Insight

In the News: Meet the Lawyer Representing Christine Blasey Ford

This week, hirings at King & Spalding, and a profile of civil rights attorney Debra Katz.

The Lawyer Representing Christine Blasey Ford
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

October 5, 2018 01:25 PM

Comings and Goings

King & Spalding: The firm is adding a partner to its Austin office, in the trial and global disputes practice group. The new hire, Melvin Bailey (Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, 2018), is a business litigator with three decades of experience representing corporate clients in complex talc and asbestos cases. Previously, Bailey was with Bailey, Crowe, Arnold & Majors. “Having worked with King & Spalding partners Doc Schneider and Alexander Calfo over the years has enabled me to experience firsthand the creativity and meticulous preparation of the firm’s trial lawyers,” Bailey says in a statement released by King & Spalding on his move. “I am thrilled to be joining the firm’s dispute team, which has a great reputation for successfully defending the best interests of its clients.”

Seyfarth Shaw: Daniel E. Larkin is joining the firm’s Chicago office in its corporate department. Previously of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Larkin will focus his practice on transactions, mergers and acquisitions, public-private partnerships, and development projects. “Dan’s transactional expertise is quite rare, allowing him to handle complex corporate matters both locally and on the international stage,” Cory Hirsch, co-managing partner, says in a statement. “He is a highly valuable resource to clients and colleagues alike, and we’re lucky to have him.”

Awards and Honors

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings: J. William Manuel (Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Environmental; Litigation – Labor and Employment, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, 2007) was appointed by the Supreme Court to the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions, where he will qualify and weight the aptitude of attorneys looking to practice in the state. Cummings will serve for three years, beginning November 1. In a statement released by Bradley, Managing Partner Margaret Oertling Cupples praised her colleague: “We congratulate Will on his appointment to the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions and his continued service to the legal profession.”

Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson & Tardy: Colleen S. Welch (Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, 2016) received the 2018 Curtis E. Coker Access to Justice award by the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project. The annual award, presented at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, recognizes attorneys for their pro bono service. Welch has volunteered with the legal clinic since 2007. “MVLP is truly thankful for the hard work and dedication Colleen gives to the clients that are processed through our program,” Gayla Carpenter-Sanders, the executive director and general counsel of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project, said in a statement. “She is a shining example of why the legal profession is as great as it is. We have caring, licensed professionals in the state of Mississippi who understand and appreciate the plight of our fellow Mississippi residents and are enthusiastic about giving back.”

In the Headlines

Katz, Marshall & Banks: Debra Katz (Civil Rights Law; Employment Law – Individuals; Litigation – Labor and Employment, 2006) represented Christine Blasey Ford as she addressed the public and the Senate Judiciary Committee in her testimony on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged abuse.

Friday morning, the Senate decided by a margin of just two votes to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to a final vote. The vote followed a four-day FBI investigation into Ford’s testimony: an investigation Katz felt was insufficient. In a letter to Christopher A. Wray, the bureau’s director, Katz and attorneys Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich wrote, “The ‘investigation’ conducted over the past five days is a stain on the process, on the FBI and on our American ideal of justice.”

Katz has represented women against powerful men throughout her career, including Harvey Weinstein and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“In many ways, Katz is the consummate lawyer for the #MeToo movement,” Isaac Stanley-Becker of The Washington Post says in a recent profile. Active in politics and particularly in the organizing against President Trump, Katz has clearly aligned herself with the #MeToo movement, penning an article against so-called “locker room talk” in 2016 for Ms. Magazine. In part because of her outspoken politics, and in part because of the high-stakes consequences of Ford’s testimony, Katz has herself become a person of interest to pundits and the media—both liberal and conservative.

Even with the challenges of a public-facing and deeply consequential role, Katz speaks of the rewards that her civil rights law practice brings. In an interview with the National Women’s Law Center, Katz says, “I have found that this work is not only critically needed but is also professionally and personally very gratifying.”

The final vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation is expected to be held Saturday, October 6.

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