Attorney Intel is pleased to announce The Top 25 Attorneys of Arizona for 2023. Nicknamed the “Grand Canyon State," the state is known for more than its desert climate. It has an abundance of copper, beautiful scenery, and a rich and storied history. Its economy is fairly diverse, although healthcare, transportation, and the government are its largest sectors. This year’s awardees provide legal counsel for many clients, ranging from individuals to international corporations. Their practices are equally diverse, spanning a variety of industries and matters, including cloud computing, intellectual property, private equity matters, Native American law, immigration, and more.
Among this year’s awardees is Heidi Staudenmaier, Partner at Snell and Wilmer, who’s nationally recognized for her work in the areas of Native American law, gaming law, and business litigation. Awardee Tracy Cheney, General Counsel and Secretary at Early Warning, supported the formation and launch of Early Warning and now provides leadership and oversight on all legal matters for the company. Also awarded is Brett Larsen, Partner at Hinshaw and Culbertson. Larsen is an experienced litigator and previously served as a Public Service Special Prosecutor for the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 Attorneys of Arizona for 2023.
Attorney, CVS Caremark
Michele Buchanan is an Attorney at CVS Caremark. CVS Caremark is the prescription benefit management subsidiary of CVS Health. Buchanan first joined the company in 2005. He has been a regulatory attorney for more than 20 years and has worked within the healthcare industry for the past 12 years. His skill set spans managed care, strategic planning, Medicare, Medicaid, the pharmaceutical industry, and navigating complex regulatory issues. Buchanan earned a JD from U and A College of Law and an undergraduate degree in political science and government from American University.
General Counsel, Honeywell
Ted Wimsatt is the General Counsel of Urban Air Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Systems at Honeywell. The American publicly traded, multinational conglomerate corporation primarily operates in four areas of business: aerospace, building technologies, performance materials, and safety and productivity solutions. Before joining Honeywell, Wimsatt served as Counsel at Perkins Coie LLP and, before that, a Law Clerk at Arizona Supreme Court. Earlier in his career, he worked as a Senior System Engineer with Motorola Inc. Wimsatt graduated from Arizona State University College of Law with a JD and Penn State University with an undergraduate degree in computer engineering.
General Counsel, U-Haul International
Larry DeRespino is the General Counsel for U-Haul International. He has a long track record as a skilled commercial litigator, and brought this to bear when he moved in-house at U-Haul. In this role, he’s required to understand almost every facet of corporate law, including employment, investor relations, insurance, and securities, as well as a vast array of risk and compliance considerations. He oversees a team of 17 attorneys and handles relationships with outside counsel across the US and Canada. DeRespino has a JD from Vanderbilt University School of Law and a BA from Amherst College.
Attorney, State Farm
David Keys-Nunes is an Attorney at State Farm, a large group of mutual insurance companies throughout the US. Before joining State Farm, Keys-Nunes was an Attorney at Liberty Mutual Insurance and, before that, an Attorney at The Law Office of David Keys Nunes. He previously had a career as a Detective for the City of Phoenix, where he was the primary investigator of crimes against children. Earlier, he worked as a Corrections Officer with Pika County Sheriff's Department. Keys-Nunes graduated from Arizona Summit Law School with a JD and Northern Arizona University with an undergraduate degree in emergency services administration.
Partner, DLA Piper
William Mulholland is a Partner at DLA Piper, a global law firm. He’s part of the firm’s patent prosecution practice and life sciences sector. Mulholland has valuable in-house experience in the pharmaceutical and agribusiness sectors, as well as a strong scientific background and a history of representing emerging life sciences companies. He first got his start in 1998 as an Associate at Pretty, Schroeder, and Poplawski. From there, he went on to Snell and Wilmer, eventually becoming Partner. Mulholland graduated from USC Gould School of Law with a JD and an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Arizona State University College of Law.
Shaun Klein is Partner and Global Co-Chair of Private Equity at Dentons. He has more than 20 years of experience representing financial and strategic investors. With experience in private equity, mergers, and acquisitions, and international law, Klein handles a wide range of corporate matters. He’s part of a team of Dentons lawyers that represent The Jordan Company, a New York-based private equity firm. He also provides corporate governance counseling and assists clients in management compensation, equity, and incentive programs. Before his 24-year tenure at Dentons, he was an Associate at Bryan Cave and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.
Klein graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law with a JD and Coe College with a BA in business administration and accounting.
Sandra Reguerin is a Partner at Fragomen. She has practiced business immigration law exclusively since 1996 and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Prior to joining Fragomen, she was a shareholder at Littler Mendelson and an Associate at Bacon and Dear. Before that, Sandra directed the J-1 waiver practice for a physician immigration boutique firm in Northern Virginia. She has extensive experience in J-1 waivers and J-1 program administration, L-1 and O-1 visas, labor certification, permanent residency, and consular matters. Her expertise also spans orchestrating large-scale moves of temporary assignees for multinational companies.
She graduated from George Washington University with a JD and King's College with a BS in economics and Spanish.
Partner, Squire Patton Boggs
Pedro Miranda is a Partner at Squire Patton Boggs. He focuses his practice on public finance. He has served as bond counsel and underwriters’ counsel on financings by governmental bodies in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He has broad experience representing issuers and underwriters on new money public financings and refundings. This includes financings secured by project revenues, special sales taxes, general obligation bonds, and special assessment bonds. His previous clients include the City of Phoenix, Maricopa County, Pima County, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOT), the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its agencies, and numerous special districts in Florida.
Miranda graduated from the University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law with a JD and from the University of Florida with a BA in political science and government.
Partner, Lewis Brisbois
Felice Guerrieri is a Partner in the Phoenix office of Lewis Brisbois. He represents insurers, their insureds, and self-insured companies in matters typically involving catastrophic personal injuries or death. These include lawsuits arising from automobile accidents, product liability, workplace injuries, and the provision of a multitude of services. Guerrieri's clients are as diverse as the matters he must defend, ranging from individuals to international corporations. He is responsible for all phases of litigation, handling his clients’ needs from initial appearance through trial and any appeals. He’s been with the firm for over 14 years.
Guerrieri graduated from Southern Illinois University with a JD and the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts.
Partner, Perkins Coie
Eliot Kaplan is a Partner at Perkins Coie. He counsels clients on corporate law matters, including private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, fund formation, and the potential and related tax liabilities triggered by complex transactions. Kaplan advises and represents clients operating in a range of industries, such as real estate development, homebuilding, construction, manufacturing, and franchising. He’s also a former member of the Corporate Laws Committee of the American Bar Association. Active in professional and community associations, Kaplan is President of the Board Of Directors of the Arizona chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He also serves on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and is on the Board of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). He was previously an Assistant District Attorney at the Bronx County District Attorney Office, where he prosecuted criminal cases.
Kaplan graduated from Georgetown University with an LLM, Arizona State University with a JD, and The University of Arizona with a BS.
General Counsel, Pima Community College
Jeff Silvyn is the General Counsel of Pima Community College, a public community college in Pima County, Arizona. He works in areas related to employment, students, contracts, and intergovernmental agreements. He’s also currently a Principal at Silvyn & Associates, where he provides professional third-party neutral services to assist with collaboration and dispute resolution. Silvyn first got his start in 2001 as an Attorney at Waterfall, Economidis, Caldwell, Hanshaw, and Villamana. From there, he went on to the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution before eventually rising to General Counsel at Morris K. Udall Foundation. Silvyn graduated from the University of Carolina, Los Angeles Law School with a JD and Johns Hopkins University with an undergraduate degree in international relations and affairs.
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Shamrock Foods Company
Carrie Ryerson is the General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Shamrock Foods Company. During her time at the company, she held several roles, first joining as Employment Counsel and Director of Associate Relations. She then went on to become Vice President of Legal and Risk Management and General Counsel. Ryerson first got her start in 2010 as an Attorney at Fennemore Craig, PC, where she provided employment counseling. Ryerson graduated from William and Mary Law School with a JD and from the University of Arizona with an undergraduate degree in political science.
Partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
Cory Smith is a Partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Smith is a registered patent attorney whose practice focuses on intellectual property law and technology transactions, with an emphasis on computer-related technologies. He regularly handles patent matters in the US and foreign jurisdictions in many areas, including computer software, cloud computing, machine learning, blockchain, cybersecurity, virtual reality, and financial technology. Before this, Smith was a Law Clerk to Justice John Pelander at the Arizona Supreme Court. He began his career as an Engineer at IBM, where he designed and developed data storage systems. Smith graduated from the University of Arizona with a JD and BS in computer engineering.
Partner & Leader of the Phoenix Office Intellectual Property Practice, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
George Chen is a Partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. He serves on the Board of the firm and is the intellectual property practice leader for its Phoenix office. He partners with long-term clients to develop, protect, enforce, defend, license, and commercialize intellectual property and other business assets. His practice includes litigation, licensing, counseling, and prosecution of patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, unfair competition, and more. He was previously with Motorola for over eight years, most recently as a Registered Patent Agent. Today, Chen serves as a Delegate from the State Bar of Arizona to the ABA House of Delegates. He’s a Member of the Commission on Women in the Profession, the Section of Intellectual Property, and the Section of Litigation.
Chen graduated from Arizona State University with a JD and MS, and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a BS in electrical engineering.
Partner, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani
Lori Brown is a Partner in the Phoenix office of Gordon & Rees. She’s also a member of the Employment Law, Commercial Litigation, and Professional Liability practice groups. Brown has extensive experience in labor and employment law, as well as commercial litigation and professional liability. She was previously an Attorney at Hymson Goldstein & Pantillat and Harmon & Davies. Brown’s legal experience began with an internship at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C. She furthered her training in private practice, advising and assisting clients with business disputes and defending businesses against employment claims. She also served as an Unemployment Insurance Hearing Examiner in the Appeals Division for the State of Maryland’s Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.
Brown earned a JD from Emory University School of Law and an undergraduate degree from George Washington University.
General Counsel, ArborWorks
Christopher Miner is General Counsel at ArborWorks. The company provides vegetation management and wildfire hazard mitigation for utilities, highway departments, municipalities, forestry departments, and others. Miner is a trusted advisor to CEOs and Board Members with respect to legal strategy and execution. He’s an expert in securities law, mergers, and acquisitions, corporate law, and compliance. Prior to joining ArborWorks, Miner directed the corporate legal team at WillScot Mobile Mini as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of the company. Before this, he was Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Mobile Mini, and Partner at DLA Piper and Squire Sanders & Dempsey. He began his career as an Associate and corporate lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Miner received his JD from BYU Law School.
Partner, Ballard Spahr
Laura Giles is a Partner at the national law firm Ballard Spahr. Giles is a business attorney who advises her clients on a variety of transactional matters, with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions. She works with private and public companies in industries such as waste services, technology, fashion, and media, among others. She also represents clients in the sports and entertainment world, including professional athletes, sports industry companies, celebrities, and entertainers. Recently, Giles was recognized by Phoenix Magazine this year as a “Top Lawyer” in Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions. She previously held positions at Titus Brueckner & Levine, the Law Office of Kurt David Hermansen, the United States District Court, the District of Arizona, and the University of San Diego School of Law. She began her career as a Law Clerk for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Giles graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law with a JD and Arizona State University with a BA and BS.
Partner, Dorsey and Whitney
Alissa Castañeda is a Partner at Dorsey and Whitney. She advises banks, lending institutions, and other creditors and corporate clients in chapter 11 bankruptcies, loan workouts and restructuring, receiverships, and other enforcement, foreclosure, and deficiency actions. Castañeda also represents clients in commercial and healthcare litigation and frequently advocates for her clients in administrative hearings. She's currently a Board Member of UMOM New Day Centers. Before Dorsey and Whitney, Castañeda was a Partner at Quarles & Brady, and an Associate at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, as well as an Associate Attorney at Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner. She's also held positions as a Law Clerk for the US Bankruptcy Court and was a Paralegal for the General Counsel's Office at Ernst & Young.
She graduated from Boston College Law School with a JD and University of Southern California with a BA, magna cum laude.
Partner, Clark Hill PLC
Daniel Schenck is a Partner at Clark Hill. Schenck is a corporate attorney focusing on technology-related transactions. Schenck is a member of the firm’s technology team, assisting in transactions involving product development, procurement, licensing, distribution, outsourcing, and the supply chain. Schenck handles a wide array of business matters for his clients, including entity formation, corporate governance, policies and procedures, labor and employment, market expansion, contract forms, and trade secrets. Before this, he was an Attorney at Gallian, Welker & Beckstrom, and Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo & Stoberski. In 1999, he founded the startup Edge Communications.
He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a JD and from Arizona State University with a BS.
Partner, Quarles and Brady
John O'Neal is a Partner at Quarles and Brady. He’s an experienced trial lawyer and a tenacious advocate for his clients. His practice spans corporate and commercial disputes, real estate disputes, and securities matters. With more than 25 years of litigating and in the courtroom, O'Neal has a strategic and creative mindset. He’s been with the firm for over 24 years. O’Neal is licensed to practice in Arizona and Nevada and has handled matters in other states on a pro hac vice basis.
O'Neal graduated from Arizona State University College of Law with a JD and from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor's degree.
Financial Services Product Attorney, Early Warning
Pamela Flakowitz is the Financial Services Product Attorney of Early Warning. The fintech company is best known as the owner and operator of the Zelle Network and is owned by seven of the country’s largest banks. Flakowitz was previously at PayPal overseeing Enterprise Risk And Compliance. Before this, she was the President and CEO of Balance Fitness TYN. Before this, she spent six years at American Express, most recently as the Vice President of the Chief Operational Risk Office, and was a part of Product Development and Cardmember Services at Mastercard. She first got her start at American Express overseeing the business development of statistics planning and compliance.
Flakowitz graduated from Cardozo School of Law with a JD and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
General Counsel, Early Warning Services
Tracy Cheney is the General Counsel and Secretary at Early Warning. She joined the company in 2006 and has since served in several legal roles, including Chief Compliance Officer. Cheney provides leadership, oversight, and direction for all legal, regulatory, compliance, and corporate governance affairs in her current role. She supervises the provision of legal support and advice for the company’s payments, authentication, risk and consumer reporting business lines, and more. Prior to Early Warning, Cheney was Corporate Counsel for First Data Corporation’s money transfer, payment instruments, remittance and processing, and merchant acquiring businesses. During that time, she supported the formation and launch of Early Warning. Cheney is on the Board of Directors for the Consumer Data Industry Association.
Cheney has a JD from the University of Denver and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern California.
Partner, Snell and Wilmer
Heidi Staudenmaier is a Partner at Snell and Wilmer. She’s nationally recognized for her work in the areas of Native American law, gaming law, and business litigation. She represents tribes, tribal entities, and businesses who engage in commercial transactions in Indian Country, including gaming licensing, compacting, economic development, and governmental matters. Outside of work, she volunteers as the President of the National Charity League. Staudenmaier received the coveted American Bar Associationís 2019 Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award.
Staudenmaier graduated from the University of Iowa, College of Law with a JD and the
The University of Iowa with a BA in journalism and broadcasting.
Partner, Hinshaw, and Culbertson
Brett Larsen is a Partner at Hinshaw and Culbertson. He’s an experienced litigator with a practice focused on general civil and commercial litigation in state and federal courts. This includes contract or employment disputes and a wide range of product liability, torts, creditor rights, and insurance coverage matters. Larsen first joined Hinshaw as an Associate. Previously he was a Summer Associate with the firm. He spent the summer of 2007 as a Public Service Special Prosecutor for the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office, where he gained substantial trial experience. As a prosecutor, he was the lead attorney for the State of Wisconsin in eight jury and court trials as well as in numerous evidentiary hearings.
Larsen graduated from Marquette University Law School and Brigham Young University with a BA in communications.
Partner, Dickinson Wright PLLC
Brian Hembd is a Partner at Dickinson Wright’s Phoenix office. As a commercial litigator, he represents individuals and businesses of all sizes. He has handled a wide range of commercial litigation matters for clients across the nation in state and federal courts, in arbitration, and on appeal. His experience includes cases involving breach of contract, professional liability, intellectual property, labor and employment, securities violations, and consumer fraud. One of his greatest accomplishments is when he briefed and argued a successful motion for summary judgment on liability, leading to the second-highest jury verdict in Arizona in all of 2018. Before this, he was a Partner at Husch Blackwell and Associate Attorney at Lewis Brisbois.
Partner, Wood Smith Henning and Berman
Jack Pemberton is a Partner in the Phoenix office of Wood Smith Henning and Berman. Pemberton is a skilled litigator with over 15 years of experience. His practice is dedicated to complex civil litigation involving general liability, product liability, and transportation matters, with a focus on municipal liability. Before Wood Smith Henning and Berman, he was an Attorney at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and an Attorney at Phillips and Associates. Prior to practicing civil litigation, Pemberton spent several years practicing criminal law as a former Prosecutor and Criminal Defense Attorney.
Pemberton graduated from Texas Southern University with a JD and Arizona State University with a BA in political science and government.