Binder & Schwartz Names First ‘Home Grown’ Partner

by | Mar 5, 2018

Elite litigation boutique Binder & Schwartz has promoted Lauren K. Handelsman to partner. She is the first associate to be named partner since the firm opened its doors in April 2013. She joined the firm in October of that year from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

The move from a 1,000+ lawyer firm to a law firm with just four other lawyers at the time of her hire was an intentional one, according to Handelsman. “I wanted to spend more time directly involved in developing and executing the litigation strategies for my cases and less time managing large teams,” she says.  “Ultimately I wanted to focus on practicing law with smaller teams. I was also attracted to the idea of being part of something brand new.”

She found those qualities at Binder & Schwartz, which was founded by two former assistant US Attorneys for the Southern District of New York: Neil S. Binder and Wendy S. Schwartz. (A former colleague of Binder and Schwartz, Eric B. Fisher, joined the firm as its third partner a couple years later.)

The firm has not hired junior associates, instead preferring to hire experienced lawyers from top firms and the government. Since its launch five years ago, Binder & Schwartz has grown to 11 lawyers, including four partners. With Handelsman’s promotion, half of the partners and five of the firm’s seven associates are women. It is one of the rare firms that often appear in court with a team predominately consisting of women litigators.

“One thing about Binder & Schwartz is that our lawyers have different experiences and different backgrounds,” Handelsman says. “A diversity of perspectives helps shape our case strategy and makes our work better.”

Handelsman has played a leading role in some of Binder & Schwartz’s highest-profile cases. These include representing a trust in its prosecution of a $1.5 billion avoidance action against a syndicate of lenders and their administrative agent in the Chapter 11 proceedings of General Motors, and defending American Express in federal multidistrict litigation related to DraftKings and FanDuel. Handelsman has also been integral to growing the firm’s investigations practice and has represented companies that are the targets of government investigations, while also conducting internal investigations for her clients.


Norton Rose Fulbright has named Tricia Hobson its global chair. Hobson, who is based in Sydney, is an insurance class action litigator.

Baker McKenzie Partner Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, who was previously managing partner of the Germany and Austria offices, has joined the firm’s executive committee and been named chair of the Firm’s diversity and inclusion committee.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has named Katharine (Katie) Martin chair of its board. She is a partner in the Palo Alto office, and a member of the corporate practice.

Ropes & Gray has announced that securities and public companies partner Julie Jones will become the firm’s chair in 2020. She will be the first woman chair in the firm’s 152-year history.

Reed Smith has appointed Denise Jong as Asia-Pacific managing partner. She is based in Hong Kong and also serves as co-chair for the global corporate practice. The firm also recently promoted 10 women to partner: Christina Tellado (employment); Michelle Cheng (life sciences healthcare); Antonia Panayides (shipping); Elizabeth Farrell (energy and natural resources); Joanna Carter (real estate); Jane Sarma (shipping); Jennifer Purnell Knox (financial industry group); Jennifer Smokelin (energy and natural resources); and Stefanie Lepore Burt (energy and natural resources); Ashley Shively (financial industry group).

Cozen O’Connor has named Elaine Rinaldi Bailey as vice chair of the firm and has appointed Lynnette D. Espy-Williams to serve as the firm’s chief diversity officer. In addition, Anne Blume has been appointed to serve as office managing partner for the firm’s Chicago office, and has joined the firm’s management committee. Susan Eisenberg has been appointed to serve as the office managing partner for Miami office. And Pamela D. Pengelley has been appointed to serve as the office managing partner for Toronto office.

Faegre Baker Daniels has named several women to leadership positions. Partners Ellen Boshkoff and Jacqueline Mrachek will co-lead the employment litigation practice. Partner Sara Powell will co-lead the financial services industry team. And Partner Stephanie Gumm will lead the trademark, copyright, advertising and media practice.

Fragomen has named Jane Goddard as practice leader of its Sheffield, UK, office. Previously she served as the firm’s global client relationship director.

Steptoe & Johnson has elected Gwendolyn Prothro Renigar to serve a four-year term as vice chair of its executive committee. She is the youngest person in the firm’s history to be elected to the executive committee. Renigar is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

Awards & Recognitions

Morgan Lewis Firm Chair Jami McKeon has been named one of Philadelphia’s most iconic business leaders by The Philadelphia Inquirer and was inducted into its Business Hall of Fame during the publication’s second annual Industry Icon Awards.

The American Lawyer has named Karen Dunn, partner at Boies Schiller Flexner, as one of its Litigators of the Year.

Markets Media has named Latham & Watkins Partner Vivian Maese a “Legal Eagle” as part of its 2017 Women in Finance Awards.

Linda L. D’Onofrio, a tax shareholder with Greenberg Traurig, has received a Freda Johnson Trailblazer Award from The Bond Buyer.

Steptoe & Johnson Partner Brigida Benitez received the Diversity Champion Award at the fourth annual National Diversity Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair.

Securities Docket has honored several women lawyers as part of their 2017 Enforcement 40 list. They are Catherine Botticelli, partner, Dechert; Dixie L. Johnson, partner, King & Spalding; Carmen J. Lawrence, partner, King & Spalding; Colleen P. Mahoney, partner, Skadden; Joan E. McKown, partner, Jones Day; Fiona A. Philip, partner, Sidley Austin; Cheryl J. Scarboro, partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; and Linda Chatman Thomsen, partner, Davis Polk.

DLA Piper Partner Amy Carbins was recently recognized by nonprofit Earth Conservation Corps for her pro bono work for the organization.

Kim Askew, a partner in the complex commercial litigation and disputes practice of K&L Gates’ Dallas office, is the inaugural recipient of the Dallas Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

Faegre Baker Daniel Partner Jessica Van Dalen has been presented with the Pro Bono Publico award by the Indiana Bar Foundation.

The New York County Lawyers Association honored a number of law firm lawyers as Outstanding Women in the Legal Profession. Honorees included Kathy H. Chin, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; Harriet Newman Cohen, Cohen Rabin Stine Schumann; Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin, Alston & Bird; Lauren R. Goldman, Mayer Brown; Marcia L. Goldstein, Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Barbara E. Hoey, Kelley Drye & Warren; Roberta A. Kaplan, Kaplan & Company; Lenore Kramer, Kramer & Dunleavy; Lynn K. Neuner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Michèle O. Penzer, Latham & Watkins; Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan; Hon. Jacqueline W. Silbermann, Dobrish Michaels Gross; Lisa J. Sotto, Hunton & Williams; Lynne M. Fischman Uniman, Andrews Kurth Kenyon; and Chilton Davis Varner, King & Spalding.

Variety has recognized several women law firm partners in its 2017 Dealmakers Impact Report. They are Leigh Brecheen, Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman; Candace Carlo, Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo; Ruth Fisher, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Linda Lichter, Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler & Feldman; Marissa Roman Griffith, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Sophia Yen, Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips; and Susan Zuckerman Williams, Loeb & Loeb.

Crain’s Chicago Business honored a number of woman law firm partners in its inaugural list of Chicago’s Most Influential Minority Lawyers. Honorees included Lisa Acevedo, Polsinelli; Anne Fredd, Neal & Leroy; Jeanne M. Gills, Foley & Lardner; Karen K. Harris, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr; Patricia Brown Holmes, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila; Christina Martini, DLA Piper; Yondi Morris-Andrews, Knight, Morris & Reddick Law Group; Kristen Rodriguez, Dentons US; Z Scott, Foley & Lardner; Jean Soh, Polsinelli; and Diane E. Webster, Hinshaw & Culbertson.

Crain’s Detroit Business recognized a number of women law firm partners in its list of Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan. They are Sharon Almonrode, The Miller Law Firm; Geaneen Arends, Butzel Long; Mary Bauman, Miller Johnson; Jennifer Belveal, Foley & Lardner; Cheryl Bush, Bush Seyferth & Paige; Michelle Crockett, Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone; Michelle Thurber Czapski, Bodman; Julie Fershtman, Foster Swift Collins & Smith; Randi Glanz, Clark Hill; Denise Glassmeyer, Young Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane; Jennifer Grieco, Neuman Anderson Grieco & McKenney; Elizabeth Hardy, Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton; Michelle Harrell, Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller; Channelle Kizy-White, Kizy Law; Dani Liblang, The Liblang Law Firm; Donna MacKenzie, Olsman MacKenzie & Wallace; Clara DeMatteis Mager, Butzel Long; Kate McCarroll, Kerr Russell; Laurel McGiffert, Plunkett Cooney; Laurie Murphy, Miller Johnson; Patricia Nemeth, Nemeth Law; Megan Norris, Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone; Martha Olijnyk, The Miller Law Firm; Melissa Papke, Varnum; Linda Paullin-Hebden, Warner Norcross & Judd; Kristen Pursley, The Dobrusin Law Firm; Alexis Schostak, Dykema Gossett; Sangeeta Shah, Brooks Kushman; Heidi Sharp, Burgess Sharp & Golden; Lynn Sirich, Dickinson Wright; Joanne Swanson, Kerr Russell; Emily Tait, Jones Day; Ronda Tate Truvillion, Lewis & Munday; Macie Tuiasosopo, Caine Tuiasosopo; Ann Marie Uetz, Foley & Lardner; Linda Wasserman, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn; Sherri Wellman, Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone; Jill Wheaton, Dykema Gossett; Wendy Zabriskie, Bodman; and Katheryne Zelenock, Dickinson Wright.

Crain’s New York Business recognized a number of women law firm partners on its inaugural list of Leading Women Lawyers in NYC. Honorees included Terri Adler, Duval & Stachenfeld; Lauren Angelilli, Cravath Swaine & Moore; Judith Archer, Norton Rose Fulbright; Karen Artz Ash, Katten Muchin Rosenman; Christina Baltz, Withers Bergman; Luise Barrack, Rosenberg & Estis; Meredith Beuchaw, Cooley; Sheila Boston, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer; Erica Buckley, Nixon Peabody; Colleen Caden, Pryor Cashman; Helen Cantwell, Debevoise & Plimpton; Linda Carlozzi, Jackson Lewis; Sarah Cave, Hughes Hubbard & Reed; Dale Cendali, Kirkland & Ellis; Jane Chuang, Lee Anav Chung White Kim Ruger & Richter; Jayne Conroy, Simmons Hanly Conroy; Victoria Cook, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz; Melanie Cyganowski, Otterbourg; Lisa Davis, Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz; Danielle Epstein-Day, Sadis & Goldberg; Regina Faul, Phillips Nizer; Lisa Ferri, Mayer Brown; Melanie Figueroa, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp; Maria Fernanda Gandarez, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart; Faith Gay, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan; Sandra Goldstein, Cravath Swaine & Moore; Wendy Goldstein, Cooley; Jennifer Grady, Richards Kibbe & Orbe; Keisha-Ann Gray, Proskauer Rose; Nicole Greenblatt, Kirkland & Ellis; Daryn Grossman, Proskauer Rose; Caroline Harris, Goldmanharris; Tanya Hobson-Williams, Hobson-Williams; Mary Beth Hogan, Debevoise & Plimpton; Lenore Horton, Fisherbroyles; Narges Kakalia, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky And Popeo; Laurin Blumenthal Kleiman, Sidley Austin; Eve Klein, Duane Morris; Marni Lerner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Janice Mac Avoy, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson; Jeanine Margiano, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf; Lori Marks-Esterman, Olshan Frome Wolosky; Marjorie Mesidor, Phillips & Associates; Melanie Meyers, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson; Akiko Mikumo, Weil Gotshal & Manges; Pamela Miller, O’melveny & Myers; Jessica Millett, Duval & Stachenfeld; Nancy Mitchell, Greenberg Traurig; Christine Montenegro, Kasowitz Benson Torres; Jaimee Nardiello, Zetlin & De Chiara; Sharon Nelles, Sullivan & Cromwell; Lynn Neuner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Amanda Nussbaum, Proskauer Rose; Kathleen Pakenham, Cooley; Michèle Penzer, Latham & Watkins; D. Hara Perkins, Goulston & Storrs; Vered Rabia, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom; Valerie Radwaner, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Kara Schechter-Rakowski, Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman; Julissa Reynoso, Winston & Strawn; Aimee Richter, Lee Anav Chung White Kim Ruger & Richter; Ricki Roer, Wilson Elser; Nina Roket, Olshan Frome Wolosky; Carol Rosenthal, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson; Jennifer Rossan, Sadis & Goldberg; Laurie Ruckel, Loeb & Loeb; Alanna Rutherford, Boies Schiller Flexner; Melissa Sawyer, Sullivan & Cromwell; Belinda Schwartz, Herrick Feinstein; Michelle Shapiro, Dentons Us; Robin Silverman, Golenbock Eiseman Assor Bell & Peskoe; Georgiana Slade, Milbank Tweed Hadley & Mccloy ; Audra Soloway, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; Lisa Sotto, Hunton & Williams; Kathleen Sullivan, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan; Stacie Trott, Duval & Stachenfeld; Christine Varney, Cravath Swaine & Moore; Jamie Wine, Latham & Watkins; Allison Yacker, Katten Muchin Rosenman; Alice Yurke, Alston & Bird; Taurie Zeitzer, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison; and Hui Zeng, Zeng Law Group.

Indianapolis Business Journal has named several women lawyers to its 2017 Women of Influence list. They are Deborah J. Caruso, Rubin & Levin; Andrea Pierson, Faegre Baker Daniels; Marti Starkey, Harrison & Moberly; and Angela Wessler, Barnes & Thornburg.

The Philadelphia Business Journal has recognized several women law firm partners in its 2017 Women of Distinction list. They are Courtney Devon Taylor, vice chair of the securities litigation practice at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis; Danielle Banks, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young; Katayun Jaffari, Ballard Spahr; Lori Landew, Fox Rothschild; Melinda Rudolph, Cozen O’Connor; and Teresa Ficken Sachs, Marshall Dennehy.

Georgia Trend selected Yvonne M. Williams-Wass of Eversheds Sutherland for its 2017 Top 40 Under 40.

Dentons real estate partner and former global vice chair Jana Cohen Barbe received a 2017 Executive Impact Award from Linkage’s Women in Leadership