TNS Panel Detail

A career in law extends beyond the drama-ridden courtroom that we see in crime shows. This industry is your way to see all the colors of the legal rainbow and discover the various ways and fields in which one can begin a legal career. This industry will feature alumni who have had varying experiences in diverse practice areas and sectors, including representatives from private law firms, federal government, in house corporate legal departments, and nonprofit organizations. Whether you are curious about the steps involved in entering the legal field or about the different paths that a legal career can take, this industry is a great way to answer your questions and meet inspiring people.

Roundtable Participants

Lisa Agase, AB'02, JD 2006 (Vanderbilt University Law School)

Asisistant General Counsel, Exelon Corporation

Ms. Agase graduated from the College in 2002 with a degree in Law, Letters and Society. While in College, she was involved in Student Government, worked as a Gallery Assistant at The Renaissance Society, and spent her junior year abroad at the University of Bristol. After graduating from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2006, she joined Sidley Austin LLP as an employee benefits associate. In 2013, she joined the legal department of Exelon Corporation, an energy company, as Assistant General Counsel, Compensation & Benefits. Her work focuses on a variety of employee benefits and executive compensation issues, including the design and administration of qualified and nonqualified plans, equity-based and other incentive compensation plans, severance and retention plans, health and welfare benefit plans and cafeteria plans. She also counsels internal clients on executive compensation issues and employee benefits issues arising in connection with mergers, acquisitions and financings.

Mina Amir-Mokri, AB'89, J.D. and M.S.

Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Ms. Amir-Mokri graduated from the College in 1989 with a degree in history. While in the College, she was involved in University Theater. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, she worked as an Auditor at the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1999, she entered private law practice at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP. She is currently a Partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP and focuses her practice on employee benefits and executive compensation.

Rachel Barner, AB'92

General Counsel - CS, Risk Enterprise, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc.

Ms. Barner graduated from the College in 1992 with a degree in anthropology. While attending the College, she was a member of the swimming and diving teams. After graduation, she worked as a change management consultant for a number of years before attending law school. She joined the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw where she practiced employment and labor law. In 2006, she made the move to an in-house position with the global real estate company of Jones Lang LaSalle. She currently acts as their General Counsel for their global Corporate Solutions business line. She is married and lives in Chicago with her husband and son, and continues to be an active member of the University community. In her limited free time, she enjoys competitive sailboat racing, triathlons and teaching her six year old son flip turns.

William Baumgartner, AB'76, J.D.'79 (Harvard Law School)

Partner, Sidley Austin LLP

Mr. Baumgartner graduated from the College in 1976 with a degree in economics. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1979, he returned to Chicago to join a law firm, Sidley Austin LLP. He became a partner there in 1986. His work focuses on antitrust and patent infringement litigation. He is married and lives in Chicago. When not practicing law, he is an avid fly fisherman and beekeeper.

Celiza Braganca, AB'84, JD/MBA 1992 UChicago

Trial Attorney, Stoltmann Law Offices

Ms. Bragança is a trial attorney who recovers investment losses caused by brokers, investment advisors, and insurance companies. She has been a litigator at Jenner & Block and an enforcement attorney at the Securities & Exchange Commission. While Ms. Bragança concentrates her current practice in representing investors in FINRA arbitrations and court proceedings, she has defended many directors and officers in SEC investigations, class actions, and related matters. Prior to attending law and business school, Ms. Bragança was a consultant with the division of Arthur Andersen & Company that later became Accenture. She serves as an instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) courses for legal aid attorneys. She is active in political campaigns and organizations advocating for social justice. During college, Ms. Bragança played in the orchestra, sang in the chorus, and was too often at Regenstein Library until closing time.

Jerry Brown, AB'87, J.D. (University of Minnesota)

Attorney, Siegel & Callahan, P.C.

Mr. Brown graduated from the College in 1987 with a degree in sociology. While attending the College, Mr. Brown played viola in the University Orchestra. After graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1992, Mr. Brown began his legal practice in commercial litigation. Mr. Brown currently does property tax appeals at Siegel & Callahan, P.C., and teaches as an adjunct at the John Marshall Law School. He is also a pro-bono volunteer attorney for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. Mr. Brown is married with two children and lives in Chicago. He currently plays viola with the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Mr. Brown is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness. He also serves on the boards of the Cook County Bar Association and the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest.

Chastidy Burns, AB'08, JD' (DePaul)

Assistant Public Defender, Law Offices of the Cook County Public Defender

Chastidy Burns has been an assistant public defender in the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender since July of 2013. Prior to joining the office, she was an associate attorney for the Shiller Preyar Law Offices where she practiced criminal defense and civil rights litigation. She graduated with a degree in political science from the University of Chicago in 2008, and she received her Juris Doctorate with a certificate in Public Interest Law from the DePaul University College of Law in 2012. Ms. Burns is the Parliamentarian of the Black Women Lawyers Association (BWLA), as well as the Vice-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Criminal Law Committee, a member President of the Just the Beginning - A Pipeline Organization Associate Board, and Secretary of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Chicago Board of Directors.

Beth Fulkerson, AB'87, JD'96 (Michigan)

Principal, Zing Legal

Ms. Fulkerson graduated from the College in 1987 with a degree in political science. During her time at UChicago, she played on the tennis team, was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and took naps at the Reg. She began her legal career as a litigator at Goldberg Kohn here in Chicago. After in-house counsel and CPO roles at Tribune Company and Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ms. Fulkerson formed a virtual law firm with a colleague in the Silicon Valley. Her practice is focused on soft IP (copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets), advertising, data security and privacy. Ms. Fulkerson has taught advertising law and IP writing as an adjunct professor at John Marshall Law School. She lives in Wilmette with her husband (another alum) and two children, and continues to ride her bicycle on the lakefront route between Hyde Park and No Man's Land Pizza in Wilmette.

Amanda Gomez, AB'07, JD'10

Assistant General Counsel, Exelon Corporation

Ms. Gomez is an Assistant General Counsel at Exelon Corporation, where she is responsible for providing real estate legal advice to one of the largest utilities in Illinois serving over 3.8 million customers, that also happens to be one of the largest landowners in Illinois. She is responsible for advising with respect to land acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, easements and any other real estate-related matters. Ms. Gomez also supports various real estate needs for the Wind, Solar and Nuclear Exelon entities. Prior to joining Exelon, Ms. Gomez was a real estate associate at Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP and Goldberg Kohn Ltd. She received her AB from the University, her J.D. from the Law School and she will pursue an MBA from the University of Illinois in 2017. Ms. Gomez enjoys participating in mentorship programs as well as pro bono and volunteer projects.

Steven Goodman, AB'82, JD'87, George Washington University Law School

Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Hitachi Consulting

Mr. Goodman graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in political science and joined Andersen's consulting practice in their Chicago office. After two years with Andersen, he attended law school at George Washington University. Following graduation he practiced communications law with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington and became a litigation partner with Greenberg Traurig in Miami. He then became in-house senior counsel to Grant Thornton LLP in Chicago, and when Grant Thornton sold its IT consulting practice to Hitachi, Mr. Goodman became general counsel of Hitachi Consulting.

Yesha Hoeppner, AB'07, J.D.'10 University of Wisconsin Law School

Attorney, SmithAmundsen LLC

Ms. Hoeppner graduated from the College in 2007 with a degree in near eastern languages and civilizations and political science. While in the College, she was a member of the all-female a cappella group Men in Drag and was the Managing Editor of the Midway Review. While attending the University of Wisconsin Law School, Ms. Hoeppner worked as a student attorney for the Wisconsin Innocence Project. After graduating from UW Law School in 2010, Ms. Hoeppner started working at SmithAmundsen LLC in Chicago where she is currently an associate attorney. Her litigation practice focuses on defending clients in class actions in jurisdictions all around the country at the trial and appellate levels. Ms. Hoeppner is married and is expecting her first child in March.

Jawayria Kalimullah, AB'10, JD Chicago-Kent College of Law'13

Associate Attorney, Moran Law Group

Ms. Kalimullah graduated from the College in 2010 with a degree in political science. While in College, she was involved in her house council, Inter-House Council, FOTA, and Rhythmic Bodies in Motion. She then attended the Chicago-Kent College of Law and received her J.D. in 2013. While she has experience in a variety of litigation, currently her practice focuses on employment, criminal, contract, and appellate litigation. She has tried various matters and most recently co-chaired a jury trial in the Northern District of Illinois. Ms. Kalimullah remains an active member of the UChicago community by volunteering and serving on the Alumni Schools Committee.

Renato Mariotti, AB'98, JD (Yale)

Partner, Thompson Coburn LLP

Mr. Mariotti graduated from the College in 1998 with a degree in political science. While at the College, he was editor-in-chief of The Chicago Maroon and organized The Challenge of Modern Democracy conference. After graduating from the Yale Law School, he clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He then spent five years working for a large international law firm before joining the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois in 2007. As a federal prosecutor, he charged, tried, cross-examined, and convicted a high-frequency trader in the first prosecution under the anti-spoofing provision of the Dodd-Frank Act. He has prosecuted a wide range of cases, including securities fraud, commodities fraud, health care fraud, and child exploitation. He is now a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP, representing clients in high-stakes litigation and enforcement matters.

David Navarro, AB'90, JD'93 University of Iowa

Assistant Attorney General , Illinois Attorney General

Mr. Navarro graduated from the College in 1990, with a major in English. He is currently an Assistant Attorney General at the Illinois Attorney General's Office where he serves as Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant State's Attorney with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office for over 15 years. While there, he served as Supervisor of the Professional Standards Unit, which investigated allegations of police corruption along with allegations of excessive force and all officer involved shootings in Cook County. He has worked on many corruption investigations and in 2007 was appointed as a special assistant U.S. attorney to work on an investigation involving the Chicago Police Department Special Operations Section. He is an adjunct faculty member of the John Marshall Law School and is a graduate of the University of Iowa-College of Law.

Abimbola Oladokun, AB'10

Attorney, Katten Muchin Rosenman

Ms. Oladokun graduated from the College in 2010 with a degree in political science. While in the College, she was involved in OBS, UCIC and Office of Minority Student Affairs. After graduating, she joined Teach for America and served as a middle school teacher in Miami, Florida. She matriculated to Northwestern Law where she graduated in 2015. She now works at Katten Muchin Rosenman as a litigation associate where her work focuses on complex commercial litigation, specifically class action and antitrust cases. She lives in Chicago and continues to be an active member of the best college in the country.

Karla Sanchez, AB'06, JD'10

Labor & Employment Attorney, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Ms. Sanchez graduated from the College in 2006 with a degree in international studies and political science. While in College, she was involved with Women & Youth Supporting Each Other(WYSE) and joined the Delta Gamma Fraternity. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin in 2010, Ms. Sanchez worked for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Denver, Colorado. Following a year with the NLRB, Ms. Sanchez worked for three years with the firm of Sherman & Howard LLC in Denver. Ms. Sanchez currently practices labor and employment law with Seyfarth Shaw LLC in Chicago, IL. Ms. Sanchez continues to be an active member of the University Community. Ms. Sanchez serves on the Associate Board of Chicago Scholars and on the Professionals' Council for the Shriver Center.

Alexandra Spartz, AB'12, JD'16 Vanderbilt

Attorney, Cabrini Green Legal Aid

Ms. Spartz graduated from the College in 2012 with a degree in English. During her time at UChicago, Ms. Spartz played violin in the University Symphony Orchestra and was a proud member of Maclean House. After graduating from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2015, she moved back to Chicago and began working at Cabrini Green Legal Aid. At CGLA, Ms. Spartz provides civil legal representation to individuals facing challenges stemming from negative encounters with the criminal justice system. Ms. Spartz remains an active member of the University community by interviewing prospective College students and faithfully attending Alumni Weekend every year.

Valerie Valenzo, AB'03, JD 09' Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Legal Counsel, Northern Trust

Ms. Valenzo graduated from the College in 2003 with a degree in political science. After graduating from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in 2009, she joined the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as an Associate in the Corporate group. In 2013, she joined the in-house legal department at The Northern Trust Company, where she currently works as a Legal Counsel with a practice focused on global custody and securities lending. She lives in Chicago and serves on the Justice Council of Northwestern's Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Emily Werth, AB'06, JD'11 (Harvard Law School)

Staff Attorney, ACLU of Illinois

Ms. Werth graduated from the College in 2006 with a degree in sociology. While at UChicago, she was involved with Breaking Barriers and was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2011. Since law school, she has done legal and policy advocacy on racial and gender justice issues at a number of non-profit organizations. She is currently a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois focusing on reproductive rights.