40 & Under Hot List - Midwest


Dispute resolution
40 and Under Midwest


At Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg, Jack Snyder dedicates his practice to complex commercial litigation and has a particular expertise in handling litigation on behalf of clients in the automotive industry. Snyder, who is a member of the firm’s Motor Vehicles practice group, notably represented FCA US in a motor vehicle franchise case involving the termination of several car dealerships in California. The plaintiff, Porter Auto Group, filed a protest with the California New Motor Vehicle Board after the client issued notices of termination of the plaintiff's dealership agreements. Snyder as co-lead partner in the dispute prevailed on a motion to dismiss and received an order from the board permitting the termination. Synder has also expanded his practice, handling several real estate-related matters. He recently represented Sprint in an eminent domain case against the Department of Transportation. Another litigator at the firm to watch is Josh Mahoney, who is an adept litigator representing a wide variety of clients in the automotive, luxury goods, and technology industries.

              Jennifer Greenblatt of Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum offers a diverse practice spanning complex commercial, product liability, antitrust and intellectual property litigation. Among her current matters, Greenblatt represents Bayer in a number of cases at federal and state level. After successfully defeating plaintiffs’ multidistrict litigation petition, Greenblatt has gone on to win several other motions across the country for her client. In addition, Greenblatt also serves as advisory and trial counsel for Merck in a number of antitrust matters. Rami Fakhouri served as co-lead partner for Medtronic in a product liability dispute, recently having a number of claims dismissed in multiple jurisdictions. Previously, Fakhouri served as co-lead partner in the Xarelto product liability trial in the Philadelphia mass tort division representing Janssen Pharmaceuticals, resulting in a complete defense verdict from the jury, which rejected the plaintiff's claim that the companies failed to properly warn about the health risks associated with the drug.  New 40 and Under stars Emma Ross and Doug Winnard recently secured several victories for Apple, which include defeating a multidistrict litigation request and having a number of cases dismissed. Allyson Julien debuts on this year’s list and is highly regarded for assisting clients in high-stakes product liability litigation. Julien is currently part of the team representing Bayer in two separate cases involving the contraceptive Mirena®.  Another emerging litigator from the firm that makes it on this year’s list is Andrew Rima, who is noted for his representation of client AbbVie. Rima currently defends the biopharmaceutical company against several hedge funds in a case involving a collapsed multi-billion-dollar merger. In a separate matter, Rima serves as appellate counsel for the company in a securities fraud case.

              Katten Muchin Rosenman's Peter Wilson dedicates his practice to antitrust and securities litigation as well as government enforcement actions, primarily on behalf of clients in the financial services industry. Wilson serves as co-head of the defense team representing UBS in two separate consolidated putative class actions seeking billions of dollars in damages. One action involves alleged violations of the Sherman Act in the interest rate swaps market, while the other alleges violations of the Sherman Act in the stock lending market. Wilson is also involved in representing Wells Fargo in litigation under the Fair Housing Act against the Cook County government.    

Kirkland & Ellis has three outstanding litigators in Illinois that once again make this year’s list. Charles Kalil focuses on white-collar criminal litigation and investigations. Among his current matters, Kalil is part of the Kirkland representing clients Live Nation Entertainment and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). Mark Premo-Hopkins is a litigator who engages in matters both on plaintiff and defendant side. Most notably, Premo-Hopkins won a fraud trial in Delaware state court which resulted in over $100 million in damages being awarded to his client.  Another emerging star at the firm’s Chicago office is Diana Watral, who handles a wide array of litigation. Among her current matters, Watral is part of the Kirkland team representing Safeway in False Claims Act litigation alleging the company’s pharmacies misrepresented their customary prices.



Billed as Kansas’ largest law firm, Foulston Siefkin has two emerging practitioners that debut on this year’s 40 and Under Hot List. Clayton Kaiser focuses  on a wide array of healthcare litigation, including commercial, securities, and white-collar matters. Recently, Kaiser was part of the Foulston Siefkin team that represented Hutchinson Clinic in False Claims Act litigation alleging unnecessary services by a cancer doctor. Based in Overland Park, David Green dedicates his practice to construction litigation. Green represents a host of contractors, property owners, and real estate developers.  In the past year, Green was part of the team that successfully defended Pratt Regional Medical Center in a suit brought by a subcontractor regarding disputed change order requests.

Rouse Frets Gentile Rhodes once again has two standout litigators that are recognized in this year’s list. Christopher Kurtz dedicates his practice to commercial and insurance litigation, as well as construction, labor and employment, real estate and medical malpractice disputes. Among his notable cases, Kurtz represented a homeowner in a declaratory judgement lawsuit against Winnebago Home Owners Association and LW Holdings relating to the application of restrictions within a subdivision. The court ruled in favor of his client and motions to appeal by the defendants were dismissed. In addition, Kurtz is on the American Arbitration Association's panel of arbitrators and serves as sole arbitrator on consumer disputes involving a number of areas, such as vehicle dealers and service centers, financial services, telecommunications, educational institutions and retail sales.  John Witten focuses on medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits as well as commercial and insurance related disputes. As co-lead partner, Witten successfully defended a primary care physician in a wrongful death medical malpractice case. After filing a motion for partial summary judgment to narrow the claims against the client in trial, the plaintiff dismissed the doctor and added the hospital as a defendant prior to the court's summary judgment ruling. Witten assisted in a Section 1983 civil rights action, defending an off-duty police officer, which resulted in the court granting summary judgment in favor of the client.

              Patrick Edwards at Stinson’s Wichita office specializes in commercial, product liability, construction and labor and employment litigation. In particular, Edwards focuses on assisting a number of clients in the energy and manufacturing industries in complex collection disputes.  Furthermore, Edwards has a robust pro bono practice, notably assisting in the release of a wrongfully convicted inmate who served 17 years in prison.


Bodman partner Justin Bagdady focuses on complex commercial, intellectual property and securities litigation. Bagdady currently serves as lead counsel for Varuna Entertainment in an intellectual property dispute involving a popular television show on the Discovery Channel. Sarah Cylkowski concentrates  on antitrust, general commercial and insurance litigation. Cylkowski represents Michigan's largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, in a nationwide class action that challenges the structure of the Blue Cross Blue Shield system, alleging that the Blue Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association violated antitrust laws. The case has the potential to impact healthcare delivery and providers. Thomas Rheaume represents Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in a separate antitrust action against competitor Health Alliance Plan of Michigan, alleging that the client's contracts with various hospital providers were anticompetitive. In addition, the plaintiffs bring an unreasonable restraint of trade claim in violation of both the Sherman Act and the Michigan Antitrust Reform Act with damages reaching hundreds of millions of dollars. Nathan Dupes is a commercial litigator with a particular specialty in environmental litigation and chemical regulation.  In the environmental space, Dupes served as co-lead attorney for an intervening plaintiff, the City of Ann Arbor in a long-running 1,4-dioxane groundwater remediation case against Gelman Sciences. He defeated the opposing company's attempt to challenge the intervention in the Michigan Supreme Court.

              In Grand Rapids, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge's Charissa Huang focuses on a variety of complex commercial litigation, product liability, personal injury and labor and employment matters. Among her current matters, Huang represents the plaintiff in a wrongful death case that is also pending in District Court for the Western District of Michigan. This case involves product liability and negligence claims against American, Canadian and Japanese defendants from the robotics industry. In another matter, Huang represents an individual who was severely injured when an allegedly defective firework exploded. Huang also maintains an active pro bono practice, which has included handling immigration proceedings on behalf of individuals, prisoners pursuing civil rights through litigation and non-profit organizations. Making his debut on this year’s 40 and Under Hot List, Ryne Takacs concentrates  on defending hospitals, care homes, and other healthcare-related facilities. Takacs recently served as lead attorney representing a nursing facility in a case where the plaintiff claimed negligence of client as well as several other entities. After establishing invalidity of claims, Takacs was successful in having the client removed from the case.  


Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg partner Nick Callahan dedicates his practice to complex commercial and securities litigation. Callahan served as co-lead partner defending former employees of Sears against allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims. In addition, Callahan successfully defended a major American bank in several financial services-related litigation, including having an alleged fraud case dismissed.

Barry Landy of Minneapolis-based Ciresi Conlin dedicates his practice to complex commercial, class action, and employment matters. Landy currently represents the Office of the Governor of Minnesota challenging a state statute requiring unanimous approval by the Board of Pardons to issue a pardon as unconstitutional. In addition, Landy is part of the team representing the trustees of the Otto Bremer Trust in a removal proceeding initiated by the Minnesota Attorney General’s office.

              Robins Kaplan’s Patrick Arenz is an intellectual property litigator predominantly handling patent, trademark and copyright disputes, as well as trade secrets and other business-related issues. As co-lead partner, Arenz successfully handled a dispute on behalf of celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli against her former business partners ESquared Hospitality LLC and its restaurant group BC Hospitality Group LLC (BCHG). The lawsuit alleged a number of commercial and intellectual property claims, including copyright and trademark infringement. In addition to being awarded attorneys fees, Coscarelli was reinstated as 50% owner of in BCHG. Also focused on intellectual property litigation at the firm is Aaron Fahrenkrog. Among his current matters, Fahrenkrog is co-lead partner representing Corel Software against Microsoft in Federal District Court for the District of Utah. The client's lawsuit alleges that Microsoft willfully infringed based on its use of the Live Preview function in many Microsoft Office products.

              Based in Stinson’s Minneapolis office, Peter Schwingler focuses on antitrust litigation. Prior to joining Stinson, Schwingler spent four years in the U.S. Department of Justice - Antitrust Division, where he played key roles on the DOJ's trial teams in two of the largest litigated merger challenges in history. Schwingler continues to have a significant role in his private practice defending clients in a variety of antitrust lawsuits. Among his current clients, Schwingler represents a major pork producer as well as a high-profile chicken producer in two separate class-action lawsuits. 


In St. Louis, John Cooney of Brown & James focuses on commercial, product liability, and insurance litigation. Among his recent matters, Cooney defended an apartment complex in a lawsuit arising from an alleged dog attack, which resulted in a summary judgement ruling in the client's favor. Christopher Seibold in the firm’s Kansas City office handles insurance and personal injury litigation matters. Seibold recently represented a subcontractor in a suit filed by plaintiff alleging brain injury after he fell through an unprotected louver in the floor of a second-floor mechanical room during construction of the building.

              Based in Husch Blackwell’s Kansas City office, Derek Teeter frequently litigates on behalf of higher education clients, including both private and public colleges and universities, in a variety of disputes. Teeter was the lead lawyer in a Title IX civil rights case defending Iowa State University on appeal before the Eight Circuit. The appellate panel affirmed the lower court's summary judgment ruling in the client's favor.    

              Polsinelli's Robert Spake handles commercial litigation and class actions, specializing in disputes before the Delaware Court of Chancery. Among his notable matters, Spake served as one of the lead lawyers representing data software technology company Basho in litigation against a venture capital investor and its board designees. The Delaware Court of Chancery ruled in favor of the client, finding that the defendants committed serial breaches of fiduciary duty to secure majority control over and extract value from Basho, which caused the company to fail. The Vice Chancellor also awarded $20 million in damages to the client.  

In Kansas City, Christina Arnone of Stinson handles insurance disputes, especially issues related to business policyholder insurance coverage. Arnone was co-lead lawyer serving as insurance coverage counsel for the Unsecured Creditors' Committees, which collectively represents hundreds of survivors of clergy sexual abuse in the bankruptcy proceedings of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the Diocese of Duluth, and the Diocese of New Ulm. Arnone has obtained a number of multimillion-dollar settlements, totaling in at more than $31.5 million to resolve more than 120 claims of clergy sexual abuse.


David Bules at Calfee Halter & Griswold in Cincinnati focuses his practice on securities litigation. Bules represents RPM International in an ongoing case against the Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges violations of several provisions of the securities laws. The claims particularly focus on the RPM's application of accounting rule ASC 450 regarding the reporting of loss contingencies. The client and other defendants challenge the SEC's interpretation of ASC 450. A new addition to this year’s list is Jason Blake, who is based in the firm’s Columbus office. Blake’s litigation practice covers a host of industries including general commercial, construction, aviation, and insurance. Among his current matters, Blake is defending a client in a case brought by the Ohio Attorney General involving the manufacturing and distribution of opioids in the state.

              Thompson Hine has two emerging practitioners that debut on this year’s list. In Cincinnati, Megan Glowacki is a labor and employment litigator representing a variety of employers in cases involving discrimination, wrongful discharge, restrictive covenants, trade secrets, and wage disputes. Furthermore, Glowacki also assists clients in designing and implementing effective workplace practices and policies.  Another star at the firm is Conor McLaughlin, who specializes in product liability disputes. McLaughlin defends clients in a wide array of industries claims that involve product defect, sale or marketing.


At Husch Blackwell's Madison office, Marci Kawski dedicates her practice to representing clients in consumer finance litigation. Among her notable matters, Kawski defended the World Finance Corporation of Wisconsin against alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The plaintiff filed motions for summary judgment as to the liability on her claims against the defendants and Marine's first affirmative defense. However, the court ultimately dismissed the case as the co-defendants filed a joint defense, which was the winning brief. In addition, Kawski prevailed at the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a creditor's collective-action case that involved the borrower's counterclaim, which was dismissed by the trial court. The borrower alleged that violations of one section of the WCA also automatically results in a violation of the WCA debt collection statute. The result of Kawski's win at the Wisconsin Supreme Court has wide application to the state's creditor community.

July 21, 2021