January 05, 2024

Venable Promotes 20 Associates to Counsel

8 min

Washington, DC (January 5, 2024) – Venable LLP announced today that it has promoted 20 attorneys to counsel effective January 1, 2024. The new counsel, from Venable's Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC offices, represent a broad cross section of the firm's four divisions—Business, Government, Intellectual Property, and Litigation.

Stu Ingis, chairman of Venable, said, “This strong group of new counsel continue to progress in their careers by demonstrating a commitment to client service, upholding our values and culture, and contributing to the firm in many ways. We are extremely proud of their accomplishments to date and look forward to their continued growth and success.”

The following attorneys were promoted to counsel.


Meredith K. Boram – Ms. Boram focuses her product liability and mass torts practice on complex pharmaceutical litigation in state and federal courts. Meredith also has a broad range of experience handling commercial litigation matters, including contract disputes, premises liability actions, and contested regulatory matters.

Kelly E. Handzo – Ms. Handzo represents companies and executives facing regulatory and criminal investigations, prosecutions, and litigations. Kelly has experience handling all aspects of government enforcement actions, including complex legal analysis, factual development, and litigation strategy. She has represented clients under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and other federal and state regulators. Kelly also conducts internal corporate investigations in response to whistleblower complaints at the direction of general counsel, boards of directors, or management.

Susan R. Schipper – Ms. Schipper has experience representing energy-sector clients in high-stakes and complex regulatory matters, trials, and appeals. Susan has authored and assisted in authoring numerous appellate briefs and dispositive motions in state and federal courts. She also has significant experience representing clients before state regulatory commissions and securing successful resolutions in litigation and regulatory proceedings regarding offshore wind project development, Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) applications, rate cases, and large utility mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Los Angeles

Rebecca J. Lee – Ms. Lee focuses her practice on defending against sexual harassment, gender and disability, and discrimination claims, and on wage and hour issues. Rebecca counsels clients on employment issues, such as sick leave policies, termination decisions, accommodations, and meal and rest period policies. She has experience in wage-and-hour class actions, PAGA cases, single-plaintiff cases in California federal and state courts, and in arbitrations before JAMS and AAA.

New York

Abhijit Nagaraj – Mr. Nagaraj assists U.S. and multinational institutional investors, developers, nonprofits, government entities, and other organizations with complex commercial real estate transactions and development projects.

Arie Peled – Mr. Peled focuses his practice on insolvency-related litigation, other complex commercial disputes, and government enforcement actions. Arie has substantial experience in sovereign state litigation from his time working in the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s Foreign Litigation Department.

Leah A. Druckerman – Ms. Druckerman assists clients with the acquisition, use, sharing, and protection of valuable data. Leah's understanding of technology, particularly as it relates to data processing and privacy, enables her to work seamlessly with IT, compliance, marketing, and product teams to understand their needs, identify risks, and develop and implement creative solutions to the challenges posed by modern business initiatives and privacy regulations. She also counsels clients in diverse industries on compliance with privacy, data protection, advertising, and consumer protection laws, requirements, and self-regulatory regimes; U.S. and international statutes; and platform requirements.

J. Daniel Kang – Mr. Kang handles clients' complex patent litigation needs. Daniel's technical background in electrical, electronic, and software arts helps him understand and anticipate the specific interests of his clients, including computer software and hardware, streaming media, telecommunications, automotives, semiconductors, and medical devices. Daniel has unique experience handling domestic and international patent applications in a broad spectrum of technical fields. His extensive subject-matter knowledge, background as a registered patent attorney, and industry savvy inform his strategic and thoughtful approach to litigation in all stages.

Yeon Jae Ko – Mr. Ko’s practice focuses on the acquisition, protection, and commercialization of intellectual property, both domestically and internationally. Yeon Jae advises clients on patent and transactional matters in the areas of chemistry, biologics, small-molecule pharmaceuticals, biotechnology/medical devices, energy, and electronics/material science/physics. In addition, he has experience in IP due diligence associated with various mergers and acquisitions. He has a detailed technical understanding of various technologies, allowing him to counsel clients in a diverse range of industries.

Maria R. Sinatra – Ms. Sinatra focuses her practice on offensive and defensive Lanham Act and Copyright Act litigation in federal courts throughout the country. Maria has experience with disputes involving anti-counterfeiting actions, trademark and trade dress infringement actions, trademark dilution claims, false advertising issues, and copyright infringement litigation. She regularly advises clients on brand management issues, including how to secure, protect, and police trademark rights.

Sandy Schlesinger – Ms. Schlesinger handles a broad range of matters in the labor and employment space, including litigation, counseling, and internal investigations. Sandy represents clients in the education, hospitality, healthcare, and financial services industries, among others.

Washington, DC

Audrey Distler – Ms. Distler helps clients navigate a variety of domestic and cross-border transactions, such as mergers; stock and asset acquisitions and divestitures; investments and financing rounds; and joint ventures and other strategic alliances. Audrey practice spans many industries, including technology, consumer products and retail, life sciences and healthcare, entertainment and media, transportation, and financial services. She regularly drafts and negotiates key transactional and corporate governance documents. She also has experience structuring and setting up family offices and related investment vehicles.

Molly R. Merritts-Ricci – Ms. Merritts-Ricci counsels companies on a wide range of corporate law matters, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financing transactions, and general corporate governance. Molly has advised clients in complex transactions across an array of industries, including technology, healthcare, commercial equipment and automotive, cybersecurity, and food service. Her practice also includes assisting entrepreneurs with existing and new business ventures. She has extensive experience drafting and negotiating limited liability company agreements, stockholder agreements, buy-sell agreements, and other key business documents.

Neha Dhindsa – Ms. Dhindsa focuses primarily on international trade and customs, and maritime and transportation issues, including import and export controls, regulatory compliance, and international arbitration. Neha has represented clients before several regulatory authorities and courts, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), various federal and state courts, and the International Court of Arbitration.

David E. Owens – Mr. Owens advises clients on a wide range of issues related to government affairs, including compliance with all aspects of federal state and local campaign finance and election laws, lobbying registration and reporting, procurement lobbying, post-employment restrictions, "pay-to-play" compliance, gift and ethics rules, and related enforcement actions. David also counsels candidates and ballot measure committees on ballot access requirements and applicable registration and disclosure requirements.

Cristina I. Vessels – Ms. Vessels focuses her practice on matters related to nonprofit organizations. Cristina counsels public charities, trade and professional associations, and other nonprofits on a range of legal topics, from initial formation and tax-exemption applications to corporate governance and other transactional matters. She frequently advises her nonprofit clients on a variety of charitable solicitation and fundraising matters, including achieving state charitable solicitation registration, securing accreditation from charity rating organizations, structuring charitable raffles, drafting corporate sponsorship agreements, and collaborating with fundraising professionals to achieve her clients’ development objectives.

Elizabeth Gitlin – Ms. Gitlin provides counsel on matters related to intellectual property (IP) protection and patent strategy. Her patent prosecution experiences involve a variety of areas, including mechanical arts, electromechanical arts, and software integrated mechanical systems, spanning a wide array of industries that include aerospace, medical devices, consumer products, and autonomous navigation. Elizabeth provides litigation support, advises clients on protection of their IP assets, risks of third-party patents and related mitigation efforts, and strategic growth and development of their patent portfolios.

Paula E. Hopkins – Ms. Hopkins focuses on strategic management of trademark portfolios, including trademark enforcement, clearance, registration, and licensing. She represents clients before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She began her legal career as an associate in the IP department of a well-known law firm in New York City, primarily representing clients in the fashion industry. Prior to joining Venable, Paula worked as a solo practitioner advising small business owners and entrepreneurs in trademark matters, while also working on an advanced degree in English and comparative literature (M.A. and M.Phil. completed, Ph.D. pending).

David A. Levie – Mr. Levie is an experienced litigator, trial attorney, and business advisor who represents clients in a variety of industries, both in and outside of the courtroom. As a litigator, he represents clients in all types of civil litigation matters, including antitrust class actions and disputes related to employment issues, commercial real estate, breach of contract, construction claims and defects, and partnerships. David has extensive experience in all aspects of litigation, from initial case assessment through trial, in both state and federal courts. He is also adept at counseling on, drafting, and negotiating contracts for complex multi-million-dollar construction projects.

Justin B. Nemeroff – Mr. Nemeroff focuses on complex civil and commercial disputes in federal and state courts. Justin represents clients in a wide array of civil matters, including partnership and real estate disputes, construction defect cases, consumer class actions, breach of contract claims, and tort causes of action. Justin has handled numerous cases involving high-profile matters and novel legal issues.


Venable LLP is an American Lawyer Global 100 law firm headquartered in Washington, DC that serves as primary counsel to a worldwide clientele of large and mid-sized organizations, nonprofits, high-net-worth entrepreneurs, and other individuals. With more than 900 professionals across the country, including in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Virginia, and Washington, DC, the firm strategically advances its clients' objectives in the United States and around the globe. Venable advises clients on a broad range of business and regulatory law, legislative affairs, complex litigation, and the full range of intellectual property disciplines. For more information, please visit https://www.Venable.com/.