The Rising Star of a Chief Legal Officer

We’ve been proud to share Patricia Astorga’s accomplishments beyond Weil, most recently her being named a Rising Star by the New York Law Journal (along with fellow Alum Cheryl James). So we were excited when Patricia agreed to participate in this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, hosted by Lori Pines, who was concurrently recognized by NYLJ with an Innovation Award for her dedication to improving the well-being of Weil lawyers and staff as our inaugural Chief Wellness Officer.

Patricia serves as Chief Legal Officer at the Mintz Group, a New York-based due diligence and investigations firm, where she oversees the company’s legal, risk and compliance functions, and helps guide the business on its continuing global expansion, business strategy, technological advancement and corporate governance. She is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and the Western District of New York.

In this video, Patricia talks about her career and imparts wisdom about professional development and personal well-being.

A Texas Legal Star

Mary Korby is an esteemed former Corporate partner who served in Weil’s Dallas office for two decades before she retired from the partnership in 2012. Her practice focused on advising boards of directors and companies regarding securities law compliance and corporate governance, and she was involved in complex cross-border public and private transactions in diverse industries. She also advised in historic U.S. restructurings including for American Airlines and Enron. Mary was a founding member of what is now our Associates Committee and served as the Chair of our Professional Evaluation and Compensation Committee. Since retiring from Weil, Mary has been a member of the Board of Directors of Darling Ingredients.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Courtney Marcus – Co-Managing Partner of our Dallas Office, Co-Head of our Banking & Finance practice and a member of the Firm’s Management Committee – speaks with Mary about her memories of landmark matters and her focus on associate retention. Mary also opines on what made practicing law in Texas special and the future of the business of law in the state.

From Private Practice to Her Majesty's Treasury

Peter King is the Legal Director at HM Treasury in the U.K., leading a team of around 90 lawyers to provide legal advice to Treasury ministers and civil servants. Before his career in public service, Peter was in private practice for more than three decades. He joined Weil in 2008 as a Corporate partner in our London office, where he acted on several high-profile deals. He was also Co-Chair of our global Pro Bono Committee.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Michael Francies, Managing Partner of our London office and a member of Weil’s Management Committee, speaks with Peter about his career. Peter discusses the adjustment from private practice to serving in HM Treasury, his core management tenets, advice for junior lawyers and the power of establishing a strong network.

Transforming DEI Through Vision and Technology

Mandy Price is the CEO of Kanarys, the first Black- and female-founded diversity, equity and inclusion technology platform for the workplace and the largest DEI data-driven platform of its kind in the United States. Mandy left her legal career to co-found Kanarys and previously served as a Private Equity associate in Weil’s Dallas office. She and her co-founder, Star Carter, who is also a Weil alum, were named two of Entrepreneur magazine’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women of 2020, and Kanarys was named winner of the Dallas Innovates and D CEO Innovation Award for Talent and Diversity in 2021. We are proud to note that Mandy and Kanarys have been garnering attention in numerous major media outlets, including Forbes, Bloomberg, CNN, and CNBC.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Paul Genender, a partner in Weil’s Dallas office, the leader of Weil’s Litigation practice in Texas and a member of our Diversity Committee, speaks with Mandy about her passion for DEI issues, the “equity” component in DEI, the proven benefits for companies that implement forward-looking DEI practices, and how her Weil training helps her as an entrepreneur.

A Remarkable Career in Law, Business and Academia

Andrea Cristina Saavedra is Assistant Dean, Office of Judicial Clerkships at Columbia Law School. She has had a richly varied career that includes not only interning with then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the Second Circuit during law school and working as a Restructuring associate in Weil’s New York office but also serving as in-house counsel at Nomura Securities and vice president in the Goldman Sachs Conflicts Resolution Group, and clerking for a federal bankruptcy judge. In her current position, she promotes judicial service by connecting Columbia Law to the courts and Columbia law students to clerkships.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Ronit Berkovich, a Restructuring partner in our New York office who is a leader in Women@Weil, a member of TOWER (Taskforce on Women’s Engagement & Retention) and a member of the Nominating and Hiring Committees, talks with Andrea about her career. Andrea discusses her transition from corporate law to law school dean, diversity in the law, and her role models, including Weil legends Harvey Miller and Marcia Goldstein.

The Iconic Career of a Weil Legend

Retired partner Marsha Simms is a legend at Weil and in the legal profession. She was Weil’s first Black partner, elevated in 1987. Marsha was instrumental in building Weil’s Banking & Finance practice and represented some of the Firm’s biggest clients at the time. She was a member of the Hiring Committee for more than a decade, with particular focus on the recruitment of lawyers of color. Marsha was also a leader in voting rights through her pro bono work with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Marsha spoke about her storied career with Jannelle Marie Seales, a partner in Weil’s Real Estate practice, a leader in our Black Attorney Affinity Group and Women@Weil, and a member of our Professional Development Committee. They discussed Marsha’s most memorable moments at the Firm, her ability to be her “authentic self,” the advice she imparted and her passion for travel.

A Thrilling Journey From Lawyer to Author

Liani Kotcher, who served as a Litigation associate in our Dallas and Silicon Valley offices, is an accomplished author, writing young adult novels under the pen name “Rektok Ross.” Her recently published survival thriller, Ski Weekend, was a 2021 American Fiction Awards Finalist in the Young Adult Category and was named a Best Book of the Fall by Cosmopolitan, Yahoo Life, SheReads and several other publications.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Liani talks with Vynessa Nemunaitis, a Dallas-based partner in our Banking & Finance practice who is a leader in the Firm’s WeilLatinx and Women@Weil affinity groups and a member of the Professional Development Committee. They discussed Liani’s transition from Weil litigator to full-time author, how her Weil experience helped her achieve success in a highly competitive field, and her current book projects.

A Champion of Conflict Resolution

N. Damali Peterman, a former Corporate associate in our New York office, fully embodies the Weil entrepreneurial ethos. She is the Founder and CEO of Breakthrough ADR, a global conflict resolution firm that helps organizations resolve conflict in everyday situations. She recently joined JAMS, the world’s largest alternative dispute resolution organization, as a mediator, arbitrator and ombudsperson – and as one of the youngest people ever invited to become a member of the prestigious panel. A true trailblazer, Damali has been featured frequently in the media and recently was interviewed by Forbes magazine.

In this month’s edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Damali spoke with Charan Sandhu, a partner in our Technology & IP Transactions practice. Damali explained why she is so passionate about conflict resolution, why her unique career path makes her a “unicorn” in the industry and how her wide international experience has enabled her to navigate the cultural differences that so often must be bridged to successfully resolve disputes.

An Industry Leader Forged by Weil Culture

Distinguished former Weil partner Shai Waisman practiced in our Restructuring Department in New York, where he handled some of the largest and most complex restructurings in history, including Lehman Brothers, American Airlines, Global Crossing and many others. Recently, Shai was appointed President of Kroll, the world’s premier provider of services and digital products related to valuation, governance, risk and transparency. He joined Kroll through the firm’s 2019 acquisition of Prime Clerk – a business he co-founded – where he served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.

In this month’s edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Matt Barr, Co-Chair of Weil’s Restructuring Department and a member of the Firm’s Management and Philanthropic Committees, talks with Shai about his exciting new position and business objectives, the strong influence Weil culture has had on him, and the huge part that charitable endeavors play in his life.

Building a Latinx Beauty Brand

Even as an associate in Weil’s Dallas office, Regina Merson, Founder and CEO of beauty brand Reina Rebelde, was thinking about her passion – wanting to create a line of makeup focused on the Latinx community. Regina fulfilled that dream, and we are happy to report that she has garnered much media attention for her company, which has been featured in Forbes, Refinery29, Allure, Vogue and O – The Oprah Magazine, and has sold her brand through such retail giants as Amazon, Target and Walmart.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Linda D. Domyanic, Manager of Client and Alumni Relations for our Dallas office, talks with Regina about how she built her brand, the advice she has for lawyers considering entrepreneurship, the critical value of her Weil training, and the tremendous diversity within the Latinx community.

A General Counsel's Perspective on Leadership

Former Weil litigator Virginia Johnson recently stepped into her latest role as General Counsel for North America at global energy company Schneider Electric. Virginia oversees a 50-person legal department from the company’s U.S. headquarters in Boston. We’re also happy to report that she’s received notable positive media attention, including from Corporate Counsel, on her move to Schneider.

In this edition of the Weil Alumni Interview Series, Weil’s Chief Talent Officer Lisa I. Cuevas talks with Virginia, eliciting her advice for lawyers entering new executive leadership roles, including: focus on the relationships and your internal network. Lisa and Virginia also discuss how her strong commitment to sustainability and equity fits well with Schneider’s priorities.

The Future of AI in Law

Weil is always pleased to welcome back innovative and entrepreneurial alumni who are making a difference in the legal profession. Noah Waisberg (NY/Corporate/’06) is helping to transform aspects of corporate law through artificial intelligence.

Noah is CEO and Co-Founder of Kira Systems, which provides machine learning artificial intelligence software that identifies, extracts and analyzes content in contracts and other documents. In conversation with Robert Lennon, Weil’s Chief Business Development & Communications Officer, Noah discusses his recent book – AI for Lawyers: How Artificial Intelligence is Adding Value, Amplifying Expertise and Transforming Careers – which made The Wall Street Journal’s Bestsellers list. Topics include the rapid growth of AI in the legal world and how it can benefit law firms and legal professionals.

Leading Social Impact

Robert Powell, Director, Pro Bono and Corporate Responsibility, London, talks with Weil alumnus Anthony Murphy, Founder and Managing Director of Prime Advocates, a not-for-profit law firm and social finance consultancy. Anthony discusses the Women of Impact program, which Weil supports, and other Prime Advocates initiatives that help some of the most innovative social enterprises and firms in the world become even more effective.

Our Finest Hours at Weil and Beyond

This year Weil celebrates 15 years since the Firm adopted its groundbreaking pro bono policy, building on the strong history of pro bono service at the Firm since its founding. Weil became one of the first large law firms to formalize its pro bono program by instituting an official policy, which includes the goal of 50 hours per year per attorney, and hiring a dedicated professional staff.

In this video, Pro Bono Counsel Miriam Buhl thanks Weil alumni for their pro bono service and has a wide-ranging conversation with Weil alumna Wendy Fu about her pro bono service at Weil and her work as Pro Bono Manager of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP).

Living Strong and Resilient: A Conversation with Candice Toll Aaron

Candice Aaron’s (NY/Lit/'99) life and career have taken some pretty big twists and turns. A winding career path has landed her at the Charles Schwab Corporation, where she serves as Vice President of Corporate Compliance. At the same time, a challenging health journey has brought her to the Livestrong Foundation as Chair of the Board. In a conversation with Courtney Marcus, Weil Dallas Co-Managing Partner and Banking & Finance Partner, and Kito Huggins, Candice shares lessons from her life and career.

Nicole Lazarre

Alumna Nicole Lazarre, then-Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the National Urban League (NUL), spoke to Restructuring partner Candace Arthur about Weil’s partnership with NUL, growing demands for racial justice, and how lawyers today can get involved.

Akiko Mikumo

Retired partner Akiko Mikumo (NY/Corp/’82) finds purpose and power in “the human connection.” Read the full feature here.

Chris Smith Alumni

Chris Smith

Read more from Chris Smith, partner at venture firm Playfair Capital.

Stephen Dallas

Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs and Digital Business Development at Universal Music Publishing Group

Pooja Viswanath

Division Counsel at Indeed

Anthony Murphy

Founder of Prime Advocates

Letters to My Younger Self

Read more from Sharlyn Heslam, Brandy Treadway and Danielle Do

Kristin Brown

Read more from Kristin Brown, President of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Nichole Hines

Read more from, Nicole Hines, Senior Legal Counsel for Humana Inc.

Wendy Fu

Read more from Wendy Fu, Pro Bono Manager of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)

Jesse Zigmund

Read more from Jesse Zigmund, General Counsel at M-KOPA Solar

Aaron Ford

Read more from Aaron Ford, Majority Leader of the Nevada State Senate

Melinda Katz

Nineteenth President of the Borough of Queens

Kwesi Baiden

Chief Compliance Officer, ENSCO

Michael Luisi

President, WWE Studios

José Ramón González

Chief Legal Officer, QBE North America

Andrew Harting

CEO, Aston Martin Walton on Thames and HWM of Walton on Thames

Melanie Greenberg

President and CEO at the Alliance for Peacebuilding

The Honorable Brenda T. Rhoades

Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Texas

Chelsea Hirschhorn

CEO & President at Fridababy

Peter Dziedzic

Owner, skoah Boston

Monica Risam

General Counsel, Aviva UK Life

Zodwa Velleman

Legal & Corporate Security Director, Heineken South Africa

Tim Greensfelder

Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel, AIG Investments