Send Us Your News
To submit a class note, email us or submit mail to UVA Lawyer, University of Virginia School of Law, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Please send your submissions no later than Aug. 1 for inclusion in the next issue.
Jessica Brown and Andy Howlett welcomed baby girl Anne Elliot Howlett (UVA Law Class of 2041) in May. The proud parents are tax lawyers in Washington, D.C.
Eric G. Penley joined Preti Flaherty as an associate in the litigation group in Boston. He was previously with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
Ehsan Tabesh joined Fisher Phillips as an associate in Houston, where he represents employers in a variety of labor and employment matters.
Thomas Worthy was appointed vice president of government and external affairs at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta and represents the seven-hospital system before local, state and federal governments on a wide array of regulatory and tax issues. Worthy was previously director of government and external affairs for the State Bar of Georgia.
Alexander K. Cox joined Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett as an associate in Erie, Pa. He focuses his practice on commercial litigation.
Rachel Brown Mink, an attorney adviser with the Division of Quality at the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Arlington, Va., and Noah Mink, an associate at Baker Botts in Washington, D.C., where he primarily practices in the areas of international arbitration and white- collar criminal defense and investigations, welcomed their first child, Emma Katherine, on April 17. They live in Alexandria, Va., and report that their newborn “enjoys typical baby activities of eating and sleeping.”
Jeree Thomas ’11 is the new policy director for the Campaign for Youth Justice in Washington, D.C., an organization dedicated to ending the prosecution, sentencing and incarceration of youth in the adult criminal justice system.
Thomas joined the campaign from the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Richmond, Va., where she began her legal career in 2011 as a Skadden Fellow representing youth who had problems in their education and their re-entry into society after incarceration. Her work there won her recognition in June as she became the inaugural recipient of the Youth Justice Emerging Leader Award, given by the National Juvenile Justice Network.
The problem of youth incarceration in the United States is a pressing one, Thomas said. Some 200,000 youths are tried as adults each year, more than in any other country in the world.
“Research, data and experience tell us that treating youth as adults does not improve public safety or rehabilitate the youth,” said Thomas, who participated in the Child Advocacy Clinic while in Law School. “Unfortunately, they are more likely to be put in solitary confinement, 36 times more likely to commit suicide than their peers held in juvenile facilities, and are disproportionately the victims of sexual violence in adult facilities.”
As an attorney for JustChildren, Thomas laid the groundwork for the RISE for Youth Coalition, a Virginia- based nonpartisan coalition that supports community alternatives to youth incarceration. She also helped create Performing Statistics, a project that allowed her to work with youth who were released from the Richmond Detention Center; three days a week, three hours a day, she worked side by side with artists and advocates to create art that supports jail reform. When she saw that one of her clients had the potential to be a community organizer, she mentored him so that he had the skills to do the job.
“If we want young people to become law-abiding adults, we have to teach them how to do that,” she said.
In June, Kent Piacenti ’12 was named one of the nation’s best LGBT lawyers under 40 by the LGBT Bar Association for his professional achievements and commitment to issues of equality. He is an associate with Vinson & Elkins in Dallas, where he focuses on complex commercial and appellate litigation.
Piacenti was vice president of the Lambda Law Alliance at the Law School, and since graduating has worked for diversity and equality in both the legal field and in the community. He is actively involved in pro bono work and has represented media organizations as amici curiae at the Supreme Court of Texas, and represented a social justice organization as amicus curiae at the U.S. Supreme Court. He is co-chair of the Dallas Leadership Committee of Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest legal organization working for the civil rights of lesbians, gay men and people with HIV/ AIDS.
Piacenti serves on the board of directors for the Turtle Creek Chorale, a gay men’s chorus that is among the most-recorded singing groups in the world. He also finds time to mentor aspiring lawyers, most recently coaching a team from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law at the Williams Institute Moot Court, a competition focused on LGBT and gender matters.
He has published on issues involving anti-gay bullying in schools and the challenges LGBT people face under immigration and citizenship law. In 2014, he co- authored “Immigration’s Family Values” with Law School professor Kerry Abrams, which investigates how immigration and citizenship law decide parental rights. The article was published in the Virginia Law Review.
Lucas Beirne has joined the Federal Reserve Board as an attorney in the banking enforcement group. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Amanda.
Capt. Travis P. Brinton received the 2015 Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Distinguished Service Award from the U.S. Air Force. Stationed with the 633rd Air Base Wing, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., he led the Air Combat Command’s busiest legal assistance office in 2015. Faced with a six-month backlog, he streamlined service to retirees and family members and reduced the wait list to zero.
Kellen Fowler is the director of business development for 1-800 CONTACTS in Salt Lake City. He was previously a strategy consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in Dallas. Fowler and his wife, Sarah, have two daughters, 2-year-old Madison and 3-month- old Claire.
Katherine Schadler Jordan joined Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry as an associate in the tax controversy and litigation practice in Philadelphia. She previously clerked for Judge Joseph W. Nega in the U.S. Tax Court; prior to that, she practiced with Moore & Van Allen.
Jason Lynch joined the Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Fraud Section, Civil Division after clerking for a year for U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer. He and his wife, Becca, welcomed their second son into the world last fall. The family lives in Alexandria, Va.
Georgia Varlan Man was promoted to deputy general counsel to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. She also serves as chief compliance officer for the state of Illinois. Prior to working for the governor, Varlan Man was a corporate associate with Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago.
Esha Mankodi received the 2016 Freedom of Information Award from the ACLU of Southern California for her pro bono work. Mankodi filed and litigated the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service regarding the Controlled Application and Resolution Review Program and the negative impact it has had on immigrants to the U.S. She is an associate with Jones Day in Washington, D.C., where she focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation.
David Perez serves as director of business affairs for CBS Studios International. He is responsible for advising on global distribution of television content and negotiating and drafting international television license agreements. He lives in Los Angeles.
Emily Renzelli is listed among the top 40 young lawyers on the rise in 2016 by the American Bar Association. She is an associate with White & Case in Washington, D.C., and focuses her practice on antitrust and white- collar matters. Renzelli has worked in the U.S. and abroad defending the rights of individuals with HIV/AIDS.
Christine Tschiderer ’12 recently helped represent a former employee of Chipotle Mexican Grill in a discrimination case that was hailed as a major victory for working women. The jury ruled in August that the employee had been discriminated against and was ultimately fired for being pregnant. The jury awarded damages of $550,000, which was later amended to $350,000 under a Title VII damages cap.
Tschiderer’s client, Doris Garcia Hernandez, prepared food in a Chipotle in Washington, D.C., where she received positive performance reviews. After telling her supervisor she was pregnant, she said he limited her access to drinking water and refused to allow her to take routine breaks. A few months later, he denied her request to leave work early to go to a prenatal doctor’s appointment, but she went anyway. He fired her the next day.
“The facts of this case epitomize the type of work that I’ve done over the past two years and highlight the significant need for legal services in this area,” Tschiderer said. “Unfortunately, pregnant women working in physically demanding jobs like food service, retail and janitorial services often experience the type of treatment that Ms. Garcia did. I’m glad to see that this case has shone a light on these issues.”
While in law school, Tschiderer advocated for women, children and families in the Child Advocacy Clinic at and later interned with the National Partnership for Women and Families and Children’s Rights. She joined the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in 2014 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, where she has focused on fighting the type of discrimination against pregnancy and family responsibilities experienced by immigrant women working in low-wage jobs. She became a staff attorney at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee in September.
“We were extremely pleased with the jury’s verdict,” she said. “It vindicated my client, Ms. Garcia, for bravely taking a stand on behalf of her family and pregnant workers everywhere, and it sent a strong message to employers that this type of behavior is intolerable.”
Billy Easley II is a congressional liaison and legislative specialist with the U.S. Sentencing Commission in Washington, D.C. He was previously legal counsel at the office of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Easley continues to undertake pro bono housing work for the underserved in the district.
Gabriel Hippolyte is an assistant district attorney with the New York District Attorney’s Office, where he prosecutes a variety of felony offenses. In August he married the former Stephanie Gonzalez- Vitale in Portland, Ore., and they honeymooned in Alaska.
Nicholas Matich is an associate with Bancroft in Washington, D.C., where he specializes in appellate litigation and strategic counseling, with a particular focus on intellectual property matters. Matich was previously with Williams & Connolly. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, Elise, and their three children.
Steven D. Ryan joined DLA Piper in Northern Virginia as an associate. He works with Jeff Lehrer ’96 in the emerging growth and venture capital practice. Ryan and his wife, Danielle, welcomed their second child, Max, to their family in September 2015.
Benton York is clerking for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for the 2016 term, after three years in private practice. He lives in Jackson, Miss., with his wife, Meg.
Corbin Blackford and his wife, Kristin, celebrated the birth of their son, Henry Kellum Blackford, on April 3. Corbin joined his wife in the family business, the Taste of Texas Restaurant, as general counsel. The Corbins reside in Houston.
Ron Fisher joined the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins. Prior to joining Latham, he clerked for Judge Michelle T. Friedland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Jenna Reekie joined Thompson & Knight in Dallas as an associate in the real estate and banking practice group.
Arianna M. Caldwell joined Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, D.C., as an associate in the international tax, private client, and business, investment and transactional tax groups.