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Holland & Knight Announces 52 New Partners | News

Steven Sonberg, managing partner of Holland & Knight, announced that 52 attorneys in the firm have been elected to partnership effective January 1, 2023. Thirty-three associates and 19 senior counsels from various offices throughout the firm have been elevated.

Holland & Knight’s new class of partners is the largest in the firm’s history. It is also one of the most diverse, with 58 percent of members coming from underrepresented demographics within the legal profession. This is the seventh year in a row that Holland & Knight has promoted a new partner class that is more than 50 percent diverse.

Associates elevated to partnership:
Philippa Balestrieri is a member of the firm’s Business Section in San Francisco. Ms. Balestrieri brings her international experience to national and multinational business matters, advising clients on corporate governance, automotive regulatory compliance and licensing, acquisition and investment strategy, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) compliance and general business transactions.

Jason Brown is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Dallas. Mr. Brown represents financial institutions and private capital funds in connection with their lending and investment transactions. He advises on domestic and cross-border syndicated lending, asset-based lending, acquisition financing and second-lien and mezzanine financing.

Jessica Brown is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in San Francisco. Ms. Brown possesses a deep understanding of corporate governance, board and shareholder disputes and regulatory counseling. Her primary practice areas include high-stakes business litigation and pre-litigation counseling, as well as alcohol beverage regulatory compliance.

Graham Coates is a member of the firm’s Government Section in New York. Mr. Coates represents independent power producers, utilities, power suppliers, project developers and financial institutions in both regulatory matters and commercial transactions involving energy and utility infrastructure.

Jack Doherty is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in New York. Mr. Doherty’s practice focuses on high-stakes complex commercial litigation. He represents institutional lenders, including national banks, special services and investment banks, in creditors’ rights litigation, insolvency, loan restructurings and workouts.

Agnes Doyle is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Houston. Ms. Doyle’s practice focuses on financial services, maritime and healthcare litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitrations. She also effectively counsels clients in a broad range of complex commercial litigation generally related to energy, construction, employment and debt collection disputes.

Erin Goodman is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in New York. Ms. Goodman handles the acquisition, disposition, leasing and development of commercial, hospitality, industrial and residential buildings, as well as advises on land use, cooperative and condominium law, leasehold condominiums and real estate tax exemptions.
Brian Goodrich is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Dallas. Mr. Goodrich’s practice spans both regulatory and litigation matters, primarily in the financial services industry. He has significant experience defending banks and non-bank providers of financial services in federal and state consumer protection regulatory investigations, developing effective regulatory compliance programs, and navigating regulations and laws applicable to financial institutions that advertise and offer consumer financial services and products.

John Haney is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Los Angeles. Mr. Haney represents employers in a variety of matters involving wage and hour compliance, wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, leave and reasonable accommodation laws, workers’ compensation, employee/independent contractor classification, exempt/nonexempt employee classification, trade secret protection, reductions in force, union matters, internal investigations, executive compensation, benefits, payroll and staffing agency vendors.

Craig Harasimowicz is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Charlotte. Mr. Harasimowicz represents private equity and venture capital firms, independent sponsors, search funds, strategic acquirers and companies in evaluating, structuring and negotiating mergers and acquisitions and investment transactions, including leveraged buyouts, growth equity investments, mergers, stock and asset acquisitions and sales, as well as divestitures and recapitalizations.

Brett Holland is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Miami. Mr. Holland focuses his practice on complex commercial real estate transactions and institutional finance, as well as the leasing, acquisition and sale of commercial real estate assets. He has extensive experience representing various financial institutions involved in commercial lending transactions, including community banks, global money center banks and life insurance companies.

David I. Holtzman is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in San Francisco. Mr. Holtzman focuses his practice on general commercial litigation, healthcare litigation and intellectual property litigation. He has extensive experience representing hospitals, healthcare systems and technology companies in a broad array of civil disputes in state and federal courts nationwide, as well as arbitrations and mediations.

Andrew Jorgensen is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Charlotte. Mr. Jorgensen focuses his practice on syndicated, club and single lender financing transactions, including asset-based and cash flow lending, equipment leasing, supply chain finance and other secured financing transactions.

Daniel Kappes is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in San Francisco. Mr. Kappes focuses his practice in the areas of commercial liability, healthcare litigation and intellectual property litigation. He also has extensive experience representing financial institutions and businesses in consumer class and individual actions, including false advertising, unfair business practices, and Rosenthal Act claims in both state and federal court.

Allison Kernisky is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Miami. Ms. Kernisky focuses her nationwide practice primarily on securities litigation, with an emphasis on securities class actions, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) enforcement matters, merger and acquisition disputes, complex business disputes and shareholder derivative actions.

Allison Lehn is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Miami. Ms. Lehn focuses her practice on corporate law, including public and private company securities matters and filings, capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance and general corporate matters.

Steve Levitt is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Dallas. Mr. Levitt represents debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, unsecured creditors’ committees, Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 trustees, potential purchasers of distressed assets, potential debtor-in-possession lenders and other key stakeholders in complex corporate reorganizations and bankruptcy litigation.

Emily Lieban is a member of the firm’s Government Section in San Francisco. Ms. Lieban helps natural resources, manufacturing and energy clients navigate and manage environmental challenges that arise in project development, regulatory compliance and litigation.

Herman Lipkis is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Fort Lauderdale. Mr. Lipkis focuses his practice on structured real estate finance, acquisitions, dispositions, hospitality transactions, commercial leasing and construction matters. He has significant experience representing lenders and borrowers in complex financing transactions including acquisition, construction, development, bridge, and SBA loans. Mr. Lipkis regularly represents landlords and tenants in negotiating office, retail and industrial leases and license agreements involving properties throughout the United States. He also maintains an active practice counseling clients in the hospitality sector involving the structure and negotiation of various contracts.

Lydia Lockett is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Los Angeles. Ms. Lockett is a member of the firm’s Private Wealth Services practice and focuses on complex trusts and estates litigation, contested conservatorship proceedings and elder abuse matters.

Nicole Maron is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Fort Lauderdale. Ms. Maron practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, public companies and securities, franchise matters, representations and warranties insurance and general corporate matters.

Dina McKenney is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Dallas. Ms. McKenney focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, arbitration, intellectual property and appellate matters. She represents clients in multiple industries and has experience in a wide variety of cases involving breach of contract, fraud, antitrust and class action disputes, as well as in representing brand owners in trademark, trade dress and unfair competition litigation.

Manuel Miranda is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Miami. Mr. Miranda focuses on complex commercial litigation and international disputes, particularly in arbitration and investigations. He represents plaintiffs and claimants in business-to-business disputes, breaches of representations and warranties, and other claims related to mergers and acquisitions.

Samuel Pinkston is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Dallas. Mr. Pinkston represents financial institutions and private capital funds in connection with lending and investment transactions, including senior debt financing, structured financing, asset-based and cash flow lending and other forms of debt and equity financing.

Kayla Pragid is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in West Palm Beach. Ms. Pragid focuses her practice on complex federal litigation and class actions nationwide, with an emphasis on prosecuting and defending fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practices across multiple industries, including securities, healthcare, insurance, cryptocurrency and equine fraud, as well as shareholder derivative claims and ERISA/ESOP claims with underlying allegations of deceptive or unfair conduct.

Patrick Reagin is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Atlanta. Mr. Reagin focuses on complex business and commercial disputes, with an emphasis on representing purchasers and sellers in post-closing mergers and acquisitions disputes and claims for breaches of representations and warranties and indemnity.

George Robertson is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Houston. Mr. Robertson focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation matters and regularly handles disputes in the financial, oil and gas, railroad, healthcare and consumer financial services industries in Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.

David Rusk is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Houston. He represents clients in negotiating purchase and sale agreements, ground leases and space leases (office, retail and industrial) and related agreements.

Additionally, he represents national and regional lenders in a variety of commercial financing transactions, including real estate loans, life insurance premium financings, and vessel acquisition and construction loans.

Brooke Sizer is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Houston. Ms. Sizer focuses her practice on energy matters, with a particular emphasis on upstream transactions. She has significant experience in acquisitions and divestitures.

Katherine Skeele is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in New York. Ms. Skeele represents clients across industries in state and federal litigation, mediation and arbitration matters, and pre-litigation disputes. Her commercial and business litigation practice includes business tort, fraud and defamation, breach of contract disputes and energy litigation. She also has substantial, multi-jurisdictional product liability defense experience.

Stacy Thomas is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Jacksonville. Ms. Thomas counsels private equity, venture capital, real estate and hedge fund clients across all major markets, with a focus on formation, operation and maintenance of private investment partnerships from a legal, regulatory and tax perspective.

Kendall Wilson is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Tampa. Ms. Wilson represents public and private clients in mergers and acquisitions and other complex business transactions. She also advises with respect to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) compliance, securities and corporate governance matters. Ms. Wilson counsels clients across various industries, including manufacturing services, consumer products, private equity, banking and financial services, healthcare, hospitality and information technology.

Eric Yoon is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Philadelphia. Mr. Yoon routinely handles a wide range of litigation matters with a focus on antitrust, employment discrimination, class action defense and consumer protection and fraud disputes. He has experience with civil business litigation including copyright, trade secret, restrictive covenant, corporate governance, disputes among shareholders and business torts.
Senior counsel elevated to partnership:

Julie Blackmore is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Fort Lauderdale. Ms. Blackmore focuses her practice on various corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, corporate governance and compliance, and other general corporate matters. She counsels clients across various industries, including consumer products, cosmetics, insurance and financial services, healthcare, software and technology.
Daniel Brown is a member of the firm’s Business Section in New York. Mr. Brown counsels clients in the energy and infrastructure sectors on mergers and acquisitions, financings, capital markets issuances, project development, construction and corporate law matters. He has represented regulated utilities, independent project developers, investors, governmental authorities, underwriters and other financing providers and agents.

Nicholas Brunero is a member of the firm’s Business Section in New York. Mr. Brunero handles various corporate matters for businesses and individuals, and also provides outside general counsel services for companies. He represents financial institutions, emerging growth companies, private equity firms and other clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, venture capital investments, and general commercial and corporate transactions.
Juan Casallas Romero is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Bogotá. Mr. Casallas Romero has extensive experience in litigation and arbitration involving commercial, constitutional and administrative law, and provides strategic counseling in those fields. He has extensive experience with pre-merger reviews, antitrust proceedings, environmental liability, administrative proceedings and legal aspects regarding the management of community affairs and management of governmental affairs.

Christine Crousillat is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Fort Lauderdale. Ms. Crousillat focuses her practice on commercial real estate with an emphasis on retail, office, mixed use and industrial leasing, advising both national tenants, institutional landlords and developers in all areas of commercial leasing nationally. Ms. Crousillat also represents owners and developers in the acquisition, disposition and development of commercial property.
Selene Espinosa is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Mexico City. Ms. Espinosa focuses her practice on corporate services and financial transactions. She represents banks, funds, investors, strategic buyers and sellers in complex cross-border transactions involving U.S., Canadian, European and Latin American entities and assets. She also represents underwriters of representations and warranties insurance policies in connection with mergers and acquisitions transactions.

Yoni Fisch is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in New York. Mr. Fisch focuses on commercial real estate matters, including negotiating and structuring financing transactions and property acquisitions and sales. In addition, Mr. Fisch is experienced in advising on ground leasing, space leasing and subleasing across multiple sectors, including hospitality, retail, commercial and in connection with multiuse development.

Drew Gandy is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Atlanta. Mr. Gandy focuses his practice on real estate development and finance through the representation of national banks and large financial institutions in connection with construction, bridge and permanent loans for multifamily, office, retail and industrial projects, with a particular focus on syndicated, affordable housing and private wealth transactions.

Kevin George is a member of the firm’s Business Section in New York. Mr. George principally practices in the area of real estate finance, with an emphasis on affordable housing transactions, as well as loan restructuring and workouts.
David Haller is a member of the firm’s Litigation Section in Washington, D.C. Mr. Haller focuses his practice in the areas of litigation and dispute resolution, white collar defense and investigations, and consumer protection defense and compliance.

Alyssa Keon is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Los Angeles. Ms. Keon advises on multijurisdictional secured lending transactions in a wide range of industries. She acts on behalf of lenders and borrowers in various corporate and commercial lending transactions, including senior, second-lien and mezzanine financings on an asset-based, cash-flow and leverage basis.

Daniel Levisohn is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Washington, D.C. Mr. Levisohn advises fund sponsors on the formation and operation of private equity investment funds, with an emphasis on real estate fund formation. He also has extensive experience advising clients on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate restructurings across a wide-range of industries, including real estate and REITs, transportation and defense.
Nadya Makenko is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Boston. Ms. Makenko represents landlords, tenants, owners, developers and buyers in the leasing, acquisition, disposition and development of commercial and residential projects. In addition, she routinely drafts and negotiates office, retail, industrial and other leases on behalf of landlords and tenants nationally.

David Mignardi is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in New York. Admitted in the state and federal courts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, Mr. Mignardi focuses his practice on real estate finance and capital markets, with a particular emphasis on litigation and loan servicing matters related to commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Sean Pribyl is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Washington, D.C. Mr. Pribyl’s practice focuses on maritime regulatory compliance matters, international law and trade, marine claims, autonomous transportation, civil litigation and dispute resolution, and white collar criminal law. He has more than 25 years of combined experience as a federal regulator, international maritime and trade attorney, U.S. Coast Guard officer and attorney (JAG), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Special U.S. Attorney, merchant mariner deck officer and international protection and indemnity (P&I) club lawyer.

Alejandro A. Sánchez Mújica is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Monterrey, Mexico. Mr. Sánchez Mújica has broad experience representing national and international companies in domestic and cross-border transactions, including advising on the structuring and execution of joint ventures, infrastructure projects, finance, as well as in structuring and implementing complex collateral packages, public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital transactions across varied sectors.

Briana Stolley is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Tysons, Virginia. Ms. Stolley represents owners, developers, investors and tenants of office buildings, shopping centers, retail properties, industrial parks and mixed-use developments in connection with the leasing, development, and the acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate. She has significant experience representing government contractor tenants and negotiating foreign embassy leases.

David Thaxton is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Section in Houston. Mr. Thaxton’s practice focuses on the acquisition, development, financing, leasing and disposition of commercial properties in Texas and nationwide. He has particular experience in transactions in the renewable energy sector, including large-scale wind and solar energy projects and facilities.

Cory Thomas is a member of the firm’s Business Section in Philadelphia. Mr. Thomas focuses his practice on the defense of a full range of employment, employee benefit, executive compensation and ERISA litigation matters. He represents Fortune 500 companies, plan sponsors, insurers, plan administrative and investment committees, corporate directors, other individual plan fiduciaries, privately held businesses, benefit plans, plan administrators, officers, directors, executives and third-party administrators.

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Erdogan unveils Turkey’s first astronaut on election trail

Turkey’s first astronaut will travel to the International Space Station by the end of the year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday after an illness forced him to cancel several days of appearances.

Air force pilot Alper Gezeravci, 43, was selected to be the first Turkish citizen in space. His backup is Tuva Cihangir Atasever, 30, an aviation systems engineer at Turkish defense contractor Roketsan.

Erdogan made the announcement at the Teknofest aviation and space fair in Istanbul, the president’s first public appearance since falling ill during a TV interview on Tuesday. He appeared alongside Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and Libya’s interim prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.

“Our friend, who will go on Turkey’s first manned space mission, will stay on the International Space Station for 14 days,” Erdogan said. “Our astronaut will perform 13 different experiments prepared by our country’s esteemed universities and research institutions during this mission.”

Erdogan described Gezeravci as a “heroic Turkish pilot who has achieved significant success in our Air Force Command.”

The Turkish Space Agency website describes Gezeravci as a 21-year air force veteran and F-16 pilot who attended the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology.

Wearing a red flight jacket, Erdogan appeared in robust health as he addressed crowds at the festival. Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 14, and opinion polls show Erdogan in potentially his toughest race since he came to power two decades ago.

Turkey is dealing with a prolonged economic downturn, and the government received criticism after a February earthquake killed more than 50,000 in the country. Experts blamed the high death toll in part on shoddy construction and law enforcement of building codes.

While campaigning for reelection, Erdogan has unveiled a number of prestigious projects, such as Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and the delivery of natural gas from Black Sea reserves.


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Israelis rally for 17th week against judicial overhaul plans

Tens of thousands of Israelis protested judicial overhaul proposals Saturday in the 17th weekly rally against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.

The demonstrations have been ongoing since the beginning of the year, and organizers plan to continue, despite Netanyahu delaying the changes last month. The leaders of the mass protests want the proposals scrapped altogether.

“We are just getting started,” read a banner that demonstrators held at the main protest in Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic hub. Smaller demonstrations were reported in several parts of the country.

Spanish Prime Minister and Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez voiced support to the Israeli antigovernment protesters in a video message aired on a large screen in Tel Aviv.

We as Socialist International have always fought for freedom, equality, justice, and democracy. Yet, as many of you know, these are values that we cannot take for granted,” Sanchez said.

Protesters argue the proposed changes threaten Israel’s democratic values, hurting a system of checks and balances and concentrating authority in the hands of Netanyahu and his extremist allies.

They also say that the prime minister has a conflict of interest in trying to reshape the nation’s legal system at a time when he is on trial.

Such changes would result in weakening the Supreme Court, giving parliament, which is controlled by Netanyahu’s allies, authority to overturn its rulings and limiting its ability to review laws.

The protest gained support from the military’s elite reserve force, businesses, and large sectors of the Israeli community. But on Thursday, tens of thousands of right-wing Israelis who support the legal



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‘Total nightmare:’ As Florida insurance companies go insolvent, homeowners pay the price

Seminole county couple has three-year open claim because of insolvent insurer.

What happens when your property insurer goes out of business?

It is happening quite a bit in Florida and is leading to all policyholders paying more.

The Florida Insurance Guaranty is adding a 1% assessment to policyholders starting in October to cover claims for insolvent companies.

A Seminole County couple has lived without a fully functioning kitchen for three years because their insurer went out of business.

Sandra Braga Alfonso said what started as a leak under her sink has turned into a three-year nightmare.

She said there was already a fight with her insurer to pay out the claim, but then the company went under and it got worse.

Alfonso has a fridge and an oven but is missing lower cabinets, a stove, her normal sink, and a dishwasher.

“It has been a total nightmare,” Alfonso said.

It started in December of 2019 with a leak under her sink, she said.

She eventually discovered water in all her lower cabinets and in the sheetrock behind the cabinets, she said.

“The insurance company gave us approval to rip everything out that was damaged and now they don’t want to pay to put it back in,” Alfonso said.

The insurance company cut a check for $4,800, she said.

Of that $4,300 went to water mitigation to prevent mold. That left about $500, not nearly enough to replace her kitchen, she said.

“We’ve tried to settle, go to mediation, everything,” she said.

Finally, Alfonso and her husband filed a lawsuit against her insurer, but after two years of hearings and motions and waiting for a court date, her insurer went out of business.

She was with Capitol Insurance, but according to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Capitol was merged into Southern Fidelity, which is now one of 14 companies in liquidation.

“I’m over it. I just want my kitchen. I just want to be able to live again. I love to cook, and I can’t,” Alfonso said.

In the last year, Florida lawmakers have had three special legislative sessions to deal with Florida’s property insurance crises.

News 6 asked Alfonso if she thinks anything is being done in Tallahassee to help consumers with their insurance issues.

“No, it’s all for the insurance company,” she said.

One of the biggest moves made in Tallahassee over the last year is the legislature doing away with what is referred to as “one-way attorney’s fees.”

That means if you sued your insurer over a claim and won, the insurance company had to pay your attorney’s fees. Without it, Alfonso said she would never have been able to sue her insurer even though in her case, it didn’t do any good.

No. My husband’s retired. He’s on disability and he’s retired we’re on a fixed income,” Alfonso said.

Alfonso has now turned to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, which handles the claims of insolvent property and casualty insurance companies.

They are still negotiating the amount it will take to fix her kitchen — more than three years later.

“I owned my first home when I was 20-something years old,” Alfonso said. “I’ve been paying my insurance premiums since I’m like 25, never filed a claim and look where I am now,” Alfonso said.


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