2000s Class Notes

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Chris Converse is listed in Chambers USA 2016 in corporate law and mergers and acquisitions, and in Best Lawyers 2017 in corporate law. He is co-chair of the private equity industry team and private equity partner with Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas. 

Lisa C. DeJacoLisa C. DeJaco has been selected for Benchmark Litigation’s Under 40 Hot List for 2016. She is listed in Chambers 2016 in intellectual property and Best Lawyers 2016 in intellectual property litigation. DeJaco is a partner and member of the intellectual property protection and litigation service team at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs in Louisville, Ky. 


Steven Geiszler was listed in the 2016 editions of Chambers USA, Texas Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers this year for his expertise in intellectual property litigation. Geiszler is a partner in the Dallas office of Dentons, where he focuses on patent litigation.

Brady R. McShane has joined Akerman’s land use team as partner in Los Angeles, where he focuses his practice on real estate law.


Matt Burton and Emily Cope Burton have relocated to San Francisco, where Matt serves as legal director for regulatory development for Uber Technologies. Emily continues to work in the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the Federal Trade Commission. They recently welcomed a baby boy, Finn, who joins his sister, Nola, 4.

Carter Burwell is deputy chief counsel for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn LL.M. ’95 of Texas, the Senate’s assistant majority leader. Burwell was previously counsel to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and three children.

In April Jennifer M. Fenton became a member of the senior executive service within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She is division director of inspections and detention oversight within the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Fenton oversees the Office of Detention Oversight and its Management Inspections Unit. She is responsible for facilitating the regular inspection of various programs, including ICE domestic and international immigration detention facilities and field offices, to assess their ongoing compliance with agency policies and procedures, memoranda of agreement and federal regulation. 

Cristina Ryan lives in the Los Angeles area, where she pursues a dance teaching degree while working as a contract attorney for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Earlier this year she co-founded RYSK danceworks, a multi-genre professional dance company for dancers over the age of 40.

Kendal A. SibleyKendal A. Sibley is a partner with Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Va. Her practice focuses on federal income tax issues with emphasis on real estate investment trusts, asset securitization and investment funds. 


Building Relationships
Kelley Edwards

Kelley Edwards ’03 recently took the helm of Littler Mendelson’s Houston office — just two months after being appointed co-chair of the firm’s energy industry practice group.

“I enjoy working with diverse groups of people and spending time thinking about the business aspects of practicing law, so my new management responsibilities are a welcome addition to my practice,” she said. “As an employment lawyer, I think navigating this role will give me an important perspective on the kinds of challenges my clients face every day.”

Edwards’ practice focuses on a range of labor and employment law matters. She represents employers in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, and counsels her clients on workplace issues, including employment policies, wage and hour compliance, and leave issues. She has extensive experience representing and advising the oil and gas industry, energy services companies and other sectors such as banking, retail, transportation and health care.

She said lawyering is about personal interactions, a lesson she learned at UVA Law before starting her career. She recalled the efforts of professors such as Anne Coughlin and Doug Leslie, who took interest not only in their students’ education, but in the people they were developing into.

“Many people entering the practice of law don’t fully realize that ours is a business based upon relationships — with your clients, your opposing counsel and your colleagues in the community. At UVA Law, I met some of the best people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, and I learned to appreciate that the work you do can be enriched in so many ways by your personal relationships.”

One of those school friends became her husband, Jack Edwards ’03.

“We were married 12 years ago this past June and have added three children and a dog to our family in that time,” she said. “Jack has a busy and thriving law practice of his own, and while it is not always easy to manage it all, we couldn’t do any of it without the other’s support.”

Rebecca Barns

Kate Horsley Bally serves as director of the labor and employment service of Thomson Reuters Practical Law in New York City. She was nominated to participate in the selective Thomson Reuters Business Leader Program, which began with a June residential program in the United Kingdom and continues with two years of coaching and management training.

Rachel Gerrick was named general counsel for corporate affairs with American Municipal Power Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, effective January 2017. She joined AMP in 2012 as deputy general counsel and has had responsibility for legal matters, including construction, project financing, procurement, real estate, litigation oversight and employment. Gerrick has also helped lead expansion of hydroelectric power and solar generation to AMP’s member groups.

Douglas Griess ended his solo practice of five years and joined Hackstaff & Snow as a partner in January. He focuses his practice on business law, estate planning and trademarks. He lives in Denver with his wife and their five children.

Julie Jordan Joyce is senior director, human relations business partners and employee relations, with the Georgia Institute of Technology Office of Human Resources in Atlanta. She was previously with Coca-Cola Refreshments for seven years, most recently as an employee relations director. Joyce and her husband, Kevin, live in Decatur with their three children, Raleigh, Conor and Emily.

Nick Madden joined Frito Lay Multipack as marketing manager at their headquarters in Plano, Texas. He was previously with Kraft Heinz in Chicago. Madden and his wife, Kat, and their daughter, Sally, live in Frisco.

Crystal Lovett Simler opened her own firm, Lovett Law, in February 2015 in Milan, Mo. She has a satellite office in Kirksville and now employs three staff members. Lovett Simler lives in Kirksville with her husband, Nathan. 

Andreas Stargard has opened his Africa- focused boutique firm, Primerio, together with partner John Oxenham. The firm centers its practice on African competition law and anti-corruption matters, and provides legal advice on cross-border transactions, related business law, and investment strategies in various African nations. Stargard moved back to D.C. from Brussels, where he spent two years practicing antitrust law as a partner at Paul Hastings.

In April 2015, Ryan Van Meter was promoted to vice president and general counsel– North America of Imerys, the world leader in mineral specialties for industry. Van Meter has worked with Imerys since 2007, most recently as deputy general counsel. He was also honored as one of the Fulton County Daily Report’s lawyers on the rise in September 2015. He lives in the Atlanta area. 

U.S. Supreme Court Fellow
Valerie M. Nannery '03

Valerie M. Nannery ’03 was selected as a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow for the 2016-17 session by a nine-member commission appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. She is assigned to the Federal Judicial Center, the education and research agency for the federal courts.

“I am excited about this incredible opportunity to do research and contribute to the work of the Federal Judicial Center,” Nannery said.

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger created the fellows program in 1973 to provide fellows practical exposure to judicial administration, policy development and education.

Nannery joins the program from the Center for Constitutional Litigation in Washington, D.C., where she was senior litigation counsel. She served as a vice-chair of the Appellate Advocacy Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. Previously she practiced with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in Los Angeles and was the Public Citizen Litigation Group’s Supreme Court Assistance Project coordinator in Washington, D.C.

At the Law School, Nannery was a semifinalist in the William Minor Lile Moot Competition, a member of the board of the Public Interest Law Association and a member of the Raven Society.

Rebecca Barns


Nuala E. DroneyNuala E. Droney received a mentor of the year award for her guidance, support and encouragement of fellow lawyers from Robinson + Cole, where she is a partner in the business litigation group. Droney chairs the intellectual property litigation practice team and is a member of the white-collar defense and corporate compliance team and the data privacy and security team in Hartford, Conn.

After living in Asia and the Middle East for most of the last decade, Chris Richardson returned to Houston in September and joined the partnership at Andrews Kurth, focusing on global oil and gas transactions. Richardson was most recently general counsel at Mubadala Petroleum in Abu Dhabi. Chris and Andi (Nursing ’04) are looking forward to catching up with old friends from Charlottesville. 


Sarang DamleSarang “Sy” Damle has been appointed general counsel and associate register of copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office. He previously served as deputy general counsel, where he shared responsibility for managing the department and handling the legal portfolio of the Copyright Office. In 2015 Damle was named one of Washington, D.C.’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars by the National Law Journal. Damle served as senior counsel in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau immediately before joining the Copyright Office, and for nearly seven years served as an appellate litigator in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.

Scortt P. HortonScott P. Horton is  listed in Upstate New York Super Lawyers 2016 in employment and labor and in Best Lawyers 2017 in employment law/management. He is a member with Bond Schoeneck & King in Buffalo, N.Y.

Sarah L. TrautzSarah L. Trautz joined Verrill Dana as counsel in the health care practice group in Boston, where she provides advice for clients in the health care industry, particularly concerning issues that affect hospitals and academic medical centers. Trautz was previously with Ropes & Gray and worked in research compliance at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Grant Wiens has joined Mickes O’Toole as a member in St. Louis, and focuses his practice on education, labor and employment, and municipal law. 


Eben C. Hansel has been named partner at Ballard Spahr in Baltimore, where he is a member of the real estate department. He focuses his practice on commercial real estate law and transactions.

Caleb TurnerCaleb Turner joined Meyer, Unkovic & Scott as an associate and member of the litigation and dispute resolution group in Pittsburgh. He was previously with Winston & Strawn in New York City. 


Ian Barber is chief administrative officer of Bankers Financial Corp., a diversified conglomerate focused on insurance and related businesses. Now in a mixed business and legal role, Barber leads enterprise-wide corporate governance, is responsible for non-routine transaction and investment decisions, and manages the conglomerate’s internal capital market. He serves as president of the West Central Florida chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and is a member of the governing board of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Barber and his wife, Emily, live in St. Petersburg.

C. Paige Bobick is an associate general counsel and senior vice president at Bank of America in Charlotte, N.C. She is responsible for outside counsel management and strategy worldwide. She and her husband, Shawn, welcomed their fourth child, John “Hayes” Bobick, on Feb. 10. He joins big brothers Graham and Ford and big sister, Ellis.

David Burnett has been promoted to of counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York City, where he practices securities litigation, mostly representing institutional investors in disputes involving mortgage- backed securities.

Katie Cole is general counsel with KIPP DC, which leads a network of 16 charter schools in Washington, D.C. She was previously with Hunton & Williams. Her husband, Roy Litland ’06, is an assistant general counsel at Verizon, where he practices federal regulatory law. They live in D.C. with their two children, ages 1 and 3.

J. Austin CurryJ. Austin Curry has been selected as an associate fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. He is listed in Best Lawyers in Dallas for 2016 in D Magazine and in Best Lawyers 2017 in intellectual property and commercial litigation. This year he won a patent infringement lawsuit for his client, VirnetX Holding Corp., against Apple Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. VirnetX was awarded $625.6 million. Curry is a principal at Caldwell Cassady & Curry, where he focuses on patent infringement litigation and matters of corporate co-founder disputes. 

Britt McClung has joined Hedrick Kring as a partner in Dallas, where he will focus on complex business disputes in trial and appellate courts, with emphasis on efficient resolution of difficult technical and procedural issues. He will also lead the firm’s appellate practice.

Katherine Monahan Rohrbaugh is litigation counsel at the Kraft Heinz Co. in Chicago. She was previously an associate at White & Case in New York City. She and her husband, Scott Rohrbaugh, are parents of a toddler, Christopher.

Melanie Wilson Rughani has been named a director at Crowe & Dunlevy in Oklahoma City, where she continues her appellate practice. She and her husband, Ankur Rughani, a resident at the Children’s Hospital, have two children, ages 1 and 4.

Albert “BJ” Stieglitz has been named an assistant chief in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section. He and his wife, Amanda, along with their daughters, Caroline, 4, and Elizabeth “Ellie,” 3, reside in Arlington, Va.

Richard WarrenRichard Warren LL.M. has been promoted to partner with Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Va. He advises clients in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, corporate governance and general commercial matters.

Jackie Gharapour Wernz has joined the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in Chicago, where she investigates and enforces several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in schools, colleges and universities across the Midwest. Gharapour Wernz was previously a partner with Franczek Radelet, where she practiced all facets of management- side education law. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Matt, and her two children, 4-year-old Isaiah and 2-year-old Cecily. 


2016 European Reunion
European Reunion

UVA Law LL.M. graduates from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States attended the 2016 European Alumni Reunion in Warsaw, Poland, June 30-July 3. Wojciech Baginski LL.M. ’08 organized the event, in which 28 alumni and family members participated.

For many, the highlight of the reunion weekend was a moving visit to the Warsaw Rising Museum. Other activities included a bus tour of the city, an academic session led by University of Warsaw law professor Artur Nowacki and a visit to the picturesque Royal Lazienki Park. UVA Law professor Pierre-Hugues Verdier conveyed best wishes from Charlottesville and a brief report on the current LL.M. program.

The European Alumni Association is headed by Detlev Oelfke LL.M. ’86 of Hannover, Germany. The 2018 European reunion will take place in Munich, and will be hosted by Christoph Weber LL.M. ’08.

Jim Evans is litigation and regulatory counsel for The TJX Companies Inc., headquartered in Framingham, Mass. TJX is a leading off- price retailer of apparel and home fashion with more than 3,900 stores in nine countries and three e-commerce sites. Evans and his wife, Colleen, live in West Roxbury with their daughters, Nora and Maggie.

Joe Green is a senior legal editor with Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law business unit in New York City, focused on creating startup and venture capital resources for attorneys. He was previously with Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian. Green writes and lectures frequently on startup law issues.

Tiffany Nichols was selected as a rising star in intellectual property litigation for Northern California in Super Lawyers 2016. After practicing law for several years in California, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in the history of science at Harvard University this fall.

Jamaal “Jay” Stafford opened The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford in Chevy Chase, Md., in 2015. His practice focuses on construction law and employment litigation, including wrongful termination, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment and discrimination. He lives in Crofton. 

Supporting Veterans with Alternative Justice

For special assistant U.S. Attorney J. Patrick Robinson ’08, turning his back on veterans who run into trouble because of their military pasts would be like turning his back on family.

The Army captain, who is chief of federal litigation for III Corps and Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, recently spearheaded the organization of a veterans treatment court at the post—the nation’s largest military installation. The Fort Hood Veterans Endeavor for Treatment Support program screens veterans charged with committing more serious misdemeanors (Class A or Class B) and offers the chance to avoid incarceration and a federal conviction if they complete 12 to 18 months of treatment and supervision through the court and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“They’re really signing up for something significant here,” Robinson said.

If a veteran who is charged with driving while intoxicated, for example, were simply to plead guilty to the charge, he or she might serve three to 14 days in jail, then walk away—potentially to reoffend. Instead, “through that intensive supervision and therapy, we hope to have a much more lasting impact on their long-term recovery.”

Opened in January, the VETS pilot program was the first diversion court for veterans to be placed on a military installation, and only the fifth in a federal jurisdiction.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey C. Manske, who operates the VETS court, was one of the earliest supporters of the effort to establish the program at Fort Hood. In his 15 years at the installation, Manske said he has seen that many of the crimes on post, such as drunken driving or possession of controlled substances, are committed by veterans coping poorly with post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health issues. Establishing a veterans court to deal with those defendants “seemed a natural fit and a long overdue and necessary treatment tool for the community,” he said.

The effort was inspired by the approximately 350 state-level veterans treatment courts, dockets and tracks nationwide, and by two initiatives within the Department of Justice: Smart on Crime, which emphasizes prevention and reentry efforts to deter crime and reduce recidivism; and Service members and Veterans, which aims to protect the rights of those who have served and their families.

Ideally, Robinson said, the Fort Hood program will echo the statistics of other treatment courts, which generally see about 75 percent of participants graduate, with 75 percent of those persons never returning to the criminal justice system.

Robinson and Manske hope that VETS might serve as a model for similar efforts on or near other military installations. They said the involvement of local veteran mentors who partner with participants to offer support has been key to the program’s success.

For now, VETS is authorized to enroll up to 12 veterans; as of September, eight were taking part. Robinson hopes for full enrollment by the end of this year.


James P. Abely has joined Psychemedics Corp. as associate general counsel. Psychemedics, headquartered in Acton, Mass., is the world’s largest provider of hair testing for the detection of drugs. Abely was previously with Goodwin Procter.

Sarah Fritsch Kuipers joined Foster Pepper as of counsel to the public finance group in Seattle. She focuses her practice on federal tax requirements and restrictions applicable to various types of tax-exempt obligations, including state and local bonds. She was previously with Morris, Manning & Martin in Atlanta.

Tommy Mayfield has joined ShadowSafe Inc. as director of business development and general counsel. Mayfield is responsible for directing the company’s growth and serving as its principal legal adviser. ShadowSafe provides comprehensive and actively managed data backup and disaster recovery solutions for enterprises of all sizes across a wide range of industries.

Christine E. Bestor Townsend has joined Michael Best & Friedrich’s labor and employment relations practice group in Milwaukee. She counsels and represents clients through all stages of employment litigation.