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

felicia-ellsworthCareer Highlights: The vice chair of WilmerHale’s Litigation/Controversy Department, Felicia has netted wins in complex commercial litigation in both state and federal courtrooms. Major industry publications routinely recognize her, and she earned The American Lawyer Litigation Daily’s “Litigator of the Week” title in 2019 for her work as trial counsel to Harvard in the case challenging its use of race in undergraduate admissions.

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.

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 regularly recognizes her, 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.

hallie-levinCareer Highlights: Hallie has led an array of trials in federal and state courts and before arbitral tribunals. In 2019, she coled the team that represented T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom in the landmark antitrust trial in which Attorneys General from 13 states and the District of Columbia failed in their effort to enjoin the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint. Ms. Levin examined critical witnesses at trial, including T-Mobile’s then-current CEO and current CEO. She was named Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer Litigation Daily and was honored as a 2020 Winning Litigator by The National Law Journal for her work. The win was reported worldwide, including in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

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.

sonal-mehtaCareer Highlights: For nearly 20 years, Sonal has represented the world’s leading technology and life sciences companies in high-stakes patent and technology disputes. As a first-chair trial lawyer, her experience spans all aspects of trial practice, from opening to closing, pre-trial to post-trial, and everything in between.

Trial Wisdom: “As a trial lawyer, my job is to arm the jury with the facts and the narrative and legal framework to apply those facts. Juries see through bluster, name-calling and distractions. I want the jury to know that I am giving them the facts that matter (and only the facts that matter) and to know that they can trust my explanation for why those facts matter. When I am before a jury, nothing matters more than my credibility and that of my client.”

Read Sonal Mehta’s biography.

heather-tewksburyCareer Highlights: Heather leads WilmerHale’s California Cartel Enforcement Group and is partner-in-charge of the San Francisco office. 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 Nyong’o’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.

Gina RodriguezCareer Highlights: Gina has served as trial counsel in more than 30 cases and co-chairs WilmerHale’s Trial Practice. She handles complex litigation for life sciences, consumer and diversified industrial companies, drawing on more than three decades of litigation experience as well as her extensive government service, which includes a stint as the Assistant US Attorney and Chief of the Civil Division in the District of Colorado.

Trial Wisdom: “Juries are perceptive and truly want to reach the right decision. So you must believe in your case and be able to present a relatable narrative about why your client’s position is just. If you don’t believe, neither will the jury.”

Read Gina Rodriguez’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. "The Denver office partner-in-charge, Mindy was named to Law Week Colorado's Top Women Attorneys list in 2020 and 2017 and was the magazine's 2018 Top Litigator."

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.

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 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.

Ellsworth_Felicia

Felicia H. Ellsworth

Partner

Ferrera_Vinita

Vinita Ferrera

Partner

Kent_Rachael

Rachael D. Kent

Partner

Levin_Hallie

Hallie B. Levin

Partner

Mehta_Sonal

Sonal N. Mehta

Partner

Nyongo_Heather

Heather S. Nyong’o

Partner

Pirozzolo_Lisa

Lisa J. Pirozzolo

Partner

Rodriguez_Gina

Regina M. Rodriguez

Partner

Schulman_Emily

Emily R. Schulman

Partner

Sooter_Mary

Mary (Mindy) V. Sooter

Partner

Vreeland_Cynthia

Cynthia D. Vreeland

Partner

Wigmore_Amy

Amy Kreiger Wigmore

Partner

Related Topics

WilmerHale Women

WilmerHale’s women 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