund for Women. She is also on the Board of Trustees of The Wenner-Gren Foundation, a private operating foundation devoted to the advancement of anthropology throughout the world.

Marissa frequently speaks on issues relating to women in the legal profession and women and leadership, including as the keynote speaker at Duke Law School conference on Women and the Law in 2012 and at Womensphere's Emerging Leaders Global Summits in 2011 and 2013. She is a 2010 recipient of the Diversity Champion Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and in 2009 received the Kay Crawford Murray Award from the New York State Bar Association in recognition of her efforts to mentor women and promote diversity in the legal profession.

Marissa graduated from Williams College, magna cum laude, in 1976 and received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1980.