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Releases and Announcements

Duane Morris Names 13 Attorneys to Partnership

January 12, 2023

Duane Morris Names 13 Attorneys to Partnership

January 12, 2023

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PHILADELPHIA, January 12, 2023—Duane Morris LLP is pleased to announce that it has promoted to the firm partnership 13 associates and special counsel in eight of the firm’s offices.

These newly named partners are:

Corporate Practice Group: Maureen L. McCluskey, Chicago; Kyle T. Molidor, Chicago; Natalie A. Stewart, London

Employment Law and Management Labor Relations Practice Group: Katelynn Gray, New York; Alex W. Karasik, Chicago

Intellectual Property Practice Group: Jiazhong "Jason" Luo, Ph.D., Philadelphia; Tyler Marandola, Philadelphia

Private Client Services Practice Group: Eric R. Hague, Philadelphia; Gutman Skrande, Miami

Trial Practice Group: Kristina Gill, Washington, D.C.; Daniel B. Heidtke, Austin; Sarah Fehm Stewart, Newark; Scott M. Vernick, Philadelphia

 “This is an outstanding group. Our new partners have continually demonstrated their skills as attorneys and contributed to the success of their clients. And each has, in their own unique way, advanced the Duane Morris culture of collegiality, growth and collaboration,” said Duane Morris Chairman and CEO Matthew A. Taylor. “This benefits Duane Morris in both the near and long term, which is essential as we continue to execute on our global growth strategy.”

Kristina Gill focuses her practice on issues related to federal and state higher education law from both a policy and regulatory compliance perspective. Her experience includes issues surrounding compliance with the federal regulatory process, particularly as related to the Title IV student financial aid programs authorized by the Higher Education Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Gill also advises schools regarding consumer protection, disclosure regulations and trends, and a variety of other legal and regulatory issues impacting educational institutions, including marketing and advertising practices and third-party servicer relationships. She assists clients in providing formal responses to rulemaking and draft legislation. As a former staffer on Capitol Hill and registered lobbyist, she has a strong command of the intersection between policy and regulations. Gill works with clients to develop advocacy and engagement strategies for issues related to higher education and more specifically the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Gill is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School (J.D., 2000), where she was managing editor of the Public Contract Law Journal, the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs (M.P.A., 1995) and the University of Minnesota (B.A., 1992).

Katelynn Gray regularly counsels clients on a variety of employment issues and matters, including hiring and recruitment, employee classification, leaves of absence, reasonable accommodations, restrictive covenants, wage-and-hour rules and regulations, performance management, discipline and termination, reductions in force, corporate restructuring, and mergers and acquisitions. She conducts workplace investigations and employee trainings, prepares human resources policies, procedures and handbooks, and advises both business and individuals in the drafting of all employment-related agreements, including noncompete and other restrictive covenants, employment agreements and severance agreements. Gray handles discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment cases and restrictive covenant cases on both the prosecution and defense sides, as well as class and collective actions, appearing before federal and state courts as well as administrative agencies.

Gray is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law (J.D., 2013), where she was a member of the Fordham International Law Journal, and Fordham University (B.A., 2010).

Eric Hague advises clients in the Middle Atlantic region on a wide variety of matters involving wealth transfer and tax planning and estate and trust administration. In 2020, he was a graduate of the inaugural class of the Mid-Atlantic Fellows Institute of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and he serves on the tax committee of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Hague is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D., 2013), where he was production and technology editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Emerson College (B.F.A., 2007).

Daniel B. Heidtke represents clients in complex business disputes and insurance coverage litigation and also handles antitrust, trade secret litigation, internal investigations and white-collar criminal defense matters. He litigates in state and federal courts across the United States and is licensed to practice in six states: California, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Heidtke also represents clients in products liability, privacy rights and class action litigation.

Heidtke is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2012), where he was associate editor of the Loyola Consumer Law Review, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A., 2009).

Alex W. Karasik is a core member of Duane Morris’ Workplace Class Action Group. He defends businesses in employment law matters ranging from bet-the-company class actions to high-stakes, single-plaintiff lawsuits and administrative charges. Karasik represents clients in a broad range of industries, including restaurants, hotels, sporting venues, retailers, automotive manufacturers, logistics companies and staffing entities. These clients include Fortune 500 multinational companies and local Chicagoland businesses. He works with businesses to proactively implement measures to minimize future lawsuits and craft novel solutions for companies that are confronted with litigation. Primarily, Karasik defends companies in lawsuits involving claims of discrimination, harassment, wage-and-hour violations and privacy class actions. He has experience in all phases of litigation, including federal court trial experience.

Karasik is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School (J.D., 2015), where he was symposium editor of the Journal of Legislation and president of the Sports, Communication & Entertainment Law Forum. He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California (M.C.M.., 2012; B.A., 2010), where he spent more than five years working with the USC Trojans football team, earning two Rose Bowl rings while working under future Super Bowl-winning coach Pete Carroll. Karasik also worked at Fox Sports, where he assisted in the production of NFL and MLB highlights.

Jiazhong “Jason” Luo, Ph.D., practices in the area of intellectual property law, focusing on all aspects of patent law, including patent prosecution, due diligence, opinion and litigation. He has represented clients in patent prosecutions in the areas of chemistry; pharmaceuticals; material science; polymer science; nanotechnology; semiconductor devices and processing; optoelectronic materials and devices; organic light emitting diodes; photovoltaic devices; smart cards; sensors; green energy; hydrogen storage and refueling; electrical and automated vehicles; energy storage; computer simulation; medical devices; surgical tools; DNA chips; antibody; bioanalysis; and ornamental design. Luo has performed analyses and drafted opinions on patentability, freedom-to-operate, noninfringement and invalidity in these technical areas, including invalidity opinions for generic pharmaceutical companies filing Abbreviated New Drug Applications and freedom-to-operate opinions before commercialization of medical devices. He has also worked on patent litigation and inter partes review cases involving plasma physics, semiconductor processing, chemicals, generic drugs and related applicators. Luo has more than a decade of industry experience that includes research and development work and project management. He developed and commercialized several new technologies and products of polymers and nanomaterials, especially for electric, electronic, optoelectronic and semiconductor applications. Luo had working experience in international collaboration with Japanese companies. He is an inventor of 11 U.S.-issued patents and has authored 15 peer-reviewed research papers, three legal articles and a book chapter.

Luo is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2013), Ohio State University (Ph.D., materials science and engineering, 1998; M.S., 1997) and Nankai University (M.S., 1993; B.S., 1990).

Tyler Marandola litigates complex intellectual property, technology and commercial disputes in a wide range of industries and technical areas. His representations include some of the world’s largest technology companies, as well as key players in the gaming, life sciences, hospitality and entertainment industries. In addition to litigation and dispute resolution work, Marandola advises companies on strategies for obtaining, exploiting and ultimately defending the intellectual property they need to succeed in their businesses. Both startups and established companies rely on his advice to make legally and economically sound decisions about what to protect and how. Marandola is also active in the leadership of the Copyright Society and speaks and writes about a variety of intellectual property issues. He maintains an active pro bono practice across a number of areas, with a particular focus on immigration work for asylum seekers. In 2020, Marandola was named an “Unsung Hero” by Pennsylvania’s Legal Intelligencer for his work in obtaining asylum for transgender migrants detained at the Texas border.

Marandola is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 2012) and Seton Hall University (B.A., magna cum laude, 2009).

Maureen L. McCluskey has extensive experience representing commercial banks, lending institutions, private equity funds and corporate borrowers in a wide array of commercial finance transactions, including asset-based lending transactions, cash flow transactions, recurring revenue transactions, syndicated transactions, unitranche transactions, real estate transactions, sponsor-led private equity and acquisition financing transactions, bridge-to-HUD financing transactions and mezzanine financing transactions. Her experience spans various industries and specialty lending (including warehouse loans, recurring revenue financing, manufacturing, consumer products, tech and medical devices), with a particular emphasis on health care financing. McCluskey regularly advises health care lenders and providers in connection with securing term loans and working capital loans and advises lenders and borrowers on health care-specific transactional and regulatory matters.

McCluskey is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2014), where she was executive managing editor of the Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy, and Franklin & Marshall College (B.A., magna cum laude, 2011).

Kyle T. Molidor practices in the area of corporate law. His practice includes the representation of commercial banks, private equity funds, corporate borrowers and other participants in the financial services industry in a wide variety of corporate and finance transactions, including asset-based lending transactions, cash flow financings, acquisition financings, syndicated transactions, real estate transactions, sponsor-backed private equity transactions, bridge debt facilities and corporate restructurings. Molidor’s experience spans various industries and specialty lending, including recurring revenue financing, manufacturing, tech, medical devices, software-as-a-service revenue-based financing and warehouse loans. He also represents private equity firms and private and public companies in structuring and negotiating complex business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and other general corporate matters.

Molidor is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 2014), where he was business manager and associate editor of the DePaul Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif. He is also a graduate of Miami University (B.A., cum laude, 2011).

Gutman Skrande is a Miami native who focuses his practice in probate, trust and guardianship administration and litigation across South Florida with a focus in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Collier and Monroe counties. He represents a diverse group of corporate and individual clients, including fiduciaries, banks and trust companies, beneficiaries, creditors, children and surviving spouses. Skrande has extensive experience managing these emotionally charged cases from inception through resolution over a broad spectrum of issues, including will and trust contests; trust and will interpretation cases; fiduciary removal actions; breach of fiduciary duty cases; trust modifications and reformations; undue influence disputes; accounting actions; contested fiduciary appointments; disputed creditor claims; challenges to powers of attorney or health care surrogates; incapacity determinations; Baker Act cases; and fiduciary fee disputes.

Skrande is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2011), where he was a member of the George Washington International Law Review, and Washington University in St. Louis (B.S., 2007).

Natalie A. Stewart regularly works on high-value complex cross-border financings, advising on debt securities, global offerings, commercial paper programs, Eurobond offerings, private placements, syndications and bilateral facilities and regulatory capital transactions. She has more than a decade of transactional and advisory experience on a wide range of banking and finance transactions, with a particular focus on debt capital markets, structured finance and securitizations, advising both financial institutions and corporate clients. Stewart has particular experience in UK, U.S. and international capital markets transactions, including complex structured offerings and convertible bonds. She has also served multiple secondments, including at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Credit Suisse.

Stewart is a graduate of BPP Law School (LL.B. and LPC, 2009) and the University of Exeter (B.A., honors, 2007).

Sarah Fehm Stewart focuses her practice on complex commercial and business litigation, white-collar criminal defense, securities litigation and arbitration, and internal investigations. She also has extensive experience in the areas of professional responsibility and ethics, environmental liability, and media and communications law. Stewart represents a variety of institutional and individual clients and provides advice on a wide array of corporate compliance and regulatory laws, including anti-money laundering rules and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. She has significant trial experience in both state and federal court and has argued dispositive motions before numerous courts throughout New York and New Jersey. Stewart also has experience supervising pre-trial discovery in complex matters and leading internal investigations into alleged employee or executive misconduct.

Stewart is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School (J.D., 2012), where she was president of the Corporate and Business Law Society and a member of the Public Contract Law Journal, Alternative Dispute Resolution Skills Board and the Black Law Student Association. She is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., 2007). 

Scott M. Vernick focuses his practice on litigation, investigations and compliance, concentrating in the fields of life sciences (in particular, medical devices and biotech), commercial real estate development and specialized technology. He has substantial experience in guiding his clients through and managing high-value business disputes. Vernick regularly represents publicly traded and private emerging growth companies and real estate investment and development companies. He practices in federal courts, private forums (AAA arbitrations) and state courts across the country. Vernick has substantial experience litigating IP and technology disputes, trade secrets, joint venture and partner disputes and competition-related restrictive covenants in various types of business agreements. Additionally, he counsels clients in compliance issues and investigations, and issues relating to contract matters, including mergers, acquisitions and technology sales and licenses.

Vernick is a graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2014), where he was a member of the International & Comparative Law Journal, a merit scholar and elected to the Order of the Coif. He is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., cum laude, 2010).

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris LLP provides innovative solutions to today’s multifaceted legal and business challenges through the collegial and collaborative culture of its more than 900 attorneys in offices across the United States and internationally. The firm represents a broad array of clients, spanning all major practices and industries. Duane Morris has been recognized by BTI Consulting as both a client service leader and a highly recommended law firm.