In February, Gordon & Rees welcomed twenty eight new attorneys to our Alexandria, Anchorage, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Florham Park, Houston, Irvine, Nashville, New York, Ontario, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa offices. They join us as members of the Commercial Litigation, Construction, Employment Law, Energy, Entertainment & Recreation Law, Environmental & Toxic Tort, Health Care, Insurance, Product & General Liability, Professional Liability Defense, and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Groups.
Ehsan Akbari, Associate
Ashley Barnes, Associate
Alexander Boehm, Associate
Michelle Burke, Partner
Thomas Castelli, Senior Counsel
Hee Jin Chang, Associate
Christopher Ege, Partner
Richard Griffith, Associate
Abby Hahn, Associate
Amir Hajimohammad, Associate
Andres Hermosillo, Associate
Julie Hunt, Associate
Andre Hunter, Associate
Elena Kuzminova, Senior Counsel
Lisa Lazarus, Of Counsel
Nicholas Lewis, Senior Counsel
Kirk Martin, Of Counsel
Kim McClendon, Of Counsel
Mark Oknyansky, Partner
Denise Paarlberg, Associate
Ashley Presson, Partner
Shawheen Shafizadeh, Associate
Kimberly Solomon, Partner
Matthew Tamasco, Partner
Ben Thames, Partner
Jenna Van Middelem, Associate
Travis Weaver, Associate
Azarius Yanez, Associate
Ehsan joins the New York office as a member of the Commercial Litigation practice group. He regularly handles cases from inception to resolution, including factual investigation, discovery, motion practice, oral advocacy, expert retention and mediation/settlement negotiations. Prior to joining the firm, Ehsan was an associate at a prominent insurance defense firm where he successfully defended insureds in premises liability, auto/transportation liability and labor law actions. Ehsan earned his J.D. from Boston College Law School and his B.A. from Davidson College.
Ashley joins the Boston office as a member of the Construction practice group. Ashley earned her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and her B.S. from Boston University.
Alexander joins the Tampa office as a member of the Insurance practice group. His practice is concentrated on first party insurance defense litigation for property, coverage, & bad faith litigation. Prior to starting at the firm, he began his career working as in-house counsel for a major property/casualty insurance company. He uses his legal, research, and writing skills to assist clients with defending cases through all stages of litigation. Alexander earned his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law and his B.S. from Florida State University.
Michelle joins the Florham Park office as a member of the Environmental & Toxic Tort, Commercial Litigation, and Product & General Liability practice groups. She is a seasoned trial lawyer, litigator and risk manager with experience serving as national, primary and local defense counsel for a wide array of clients that span from multi-national corporations to closely held businesses. She excels at managing a large docket of products liability, toxic tort, commercial and general civil litigation matters. She handles all aspects of complex litigation and is skilled at developing defense strategies, coordinating all aspects of discovery and crafting successful dispositive motions. While she aims to keep her clients out of the courtroom, she is experienced in adeptly and aggressively trying cases, and has obtained favorable results for her clients. Michelle earned her J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law and her B.A. from Rutgers University.
Thomas joins the Portland office as a member of the Commercial Litigation practice group. He has experience in a wide variety of legal areas, including complex litigation, commercial litigation, constitutional law, construction, employment, and civil rights. He has tried jury and bench trials in both state and federal court as well as represented clients in arbitration and mediations. Thomas earned his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law and his B.A. from Rhodes College.
Hee Jin joins the Houston office as a member of the Commercial Litigation practice group. Prior to joining the firm, she gained valuable litigation experience representing clients in family law and personal injury and premises liability defense for national retailers. She has been involved in a broad range of civil lawsuits and arbitration proceedings, primarily in the areas of contractual disputes, premise liability, products liability, retail, as well as business and commercial litigation. Hee Jin earned her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Christopher joins the Austin office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort, Product & General Liability, Commercial Litigation, and Employment Law practice groups. As a trial lawyer for more than 20 years, Christopher has extensive experience defending companies in high risk litigation in Texas and throughout the United States, including business litigation, product liability, toxic exposure cases and employer liability claims. His clients range from several large Fortune 500 companies to individuals and small business owners. He has also served as a resource on tort reform issues for Senate and House Committees in the Texas Legislature. Christopher earned his J.D. from South Texas College of Law and his B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Richard joins the Pittsburgh office as a member of the Health Care practice group. He primarily handles medical malpractice matters, representing hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical care providers. Prior to joining the firm, Richard worked as a Law Clerk under a Judge in Washington County. Richard earned his J.D. from West Virginia University School of Law and his B.A. from the California University of Pennsylvania.
Abby joins the Pittsburgh office as a member of the Health Care practice group. She concentrates her practice on medical malpractice claims, representing hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare personnel. Prior to joining the firm, she practiced at a regional insurance defense firm in Pittsburgh. Abby earned her J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law and her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Amir joins the Alexandria office as a member of the Commercial Litigation practice group. He represents business entities in various litigation matters such as wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and effectively all contractual disputes in the commercial context. Before joining the firm as an Associate, Amir was a law clerk at the Alexandria Office for Gordon & Rees. He also volunteered at the Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office where he assisted in prosecuting a complex multi-state drug racketeering organization. Amir earned his J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and his B.A. from George Mason University.
Andres joins the Denver office as a member of the Professional Liability Defense practice group. He has years of insurance defense litigation experience, including handling all phases of personal injury, workers’ compensation, subrogation, construction defect, product liability, premises liability, and wrongful death matters. Prior to joining the firm, Andres specialized in personal injury litigation including experience as a trial attorney specifically catering to insurance carriers. Andres earned his J.D. from the University of Utah: SJ Quinney College of Law and his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Julie joins the San Diego office as a member of the Employment Law practice group. She has multi-jurisdictional civil litigation experience, consumer and collection law, public and private sector labor law, and general civil practice. Julie earned her J.D. from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and her B.A. from the University of California, Irvine.
Andre joins the Chicago office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort, Commercial Litigation, and Product & General Liability practice groups. He manages all stages of the litigation process, including arguing motions, taking depositions, negotiating settlements, and preparing for trial. An aggressive litigator and a persuasive trial attorney, Andre has experience before judges in both state and federal court. Prior to joining the firm, Andre served as Assistant Attorney General for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, defending state agencies, officials, and employees in civil rights litigation. Andre earned his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Elena joins the Dallas office as a member of the Commercial Litigation practice group. She has extensive experience litigating complex business disputes across a variety of industries, including construction, financial services, real estate, insurance, surety, lending, healthcare, and technology. She has represented clients in complex state and federal matters involving claims for breach of contract, tort, fraud, trademark infringement, alter ego, breach of fiduciary duty, and equitable claims, among others. Elena earned her J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law and her B.A. from Saint Louis University.
Lisa joins the San Francisco office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort practice group. She represents and defends corporate clients in all aspects of complex litigation from the pleading stage through mediation, trial, and settlement. She is experienced in managing significant caseloads while keeping her clients informed and providing individual case work up to ensure all cases are ready for trial. Lisa earned her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law and her B.S. from Indiana University.
Nicholas joins the Anchorage office as a member of the Construction, Energy, Health Care, and White Collar Criminal Defense practice groups. Prior to joining the firm, he was a prosecutor for a county in Michigan where he developed skill in jury trials and is very proud he was able to bring justice to the people of Michigan litigating many capital crimes with more than a few cases garnering local media attention. During this time Nicholas was also part of a successful federal lobby effort with the Alzheimer’s Association to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research by several hundred million dollars. While proud of his time as a prosecutor he is excited that his practice will return to corporate, mineral, and Alaska Native issues in his home state of Alaska once again while also practicing in Michigan. Nicholas earned his J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and his B.A. from Gonzaga University.
Kirk joins the Austin office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort practice group. He represents large global corporations in complex litigation involving occupational safety and health issues, including environmental contamination, construction safety, and toxic exposures from asbestos, benzene, and numerous chemicals. With more than 40 years of experience as a certified industrial hygienist, he brings a unique perspective to developing litigation strategies and advising clients in the risk management of projects and current liabilities. Kirk earned his J.D. from South Texas College of Law and his B.S. from Lamar University.
Kim joins the Portland office as a member of the Commercial Litigation practice group. Kim earned her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law and her B.A. from the University of Nebraska.
Mark joins the Ontario office as a member of the Commercial Litigation practice group. He brings a mix of real-world and litigation experience, making him a well-rounded and effective litigator. He has worked as a California Real Estate Broker for over a decade, prior to becoming an attorney. This experience gives him valuable insight into the needs and desires of our real estate and landlord/tenant clients. Throughout his legal career, Mark has successfully litigated million dollar and multi-million-dollar cases, including for individuals injured in motor vehicle and trip and fall accidents. Mark earned his J.D. from Loyola Law School and his B.S. from California State University, Northridge.
Denise joins the Chicago office as a member of the Insurance practice group. Prior to joining the firm, she served as a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney in the Criminal Appeal and Child Support Enforcement Divisions, where she filed several felony appeals. She also served as a law clerk for the Middle East team at the Commercial Law Development Program at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she conducted comparative analysis of public procurement laws in Arabian Gulf countries and reviewed Saudi and Bahraini bankruptcy judicial opinions. Denise earned her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law and her B.A. from American University.
Ashley joins the Austin office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort practice group. She focuses her practice in developing and implementing successful and cost-effective national litigation strategies in complex cases involving product liability, premises liability, and toxic tort claims. In this role, she has defended aluminum, plastic, rubber, joint compound, and chemical manufacturers in multiple jurisdictions. She also represents clients in the technology and transportation sectors and advises them on contractual, privacy, and intellectual property matters. Ashley earned her J.D. from St. Mary's University School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Shawheen joins the Irvine office as a member of the Product & General Liability and Construction practice groups. He has extensive experience representing both large institutional clients and small closely-held businesses in both state and federal courts in areas of construction law, products liability, business litigation, employment law, commercial litigation, and general liability such as premise liability and motor vehicle accidents. He has handled countless cases from inception to conclusion including preparing and arguing dispositive motions, taking and defending deposition, and mediating difficult cases to resolution. He has obtained many favorable results for his clients through planning and implementing a legal strategy tailored to his clients’ needs and desires. Shawheen earned his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and his B.A. from the University of California, Irvine.
Kimberly joins the Austin office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort practice group. She has a wide range of experience in Texas and California defending clients in commercial, product liability, and toxic tort litigation. She also represents clients in labor & employment disputes and professional liability matters. Her experience in high-risk litigation includes pretrial preparation and investigation, dispositive motion practice, and developing fact and expert witness testimony. Her trial experience benefits clients not only at trial, but also during earlier phases of litigation and in negotiations. Kimberly earned her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law and her B.S. from Texas A&M University.
Matthew joins the Florham Park office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort, Entertainment & Recreation Law, Commercial Litigation, and Product & General Liability practice groups. A litigator and business attorney, Matthew has a diverse legal practice representing manufacturing, financial services, technology, sports and fitness and insurance companies in a broad array of areas including product liability, commercial litigation, employment law, intellectual property and general corporate matters. He also has prior experience in the field of computer network management. Matthew serves as national coordinating and trial counsel representing companies in asbestos, product defect and personal injury cases throughout the country. A significant portion of his practice is devoted to serving as outside national counsel consulting and representing commercial equipment manufacturers and technology consulting companies with respect to a wide range of legal needs. Matthew earned his J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law and his B.S. from Seton Hall University.
Ben joins the St. Louis office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort and Product & General Liability practice groups. He has more than 18 years of legal experience, and he has focused his practice on the defense of manufacturers, retailers, suppliers and premises owners, particularly in toxic/mass tort and environmental litigation. He also has extensive experience representing insurance companies in product and premise liability cases. His comprehensive knowledge helps clients manage complex litigation. He has significant experience in managing the caseload of manufacturers in mass tort cases in all phases of litigation, including defense of claims, negotiations, and trial. Ben earned his J.D. from Washington University School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Missouri.
Jenna joins the Alexandria office as a member of the Commercial Litigation and Employment Law practice groups. She has experience handling a diverse range of subject areas from breach of contract to claims of discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination. Her employment practice involves a variety of matters including representing employers in actions arising in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Office of Human Rights for the District of Columbia. She has also handled contractual claims involving breach of contract, non-competes, non-solicitation agreements, and trade secrets. Jenna earned her J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law and her B.A. from The Catholic University of America.
Travis joins the Austin office as a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort practice group. He represents companies in premises liability, product liability, and toxic tort litigation. He is regularly involved in all facets of litigation, from legal research to trial preparation. He has prior experience working at a plaintiff firm in Austin focusing on toxic tort and pharmaceutical cases. Having experience on both sides of the bar, he is able to lend a unique perspective to his clients. Travis earned his J.D. from University of Texas School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Azarius joins the Nashville office as a member of the Construction, Commercial Litigation, and Professional Liability Defense practice groups. He has defended business entities against a wide variety of contract and tort claims, including, breach of contract, violations of the standard of care, violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, and wrongful death claims. Azarius earned his J.D. from Florida International University College of Law and his B.A. from the St. John Vianney College Seminary.