Awards

The First Chair Awards is an annual selection of in-house counsel who have, through their hard work and innovation, made significant contributions to the legal community. Our award program honors the top in-house counsel for their accomplishments in the past year in a wide range of categories.




2016 First Chair Award Recipients

Top General Counsel

David Adler, Market Connect Group
Nancy Ardell, Cadence Health
Patrick Barrett, Hitachi America, Ltd
Ed Bathelt, Komatsu America Corp
David Battisti, Penske Truck Leasing Co.
Janice Block, Kaplan Higher Education
Kathleen Boege, Wintrust Financial Corporation
Terry Brady, UL
Brad Busscher, Incapital Holdings LLC
K. Kristann Carey, Constellation Brands, Inc.
Jodi Caro, ULTA Beauty
F. Willis Caruso, DeVry Education Group
Christine Castellano, Ingredion Inc.
David Chameli, Heritage Crystal-Clean
Shawn Cheadle, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.
Nicholas Chulos, First Midwest Bank
Malissia Clinton, The Aerospace Corporation
Kristin Coleman, Sears Holdings Corporation
Julie Coletti, KaVo Kerr Group
Evelyn Crane Oliver, Robert Half International
Richard Crow, Castle Branch Inc.
Char Dalton, Seko Logistics
Andrew Deluca, Car Outlet
Tim Denker, Dunhill Partners
Paul Doerscheln, United Service Companies
Vicki Donati, Crate & Barrel
Rachel Dvorken, Sinai Health System
Erik Dyhrkopp, Bosch Group
Beth Fancsali, Fermilab
Rudy Figueroa, Mitsui Rail Capital, LLC
Ilese Flamm, Donlen Corporation
Karen Flax, Tribune Publishing Company
Courtney Fong, Castle Creek Arbitrage LLC
Roger Franks, KLX, Inc.
Jeannie Frey, Presence Health
Steve Galler, The Habitat Company
Colleen Garrity, American Water Enterprises, Inc.
Ann Gavzy, Meridian Health
Deborah Golden, GATX Corporation
Adam Gotskind, ComPsych Corporation
Dean Grabelle, Philly Shipyard
Douglas Graham, Oil-Dri Corporation of America
Alex Green, CareerBuilder.com
Matthew Griffin, Kaplan
John Griffith, Culligan International Company
Bill Groves, Antioch University
Kathryn Hartrick, Robertson Lowstuter
Gail Hasbrouck, Advocate Health System
Azeez Hayne, Urban Outfitters
Nick Helmer, Friedman Properties, Ltd.
Carrie Hightman, NiSource Inc.
Edward (Ted) Hoffman, Radian Group
Heather Holland, CorePower Yoga
Mary Ann Hynes, Archdiocese of Chicago
Tamara Jack, International Relief & Development
Mark Jaeger, Jockey International
Neil Jenkins, Lawson Products Inc.
Steve Kelley, Kemper Sports Management, Inc.
Dennis Kerrigan, Zurich North America
Brandon Kessinger, Akebono Brake Corporation
Cassie Kinney, Life Care Services
Deborah Klein, STATS LLC
Michelle Knowles, Byram Healthcare
Bryan Kocher, WESCO Distribution, Inc.
LaTanya Langley, BIC International Co./BIC Developing Markets
Fred Langtry, Banner Properties, LLC
Diane Lazzaris, WESCO International Inc
Janet Lee, HERE, a Nokia Business
Jeffrey Leeb, GVW Group, LLC
Gareth Leviton, Universal Services of America
Susan Levy, Northern Trust Corporation
Susan Lichtenstein, Hill-Rom
Suzanne Lopez, FremantleMedia North America
Michael Lorge, Village of Skokie
Mike Lufrano, Chicago Cubs
Mitchell Mackler, Wipro Ltd
Jason Maxwell, Hines Advisors
Thomas McGimpsey, Advanced Energy Industries, Inc.
Eric Meier, Starwood Retail Partners
Todd Meyer, The Body Shop
Joanne Moffic-Silver, Chicago Board of Options Exchange, Inc.
Ginger Mosier, EPAM Systems, Inc.
Tenlay Naliboff, ReachLocal
Carol Newman, The Grove Inc.
Deidre O'Callaghan, CIS Security
David Oskandy, Avanade
Nancy Paridy, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Ryan Patch, B/E Aerospace
Ken Patel, The Procter & Gamble Company
Barbara Peloquin, Kimco Realty Corporation
Dale Pierson, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 (IUOE Local 150)
Juliette Pryor, US Foods, Inc.
Dennis Quinn, Chubb
Robert Rader, Ovation LLC
Jill Rappis, Loyola University Health System
Manik Rath, LMI
Matthew Revord, Potbelly Sandwich Works
Brandon Richards, Transamerica
Robert Rieders, Postmates
Heather Ryan, Time Warner Cable [Charter]
Jonathan Sager, MIB Group, Inc.
David Scharf, Baxter International
Gregory Schetina, City of Hope
Kristen Shaheen, OpinionLab
Michael Silverman, SmithBucklin Corporation
Brad Simon, Mindspark
William Smith, HomeStar Bank
John Spiegleman, DCT Industrial Trust
Kathryn Stalmack, BioScrip, Inc.
Deborah Steiner, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company
John Taylor, Acciona Energy
Blake Thatcher, Omron Management Center of America, Inc.
Pia Thompson, Transworld Systems Inc.
Charlotte Toerber, E.ON Climate & Renewables North America
Michelle Ventress, Andersen Tax
Georgia Vlamis, FreightCar America, Inc.
Jules Vogel, American Advisors Group
Mark Wanda, Astellas US LLC
Candice Wells, Linn Energy
Richard Wirth, Aegon Asset Management
Mark Young, TravelCenters of America LLC
Wesley Zirkle, Just Marketing International, Inc.

Top Assistant General Counsel

Kerry Abbott, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co
David Adler, Market Connect Group
Robyn Alexander, Sears Holdings Corporation
Affan Arain, A.T. Kearney
Yael Aufgang, Kaplan Inc
Luis Avila, US Foods Inc.
Juana Barrera, US Foods Inc.
Tricia Barrett, Urban Outfitters Inc.
Lisa Barrett, UHS
Kevin Bell, Securities Investor Protection Corporation
Briana Bergen, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Sarah Borrey, Specialized Bicycles Components
Jonathan Brand, Transworld Systems, Inc.
Jeff Brockmann, US Bank
Sara Buehler, BMO Harris Bank N.A.
Lisa Carestia, Nuveen Investments
Lori Chacos, Joseph Freed and Associates LLC
Svetlana Chae, JPMorgan Chase
Joseph Conn, Sprouts Farmers Market
Tara Cope, Vi
Gretchen Dahlberg, Merrill Communications
Gabrielle Davis, The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.
Jim Dawson, WEC Energy Group, Inc.,
Catherine DeGenova-Carter, State Farm Insurance Companies
Katie Deibert, GATX Corporation
Mary Downie, BMO Financial Group
Karen Erikson, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc.
Michael Ertle, AmeriGas Propane, L.P.
Peter Farah, J.M. Smucker Company
Angela Frye, Verizon Wireless
Jim Gibb, Owens Corning Inc.
Paul Golian, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Dave Goltz, Robert Bosch LLC
Jay Grant, Fusion Media Group - Univision Communications
Ryan Gwillim, Brunswick Corporation
Tracy Hannan, Exelon Business Services
Ann Marie Hanrahan, 3M Company
Daniel Heffernan, Knights of Columbus
Marni Helfand, Huron Consulting Group
Colleen Hennessy, BMO Harris Bank N.A.
Eric Jacobson, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc.
Melinda Jesse-Smith, Sears Holdings Management Corp.
Jerry Johnson, Robert Bosch LLC
Sara Kagay, Brunswick Corporation
Alex Kim, B/E Aerospace
Kristian Knochel, TSI
Vildana Kujundjic, W.W. Grainger, Inc.
Evan Lederman, Fir Tree Partners
Rachel Lei, GATX Corporation
Chris Lentz, Ulta
Derek Linde, Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
Howard Lindenberg, Freddie Mac
Jill Liska, Sargent & Lundy LLC
Ben Lo, Mead Johnson Nutrition
Ellen Malasky, Florida Power & Light Company
Maryanne Martin, US Foods
M. Gavin McCarty, WEC Energy Group, Inc.,
Marilyn McClure-Demers, Nationwide Insurance Company
Amy McDonald, VWR International
Marc McKay, BMO Harris Bank
Saumil Mehta, Gogo LLC
Heidi Miller, Morningstar Inc.
Emily Milman, Crate & Barrel
Tom Moffatt, CVS Health Corporation
Robert Munoz, PMA Companies Inc.
Ashley Nall Shaw, Dyson
Jennifer Nichols, Banner Apartments LLC
Nicole Nocera, Exelon
Kevin O'Neil, Bob Evans Farms Inc.
Joshua Pearson, EDF Renewable Energy
Terry Platis, Accretive Health
Deitzah Raby, Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc.
Gayle Robinson, BMO Financial Group
Julie Roknich, Presence Health
Sheri Rudberg, Hill-Rom
Susan Scalzo, Sears Holdings Management Corporation
Laura Scheland, Oil-Dri Corporation of America
Renee Schreiber, Mesirow Financial Holdings, Inc
Leonora Shaw, JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.
Theresa Shea, True Value Company
Catherine Smith, Wolters Kluwer
Zach Smolinski, Panduit Corporation
Jami Statham, Akebono Brake Corporation
Chris Stathopoulos, Grant Thornton LLP
Richard Stevens, Old World Industries, LLC
Cindy Stuyvesant, Wintrust Financial Corp / Rosemont
Gisèle Sutherland, BMO Harris Bank
Laurie Tenzer, Rehabilitation Institute
Rahsaan Thompson, Actelion Pharmaceuticals
Marsha Tolchin, Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
Brennan Torregrossa, GlaxoSmithKline LLC
Eric Tower, Advocate Health Care
Suzanne Wallman, Orbitz Worldwide
Timothy Walsh, WEC Business Services
Brock Wanless, Groupon
Shelly Watson, MillerCoors Brewing Company
Elizabeth Williams, Sears Holdings Management Corporation
Mitchell Wolfe, Deloitte LLP
Steve Zeff, Interpublic Group

Top Litigation Counsel

Jason Anderson, Grant Thornton LLP
Ken Bradley, Bed Bath and Beyond
Traci Braun, Exelon
Tara Charnes, Big Lots Stores, Inc.
Sneha Desai, BASF
Harry Dubnick, ComEd
Marc Fishman, Novo Nordisk
Mayer Grashin, CDK Global
John Hempfling, Whole Foods Market
John Hickey, SAP SE
Robert Lawrence, Freddie Mac
Michael Leahy, AIG
Pauline Levy, McDonald's Corporation
Stephen Mahieu, The Kraft Heinz Company
Susan Manardo, Sanofi U.S.
Andrea Okun, Ryerson
Howard Rosenblum, Walgreen Co.
David Standish, AIG

Rising Stars

Erin Buechler, ComEd
Sam Coe, Newly Weds Foods
Lauren Freund, Penske Automotive Group
Lora Graentzdoerffer, Masco Corporation
Jessica Lee Young, Wipro Ltd
Monica Makin, Urban Innovations Ltd.
Georgea Mancuso, AIG
Kristen O'Connor, Marsh & McLennan Company
Sara Sager, BMO Financial Group
Mike Sheckels, U.S. Department of Justice
Michael Sukenik, Yum! International
Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCann, LLC
Juan Walker, Varian Medical Systems

Top Compliance Counsel

Adam Alexander, CommScope
Keith Belknap, Mueller Water Products
Renee Cool, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
David Curcio, Discover Financial Services
F. Ty Edmondson, Biogen
Sarah Flanagan, Intel Corporation
Tyanika Hawkins, BMO Financial Group
Julia Loyd, Hill-Rom
Deanna McFadden, Physicians Pharmacy Alliance
Julie Mehta, Allstate Investments
Meredith Ritchie, Alliant Credit Union
Beata Spuhler, 3M Company
Lisa Tamburini, RMB Capital Management, LLC
Adonica Wada, SolarCity
Greta Weathersby, Integrys Energy Group Inc.
Monica Welt, Big Lots Stores, Inc.

Top Real Estate Counsel

Julie Blackburn, Sears Holdings Management Corporation
Zachary Blair, Sears Holdings Management Corporation
Consuelo Boyd, Sears Holdings Management Corporation
Matt Cimino, WPT Capital Advisors
Jane Anne Crane, Macy's, Inc.
Toni DiGiacomo, Brixmor
Kevin Holst, Vail Resorts Management Company
Ivy Israel, Sears Holdings Corporation
Nicole Lalich, Sears Holdings Management Corporation
Nicole Nocera, Exelon
Marianne Simonini, Sears Holdings Management Corporation
Beth Sprecher, Brooks IRC Retail Centers
Kim Thompson, Sears Holdings Corporation
John Wooton, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, Inc.
Nora Zeller, Simon Property Group

Top Corporate Counsel

Suzanne Alwanm, Wells Fargo & Co.
Vineeta Bonthala, BMO Harris Bank N.A.
Liane Browne, Radian Group
J. Stephen Carow, Texas Department of Transportation
Lisa Chessare, Walgreen Co.
Jose Del Real, Northern Trust Company
Maria Doughty, Allstate
Theresa Duckett, BMO Harris Bank N.A.
Elizabeth Epstein, Grant Thornton LLP
Frederic Esrailian, Grifols, Inc.
Mikhail Eydelman, Akorn, Inc.
David Fein, Exelon
Richard Finke, WR Grace
Jeff Fleischman, AAR Corp.
Michelle Gale, Waste Management
Brian Glassberg, GATX Corporation
Earnest Gregory, Navistar
James Harris, UPS
Angela Hatseras, NiSource, Inc.
Kimberly Hayden, Sargent & Lundy
Richard Haymaker, Illinois Liquor Control Commission
Kerilyn Johnson, Ace Hardware Corporation
Therese King Nohos, DeVry Education Group
Joni Lawrence, Avnet, Inc.
J. Matt Martin, Olin Corporation
Tim Peters, Prologis
Gregory Steadman, City of Chicago
Paul Sundberg, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.
Timothy Verrilli, NXT Capital, Inc.
Audrey Waltenburg, Walgreens Boots Alliance
Mike Watters, Catholic Health Initiatives
Sarah Weersing, BDO USA, LLP

Top Intellectual Property Counsel

John Beninati, Honeywell
Jeff Calfa, Navistar Inc.
Meenakshy Chakravorty, Philips
Stephanie Felicetty, Wrigley
David Frey, Rolls-Royce
Rekha Hanu, Akorn, Inc.
Chellis Neal Gonzalez, AOL Inc.
Tiffany Nichols, Boston Scientific
Aimee Nolan, W.W. Grainger, Inc.
Stasia Ogden, Baxalta US Inc
Thomas Ryan, International Paper
Jay Saltzman, Illinois Tool Works Inc.
Bruce Schelkopf, ABB
Daniel Shulman, Reynolds Group Holdings Ltd
Bradley Silver, Time Warner
Rouz Tabaddor, CoreLogic, Inc.
Ernest Torain, Jr., Illinois Tool Works Inc.
James Trussell, BP America
Kristin Westgard, Koch Industries

Top Healthcare Counsel

Karen Ann Lloyd, Community Health Network
Robert McStay, Memorial Hermann
Alan Pope, Thrifty White Pharmacy
James Watson, St. Joseph Health System

Top Legal Department

Catholic Health Initiatives, Legal Service Group

Top Employment Counsel

Jonathan Aldridge, Robert Half International
Tracy Allen, CDK Global
Courtney Anderson, BMW
Dawn Blume, Stericycle
Stephanie Collins, The Aerospace Corporation
Josh Dalley, Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Jodi Fisk, Deere & Co
Jonathan Forman, Sykes Enterprises, Inc.
Hank Galatz, W.W. Grainger
Keri Halperin, Wipro
John Hamlin, Marsh & McLennan Companies
Keith James, Masco Corporation
Jack Leebron, Brookdale Senior Living
Katrina Lindsey, Darden Restaurants, Inc
Philip Marchion, ADT Security Services
Elena Matsis, Autodesk
Kim Metrick, Walgreen Company
Jennifer Nocito, Campbell Soup Company
Maxwell Norman, NetApp
Tracy O'Flaherty, Baxter International, Inc.
Tunisia Poole, Aflac
MIranda Rapport, Bayer Corporation
Samy Sadighi, Toyota Financial Services
Stephanie Shirley, Brunswick Corporation
Mary Smigielski, Sears Holdings Management
Hina Sodha, Grant Thornton LLP
Joshua Verdi, Highmark Health
J. Vic Waye, Sodexo
Michael Wilck, Bed Bath and Beyond
Christian Zinn, Kaplan

Top eDiscovery Counsel

Aaron Crews, Walmart
Amy DeCesare, Allied World Insurance Company
Dori Kuchinsky, AOL
Anthony Lowe, Freddie Mac
Cecil Lynn, PayPal, Inc.
Paul Meyer, Towers Watson
Farrah Pepper, General Electric
Jessica Ross, Deutsche Bank