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Wilson Elser Promotes 25 to Partner

NEW YORK (January 16, 2020) – Leading national law firm Wilson Elser has promoted 25 of counsel and associates to partner, effective January 1, 2020.

“On behalf of the firm, I congratulate our newest partners and the next generation of leaders,” said Wilson Elser Chair Dan McMahon. “They have a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses and industries and their contributions will continue to advance our firm’s and our clients’ success.”

“Women comprise nearly half of our new partners, and that reflects Wilson Elser’s commitment to developing and retaining women attorneys by strengthening their skills and providing career-advancing opportunities,” said Carolyn O’Connor, New Jersey regional managing partner and chair of Wilson Elser’s Women Attorneys Valued & Empowered (WAVE) initiative.

O’Connor said the percentage of women in the 2020 promotion class exceeds the national average among the largest U.S. firms.

“Diversity and inclusion is a foundational value at Wilson Elser,” McMahon added, “and this new class shows that our efforts ranging from recruitment to professional development and retention are paying dividends.”

Boston
Justin J. Shireman practices in the areas of commercial and complex tort litigation, with emphasis on insurance defense, general liability, product liability defense and toxic tort. Justin served as the judicial law clerk assigned to the Providence Superior Court Dispositive Motion Calendar in 2007−2008. He graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. degree from Roger Williams University School of Law (2007) and magna cum laude with his B.A. degree from Emory University (2000).

Chicago
Lisa Handler Ackerman focuses her practice on labor and employment matters, including defending employers in litigation along with counseling employers and drafting complex employment contracts. Lisa is the immediate past chair of the Labor and Employment Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and a member of Wilson Elser’s national diversity and inclusion initiative, WAVE (Women Attorneys Valued & Empowered). Lisa obtained her J.D. degree from Chicago-Kent School of Law (1999) and her B.S. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1996).

Ashley L. Conaghan focuses her practice on complex insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. In 2019, she was selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars. Before entering private practice, Ashley served as a judicial extern with United States Magistrate Judge Valdez. She graduated magna cum laude with her J.D. degree from Chicago-Kent School of Law (2010) and magna cum laude with her B.A. degree from Bradley University (2007).

Edward A. DeVries primarily represents railroads, product manufacturers and transportation companies in state and federal courts in commercial, employment, and complex tort and generally casualty matters. He graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. degree from Valparaiso University School of Law (2010), where he was an associate editor of the Law Review. Ed graduated summa cum laude with his B.A. degree from Valparaiso University (2007).

Bret D. Franco has extensive experience representing commercial and nonprofit organizations, including technology companies, insurers, religious institutions, schools, employers, and property owners. Bret focuses his practice in the area of complex civil litigation, including defense of catastrophic personal injury claims, mass tort claims, pharmacy malpractice and employment disputes. He previously served as a prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he accumulated extensive trial experience in criminal and civil matters. He obtained his J.D. degree from Chicago-Kent School of Law (2007) and his B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2004).

Joseph J. Stafford represents clients in state and federal courts and agencies, primarily in the areas of insurance coverage, employment and labor law, commercial litigation and intellectual property. Before joining Wilson Elser, Joseph represented insurance companies and businesses in complex insurance coverage matters and defense litigation in state and federal courts. He graduated cum laude with his J.D. degree from John Marshall Law School (2011) and obtained his B.A. degree from the University of Illinois (2008).

Washington, D.C.
Ryan M. Duffy primarily defends medical device and consumer product liability litigation in state and federal courts across the country on behalf of domestic and international manufacturers and distributors. He is a skilled litigator with extensive experience handling all phases of complex civil litigation, and was selected for inclusion in Washington D.C. Super Lawyers Rising Stars from 2017-2020. He graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. degree from American University Washington College of Law (2011) and earned his B.A. degree from the University of Maryland College Park (2006).

Las Vegas
Chad C. Butterfield handles employment defense, professional liability, business litigation, and insurance coverage and bad faith, among other matters. Chad litigates employment matters arising under federal and state employment laws, and has successfully represented clients in sophisticated commercial cases in state and federal court. Chad also represents financial institutions in actions involving claims arising under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. He graduated with his J.D. degree from Rutgers School of Law (2007) and his B.A. degree in Asian Studies from Brigham Young University (2003).

Virginia
Peter M. Moore
focuses his practice on insurance coverage and complex general liability litigation. He also represents companies and individuals in commercial litigation and professional liability matters and has significant experience with large-scale e-Discovery projects. Peter was selected for inclusion in the Virginia and Washington, D.C., editions of Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2015−2019). He graduated with his J.D. degree from Washington University School of Law (2007) and his B.A. degree from the University of California, Berkeley (2002).

Miami
Tanya I. Suarez was the first Hispanic woman partner for the firm’s Miami office. She handles a wide range of matters related to general liability defense and litigation. She is a member of the firm’s National Trial Team. She is the firm's Miami-based liaison with Latin American clients and insurers and represents insureds based in the United States, Canada and Latin America in U.S. state and federal courts. She graduated with a J.D. degree from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center (2010) and her B.S. degree from Florida State University (2002).

Milwaukee
Patricia A. Stone focuses her trial practice primarily on the defense of lawsuits based on cyber liability, premises liability, construction defect claims, product liability, insurance coverage and general liability litigation in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota State and federal courts. Patricia was selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2015−2019). She graduated with her J.D. degree from Marquette University Law School (2010), her M.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (2003) and her B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota (2001).

New York Metro
Jeremy M. Buchalski practices in the area of workers’ compensation, with extensive experience defending employers and insurance carriers. He also practices in the area of general liability, including defense of cases involving trucking accidents, premises liability and construction accidents. Jeremy has drafted and argued appeals before all four of New York’s appellate courts. He graduated with his J.D. degree from Brooklyn Law School (2010) and his B.A. degree from New York University (2007).

Rory Greebel handles commercial litigation matters and represents individuals and a variety of businesses, including but not limited to accounting firms, business managers, small corporations, real estate development firms, construction companies and municipalities. He was elected for inclusion in Super Lawyers New York Rising Stars (2016−2018). Rory graduated with his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law (2007) and his B.A. from Emory University (2003).

John P. Kelly has substantial experience representing insurers, insureds and corporations in a wide variety of litigation matters, including construction, premises liability, labor law, product liability, trucking/transportation, employment and insurance coverage. During his time as an associate, John tried multiple cases to verdict. He also has experience in transactional matters. John graduated with his J.D. degree from University of Pittsburgh School of Law (2010) and his B.A. degree from Bucknell University (2007).

Katherine L. McCrink defends medical malpractice, nursing home liability and general liability claims. In the medical malpractice area, Katherine represents hospitals, physicians and other health care professionals in cases involving a variety of medical specialties. She graduated with her J.D. degree from University of Buffalo School of Law (2009), where she served as editor in chief of the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal. She graduated magna cum laude with her B.A. degree from Binghamton University (2006).

Rebecca S. Moore focuses her practice on defending hospitals, physicians, home health providers, long-term care facilities and other health care professionals in high-exposure, complex medical malpractice actions. She earned a J.D. degree from Tulane University School of Law (2005) along with a Certificate in Mediation Training and a Certificate in Comparative Law from Trinity College at Cambridge University. Rebecca graduated cum laude with an A.B. degree from Boston College (2000) and was a member of the University Honors Program.

Erin E. Zecca concentrates her practice on high-exposure construction matters. She represents owners and contractors in complex cases involving catastrophic injuries and claims of negligence, labor law and industrial code violations. As the New York Regional Representative of WAVE, Erin also dedicates her practice to advancing the professional and personal well-being of women attorneys. During law school, Erin was a judicial intern to Hon. Gary S. Katzmann of the Massachusetts Appeals Court in Boston. She graduated with her J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law (2009) and cum laude with her B.A. degree from the College of the Holy Cross (2006).

New Jersey
Gina Calabria has a diverse practice that includes complex tort, general casualty and transportation matters. She also has experience handling construction litigation, product liability claims and employment litigation. Gina serves a broad client base, including commercial property owners and managers, global retailers, manufacturers, distributors, restaurants, hotels, entertainment companies, long-haul trucking companies and taxi fleets. She graduated with her J.D. degree from Seton Hall University School of Law (2002) and her B.A. degree from Villanova University (1999).

Michael P. Chipko handles professional liability matters primarily in defense of lawyers, general liability, commercial litigation and franchise disputes. His clients include attorneys, doctors, brokers, franchisors and national corporations. Prior to working at Wilson Elser, Michael represented a wide range of clients in the insurance defense and commercial litigation departments at an insurance defense firm. He graduated with his J.D. degree from Rutgers School of Law (2011) and magna cum laude with his B.A. degree from the University of Delaware (2008).

Philadelphia
Heather Austin handles a wide range of litigation matters in state and federal courts. She concentrates her practice in the areas of ERISA litigation and employment counseling and defense. While she handles cases in federal courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, Heather is often engaged in litigation matters nationwide. She graduated with her J.D. degree from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law (1999) and her B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania (1993).

San Francisco
Gardiner McKleroy is an experienced litigator who represents mid-sized and large companies in all phases of litigation from pre-suit investigations through trial. Gardiner focuses his practice on product liability, construction defect and employment litigation. He graduated with his J.D. degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law (2005) and was a recipient of a merit-based faculty scholarship. He graduated with his B.S. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (2002).

Dawn A. Silberstein represents insurance carriers and policyholders in litigation involving third-party liability and first-party property coverage claims. Dawn started her practice representing homeowners’ associations in construction defect litigation and as corporate counsel before transitioning to construction defense and then to coverage. Since joining Wilson Elser, she has expanded her practice to include defense of real estate and financial/insurance professionals. Dawn graduated with her J.D. degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law (1993) and her B.A. degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz (1987) Phi Beta Kappa.

Julie A. Torres is a highly accomplished attorney recognized for her defense of corporate clients in a variety of areas, including complex litigation, product and premises liability, environmental, toxic torts, personal injury, construction defect, bad faith and malpractice. She practices in state and federal courts in California and jurisdictions in throughout the United States. Julie graduated with her J.D. degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law and her B.A. degree from California State University, Los Angeles.

Stamford
Nicole R. Cuglietto provides claims management, insurance coverage analysis and risk management services to insurers for professional lines. Nicole also serves as claims and coverage counsel for domestic and international insurers regarding commercial general liability, professional liability and disability claims. Nicole was included in Connecticut Super Lawyers Rising Stars (2016−2019). She graduated with her J.D. degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law (2011) and her B.A. degree from Quinnipiac University (2008).

Matthew D. Valauri has extensive litigation experience working with insurance carriers and transportation and other companies in defending claims for personal injuries, wrongful death, property damage, product liability, breach of contract and creditors’ rights claims in New York and Connecticut. He also handles numerous matters relating to the needs of Canadian clients. Matthew graduated with his J.D. degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School (2008) and magna cum laude with his B.B.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2004). 

About Wilson Elser
Wilson Elser (www.wilsonelser.com) helps individuals and organizations transcend challenges and realize goals by offering an optimal balance of legal excellence and bottom-line value. More than 800 attorneys strong, Wilson Elser serves clients of all sizes, across multiple industries and around the world. Wilson Elser has 38 strategically located offices in the United States and another in London. It is a founding member of Legalign Global, a close alliance of four of the world’s leading insurance law firms created to assist companies doing business internationally. This depth and scale makes Wilson Elser one of the nation’s most influential law firms, ranked in the AmLaw 200 and 56th in The National Law Journal’s NLJ 500.

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