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Compiled by Nathaniel Barr / Los Angeles' Best Lawyers 2017


Shirley Hufstedler (appellate practice; bet-the-company litigation; commercial litigation, 1993) passed away March 30, 2016, in Glendale, California. Hufstedler, 90, served in President Jimmy Carter’s cabinet as the nation’s first secretary of education, was considered a front-runner for the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1980s, and had a long career in private practice and as a judge in city, California state, and federal courts.

Hufstedler graduated from Stanford Law School in 1949 and first entered private practice in 1950. She became a judge in 1961, serving on the Los Angeles Superior Court, and was the only woman among 120 judges serving on the court at that time. “They had no idea what the world would do with this bizarre creature,” she said of herself in a 2007 interview she gave to the American Bar Association for an oral history series on women in the law. “But they changed their mind[s] fairly quickly.”

Next, Hufstedler served on the California Court of Appeals, and was appointed in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson to serve as a judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a position she held for 11 years. When Hufstedler was appointed, she was only the second woman lawyer in U.S. history to serve as a federal appeals court judge. 

Following her service as the U.S. Secretary of Education, she returned to private practice with her husband in 1981 at the Hufstedler firm and, after a merger, she practiced at Morrison & Foerster for 20 additional years. Hufstedler is survived by her husband Seth, their son, and multiple grandchildren.


► Allred, Maroko & Goldberg: Gloria Allred (employment law – individuals, 2011) was a delegate for California to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Allred is a nationally recognized lawyer who often takes cases that focus on issues related to women’s rights and whose current clients include 32 women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault.

► Greenberg TraurigSusan L. Heller (trademark law, 2016) was named among the “Top 50 Women Lawyers” by the National Diversity Council. She is co-chair of the firm’s global women’s initiative and chair of the international law firm’s trademarks and brand management group.

► Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & AldisertShawn Holley (criminal defense: general practice; criminal defense: white-collar, 2013) negotiated a successful plea agreement with the Los Angeles city attorney’s office on behalf of UCLA wide receiver Ishmael Adams. The football player was accused of attacking an Uber driver to steal his cell phone in August 2015. Under the agreement, Adams pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor battery charge, was required to complete 20 days of community service, attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and counseling, and spend 36 months on probation. He returned to playing on the college football team and is playing his final season this year.

 O’Melveny & Myers: Daniel Petrocelli (bet-the-company litigation; commercial litigation, 2006) is part of the legal team representing Donald Trump in a suit brought by two former Trump University students who allege that they were defrauded by false advertising for the for-profit education company’s real estate training seminars. In August, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel denied a request by media organizations to release video footage of presidential candidate Trump’s testimony in the case, but allowed the suit to proceed to jury trial over the objections of the defense. “We believe the case should have been dismissed now because it has no merit,” said defense lawyer Petrocelli. “We fully expect to prevail at trial.”

► Wasser, Cooperman & Carter: Laura A. Wasser (family law, 2008) assisted Khloe Kardashian in filing a second time for divorce from retired L.A. Lakers’ player Lamar Odom. 


Private Practice:

► Blank Rome: Stacy D. Phillips (family law, 2003) and the other members of family law boutique firm Phillips Lerner joined the Los Angeles office in a merger.

► Faegre Baker Daniels: George A. Stohner (litigation – labor and employment, 2007) joined the firm as partner in its Chicago and Los Angeles offices. He was previously at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

► Karish & Bjorgum: John D. McConaghy (copyright law; litigation – patent; patent law; trademark law, 2007) joined the Pasadena law firm. He was previously at Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg in Los Angeles.

► Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman: Christopher J. McNevin (environmental law; litigation – environmental; natural resources law, 2010) transferred to the firm’s Houston, Texas, office. He was previously based in Los Angeles.

► Sedgwick: Margaret M. Holm (medical malpractice law - defendants, 2007) joined the firm as partner in its Irvine office. She was previously at Bonne, Bridges, Mueller, O’Keefe & Nichols in Santa Ana.

► The Long Law Group: Cristina D. Hernandez (commercial litigation; litigation – securities, 2012) joined the firm as partner and head of its litigation practice. She was previously at Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In-House & Government:

► Gibson Dunn: Daniel S. Floyd (litigation – antitrust, 2013) left the firm to become executive vice president of global litigation at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

 Irell & Manella: Melissa R. McCormick (commercial litigation, 2010) was appointed by Governor Brown to serve as a judge for the Orange County Superior Court.

► Steptoe & Johnson: Lawrence P. Riff (mass tort litigation / class actions – defendants, 2007) was appointed by Governor Brown to serve as a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.


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