NEW YORK, Feb. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sanford Heisler Sharp today announced the promotion of four senior litigation counsel to partner and four associates to senior litigation counsel. The firm added three new fellows, and made several transitions in key leadership responsibilities across its national platform. The new positions became effective January 1.
“Our lawyers are achieving exceptional results in really challenging cases that are important to advancing public justice and civil rights,” said David Sanford, Chairman and Co-Founder of the firm. “Our firm consistently sets the standard in matters of significance in areas of discrimination, wage and hour, ERISA, whistleblower, qui tam, SEC litigation, Asian American litigation and finance, and criminal violence and sexual violence matters. The attorneys we have promoted this year will help us reach even greater heights in 2023, and those in new leadership roles have demonstrated both skill and commitment to the firm and its work. We are looking forward to having an even greater impact for the common good in 2023.”
Meredith Firetog, Carolin Guentert, Jonathan Tepe, and Nicole Wiitala were named to the firm’s partnership.
Meredith Firetog works from the firm’s New York office on gender discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour cases. Ms. Firetog received her J.D. from Stanford Law School, her master’s degree with distinction in women’s studies from the University of Oxford, and her B.A. with high honors from Swarthmore College, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Prior to joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, she completed a clerkship for the Honorable Gregory H. Woods of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Prior to joining the firm, has also been an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she gained substantial experience in complex commercial litigation and worked on many pro bono cases. Since joining the firm, she has earned recognition as a SuperLawyers Rising Star.
Carolin Guentert also works in the firm’s New York office. Her practice is concentrated in the areas of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, criminal violence, and sexual violence. A graduate of New York University School of Law, Ms. Guentert earned her LL.M. with distinction at Georgetown University and her B.A. summa cum laude from The College of New Jersey. Prior to joining the firm, she was a clerk for the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Among the many cases in which she has played a key role is a lawsuit brought by three women graduate students suing Harvard University for allegedly ignoring a near-decade-long pattern of sexual harassment and retaliation by a Professor and a high-profile case against oil and gas giant, Schlumberger, alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation.
She was also a clinical teaching fellow in Georgetown Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic, where she represented survivors of domestic violence, supervised law students representing clients, and taught clinical seminar classes. A member of the New York and District of Columbia bars, she has authored/co-authored articles in the Cardozo Law Review, the Federal Sentencing Reporter, Law360, and the New York University Journal of International Politics. Guentert is also a member of the Sanctuary for Families Pro Bono Council.
Jonathan Tepe works in the firm’s Nashville office. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School and his B.A. cum laude from The Ohio State University. Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Tepe completed a clerkship for the Honorable Sarah A. L. Merriam, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Prior to that, he was an associate at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he gained substantial experience in complex commercial litigation, as well as various pro bono matters representing low-income individuals.
Mr. Tepe’s practice is currently focused on the firm’s opioid litigations on behalf of dozens of cities and counties seeking damages for harm caused by the opioid crisis. Mr. Tepe also represents victims of employment discrimination and retaliation across the country, including representing several C-suite executives in the private resolution of their claims. Mr. Tepe’s notable public representations include successfully representing executives who were terminated after reporting violations of laws and regulations in Kyrimis, et al. v. Palomar Health et al., helping to win an arbitration verdict over $8.3 million on behalf of the co-founder of the semi-conductor company InnoGrit, and helping to secure wide-spread programmatic relief in a class and collective action on behalf of hundreds of auto-workers alleging age discrimination against Volkswagen.
Nicole Wiitala also works from the firm’s New York office on discrimination, harassment, retaliation, criminal violence, and sexual violence cases. Ms. Wiitala received her J.D. cum laude and B.A. from Pace University. At Pace, she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Pace Law Review. Ms. Wiitala has presented at legal conferences on sex abuse class action cases.
She also serves as Co-Ombudsperson for the firm and was recognized as a 2021 New York Metro SuperLawyer Rising Star in 2021. She has been involved in many cases at the firm, the highest profile of which was a discrimination and sexual assault case against Dartmouth University and is currently working on a high-profile sexual assault and retaliation case against Schlumberger Technology Corporation on behalf of a former woman oil worker.
New Senior Litigation Counsel
Sanford Heisler Sharp also promoted Clare J. Horan (Baltimore), Alok Nadig (New York), Sean Ouellette, and Austin Webbert (Baltimore) to Senior Litigation Counsel.
Clare J. Horan received her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law (Order of the Coif) and her undergraduate degree from Smith College. Prior to joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, she clerked for the Honorable Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa and the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
While at the University of Iowa, Ms. Horan was the Senior Articles Editor of the Iowa Law Review, research assistant to Professor (now Dean) Angela Onwuachi-Willig, and was awarded the ABA/Bloomberg Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law and the Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement.
Alok Nadig received his J.D. cum laude from New York University School of Law and his B.A. and B.Mus. magna cum laude from Northwestern University, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Nadig completed clerkships for the Honorable Pamela K. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the Honorable Carlos F. Lucero of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Prior to his clerkships, Alok was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
Sean Ouellette received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard College. Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Sean was a law clerk for the Honorable O. Rogeriee Thompson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Honorable Lawrence E. Kahn of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, and the Honorable Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
During law school, Sean worked as a student attorney in the Harvard Law School Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense Clinic and Criminal Justice Institute and interned at the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He was an editor on the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review and worked as a teaching assistant for Professor Diane Rosenfeld in her course on Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education.
Mr. Ouellette will be leaving Sanford Heisler Sharp later in February to join the staff of Public Justice, but he will continue to partner with the firm on several significant cases including the firm’s case against Harvard University.
Austin Webbert received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and his B.A. cum laude from the University of Miami. Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Webbert was an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, where he gained significant experience in housing and consumer law.
While at the University of Michigan Law School, Austin was awarded an Equal Justice America Fellowship, served as an Executive Editor and published a comment with the Michigan Journal of Race and Law, and worked as a student attorney for the law school’s Civil-Criminal Litigation Clinic, Unemployment Insurance Clinic, and Environmental Law Clinic.
Leadership & Management Transitions
The firm also announced several recent leadership and management transitions and additions.
Kate Mueting adds the newly created position of Firm Administrative Partner and continues as a Co-Chair of the firm’s Discrimination and Harassment Practice Group. She was previously Co-Managing Partner of the Washington, DC office.
Saba Bireda takes on the role of Co-Managing Partner of the Washington, DC office alongside H. Vincent McKnight Jr. and continues in her role as a Co-Chair of the firm’s Discrimination and Harassment Practice Group.
Qiaojing Ella Zheng is Managing Partner of the Palo Alto and San Francisco offices and continues as Chair of the firm’s Asian American Litigation and Finance Practice Group.
Charles Field is Managing Partner of the San Diego Office and Chair of the firm’s Financial Services Litigation Practice Group, which he previously Co-Chaired.
Nancy E. Rafuse is Atlanta Managing Partner and the Firmwide Head of Litigation.
Michael B. Greene is the firm’s new Chief Financial Officer.
Alec Konstantin is the firm’s first Chief Operations Officer. He was previously the firm’s Director of Operations.
Anita Youngkin is the firm’s first Chief People Officer. She was previously the firm’s Senior Director of Human Resources.
Erika Rigsby is the firm’s first Director of Talent Acquisition and Development.
The firm also announced its first Deborah Rhode and Tom Henderson Fellows. Sean Kolkey, in the firm’s Palo Alto office, is the inaugural Deborah Rhode Fellow. Amy Frieder in the Washington, DC office and Bethel Habte in the San Diego office are the inaugural Tom Henderson Civil Rights Fellows.
About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
Sanford Heisler Sharp is a public interest and civil rights law firm with offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Atlanta, Baltimore, Nashville, and San Diego. The firm focuses on employment discrimination, Title IX, wage and hour, whistleblower and qui tam, criminal/sexual violence, financial services, and Asian American litigation and finance matters. Our lawyers have recovered over $1 billion for our clients through many verdicts and settlements.
In 2022, The National Law Journal named Sanford Heisler Sharp Civil Rights Firm of the Year, and it recognized the firm in 2021 as both the Employment Rights Firm of the Year and the Human Rights Firm of the Year. Law360 recognized the firm as Employment Practice Group of the Year in 2021, 2019, 2018, and 2016. Benchmark Litigation recognized the firm as the Labor & Employment Firm of the Year in 2021 and 2020.
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