WilmerHale Women: Trial Lawyers

WilmerHale Women

WilmerHale Women: Trial Lawyers

Leaders in Court and Leaders at the Firm

Case Studies

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Meet Women Trial Leaders

whw-danielle-conleyCareer 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 as US associate deputy attorney general. She co-chairs the firm’s Anti-Discrimination Practice, bringing deep experience in all aspects of civil rights law, from sexual misconduct to race and disability discrimination. Her record includes a key 2016 civil rights victory that kept Texas from imposing more restrictive voter ID requirements.

Trial Wisdom: “One valuable lesson I brought back from the DOJ is the importance of a meaningful connection to your client. Whether you are in the public or private sector, to truly connect with a judge or jury, you have to take pride in representing your clients and in telling their stories.”

Read Danielle Conley’s biography.

felicia-ellsworthCareer Highlights: A skilled trial and appellate lawyer, Felicia has netted wins in complex commercial litigation in both state and federal courtrooms. Law360 named her a 2016 Trial Rising Star, a recognition that honors only five attorneys nationwide for their professional accomplishments. 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, 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.’”

Read Felicia Ellsworth’s biography.

whw-vinita-ferreraCareer 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.”

Read Vinita Ferrera’s biography.

rachael-kentCareer Highlights: Rachael, who vice-chairs the firm’s International Arbitration Practice, 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 to 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.”

Read Rachael Kent’s biography.

natalie-hanlon-lehCareer 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, at trial, secured a $13 million verdict and an injunction that essentially shut them down. It was satisfying to stop copycats on behalf of inventors who really created something.” Natalie is co-partner-in-charge of WilmerHale’s Denver office.

Trial Wisdom: “Credibility matters. From the opening statement to the closing argument, and in every little interaction during trial, it is important to be honest and credible—acknowledging weakness and acting with integrity. How can you expect the jury to rule for your client if they can’t trust you?”

Read Natalie Hanlon Leh’s biography.

hallie-levinCareer 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.”

Read Hallie Levin’s biography.

lisa-pirozzoloCareer Highlights: Lisa, co-chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation Practice and member of the firm’s Management Committee, has led multiple trial teams in patent infringement disputes for leading life sciences and medical device companies. Chambers USA—which has recognized her for the past decade—notes that she is “held in high regard” and that she is “praised by her clients for her courtroom skills.”

Trial Wisdom: “To effectively represent our clients in court, we need to tell their stories well. When we get a new patent litigation matter, one of the first things we do is interview the people who developed the technology involved to understand how they came up with their invention—what problem they were trying to solve, what hurdles they faced, how they were able to succeed and how their invention helps patients.”

Read Lisa Pirozzolo’s biography.

emily-schulmanCareer Highlights: Emily has tried more than 20 cases in federal courts and administrative tribunals and has briefed and argued dozens of federal appeals. Her practice focuses on criminal and civil government enforcement matters, particularly in the healthcare and financial services industries. She has successfully persuaded the government to drop or to forgo charges against corporate and individual clients on multiple occasions. Emily honed her skills as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice, where she served as an assistant US attorney in the District of Massachusetts for more than a decade.

Trial Wisdom: “Deliver as promised and the jury will trust you. Demonstrate your mastery of the case and the courtroom, focus on the facts that matter most, and present those facts in a clear, cogent way. It makes all the difference.”

Read Emily Schulman’s biography.

mindy-sooterCareer Highlights: Mindy, who focuses on patent litigation and other IP and business disputes, has achieved many notable trial victories involving complex technologies. Recently, she led Comcast to an outright victory in an expedited patent infringement case in the Northern District of California, involving 10 patents. Mindy was named a Law Week Colorado 2018 Top Litigator and 2017 Top Woman Attorney.

Trial Wisdom: “I worked as an engineer before law school, then built up nearly 15 years of trial experience as an attorney. That combination of experience makes me particularly effective at advocating for our technology clients. Lawyers like me are one reason WilmerHale has such a strong patent litigation practice.”

Read Mindy Sooter’s biography.

nina-tallonCareer Highlights: Nina has never lost a case before the International Trade Commission (ITC), playing a key role in the firm’s streak of 25 successful outcomes before the Commission. She has enjoyed significant successes in federal district court as well. For example, as first chair, she recently achieved a decisive victory for a leading technology company in a $500 million case when the court granted summary judgment of noninfringement on two independent grounds. Currently, she co-chairs the defense in successive ITC investigations (and corresponding district court cases) brought by Qualcomm, including trials in June and September 2018 and March 2019. Nina was named an Intellectual Property Rising Star by Law360 in 2016, and a leading practitioner in patent law (International Trade Commission & Litigation) by IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners from 2013 to 2018. 

Trial Wisdom: “Well-developed courtroom skills—the hallmarks of which are preparation, authenticity, and unflappability—are my brand. My track record of trial successes in courtrooms throughout the country backs it up.”

Read Nina Tallon’s biography.

heather-tewksburyCareer Highlights: Heather leads WilmerHale’s California Cartel Enforcement Group. Chambers USA calls her a “very talented trial lawyer” who is “absolutely brilliant” and knows “how the antitrust division thinks.” She honed her skills as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division in San Francisco, where she handled some of the most significant investigations and criminal prosecutions brought by the agency.

Trial Wisdom: “At WilmerHale, we’re not known as chest-beating trial lawyers—but our opponents should never mistake that as a weakness. We take a sophisticated approach that allows us to pivot between trial and resolution as needed to find the right outcome.”

Read Heather Tewksbury’s biography.

cynthia-vreelandCareer Highlights: Cindy, who focuses on patent and trade secrets litigation, has served as lead or co-lead trial counsel in more than 20 trials. She has successfully tried cases in technologies ranging from wireless devices, semiconductor chips and computer storage to medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Law360 honored her as one of only two IP litigators selected for its inaugural list of Top Female Trial Attorneys.

Trial Wisdom: “It’s all about the story—even in a technical patent case. Our job as trial lawyers is to keep digging until we find a compelling story we are excited to tell.”

Read Cindy Vreeland’s biography.

amy-wigmoreCareer Highlights: Amy vice-chairs WilmerHale’s Litigation/Controversy Department. She draws on a deep understanding of the complexities of Hatch-Waxman litigation and the trial process to secure business-critical results for clients. Amy has led several Hatch-Waxman cases involving multiple generic challengers that have resulted in successful judgments or settlements for her branded pharmaceutical clients. She also played a significant role in a jury trial involving design patents that resulted in a substantial damages award for her client.

Trial Wisdom: “Preparation is the key. As a patent litigator, you need to truly understand the facts so that you can communicate complex ideas to lay judges and jurors. I’ve always been amazed at how well non-scientists can grasp the important information if it is presented correctly.”

Read Amy Wigmore’s biography.

Danielle Conley

Danielle Y. Conley

Partner

Ellsworth, Felicia H.

Felicia H. Ellsworth

Partner

Ferrera, Vinita

Vinita Ferrera

Partner

Kent, Rachael D.

Rachael D. Kent

Partner

Hanlon_Leh_Natalie

Natalie Hanlon Leh

Partner

Hallie Levin

Hallie B. Levin

Partner

Pirozzolo, Lisa J.

Lisa J. Pirozzolo

Partner

Schulman, Emily R.

Emily R. Schulman

Partner

Sooter_Mindy

Mary (Mindy) V. Sooter

Partner

Tallon_Nina_lo.jpg

Nina S. Tallon

Partner

Tewksbury_Heather_lo.jpg

Heather S. Tewksbury

Partner

Vreeland_Cynthia (new)

Cynthia D. Vreeland

Partner

Wigmore, Amy Kreiger

Amy Kreiger Wigmore

Partner

Related Topics

WilmerHale Women

WilmerHale’s female lawyers deliver exceptional results as trusted advisors to our clients while providing leadership within the firm and the profession at large. Learn More

Our Trials Practice

Our deep and diverse bench includes relentless advocates ready to lead bet-the-company, high-profile trials where focus, dedication and years of practice make all the difference. Learn More

Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to fostering an environment that embraces each individual’s unique background, experience and perspective. Our goal is to reflect the diversity of our clients and the communities in which we practice. Learn More