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Women Lawyers in Leadership 2020


Speaker(s): Alexandra S. Bernay, Brande Stellings, Cynthia B. Adams, Dani R. James, Elaine H. Mandelbaum, Jacquelyn Kasulis, Janine Pollack, Joan E. McKown, Kelly Kleinkort, Lara Shalov Mehraban, Linda P. Nussbaum, Margaret Popper, Michele Coleman Mayes, Natalie Finkelman Bennett, Paula T. Edgar, Richelle Levy, Shaylyn Cochran, Sheila S. Boston, Taa R. Grays
Recorded on: Sep. 16, 2020
PLI Program #: 276308

Cynthia Bookhart Adams is Managing Director and Head of Litigation, Regulatory and Employment Legal at Jefferies LLC, a global investment banking firm.  She leads the team responsible for a wide array of litigation, enforcement, and employment matters, including internal investigations, regulatory and compliance advice, and firm-wide policy initiatives. 

Prior to Jefferies, Cynthia held senior in-house legal roles at Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Global Wealth Management.  She joined Citigroup from WilmerHale, where she represented financial institutions in regulatory investigations and other matters.  Prior to WilmerHale, she served as an enforcement attorney in the New York office of FINRA (then NASD Regulation).  Cynthia began her legal career at Sullivan & Cromwell, following a federal clerkship for the Hon. Emmet G. Sullivan in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  She earned her law degree with honors from Howard University School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from the College of William & Mary.

Cynthia serves on the Executive Committee of the Compliance and Legal Society for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the leading industry group for the financial services industry.  She is also a member of the American Bar Association and the National Bar Association.  She frequently speaks on panels regarding ethics for legal and compliance professionals, best practices for regulatory and internal investigations, and success strategies for diverse counsel.  

Cynthia currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Northside Center for Child Development, a non-profit providing expert behavioral, mental health, education and enrichment programs to economically disadvantaged children and families in Harlem and Brooklyn.  At Jefferies, she has served on the Steering Committee of jWIN, the firm’s women’s leadership initiative, and on the Steering Committee for J-NOBLE, the Jefferies Network of Black and Latino Employees.

 


Dani R. James is a partner in the New York office of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, where she is co-chair of the White Collar Defense and Investigations practice.

Dani represents executives, directors and officers, and other individuals, as well as companies, in sensitive, complicated and often high-profile criminal and regulatory trials, hearings, investigations and other proceedings conducted by federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, among other agencies. A former federal prosecutor, Dani defends clients in a broad range of white collar criminal and regulatory matters, including allegations of insider trading, market manipulation, public corruption, bid-rigging, tax fraud and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In addition to criminal matters, Dani handles complex civil litigation on behalf of corporations, directors and officers, and others, representing them in securities class actions, shareholder derivative suits and civil racketeering cases, as well as complex business disputes. She also conducts corporate internal investigations and provides counsel to audit committees and special litigation committees on compliance matters.

Dani’s most recent notable work includes the successful representation of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in federal and criminal investigations and a former Barclays banker in a civil fraud suit brought by the Department of Justice relating to mortgage-backed securities.

From 1999 to 2003, Dani served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, representing the United States as lead counsel in a wide variety of federal criminal cases involving securities fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, international narcotics trafficking, racketeering and violent offenses, as well as appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to joining the firm in 2007, Dani served as assistant visiting professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she taught courses on criminal law and conducted extensive research on federal sentencing issues.

 


Jacquelyn M. Kasulis joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in January 2008, and was appointed Acting U.S. Attorney in June 2021.  During her tenure in the Office, Jacquelyn has served as both the Chief of the Criminal Division and the Chief of the Business & Securities Fraud Section.  She has investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of criminal matters, including market manipulation, fraud involving publicly traded companies, investment adviser fraud, money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Bank Secrecy Act. During her time in the Office, Jacquelyn has worked on significant white collar cases.  For example, Jacquelyn was the lead prosecutor in U.S. v. Martin Shkreli, in which Martin Shkreli was convicted in August 2017 of multiple counts of securities fraud.  Jacquelyn also led the Office’s prosecution in U.S. v. Low Taek Jho, et al. and U.S. v. Leissner, in which two former bankers and a wealthy Malaysian financier were charged for their participation in a multi-billion dollar money laundering and bribery conspiracy related to 1MDB, Malaysia’s investment development fund.  In October 2020, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $2.9 billion in penalties as part of a global resolution with eight different foreign and domestic authorities for its role in the scheme.  Jacquelyn was also the lead prosecutor in United States v. Bandfield, et al., in which nine defendants and six corporations, including three brokerage firms, were charged for their involvement in an elaborate $250 million offshore securities fraud, money laundering and tax evasion scheme.  Prior to joining the Office, Jacquelyn was a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in New York.  She graduated with honors from Columbia Law School in 2003.


Joan McKown has more than 30 years of experience in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement and financial regulatory matters including investigations, exams, internal investigations, and disputes throughout the United States. She has in-depth knowledge of investigatory issues relating to financial fraud, corporate disclosure, corporate governance, accounting, compliance, private equity, FCPA, broker dealer, investment adviser, investment companies, and insider trading. Joan represents corporations, and financial services firms, and their officers, directors, and employees, counseling them to avoid regulatory scrutiny, and when necessary, resolving matters on the best terms possible.

Prior to joining Jones Day in 2010, Joan was the longest serving chief counsel in the Division of Enforcement at the SEC, where she played a key role in establishing enforcement policies and worked closely with Commission and senior SEC staff. Joan literally wrote the book on SEC enforcement when she oversaw creation of the first version of the SEC Enforcement Manual. As chief counsel, she led hundreds of Wells meetings and settlement negotiations. At Jones Day, Joan has extensive experience submitting persuasive Wells submissions, having reviewed thousands of such submissions while on the SEC staff.

Joan is the chair of the board of trustees of the SEC Historical Society. She also serves as president of the board of trustees of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. She frequently speaks and writes on SEC enforcement related topics.


Lara Shalov Mehraban is an Associate Director for Enforcement in the New York Office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which means that she supervises a staff of approximately 150 attorneys, investigators, accountants and paralegals in the New York Office’s enforcement program.  She joined the SEC in 2007 and has served as an Assistant Regional Director, a member of the SEC’s Asset Management Unit, and a senior counsel.  Before joining the SEC, she was a litigation associate at for seven years, first at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and then at Stillman, Friedman & Shechtman, P.C.  Prior to her law firm practice, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Michael Daly Hawkins on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  She received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and her B.A. from Duke University.


Paula T. Edgar, Esq. is an attorney and CEO of PGE Consulting Group LLC, a strategy firm that provides diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and professional development solutions for organizational inclusion initiatives.

Paula is a highly sought after speaker and facilitator across industries. She conducts live and virtual facilitated workshops, delivers keynote speeches, and provides executive coaching. Paula develops customized diversity training on topics including unconscious/implicit bias, anti-racism, inclusive leadership, workplace sexual harassment, and EEO compliance. Paula’s professional development expertise includes mentor/sponsor best practices, personal branding, networking, social media, business development, and career planning strategies.

Paula has written for and been featured in a wide array of publications including the New York Times, Bloomberg Law, Essence Magazine, Business Insider, and US News and World Report.

Paula is active in numerous organizations and social justice initiatives, including her current role as Treasurer and past President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), New York State’s largest Black bar association and serving as President of its charitable arm, Friends of the MBBA, Inc. She is a founding Board Member of The Black Big Law Pipeline, Inc. Additionally Paula is a 2015 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellow and a member of the CUP Alumni Board, a Trustee of the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, a member of the Executive Committee of the Deerfield Academy Alumni Association, and has been nominated to serve on the New York City Bar Association’s Board beginning in 2021.

Paula’s professional experiences include serving as a founding partner of Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC, inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at New York Law School, Associate Director of Career Services at Seton Hall University School of Law, and Executive Director of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc. (PALS). Additionally, Paula practiced employment and workplace discrimination law for the Law Enforcement Division of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. 

Paula received her B.A. in Anthropology from California State University (Fullerton) and her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

She has been recognized by The Network Journal Magazine as a “40 Under Forty” Achievement Awardee, a Ms. JD “Woman of Inspiration”, and a “Rising Star'' by A Better Chance.  She has also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Black Law Students Association at CUNY Law School and the Ruth Whitehead Whaley Service Award from the Association of Black Women Attorneys (ABWA).

Stay up to date with Paula at paulaedgar.com, Linkedin, and on Twitter (@PaulaEdgar)

View Paula Edgar’s Speaker Reel

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Shaylyn Cochran is a Partner at Cohen Milstein and a member of the firm’s Civil Rights & Employment Practice Group. Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, Ms. Cochran was a Relman Civil Rights Fellow, litigating federal fair housing and employment discrimination matters.

Ms. Cochran focuses on employment and civil right class actions involving discrimination claims, including age, gender, race, and/or disability discrimination. She has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Legal 500 (2019-2020) and Super Lawyers (2017-2020) and Law360 (2020).

Ms. Cochran’s current cases include:

  • Jock, et al. v. Sterling Jewelers Inc. (A.A.A.; S.D.N.Y.): Cohen Milstein represents a putative class of more than 69,000 female employees of Sterling Jewelers, one of the nation's largest jewelry chains, in a nationwide Title VII gender discrimination and Equal Pay Act case. Plaintiffs claim they were subjected to a pattern of pay and promotions discrimination.
  • Estle, et al. v. IBM (S.D.N.Y.):Cohen Milstein represents former employees of IBM Corporation in a putative age discrimination class action against the tech giant. Plaintiffs were terminated by IBM beginning in 2016 via systematic layoffs. All the plaintiffs were over the age of 40 at the time.
  • National Association of the Deaf Litigation v. Harvard and MIT (D. Mass.): Cohen Milstein represents hearing impaired individuals in putative disability discrimination class actions against Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Plaintiffs allege that the schools’ expansive online content do not included closed captioning and are not readily accessible to hearing-impaired individuals.
  • Temporary Employment Staffing Agency Litigation (N.D. Ill.): Cohen Milstein is involved in a series of race-based discrimination class actions in Chicago, representing African-American laborers who allege that their temporary staffing agencies and their factory-clients engaged in a repeated and collusive practice of excluding African Americans from temporary laborer positions.

Ms. Cochran’s recent successes include:

  • Stanley, et al. v. BarBri, Inc. (N.D. Tex.): In January 2018, Cohen Milstein clients, blind law students, successfully settled disability discrimination class action against BarBri, Inc. – host of the country’s largest attorney bar exam prep course. Plaintiffs alleged that BarBri's test prep offerings, including its mobile application, website and course materials were inaccessible to visually impaired students in violation of the American with Disability Act and a similar Texas state law. 
  • Equal Rights Center v. Equity Residential (D. Md.): In March 2016, the Court ruled in favor of the Plaintiff the ERC on the parties’ cross summary judgment motions in a Fair Housing Act design-and-construction case involving more than 300 properties developed by Equity Residential across the country. In November 2014, the United States Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in support of the Equal Rights Center’s summary judgment motion. The ERC alleged that Equity Residential had a nationwide pattern or practice of designing and constructing multi-family housing complexes in violation of the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act.

Ms. Cochran earned her B.S. and B.A. from Ohio University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she received the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership. While a law student, Ms. Cochran served as a litigation intern at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Disability Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. For two years during law school, Ms. Cochran also was a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she represented indigent clients on family law matters. She also served as president of the Harvard Black Law Students Association.


Sheila S. Boston is a trial lawyer and litigation strategist who defends clients from initiation of the case through trial and/or settlement. Ms. Boston is valued by her clients for her advocacy skills, dependability, and collaborative spirit. Ms. Boston has successfully litigated before both state and federal courts, with significant MDL experience in mass tort actions, providing litigation avoidance counseling, and conducting audits to evaluate the potential product-related liabilities in proposed corporate acquisitions and reorganizations. She helps her clients by assessing litigation risks and defending lucrative products by weeding out frivolous individual personal injury lawsuits, defending against class actions and mass torts, and devising creative settlement solutions.

Adept in "battle of the experts" litigation, Ms. Boston has served as national coordinating counsel of experts, involving the retention, development and preparation of experts for depositions, Daubert/Frye hearings and trials; she has worked with numerous experts in various fields of medicine and science including, but not limited to, toxicology, infectious diseases, epidemiology, oncology, urology, hepatology, endocrinology, cardiology, psychology, and psychiatry.

Ms. Boston has been recognized by Who's Who Legal in Product Liability Defence every year since 2012. In 2018, she was recognized as a “legal lion” trial attorney by Law 360 as a result of a successful defense verdict in Daniel Russell et al. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. et al., in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Her other recent accolades include New York City Legal Services 2019 Honoree; 2018 Crain's New York Leading Women Lawyers in New York; and New York Law Journal’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement awards recipient.

Ms. Boston is a member of her firm’s Pro Bono and Hiring Committees, and was recently elected to serve as an Ombudsperson for the firm. An active participant in bar associations and the legal community at large, she was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve a three-year term on New York's First Department Judicial Screening Committee as well as appointed by Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to serve on the Circuit’s Attorney Grievance Committee. Ms. Boston also currently serves as Chair of the Federal Bar Council Board; Chair of the National Bar Association’s Minority Partners in Majority Firms Division; and on DRI’s Drug and Medical Device Steering Committee as Chair of its annual seminar.

A passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, Ms. Boston has won several awards for her efforts including the prestigious Chambers Diversity Awards USA 2016 inaugural award for her "Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Diversity in the Legal Profession, Private Practice." Most recently, she was recognized by Columbia Law School Black Law Student Association with a “2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.”

Ms. Boston received her A.B. from Princeton University in 1990 and her J.D. from the Columbia School of Law in 1993. She is admitted to practice law in the New York State Courts, the SDNY, the EDNY, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.


Alexandra “Xan” S. Bernay is a partner in Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s San Diego office, where she specializes in antitrust and unfair competition class action litigation.  She has also worked on some of the Firm’s largest securities fraud class actions, including as a key team member in In re Enron Corp. Sec. Litig. (S.D. Tex.), which recovered an unprecedented $7.2 billion for investors.

Xan currently serves as co-lead counsel in In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litig., in which a settlement of $5.5 billion was approved in the Eastern District of New York.  This case was brought on behalf of millions of U.S. merchants against Visa and MasterCard and various card-issuing banks, challenging the way these companies set and collect tens of billions of dollars annually in merchant fees.  The settlement is believed to be the largest antitrust class action settlement of all time.

Additionally, Xan is involved in In re Remicade Antitrust Litig. (E.D. Pa.) – a large case involving anticompetitive conduct in the biosimilars market, where the Firm is sole lead counsel for the end-payor plaintiffs.  She is also part of the litigation team in In re Dealer Mgmt. Sys. Antitrust Litig. (N.D. Ill.), which involves anticompetitive conduct related to dealer management systems on behalf of auto dealerships across the country.  Another representative case is Persian Gulf Inc. v. BP West Coast Prods. LLC (S.D. Cal.), a massive case against the largest gas refiners in the world brought by gasoline station owners who allege they were overcharged for gasoline in California as a result of anticompetitive conduct.  She also helped try to verdict a case against one of the world’s largest companies who was sued on behalf of consumers.

Xan speaks on a variety of issues related to litigation, including recent changes to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, settlements and other topics related to class action litigation.  In December 2018, with another lawyer, she prevailed for her client in a multi-day probate court trial as part of her pro bono work with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers’ Program and has another trial set for December on behalf of a grandmother seeking to retain custody of her grandchild.

Xan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Humboldt State University.  She then graduated magna cum laude with a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, where she was a Comments Editor for the San Diego Law Review, and an Order of the Coif member.


Brande Stellings is a Principal at Vestry Laight, a firm that works with organizations to assess and address workplace misconduct.

A leading expert on workplace inclusion and women’s advancement, Stellings served as Senior Vice President, Advisory Services at Catalyst prior to founding Vestry Laight. She led Catalyst’s consulting and corporate board departments, partnering with CEOs, senior executives and board directors in Fortune 500 corporations and leading professional services firms on strategies to advance women and promote inclusion in the workplace and the boardroom.

Appointed in 2017 as an independent member of the Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council, Stellings reports to the company’s Board of Directors. In this role, she advises Fox News and its senior management in its ongoing efforts to ensure an inclusive and respectful workplace; strengthen reporting practices for wrongdoing; enhance human resource training on workplace behavior; and in the recruitment and advancement of women and minorities. In 2019, Brande joined the Conference Board as the Program Director for its Leadership Council on Advancing Women.

Stellings serves as a consulting expert in high-stakes litigation matters providing guidance and recommendations relating to: board oversight and corporate governance, conduct of investigations, workplace policies and training, diversity and inclusion strategy, organizational communications, remedying toxic company culture, and preventing sexual harassment. She also provides executive coaching in the context of post-investigation remediation.

Stellings speaks to corporate audiences and is quoted frequently in the media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, PBS and Fortune, as an expert on women’s leadership and diversity. Earlier in her career, Stellings practiced law at NBC Universal Inc., where she served as Vice President, Litigation, and at Cravath, Swaine & Moore as a litigation associate. 

Stellings serves on the Advisory Board of DirectWomen (Accelerating Board Opportunities for Women). Stellings received her JD cum laude from Harvard Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Yale College.


Elaine H. Mandelbaum is General Counsel of Interactive Brokers LLC and Senior Vice President of IBG LLC, an automated global electronic broker-dealer.  In her role, she is responsible for the global legal team of Interactive Brokers.  Prior to that, Elaine worked for Citigroup for 21 years, most recently as Head of Litigation and Regulatory Investigations for Citi’s Institutional Clients Group (ICG). Prior to starting at Citigroup, Ms. Mandelbaum was a litigation attorney at the New York office of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, and previously at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Elaine is the immediate past President of the SIFMA Compliance & Legal Society, and has served on the SIFMA C&L’s Executive Committee for over a decade. Elaine was previously Vice Chair of the FINRA National Adjudicatory Council, the appellate body for decisions rendered in FINRA disciplinary and membership proceedings. Elaine serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Action Center and of the National Council of Jewish Women, and was the recipient of the 2015 “Woman Who Dared” Award from the NCJW.

Elaine is a frequent speaker at PLI, SIFMA and other industry conferences on topics relating to complex securities litigation, corporate governance, internal and regulatory investigations and issues relating to women in the securities industry. She is an honors graduate of Yale College and of Harvard Law School.


Janine Pollack, co-founder of Calcaterra Pollack LLP, has been a class action litigator for 30 years and has prosecuted cases that have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for defrauded investors and consumers over the course of those nearly three decades.  Her focus is on representing clients who seek redress from companies that employ deception in selling their products or services, including through false advertising.  Janine is routinely appointed by courts as lead counsel and to other leadership positions, including in data breach litigation.  As lead trial counsel, she has prosecuted jury and bench trials, and won a jury verdict against R.J. Reynolds for wrongful death in a tobacco case.

Janine currently serves as Co-President of the National Association of Shareholder & Consumer Attorneys (NASCAT), an organization of firms and attorneys which represents consumer and investor rights and supports the opportunity for consumers and investors to bring class action suits. As Co-President, she develops and advocates for national and state policies impacting the class action bar, securities litigation plaintiffs’ bar and consumer protection plaintiffs’ bar.  Janine is also the Chair of the Women’s Initiative at NASCAT, which assists in advancing women as lead litigators and fosters relationships and networking opportunities for its female attorneys.

Janine is the Firm’s Chief Wellness Officer (CWO). As CWO, she provides opportunities and resources on behalf of the Firm for its personnel to enhance their overall well-being and improve their physical and emotional health. The Firm is committed to supporting the wellness of its personnel both inside and outside of the law firm environment, including through work-life balance, positive reinforcement, personal growth, exercise, and nutrition. Janine engages in frequent public speaking on various issues, including time and stress management and wellness.

Janine is currently admitted to practice in the States of New York and New Jersey and in the Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey, in addition to the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the First and Ninth Circuits.

Calcaterra Pollack LLP is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise.

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania School of Law (J.D., 1989, elected to Journal of International Business Law)
  • Rutgers University (B.A., High Honors, English and French, 1986)
  • New York University in France Semester Abroad, Paris (1985)


Kelly Kleinkort is Director of Corporate Engagement for Catalyst, a global nonprofit working with leading companies to create inclusive workplaces. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, nonprofits and institutions of higher education to build bridges of understanding across cultures and peoples and create inclusive environments. She frequently presents on unconscious bias, inclusive leadership and courageous conversations.

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication from Texas A&M University, a Master of Public Administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a language certification from Inner Mongolia University of China, where she lived and worked for three years. She is a Fulbright Scholar as well as a Young Sinologist, a fellowship awarded by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


Linda Nussbaum is the founder and managing director of the Nussbaum Law Group, P.C.  She is nationally recognized for her representation of class and individual plaintiffs in antitrust, RICO, CEA, and pharmaceutical litigation.  She has served as sole or co-lead counsel in many significant class actions which have resulted in substantial recoveries, many in the realm of hundreds of millions of dollars. Linda is currently serving as a court appointed class lead counsel in: In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation (E.D.N.Y.), In re Aluminum Warehousing Antitrust Litigation (S.D.N.Y.), In re Zinc Antitrust Litigation (S.D.N.Y.), In re Sensipar Antitrust Litigation (D. Del.), and In re American Medical Collection Agency, Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL 2904 (D. N.J.). She also represents large corporate clients pursuing direct actions in In re Packaged Seafood Products Antitrust Litigation, (S.D. Cal.), In re American Express Anti-Steering Rules Antitrust Litig., (E.D.N.Y.), and in In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation (E.D.N.Y.).

Linda was selected “Litigator of the Week” by the AmLaw Litigation Daily on April 2, 2010 for her lead trial role in Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals v. Pfizer, where, after a five-week trial, a jury returned a RICO verdict for her clients. She was a finalist for Public Justice Foundation’s 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year award. She has lectured extensively about various aspects of antitrust and class action law at the American Antitrust Institute Private Enforcement Conference, and the American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meetings. She has been a member of the American Law Institute (ALI) for over 15 years, and is a long-time advisory board member of the American Antitrust Institute. She is also on the Board of Savvy Ladies, a not-for-profit women’s legal and financial resource organization.

Linda’s successful prosecution of complex class litigation has been recognized and commended by judges in matters in which she has served as lead counsel. Following a five-week jury trial in In re Neurontin Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation in which Ms. Nussbaum served as co-lead trial counsel, No. 04-cv-10981 (D.Mass.), Judge Patti Saris commented that: “[this was]a fabulous trial[.]  [I]t’s the kind of thing that you become a judge to sit on.” Chief Judge Hogan of the District of Columbia commented in In re Lorazepam & Clorazepate Antitrust Litigation, No. 99-cv-00276 (D.D.C.): “Obviously, the skill of the attorneys, and I’m not going to spend the time reviewing it, I’m familiar with counsel, and they, as I said, are among the best antitrust litigators in the country.” From Judge Faith S. Hochberg of the District of New Jersey: “[W]e sitting here don’t get to see such fine lawyering, and it’s really wonderful for me both to have tough issues and smart lawyers.  On behalf of the entire federal judiciary I want to thank you for the kind of lawyering we wish everybody would do.”


Margaret Popper is the Vice President of Narrative and Content at IBM Corporation where she heads the IBM Content Hub, including the IBM News Room, oversees the development of the IBM corporate narrative and works on media relations.

Before coming to IBM, Margaret was a Managing Director at strategic communications firm, Sard Verbinnen & Co. in New York. She worked on a variety of assignments including media relations, ongoing corporate positioning, mergers and acquisitions, proxy fights, investor relations, executive changes, and special situations, and was also one of the senior members of the firm’s media training practice and video production teams.

Margaret joined SVC after a career in journalism that spanned more than two decades and included work for print, online, newswire and broadcast media outlets. She has covered a broad range of industries including energy, biotech, retail, media and finance. She came to the firm from CNBC, a cable television network, where she was the senior producer for financials coverage. Prior to working at CNBC, Margaret spent nearly 8 years working at Bloomberg, first as a print reporter, and later as an on-air reporter and producer for Bloomberg TV. She came to Bloomberg from BusinessWeek Magazine where she was an associate editor for the economics team. Before that she worked in the U.K. and Spain for various English-language publications including Mergers & Acquisitions International, Screen Finance, Institutional Investor, Euromoney Magazine, and Investment Dealers’ Digest. Margaret began her career on Wall Street, working for Dean Witter Reynolds in mergers and acquisitions and in asset finance for Kidder, Peabody & Co.

Margaret has a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Michele Coleman Mayes is Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for the New York Public Library (2012 – present).  She previously held the position of General Counsel for Allstate Insurance Company (2007-2012) and Pitney Bowes Inc. (2003-2007). Ms. Mayes served on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration from 2013-2014. She was Chair of the Commission on Women in the Profession of the American Bar Association from 2014-2017. In 2015, she became a Fellow of the American College of Governance Counsel and was elected to its Board of Trustees in December 2019. In August 2016, she was elected to the Board of Directors of Gogo Inc. (NASDAQ: GOGO).  She is a sought after speaker on the topic of diversity and inclusion.  She is co-author of the book Courageous Counsel: Conversations with Women General Counsel in the Fortune 500. 


Natalie Finkelman Bennett is the managing partner in the Firm’s Philadelphia area office. She concentrates her practice on antitrust and consumer litigation, and has significant experiencing representing clients in a wide variety of wage/hour, defective product, qui tam, and unfair trade practices cases. Ms. Finkelman currently serves as a co-lead in Reed v. Bayada Home Health Care, Inc. (Phila. C.C.P.) (wage and hour litigation); Patlan v. BMW of North America, LLC, Civil Action No. 2:18-cv-09546-CCC-MF (D.N.J.); and Schepler v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Case No. 2:18-CV-6043-GW-AFM (C.D. Cal.). Miller Shah and Ms. Finkelman served as a co-lead counsel in a vigorously contested MDL against Caterpillar, Inc., In re: Caterpillar, Inc., C13 and C15 Engine Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2540 (D.N.J.), as well as other actions involving emissions, including Q+Food v. Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. (D.N.J.) and B.K. Trucking, Co. v. Paccar, Inc., et.al. (D.N.J.). Ms. Finkelman also served as co- lead counsel in Riaubia v. Hyundai Motor America (E.D. Pa.) (defective product), Wilson v. AAA South Jersey Inc. (N.J. Super.) (false advertising), and as a co-lead counsel in Weckworth v.

Nissan North America, Inc. and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Case No. 3:18-cv-00588 (M.D. Tenn.) (defective product). Ms. Finkelman was a member of the executive committee in In re Nexium (Esomeprazole) Antitrust Litig. (D. Mass.), the first pay-for-delay action that went to trial after Actavis and is on the Executive Committees in several additional pending pay-for-delay cases, including In re Niaspan Antitrust Litig. (E.D. Pa.) and In re Suboxone Antitrust Litig. (E.D. Pa.).

Ms. Finkelman earned her undergraduate degree from the Pennsylvania State University (high honors) and earned her law degree from the Temple University School of Law (high honors). After clerking for former Chief Judge Farnan of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, Ms. Finkelman began working at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. In 1996, Natalie became an associate at the law firm of Mager Liebenberg & White, where her practice was concentrated in antitrust and consumer protection class action litigation. In 1998, Ms.

Finkelman became a founding partner in the law firm of Liebenberg & White before joining SFMS in 2000 and Miller Shah, LLP in 2021. She is admitted to practice law in the State of New Jersey, as well as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and numerous federal courts, including the United States District Courts for the District of New Jersey and Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and in the United States Courts of Appeal for the First, Third and Ninth Circuits. In addition to these courts and jurisdictions, Natalie has worked on cases with local counsel and co-counsel across the country and worldwide.

Natalie has presented on numerous panels, including the recent NACA 2021 Spring training – April 2021 – on Auto Defect Class Action Issues; the PLI Women Lawyers in Leadership, 2020; the 2017 American Bar Association Spring Meeting (“Advertising

Bargains - Is the Price Right?”); and Strafford Webinars (e.g., Class Action Notice Requirements: Leveraging Traditional and Emerging Media to Reach Class Members, 2016).

Ms. Finkelman is a member of the American Bar Association. She also is a former member of the Temple American Inn of Court and Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession and has participated in mentoring programs for law school students. Additionally, she has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of her synagogue. Natalie currently resides in Wallingford, Pennsylvania with her family and is active in community affairs and charitable activities in Pennsylvania.


Richelle Levy is a senior attorney with Lorium Law. She graduated from the University Of Miami School Of Law, cum laude and has been an attorney for over twenty-five years. She worked in New York and New Orleans and has extensive experience in representing both private and governmental pension plans and employee benefit plans. As general counsel for public funds, she advises Boards of Trustees on day to day issues and has focused considerably on disability cases and tax issues affecting these plans, as well as educating trustees on their fiduciary duties. Ricki is a member of the Florida Bar, and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She is a member of the Florida Bar’s Sections on Labor and Employment Law, Healthcare Law, and Local Government Law. Ricki is a dedicated member of the Weston Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and has been named Operations Manager for the City of Weston CERT. She regularly teaches training classes and conducts workshops in volunteer first aid and response for CERT. She is CPPT certified through the FPPTA and has spoken at the Trustee School, and is a member of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys, and the American Association for Justice. Ricki is also an involved member in the Broward County Women’s Lawyers Association and a member of the Florida Association of Women Lawyers. She is a regular speaker for FPPTA and a panel member for Practice Law Institute.


Taa Grays, is Vice President & Associate General Counsel of Information Governance – MetLife Legal Affairs. As the lead of Information Governance, Taa is responsible for the strategic management of MetLife’s global Information Lifecycle Management Program. She leads an 8 person team that develops, implements and manages the Information Governance strategic plan. The team, partnership with the Lines of Business and Corporate Functions, embed and drive the Program throughout MetLife. She provides strategic leadership for all aspects of the ILM program, including strategic direction, management of corporate ILM policies, processes, procedures, standards, and tools, and deployment of ILM principles throughout the global enterprise. She collaborates with IT, Legal Affairs, Risk Management, Audit, Global Technology and Operations, and all the Lines of Businesses and various other stakeholders to deliver ILM requirements and compliance strategies for ILM to minimize potential risks. 

Prior to this role, Taa served as the Chief of Staff to the General Counsel since 2010. She worked closely with the General Counsel and his leadership team to identify, develop, communicate and execute Legal Affairs’ initiatives. She collaborated and coordinated with the Legal Affairs leadership on project planning, management and accountability to ensure the timely completion of Enterprise and Legal Affairs deliverables and to champion various departmental initiatives. She also managed a staff of 140 associates that provides operational support to the Department, including but not limited to: project management, technology portfolio management and training support, communications, records management, finance management and analytical support, knowledge management, office services, and administrative and paralegal support. She also chaired the Legal Affairs’ Diversity Committee and the Technology Governance Committee, and was an Executive Member of The Academy, Legal Affairs’ training committee.  

Taa started with MetLife in 2003 in the Litigation Section. As a litigator, her practice consisted of handling various federal and state lawsuits and regulatory complaints stemming from MetLife’s US Business and Investment activities. She also coordinated and oversaw MetLife’s e-discovery responses to regulatory, pre-litigation and litigation matters as the eDiscovery Counsel and led a cross-functional team that managed MetLife’s discovery obligations. 

Prior to MetLife, Taa was an Assistant District Attorney with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office in its Rackets Bureau for five and half years. She investigated and prosecuted felony and misdemeanor crimes committed by public officials and organized crime groups from the filing of the initial complaint to indictment and trial.