WSHB encourages and cultivates multiple degrees of advancement within the firm partnership. We are thrilled to announce our newest class of partners who have been promoted to the next level within our partnership: Defined Equity Partnership.
"Promotion to Defined Equity Partnership is a recognition of consistent, outstanding contribution to WSHB’s success. This is an incredibly talented group of high-caliber lawyers and we are extremely proud to promote them within the partnership," stated Dan Berman, WSHB Firm Chairman and Founding Partner.
The Defined Equity Partner Class of 2023 includes twenty-one outstanding attorneys: Lori Barker (New Orleans), Carlo Coppola (Los Angeles), Catherine Deter (Orange County), Steven Disharoon (Sonoma County), Sheila Fix (Glendale), Rebecca Gabroy (Orange County), Cathy Giannetta (New York), Vanessa Herzog (Los Angeles), Kimberly Jones (Tampa), Andrew Kessler (Philadelphia), Danielle Kuck (Thousand Oaks), Tracy Lewis (Orange County), Andrew Mallon (Orange County), Colleen McCaffrey (Atlanta), Graham Miller (Portland), Frances O'Meara (Los Angeles), Joel Odou (Las Vegas), Michael Partos (Glendale), Karin Schaffer (Portland), Christopher Seusing (New York), and Richard Singer (Boca Raton).
Lori Barker: Lori Barker is the managing partner of WSHB's New Orleans office and a partner in the firm's two Texas locations. Lori has extensive experience representing insurers in Louisiana and Texas in a variety of first and third party disputes. She regularly evaluates coverage and advises carriers facing first-party and bad faith claims. Lori worked with an international insurer to coordinate its response to claims made following the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. She is currently defending SARS-CoV-2 claims that have been filed in the wake of the Cajun Conti appellate court decision. Following the historically active 2020 and 2021 hurricane seasons, Lori advised international and domestic insurers. She was able to deploy creative solutions to fairly and promptly resolve disputes prior to litigation. Lori and her team are currently defending carriers in hundreds of suits pending in state courts, federal courts and in arbitration proceedings. Lori’s third party practice experience includes construction, premises liability, transportation and products liability. Lori has handled complex cases involving multiple parties and catastrophic injuries.
Carlo Coppola: Carlo has a broad range of experience in various areas of law including construction, business transactions and litigation, transportation and insurance. He specializes in complex multi-party civil litigation with a primary focus on construction litigation. Carlo has acted as counsel in numerous multi-million dollar residential and commercial construction matters. His clients include Fortune 500 companies, several of California’s largest publicly-held and privately-held builders, real estate developers, contractors, construction managers and design professionals. He has extensive experience in all aspects of the litigation process including depositions, mediation, arbitration, judicial reference and trial.
Catherine Deter: Catherine Deter is a partner in WSHB’s Orange County office. In her practice, she represents national and regional construction, engineering and architectural firms in complex litigation and business and employment practice issues and disputes. Specifically, Catherine excels in the representation of architects, engineers, and other design professionals because of her passionate drive to protect creative individuals and work quickly to favorably resolve claims. She has also represented some of the country’s largest builders and developers. Additionally, Catherine is well-versed in other areas of construction litigation, pre-claim assistance and risk management, and has also represented general contractors, and numerous construction sub-trades. Her unique practice representing a variety of professionals in the construction industry provides her with valuable insight in evaluating claims to bring them to speedy resolution. Catherine specializes in pre-claim assistance to provide our clients with valuable guidance on managing risk, avoiding future claims, and pre-trial resolution. Catherine’s creative and strategic approach to pre-claim assistance and early litigation defense strategy often resolves claims in the very early stages, delivering considerable time and cost savings. She enjoys employing strategy in her law and motion practice, with the goal of posturing cases for successful dispositive motions and early resolution.
Steven Disharoon: The managing partner of WSHB’s Sonoma County office, Steve is an accomplished litigator and is certified by The State Bar of California as a Specialist in Appellate Law. His appellate work has included the handling of numerous appeals, writ petitions, and oral arguments in both state and federal court. He is known for his outstanding written work-product, analysis of legal issues, and oral advocacy. Steve also has published and taught about appellate practice and procedure. Steve’s appellate skills translate to his other areas of practice, which include handling matters involving complex federal and state law, government and public entity issues, premises liability, intellectual property, technology, and transportation. He is skilled at accurately assessing risk and recommending cost-effective strategies that best serve his clients’ interests. Steve prides himself on his communication skills, commitment to ethics, and high-quality legal work. He has successfully resolved innumerable cases, whether through dispositive motions (and successful appeals), trial, or settlement.
Sheila Fix: Sheila focuses her practice on catastrophic injury, employment, construction, professional liability and toxic tort litigation. Sheila also handles complex actions involving sureties, including claims involving payment and performance bond claims, defaults on construction projects, and mechanic’s lien release bonds. Bringing a powerful combination of experience as a partner at WSHB and in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (“JAG”) Corps, Sheila has tried over 75 cases, including 20 jury trials. She has successfully tried cases in the construction arena involving public works projects, residential construction, and landslide and subsidence claims as well as premises liability and toxic tort claims. Sheila also counsels owners, builders and contractors on risk management issues in all phases of the construction process and post-construction commercial property management. As part of her employment litigation and consultation practice, she provides workplace training on risk management, as well as discrimination and harassment awareness initiatives. Bringing her Navy background to the table, she has experience in conducting compliance audits and overseeing internal investigations. Her litigation practice includes defense of sensitive discrimination, harassment and wage claims for her clients. In this arena, Sheila frequently litigates disputed claims under Title VII, the ADA, FLSA, FMLA, FDCPA, FCRA and associated state and local laws. During her career in the Navy JAG Corps, Sheila attained the rank of Captain (O-6) and was the recipient of the Legion of Merit and numerous national awards.
Rebecca Gabroy: Partner Rebecca Gabroy is well known throughout California for her successful handling of complex civil litigation. Based in WSHB’s Orange County office, Rebecca is a go-to lawyer for her legal prowess handling catastrophic injury, wrongful death and other matters with potential for high exposure. Her trial successes include a defense verdict in a complicated employment case delivered by a jury during the height of the pandemic, giving Rebecca the distinction of being one of the few lawyers in the United States to try a jury case to defense verdict during a time frame where few people would set foot in the courtroom. Rebecca brings this fearless passion, justifiable confidence and thoughtful leadership in every case she handles. Truly a versatile and well-rounded lawyer, her impressive range of experience encompasses a broad spectrum of practice areas including, transportation, products, labor and employment, business litigation and medical negligence. Her work in the cannabis and the equine space is groundbreaking, providing safe counsel to clients around the world. Rebecca is equally well known for her expertise defending corporations, professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs, public entities and investors. Her down-to-earth but detail-oriented approach to litigation is one of the many reasons clients love her.
Cathleen Giannetta: Cathy Giannetta is a partner in the New York and Connecticut offices of WSHB. An accomplished trial lawyer with over 35 years of experience and numerous verdicts in both state and federal court, Cathy has litigated extensively in the areas of product liability, New York Labor Law, construction defect, catastrophic injury, transportation, employment and toxic tort. Prior to joining the firm, Cathy was a founding member of the newly-formed Complex Litigation Team at the in-house law firm of a national insurance company, where she litigated and tried high-exposure general liability, product liability, and NY Labor Law. While there, she further developed her skills in cost-effective, efficient litigation while consistently delivering quality service and results.
Vanessa Herzog: Vanessa Herzog is a partner in WSHB’s Los Angeles office where her practice focuses on civil litigation involving transportation and complex civil litigation in both state and federal court. Vanessa has substantial experience handling complex litigated matters for individuals, small businesses, trucking companies, owner-operators, ridesharing companies, limousine companies, fixed route bus and paratransit service providers, common carriers, and public entities. Vanessa also provides rapid response handling of transportation accidents and provides risk management training and counseling on many topics, including driver qualifications, best practices, and current trends in transportation law. She enjoys a reputation for consistent results in high-risk and complex matters, including catastrophic injury cases involving wrongful death, amputation, and traumatic brain injury.
Kimberly Jones: Kimberly Jones focuses her practice on insurance coverage and appellate advocacy. She represents admitted and surplus lines insurance carriers throughout the state of Florida, providing advice to clients in first- and third-party coverage matters. Prior to joining the firm, Kimberly served as in-house staff counsel for an insurance carrier, where she assisted in the development of efficient and proactive legal strategy while litigating cases across Florida. Kimberly had also clerked at the Florida Supreme Court and at the Second District Court of Appeal. Her background as staff counsel for an insurance company and judicial law clerk allows her to provide targeted advice to clients from an economic and strategic perspective in Florida’s unique litigation environment. Kimberly currently serves as Chair for the Appellate Practice Section of the Florida Bar, and is a barrister in the William Reece Smith, Jr. Litigation American Inn of Court. She was a Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2014-2016. She actively publishes and speaks at seminars on insurance coverage and appellate issues.
Andrew Kessler: Andy Kessler has a national reputation for impressive results in complex litigation and is the managing partner of WSHB’s Philadelphia office. Widely recognized as a “go to” lawyer throughout Pennsylvania, he brings to every matter an impressive trial record of defense verdicts secured for his clients over his 30-year career. Andy’s diverse litigation experience has a common thread of defending actions in which catastrophic injuries are involved. Whether those cases arise in the context of medical malpractice (where Andy has represented hospitals and physicians in essentially every facet of the delivery of healthcare), construction, premises liability, transportation or products liability, Andy is particularly adept at developing a tailored approach to defend the liability aspect of a case while possessing a unique insight into understanding and challenging the medical care and treatment at issue. Beyond catastrophic injury cases, Andy’s array of litigation includes defending employment and professional liability matters including financial institutions, credit unions, architects, engineers, and design professionals. Andy represents clients in multiple jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and includes arbitrations, bench trials, jury trials and appeals before State and Federal Courts. In 2021, Andy began serving as a Judge Pro Tempore in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County where he presides over Settlement Conferences in civil jury trial matters.
Danielle Kuck: Danielle Kuck is the managing partner of WSHB's Ventura County office. Widely sought after for her savvy litigation prowess in complex commercial and civil litigation, Danielle brings to each matter a thoughtful resolution strategy curated for strategic advantage and results. Her diverse practice focuses on transportation matters, aviation litigation, catastrophic injury, products liability, and property damage. Danielle handles all aspects of civil litigation for individuals, corporations, trucking companies, and public entities. She is an experienced litigator and negotiator who consistently obtains favorable results for firm clients, including successful mediation and/or settlements and motions for summary judgment. She has extensive experience handling matters in both federal and state court.
Tracy Lewis: Tracy is a partner in WSHB’s Orange County office. She is a skilled civil litigator with extensive experience in the areas of insurance coverage and civil defense matters for both domestic clients and the London market. An experienced trial lawyer, Tracy brings a wealth of knowledge and strategy gained from trying cases to every facet of her coverage practice. Specifically, Tracy handles insurance matters including first party and third party claims. In this capacity, Tracy provides coverage evaluations and recommendations for both primary and excess. As part of her coverage practice for both the domestic and London insurance market, she conducts examinations under oath, handles insurance-related litigation and facilitates settlements in all lines of business, including natural disasters, construction, business interruption, professional liability, general liability, environmental, and property. Her civil defense practice is focused on representing chemical manufacturers and distributors in catastrophic toxic tort claims.
Andrew Mallon: Andrew’s practice focuses on general liability, construction defect, toxic torts, products liability and class action matters, where he regularly represents residential and mixed-use developers, property owners and general contractors in complex, multi-party litigation. Andrew has also expanded his practice to include a variety of personal injury and property damage matters for a host of clients including active remediation cleanups (soil, groundwater, and surface water), mold and asbestos exposure and construction worksite accidents. More recently, Andrew serves as Regional and National Coordinating Counsel on trucking defense and real estate professional liability matters. He also routinely represents clients in the areas of transportation and automotive law including wrongful death, traumatic brain injury and catastrophic injury claims. Andrew has secured multiple victories for our clients, at all stages of litigation, through aggressive law and motion practice, effective negotiation and dispute resolution techniques. He also routinely advises clients on risk management and potential general liability exposure and has represented clients in both Federal and State matters.
Colleen McCaffery: Colleen focuses her practice on insurance coverage issues and civil litigation. Her insurance coverage practice involves advising domestic and international insurers regarding claims made under a variety of policies, including property, commercial general liability, and professional liability policies. Along with providing advice, Colleen regularly represents insurers in coverage litigation in state, federal, and appellate courts. While at the firm, Colleen spent time on secondment with two leading Lloyd’s syndicates, where she advised its claims and legal teams on a variety of claims, underwriting, and regulatory issues. This experience allows her to provide strategic advice that considers both the legal and economic impact of coverage decisions and litigation.
Graham Miller: Graham Miller is the Managing Partner of WSHB's Portland, OR office and a Partner in the firm's Rancho Cucamonga, CA office. A trial and litigation attorney, Graham represents firm clients in an array of practice areas. His areas of expertise include catastrophic injury, transportation, construction and professional liability. He also handles employment, complex commercial, business and financial matters. Graham has extensive experience representing public and private entities in connection with a wide range of litigated matters. His experience includes all aspects of the litigation process, successfully representing clients at depositions, mediations, arbitrations and jury trials.
Frances O'Meara: Frances is nationally recognized in the professional liability area for results she secures in and out of trial involving complex civil litigation. She is regularly sought out by attorneys, accountants, architects, insurance agents, real estate brokers, appraisers, doctor, and nurses who seek her sage counsel and representation in the most personal of matters. Frances is certified by the California State Bar as a Certified Legal Malpractice Specialist. She advises professionals and law firms on legal professional and ethical issues, issues relating to risk management and loss control, and cyber security and data privacy risks. Frances works directly with major insurance carriers throughout the United States, non-insured attorneys, large corporations, healthcare providers, and financial institutions. She has extensive experience in D&O financial lines and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on fidelity, fiduciary, and surety claims investigation and litigation. Frances also represents medical malpractice claims related to healthcare management, assisted living, and nursing. In addition, Frances is well regarded for handling litigation involving issues relating to intellectual property and employment practices liability matters. She regularly defends matters involving wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment and administrative charges throughout California.
Joel Odou: Joel Odou is partner in WSHB’s Nevada office and has litigated matters in state and federal court in both California and Nevada since the inception of the Las Vegas Office in 2003. Joel is a seasoned litigator handling complex civil litigation involving injury and wrongful death throughout Nevada. He enjoys a well-deserved reputation for his legal prowess and results in product liability, premises liability, construction defect, catastrophic injury, and toxic tort and occupational exposure litigation. He also enjoys a wealth of experience in all facets of transportation, medical malpractice defense and pharmaceutical injury matters. As a former coverage lawyer, Joel brings to each matter assigned a deep understanding of risk transfer issues. He is a thought leader for a variety of individual and business owners throughout Nevada.
Michael Partos: Michael Partos is a partner at WSHB’s Glendale office, where he focuses his practice on products liability, subrogation, business litigation, D&O and E&O claims, insurance litigation, general liability defense, toxic torts, maritime, legal malpractice, employment and construction litigation. Michael has handled complex litigation matters for more than 20 years and has successfully prepared and tried cases to verdict in the state and federal courts of Los Angeles County, Ventura County, San Diego County, Placer County, the Central District of California and the Southern District of California. Michael has successfully represented clients on writs and appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the Second District Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. Michael serves as a volunteer commercial dispute arbitrator for the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He also volunteers for a number of civic and community causes, including the South Pasadena Public Schools.
Karin Schaffer: Karin Schaffer is a partner at WSHB and actively practices in Oregon and California. She specializes in complex civil litigation in both state and federal courts involving construction; civil rights issues; professional liability; transportation; labor and employment matters, including the defense of discrimination and wage and hour matters; catastrophic injury; and general tort (personal injury and premises liability) and product liability. In addition to handling civil litigation matters, Karin's practice focuses on providing clients’ executive teams with strategic advice on labor and employment issues, and resolving pre-litigation employment claims related to wrongful discharge, retaliation, harassment, discrimination, wage and hour compliance, and FMLA leave and employment agreements. She possesses a broad range of experience in handling transactional matters, including those in the areas of real estate, trust and estates, construction, and business.
Christopher Seusing: Chris Seusing is New England Managing Partner with WSHB, overseeing the firm's Boston and Connecticut offices, and leads the firm's national Cybersecurity & Data Privacy team. With more than 15 years of collective experience in cyber, professional and management liability areas, Chris represents companies and professionals in complex litigation matters around the country. He counsels clients on responding to data breach incidents and regulatory inquiries and investigations, oversees forensic investigations of incidents, drafts information management policies and procedures in compliance with privacy regulations, and collaborates with case teams to implement cost-effective processes using state-of-the-art litigation tools, including analytics and technology-assisted review. Chris leads WSHB’s National Cyber Incident Team which is available 24/7 to respond to cyber incidents and suspected data breaches, and is part of an international legal team focused on data protection and cybersecurity which is regularly called upon by public and private entities to navigate emerging challenges. He is well-regarded for his real time knowledge based on best practices which dovetails into his sage counsel on risk management, mitigation and claim avoidance. Additionally, Chris is a published thought leader, guest lecturer at law schools, and sought after speaker on cybersecurity, data privacy and litigation issues.
Richard Singer: Richard Singer is an accomplished civil litigator in WSHB’s Boca Raton office, specializing in insurance coverage analysis and policy interpretation, first and third party defense, including bad faith litigation. Richard has extensive experience in representing and regularly advising domestic and international insurers on first-party property and hurricane catastrophes, representing clients in state and federal courts throughout the United States as well as in binding arbitration proceedings. Additionally, he has been tasked with leading and managing complex projects for various insurers’ Special Investigation Units (SIU) in assisting in the defense and prosecution of fraudulent insurance claims throughout the State of Florida. He is a past participant of the prestigious Secondee Counsel Program working for Nephila Capital Ltd. While in London, Richard provided advice and guidance to Nephila Capital Ltd and various leading Lloyd’s of London syndicates in the areas of claim handling, underwriting, and regulatory issues pertaining to their North American claims.
- Lori D. Barker
- Carlo A. Coppola
- Catherine L. Deter
- Steven R. Disharoon
- Sheila E. Fix
- Rebecca M. Gabroy
- Cathleen A. Giannetta
- Vanessa K. Herzog
- Kimberly M. Jones
- Andrew S. Kessler
- Danielle L. Kuck
- Tracy M. Lewis
- Andrew J. Mallon
- Colleen V. McCaffrey
- Graham B. Miller
- Frances M. O'Meara
- Joel D. Odou
- Michael J. Partos
- Karin L. Schaffer
- Christopher J. Seusing
- Richard M. Singer