Firm Profile > Katten > Houston, United States
1301 MCKINNEY STREET
HOUSTON, TX 77010
Katten > The Legal 500 Rankings
Katten is 'one of the few firms with the depth of experience necessary to handle complex issuer-side CRE CLOs'. Leveraging 'an impressively deep bench', the firm is able to 'provide excellent legal service across a variety of related practice areas', and is driven by 'a keen understanding of its clients' business needs'. Jointly headed by Howard Schickler and Washington DC-based Anna-Liza Harris, the team is among the market's most active issuer-side counsel, and is especially well known in the RMBS, auto and equipment sectors. Harris, alongside Chris DiAngelo and Washington DC-based Seth Messner, are acting for Aspen Capital and its affiliated public REIT in the securitization of re-performing and non-performing mortgage loans. Also in the mortgage loan space, the team advised Marathon Asset Management, as collateral manager, on its first CRE CLO since the 2008 financial crisis. Other key contacts include Joseph Topolski, who advised Westlake Financial Services on multiple issuances of sub-prime auto loan ABS, and Stanford Renas, who acts for clients such as Deutsche Bank Securities in CLO transactions. Joshua Yablonski in the Charlotte office, and Claudine Chen-Young in Washington DC are also recommended. GM Financial, Ford Motor Credit Company and Fannie Mae are among the team's key clients.
Katten's 'team is very hands-on; it takes the time to understand clients' business and works with them to find the right work product for their needs'. The practice has particular sector knowledge in healthcare, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, sports, financial services, investment funds, education, manufacturing, parking and transportation, publishing and media, and technology. The team regularly advises on LBOs, management buyouts, going-private transactions, proxy contests, spin-offs, tender offers and restructurings; it fields attorneys with experience in all aspects of takeovers, both friendly and hostile, including designing and implementing defensive controls. Significant clients include Chicago-based private equity fund Ellipse Capital, septic services company Wind River Environmental, and Sterling Partners, a diversified investment management platform. Recent work saw the team advise Ellipse Capital on the sale of its portfolio company Monroe Engineering to ShoreView Capital, a Minneapolis-based private equity fund. It also acted for Wind River Environmental on several matters, including the acquisition of Certified Environmental Services, an environmental testing service; assisted Harmony Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company, with its acquisition of the exclusive right to develop, register and market the narcolepsy treatment drug pitolisant in the US; and advised Versatex Holdings (Versatex), a portfolio company of Highlander Partners and manufacturer of branded trip, sheet and mouldings, on the sale of Versatex to The AZEK Company. New York's Evan Borenstein is 'a terrific resource and a trusted partner, who consistently provides high-quality, practical advice and gets quickly to the heart of the matter'; and Mark Grossmann, who focuses on advising private equity funds, as well as institutional and entrepreneurial corporate clients, is global corporate practice head and divides his time between Chicago and New York. Other notable advisers are Chicago-based entrepreneurial ventures practice head Matthew Brown, Jeffrey Patt and Kimberly Smith; Charlotte's Russell Black; Washington DC-based Mara Glaser McCahan; and New York's Farzad Damania.
Real estate Tier 2
Katten has particular experience in advising providers of real estate capital, such as lenders, borrowers and investors, on financing transactions including mortgage and mezzanine loan transactions, construction, acquisition and pickup refinancing. Other areas of expertise include affordable housing transactions, CMBS and cross-border transactions. Washington DC-based affordable housing expert Kenneth Lore represented a Washington DC-area developer on the creation of a $260m immigration and customs enforcement headquarters in Prince George’s County, Maryland. New York-based Martin Siroka, who is ‘calm, thoughtful and knowledgeable’ advised Starrett City Associates on its $905m sale of Spring Creek Towers to Brooksville Company and Rockpoint Group. New York real estate co-head Andrew Jagoda acted as lead counsel to AIG on around 30 transactions in the past year, while Timothy Little, David Dlugie, Daniel Huffenus and Bruce Kosub are also key practitioners in New York, Chicago, Charlotte and Dallas respectively. The firm continues to represent Callahan Capital Properties, Sacramento Kings, The Blackstone Group, Bank of America, The Barack Obama Foundation and The Carlyle Group.
Katten is primarily engaged by sell-side clients in OTC and exchange-traded derivatives matters, and has particular expertise in advising swap dealers on issues such as registration, reporting, ongoing trading matters and regulatory investigations. Headed by Arthur Hahn in the Chicago office, the department is also active in the commodities space and has experience advising clearinghouses and market exchanges. Guy Dempsey advised ICBC Standard Bank on its CFTC registration for the commencement of its swap-dealer business, and is also assisting Jefferies Derivative Products with the development of swap-dealer policies pursuant to new CFTC requirements. Additionally, Stanford Renas and Don Macbean advised Morgan Stanley Commodities on multiple long-term hedging transactions. Also recommended is special counsel Gary DeWaal, who has acted for broker-dealers and proprietary trading groups in relation to crypto-asset trading and clearing matters.
Katten has experience spanning from the consumer products, fashion, food and beverage and luxury sectors to technology and software and the medical, sport and gaming industries. The group handles a range of contractual issues and sponsorship agreements for its impressive client roster that includes Calvin Klein, Agave Loco and PepsiCo. The team also continues to act for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks in connection with new telecast rights agreements and sponsorship agreements, and advised the Bulls on the negotiation of documents related to obtaining the right to host the NBA All Star Game at the United Center. New York-based Doron Goldstein heads the practice alongside Kristin Achterhof in Chicago. Other key names to note include Floyd Mandell, also in Chicago, and intellectual property partner Sean Wooden who recently joined the Washington DC office from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP's legacy firm, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP.
Alternative/hedge funds Tier 3
Fund formation mandates form the backbone of Katten's workload, however the team also has a strong reputation in the market for advising on quant funds and manager M&A deals. Lance Zinman and Allison Yacker advise Waterfall Asset Management on regulatory matters, fund formation, structuring and investment deals, while of counsel Fred Santo and Wendy Cohen assist Welton Investment Partners with fund restructuring matters. Other clients include AQR Capital Management and Burford Capital. Zinman leads the practice. Other than Zinman in Chicago, named lawyers are based in New York.
Commercial lending Tier 3
'A great firm that holds itself to the highest professional standards', Katten has established itself as one of the leading players in the mid-market direct lending space. The group, which 'always provide timely and expert advice' and 'will work around the clock to make sure work gets done', is instructed by an extensive list of major funds, including Antares Capital, Golub Capital, and Ares Capital. Recent mandates include advising Deerfield Management Company on a $147m loan to Melinta Therapeutics to finance its acquisition of the infectious disease business of The Medicines Company. The firm has also advised clients on joint ventures with other debt funds, which recently included acting for Antares Capital in relation to a new joint venture with Bain Capital as well as a co-investment program with Harvard Management Private Equity. Michael Jacobson ('an incredible attorney with the highest knowledge of all matters pertaining to credit') leads the 'top-notch' team out of Chicago. Other contacts include Stuart Shulruff and Derek Ladgenski in Chicago, and Kristopher Ring and Glen Lim in Los Angeles.
Copyright Tier 3
Katten focuses on areas such as fashion, music, entertainment and technology, with a client roster that includes NBCUniversal, the estate of Michael Jackson, and Live Nation. David Halberstadter is a key figure who advised Starz Entertainment, Anchor Bay Entertainment and CBS Television Studios in relation to two separate lawsuits brought by writers who believed that the television series Power infringed upon their work. Elsewhere, Karen Artz Ash advised Calvin Klein in licensing issues surrounding its use of imagery from the artist Andy Warhol and the photography of Dennis Hopper. Floyd Mandell is also a key figure and is very active in the technology sector.
Environment: litigation Tier 3
Katten acts on environmental crimes, workplace safety and major accident response cases; it covers regulatory litigation and criminal and civil enforcement in the energy, chemical, refining, manufacturing, construction and transportation sectors, among others. Washington DC-based Steve Solow is acting as court-appointed monitor for Princess Cruise Lines in the implementation of an environmental compliance plan as part of its criminal penalty for intentional vessel pollution. Other key contacts include Greg Dillard in Houston, Lily Chinn in San Francisco, and Nadira Clarke in Washington DC. Mark Farley left the team to found his own firm.
Environment: regulatory Tier 3
Katten specializes in environmental crimes, workplace safety and major accident response, acting for an impressive roster of clients that includes Chevron and ExxonMobil. It has been advising DuPont on matters concerning a catastrophic toxic environmental release that resulted in multiple fatalities in La Porte, Texas, in 2014, including, most recently, resolving all administrative citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and all alleged civil CAA violations with the EPA and DOJ with no admission of wrongdoing. Key contacts in Houston include Greg Dillard and the ‘wonderful’ Scott Elliott. In Washington DC, Steve Solow, Nadira Clarke and Anne Carpenter are key practitioners. Also recommended are Austin-based Danny Worrell, San Francisco-based Matthew Baker and Lily Chinn, and Tom Van Wyngarden in Los Angeles. Mark Farley founded his own firm in 2019.
Katten has a team that is 'extremely responsive and just as knowledgeable'. 'Hands down my number one choice', remarks a client, who praises the firm's 'very pragmatic lawyers who understand business concerns, not just legal ones'. Bruce Vanyo leads the practice from Los Angeles and has 'a well-earned reputation as the godfather of securities litigation defense; his track record backs it up and he is unparalleled in his knowledge'. Among the firm's 'extremely smart attorneys with strong intuition and a strategic mindset' are Chicago-based Michael Diver, LA-based Richard Zelichov ('exceptional, very bright') and Christina Costley and, in New York, Jason Vigna. A highlight for the team was its work in securing the dismissal of four securities class actions consolidated in California on behalf of Natera, in which plaintiffs alleged that the company's IPO offering documents were false and misleading.
Trademarks: litigation Tier 3
Katten represents clients from a wide array of sectors with particular expertise in acting for clients in the fashion and entertainment industries. The ‘proactive’ attorneys are ‘excellent communicators’ and ‘experts in domestic and international matters’. Chicago-based Floyd Mandell successfully defended PepsiCo in a dispute where plaintiff SportFuel alleged that the client’s use of the tagline ‘Gatorade. The Sports Fuel Company’ infringed upon its trademarks. In another high-profile highlight, the team currently represents Forever 21 in a dispute with adidas concerning the use of striped designs on apparel. New York-based Karen Artz Ash ensures ‘that nothing is overlooked’, she leads the practice with Mandell. Kristin Achterhof and Roger Furey, respectively based in Chicago and Washington DC, are recommended.
The ‘top-quality’ team at Katten has experience in cross-border and emerging market structured finance deals and commercial fleet transactions, and also handles the sale, financing, purchase and operation of business jets. Department head Timothy Lynes (‘a good leader’) advised long-standing client Embraer on several matters, including the ongoing amendments to the purchase agreement between Embraer and SkyWest, regarding SkyWest’s purchase of more than 100 aircraft. Further, Lynes and Jane Cavanaugh advised Citibank on the sale by Wells Fargo Bank Northwest, National Association of four Boeing 757-200 airframes to Cavu Aerospace. Tom Healey is also noted, as are New York-based Stewart Herman and securitization expert Paul Kruger, who joined in 2018 from Sidley Austin LLP. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.
Led from the firm's Chicago headquarters by David Bohan and Christian Kemnitz, Katten has a strong pedigree representing clients in litigation and regulatory investigations across the spectrum of financial products, from exchange-traded securities, options, futures and funds, to the most sophisticated OTC derivatives executed across both public and dark, fully electronic venues. Kemnitz is representing Chicago-based trading firm, Infinium Capital Holdings, in a case brought by former employees claiming they were duped into investing into an employee capital pool based on misleading claims about the firm's financial health. Los Angeles-based partner Stuart Richter excels in defending financial services clients (and others) in class action claims; he is defending more than 50 banks and credit unions in a series of class action claims concerning the alleged improper charging of overdraft fees. Other clients include Morgan Stanley, Barclays and HighTower Advisors.
Katten's Los Angeles-based practice has particular experience in the entertainment content space, and also handles a range of financing and merchandising transactions. Michael Hobel is advising HBO on a range of matters, including in relation to HBO's hit Game of Thrones series, licensing and production arrangements, and entertainment finance transactions. Other work highlights include acting for Media North America in connection with the revival of its successful television series American Idol, and advising Debmar-Mercury on the distribution of television series, such as BoJack Horseman and Schitt’s Creek. The group also acts for Paramount Pictures, Starz Media and Hulu, and assisted the latter in contractual negotiations, including those with Legendary for the series The Looming Tower. Susan Grode is another key name to note.
Katten is experienced in representing financial institutions and lender groups in restructuring and bankruptcy-related financings, including DIP financing. The firm is also known for its work with indenture trustees relating to credit default administration and subsequent litigation, as well as for acquiring and selling assets of companies in distress. Chicago-based John Sieger leads a national practice with offices in Illinois, California and New York. The New York office was recently boosted by the arrival of a team from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, including the 'exceedingly sophisticated' Steven Reisman (now head of insolvency and restructuring in New York), Theresa Foudy, Cindi Giglio, Shaya Rochester and corporate specialist Evan Borenstein. Also notable in the 'strong team' is Craig Barbarosh, who splits his time between Orange County and New York, and was lead counsel to Wilmington Trust, the indenture trustee with respect to $200m of notes issued by Canadian company Nortel Networks; the complex, cross-border matter relates to an allocation dispute involving more than $7bn of the company’s sale proceeds that was litigated in joint trial proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In another highlight, the team is representing a joint venture comprising Gordon Brothers Retail Partners and Hilco Merchant Resources in the Chapter 11 of retailers Brookstone Holdings and Samuels Jewelers pending in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware; the team successfully resolved the various objections filed against store closing sales, as well as litigating the application of Section 327 of the Bankruptcy Code to the joint venture.
Sport Tier 4
The Chicago-based sports and sports facilities group at Katten 'blends technical experience with practical knowledge' and 'puts clients first while always focusing on the bigger picture and the right business deal'. Boasting 'extensive experience', Adam Klein heads the practice and attracts praise for being 'a great leader who is always willing to get his hands dirty and get in the weeds'. He is assisting Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks with their new telecast rights agreements and sponsorship agreements, and is representing Golden State Warriors in relation to its arena construction loan, tax and capital structure matters and its eSports activities. The team also acted for a group led by David Bonderman in connection with its proposed acquisition of a new NHL franchise in Seattle.
Drawing on significant trial experience, Katten is noted for its team of 'exceptional attorneys, who respond quickly' to clients, which include both corporates and individuals. In New York, Scott Resnik represented the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation in a fraud trial against the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General regarding services provided to undocumented immigrants; the client was cleared on all charges. He also defended William Scully, former president of Pharmalogical, in a 73-count indictment in the Eastern District of New York regarding allegations that the company bought unapproved pharmaceuticals in Europe to resell in the US; Resnik obtained acquittals on the 11 most serious counts and secured a relatively lenient sentence. Other important names include Alan Brudner in New York, Gil Soffer in Chicago, Nadira Clarke in Washington DC and Lily Chinn in San Francisco.
General commercial disputes Tier 5
Katten excels in securities litigation and white-collar defense, and is especially notable in the financial services, healthcare and insurance sectors. Beyond these areas, the team is equipped to handle a broad range of commercial cases in state and federal courts across the US, and its expertise in class actions is also of note. Gil Soffer and Stacey McKee Knight head the team from Chicago and Los Angeles respectively. Anthony Paccione in New York receives praise.
With 'unparalleled Medicare and Medicaid expertise', the healthcare team at Katten 'is extremely effective at dealing with regulators and adversaries'. The practice handles M&A, joint ventures, reimbursement and compliance strategies, as well as financing matters, while the litigation work typically relates to white collar internal and governmental investigations, False Claims Act disputes and anti-kickback law. 'Exceptional' New York partner Joseph Willey represents several healthcare systems in local government audits and investigations concerning the threatened recoupment of Medicare and Medicaid payments, Medicaid audit disallowance and compliance issues in the billing of services. In Chicago, Ken Davis 'is regarded nationally as a premier radiology healthcare attorney', while the 'spectacular' Megan Hardiman is recommended for her 'knowledge, professionalism and communication skills'. The opening of a new office in Dallas resulted in an influx of corporate healthcare matters for managing partner Mark Solomon and his team, which also comprises former Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP partner Lisa Atlas Genecov. She leads the team together with Chicago-based Laura Keidan Martin.
The 'very experienced and knowledgeable' media and entertainment litigation team at Katten 'takes pride in its work', such as recently successfully defending STX Entertainment in litigation brought by Sesame Workshop over the use of the tagline 'No Sesame. All Street.' in its promotional materials for the R-rated movie, The Happytime Murders. Zia Modabber is acting for The Estate of Michael Jackson in a putative class action alleging Michael Jackson was not the actual vocalist on three tracks from his first posthumous album. David Halberstadter, the 'patient and thorough' Joel Weiner and Gloria Franke Shaw, who attracts praise for 'exceptional litigation for copyright infringement cases', are key names to note. Shaw recently acted for Barstool Sports, a satirical sports and men’s lifestyle blog, in a defamation and false light claim brought by rap and hip-hop artist Andre Roxx after he was mistakenly identified in a news story. All attorneys mentioned are based in Los Angeles.
Private equity buyouts Tier 5
Katten's buyouts practice is largely centred in Chicago, but also features expertise located in New York and Los Angeles, and in 2018 it established a Dallas office, adding several new partners and clients. Key clients include Frontenac Company, Victory Park Capital, Pfingsten Partners and Prairie Capital, with HIG Capital and Equity Group Investments new names. While the firm itself has outstanding healthcare credentials, the private equity practice crosses additional industries such as manufacturing and distribution, food and beverages, consumer goods, logistics and financial services. It advised Pfingsten Partners on its acquisition of drone maker Lumenier. 'Smart lawyer' Kenneth Miller and Kimberly Smith head the team, with Martin Ruhaak and Christopher Atkinson also highly rated. All named partners are based in Chicago.
US taxes: non-contentious Tier 6
Katten is noted for its ‘depth of experience and knowledge of practice leadership’. The team regularly advises on corporate tax planning and structuring in connection to M&A, spin-offs, private equity matters, REITs and real estate transactions. Saul Rudo is ‘deeply experienced and knowledgeable while being an excellent listener and communicator’; he recently advised Periscope Equity on its investment acquisition in Integrated Behavioral Health. Rudo also regularly advises Sterling Partners on its acquisitions and investment activities. Valentina Famparska, Kenneth Miller and Brandon Hadley in Washington DC are other key contacts. Employee benefits lawyer Kate Saracene joined the New York office in November 2017 from Nixon Peabody LLP, but Austin Lilling left for Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in August 2018. All named individuals are in Chicago unless noted otherwise.
Combining 'the highest-caliber legal intelligence with carefulness and cross-sectional business knowledge', Katten provides 'user-friendly, responsive and commercial advice' to clients on both the buy and sell side. A particular strength of the firm is its 'broad knowledge of derivatives law', where clients appreciate its ability to provide 'practical, real-world advice' on the regulatory issues impacting exchange-traded and OTC derivatives across all asset classes and transaction types. Working alongside the firm's London office, New York-based of counsel Guy Dempsey is assisting ICBC Standard Bank on all aspects of commencing a new swap business and registering as a swap dealer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Chicago-based practice co-head Lance Zinman has an excellent understanding of the regulatory regimes underpinning activity undertaken by hedge funds and proprietary trading firms. Alongside New York-based Allison Yacker, he recently advised Waterfall Asset Management on the creation of a fund structure that facilitates investment by non-US persons in assets that generate income effectively connected to a US trade or business. Wendy Cohen is recognized as a 'standout practitioner' for broker-dealer matters and is a key member of the team, as are 'rock star' Henry Bregstein and Arthur Hahn, who also co-head the team from New York and Chicago, respectively. Other clients include Royal Bank of Canada, UBS and Futures Industry Association.
Katten > Firm Profile
Founded in 1974, Katten is a firm of choice for clients seeking sophisticated, high-value legal services in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Its approximately 650 attorneys serve public and private companies, including more than one third of the Fortune 100, as well as a number of government and non-profit organizations and individuals. The firm provides full-service legal advice from locations across the United States, and in London and Shanghai.
Main areas of practice: Litigation: Katten’s litigation attorneys handle disputes involving matters ranging from contract disputes and regulatory issues to antitrust actions, securities class action lawsuits and other complex commercial and criminal litigation.
Corporate: the corporate practice provides sophisticated transactional representation and business counseling across a broad range of concentrations, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity, securities and corporate governance.
Real estate: Katten’s real estate team handles domestic and cross-border transactions, including acquisitions and dispositions, debt financings, development, fund formation, leasing, private equity and joint ventures, real estate investment trust formation, recapitalizations, restructurings, securitizations and workouts. The group also represents parties in complex disputes, as well as representing stakeholders in the affordable housing space.
Financial services: the financial services practice regularly advises a broad range of clients, including broker-dealers, futures commission merchants, investment advisors, finance companies, investment bankers, futures and securities exchanges, commodity trading advisors, pension funds, banks and insurance companies, and investment vehicles, such as hedge funds, commodity pools, venture capital funds and private equity funds, securitization vehicles, mutual funds and bank collective investment funds.
Commercial finance: the commercial finance team represents financial institutions making a wide variety of debt investments of all types and sizes in a broad range of industries.
Structured finance: Katten’s structured finance team advises all market participants in a wide variety of transactions, including securitizations of consumer receivables and commercial receivables.
Insolvency and restructuring: Katten’s insolvency and restructuring practice assists banks, financial institutions and lender groups in connection with out-of-court workouts and bankruptcy proceedings; represents corporate debtors and creditors in bankruptcy courts; and provides wide-ranging risk-management counsel.
Intellectual property: the intellectual property team provides a full range of litigation and transactional counsel to individuals and companies including industry leaders in apparel, entertainment, internet, telecommunications, software, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, electronics, health care and insurance seeking to protect and benefit from their patents, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property.
Environmental and workplace safety: Katten’s environmental and workplace safety team represents clients appearing before government entities and in courts; provides advocacy before legislators and regulators on environmental and energy issues; conducts internal investigations and responds to government investigations and enforcement actions; and creatively manages complex environmental and workplace safety issues.
Trusts and estates: Katten’s trusts and estates team – one of the largest in the United States – develops and implements sophisticated estate, tax, business succession and charitable plans on the state, federal and international levels, and represents parties in contested proceedings.
|Commercial finance||Michael A Jacobson|
|Corporate||Mark R Grossmann|
|Environmental||Mark L Farley|
|Financial services||Henry Bregstein|
|Financial services||Arthur W Hahn|
|Financial services||Lance A Zinman|
|Insolvency and restructuring||John P Sieger|
|Intellectual property||Karen Artz Ash|
|Intellectual property||Floyd A Mandell|
|Patent litigation||Brian Sodikoff|
|Litigation||Stacey McKee Knight|
|Litigation||Gil M Soffer|
|Real estate||Timothy G Little|
|Structured finance||Howard Schickler|
|Structured finance||Anna-Liza B Harris|
|Trusts and estates||Joshua S Rubenstein|
Staff FiguresNumber of Partners : 307 Number of Other Fee-Earners : 345
OtherChairman : Roger P Furey Other Offices : Austin Other Offices : Irving Other Offices : London Other Offices : Los Angeles (downtown) Other Offices : Orange County Other Offices : Oakland Other Offices : Shanghai
Diversity and Inclusion
Katten’s Diversity Mission
Katten is dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women, minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) individuals within the firm and in the broader legal community. Consistent with our founding principles of client service and legal innovation, diversity is one of the core values by which we do business every day. Our Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, office managing partners, members from our Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and department chairs are actively involved in our diversity efforts. This dedication is part of a firmwide strategic plan that incorporates diversity in all of its initiatives, including growing our practices and developing business. We understand that ensuring a diverse and inclusive work environment and recruiting and retaining diverse talent at all levels are critical to our success as a firm and our ability to provide our clients with the highest-quality legal services.
Trailblazing Law Firm for Our Diversity Efforts
Katten has achieved certification for completing Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule pilot program. The Mansfield Rule, which is inspired by the NFL’s Rooney Rule hiring policy, is designed to boost diversity by certifying that law firms consider women and minorities for at least 30 percent of significant leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions and lateral positions. By completing the pilot program, Katten is able to have an even stronger pipeline of top-notch talent and provide transparency into leadership role descriptions, giving greater understanding of the expectations and experience necessary to be successful in such positions.
"We want to retain, support and empower our talented attorneys and in doing so eliminate any barriers to achieving professional success and reaching their career goals," said Katten’s Chief Diversity Partner Leslie D. Minier. "The Mansfield Rule has been instrumental in helping our firm and others identify high-potential diverse lawyers to place them on the radar as candidates for promotions and leadership opportunities."
Increasing Diversity in Katten’s Environmental Practice
Katten strives to develop mentorship opportunities for minority law students. Through the Minority 1L Environmental Internship Program opportunity, the Environmental and Workplace Safety practice to introduce a minority law students to an exciting and growing area of practice. The 1L intern works directly with practice leaders, including Environmental and Workplace Safety co-heads. Throughout the summer internship, this individual collaborates with our team and works on projects relating to the key environmental and workplace safety issues and regulations that companies and trade regularly face. After completing this hands-on internship and mentoring program, the 1L intern has gained insight into federal and state laws and learned about industry trends, rules and regulations. It is our goal that the rising 2L will be well-positioned to pursue a summer associate program in any area of practice, but particularly environmental law
Innovative Techniques for Advancing Diversity
CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion
The firm became a signatory of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion (CEO Action) to increase our attorney’s awareness of unconscious bias and the impact it has on their decision making and create an environment to have open and comfortable conversations about diversity. The CEO Action is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. More than 450 CEOs of the world’s leading companies and business organizations have signed the pledge. Together, companies share their initiatives to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The firm actively reviews the best practices and diversity initiatives submitted by these companies as part of the pledge and works diligently to identify and implement new initiatives at Katten to further enhance our diversity goals. In addition, the firm has engaged a consultant to provide firmwide implicit bias training.
Diversity Lab’s Women in Law Hackathon
The firm wants to be at the forefront of generating innovative ideas and solutions that will assist us with improving the retention and promotion of our female attorneys. To accomplish this goal, the firm participated in the 2018 Diversity Lab’s Women in Law Hackathon (Hackathon). The Hackathon is a shark-tank style pitch competition that brought together legal department leaders and high-level partners from law firms across the nation who work in teams to create innovative ideas and solutions that will boost the retention and advancement of women in law firms.
Biennial Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit
In 2016, we had the privilege to host a two-day, national Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit with Katten diverse attorneys of all levels, and making the summit more unique, we invited our 2017 returning diverse 2L summer associates, incoming summer associates and first year associates. This was an opportunity to assemble firm leadership, diverse in-house counsel from leading companies and industry consultants to: (1) share strategies for building a successful career; (2) examine the core aspects of sponsorship; (3) provide concrete branding, networking and business development fundamentals; (4) demonstrate key techniques to utilize during a pitch meeting; (5) provide insights on client service and the differences of working at a law firm versus in-house at a company; (6) highlight the latest trends seen by outside counsel in the legal market; (7) help shape the ability to deliver and receive feedback; and (8) reveal the pertinent skills and criteria needed for an attorney to advance and thrive at Katten.
Katten’s 2018 Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit featured a lineup of captivating guest speakers who led insightful discussions on timely topics such as effective team dynamics and the benefits of providing top-notch client service. Participants also had the opportunity to visit a local Chicago Public School where they offered tips on preparing resumes, demonstrating job interview skills and coaching students through various job interview scenarios. Participants had the opportunity to network, develop relationships with other attorneys, learn about how best to support one another and give back to the community.
LGBT Attorney Retreat
In an effort to continue to create an inclusive environment for our diverse attorneys, Katten’s LGBT Coalition hosted the firm’s first LGBT Attorney Retreat in August of 2017 in San Francisco, California. The retreat coincided with the LGBT Bar Association’s 30th Annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair. At the retreat, attorneys convened to share ideas on new ways to help foster a welcoming, supportive environment for LGBT attorneys at Katten and to develop a plan to roll out new initiatives and programs. Katten will host an LGBT Attorney Retreat in 2019 in Philadelphia, PA.
Katten’s Affinity Groups
Katten has developed internal affinity groups to unite our diverse attorneys and provide them with opportunities to facilitate communication, mentorship and a deeper level of engagement.
The Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) supports the retention and advancement of women attorneys through mentoring and professional development programs designed to assist women in managing careers and augmenting skills. One example of a WLF mentoring program is the firm’s National Mentoring Panel. Click here to view more about the WLF National Mentoring Panel.
- WLF National Mentoring Panel
The WLF is committed to the concept that women can and should help women by sharing the benefit of their experience. The WLF National Mentoring Panel was launched in order to ensure that all of our women attorneys have access to good female role models who are willing to provide guidance on professional development, work-life balance and other issues of concern. The panel consists of successful women partners from various offices who are recognized as leaders in their fields and as relationship builders, whether by generating new clients or by deepening relationships with existing clients. Some of the mentors are laterals who have held positions in government, industry and/or other firms. Others are “lifers” who have navigated their way through the associate and partner ranks. Some are income partners; others are capital partners. Many serve in leadership positions, including as Executive Committee members, National Compensation Committee members, department chairs and practice group heads. Many have raised families and several have taken advantage of the firm’s reduced time and flex-time options. Others have personal experience with infertility treatments, adoption, and the firm’s policies and benefits in these areas. All are happy to share their experiences and serve as sounding boards on issues of concern.
- The Minority Associates Committee provides mentoring, educational and career development support, as well as leadership opportunities, for minority associates.
- The LGBT Coalition helps foster an inclusive environment for individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender by providing educational and business opportunities and supporting organizations that work toward equal rights for LGBT individuals and families.
- The Diversity Committee serves as the primary advisory group the firm’s internal affinity groups. Katten Chairman Roger Furey and CEO Noah Heller are both members of the firm’s Diversity Committee. Many practice and department heads also are involved in affinity committees. For example, Laura Keidan Martin, who is the national head of the Women’s Leadership Forum, also is the national head of the firm’s Health Care practice and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.
Awards and Recognitions
Katten has been named one of Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” and included on the Working Mother/Flex-Time Lawyers list of the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” every year since 2007. Additionally, Katten has earned a place on the 2018 Inclusion Index by Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media. Katten is recognized with a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index Survey, and is further distinguished by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality and by Equality Illinois as a Leading Law Firm for LGBT Inclusion. Katten is additionally ranked among the Top Ten Female Friendly Firms by Yale Law. Katten was honored to be the recipient of The Chicago Committee’s 2017 Change Agent Award. Katten is one of 41 “trailblazing” law firms to achieve Mansfield certification. Katten has been recognized by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) as a Top Performer and recipient of the 2018 Compass Award.
Q&A With Leslie D. Minier, Chief Diversity Partner
What is the ethos behind the firm’s approach to diversity?
Katten is dedicated to increasing the participation and fostering the leadership of women, minorities and LGBT individuals within the firm and in the broader legal community. We actively encourage a diverse culture through our recruitment, mentoring, advancement, training and professional development programs. We are proud to have diverse professionals at all levels, from the board of directors, to office managing partners, to associate leadership.
At Katten, diversity is one of the core values that guide how we do business every day. We understand a diverse team of attorneys enhances our ability to successfully serve our clients.
Our efforts have been recognized by the legal industry and beyond. This year alone, Katten has been named to Working Mother magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies for the 12th consecutive year; we made the list of Yale Law Women’s Top Ten Female Friendly Firms and Law360’s list of Best Law Firms for Women. We also earned a place on the 2018 Inclusion Index by Diversity Best Practices and achieved Gold Standard certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum. Most notably, Katten completed the Mansfield Rule pilot program, which measures law firm efforts to increase the number of female and diverse attorneys among their ranks. Additionally, the firm has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as among the "Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality."
What has a more diverse and inclusive workplace brought to your firm, and also to your clients?
In a word: talent.
We want to harness the power of the diverse voices, ideas, experience and perspectives we have at Katten. Our commitment to doing so shows our employees they are valued and demonstrates to potential job candidates as well as clients that we take diversity seriously at Katten.
We believe a diverse culture makes us better as a firm. It enhances our employee engagement. It drives innovation. It contributes to better work product, ultimately helping provide our clients with the best service possible.
We know how much our clients value diversity. They want the law firms they do business with to embrace diversity and reflect the diversity of their employees and customers.
The bottom line is this: We want our diverse culture to draw even more diversity and make Katten a great place to work and to do business.
How do you encourage a more diverse and inclusive workplace?
We want to provide opportunities for diverse attorneys to thrive and other attorneys like them to see that success can be achieved at Katten.
From top leaders, to partners, to associates, everyone has a role to play in creating a more diverse and inclusive environment.
Katten’s CEO Noah Heller has signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge to share best practices for making the corporate workplace more inclusive. Partners are focused on who they are recruiting and hiring, who they are taking to client meetings, and who they have identified as rising stars with the potential for advancement.
We have implemented an unconscious bias training program to educate our employees on recognizing, addressing and minimizing any potential blind spots.
We consistently welcome ideas from our affinity groups including the Diversity Committee, the Minority Associates Committee, the LGBT Coalition and the Women’s Leadership Forum.
Additionally, Katten launched its new speaker series exploring diverse viewpoints on various topics, including communication techniques to avoid or overcome gender stereotypes and biases.
What is needed to help bring more diverse candidates into the legal profession?
Katten partners with a number of local schools and community organizations to encourage young people to consider pursuing a legal career.
A number of our Chicago attorneys volunteer for the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago’s Lawyers in the Classroom program to help students better understand the legal system and learn about law-related careers. For years, Katten’s New York associates served as coaches and mentors for students on a mock trial team, while the firm’s Los Angeles office partnered with the Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Youth Internship Program to help place high school students as paid interns at law firms, businesses and government agencies.
Katten has sponsored Just the Beginning nonprofit organization and selected it in 2016 to be the recipient of the $5,000 donation from Chevronwhen Katten received Chevron Law Function’s 12th Annual Law Firm Diversity Awardto help further expose students to legal careers and give them the skills and support to be successful in the legal environment.
Katten has taken an active role in inspiring younger generations to join the legal profession. We’re invested in seeing our youth become future legal leaders.
What are your policies for recruitment, and what are the major challenges?
Building a pipeline to the firm begins with recruiting efforts to attract and retain the best talent possible at Katten. To get top talent in the door, we offer a number of opportunities to law students.
We partner with diverse student organizations at law schools including Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Southern California and UCLA. We participate in diversity job fairs like the Cook County Bar Association Minority Job Fair, the LGBT Bar’s Lavender Law Career Fair and the Bay Area Diversity Fair.
This year, we welcomed a very diverse summer associate class and awarded $15,000 scholarships to two minority law school students who have completed their first year of law school.
Every summer Katten offers an eight-week paid internship for a minority first-year law student, providing hands-on experience and working directly with firm practice leaders on projects relating to key environmental and workplace safety issues and regulations that major companies regularly face, so they are well-positioned to become a summer associate in any practice area, particularly environmental law.
Additionally, Katten participates in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Scholars program. First-year law students learn firsthand what it is like to work at Katten and gain on-site work experience with major clients, gaining insight into the differences of practicing as in-house counsel versus working at a firm.
Katten understands the value of diverse attorneys in senior associate, partner and leadership positions within the firm. The firm communicates its strong commitment to hiring diverse lateral candidates to its recruiting firms and requests that whenever possible such firms identify diverse candidates for any open lateral positions.
Retention of diverse staff is a critical issue what are the programmes your firm has in place that you feel will help retain your staff?
Katten understands that ensuring a diverse and inclusive work environment and recruiting and retaining diverse talent at all levels are critical to our success as a firm and our ability to provide our clients with the highest-quality legal services.
We actively promote a diverse culture at Katten through our recruitment, mentoring, professional development and public service programs, and encourage firm members to get involved in diversity programs both inside and outside the firm.
Katten offers a number of programs and initiatives to help its attorneys succeed.
In 2018, we achieved Mansfield Rule certification, Diversity Lab’s groundbreaking pilot program designed to help increase the representation of women and attorneys of color in law firm leadership. Certification verifies our commitment and efforts to increase the number of female and attorneys of color in significant leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions and lateral positions.
Katten is now participating in Mansfield 2.0, which includes LGBTQ+ attorneys as part of the diverse candidate pool and further ramps up the inclusion criteria. For example, the next level of the program requires consideration for client development opportunities and asks participating law firms to make appointment and election processes transparent to all attorneys in their firms.
We continue to work hard to identify attorneys with the potential to be future leaders, not only at Katten but in the legal profession. And we try to offer them the professional development tools they need. For example, Katten attorneys participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s Fellows and Pathfinder programs to build relationship and leadership skills and leverage professional networks.
Katten’s Women’s Leadership Forum provides female attorneys with mentoring, external networking, internal relationship building and career development programs. Its National Mentoring Panel establishes strong relationships among female attorneys to further provide support and encouragement and helps them navigate the partnership track.
Additionally, the firm has formed the Partner Pipeline Committee to identify women and minorities with the greatest potential for advancement to income and capital partner, recognize any hurdles to partnership, and ensure that those hurdles are addressed. The Committee works outside the typical partner nomination process to ensure that no one gets overlooked. While firm departments consider their own talent pool for candidates, the Partner Pipeline Committee looks to identify potential partner candidates across the firm and identify any mentoring, coaching and skills or leadership training needed to help potential partner candidates overcome any obstacles to advancement.
Among Katten’s other initiatives is a sponsorship program in which firm leaders take personal accountability as sponsors to help minority attorneys achieve career goals, develop their legal, client management and business development skills, and increase their visibility within the firm and with clients.
The firm’s Diversity Business Development Initiative provides diverse attorneys with the opportunity to learn about business development strategies such as how they can leverage the firm’s diversity efforts as a tool in developing business, speaking engagements and networking with clients and other in-house counsel.
Katten’s Career Development Program ensures diverse and female associates are being given the same opportunities and level of work as their colleagues and allows them to track their work experiences against professional development benchmarks.
This year, Katten’s Diverse Attorney Leadership Summit featured a lineup of captivating guest speakers who led insightful discussions on timely topics such as effective team dynamics and the benefits of providing top-notch client service. Participants also had the opportunity to develop relationships with other attorneys and give back to the community by visiting a local Chicago Public School where they offered tips on preparing resumes, demonstrating job interview skills and coaching students through various job interview scenarios.
In another effort to continue to create an inclusive environment for our diverse attorneys, Katten’s LGBT Coalition will host the firm’s LGBT Attorney Retreat in 2019 in Philadelphia, PA. The retreat coincides with the LGBT Bar Association’s Annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair. At the retreat, attorneys convene to share ideas on new ways to help foster a welcoming, supportive environment for LGBT attorneys at Katten and to develop a plan to roll out new initiatives and programs.
All these programs are designed to continually attract, retain and advance our attorneys so they can be successful. When they are successful, the firm is successful.
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