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TNJ Top Attorneys

Annually, The Network Journal recognizes the top African and/or African-American attorneys in New York's top law firms.  The Network Journal is a monthly print and online business magazine for Black professionals and business owners. TNJ was founded in 1993, and is dedicated to educating and empowering its readers by.  Below are the bios of those who has been recognized.  Click here to read story.

Beatrice Hamza Bassey, Esq.
Hughes Hubbard LLP

Beatrice Hamza Bassey is a litigation partner in the New York office of Hughes Hubbard where her practice focuses on complex litigation and Ethics and Compliance counseling.  She has litigated many newsworthy and notable cases on behalf of clients in state and federal courts.  Her expertise also includes counseling clients on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), conducting training programs, internal investigations and due diligence, as well as assisting clients with development of compliance programs in connection with their businesses in the US and in countries all over the world.

Claudius Sokenu, Esq.
Arnold & Porter LLP

Claudius Sokenu is a partner in Arnold & Porter LLP's securities enforcement and litigation, white collar defense, congressional investigations, and commercial litigation practice groups where he maintains a global practice representing multinational corporations, hedge funds, private equity firms, broker-dealers, investment banks, accounting firms, auditors, and public and private companies and their employees in all aspects of securities litigation, securities enforcement, white collar criminal defense, crisis management, corporate and congressional investigations, related derivative actions, FINRA enforcement proceedings, and complex commercial litigation. Mr. Sokenu has extensive experience in handling high-profile matters that require concurrent representation in the civil, criminal, and political spheres.

 Inosi Nyatta, Esq.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Inosi Nyatta is a partner in Sullivan & Cromwell's Corporate and Finance Group. She advises clients on a broad range of financing transactions, including project financings, capital markets offerings and cross-border and multijurisdictional corporate and structured financings.

Ms. Nyatta has acted for a cross-section of financial institution, sponsor and corporate clients in financial, oil and gas, mining, infrastructure, power, consumer and other sectors in the United States, Europe, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. She also has experience in a range of corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, joint venture arrangements and project development arrangements. Her securities offering experience includes debt and equity offerings under Rule 144A and Regulation S, exchange offers and project bonds.


Rudyard F. Whyte, Esq.
The Cochran Firm

Born in London, England, Rudyard F. Whyte is an attorney with The Cochran Firm’s New York City office and directs the firm’s Immigration Department. His practice focuses on civil litigation with a concentration in the areas of personal injury and immigration and naturalization.

Rudyard received his undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. After obtaining his law degree from the Georgetown University, Rudyard began his legal career in 1984 as New York City Corporation Counsel.

Rudyard has tried on behalf of his clients numerous personal injury cases in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. In 2004, he obtained on behalf of his clients the two highest verdicts in New York State for slip and fall cases. Each verdict was in excess of $1.5 million. Rudyard wrote Damages in Lead Paint Cases; Practicing Law Institute, 1996 and has lectured on Municipal and Transit Liability in 2000 and 2001 for the New York State Trial Lawyers Institute.

  Eric R. I. Cottle, Esq.
  K&L Gates LLP





Mr. Cottle is resident in the New York office of K&L Gates LLP and is engaged in a general litigation and trial practice in federal and state courts as well as before various administrative agencies.  He has broad experience in all aspects of discovery, mediations, settlement negotiations and trial.  Mr. Cottle's principal areas of practice involve toxic and environmental tort claims arising from exposures to hazards from products or premises.


A member of the firm's Toxic Tort and Product Liability practices, Mr. Cottle serves as both national and local trial counsel for clients facing mass tort claims that are pending in jurisdictions across the United States.  Mr. Cottle oversees the management of toxic tort litigation and the conduct of trials in underlying cases.  As trial counsel, he has represented clients in litigation matters pending in a number of jurisdictions, including, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and Virginia.

These Two African-American Female Lawyers Have Been Named As
"Women Worth Watching"

Click here to see entire list

Regina Bost

Regina Speed-Bost, Esq.


Schiff Hardin, LLP

Click to view full story

 Nikki Lewis Simon

Nikki Lewis Simon, Esq.
Greenberg Traurig LLP

Click to view full story

Regina Y. Speed-Bost concentrates in energy administrative and regulatory law. She advises natural gas companies, local distribution companies, energy marketers and electric utilities on matters related to:


  • Compliance with FERC rules, regulations and governing statutes
  • Standards of conduct compliance
  • The interpretation of FERC's Enforcement Authority
  • Negotiations and investigations pursuant to FERC's Enforcement Authority
  • The operation of regional transmission organizations
  • Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) operations
  • The interplay of federal wholesale regulation and state and local retail regulations
  • Retail gas electric and gas competition


Ms. Speed-Bost is also a member of Schiff Hardin's Diversity Committee.

In My Own Words

Schiff Hardin

Click image to view video

Nikki Lewis Simon, a litigation attorney with international law firm Greenberg Traurig, has been chosen among an exclusive list of 10 Women Worth Watching by the Profiles in Diversity Journal. According to the Journal, these honorees, who were nominated by their colleagues, peers, and mentors for their demonstrated initiative and performance, are women of tenacity and drive who represent diversity within their respective spheres of influence. The 10th Annual Women Worth Watching issue, which was released on September 15, showcases Simon’s accomplishments as well as features an inspiring message written by the honoree in which she shares four key principles for success.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized for the achievements I have earned throughout my career,” said Simon on being chosen for the Diversity Journal’s distinction. “I am an avid supporter of the efforts to diversify the cultural landscape of the legal marketplace, and am proud to represent women in the legal profession.”

Simon concentrates her practice on Labor and Employment. She advances her cross-industry clients’ business objectives by protecting their capital, whether human, intellectual or investment, against labor and employment law claims, including claims for race, sex, age and gender discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation, and in employment-related matters, including the negotiation and defense of employment, non-complete and non-solicitation agreements. In addition to her litigation work, Simon serves on the Boards of Directors of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Miami-Dade County and the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association, and recently completed her tenure on the Board of Trustees for Mercy Hospital and the Fountain of New Life, Inc. Moreover, she is the Co-Career Development Liaison for the Associate Development program in Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office, and serves on the Steering Committee of the 2012 GT Women’s Business Forum.

Schiff Hardin Partner Tracy A. Campbell Named a "40 Under Forty" Attorney to Watch by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer Magazine

Schiff Hardin LLP is proud to announce that Tracy A. Campbell, a partner in the firm's General Litigation Group, has been named one of the "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty" to watch by Chicago Lawyer magazine and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

"We could not be more proud of Tracy," said Ronald S. Safer, Managing Partner of Schiff Hardin. "She leads in every way imaginable. Clients rely on her to solve their most complex insurance coverage issues. Tracy mentors young associates. She is the current president of an organization near and dear to Schiff Hardin's heart: The Black Women Lawyers' Association. She has accomplished so much in such a short time."

The annual "40 Under Forty" publication is printed as a supplement to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer magazine by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company. Individuals featured in "40 Under Forty" are recognized by their peers as the most talented and successful young lawyers in Illinois. Ms. Campbell, who is featured as "a powerful litigator and a renowned humanitarian," earned this honor through her career achievements, professional regard and community contributions.

Earlier this year, Ms. Campbell was also named an "Illinois Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers in the Insurance Coverage category.

About Tracy A. Campbell

Ms. Campbell concentrates her practice in insurance-related litigation and counseling. She has significant experience representing corporations in connection with a variety of insurance coverage disputes and coverage claims. She regularly consults with corporate policyholders on risk management issues, the periodic review of insurance programs, and insurance due diligence for corporate transactions.

Ms. Campbell is a member of Schiff Hardin's Diversity Committee and serves as President of the Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law and Yale University.

Maurice Watson Named Chairman of Husch Blackwell LLP


Marice Watson, Esq.
Husch Blackwell LLP

Maurice Watson of the Kansas City law firm of Husch Blackwell was recently named its new Chairman of the firm, effective April 1, 2012. This is a landmark achievement for Attorney Watson who is a member of the firm's Executive Board.  Attorney Watson, principally serves as legal counsel to public school districts, private schools and national education associations. He has successfully represented schools in discrimination suits in federal and state courts and successfully defended school districts in Title IX cases. Attorney Watson is a frequent speaker at national and state meetings on the legal rights of students and employees in schools as well as the school board's role in teacher terminations.  He represents the interests of children’s hospitals in Washington, D.C., on legislative matters and also has successfully defended employers in employee retaliation cases.

Prior to his law practice, Maurice served as senior aide to U.S. Sen. John Danforth in Washington, D.C. In 2007, Attorney Watson received the Missouri Hospital Association Excellence in Governance Award.


Kirkland & Ellis partner Michael Jones graduated from Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans. So when the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law asked him to handle a $2 billion lawsuit against the state of Maryland on behalf of its historically black colleges and universities, he couldn’t resist.  The first-of-its-kind case, brought on behalf of students and alumni of four historically black institutions, asserts that Maryland failed to comply with a 2000 agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to provide adequate funding to the colleges and universities.

“I know that other institutions in other states are watching the case to see how it’s going to be resolved,” said Jones, who sits on the Lawyers’ Committee’s board. “It has large implications.” A bench trial is scheduled for July 11.

Jones also represented 70 protesters who were arrested on the night of President Bush’s inauguration in 2005 in Washington’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. In February, Jones reached a settlement with the District of Columbia that expunged the protesters’ arrest records; each received about $2,000 as part of a resolution of the claims that they were unlawfully arrested. Most recently, Jones filed a defamation suit on behalf of Shirley Sherrod, the former Georgia director for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who was forced to resign after blogger Andrew Breitbart posted on his Web site an edited version of a speech she gave to a civil rights group that suggested she was discriminating against white farmers. Sherrod, an African-American, later was offered another position at the department. —Amanda Bronstad

History Makers - America's First Generation Of Minority Managing Partners Setting Precedent

Featured in the May/June edition of Diversity & The Bar are the countries first generation of managing partners at AmLaw 200 law firms. These history makers have lade the path for others to model.  While  America has focused on minoirty athletes and celebrities for the last decade as the voice of minority communities, these lawyers have made their voice known in the courts, on commissions, boards and community organizations.   Read their brief professional profiles to see how these super stars rose through the ranks and have redefined the standard for law firm leadership.

Grace E. Speights, Esq.
Managing Partner (D.C. Office)
Morgan Lewis LLP

Grace E. Speights is a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Practice, Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office, chair of the Complex Employment Litigation Practice, and co-chair of the firm's Diversity Committee. Ms. Speights focuses her practice on counseling and defending clients in connection with employment discrimination claims, primarily those involving class claims, and on counseling clients regarding best practices for corporate diversity initiatives. Ms. Speights has handled many employment discrimination class action cases. She also has defended several cases involving claims of discrimination in public accommodations.

Anthony T. Pierce, Esq.
Managing Partner (D.C. Office)
Akin Gump

Anthony T. Pierce is a litigator who has handled a variety of complex disputes in state and federal courts, including commercial litigation, trade secrets, trademark, copyright, counterfeiting and piracy, software licensing and employment matters. He is the partner in charge of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.

Mr. Pierce’s litigation and trial experience covers a diverse group of industries, including technology and telecommunications, health care, energy, entertainment and media, financial services and government contracting. He has handled several cases ranging from Internet liability and breach of contract to employee classification and executive compensation. Mr. Pierce’s jury trial work includes—

  • $26 million trial involving breach of contract and trade secrets
  • $20 million trial involving tortious interference, breach of contract and racial discrimination
  • $15 million action involving breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty

 William F. Lee, Esq.
Co-Managing Partner

Bill Lee is a co-managing partner of the firm, and a member of the firm's Management Committee. He was managing partner of Hale and Dorr from 2000 to 2004 and chaired the firm's Litigation Department for four years. Mr. Lee joined the firm in 1976. Practice. Mr. Lee continues to concentrate his practice primarily on intellectual property and commercial litigation. His trial and appellate experience is extensive. Mr. Lee has acted as lead trial counsel in several cases between Broadcom and Qualcomm; a trial concerning a genetically engineered tomato product; a trial involving the right to manufacture and sell recombinant erythropoietin; a trial before the International Trade Commission involving $3 billion of commerce; and trials in federal court involving laser optics, video compression, cellular communications, remote data storage, secure Internet communications, pharmaceutical products, high-speed chromatography and medical devices. Mr. Lee has tried more than 50 patent cases, both jury and jury waived, to judgment and argued more than 30 appeals before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Ben Wilson, Esq.
Managing Principal
Beveridge & Diamond LLP

Benjamin F. Wilson is the Managing Principal of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. He has been a past member of the Firm’s Management Committee and past Chairman of the Litigation Practice Group. His present litigation practice encompasses a wide range of activities in both state and federal courts, including commercial litigation matters, and environmental litigation matters.

He has been lead counsel in several complex environmental litigation matters for major corporations and developers, having served as lead counsel at the largest chromium site in the United States. Mr. Wilson is highly sought after by his clients, due in large part to the remarkable success he has enjoyed in a wide range of environmental litigation and regulatory matters on behalf of a major retailer, oil companies and communications companies.


John W. Daniels, Jr., Esq.
Quarles & Brady LLP

John Daniels has been the chairman of Quarles & Brady LLP since 2007. In his position, he has led the Firm through a fundamental transformation, shifting from the traditional operational model upon which most major law firms are built to a client-centric, business-minded organization. Mr. Daniels has driven this fundamental cultural shift in the midst of the worst economy in decades, leading to significant growth while most of the legal industry has declined.

Mr. Daniels is well recognized in the legal community as well as the business community. He was named by the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s fifty (50) most influential diverse attorneys in America. He is listed in The Business Journal of Milwaukee “Power Book” (2009 & 2010), was named 2009 “Lawyer of the Year” by the Milwaukee Bar Association, received the 2008 “Leadership Award” from the National Bar Association, and was identified as one of the “100 Managing Partners You Need to Know” by Lawdragon in 2008. Finally, Mr. Daniels is fully credentialed in legal literature, having been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (1993-present: Real Estate Law), Chambers USA® (2003-present: Real Estate) and the 2005-2011 Wisconsin Super Lawyers® lists (Real Estate). He is also Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated.

Safeway's Valerie D. Lewis Named a Top Woman in Retail and Finance by Women of Color Magazine

Safeway Inc. has recenly announced that Assistant Vice President of Legal, Valerie D. Lewis, was named to the prestigious Top Women in Retail and Finance list by Women of Color magazine.

Ms. Lewis is one of a handful of women professionals chosen by the magazine, a business and technology publication geared for women of diverse ethnic backgrounds, to honor and highlight in its upcoming Spring issue. In a press release announcing the list, Women of Color said the Top Women in Retail & Finance honorees were chosen "based on a range of qualitative and quantitative information, strong commitment to their communities, leadership as role models for young and upcoming leaders, and senior status within their organizations." Click here to read more.

Arianne Callender Joins the FDA & Healthcare Practice of Morgan Lewis
Arianne Callender has joined the FDA & Healthcare practice of Morgan Lewis in Washington, DC. She will focus on fraud and abuse, and compliance, advising for health care companies.

Arianne Callender, Esq.

The Honorable Cheryl M. Long (RET.) Embarks on Mediation/Arbitration Career

The Honorable Cheryl M. Long (RET.), a respected judge of the Superior Court between 1987 until 2009, is now available to assist your clients in resolving matters through mediation and arbitration. Click to view a copy of Judge Long’s bio. She may be contacted at

Hon. Cheryl  M. Long (Ret.)

Maurice Bellan has joined the McGuireWoods law firm as a partner in Washington, D.C.

A former trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division and criminal investigator for the Federal Public Defender, Bellan brings seasoned experience litigating civil and criminal cases. He has provided litigation counsel in various business matters involving fraud, qui tam and false claim actions, petroleum marketing, international trade and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Bellan has also been a trusted advisor and conducted internal investigations on behalf of clients operating under the scrutiny of government and regulatory inquiries involving the Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, and the Department of Defense.
Bellan has served as lead trial counsel in federal, state and administrative courts. He represents clients nationally and internationally in the petroleum, consumer goods, waste/recycling and government contracting industries.

Maurice Bellan, Esq.
McGuireWoods LLP

Sulee Clay Joins PCT Law Group in Washington

Sulee Clay, a highly sought after corporate attorney has joined the PCT Law Group in Washington where she anticipates continuing her active practice in Corporate and Financial Transactions.

Sulee Clay, Esq.
PCT Law Group

Woman Lawyer of the Year

Sherri Blount, partner in the law firm of Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery LLP, and Debra Lee, President and CEO of Black Entertainment Television, have been named the co-recipients of the Woman Lawyer of the year Award by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Recent winners include Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, , and NAACP General Counsel, Kim Keenan.  The awards dinner will be held on May 26, 2011 at the elegant National Building Museum located at 401 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC.


Sherri Blount
Sherri N. Blount, Esq.
Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery LLP


Sherri N. Blount is a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C., office. Ms. Blount's practice focuses on Intellectual Property, Entertainment and Media issues. She handles all aspects of trademark law including prosecution and litigation, complex licensing, branding, trade secret, and unfair competition matters. Ms. Blount also advises clients in connection with copyright law, including protection and infringement issues, fair use analysis, work-for-hire arrangements, licensing agreements, and digital rights management issues. She routinely handles entertainment and media matters including television and radio production deals, program acquisitions, rights clearances, syndication, FCC content review, and other entertainment and media issues.  In the Internet and e-commerce area, Ms. Blount advises clients on new media and content licensing, domain name disputes including anti-cybersquatting, ownership transfers, policing, and administrative actions under the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy and the Lanham Act.  In the entertainment arena, Ms. Blount represents media clients, including national cable networks, television and radio broadcast networks, television and video producers, website operators, new media entrepreneurs, music publishers, recording artists, and authors. 

Ms. Blount is a frequent speaker on entertainment, intellectual property law, and other legal issues at presentations sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, the American Bar Association, and the National Bar Association.

Ms. Blount's professional achievements were recognized when she was named the Top Intellectual Property Lawyer in Washington, D.C., by the Washington Business Journal in 2007, and was named one of Washington's top intellectual property lawyers by Washingtonian magazine in 2006 and in 2008.

Debra L. Lee
Chairman and CEO
BET Holdings and Black Entertainment Television

As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Holdings, Inc., the parent company for Black Entertainment Television, Lee has led the stations programing move in a different format direction and has increased the production budget by 50% and has begun incorporating original programming by getting 16 new shows since the 2007 season.  Lee graduated from Brown University in 1976 with a bachelor's degree in political science with an emphasis in Asian politics. She went on to earn a Master's degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree at Harvard Law School, where she was a member of the Board of Student Advisers, in 1980.

Early in her career, from 1980 to 1981, Lee served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Barrington Parker of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Lee joined BET as Vice President of BET's legal affairs department and general counsel in 1986 after over five years as an attorney with Washington, D.C. based Steptoe & Johnson, a corporate law firm. She has also served as BET's corporate secretary and president and publisher of BET's publishing division, which publishes Emerge BET Weekend and Heart & Soul magazines.  Lee has sat on the board of directors for a number of companies/organizations, including the National Cable & Telecommunications Association the Ad Council, and the National Cable Television Association.

National Bar Association Commercial Law Section 2011 Outside Counsel Of the Year Award


Claudius O. Sokenu, Esq.
Arnold & Porter LLP

Claudius Sokenu, partner in the law firm of Arnold & Porter, received the prestigious Outstanding Outside Counsel Award for 2011 from the National Bar Association’s Commercial Law Section.  Attorney practices in the securities enforcement and litigation, white collar defense, congressional investigations, and commercial litigation practice groups of Arnold & Porter where he maintains a global practice representing multinational corporations, hedge funds, private equity firms, broker-dealers, investment banks, accounting firms, auditors, and public and private companies and their employees in all aspects of securities litigation, securities enforcement, white collar criminal defense, crisis management, corporate and congressional investigations, related derivative actions, FINRA enforcement proceedings, and complex commercial litigation. Mr. Sokenu has extensive experience in handling high-profile matters that require concurrent representation in the civil, criminal, and political spheres.

In addition, Mr. Sokenu regularly represents domestic and multinational entities and their employees in all aspects of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) self-reported and government initiated investigations, compliance and enforcement matters before the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office, the Munich Prosecutor's Office, and other civil and criminal authorities in the United States and in other countries. He has represented boards of directors, audit committees, senior management and employees of multinational companies in FCPA investigations in dozens of countries, including, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, France, United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, Malaysia, Japan, Denmark, Norway, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

Karl Racine Named Minority Business Leader by the Washington Business Journal
Karl Racine, the Managing Partner of Venable, was honored at the recent Washington Business Journal Business Leader Awards Program last week. Karl’s remarkable rise at Venable and his unstinting commitment to the people of Haiti are just two of the reasons he was recognized. LaFonte Nesbitt of Holland & Knight was the host of the event. We wanted to share with you a insightful interview of Karl which appeared in the recent addition of the Journal. Click to read more.

Karl Racine,Esq.
Managing Partner
Venable LLP

LaTanya Langley Named Woman of the Year
Our friend, LaTanya Langley, Director & Senior Counsel of Diageo, was honored by the State of Connecticut’s African American Affairs Commission as the Woman of the Year. LaTanya was recognized for her accomplishments at Diageo and her commitment to her community. Click here to learn more.

LaTanya Langley, Esq.
Director & Senior Counsel

American Bar Association/2011 Thurgood Marshall Award
Ron Jessamy informs us that The American Bar Association is awarding its 2011 Thurgood Marshall Award to Washington Bar Association’s 2010 Hall of Fame Inductee Elaine R. Jones.  The award will be presented at a dinner on August 6, 2011, during the ABA annual meeting in Toronto, Canada.  Ms. Jones is also the recipient of the Washington Bar Association’s 1994 Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit. Click here to learn more.

Elaine R. Jones, Esq.