Twenty-One Attorneys Promoted Firmwide
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is pleased to announce that 21 attorneys have been promoted to partner. The 2020 Partner Class includes Farha Chowdry (Palo Alto), Michael T. Driscoll (New York), Shawn D. Fabian (Chicago), Frances M.K. Hernandez (Orange County), Michael Koltonyuk (Washington, D.C.), Jacqueline Gottlieb Luther (Orange County), Alexander L. Merritt (San Francisco), Alejandro E. Moreno (San Diego), Keahn N. Morris (San Francisco), Heather L. Plocky (Los Angeles), Dylan J. Price (Century City), Brooke S. Purcell (San Francisco), Mark G. Rackers (San Diego), Jay Ramsey (Century City), William (Bill) M. Rappolt (Washington, D.C.), Alexis Robinson (New York), Robert K. Sahyan (San Francisco), Matthew M. Shatzkes (New York), Matthew A. Tobias (Los Angeles), Golnaz Yazdchi (Century City), and Amanda Zablocki (New York). The promotions are effective March 1, 2020.
“Our new partner class highlights Sheppard Mullin’s strengths across practices, industries and geographies,” said Sheppard Mullin chairman Guy Halgren. “These attorneys have played a vital role in the growth of the firm, demonstrated unmatched dedication to client service, and will be the future leaders of our firm.”
Meet Sheppard Mullin’s 2020 Partner Class:
Farha Chowdry is a member of the firm’s Corporate practice group and is based in the Palo Alto office. She focuses on general corporate transactional matters, especially working with emerging growth companies through all stages of their lifecycle, including entity formation and structuring, angel and venture capital financings, joint ventures and consulting arrangements, and day-to-day corporate governance matters. Chowdry routinely represents companies in complex mergers and acquisitions, advising clients on both sell-side and buy-side transactions. She also counsels venture capital funds in the negotiation, structuring, and maintenance of their portfolio company investments. Chowdry works with clients in industries including software, eCommerce, artificial intelligence, and healthcare. She received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Michael T. Driscoll is a member of the firm’s Finance and Bankruptcy practice group and is based in the New York office. He focuses on problem loan workouts, bankruptcy, judicial and non-judicial foreclosure, and creditors’ rights and commercial law. Before joining the firm, Driscoll served as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the U.S. Trustee for the Southern District of New York. During his tenure, he represented the U.S. Trustee’s office in more than 150 Chapter 11 cases by ensuring compliance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations during all phases of bankruptcy cases. Prior to attending law school, Driscoll was an active duty and reserve officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served two tours in Iraq and was awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and a Combat Action Ribbon. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps as a Major. Driscoll received his B.A. from Creighton University and his J.D. from UIC John Marshall Law School.
Shawn D. Fabian is a member of the Labor and Employment practice group and is based in the Chicago office. He represents management-side clients before federal and state courts across the country and before administrative agencies, including the Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, and various state and municipal human rights commissions and labor agencies, as well as in arbitrations and other avenues of alternative dispute resolution. Fabian also has extensive experience analyzing the enforceability of restrictive covenants and structuring enforceable restrictive covenants to protect his clients’ business interests. He counsels domestic and international clients on day-to-day workplace issues, such as preparation, administration, and enforcement of personnel policies, reductions-in-force, executive and employee discipline and separation, leaves of absence, and reasonable accommodations. Fabian also works closely with the firm’s Corporate practice group on mergers and acquisitions to evaluate the labor and employment liabilities associated with specific transactions and to structure sophisticated executive employment and other agreements in connection with such transactions. He received his B.A. from George Washington University and his J.D. from New York Law School.
Frances M.K. Hernandez is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment practice group and is based in the Orange County office. She is particularly experienced in state and federal labor and employment law representing employers. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine, where she was Captain of the Women’s Soccer Team, and her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and received the Hamilton Fellowship. Hernandez also serves on the Board of Directors of the Regional Center of Orange County (RCOC), a nonprofit organization contracted by the State of California to coordinate lifelong services and support for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and on the Board of Directors of Mary’s Path, a nonprofit organization in Orange County that houses and supports pregnant teens and teen mothers who are fleeing high-risk environments.
Michael Koltonyuk is a member of the Corporate practice group and is based in the Washington, D.C. office. He focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity leveraged buyouts, and general corporate representation. Koltonyuk structures and negotiates domestic and cross-border transactions on behalf of both U.S. and non-U.S. companies in industries that include aerospace and defense, government services, consumer products, automotive and transportation, healthcare, industrial manufacturing, and technology. He represents private equity firms and their portfolio companies as well as strategic clients in connection with public and private mergers and acquisitions, complex carve-out transactions, consortium arrangements, going-private transactions and joint ventures. He received his B.S. from Columbia University; his M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was also an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Prior to entering the practice of law, Koltonyuk served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Jacqueline Gottlieb Luther is a member of the Business Trial and Finance and Bankruptcy practice groups. Based in the Orange County office, she handles commercial and civil litigation matters such as securities litigation, creditors’ rights litigation, contract disputes, real estate and property disputes, business torts litigation, trusts and estates and fiduciary litigation. As an experienced trial lawyer, she often represents financial institutions and other clients in all state and federal courts, and she is experienced in enforcing secured and unsecured loan obligations, obtaining attachments, injunctions, restraining orders, receiverships, and other pre-judgment remedies. Luther also represents clients in trust and estates litigation in both prosecuting and defending disputes pertaining to breach of fiduciary duty/surcharge actions, interpretation issues, will/trust contests, entitlement claims, and other types of controversies, both in the court system and before alternative dispute resolution forums. She serves on the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Women Lawyers Group Committee, and the Recruiting Committee. Luther received her B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif, from Loyola Law School.
Alexander L. Merritt is a member of the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group and is based in the San Francisco office. His practice focuses on land use and land use litigation. He represents property owners and developers through all phases of the development process, including due diligence, entitlements, California Environmental Quality Act compliance, land use litigation, and project implementation. Merritt received his B.S. from the University of Virginia and his J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he was a member the Washington and Lee Law Review.
Alejandro Moreno is a member of the firm’s Business Trial practice group and is based in the San Diego office. He practices general business and commercial litigation in both state and federal courts, and he is experienced in private arbitration and appellate litigation. Moreno handles matters in the banking and finance, mortgage, hospitality, technology and telecommunications, restaurant and franchise, energy and extraction, and pharmaceutical industries. His practice is focused on complex consumer class action defense, securities litigation and derivative suits, and cross-border litigation. In the securities litigation space, Moreno prevailed in a precedent-setting opinion in the Nevada Supreme Court, which set the standard for when a shareholder has standing to assert a claim for shareholder dilution. He is fluent in Spanish and has helped Latin American clients resolve legal issues on both sides of the border. He also has experience litigating cross-border disputes and labor disputes involving a primarily Spanish-speaking workforce. Of note, Moreno acted as lead counsel in an intense, fact-gathering investigation involving a wage and hour class action against a large waste management company. In addition, he successfully investigated a labor dispute affecting an American company with an assembly plant in Mexico. Moreno received his B.A., with high honors, from the University of California, Santa Barbara; his LL.M., with a focus on Commercial Law, from the University of Cambridge (King’s College); and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Keahn N. Morris is a member of the Labor and Employment practice group and is based in the San Francisco office. His practice focuses on all areas of labor and employment law, including counseling of management-side clients, traditional union/labor relations, and employment litigation. Morris is an experienced trial lawyer, having represented employers in more than 50 trials/arbitrations before arbitrators, judges, and various administrative agencies. He is also a trusted advisor and regularly counsels corporate executives, in-house legal counsel, and human resources leaders on matters such as union representation elections, union-backed corporate organizing campaigns, collective bargaining, labor peace agreements, federal and state labor injunctions, labor-management relations, human resources strategies, and risk management and labor-related advice for mergers and acquisitions. His clients include companies within the healthcare, transportation, aerospace and defense, hospitality, retail, food and beverage, wine, sporting and entertainment venues, manufacturing, construction, cannabis, technology, and the “gig” economy industries. Morris received his B.A. from Northwestern University and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Heather L. Plocky is member of the Business Trial practice group and is based in the Los Angeles office. She represents clients in commercial and business litigation matters in both state and federal court, and her experience includes whistleblower retaliation claims under Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank and California law, complex business disputes, toxic torts, product liability, class action defense, securities litigation, real estate disputes, and allegations of unfair business practices and fraud. Plocky works with clients in the banking and finance, energy, aerospace, and automotive sectors. She also serves on the advisory board for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. Plocky received her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, San Diego, and her J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from Loyola Law School.
Dylan Price is a member of the Business Trial practice group and is based in the Century City office. He focuses his practice in the areas of entertainment, intellectual property and commercial litigation. His entertainment practice includes the representation of studios, producers, managers, and media companies in connection with claims, including those relating to copyright, motion picture distribution rights, content licensing, music rights, participation accounting issues, residual allocation claims, final cut rights, partnership disputes, and breach of contract claims. Price often represents entertainment and business clients in both state and federal court, as well as in arbitrations before the Independent Film & Television Alliance arbitration tribunal. He also counsels filmmakers and producers on intellectual property clearance issues, including the analysis of fair use defenses under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, and provides guidance to content creators looking to reduce the risk of claims. Price received his B.A., with distinction and honors, from the University of Michigan and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Brooke S. Purcell is a member of the Labor and Employment practice group and is based in the San Francisco office. Her practice focuses on defending employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies against claims of wage and hour violations, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. Purcell takes a pragmatic approach to litigation that balances the need for a strong defense with business realities. Her clients range from small businesses to publicly traded companies, primarily in the technology, retail, and hospitality industries. In addition to her litigation practice, she frequently provides guidance and training to companies to maintain compliance with federal, state, and municipal laws and regulations. Prior to attending law school, Purcell was a legislative assistant for Senator McCain in the U.S. Senate and a professional staff member within the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. She received her B.A. from Tufts University and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.
Mark G. Rackers is a member of the Business Trial practice group and is based in the San Diego office. He is an experienced trial attorney who represents clients in business disputes, with a special emphasis on lender liability, real estate, consumer class action defense, multi-family litigation, and unfair competition. He is experienced in serving as lead trial counsel, having obtained complete victories in bench and jury trials, and has successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal. Rackers previously spent two years as in-house counsel in the legal department of Wells Fargo Bank, where he managed a portfolio of mortgage, student loan, bankruptcy, credit card, and auto finance matters in all areas of litigation, including trial. He received his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego; his M.A. from San Diego State University; and his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.
Jay Ramsey is a member of the Business Trial practice group and the Privacy and Cybersecurity, Advertising, and Food and Beverage industry teams. Based in the Century City office, he represents retailers, food and beverage companies, fintech companies, marketing companies, online advertising networks, insurers, health plans, hospitals, airlines, and telecommunications companies in complex and general business litigation, from breach of contract and various business torts to class actions alleging various violations of state and federal law. Ramsey has extensive experience in false advertising litigation, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and privacy-related litigation and also regularly advises clients on advertising and compliance efforts. In the media and entertainment field, he represents studios, producers, broadcasting companies, and other content producers and aggregators in claims relating to distribution rights, profit participation, and other accounting issues. Ramsey is also a member of Out At Sheppard, the firm’s LGBTQ+ affinity group. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his J.D. from the George Washington University School of Law.
Bill Rappolt is a member of the Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance industry team and the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group. Based in the Washington, D.C. office., he represents clients in the natural gas, electric, and oil/liquids industries in commercial transactions and before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state utility commissions, and appellate courts. He advises and represents energy industry participants regarding tariff-related issues, natural gas pipeline certificates, market-based rate authorizations, compliance with energy market rules and regulations, standards of conduct, interconnection rules and negotiations, and purchases and sales of energy facilities and companies. He has worked across the renewable energy sector, including on wind, solar and biomass projects, and on electric battery storage projects. Rappolt has also aided electric and natural gas clients with ratemaking issues involving cost of service, return on equity, and rate design. He received his B.A. from the University of Maryland and his J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law.
Alexis Robinson is a member of the Entertainment and Digital Media practice group and is based in the New York office. Robinson, formerly in-house counsel at several multinational corporations, provides legal and strategic counsel in connection with transactional matters involving the convergence of technology, entertainment, music, fashion, e-commerce, advertising, and content licensing. She counsels clients in connection with complex commercial transactions across a variety disciplines, with an emphasis in negotiating deals involving digital content and music licensing, distribution and rights acquisition, mobile app development and distribution, software-as-a-service (SaaS) arrangements, fintech, IoT technology, data privacy and information security, esports licensing, endorsements and sponsorships, online gaming development and brand licensing, and apparel distribution. Robinson also advises clients on the use of electronic communication and social media, social media platform compliance, execution of e-mail marketing campaigns, text message campaigns, pre-recorded call campaigns, and online information collection programs in compliance with CAN-SPAM, the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, and compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines for advertising and marketing to consumers. She received her B.A. from the University of Delaware and her J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Robert K. Sahyan is a member of the Finance and Bankruptcy practice group and is based in the San Francisco office. Sahyan is an experienced commercial lending attorney, representing lenders and borrowers in various stages of financial transactions, including loan origination, restructuring, and enforcement of remedies. He counsels clients in matters involving various types of debt transactions, including term loans, asset-based lines of credit, commercial real estate loans, and syndicated facilities. These matters involve industries such as technology, hospitality, food and beverage, retail and mortgage banking. Sahyan also has a significant commercial bankruptcy experience. His insolvency practice includes representing parties – such as such as creditors, trustees, debtors-in-possession, official committees, and purchasers of assets – before the bankruptcy court. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from California State University, Fullerton; his Licentiate in Law from Damascus University; and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, where he was a member of the Hastings Business Law Journal.
Matthew M. Shatzkes is a member of the Corporate practice group and the Healthcare industry team. Based in the New York office, he provides strategic, regulatory, compliance, and transactional advice to healthcare clients, including health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, long-term care providers, ambulatory surgery centers, diagnostic and treatment centers, physician practices, digital health companies, and investors. On the transactional side, Shatzkes handles corporate issues surrounding complex joint ventures between healthcare entities. He also negotiates mergers and advises clients on professional services and management/administrative services agreements, as well as formation, corporate governance, and operational matters for various healthcare entities. In addition, he advises healthcare providers, emerging health IT companies, vendors, and investors in the digital health industry on regulatory and strategic matters critical to telehealth and other health technology products, platforms, and services. Shatzkes has worked with digital health startups, IT vendors, and health systems to develop and implement telehealth networks throughout the United States. On the regulatory side, he advises clients on compliance matters, including licensure and certification matters, data security and privacy (including HIPAA compliance), fraud and abuse laws, and corporate practice of medicine. He was recognized among “Associates to Watch in Healthcare” by Chambers USA. Shatzkes received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brooklyn College and his J.D., cum laude, from St. John’s University School of Law.
Matthew A. Tobias is a member of the Labor and Employment practice group and is based in Los Angeles office. He focuses on labor and employment matters on behalf of employers and management. Tobias has considerable jury trial experience and has tried to verdict employment matters such as age, sex, national origin, and disability discrimination, as well as harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination claims. A significant portion of his practice is devoted to the defense of complex wage and hour class action litigation. He has successfully defeated class certification motions and prevailed on summary judgment in class actions, as well as single plaintiff cases. Tobias also represents employers in union negotiations, grievance proceedings, and unfair labor charges. Prior to joining the firm, he worked for the City of Los Angeles as an investigator responding to claims of unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation, conducting lectures to City employees on compliance with state and federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws, and representing the City in union-related matters. He received his B.S. from the University of Southern California and his J.D., summa cum laude, from Southwestern Law School.
Golnaz Yazdchi is a member of the Private Wealth and Fiduciary Litigation practice group and is based in the Century City office.
JOHN J. BUCHANAN