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All Star Business Development for Lawyers 2019

Speaker(s): Brad S. Karp, Connie Brenton, Daniel Troy, David P. Oelman, Dean Mades, Deborah Brightman Farone, Frank J.. Aquila, Katherine D'Urso, Lisa Smith, Michael Mellor, Renee Miller-Mizia, Rippi Karda, Stephanie R. Breslow
Recorded on: Mar. 14, 2019
PLI Program #: 249487

Dean is Vice President & General Counsel of Proximo Spirits, Inc., a manufacturer, importer and distributor of premium distilled spirits.  Proximo’s portfolio of brands includes the world’s best-selling tequila, Jose Cuervo, as well as 1800 Tequila, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Three Olives Vodka, Pendleton Canadian Whisky, Tincup American Whiskey and numerous other products. 


In that capacity, Dean handles a broad range of legal and business matters, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, securities offerings, real estate development, commercial agreements, regulatory compliance, intellectual property and litigation management, while supervising a team of in-house attorneys, compliance managers and business development analysts.


Dean received an A.B. from Harvard College in 2000 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2005. Prior to joining Proximo in 2013, Dean worked at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where he represented clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, syndicated loans and public company governance and disclosure.

Rippi Karda is an Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc. She handles contracts for Sourcing involving human resources benefits/plans, consulting, contact centers, contingent workforce, recruiting, advertising agencies and supplier diversity. Prior to entering the Technology industry, she worked at several Pharmaceutical and Biomedical companies where she supported commercial and research and development contracts, reviewed multimedia-branded promotional materials, and participated in regulatory, medical and legal review boards for orthopedics, gastroenterology and oncology products.


Rippi has provided counsel and guidance on complex matters related to antitrust, fraud and abuse, FCPA, Medicare, Medicaid, PhRMA Code and physician agreements. She received the prestigious Pro Bono Service Award from Verizon for legal contributions in domestic violence and corporate matters. 


Rippi received her Honors Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law/Oxford University.


Rippi speaks frequently on diversity and corporate matters, as well as, provides pro bono legal services to those affected by domestic violence.

Katherine D'Urso joined WilmerHale in 2014 and is responsible for the firm’s business development, marketing and communications functions. Before WilmerHale, Ms. D'Urso was King & Spalding's chief marketing officer for 10 years, supporting the execution of the firm's strategic plan and helping to improve the firm's market position. Earlier in her career she was the first chief marketing officer at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and prior to that, she was a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers where she served in various senior marketing roles, including in 1998 leading the team in that launched and managed the PricewaterhouseCoopers brand worldwide.

Ms. D’Urso received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Wellesley College and has a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business, where she was a Lauder Fellow, earning a Master of Arts in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. D’Urso is a frequent speaker on legal marketing and business development topics and co-chaired the Legal Marketing Association’s national conference in 2018.

Renée Miller-Mizia is the Chief Marketing Officer at Dechert LLP, a 143 year old law firm with 27 offices in 13 countries around the world, which has achieved remarkable growth through investments in its people and strategic lateral additions.  Renée oversees a team of marketing, communications, business development and technology professionals who together work with the firm’s lawyers and staff to assure that Dechert’s focus on its clients and understanding their legal issues, businesses and changing concerns are always front of mind. She and her team are responsible for all commercial and client related activities including client service and relationship programs, communications, media relations, events and brand marketing.

Renée began her career at one of GE’s fastest growing businesses, GE Plastics which had been championed by Jack Welch.  She rapidly advanced through the marketing, business development, finance and quality leadership ranks and ultimately held the executive level position of Strategist for the division, which had $3B in annual revenue at that time.

She then moved from industry to the professional services market where she has held the positions of General Counsel, Vice President, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer at Business Research Group (UK), IHS, Charles River Associates and Alvarez and Marsal’s Forensic & Disputes practice. Renée has been in her present role at Dechert since 2015.

Renée and her team are working to create a high performance culture within law firm marketing - translating efficient and productive approaches to marketing and business development that have been proven successful in other industries.


B.S. Cornell University

J.D. Western New England University

GE Advanced Financial Management Program, numerous marketing, strategy and leadership programs

Stephanie R. Breslow is co-head of the Investment Management Group and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She maintains a diverse practice that includes liquid funds, private equity funds and the structuring of investment management businesses. She focuses her practice on the formation of private equity funds (including LBO, mezzanine, distressed, real estate, litigation finance and venture) and liquid-securities funds (including hedge funds, hybrid funds, credit funds and activist funds) as well as providing regulatory advice to investment managers. She also represents fund sponsors and institutional investors in connection with seed-capital investments in fund managers and acquisitions of interests in investment management businesses and funds of funds and other institutional investors in connection with their investment activities, including blockchain technology and virtual currency offerings and transactions.

Recently serving as chair of the Private Investment Funds Subcommittee of the International Bar Association, Stephanie is a founding member and former chair of the Private Investment Fund Forum, a member of the Advisory Board of former Third Way Capital Markets Initiative, a former member of the Board of Directors and current member of 100 Women in Finance, a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia Law School and a member of the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. Stephanie has received the highest industry honors. She was named to the inaugural Legal 500 US Hall of Fame in the category of “Investment Fund Formation and Management: Alternative/Hedge Funds.” Stephanie is also listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers, Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers, Crain’s Notable Women in Law, IFLR1000, Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (which ranked her one of the world’s “Top Ten Private Equity Lawyers”), Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Private Funds Lawyers (which ranked her at the top of the world’s “Most Highly Regarded Individuals” list), Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders: Global Elite, Who’s Who Legal: Thought Leaders: Private Funds, Expert Guide to the Best of the Best USA, Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Banking, Finance and Transactional Law Lawyers, Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law and PLC Cross-border Private Equity Handbook, among other leading directories. Stephanie was named the “Private Funds Lawyer of the Year” at the Who’s Who Legal Awards 2014 and the Euromoney Legal Media Group’s “Best in Investment Funds” and “Outstanding Practitioner,” both at the Americas Women in Business Law Awards. She is also recognized as one of The Hedge Fund Journal’s 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds and was named one of the 2012 Women of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. Stephanie’s representation of leading private investment funds has won numerous awards, including most recently Law360’s Asset Management Practice Group of the Year. She is a much sought-after speaker on fund formation and operation and compliance issues, and she regularly publishes articles on the latest trends in these areas. Stephanie co-authored Private Equity Funds: Formation and Operation (Practising Law Institute), co-authored Hedge Funds: Formation, Operation and Regulation (ALM Law Journal Press), contributed a chapter on “Hedge Fund Investment in Private Equity” for inclusion in PLC Cross-border Private Equity Handbook 2005/06 (Practical Law Company), contributed a chapter on “Advisers to Private Equity Funds — Practical Compliance Considerations” for Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds Regulation, Volume 2 (Practising Law Institute), and wrote New York and Delaware Business Entities: Choice, Formation, Operation, Financing and Acquisitions (West) and New York Limited Liability Companies: A Guide to Law and Practice (West).

Stephanie received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her B.A., cum laude, from Harvard University.

As Chief of Staff and Sr. Director of Legal Operations at NetApp Inc., Connie Brenton has leveraged her legal and business background to create an innovative and best in class legal department that has been recognized internationally for its innovation in the areas of strategic vision, technology adoption, new staffing/sourcing solutions, partner and financial management and building efficiencies by driving world class operating metrics.

Prior to NetApp, Connie served as Senior Director, Deputy General Counsel at Sun Microsystems and Managing Counsel at Oracle where she also initiated the Legal Operations role. Before joining the Legal Operations community, Connie was in private practice as a civil litigator.

Connie has been active in developing and promoting the Legal Operations role throughout the business and legal communities. She is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), the world’s largest, fastest growing and most active international group of legal operations professionals, growing its membership from 40 to 1800 in less than three years. She publishes on the topics of the changing legal ecosystem and legal operations and speaks internationally on the topic of “Running Legal like a Business.”

Connie holds a JD, an MBA and a BA in Economics. She was named as one of Corporate Counsel's National Women in Law in 2018, honored as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley for 2014 and was selected as one of the top 10 Deputy General Counsel in 2012.

Brad Karp has been the Chairman of Paul, Weiss since 2008. One of the country’s leading litigators and corporate advisers, has successfully guided numerous Fortune 100 companies, global financial institutions and other companies and individuals through “bet the company” litigations, regulatory matters, internal investigations, and corporate crises. Prior to being named chairman, Brad chaired the firm’s Litigation Department. Brad has spent his entire career at Paul, Weiss, beginning as a summer associate. 

Brad has received dozens of industry awards and recognitions. Brad has been selected as the “Attorney of the Year” by the New York Law Journal and by Lawdragon, the “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer and by Benchmark Litigation/Euromoney, and one of the most innovative lawyers in the United States by the Financial Times. Brad received the “Special Achievement Award” from the Financial Times in recognition of his legal achievements and leadership of Paul, Weiss. Brad has repeatedly been named by the National Association of Corporate Directors as one of the most influential people in the boardroom. The New York Law Journal awarded Brad its first-ever Impact Award, in recognition of Brad’s “significant and lasting impact on the legal community in New York.” Brad received the William Nelson Cromwell Award from the New York County Lawyers Association in recognition of his “unselfish service to the profession and the community” and the John J. McCloy Memorial Award from the Fund for Modern Courts for making outstanding contributions to improving the administration of justice in New York state. 

Brad speaks and writes frequently on business litigation, securities litigation and corporate governance. He has spoken at more than 600 conferences and has lectured at Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Columbia Law School, NYU Law School and The Federal Judicial Center. Brad has written more than 600 articles on business litigation and corporate governance issues. For the past 36 years, Brad has written a monthly column for the New York Law Journal, “Second Circuit Review,” which analyzes developments in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Brad is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.  

Brad frequently speaks out and writes about pressing issues of social justice. Brad is also active in the community, serving on more than 30 public interest, educational, cultural and charitable boards. 

Brad is a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School and clerked for The Honorable Irving R. Kaufman, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Deborah has had the unique opportunity to play a role in developing the best practices in professional services marketing by working with the most respected and demanding professionals in the world.  

Deborah is the former long-time chief marketing officer of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where she created and managed the firm’s marketing and business development operations. On the business development side, she worked with colleagues to create a business and industry intelligence unit to help generate business opportunities, define new trends, and prepare partners for presentations. On the communications side, Deborah oversaw all strategic public relations and marketing communications.  Prior to joining Cravath, Deborah was the chief marketing officer at Debevoise & Plimpton.

Deborah is the author of the acclaimed Best Practices in Law Firm Business Development and Marketing (PLI 2019), a new book based on more than 60 interviews she conducted in 2018 with leading law firm leaders and marketers, general counsel, and innovators in the profession. Prior to entering law firm marketing, she worked at Towers Watson and Ketchum Communications and taught several courses at NYU in the area of marketing professional services. Deborah is the past President of the LMA NY Chapter and was recently honored with LMA New York’s Legacy Award, in recognition of making a distinguishable mark on the chapter and the profession.

In 2017, she launched her own consulting practice, Farone Advisors LLC, where she advises law and other professional service firms on business strategy and targeted marketing and is a speaker at professional forums and partner retreats.

From September 2008 until August 1, 2018, Dan was Senior Vice President & General Counsel and a member of the Corporate Executive Team of GSK.  As General Counsel, he was responsible for leading the company’s legal department in protecting GSK’s intellectual property, managing litigation, supporting business development transactions, as well as risk management.  

Before joining GSK, he was a Partner at the Washington law firm Sidley Austin LLP, where he represented pharmaceutical companies and trade associations on matters related to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and government regulations. Dan was formerly Chief Counsel for the FDA.  

Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a juris doctor degree from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and a Kent Scholar. After graduation from law school, he was a law clerk for the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He was the 2012 CPR Corporate Leadership Award recipient and, in 2013, was named a 'Legend in the Law' at the Burton Awards.


In December 2018, The Financial Times described Frank Aquila as “one of the most influential and high-profile M&A and corporate lawyers in the U.S.” who has “played a role in many of the largest and most complex deals.” In December 2019, Mr. Aquila was one of the dealmakers profiled in an article in The Financial Times titled “Deal lawyers are masters of seeing the next move.” The Wall Street Journal profiled him as one of the six top dealmakers of the year in 2019 and one of the seven top dealmakers in 2018. These recognitions highlight Mr. Aquila’s consistently broad multidisciplinary practice.

During the course of his career, Mr. Aquila has advised on deals totaling more than $1 trillion in value, including advising on more than $100 billion in 2019. He has been called upon by global leaders such as AmgenAndeavorAnheuser-Busch InBevCheniere EnergyDiageoDiebold NixdorfInternational Airline GroupKraftNavistar InternationalNovartisTiffany & Co. and United Rentals to advise them and their boards of directors on M&A, proxy contests, activism, unsolicited bids, corporate governance, crisis management and a range of matters affecting corporate policy and strategy.

Mr. Aquila has been universally recognized as one of the world’s leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers. The strength of his practice has resulted in his being one of only a handful of lawyers who has been ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 (their top tier), as an American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year,” as a recipient of the Atlas Award as “Global M&A Lawyer of the Year” and as a three-time Law360 MVP. For his work in corporate governance, Mr. Aquila has been named several times by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) to their “Directorship 100” as one of the 100 most influential people in corporate governance and inside the boardroom. Best Lawyers in America named Mr. Aquila as its 2017 Corporate Governance Law “Lawyer of the Year.” In 2014, Global M&A Network recognized him as one of the top 50 lawyers in the world. 

Mr. Aquila is widely acknowledged as an innovator and thought leader in the profession. In 2018, Mr. Aquila was recognized by The Financial Times as one of the Top 10 Legal Innovators in North America. In 2015, The FT also recognized his representation of Kraft in its merger with Heinz to form The Kraft Heinz Company as one of the most innovative in North America. In 2009, Mr. Aquila was selected by the American Bar Association as a “Legal Rebel” – one of the profession’s 50 leading innovators. In 2015, the National Law Journal named him as one of M&A’s “Trailblazers” for “excellence in dealmaking.” He is also a two-time winner of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement (2005, 2010) and led the Sullivan & Cromwell team advising on The American Lawyer’s 2016 “Deal of the Year” – Kraft merger with Heinz.

During the course of his career, Mr. Aquila has advised numerous clients in many of the largest and most important global transactions that have been transformational across a range of business sectors?. In pharmaceuticals he represented The Upjohn Company in its merger with Pharmacia to create Pharmacia & Upjohn and its subsequent acquisition of Monsanto to form Pharmacia. In beverage alcohol Mr. Aquila represented Grand Metropolitan in its combination with Guinness to form Diageo and Diageo in its acquisition of Seagram Wine & Spirits. In brewing he represented InBev in its successful bid for Anheuser-Busch and Anheuser-Busch InBev in its follow-on deals to acquire SABMillerGrupo Modelo and Oriental Brewery. In biotech he represented Amgen in its acquisitions of AbgenixOnyx and Otezla® and Novartis in its acquisition of The Medicines Company. In aviation he represented British Airways in its combination with Iberia to form IAG International Airlines Group. In consumer packaged goods Mr. Aquila represented Pillsbury in its combination with General Mills and Kraft in its merger with H.J. Heinz to form The Kraft Heinz Company. In equipment rental he represented United Rentals in its acquisitions of RSC, Neff Corporation and BlueLine Rental. In automated payment systems and ATMs Mr. Aquila represented Diebold in its combination with Wincor Nixdorf to form Diebold Nixdorf. In food and beverage retailing Mr. Aquila advised Panera in its acquisition by JAB. In oil and gas Mr. Aquila represented Andeavor in its acquisition by Marathon Petroleum. In luxury goods Mr. Aquila is representing Tiffany & Co. in its acquisition by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Mr. Aquila is a member of the Firm’s Management Committee and is Global Head of the Firm’s M&A Practice. Previously, Mr. Aquila was the co-managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s General Practice Group (the Firm’s global corporate practice) and in that role he was responsible for almost 500 lawyers in 12 offices around the world.

Mike Mellor is the firmwide director of marketing and business development for Pryor Cashman, a 175-attorney midsize firm with offices in NYC, Miami and Los Angeles. In this role, he works to identify, develop and execute strategies to both drive new business for the firm and increase brand awareness.

Mike’s nearly 20-year career has spanned various marketing and BD roles, working at such firms as Paul Weiss, Katten, and KPMG. His passion is creating clarity and game plans for the attorneys around the firm by implementing rigor and process around the new business development cycle. By listening to his internal and external clients, he uncovers unique selling propositions (USP's) and targeting ideas, and then creates client personas, 30/60/90 day plans, and other innovative strategies to help attorneys in their business development initiatives.

A self-defined process junkie, Mike is also heavily involved in developing proposal methodologies, toolkits, preparing attorneys for pitches, and directly assisting the firm’s clients to help align them with the correct resources and attorneys at Pryor Cashman. He is a big believer in using data to make informed decisions, and employs numerous individual, practice and industry KPIs to constantly tweak and refine his approaches.

A frequent author and speaker around the country, Mike earned his BS from the University of Maryland, his MCert from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and his MS from Columbia University. He is the past CMO SIG Co-Chair for the Legal Marketing Association, and also serves on Thomson Reuters' Marketing Leadership Council, Gwabbit’s Advisory Board, and on the Board of Governors for the University of Maryland’s Alumni Association. Originally from Boston, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and loves live music, sports, and exploring different cultures.


David co-heads Vinson & Elkins’ Mergers & Acquisitions and Capital Markets practice group. His practice includes representing public and private companies, investment banks, and private equity funds in initial public offerings, and other public and private equity and debt offerings. David has been one of the top domestic IPO practitioners in the country for over two decades. Clients describe David as "someone with deep legal expertise, great judgment and work ethic” adding that he is able to "execute complicated and extremely challenging transactions on a timeline that most would think impossible" (Chambers USA, 2018).

Lisa is the Deputy Executive Director and Director of Client Relations at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, an approximately 200-lawyer firm in New York City.  Prior to moving to the administrative side of the profession, Lisa practiced law in the Capital Markets Group of a major international firm.  She is a graduate of Northwestern University (B.A., 1988) and Rutgers School of Law (J.D., 1991), where she served on the Editorial Board of the Rutgers Law Review. 

Lisa is also a recovery advocate, writer, and podcast host. She is the author of the award-winning memoir, Girl Walks Out of a Bar, which recounts her “high-functioning” addiction and recovery in the world of New York City corporate law.  She also cohosts the podcast, Recovery Rocks, an inclusive discussion of issues affecting people in all kinds of recovery, with fellow recovery advocate Tawny Lara. 

She is passionate about breaking the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health issues and is a frequent speaker at law firms, law schools, bar associations, and other organizations.  She has appeared on TODAY and BBC World News.  Her writing has been published in The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Health, and Refinery29, among others. She also is a contributor to, an online publication dedicated to dismantling the mainstream assumption that drinking alcohol is a necessary part of life. 

Lisa serves on the Board of Directors of The Writers Room in New York City.  More on Lisa’s writing can be found at She can be reached at, on Twitter and Instagram @girlwalksout, and on Facebook.