¾Alum Spotlight: Micah D. Moon, Delta Air Lines ¾Around the Firm ¾Alston & Bird Partners Spotlight: James Kousoulas and James Litwinovich ¾New Faces Across the Firm ¾Spotlight on London ¾Tales From the Other Side with Recent Retiree Bryan Ives ¾What’s New with You? ¾We asked you: What’s your favorite winter activity? ¾The Proust Questionnaire In this issue WINTER 2024
WINTER 2024 ALUM SPOTLIGHT Micah D. Moon, Delta Air Lines, Senior Corporate Counsel, Antitrust & Regulatory Interview by Mary T. Benton, Alston & Bird Pro Bono Partner
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 Q: How did you first become engaged in pro bono and how has your engagement evolved over the years? I first became engaged in pro bono during law school. During my 1L summer, I interned at a public-interest law firm that specialized in education advocacy work in low-income and minority school districts. Even after my internship, I continued to volunteer when I could. When I started at A&B, I was grateful that the firm stressed the importance, value, and ethical obligation of pro bono work. During my time at A&B, I worked on pro bono projects with AVLF, Georgia Appleseed, Status: Home (formerly known as Jerusalem House), and Lambda Legal. Since moving in-house, I’ve been mostly focused on serving with Status: Home and Georgia Appleseed, and I continue to be committed to pro bono work. Q: Tell me about your board service involvement and what you see as the benefits of being a member of a nonprofit board of directors. I am honored to currently serve on boards for two incredible nonprofit organizations, Georgia Appleseed and Status: Home. The primary thing I’ve enjoyed about board service is that in addition to appreciating the Q: Can you share a personal experience or a notable case where pro bono work had a meaningful impact on a client or community? How did it influence your perspective on the importance of pro bono efforts? During my time at Alston & Bird, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Georgia Appleseed on their “Race, Law Enforcement, and the Law Project.” The project— inspired, in part, by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO—aimed to identify bipartisan legislative and policy-based recommendations that could potentially repair and strengthen relationships between communities of color and law enforcement. My volunteer work consisted of interviewing various community stakeholders (police officers, teachers, parents, ministers) to ensure our recommendations reflected their input. The work of collecting their feedback was critical to informing Georgia Appleseed’s recommendations, and I saw firsthand the impact of my volunteer service and how important it was for communities that are often overlooked and marginalized to have the opportunity to be heard. Being part of that collaborative and impactful project really showed me the power of pro bono. mission and the work of an organization, which you do as a volunteer, as a board member, you really gain insight into what it takes to run the organization and get to witness the dedication of the staff who work tirelessly on behalf of the clients they serve. It’s awesome to understand that commitment and then tell others about it. Q: In your opinion, how does engaging in pro bono work align with Delta’s values and mission? How does the legal department determine which projects it will work on? Delta Air Lines has a strong commitment to community engagement, specifically in the areas of education, global health & wellness, and the armed forces & veterans. This commitment to service and community engagement is very much a part of the Delta culture and DNA. This commitment extends to the Delta Law Department. We have a law department pro bono committee that regularly meets and presents to the broader department on legal pro bono opportunities and community service projects through Delta. Several of my colleagues serve on boards or do pro bono work with nonprofit organizations as well, such as Georgia Justice Project, GAIN, and Georgia Appleseed. Q: What role do you believe pro bono work plays in shaping Delta’s reputation and contributing to its social responsibility initiatives? How does Delta foster a culture that values and promotes pro bono work among its legal professionals? Actions speak louder than words or well-written mission statements. I think Delta’s community engagement and pro bono work is one of several components that contribute to the Delta brand and reputation. We are in the business of connecting things: people, places, and ideas. And we believe no one better connects the world. Serving in our local communities—whether it’s building homes with Habitat for Humanity or engaging in pro bono work with Georgia Justice Project—is part and parcel of our objective to facilitate connectivity between Delta, people, and communities. Everyone who works on pro bono matters records what they’ve done each month, and at the end of the year, we have a reception where we recognize those members of the legal department who have gone above and beyond with their pro bono commitment.
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 Q: As senior corporate counsel, how do you encourage and support junior attorneys in their participation in pro bono activities? As mentioned previously, there’s an expectation in our law department that we make time for community service and pro bono work. The pro bono committee is very active, and it regularly promotes service and pro bono opportunities for our colleagues, and this includes junior attorneys, both within the legal department and at our outside counsel firms. We often partner with firms on pro bono and particularly like to work with their junior attorneys. These types of partnerships not only help with the developmental progress of these attorneys but also provide Delta the opportunity to grow relationships with junior attorneys who may not have much direct interaction with clients. Q: What role can and should law firms play in supporting our clients as you engage in pro bono? We consider our outside counsel to be an extension of the Delta family, so we have the same expectations for pro bono and service for the law firms we work with as we do for our legal department. And we really enjoy working with our outside law firms on pro bono and welcome opportunities to do that. We had a successful clinic with Georgia Lawyers for the Arts with A&B earlier this year. Just as we partner on legal work, we view potential partnerships on pro bono and service no differently. Q: From your perspective, how does involvement in pro bono work contribute to the professional growth, skills development, and job satisfaction of attorneys within firms and corporations? From the firm perspective, some of my first pro bono opportunities were so valuable because I was serving as lead counsel, and they allowed me to engage in certain proceedings and develop and sharpen my legal skills in ways that wouldn’t have been available to me in my regular practice as a junior associate. In addition to gaining experience, pro bono allows you to see the value and impact of our work more closely and more readily, and you also feel the appreciation from your client. Moving to an in-house role, I think pro bono is very important as a means of keeping you grounded and keeping things in perspective. It’s a reminder that even with our demands and our hectic schedules, we have skills that many people need, and we should make ourselves available to those who don’t have the ability to hire a lawyer for their legal issues. Q: For our alumni who may be considering increasing their involvement in pro bono work, what advice or insights would you offer to inspire and motivate them to take on such initiatives? In short, you should do it! Pro bono enriches you in so many ways. There are a lot of demands on our time, but I do not regret a single moment I’ve spent on pro bono service or board leadership. Take advantage of the opportunities at A&B to get involved in pro bono. Around the Firm X Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The Atlanta and Washington, D.C. offices hosted the inaugural Annual Bob Dole Veteran’s Awards ceremony on November 15. In establishing and naming this program, the firm pays tribute to Senator Bob Dole, a highly decorated veteran who was severely wounded in World War II. Senator Dole went on to devote his life to public service, spending many years as a leading figure in Congress and as a driving force behind the creation of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., among many other accomplishments. In 2018, Congress bestowed on Senator Dole the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Senator Dole was also a beloved member of the Alston & Bird family, working in our D.C. office until his passing in 2021. Alston & Bird presents the Bob Dole Veteran’s Awards to an Alston & Bird veteran, military family member, attorney, employee, or alum who demonstrated extraordinary dedication and service in support of military service members or veterans, their families, and their communities. This year’s recipients were Nathan Tyre, an associate with the Financial Services & Products Group, and Thomas F. Walsh III, husband of Tax Area partner Kendall Houghton. At the inaugural awards presentation, we were pleased to have General Mark A. Milley, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff deliver a keynote address and Senator Elizabeth Dole in attendance.
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 X Charlotte The Charlotte office participated in several officewide community service projects: ▪ Wine to Water, where we assembled water filters ▪ Breakfast with the Relatives ▪ Pro Bono Week Kick-Off and Happy Hour Bike Build. We partnered with local nonprofit Trips for Kids to help provide bikes for underserved and at-risk youth. We donated and built 30 bikes. ▪ NC Expunction Training. We partnered with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy for a lunch training session on expunctions in North Carolina. Expunctions provide bite-size pro bono projects while serving a vital need in our community, cleaning up people’s records so that they can get back to work and secure affordable housing. X Dallas/Fort Worth Conrad Hester was the #3 top fundraiser for the 2023 Leukemia and Executive Walk Challenge event held in November. The “LighttheNight”ExecutiveChallengeisanationalfundraisingcompetitionforcorporateexecutivestopersonallyraisefunds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. X Raleigh The annual Guardian ad Litem Angel Tree gift-wrapping party is a favorite event at the Raleigh office. Children in the Wake County foster care system have the opportunity to submit holiday wish lists for wants and needs, and the Raleigh office sponsors a group each year. It’s always fun shopping for clothes, toys, electronics, and gift cards for these kids and then coming together to wrap the gifts. We love that the firm supports giving back to the community this way! Q: First of all, on behalf of the firm, thank you for participating in this interview for the alumni newsletter. We’ll start out with a few getting-to-know-you questions. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met? And give us the background, the story on how that happened. James Litwinovich: The most famous person I’ve ever met would probably be Shaquille O’Neal. If anyone was in Los Angeles back in the late 90s, early 2000s, you probably had a good chance that you would run into Shaquille O’Neal, especially if you were out late at night. PARTNERS SPOTLIGHT Get to know two of our newest LAX residents, James Kousoulas and James Litwinovich, Partners, Real Estate Team Interview by Jeffrey Rosenfeld, Partner-in-Charge of the Los Angeles office It could be 3:00 in the morning at a diner down on the Sunset Strip and he would be there. I was out one night, saw him, and just had a quick conversation with him as he was in the back of the diner, sitting a bit hunched over to kind of hide the fact that he was out late at night in a restaurant in L.A. But that would be the most famous person I’ve met. Q: That’s a good one. Jim? James Kousoulas: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who I met a couple of years ago. It was a really, really interesting event. She was giving a book reading in Santa Monica that my wife had found out about, so we took the kids to the book reading. We were able to get a backstage meet and greet with her. So it was me, my wife, my younger daughter, and my son who all got to meet her and take a picture together. And she was very, very friendly, very nice and asked some questions about what do they want to do and both of them, of course, said they want to be lawyers, which, you know, made me and my wife very happy! Q: Share your favorite holiday memory. James Kousoulas: My daughter’s first, actually, her second Christmas because her first Christmas she was 2 1/2 months old James Kousoulas James Litwinovich
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 and had no idea what was going on. But her second Christmas, just to see her, you know, at the Christmas tree, ripping presents open and having no idea what was going on and how cool it was. James Litwinovich: Can I plead the Fifth? No, no Fifth. James Litwinovich: There’s this weird one that we’ve got, actually, with our assistant, Kathy Davis. She likes to play this little game with us, where she hides a little Nutcracker. It goes back to Halloween. One year, Kathy was dressed as a full Nutcracker— in full Nutcracker outfit and scared the heck out of me. And since then, she, during the holiday season, likes to take this little Nutcracker toy and hide it around my office someplace. I have a feeling it’s in here somewhere and I haven’t found it yet. So when I when it comes to the holidays, as far as my, you know, one of my fun little things to do is to try to find that little Nutcracker anyways. Jeffrey Rosenfeld: Q: Well, now I get why you want to take the Fifth, but I appreciate you sharing that that story. I may actually go into your office and look for the Nutcracker now because I’m intrigued. So what’s one family tradition that you’d want to pass down to your kids or somebody else in your family? James Kousoulas: When I was growing up, Jeff, I think I’ve shared this with you, my father owned a grocery store and he worked seven days a week, 13 hours a day and would get maybe, you know, two to four days off a month. So growing up, we never really got to spend time having dinner together as much as I would have liked to. So when I had kids, one of the things that was very important to me is always trying to have dinner with my children. And I just want to make sure that when my kids have families of their own and whether they have children or extended families that they always, ALWAYS value the importance of a family dinner. James Litwinovich: I don’t have children to pass this down to yet, but as far as a tradition that I don’t want to pass down to my kids that can be hiding Nutcrackers in my office. Q: Fair enough. One last getting-to-know-you question. What is your favorite winter activity? James Litwinovich: We don’t have winter activities here. It’s 72 degrees outside—it’s surfing weather. James Kousoulas: So my favorite winter activity is, because I do love Christmas time, I love driving around the neighborhood and looking at Christmas lights and comparing who’s got the best Christmas lights. And one of these days, I think I’m gonna be Clark Griswold and, you know, put up a million lights and burn my house down. Q: So let’s shift over to your practice and your experience as a lawyer. What drew you to real estate finance, what attracted you to that practice area? James Litwinovich: When I first started practicing law, I was actually a litigator for my first couple years of practice, and the litigation I was doing, all of it, or the vast majority of it, was dealing with real estate finance and real estate from a litigation side. It was interesting work, and I started to get curious about what else was out there, what’s going on with these loans? And Jim Kousoulas one day PARTNERS SPOTLIGHT
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 caught me in the hallway and he was looking for some more assistance in his growing practice. We had gotten along as we had worked a little bit together over my first couple years of practice and he thought I would be a good fit working alongside him, dealing with the real estate finance work that we do now. I had a bit of experience dealing with what happens when these loans that we work on go bad, and he thought that having a bit of that perspective would be good for his practice as well. A lot of the matters that initially I was working on, Jim was actually working on. So that was really what got me involved in the real estate finance group. Again, started working with Jim and kind of to where I am now. James Kousoulas: So for me it was interesting. You know, I mentioned before how my father worked a lot. And you know, you’d get anywhere from Chile, four days a month off and, being an immigrant, my father invested in real estate. It was just some rental houses and as a young kid, I wanted to spend time with my father, and he’d have to sometimes go make repairs at the houses or pick up rent or deal with a landlord or tenant. So, from a young age I liked being involved in real estate. To me it was fun and I knew that when I went to law school, some people went to law school wanting to change the world, or to litigate, or to do whatever. I just wanted to do something related to real estate. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the subject of real estate. I enjoyed the fact that it’s tangible. You can actually see the real estate that you’re working on most of the time, depending where it is, so I just always enjoyed real estate. Q: Alright, so the next question I have is along the same vein: how has your practice evolved over the years, and the follow up is are the transactions more complex now than when you first started practicing in the real estate finance area? James Kousoulas: I think my practice has evolved over the years in several ways. Number one is the types of transactions that I work on. When I started practice, I was a traditional equity real estate attorney doing purchase and sale leasing development. I think just over the years, it’s expanded into doing more types of real estate transactions and becoming more specialized. Within real estate finance, it’s the different types of lenders that we’re working on, the different types of loan transactions, and we’ll work on different types of asset classes. I don’t do everything when it comes to real estate or real estate finance and I want to call myself a jack-of-all-trades, but my practice has just been expanded to where I do a wide range and am very knowledgeable and well versed in a lot of different areas of real estate finance. To answer the next question, are the transactions more complex now than when I first started practicing, I think yes, for two reasons. Obviously, as a young attorney, you’re going to do the more simple transactions and try to take ownership of those and complete them from start to finish. As you become more seasoned in your career, you learn how to do more complex transactions. And I just think also over the last five years, just with various cycles in the economy, that it’s been more difficult to do transactions. They’re more expensive because they take more time and there are more curveballs that are thrown in the transactions. James Litwinovich: As far as the curveballs that we need to deal with, they change as the years go on. Different rules, different regulations, different things come into play, and our clients get concerned about different items as agonies change and we need to be in front of all of it, we need to be right there for when our clients need us to help them and guide them through all of these issues. As we watched earlier this year, there were a few banks that started to have some serious issues, and we were right there alongside them as far as how and what are some more things we can do to help protect our clients and help protect against some of the concerns that we were seeing out in the marketplace at this time, so we have to keep on top of all that as things adjust and change and they’ll continue to adjust and change into the future. I’m very curious to see how. Q: How do you guys stay informed about the latest developments in the marketplace here and manage the legal landscape as real estate finance guys here in Los Angeles? James Litwinovich: Well, I’ll say we have to keep ourselves not only abreast of the real estate here in Los Angeles, but for our practice, we’re really working across the United PARTNERS SPOTLIGHT
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 States. Where we do most of our work, I would say is of the western footprint of the U.S., but we need to keep on top of not only just here in the L.A. market, but throughout California and the western U.S. and throughout the entire United States as far as what’s happening in the legal marketplace. The way we do that is talking with people, talking with our clients, understanding our clients and also seeing where they’re at, what they’re hearing, and also of course talking with each other and keeping in communication with our colleagues here at Alston & Bird and understanding what they’re seeing out in the marketplace as well. James Kousoulas: I would agree with James. I mean I think a more appropriate observation is California real estate is highly competitive and subject to, you know, unique laws, and L.A. is a subset of California, so you can say L.A. as well. What I typically do is try to subscribe to every single real estate publication that I can get my hands on, whether it’s the Commercial Mortgage Alert, the Real Estate Mortgage Alert, the Finance Alert, whether it’s LA Business Journal, or whether it’s Law360. I think first and foremost, I try to keep up with all of the various real-estate-related trade publications, even those that aren’t of a legal nature directly. So that’s the first thing I do. The second thing that I try to do is, when I see a topic in a seminar that’s being presented I attend, knowing that I am probably not going to learn something from the legal nature of attending the seminar, but just by listening in on the background because sometimes you do hear the market trends that are taking place. So I do try to listen to various seminars, and then, like James just said, talking to as many people as I can in the industry, and usually all of those things help us stay abreast of various trends that are out there. Q: So this question is one I know that’s near and dear to your hearts—collaborations. A big part of who we are as a firm, as new laterals can you tell us how you’ve navigated working with new team members or meeting people and if you want to share some examples of things that have gone well, that would be great as well. James Kousoulas: I like talking to people. So on a local level, at least once a week, if not daily, I like to walk the floors and just say hi to people and get to know everyone that’s in the office. I think that’s the first thing I’ve done. The second thing I’ve done is I’ve tried to do a tour of our various offices and start specifically with meeting people in the real-estate-related fields, which to me includes corporate, private equity finance, real estate, equity restructuring, and try to get to know them. So just going around to the various offices trying to meet people in those offices. I feel very fortunate to be at A&B. Everyone here is very, very friendly and very welcoming. Everyone’s done a great job of trying to integrate both James and me within the firm. So making myself available and willing to meet people and making the effort to go in the office to meet people and to the various offices, that’s how I’ve kind of navigated the field of being a lateral. I’ve had a couple of good successful collaborations. I’ve had great collaborations with Matt Kelsey, who’s also a lateral. I think he’s been here about a year longer than I have and he’s a restructuring partner in the New York office. We have various mutual contacts, and he and I have worked together and brought in a couple of matters that we’re working on together for some new clients that we didn’t have before. So that’s been a lot of fun to work with a new partner and to do something in a different field. So I consider that one of the successes I’ve had on numerous aspects I’ve been fortunate to collaborate. James Litwinovich: No, I think Jim is right on it when he talks about the kind of welcoming atmosphere we’ve had and it’s been especially prevalent here, just coming into the office. One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed is, as Jim mentioned, people coming by every day and inviting us out to lunch and really working to help Jim and I get to know you and everybody else here in the L.A. office. And what’s also been really great is blending with some of the real estate finance folks and the real estate team that is here in L.A. with Carson and Courtney and Mike Rowley and Celeste Ahl, who when we, Jim and I, came over all just kind of opened up their arms and said how can we help you, you know? PARTNERS SPOTLIGHT
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 I just feel like I can walk outside my door and just kind of wave “I need help” and I’ll have three people running up and saying, “How high do you want us to jump?” which has been great! I’m still learning how things work over here, but it’s nice knowing that there’s a fantastic support team that’s here, and I’m hoping that we just continue to blend together and hopefully become a part of a larger growing real estate finance team out here in L.A. Q: Why Alston & Bird guys? Why did you ultimately bless us with your practices and your presence, which we are blessed by the way? James Kousoulas: I was really attracted to the size of Alston & Bird. I didn’t want a mega firm, but I didn’t want a smaller firm. A&B is a nice size and I know we’re continuing to grow. So I did like the fact that Alston & Bird’s in a growth mode, I think it’s great. Alston & Bird’s got a great reputation. One of the best reputations when it comes to realistic finance in the field, so I was really attracted to that. And then I think you know, and Jeff, I’ve told you this before, but you know me and Carson had lunch at Vespaio, probably about a year ago this time. And I met Carson before I met Jason. But when I talked to you as the OMP you had set the tone of it was a very friendly conversation and it led me to believe, which was correct, that people here are really good and nice people and that’s what I was looking for. I was looking for a sophisticated legal practice with people that I want to work with. So I think it’s those two main things are what attracted me here. James Litwinovich: You know, I came with Jim and for me a large, very important thing is when we were moving to Alston & Bird was finding a place that would fit for him, myself, our team, our practice and our clients. Alston & Bird is just a fantastic fit for us, and I could see where we have fit in here, in the L.A. office and the firm generally, where our practice is fitting into the larger puzzle, if you will, as to the where we are growing in the real estate group and in chatting with Jason Hammond gaining an understanding as to where they see us and it matched with what Jim and I were seeing as the vision for the future of our practice and our team. Alston & Bird was the perfect fit for us in our practice, and we hope we fit in well to where A&B is hoping to grow in the future. PARTNER SPOTLIGHTS Well, look, guys, I really appreciate you giving your time for this interview. I want to say on behalf of, not only the firm and the L.A. office, but more importantly on my behalf, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having you guys here both professionally, but even more importantly, personally. From the minute you walked in the door, you added a tremendous amount to the social fabric of the office, and I really do appreciate you guys, you’re great and I can’t be happier to have you guys. You guys have been terrific. So, thank you for everything. PARTNERS SPOTLIGHT
Welcome New Faces Across the Firm Adam Adcock, Associate Compensation, Benefits & ERISA Litigation Washington, D.C. Previously: Holland & Knight Jared Allen, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Atlanta Clayton Armstrong, Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities Charlotte Previously: Legal Innovators Progarm James Atkison, Associate Intellectual Property - Litigation Atlanta Previously: Eversheds Sutherland Carter Babaz, Associate Intellectual Property - Litigation Atlanta Previously: University of Mississippi Lydia Balestra, Associate Finance New York Mary Chandler Beam, Associate Litigation Area New York Previously: Duke University CJ Blaney, Associate Financial Services & Products Washington, D.C. Previously: American University Katherine Brumund, Associate Litigation Area Washington, D.C. Previously: Northeastern University Maddy Byrd, Associate Intellectual Property - Litigation New York Previously: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Shanique Campbell, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Atlanta Previously: Cravath, Swaine & Moore Nick Christopherson, Associate Real Estate Charlotte Previously: Wake Forest University Jessi Clack, Associate Finance Dallas Previously: Washington University in St Louis Arianna Clark, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: Clyde & Co US Seth Cohen, Partner Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: Hogan Lovells Briana Costa, Senior Associate Finance New York Previously: Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Jacqueline D’Aniello, Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities Washington, D.C. Previously: University of Georgia Ali Darvish, Associate Financial Services & Products New York Previously: University of California – Berkeley Debolina Das, Senior Associate Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: ESAB Corporation Boran Ding, Associate Financial Services & Products New York Previously: Kirkland & Ellis Baili Ebinger, Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities New York Previously: Boston University Hillel Eichenbrenner, Associate Compensation, Benefits & ERISA Litigation Washington, D.C. Previously: Harvard University Maddie Felts, Associate Health Care Atlanta Previously: The University of Texas at Austin Jonathan Fenster, Associate Finance New York Previously: Fordham University Danny Fitzpatrick, Associate State & Local Tax Atlanta Previously: Emory University Donald Gallino, Associate Finance New York Previously: Hunton Andrews Kurth Maddie Ghosh, Associate Intellectual Property - Litigation Los Angeles Previously: University of California – Davis Grant Gilbert, Associate Real Estate New York Previously: Vanderbilt University Sarah Gimbel, Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities Atlanta Previously: Villanova University Balaji Giridharan, Senior Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities Silicon Valley Previously: Bank of America Casey Glazer, Associate Health Care Atlanta Previously: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Jay Ha, Associate Financial Services & Products Dallas Previously: Washington University in St Louis Paul Michael Haley, Associate Intellectual Property - Litigation Atlanta Previously: Georgia State University Stephan Harris, Associate Financial Services & Products Dallas Previously: University of Arkansas Michael Hefter, Partner Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: Hogan Lovells Jonathan Hermann, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Atlanta Previously: Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler Sheena Hilton, Associate Litigation Area Atlanta Previously: Stanford University William Hooker, Partner Litigation & Trial Practice London Previously: Pallas Partners Alyse Horan, Associate Litigation Area New York Previously: Cornell University Dani Hoyer, Associate Litigation Area Atlanta Previously: Washington University in St Louis Colton Jackson, Associate Litigation Area Washington, D.C. Previously: New York University Kamil Jamil, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Atlanta Previously: The Baig Firm Jane Kaufman, Associate Litigation Area Los Angeles Previously: Loyola Law School Brody Klett, Associate Federal & International Tax Atlanta Previously: New York University Kai Knight, Senior Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Washington, D.C. Previously: Mayer Brown Kate Kostel, Associate Litigation Area Atlanta Previously: Washington University in St Louis Carissa Lavin, Associate Securities Litigation Atlanta Previously: Georgia State University Crawford Lewis, Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities Atlanta Previously: Washington and Lee University Welcome New Faces Across the Firm WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024
Lex Mayo, Associate Securities Litigation Atlanta Previously: Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz Chandler McCrary Ray, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Atlanta Previously: Vanderbilt University Michael McEvoy, Associate Finance New York Previously: Fordham University Alan Mendelsohn, Senior Associate Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: Hogan Lovells Gus Meny, Associate Intellectual Property - Litigation New York Previously: New York University William Metcalf, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Charlotte Andrew Mueller, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Atlanta Previously: Emory University Connor Nechodom, Associate Health Care Atlanta Previously: Emory University Nate Neerhof, Associate Litigation Area San Francisco Previously: University of California – Berkeley Zach Newquist, Associate Financial Services & Products Atlanta Previously: Georgetown University Brett Oberst, Counsel Environmental & Land Use Los Angeles Previously: Doll Amir & Eley Apoorva Patel, Counsel Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: Burford Capital Devaki Patel, Associate Health Care Washington, D.C. Previously: Foley & Lardner Ryan Philp, Partner Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: Hogan Lovells Jake Porath, Associate Real Estate Los Angeles Previously: Pepperdine University Andrew Rice, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Washington, D.C. Previously: American University Jody Rosen, Counsel Financial Services & Products Washington, D.C. Previously: Compass Point Research and Trading Mayuri Roy-Altenkirch, Associate Financial Services & Products London Previously: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Billy Ruff, Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities Charlotte Previously: University of Georgia John Salvestrin, Associate Corporate Transactions & Securities Silicon Valley Previously: Santa Clara University Devin Schoonmaker, Senior Associate Federal & International Tax Atlanta Previously: Barnes & Thornburg Annie Sher, Associate Litigation Area New York Previously: New York University Oliver Sherman, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice Washington, D.C. Previously: Clyde & Co US Conor Shevlin, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice London Previously: Reed Smith Georgina St. Johns, Associate Litigation Area Dallas Previously: Vanderbilt University Ashlyn Stone, Associate Finance New York Previously: St. John’s University Noah Texter, Associate Litigation Area Los Angeles Previously: University of Southern California Jaime Turcios Zacarias, Senior Associate Finance New York Previously: Morgan Stanley Andrew Ulbrich, Associate Real Estate New York Previously: Yeshiva University Heeth Varnedoe, Associate Litigation Area Atlanta Previously: University of Virginia Max Veith, Associate Finance Charlotte Previously: University of North Carolina Santi Villar, Associate Technology & Privacy Atlanta Previously: University of Georgia Julie Vo, Associate Real Estate Atlanta Previously: Emory University Isaac Walrath, Associate Environmental & Land Use San Francisco Previously: Tittmann Weix Austin Weatherly, Associate Intellectual Property - Trademarks & Copyrights Atlanta Previously: University of Georgia Jade Weiner, Associate Litigation Area New York Previously: New York Law School Jonathan Wieder, Associate Litigation & Trial Practice New York Previously: Hogan Lovells Henry Woods, Associate Litigation Area New York Previously: Vanderbilt University Ashley Zimmerman, Associate Financial Services & Products Atlanta Previously: Washington and Lee University Welcome New Faces Across the Firm Welcome New Faces Across the Firm WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024
The office is near St. Anne & St. Agnes Church. The garden is laid out over the graveyard of the church of St Anne and St Agnes. The church itself was restored by Sir Christopher Wren after it was damaged in the Great Fire, and the garden’s modern design aims to provide this attractive red brick church with a pleasant and welcoming setting. It has 115,553 sq. ft. of Grade A offices with a communal roof terrace. The new London office is on Noble Street, named after Thomas de Noble, local 14th-century property developer. The office looks out on to Noble Street Gardens, which contain the remains of the London Wall, the Roman and medieval defences of London including the west wall of the original Roman fort. William Shakespeare had lodgings near the office in 1604, at the house of Christopher and Mary Mountjoy – Noble Street, London EC2 Spotlight on London WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 TALES FROM THE OTHER SIDE WITH RECENT RETIREE BRYAN IVES Interview by Liz Price, Alumni Chair Q: Tell us a bit about your career and why you made the move to Alston & Bird. Ben Johnson called me a “serial lateral” when I started with A&B as a 44-year-old lawyer in March 2000. Season One of the Series opened when I joined the Charlotte firm Parker Poe as a tax lawyer fresh out of UNC Law School in 1980. I was an undergraduate accounting major and worked for the accounting firms Arthur Anderson and McGladrey during summers and holidays to get my CPA license. Season Two of the Series continued when I left Parker Poe in 1995 to start the Charlotte office of Nelson Mullins. That was the beginning of the internet bubble, and I shifted practice from tax to M&A in the internet, telecom, and tech spaces—and rode that bubble for all it was worth. In late 1999 and early 2000, our M&A team was recruited to A&B by John Latham and Chris Mangum, who had both worked with us on our mutual client Healtheon WebMD. Our recruitment came to a head when during the cold and dreary 2000 Super Bowl weekend in Atlanta, our Nelson Mullins team was working around the clock on a Healtheon WebMD deal, and on the Sunday of the game (no Super Bowl for us) I was walking down the grand two-story staircase in the main lobby of Nelson Mullins’s Atlanta office when the general counsel of the client looked up and hollered at me, “So, Ives, when are you taking this team to Alston & Bird?” With that scene, Season Two concluded and the Final Season of the Series (and by far the longest and most exciting) began at A&B. Q: What is the most memorable or meaningful legal engagement you have had in your career? Without a doubt it is working for Neal Batson in his capacity as the Enron bankruptcy examiner. You see, as the Final Season opened, there was a great explosion when the internet bubble burst, leaving massive carnage among all internet M&A lawyers. Worse than Yellowstone. Batson picks up this wounded and bloodied lawyer and allows him to lead the part of his investigation into Arthur Anderson’s accounting (or lack thereof) for Enron. Watching and participating in Batson’s leadership of his troops in that investigation was as exciting for me as I imagine commanding a tank in Patton’s Third Army must have been for his tank commanders as they moved across northern France in 1944. Batson was amazing in his thoroughness, stamina, commitment to the process, professionalism, and most of all his integrity. I got to watch it and learn from it, and will never forget that experience.
WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 Q: You served on the Partners Committee and as the firm’s Financial Partner. Please tell us some stories! No. Richard Hays is still the Managing Partner and my SERP1 is not yet fully paid out, and although retired, I am not yet completely mentally incompetent. Just as I joined the PC and Richard asked me to be the Financial Partner, the worldwide economy collapsed. (Note that like any successful series, Season Three is punctuated with disasters.) Law firms, of course, were not immune to the dire consequences of the financial collapse, and major U.S. law firms were failing. One way Richard was able to manage us through it was through aggressive but delicate headcount management. So during the 2008 year-end associate review process, he had me sit with you (in your capacity as associate protector and queen) through the review of every one of our associates as the practice group leaders came in and discussed each of them. Our roles were “somewhat” inconsistent: you were to try to preserve a stable associate work force in case the economy and law firm economics ever recovered, and in the meantime it was my job to “manage” the heads. Hays was deviously clever setting us up this way. But it was hard. As you will recall, we went at it day by day, associate by associate, for what seemed like weeks, often becoming a bit testy. Looking back on it, I was lucky you were not armed (or maybe you were, but I just didn’t know it). In the end, however, together we managed the heads and preserved the Union! As I recall, of our many hundreds of associates, most with very little legal work to do, only 14 were asked to depart for economic reasons, which was way less than virtually all of our peer firms. There are many other financial crisis stories to tell, but I will be brief. There was a lot of noise about our revolving line of credit, with many partners not understanding how it worked or why we had it, but simply not liking the notion of debt. (We had it to finance a portion of our accounts receivable and work-in-process during the first part of each year and paid it to zero generally before September.) The grousing got to such a point that at one partner meeting, I gave the partners the chance to drop off a check with Joan Gilbert in any amount they wanted that would be applied to pay down our revolver early and credited to their capital account, which would earn interest in the same amount as the firm paid to the banks on the revolver. Joan got no checks. It was also suggested that we should do what Dewey Ballentine was doing at the time and obtain long-term bond financing that was then available from insurance companies rather than have a temporary revolving line of credit. The A&B Financial Partner at the time ignored that suggestion. Q: Why did you retire? You certainly do not appear to be retirement age. Good looks can be deceiving. I was SERPed into retirement. When you get to be 65, Richard claws back 20% of your SERP each subsequent year that you try to hang on. So after one year of suffering the 20% SERP indignity, in the prime of my brilliance and vigor, I decided to get the message and quietly disappear over the horizon, thus ending the thrilling 20-year Final Season of the Series, Ted Lasso style. When I was a young boy, I very much liked the SERP method as a way to cull the dead wood. Funny how attitudes can change as we mature and turn into dead wood. I still, however, think the SERP and how it works is a very good thing. Our forebears who put it in place knew what they were doing and it has held up well. Q: So what are you doing now that you don’t have me to tussle with over headcount? Oh Liz, you set me up for that one—I am mucking along on what’s left of my SERP. And I get a lot of exercise, two to three hours a day most days. My wife, Gibbs, and I make periodic visits to our two grandchildren in West Hartford, CT and our two grandchildren in Marietta, GA. We are building a house on a mountain in the Cashiers, NC area that we hope will entice our grandchildren to visit us. I hope to still be ambulatory if it is ever finished. I serve as chair of two charitable boards. And I devoutly practice the ancient spiritual discipline of self-flagellation by attending 1 SERP stands for Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan. Partners pay into the plan, and if they retire soon enough, they get it back plus some interest. More on SERP later in the story. almost all home UNC Tar Heel and Carolina Panther football games. I have received a number of requests from former clients to emerge from retirement and “do just one more deal.” I have steadfastly refused to do so and have successfully turned those opportunities over to my better-qualified A&B colleagues, explaining to the clients that they don’t want dead wood doing their deals. Since retirement I have billed ZERO hours. I keep no time sheets although I have started a retirement diary and have entries for every day, mostly describing what I ate for lunch and dinner, the wines I buy and drink, and how bad UNC and the Panthers got beat. Q: Any final thoughts you would like to share? I thoroughly enjoy retirement. Looking back at my 41year legal career, it is very clear that Season Three of the Series was by far the best. The more I think back, the more I appreciate how extraordinary an institution A&B is. I was very fortunate that in March 2000 Ben Johnson took a chance and allowed this serial lateral to become a part of it.
We asked you: What’s your favorite winter activity? Viewing all the Christmas lights around the city. Christina Braswell Skiing, now that my 5-year-old daughter can get on the slopes! Stephanie Clausen Ice skating. Kimyatta Holder Bundling up and going for a long walk. Beth Mayfield Decorating for the holiday season. Rebecca McClaflin Being with family for the holidays. Kristin Meister I love snowshoe hiking! Claudius Naumann I love to enjoy the holiday-themed pop-up events around town to celebrate with friends and family. Blair Perkins Skiing. Philipp Oppermann Snowboarding. Alec Smith Alpine skiing. Garrett Pendleton Sitting by the fire. Nill Toulme WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 Kacy Brake, 2009, Litigation & Trial Practice: Kacy took on the additional role of Senior Director – Quality, Regulatory & Audit at Infor (US). She continues to serve as Associate General Counsel. Lydia Chastain, 2007, Construction & Government Contracts: Lydia received the Secretary of Labor’s Exceptional Service Award, in“recognition of exceptional performance and accomplishments, which have had a marked impact on DOL program operations and the delivery of DOL programs and services.” Stephanie Clausen, 2008, Intellectual Property: Stephanie completed the 2023 Fellows Year on the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. She reports that she made a lot of great connections and would be happy to talk to anyone interested in learning more about the program. Donald Etheridge, 1977, Federal & International Tax: Donald celebrated his 10th year with the National Christian Foundation as an in-house attorney working alongside three other A&B alumni. Kimyatta Holder, 2008, Health Care & Policy: Kim welcomed a baby boy (Keston Yohannes Holder) in July 2023. Beth Mayfield, 1994, State & Local Tax: Beth was named head of the Atlanta office for CIBC Private Wealth. Rebecca McClaflin, 2018, Litigation & Trial Practice: Rebecca had a baby boy (Atlas McClaflin) in June 2023. Kristin Meister, 2007, Litigation & Trial Practice: Kristin moved from NYC (after 18 years) to the DC area and is working as Senior Counsel at a biometrics/ secure credentialing company covering litigations, investigations, IP, data privacy, and trade compliance issues. Garrett Pendleton, 2004, Litigation & Trial Practice: Garrett started a new role as Head of Aviation Claims, North America for Starr Insurance and was recently elevated to Global Head of Aviation Claims. Blair Perkins, 2014, Finance: Blair was recently promoted to Senior Vice President at Risk Transfer Partners, a wholesale commercial insurance brokerage specializing in energy and construction. Jack Senterfitt, 1974, Litigation & Trial Practice: Jack recently moved into Park Springs, a Continuing Care Retirement Center, in Stone Mountain and was recently featured in an article about his and his partner’s work as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Nill Toulme, 1978, Environmental & Land Use: Nill recently celebrated his 15th anniversary as Deputy General Counsel at Habitat for Humanity International. He says, “It has been, and continues to be, a blessing.” Amber Wessels-Yen, 2002, Litigation & Trial Practice: Amber reports that two years ago she and her husband stepped entirely off the beaten path and moved to Portugal. They love living in Lisbon and have been lucky enough to have had 48 sets of visitors so far! Wtih You?
The Partners Committee Answers the Proust Questionnaire WINTER 2024 WINTER 2024 Kristy Brown Partner Litigation & Trial Practice What is your greatest extravagance? TRAVEL, TRAVEL, TRAVEL. I love exploring the world with family and friends. Some of my recent favorite trips include an Arctic Circle adventure to see the Northern Lights, scuba diving in Bora Bora, and bicycling through the countryside of Germany and Austria. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising three daughters who are incredible people and who actually like hanging around with us. Where would you most like to live? I wouldn’t hate living on a boat sailing around the Caribbean to exotic ports of call. James Sullivan (Chair) Partner In Charge - NYC Corporate Transactions & Securities What is your greatest fear? Living a life without meaning and dying with regret. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Putting off until tomorrow what I could easily do today. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Asking today for what can easily wait until tomorrow. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? All virtues are overrated. Just be your authentic self. Which talent would you most like to have? Teleportation. Sometimes the journey isn’t all that its cracked up to be. Or maybe playing the saxophone. What is your most treasured possession? Obviously, my hair. That’s why I keep it tucked away beneath my scalp! In all seriousness, it’s time spent with family and loved ones. It’s a precious resource in increasingly short supply. Jason Solomon Partner In Charge - CLT Securities Litigation What is your idea of perfect happiness? Morning workout followed by a round of golf with my two sons (they shoot their career lows) followed by a perfect post-round old-fashioned dinner on the patio with my wife and some friends. I’m lucky—this happens to me way more than it should! What is your greatest fear? Looking back over my life when that’s all I can do and feeling like I left something on the table. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I default to introversion. What is your greatest extravagance? Expensive clothes. Which living person do you most despise? Donald Trump. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? (Animal House reference) Which talent would you most like to have? Connector If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Jason Bateman. What is your greatest regret? Not swinging for the fences when there were real opportunities to do so (there have been many). Natalie Clayton Partner Intellectual Property - Litigation What is the trait you most deplore in others? Chronic negativity. What is your greatest extravagance? Shoes. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Listen more, talk less. Edward Kang Partner Litigation & Trial Practice What is your idea of perfect happiness? Taking a long autumn weekend hike with my family. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? GO BLUE! Which talent would you most like to have? To be able to answer questions like these in a more creative way! What do you consider your greatest achievement? Earning the trust of sophisticated clients to handle their most sensitive and complex legal challenges. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? Wandering albatross—what a way to get a birds’ eye view of the world! What is your most treasured possession? My 1907 Dolling violin. Carson Leonard Partner Real Estate What is your idea of perfect happiness? After discussing this at an associate happy hour, I was told the firm’s liability exposure increased tenfold, so I will take the Fifth on this one.