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2000s Class Notes


Chris Converse has been recognized as a rising star in business/corporate law for 2015 by Texas Super Lawyers. He is a partner with Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas, where he is chair of the securities and corporate governance team and a member of the private equity industry team. He focuses his practice on mergers & acquisitions, recapitalizations, financing, and public and private offerings of debt and equity.

Nicole M. Lindsay, a recognized expert in career development and diversity in graduate management education, spoke at the Ferguson Library in Stamford, Conn., in November on how women can succeed in business school and beyond. A former MBA admissions officer and corporate MBA recruiter, she is currently director of leadership development for the ZOOM Foundation in Fairfield. Her recent book, The MBA Slingshot for Women: Using Business School to Catapult Your Career, explains how women can make the most of graduate school experience and their professional careers.

After more than a dozen years in and around New York City, Marc and Amy Strauss relocated to Dallas, Tex. Marc is currently a member with LStar Capital, a middle market lending platform. Amy continues to work in labor and employment law as a consultant.


Andrew S. Boutros is a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, where he focuses on white-collar crime prosecutions. As a federal prosecutor, he has conducted some of the office’s largest and most complex multi-district, international fraud investigations and prosecutions of business organizations and corporate executives. In 2014 he was selected by the American Bar Association as its recipient of the criminal justice section’s Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award. That award, which is conferred upon one federal, state, or local prosecutor in the United States each year, is bestowed on a prosecutor who exemplifies the principle that the “duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.”

Brendan Johnson has joined Robins Kaplan as a partner and will co-chair the government and internal investigations group and the American Indian law and policy group. He will open a new office in Sioux Falls, S.D., for the Minneapolis-based firm and will focus his work on internal investigations, commercial litigation, and legal issues involving Native American tribes.

Johnson previously served as U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota for six years, a role in which he handled cases including public corruption, violent crime, financial and health care fraud, narcotics trafficking, child exploitation, and Indian Country and civil rights. Johnson helped develop a strategy that led to an increase in prosecutions by more than 90 percent on South Dakota’s largest reservations. He received the 2014 Pathbreaker of the Year Award from Shared Hope International for his work against human trafficking and was recognized by the Washington Post as among the top 40 political rising stars under 40 for 2014.


Carter Burwell is on detail to the U.S. Congress from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He serves as a counsel for Chairman Charles Grassley on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he works on national security issues and surveillance reforms.

Afi Johnson-Parris '02Afi Johnson-Parris was elected to Business North Carolina’s 2015 list of legal elite in family law, the third consecutive year she has been so recognized. She is with Ward Black Law in Greensboro, where she practices divorce and family law and veterans’ disability law.

William Sinclair
was named partner with Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin, and White in Baltimore, Md., where he focuses his practice on civil litigation.

Bryan Stroh '02Bryan F. Stroh is senior vice president, business affairs and general counsel for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In addition to his active role in the club’s baseball operations department, his responsibilities include player salary negotiations and all legal matters for the club. He also manages strategic projects, including development efforts around PNC Park.


Brian Feldman '03Brian M. Feldman has been elected partner with Harter Secrest & Emery in Rochester, N.Y. He focuses his litigation practice on government and internal investigations and trials and appeals in New York state and federal courts.

Andrew Pontano '03
Andrew P. Pontano
has been promoted to partner at Dechert in New York City. He focuses his practice on asset-backed financing and securitization and advises clients regarding public and private securities offerings and other complex financial transactions involving a wide range of asset classes.

Nathan Taylor was elected to partnership with Morrison & Foerster in Washington, D.C., where he is a member of the financial services and the privacy and data security practice groups. He focuses his practice on assisting companies navigate their way through complex privacy and data security issues.


Kelly A. DeMarchis has been promoted to counsel at Venable in Washington, D.C. She advises and represents clients on issues related to privacy, data security, advertising and marketing, consumer protection, and e-commerce, concentrating on regulatory compliance and adversary actions in front of the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Andrew Falevich has been promoted to special counsel in tax law with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in New York. He advises on domestic and international mergers & acquisitions and capital markets transactions, partnership taxation, state and local taxation, and real estate taxation.

Drew T. Gardiner was promoted to counsel with Latham & Watkins in San Diego, Calif., where he is a member of the environment, land, and resources department. His practice focuses on representing policyholders in complex insurance coverage and bad faith disputes. He also counsels clients in negotiation and placement of representation and warranty policies in M&A transactions.

Jason Hazlewood '04Jason E. Hazlewood
has been promoted to partner at Reed Smith in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he is a member of the commercial litigation group. He focuses his practice on complex commercial and financial service litigation.


David Posner
was elected to partnership with Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York, where he practices in the private clients group.

Meng Ru LL.M. has been elected partner at Akin Gump in New York. She is a member of the corporate practice and focuses her work on complex finance deals, including debt financings in connection with leveraged buyouts and distressed debt transactions.

Thomas Saylor LLM '04Thomas G. Saylor LL.M. was sworn in as chief justice of Pennsylvania on January 6. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1997 and retained for an additional ten-year term in 2007. He served on the Pennsylvania Superior Court from 1993–97.

Michael Signer is the author of a recent biography of James Madison, Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father, published by PublicAffairs (see In Print). He is managing principal of Madison Law & Strategy Group in Charlottesville, where he practices corporate and regulatory law.

Sean Suder '04Sean S. Suder has expanded his commercial real estate, land use, and zoning practice to Kentucky and Tennessee to represent clients in an area of rapid growth along the I-65 corridor between Louisville and Nashville. He is a partner with Graydon Head in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Brett Tobin '04Brett R. Tobin has been promoted to partner with Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he focuses his practice on business and commercial litigation.


Christian T. Becker has been promoted to partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman in New York, where he focuses his practice on white-collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and complex commercial litigation.

Soyong Cho has been selected by K&L Gates as its representative to the 2015 Class of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity fellows. She is a partner in Washington, D.C., where she concentrates her practice in commercial litigation, complex litigation and class actions, and government enforcement. She was selected as a rising star in business litigation by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers in 2014 and 2015.

Rachel B. Cochran is associate general counsel at Navient Solutions, Inc., a company focused on loan management, servicing, and asset recovery in Reston, Va.

Jason D. Cruise has been promoted to partner with Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C. He is a member in the litigation department, where he focuses on antitrust matters. He is also a member of the global merger control team and advises on regulatory reviews and investigation matters in foreign jurisdictions.

Alison Haddock Hutton '05Alison Haddock Hutton has been promoted to partnership with Duane Morris in Atlanta, Ga., where she focuses her practice on intellectual property law and patent litigation. She represents clients in matters including wireless LAN, semiconductor fabrication, and telecommunication systems and standards.

Joshua C. Johnson has co-founded Johnson, Rosen & O’Keeffe in Roanoke, Va., where his practice focuses on complex commercial litigation. He also currently serves as president of the Roanoke chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Shepard Liu has been promoted to partner with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in Beijing, where he is a member of the project finance group and the firm’s chief representative in China.

Benjamin P. McCallen made partner in the litigation department with Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York. He focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, including mergers & acquisitions, insurance, securities, bankruptcy, and media/First Amendment.

Sam Towell was appointed Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry by Virginia Governor Terence McAuliffe in the fall. On January 6 he and his wife, Sarah, welcomed their first child, Eleanor Carol Towell.


Three from Class of 2006 work “Towards Justice” in Denver

Three from Class of 2006 work “Towards Justice” in Denver

A dozen years and 1,500 miles from their first meeting at UVA Law, three members of Section A of the Class of 2006 reunited to fight wage theft on behalf of low-income workers. Andy Schmidt, Nina DiSalvo, and Jason Stavers all play an integral role in Towards Justice, a nonprofit organization in Denver, Colo.

Towards Justice represents low-income workers—many of them immigrants—whose employers are not paying them the wages they have legally earned. Wage theft is a pervasive problem in the United States, with many employers improperly depriving workers of state and federal minimum wage, time-and-a-half for overtime hours, or even pay for all hours worked.
Schmidt conceived of Towards Justice when he was working as a solo practitioner, largely representing Spanish-speaking immigrants. The most pressing issue his clients faced was wage theft.

Originally Schmidt and Alexander Hood, now Towards Justice’s director of litigation, represented individual workers who had not been paid. But facing a “never-ending sea of cases,” they realized they needed to find a new approach.
The two formed a nonprofit, initially working out of their basements, meeting clients at a Chipotle restaurant, and holding firm meetings at a local microbrewery to keep costs down.

As Towards Justice was developing, Schmidt knew that his strengths came in areas such as developing unique litigation strategies, not in networking and building the organization.

“I had this vision that I knew could happen if we had a great leader. I got lucky that Nina [DiSalvo] wanted to move to Denver,” he said. “Nina had all the skills that I was missing.”

DiSalvo had been working as special counsel to the New York Secretary of State but wanted to move to Denver with her fiancé, who had grown up in Colorado. She was looking for a job. Schmidt suggested that she take his.
DiSalvo took a leap of faith to work for the start-up legal services organization in part because of her strong interest in Latino issues. She had lived in Puerto Rico as a child and had worked on human rights issues in Argentina during and after law school.

“Andy and Alex created a tremendous organization, and having the opportunity to expand its reach and draw attention to their work is wonderful,” she said. “Meanwhile, I get to make a real difference in the lives of immigrant families.”

DiSalvo quickly worked to expand the organization and bring about changes, such as finding office space, hiring new staff, and partnering with the local law school.

“Nina gets all the credit for coming in and quickly raising money and building up the institution,” Schmidt said.

DiSalvo also recruited a strong board of directors. One of the first people she looked to add as a board member was Stavers, an old friend from Section A. Stavers is an associate with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Denver and now serves as president of the board.

In an effort to help more people, the organization shifted its focus from legal services to impact litigation. For example, Towards Justice and co-counsel represent a class of civil detainees suing the Geo Group, Inc., which operates an immigrant detention center and pays detainees $1 a day or no wages at all for their work.

In another case they represent a national class of workers suing a large staffing company and a luxury hotel, drawing attention to the concern that employers rely on temp agencies or other labor brokers to confuse workers about who employs them and evade responsibility for following wage and hour laws.

“We are prepared to push the law and to remind us all what the American Dream is all about,” DiSalvo said.

In 2014 Schmidt headed across the country to start his own firm in Portland, Maine. He continues to work with Towards Justice pro bono. With a fourth attorney preparing to join the group and a busy litigation docket, Towards Justice has ambitious plans to empower immigrant workers.
—Rachel Graves

Angelette FamilyBen and Jessica Jackson Angelette welcomed their fourth child, Bianca Elizabeth, on May 5, 2014. She joins older siblings Jackson Thomas (7), Graham Joseph (4), and Daphne Catherine (2) with their parents in St. Louis, Mo., where Ben is assistant general counsel at Energizer Holdings.

Jason Brege '06Jason R. Brege was elected partner with Smith Anderson in Raleigh, N.C.
He advises technology companies in developing and commercializing their intellectual property and technology assets through structuring and negotiation of research, development, licensing, and other strategic transactions.

Jonathan W. Cannon has been promoted to counsel with BuckleySandler in Los Angeles, Calif. He advises financial institutions, including financial services companies, mortgage companies, mortgage servicers, banks, securities broker-dealers, and others on federal and state regulations.

Katherine DeLuca was promoted to partner with McGuireWoods in Richmond, Va., where she focuses her practice on matters involving compliance with federal securities laws, mergers & acquisitions, and corporate governance.

Stacie B. Fletcher was elected partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C. She focuses her practice on environmental litigation and mass tort defense and represents companies that are facing enforcement actions that arise from alleged violations of environmental laws.

Michael N. Nemelka was named partner with Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C., where he focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation.

James Pinna '06James M. Pinna is now partner with Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Va. He represents health care providers in transactional, corporate, regulatory and compliance matters.

William I. Sanderson
was promoted to partner with McGuireWoods in Washington, D.C., where he is a member of the fiduciary advisory services and private wealth services practice groups. He works with high net worth individuals and families in a range of complex estate and business planning matters.

Katherine V. A. Smith was elected partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles, Calif. She represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law and has extensive experience in single plaintiff and class action litigation at both the trial court and appellate level.

Audrey Wagner was recognized in the 2014 U.S. edition of Legal 500, which noted that she “garners high praise for her industry knowledge and ease with clients.” She is an associate with Dechert in Washington, D.C., where she focuses her practice on diverse investment management, derivative, and commodity matters.

Randall Warden received the Young Lawyer of the Year award at the Bar Association of the District of Columbia presentation in December. He received recognition for his dedicated service to the D.C. Bar, including serving on the board and as chair of the young lawyers section. The award also recognizes his leadership in the bar’s Operation Crackdown pro bono program, which matches attorneys with community groups to use civil nuisance laws to pursue property owners who allow drug activity on their property. He is a trial attorney in the money laundering and bank integrity unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.



Matt Watson ’07 and Steve Glasgow ’07:
Dressed for Success

Country Club PrepOne day in their third year of Law School, Matt Watson and Steve Glasgow took the afternoon off to play golf at Birdwood and lamented the fact that they’d have to work until they were 50 before they could have the lifestyle they had that afternoon.

They’d been friends since being assigned to the same section as 1Ls, and even before speaking they knew they had something in common—a fun sense of style that favored the preppy look—bright bow ties, seersucker, and madras that made them standouts at social events.

After graduation, Glasgow practiced with Alston & Bird, and Watson with Bryan Cave in the same office building in Atlanta. They often met for lunch. “We weathered the layoffs in 2010,” says Watson, “but the way things were going, we were pretty sure we weren’t going to make it to the top of the totem pole.” They were close to 30, both married and with children, and couldn’t keep doing the work they were doing. “We’d had experience in leadership roles, and we wanted to get back to that,” says Glasgow. “After sitting in on meetings as litigators with retail clients, we thought we could do that.”

They came up with a plan that seemed a natural for them—an online business focused on preppy clothes. They knew the brands, and wanted to be the first to offer all the best ones on one website: High Cotton, Southern Proper, Sperry Topsider, and Smathers & Branson among them.

“For us, in the beginning, being a UVA lawyer was helpful in several ways,” says Watson. “We had to convince the top-drawer brands to work with us, two guys who had no retail background.” They were confident that if they could talk with the person who could say yes to selling to them wholesale, they could convince them to do it. And they did.

“I’ll thank UVA for that,” says Glasgow. “We might have been smart enough and cocky enough to start a business after college, but the Law School gave us the critical thinking skills and the ability to pivot and adjust quickly in a business.” A UVA Law degree had caché in this market, and that helped. They knew their customers.

People over 40 might think of preppy style as kind of stuffy—ironed khakis, a buttoned-down shirt, a navy blazer with gold buttons. Preppy in the past had an elitist identity. The “new preppy” is bright, fun, and irreverent. “In the ’90s the preppy style had a kind of reawakening,” says Glasgow. A younger audience emerged, especially in the South. At weddings, horse races, and other social events the bright outfits stood out. Events became opportunities to show off your brights.

For the first 18 months they developed social media, hired someone to design a website (the name Country Club Prep conveniently pops up when someone Googles “preppy belt” or “shirt”), took customer service calls, and handled shipping and delivery while holding down their firm jobs.

“In the beginning,” says Watson, “we overestimated our abilities and underestimated the challenges. We thought things like contracts and purchase orders were all buttoned up, but learned we’d have to roll with the punches.” Sometimes they’d place an order, and instead of placing the item on backorder, a company would send them something similar and they’d have to deal with it. “In some ways,” Watson says, “the Internet is like the Wild West.”

The new business started in Watson’s basement, and as it grew it took over more rooms of his house. “When it moved into the guest room my wife said, ‘It goes or you go.’” By that point sales were skyrocketing and they were ready to make the leap to running the company full time. Classmate Toby Mergler is also a partner, but he’s not involved in the day-to-day operations.

Country Club Prep ( was officially launched in 2012, and is headquartered in a 12,500-square-foot warehouse and shipping facility in Atlanta. Glasgow and Watson put in more hours than when they were practicing law, but they say it doesn’t really seem like work. Imagine two good friends working side by side, leaving room for breaks at the putting green they installed at the warehouse.

“The most meaningful way I’d describe our success in numbers is probably the fact that I don’t have to write down my billable hours anymore,” says Watson. There’s also the fact that in their second year they beat the profits they projected for year four.

Their first bricks and mortar store opened on The Corner in Charlottesville in 2014. They chose the location to return to their roots and because there’s a proven market for their goods here. The next opening was in Lexington, Ky., and they have their sights set on other strong markets. The next physical space will be a pop-up shop in Southampton, N.Y., scheduled to open a week before Memorial Day.

The clothes you can find at Country Club Prep bring to mind breezy spring and summer days, but once you get hooked on this style, you’re likely to find yourself breaking all the old sartorial rules and wearing whites, brights, and seersucker before the end of winter.  —Rebecca Barns

2007 VolunteersMembers of the Class of 2007 returned to Charlottesville for a program around the 50th anniversary of the Law School’s annual giving program in fall of 2014. From left, Tiffany Miller, Khang Tran, Laura Golden, Kwame Carter, Courtney Dredden Carter, Eli DeJarnette, and Beth DeJarnette.

Catherine S. Bernard recently chaired a committee to educate residents of Brookhaven, a city in the northeastern suburbs of Atlanta, about the Redevelopment Powers Law Referendum and to get it defeated. The referendum was voted down, 60 percent to 40 percent, in November. Bernard encourages those interested to visit Bernard is a constitutional and criminal defense lawyer in private practice.

Courtney Dredden '07Courtney Dredden ’07 married Kwame Carter on June 14, in Frederick, Md. Megan Callahan Orme ’08 was a bridesmaid, Tiffany Miller gave a reading, and Scott Kelly ’10, Jenise Smith, Kathy LaBarre, Laura Golden, and Jennifer Jessie ’09 were all in attendance. Courtney is a consultant in Washington, D.C., and loves living close to so many of her Law School friends.

Jacqueline Wernz '07Jacqueline Gharapour Wernz was named partner with Franczek Radelet in Chicago, Ill. She is a member of the education practice group and represents Illinois school districts, private schools, and higher education institutions. Wernz works on a range of education law issues, including policy and governance, business matters, labor and employment, student rights and responsibilities, and technology, and is the main author of the firm’s Education Law Insights blog (

David M. Irvine has joined Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen as a trial attorney in Charlottesville. He focuses his practice on personal injury and medical malpractice.

Joseph A. Ponzi has been named a rising star in environmental litigation for 2015 by North Carolina Super Lawyers. He is a partner with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard in Greensboro, where he focuses his practice on business litigation, environmental law, construction law, and alternative dispute resolution.

Adam B. Schwartz joined Paul Weiss in Washington, D.C., where his practice focuses on litigation and internal investigations. He previously served at the Department of Justice for six years.

Kelu L. Sullivan was elected partner with BakerHostetler in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the intellectual property group and represents clients in federal district and appellate court litigation, manages large international trademark and copyright portfolios, and counsels clients on intellectual policy, licenses, and agreements.


Les S. Bowers was promoted to partner with Gentry Locke in Roanoke, Va. He focuses his practice on personal injury, medical malpractice, and products liability.

Dawn Crowell married Colin Murphy on May 25, 2014, in Annapolis, Md. Laura Holland and Kristina Yost were in attendance. The couple lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where Dawn is an associate in the nonprofit organizations practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Colin works in global compensation at Marriott International.

Last year Lauren J. King became an appellate court judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System, a court system for various Indian tribes based in western Washington. King is of counsel with Foster Pepper in Seattle, where she is a member of the media, entertainment, and gaming practice.

Jennifer McCammon joined Bean, Kinney & Korman as an associate in Arlington, Va. She represents individuals in divorce and other family law matters and was recognized as a rising star in family law by Super Lawyers in 2014 and 2015.

Edward Mullen '08Edward A. Mullen was promoted to counsel in the global regulatory enforcement group at Reed Smith in Richmond, Va. Last year he was named a rising star by Virginia Super Lawyers for his administrative law practice and was recognized among the legal elite in legislative/regulatory/administrative law by Virginia Business magazine.

In 2014 Ryan Searfoorce and his wife, Michaela, moved their five children to Houston, Tex., and Ryan moved his finance practice to Norton Rose Fulbright.


Eric Gerard '09Eric K. Gerard joined the Texas-based team of trial lawyers at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend in Houston, where he represents plaintiffs in cases involving catastrophic injury, industrial disasters, offshore accidents, and environmental litigation. His move to the plaintiff’s side comes after three years in the trial division of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and a stint at the Houston office of Hogan Lovells.

Bryan Starrett has been named to the 2015 Triad Business Journal 40 leaders under 40 list. He is an associate with Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard in Greensboro, N.C., where he focuses his practice on commercial litigation, special investigations/compliance, and labor and employment law.

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