Below is a roundup of the recent awards, recognitions, and other important accomplishments of Blank Rome’s Matrimonial & Family Law attorneys from around the country.
June 2022 – Stacy D. Phillips moderated the panel, “Invention and Reinvention of Yourself,” and presented an award at the Los Angeles Business Journal Women’s Leadership Symposium & Awards 2022, held June 29, 2022, at the JW Marriott L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Blank Rome is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the event.
June 2022 – Marilyn B. Chinitz was interviewed for the article, “Where There’s a Will,” which was published by the New Yok Post on June 17, 2022. Marilyn stressed that people should consider a medical directive. “That sets out the extent of the care for the parent or loved one, should they become ill or incapacitated,” she said. She also recommended getting a power of attorney for health care. Then, “fast and effective decisions can be made on behalf of the patient,” she said.
June 2022 – Lois J. Liberman was named a 2022 Northeast Trailblazer by The American Lawyer. The supplement honors legal professionals in the Northeast of the United States (defined by The American Lawyer as Maine, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania) who are agents of change in their respective practice areas and have moved the needle in the legal industry.
June 2022 – Lois J. Liberman was interviewed by Lawdragon News for its Lawyer Limelight feature. Lois described aspects of her practice she finds satisfying, trends in family law, and experiences with a mentor. “It brings me great satisfaction knowing that I have helped my clients navigate through a difficult, emotionally and financially taxing period of change,” she said. “I am driven to zealously advocate on their behalf to ensure that they and their loved ones are properly set for the future. In particularly heartbreaking matters, I do my best to try to minimize the pain endured during the process.”
June 2022 – Stacy D. Phillips and Kristina Royce, have been named 2022 Top Women Lawyers by the Daily Journal. Earlier this year, Stacy and Kristina were also honored as 2022 Top Family Lawyers by the Daily Journal. In this inaugural listing by the Daily Journal, Stacy and Kristina are two of 100 women recognized as “the best women lawyers in California,” with personalized, individual profiles that highlight their career, recent successes, and insights into their practice.
June 2022 – Alan R. Feigenbaum authored the article, “Zealous Advocacy and Counsel Fee Awards in Divorce: A Hazardous Relationship,” which was published in the New York Law Journal on June 7, 2022. “You will recall the scene in the movie Big where John Heard’s character presents his idea for a clunky toy skyscraper that morphs into a robot to his colleagues at a business meeting. When Heard’s character asks if anyone has questions, Tom Hanks’ character raises his hand and says “I don’t get it.” That’s exactly where I land on [New York] case law governing counsel fee awards in divorce: I don’t get it,” he wrote.
June 2022 – Stacy D. Phillips was interviewed for the article, “Here’s Why Amber Got $2M from Johnny in Their Defamation Trial—He Was Found Liable for Something He Didn’t Say,” which was published by Stylecaster on June 2, 2022. After Johnny Depp’s verdict, he would have a money judgment against Amber Heard which he could collect on by levying against most of her assets (not her home if she has homesteaded it). Whether she could declare bankruptcy for a large portion of the verdict would in large part depend on what assets and liabilities she has, Phillips said.
June 2022 – Brett S. Ward was interviewed for the article “Depp and Heard Face Uncertain Career Prospects after Trial,” which was published by The Associated Press on June 2, 2022. Ward also served as a featured guest on The Associated Press’ YouTube channel for the segment, “Legal Experts Weigh In on Depp-Heard Verdict.” In the interviews, Ward discussed the verdict of Johnny Depp’s trial, which found he had been defamed in an op-ed written by Amber Heard in The Washington Post. Brett explained details of the trial, how Depp presented himself as a witness, and if his acting career will be able to progress.
May 2022 – Brett S. Ward was interviewed for the article, “Johnny Depp’s Trial against Amber Heard Became the Biggest News Event in the Country Because It’s the Perfect Storm of America’s Obsession with Celebrity,” which was published by Insider on May 28, 2022. Ward said the trial is like watching a real-life episode of “Law & Order”—except the actors are two of the biggest names in Hollywood. While the case may be over defamation, the bulk of the trial has focused on things that would fit better in a gossip rag. “This trial is nothing to do with defamation. It’s people in a wealthy divorce airing their laundry in front of the world and hoping they come out looking better,” Ward said.
May 2022 – Stacy D. Phillips was named a 2022 Top 100 Lawyer by the Los Angeles Business Journal at the inaugural Top 100 Lawyers Awards event on May 12, 2022, at the ASU California Center. This year’s honorees have “demonstrated exceptional legal skill and achievements across the full spectrum of responsibility, exemplary leadership, and contributions to the Los Angeles community at large.”
May 2022 – Brett S. Ward was interviewed for the article, “Amber Heard May Have Tried to Taint the Jury with a Rumor about Johnny Depp Shoving Kate Moss Down the Stairs, Experts Say. It Could Backfire,” which was published by Insider on May 12, 2022. Ward said he thought the wording of Heard’s name drop of Johnny Depp’s ex-girlfriend Kate Moss during testimony about an explosive fight with him was too “skillful” to have happened without the help of her legal team. By simply saying that she thought of Moss in that moment, instead of repeating the rumor that he was unfaithful, Heard was able to avoid Depp’s legal team objecting to the testimony on hearsay grounds, Ward said. But it “may turn out to be a mistake,” Ward said, since it opens up the possibility of Depp’s legal team calling Moss and other ex-girlfriends to the stand to give glowing reviews of his behavior.
May 2022 – Jennifer R. Toghian joined Blank Rome LLP’s nationally recognized Matrimonial & Family Law practice group as an associate in the Los Angeles office. Jennifer joins Blank Rome from Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth. At Blank Rome, she will focus her practice on matrimonial and family law matters. Jennifer has a background in civil litigation with notable experience representing a varied spectrum of businesses, individuals, and public agencies in a wide range of civil, business, civil rights, and real estate litigation matters.
May 2022 – Michelle M. Gervais has been recognized in Women We Admire’s Outstanding Mothers of 2022, which honors working mothers across the country. Working mothers make up nearly one-third of the workforce and are crucial to the success of all organizations. Women We Admire describes the group of women recognized as understanding “the importance and challenges of maintaining a healthy work-life balance” and act as “role models to their children by following their career ambitions and family aspirations.”
May 2022 – Brett S. Ward was interviewed for the article, “Amber Heard Over-Acted on the Stand, but Johnny Depp’s Defamation Lawsuit Is Still Hers to Lose, Experts Say,” which was published by Insider on May 7, 2022. “Unfortunately when she talks about actual incidents of violence, her comments go from victim to actress and that’s a real big problem for her,” Ward said. He pointed specifically to comments Heard made while describing physical assaults she said she suffered at the hands of Depp, such as Heard noticing how dirty her carpet was when a slap from Depp knocked her to the floor. Ward said some of her descriptions of these events had a tendency to sound “like a soliloquy.”
May 2022 – Brett S. Ward served as the featured guest for The Town with Matthew Belloni Podcast episode, “Did Johnny Depp Really Lose ‘Pirates’ Because of Amber’s Op-Ed?” In the podcast episode, Brett and host Matthew Belloni discussed whether Johnny Depp has a case that proves he lost millions of dollars of potential career earnings due to Amber Heard’s op-ed that was published in The Washington Post.
April 2022 – Brett S. Ward served as the featured guest for Law.com’s Perspectives Podcast episode, “Why Blank Rome’s Brett Ward Refuses to Accept the Status Quo,” following his recent recognition as a 2022 Family Law Trailblazer by the National Law Journal. In the podcast episode, Brett was interviewed by Brad Blickstein, principal at the Blickstein Group, on what it’s like to lead a nationally recognized practice of 35 attorneys, as well as several of his most important matrimonial and family law cases. These include his highly publicized work on behalf of Pamala Davis, the wife of 1-800-LAWYERS founder Bruce Davis, and his advocacy for a client during a child custody case that is now considered groundbreaking for LGBTQ families.
April 2022 – Alan R. Feigenbaum authored the article, “Extracurricular Activities Remain on the Chopping Block in Divorce,” which was published in the New York Law Journal on April 25, 2022. “A paradox seems self-evident lately between (a) the state of New York’s admirable efforts to prioritize alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a means to reduce litigation in our courts, versus (b) decisional law in New York that (i) calls into question basic tenets of matrimonial practice that have been accepted by practitioners for years on end, and (ii) keeps open the door to more litigation,” he wrote.
April 2022 – Kristina Royce was named a Top Attorney Winning Cases and Making Deals in Hollywood by Variety in its 2022 Legal Impact Report. Variety described the honorees as “showbiz lawyers [who] win for their clients in court and guide them through industry disruptions.”
April 2022 – Stacy D. Phillips was named a 2022 Most Influential Women Attorney by the Los Angeles Business Journal. This year’s honorees were selected for their “exceptional legal skill and achievement across the full spectrum of responsibility, exemplary leadership as evidenced by the highest professional and ethical standards, and for contributions to the Los Angeles community at large.”
April 2022 – Alexa B. Lutchen joined Blank Rome LLP’s nationally recognized Matrimonial & Family Law practice group as an associate in the New York office. Alexa joins the firm from Davis Polk & Wardwell. She has notable experience handling family court disputes, along with pro bono matters, including winning a family law appeal in the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division – Second Department, representing a client in a Hague Convention custody case, and litigating an abuse and neglect trial.
April 2022 – Dylan S. Mitchell authored the article, “Kelly Clarkson’s Divorce Brings Family Court Battles over Vaccinating Kids against COVID-19 into Spotlight,” which was published in Forbes on April 12, 2022. “In March, former American Idol winner turned mega-star and talk show host Kelly Clarkson settled her bitter divorce from Brandon Blackstock,” he wrote. “While most details of the agreement, like the parties’ property division, Clarkson’s substantial one-time equalization payment, and monthly alimony to her ex, are de rigueur for a celebrity divorce, one stipulation stands out—that the couple’s two children be vaccinated against COVID-19, based upon the recommendations of the children’s pediatrician.”
April 2022 – Brett S. Ward was named a 2022 Family Law Trailblazer by the National Law Journal (“NLJ”). Brett was one of 22 attorneys honored in this second annual listing by the NLJ, which recognized leading family and elder law attorneys across the legal industry.
Michelle M. Gervais Featured as Speaker on Women in Sports and Events Panel April 2022 – Michelle M. Gervais was a featured speaker for the program, “Professional Athletes and the Women that Manage Them,” presented by Women in Sports and Events (“WISE”) Tampa Bay on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Tampa, Florida.