Leaders in Court and Leaders at the Firm
Meet Women Partners
Career Highlights: Danielle focuses on high-stakes investigations and litigation involving the federal government, an area in which she has particularly sharp insight thanks to a year of service as US associate deputy attorney general of the. She co-chairs the firm’s Anti-Discrimination Practice, bringing vast experience in all aspects of civil rights law, from campus sexual misconduct to fair housing and community policing. Her record includes a key 2016 civil rights victory that kept Texas from imposing more restrictive voter ID requirements.
Trial Wisdom: “I brought a lot of valuable lessons back from my time at the Department of Justice. Being on the inside, you really learn the way people think about civil rights issues. This in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of the various discrimination laws benefits my clients when they go to trial.”
Career Highlights: A skilled trial and appellate lawyer, Felicia has netted wins in complex commercial litigation in both state and federal courtrooms. Notably, in a Massachusetts court, she led a team that convinced a jury to find for the defendant in a libel trial with $25 million in damages on the line. Her record of success rests on a foundation of trial experience developed during a stint at the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.
Trial Wisdom: “The ability to think and act quickly on your feet is so important as a trial lawyer. You need to avoid knee-jerk reactions, but at the same time, think very quickly. If an unexpected issue arises, you should take a beat to think about it, and then have the confidence to exercise your judgment and say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do.’”
Career Highlights: Vinita has developed a broad practice as a trial lawyer. She represents clients in a wide variety of industries—from pharmaceuticals to consumer products to financial services—in both patent and trademark litigation. In one particularly hard-fought case, she helped to persuade a jury to find for a small biotech company accused of infringement by a much larger competitor—a victory that kept her client from going out of business.
Trial Wisdom: “Before a trial, I do a lot of reading. It’s critical to be fully up to speed on everything in the record. For example, if I’m going to be doing the examination of a witness, I want to know everything that witness has said in a case. I make sure I’m not going to be surprised by anything.”
Career Highlights: Rachael, who vice-chairs the firm’s International Arbitration Group, has led international arbitration hearings around the world, including in disputes arising under M&A agreements, construction and infrastructure contracts, and technology licensing and transfer agreements. Chambers Global, which has recognized her from 2013–2018, says she “knows the arbitration process backwards and forwards and makes really good strategic calls.”
Trial Wisdom: “Every case is different, and a good advocate will adjust to the arbitral seat, the governing law, the nationalities of the arbitrators and the commercial context. But good advocacy always comes down to anticipating the hard questions and walking the arbitrators through every step of the analysis they need to reach the result their client is seeking.”
Career Highlights: For more than 20 years, Natalie has served as lead counsel in patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets matters for a range of technology clients. Among other victories, she achieved an essential verdict for a company that created a novel skin-cleansing system: “We went after the knockoffs and ended up going to trial, where we secured a $13 million verdict and an injunction that essentially shut them down permanently. It was satisfying to stop copycats on behalf of inventors who really created something.” Natalie serves as co-partner-in-charge of WilmerHale’s Denver office.
Trial Wisdom: “It’s important to understand your client’s business. It gives you an edge in devising litigation strategy that not only meets their legal needs, but also forwards their business goals.”
Career Highlights: Hallie has led an array of trials in federal and state courts and before arbitral tribunals—including a four-month jury trial. In one victory, she led the team defending a major financial services company against claims of improper hiring, breach of fiduciary duty and theft of confidential information. After hearings spanning more than three months, the arbitration panel denied the plaintiff’s multimillion-dollar claims in their entirety and awarded 100% of the damages sought by the employees hired by Hallie’s client—a decision covered in The Financial Times, Forbes and Bloomberg.
Trial Wisdom: “Turn off the PowerPoint, step away from the podium, look each juror in the eye. Repeat. You will never establish a relationship of trust with jurors if you’re talking at them, not to them.”
Danielle Y. Conley
Felicia H. Ellsworth
Rachael D. Kent
Natalie Hanlon Leh
Hallie B. Levin
Our Trials Practice
Diversity and Inclusion
Legal Diversity Award
Honor Roll Award
- The American Lawyer named WilmerHale to its 2017 Finalist List as a Top Litigation Firm, recognizing the enormous talent and major recent victories of WilmerHale lawyers. The legal publication also placed the firm’s Litigation/Controversy Department in its small group of finalists for the 2017 Litigation Department of the Year contest. WilmerHale was named The American Lawyer’s 2014 IP Litigation Department of the Year and a finalist for 2016 IP Litigation Department of Year. The firm has been named a winner twice and a finalist seven times since the first year the title of IP Litigation Department of the Year was awarded in 2004.
- Dell presented the firm with the 2017 Legal Diversity Award for excellent innovative diversity programs and strong metrics to show that they’re working.
- WilmerHale was listed as a “ceiling smasher” by Law360 in 2017 based on the percent of women equity partners.
- ChIPs gave WilmerHale the 2017 Honor Roll award for demonstrating actual success in giving women true leadership positions and visibility.
- Women in Law Empowerment Forum awarded WilmerHale the Gold Standard Certification Award in 2012 and 2015–2017 for its dedication to women in leadership roles and commitment to equal compensation.
- Bank of America presented WilmerHale with its 2016 Award for Diversity and Inclusion for creating an internal culture that encourages the recruitment, retention, mentoring and promotion of diverse attorneys.