Attorney Intel is pleased to announce The Top 50 Attorneys of San Diego for 2022. Recognized as one of the leading high-tech hubs in the country, San Diego’s economy is grounded by many established industries including life sciences, communications, cleantech and software. The city is fueled by a collaborative culture and sophisticated support system. This year’s awardees are guiding individuals and organizations through litigation matters, growing entrepreneurial endeavors, and unchartered territories. They are looked upon by their peers for sound advice and counsel.
Among this year’s awardees is Nathaniel Leachman, Corporate Counsel for Pfizer, who has dedicated himself to preparing and prosecuting domestic and international patent applications as well as conducting due diligence, freedom to operate, and contract analysis. Awardee Shaka Johnson, Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Sony Electronics, leads the law department for traditional legal affairs for the business, government affairs, and corporate security across North America. Also awarded is Kevin Takeuchi, Senior Counsel of Business Development for Bristol Myers Squibb, who guides the drafting and negotiations, structuring and counseling on transactions, including strategic equity investments, strategic divestitures, and global licenses for the pharmaceuticals company.
We applaud these individuals for their hard work and dedication to the individuals and industries they serve. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Attorneys of San Diego for 2022.
1. Craig Ellner
Senior Counsel, Johnson & Johnson
Craig Ellner is a Senior Counsel for Johnson & Johnson, the world's largest health care and highest paid drug company. Johnson & Johnson is producing life-changing breakthroughs every day. J&J researches, develops, manufactures, and sells pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and consumer products. Employees of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies work with partners in health care to touch a billion people every day, throughout the world.
Ellner has 14 years of experience in the field of life science intellectual property and patent law. He began his career in 2008. Before joining Johnson & Johnson, Ellner was in the department of legal affairs at PRA Health Sciences, and before that, an attorney at Maximum Sports Management. Earlier in his career, he worked with Healthcare Litigation as an associate attorney. Ellner graduated from Widener University School of Law with a JD, and from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with an undergraduate degree.
2. Nathaniel Leachman
Corporate Counsel, Pfizer
Nathaniel Leachman began his professional career 21 years ago. Today, he is a Corporate Counsel for Pfizer. Pfizer applies science and global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. It strives to set the standard for quality, safety, and value in the discovery, development, and manufacture of health care products. Its global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer works across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time.
Leachman first got his start in 2001 as a staff research associate at UCSF. He went on to the Institute for Human Virology, before eventually rising to associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, his most recent position prior to joining Pfizer. Leachman graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law with a JD. He also graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. He has an undergraduate degree in biology from Davidson College.
3. Kevin Takeuchi
Senior Counsel of Business Development, Bristol Myers Squibb
Kevin Takeuchi is the Senior Counsel of Business Development of Bristol Myers Squibb. Bristol Myers Squibb’s work inspires some of the most life-changing careers while pursuing innovative ideas alongside some of the brightest minds in biopharma. It has built a sustainable pipeline of potential therapies and is leveraging translational medicine and data analytics to understand how it can deliver the right medicine to the right patient, at the right time, to achieve the best outcome.
Takeuchi has 23 years of experience. He began his career in 1999. Before joining Bristol Myers Squibb, Takeuchi was a corporate counsel in the legal affairs department at Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. Earlier in his career, he worked with the University of Washington School of Law as a program coordinator. Takeuchi graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law with a JD, from the University of Washington School of Law with an LLM, and from the University of California, Davis with an undergraduate degree in biochemistry. He’s also a registered patent attorney. He specializes in drafting and negotiating complex transaction agreements, intellectual property laws and more.
4. Shaka Johnson
VP & Associate General Counsel, Sony Electronics
Shaka Johnson is a Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Sony Electronics. Sony operates as one of the world's largest manufacturers of electronic products, the largest video game console company, and the largest video game publisher. Through Sony Entertainment Inc., it is one of the most comprehensive media companies. It is also the largest technology and media conglomerate in Japan. Sony’s diverse workforce allows the company to innovate and create products and services that reflect its consumers around the world.
Johnson has 19 years of experience. He began his career in 2003. Before joining Sony Electronics, Johnson was an associate general counsel for the AR/VR group at Facebook, and before that, an associate general counsel at Oculus VR. Earlier in his career, he worked with Higgs Fletcher & Mack as an associate. Johnson graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law with a JD, and from Sonoma State University with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
View the complete list of awardees.
7. Courtney Hoyt
Senior Assistant General Counsel of Product, Intuit
Courtney Hoyt is the Senior Assistant General Counsel of Product for Intuit. Intuit is a global technology platform that helps customers and communities overcome their most important financial challenges. Serving millions of customers worldwide with TurboTax, QuickBooks, Mint, Credit Karma and Mailchimp, they believe that everyone should have the opportunity to prosper and they work tirelessly to find new, innovative ways to deliver on this belief. Hoyt is a seasoned counsel, business partner, and strategic advisor, with extensive consumer tech experience. She has served with Intuit for nearly 3 years.
Hoyt has vast experience at leading international law firms, as well as start-up, hypergrowth, and public companies, with particular expertise in product, privacy, consumer protection, and litigation. Prior to joining Intuit, Hoyt was an associate general counsel for Scopely where she partnered with executive leadership and cross-functional partners to launch award-winning mobile games and propel the company to a multibillion-dollar valuation. Prior to Scopely, she served with Uber as a senior counsel for litigation and employment. Hoyt graduated from Stanford University with an undergraduate degree in political science and from Santa Clara University with a JD.
10. Kallyn Hunter
Corporate Counsel, Petco
Kallyn Hunter is a Corporate Counselfor Petco, a category-defining health and wellness company focused on improving the lives of pets, pet parents, and its own Petco partners. Since 1965, Petco has been trailblazing new standards in pet care. The company operates more than 1,500 Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico, including more than 100 in-store veterinary hospitals. They offer a complete online resource for pet health and wellness at petco.com.
Hunter has 13 years of experience. She began her career in 1999. Before joining Petco, Hunter was an associate at Paul Hastings, and before that, a financial analyst at E.ON. Earlier in her career, she worked with LECG as a research analyst. Hunter graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law with a JD. She graduated from Indiana University with an undergraduate degree in business economics and public policy.
11. Christina Morgan
Corporate Counsel, Aya Healthcare
Christina Morgan began her professional career 14 years ago. Today, she is a Corporate Counsel for Aya Healthcare, the largest healthcare staffing company in the United States. It is the market leader, developing innovative technology to help its hospital clients effectively serve their communities. While technology drives efficiency and scale, Aya employees power the company to deliver unparalleled accountability and exceptional experiences for its clients and clinicians. In 2020, Aya Healthcare was named the Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in the Nation for the second year in a row.
Morgan first got her start in 2008 as a law clerk to the Honorable Nanette Warner at Pima County Superior Court. From there, she went on to Mesch, Clark & Rothschild, before eventually rising to of counsel at Best Best & Krieger LLP, her most recent position prior to joining Aya Healthcare. Morgan graduated from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law with a JD, and from Arizona State University with an undergraduate degree in psychology.
14. Charles Dadswell
SVP & General Counsel, Illumina
Charles Dadswell began his professional career 30 years ago. Today, he is a Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Illumina, a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function. They provide a line of products and services that serves the sequencing, genotyping and gene expression, and proteomics markets. It is mission critical to have solutions that are not only innovative, but flexible, scalable, and complete with industry-leading support and service.
Dadswell first got his start in 1992 as a patent attorney at Procter & Gamble. From there, he went on to GlaxoSmithKline, before eventually rising to VP and general counsel - Americas; corporate director of global intellectual property at bioMerieux, his most recent position prior to joining Illumina. Dadswell graduated from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School with a JD, from The George Washington University Law School with an LLM, and from Ferris State University with an undergraduate degree in pharmacy.
15. Andrew Macfarlane
Corporate Counsel, VSP Global
Andrew Macfarlane is a Corporate Counsel for VSP Global, the first and only not-for-profit eye health company. For more than 65 years, the people who power VSP eye care services activate the full power of care by consciously reinvesting in greater vision, health, and opportunities for all. Its mission is to help people through its strategic business pillars that connect nearly 90 million patients to network doctors in a variety of settings across the globe.
Macfarlane has 18 years of experience. He began his career in 2004. Before joining VSP Global, Macfarlane was an attorney at The Watkins Firm, APC, and before that, an associate attorney at Rosenberg Shpall & Zeigen. Earlier in his career, he worked with AYM, Inc. as the president. Macfarlane graduated from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law with a JD, and from Virginia Tech with an undergraduate degree in economics.
19. Virginia Sanzone
VP & General Counsel, ICU Medical
Virginia Sanzone is a Vice President and General Counsel of ICU Medical. She first joined the company in 2015. ICU Medical connects patients and caregivers through safe, life-saving, life-enhancing IV therapy systems, software, solutions, and consumables. ICU Medical is 100% focused on bringing patient-centric IV products and services that provide meaningful clinical differentiation and superior value. It designs its products to minimize disruption and maximize the time spent with patients.
Previously, Sanzone was a VP and associate general counsel of procedural solutions, mergers and acquisitions at CareFusion, and before that, a VP and associate general counsel of mergers and acquisitions at Cardinal Health. Earlier in her career, she worked with Morrison & Foerster LLP as an attorney. Sanzone earned a JD from The University of Toledo, and an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Dayton.
20. Catherine Gallagher
Senior Counsel of Labor and Employment, Aristocrat
Catherine Gallagher is a Senior Counsel for Labor and Employment of Aristocrat, a world leader in gaming content and technology, and a top-tier publisher of free-to-play mobile games. It is licensed in over 300 jurisdictions and operates in over 90 countries around the world. It has a team of over 7000 employees that push the boundaries of innovation, creativity and technology each day. Aristocrat offers a diverse range of products and services including electronic gaming machines, social gaming and casino management systems.
Gallagher has 14 years of experience. She began her career in 2008. Before joining Aristocrat, Gallagher was an employment attorney at Ogletree Deakins, and before that, an associate attorney at The Coopersmith Law Firm. Earlier in her career, she worked with URS Corporation as a certified project administrator. Gallagher graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law with a JD, and from the University of California, Santa Barbara with an undergraduate degree in history and religious studies.
View the complete list of awardees.
22. Denis Griffin
Senior Counsel, Dropbox
Denis Griffin began his professional career 10 years ago. Today, he is a Senior Counsel for Dropbox, a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. It offers the following products: Dropbox Basic, Dropbox Plus, Dropbox Professional, and Dropbox Business. The Dropbox Basic is the simple, powerful home for photos, videos, documents, and other files.
Griffin first got his start in 2012 as an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. From there, he went on to Latham & Watkins as associate, his most recent position prior to joining Dropbox. Griffin graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law with a JD, from Stanford University with an MA in English literature, and an undergraduate degree in classics and English literature.
26. Megan Frye
Corporate Counsel, AMN Healthcare
Megan Frye is a Corporate Counsel for AMN Healthcare, the leader and innovator in total talent solutions for healthcare organizations across the nation. The company provides access to the most comprehensive network of quality healthcare professionals. AMN Healthcare helps providers optimize their workforce to successfully reduce complexity, increase efficiency and improve patient outcomes. AMN total talent solutions include managed services programs, clinical and interim healthcare leaders, temporary staffing, and other services.
Frye has 17 years of experience. She began her career in 2005. Before joining AMN Healthcare, Frye was a corporate counsel at Galaxy Media LLC, and before that, a legal counsel at Spaceflight. Earlier in her career, she worked with Washington Mutual Bank as a teller. Frye graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law with a JD, and from the University of California - Santa Barbara with an undergraduate degree in communication.
27. Francisco Velasco
EVP, Corporate Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer & General Counsel, PriceSmart
Francisco Velasco began his professional career 25 years ago. Today, he is an Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel of PriceSmart. PriceSmart is the original and the largest operator of membership warehouse clubs in Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean, working to provide low unit prices on high-quality items. PriceSmart serves over three million cardholders at 50 owned and operated warehouse clubs in 12 countries and one U.S. territory.
Velasco first got his start in 1997 as an associate at Creel Garcia Cuellar y Muggenburg. From there, he went on to Dewey Ballantine LLP, before eventually rising to regional counsel at AbbVie - Latin America, his most recent position prior to joining PriceSmart. Velasco graduated from Duke University - The Fuqua School of Business with an MBA, from Georgetown University Law Center with an LLM, and from Escuela Libre de Derecho de Puebla, A.C. with an undergraduate degree.
29. Sarah Kim
VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Callaway Golf
Sarah Kim is the VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Callaway Golf, a global sports equipment manufacturing company that designs, manufactures, markets and sells golf equipment. In 2021, Callaway purchased Topgolf, and thus also operates a chain of golf-related amusement and events centers.
Kim has 21 years of experience. She began her career in 2001. Before joining Callaway Golf, Kim was an associate general counsel at Petco, and before that, a senior corporate counsel at DJO Global. Earlier in her career, she worked with Fidelity Investments as a senior research associate. Kim graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law with a JD, and from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management with an undergraduate degree.
30. Tom Kampfer
VP of Corporate Development, General Counsel & Secretary, Cohu
Tom Kampfer began his professional career 37 years ago. Today, he is the Vice President of Corporate Development, General Counsel and Secretary of Cohu, a leading supplier of semiconductor test and inspection and metrology handlers, micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) test modules, test contactors, thermal sub-systems and semiconductor automated test equipment. Its enhanced product portfolio gives its customers the best possible combination of technologies to match their business and technical needs.
Kampfer first got his start in 1985 as a site general counsel and manufacturing engineer at IBM. From there, he went on to Proxima Corporation, before eventually rising to EVP and chief financial officer at MFLEX, his most recent position prior to joining Cohu. He has served as an executive officer for three companies over the course of his career. Kampfer graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a JD, and from Purdue University with an undergraduate degree in industrial engineering.
32. Marshall Olin
Chief Business Counsel, Scripps Research
Marshall Olin is the Chief Business Counsel of Scripps Research, a leader in the discovery and application of biomedical breakthroughs that improve human health. As the world's largest independent non-profit biomedical research facility, Scripps expands the frontiers of science and education and creates hope for millions. The institute is composed of eight departments: cell biology, chemistry, immunology, experimental medicine, infectology, molecular biology, neurobiology, and neuropharmacology.
Olin has 14 years of experience. He began his career in 2008. Before joining Scripps Research, Olin was a life sciences transactional associate at Cooley LLP, and before that, an associate at Latham & Watkins. Earlier in his career, he worked with University of California Cooperative Extension as a fisheries biologist. Olin graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law with a JD in intellectual property, and from University of California, Santa Barbara with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences.
33. Stephanie Kroon
EVP, General Counsel & Secretary, Mitchell International
Stephanie Kroon began her professional career 32 years ago. Today, she is an Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Mitchell International. The company delivers smart technology solutions and services to the auto insurance, collision repair and workers’ compensation markets. Through deep industry expertise, connections throughout the insurance ecosystem and advanced technology, Mitchell enables its customers and clients to succeed in today’s ever-changing environment.
Kroon first got her start in 1990 as a researcher in the department of neurology at Case Western Reserve University. From there, she went on to Tularik Inc., before eventually rising to VP and associate general counsel at CareFusion, her most recent position prior to joining Mitchell International. She has over 15 years of experience in medical technology and life science. Kroon graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law with a JD, and from Miami University with an undergraduate degree in zoology.
View the complete list of awardees.
36. Sherry Schnell
Chief Compliance Officer & Associate General Counsel, Neurocrine Biosciences
Sherry Schnell began her professional career 26 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Compliance Officer and Associate General Counsel of Neurocrine Biosciences, a neuroscience-focused, biopharmaceutical company with a simple purpose: to relieve suffering for people with great needs, but few options. For three decades, the company has applied its unique insight into neuroscience and the interconnections between brain and body systems to treat complex conditions.
Schnell first got her start in 1996 as an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. From there, she went on to Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, before eventually rising to senior director of compliance & legal affairs at Orexigen Therapeutics, her most recent position prior to joining Neurocrine Biosciences. Schnell graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a JD, and from the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania with an undergraduate degree in government.
38. Carlos Aguilar
Deputy District Attorney, Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
Carlos Aguilar is the Deputy District Attorney for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. He first joined the county in 2020. The Riverside County District Attorney's Office, as the chief prosecutorial agency in the county, represents the people of the State of California in all criminal matters arising in Riverside County. The office, comprised of about 700 attorneys and support staff, serves the estimated 2.2 million residents across the vast 7,200 square miles that make up Riverside County.
Prior to joining Riverside County, Aguilar was a deputy city prosecutor for the Long Beach City Prosecutor's Office. Before that, he served with the San Diego Injury Law Center as an associate attorney. Aguilar graduated from San Diego State University with an undergraduate degree in criminal justice and from California Western School of Law.
40. Jason Gray
General Counsel & Administrative Officer, Mitek
Jason Gray began his professional career 28 years ago. Today, he is a General Counsel and Administrative Officer for Mitek, a global leader in mobile capture and digital identity verification solutions built on the latest advancements in AI and machine learning. Mitek’s identity verification solutions enable an enterprise to verify a user’s identity during a digital transaction, which assists businesses in mitigating financial risk and meeting regulatory requirements while increasing revenue from digital channels.
Gray first got his start in 1994 as an attorney at U.S. Robotics (acquired by 3COM). From there, he went on to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, before eventually rising to SVP and general counsel at Accelrys, Inc. (acquired by Dassault Systems), his most recent position prior to joining Mitek. He has 25 years of experience in developing and leading enterprise-wide corporate governance, legal, business development, and more. Gray graduated from the University of Michigan Law School with a JD, and from Andrews University with an undergraduate degree in economics.
43. Catherine Ratcliffe
SVP of Business Affairs and General Counsel, Novatel Wireless
Catherine Ratcliffe began her professional career 39 years ago. Today, she is the Senior Vice President of Business Affairs, and General Counsel of Novatel Wireless (now Inseego Corp), an industry pioneer in smart device-to-cloud solutions that extend the 5G network edge, enabling broader 5G coverage, multi-gigabit data speeds, low latency and strong security to deliver highly reliable internet access.
Ratcliffe first got her start in 1983 as a law clerk at US District Court - Northern District of Georgia. From there, she went on to Jones Day, before eventually rising to VP and general counsel at Day Runner, her most recent position prior to joining Novatel Wireless. Ratcliffe graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a JD, and from the University of California, Los Angeles with an undergraduate degree in political science and government.
44. Julia Miller
General Counsel, Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Julia Miller is a General Counsel for Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused on both discovery and mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to its understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.
Miller has 21 years of experience. She began her career in 1991. Before joining Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Miller was an attorney at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, and before that, an attorney at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Earlier in her career, she worked with Gen Probe as a senior research associate. Miller graduated from Boston University School of Law with a JD, and from the University of California, San Diego with an undergraduate degree in cell biology & biochemistry.
47. Elizabeth Reed
SVP, General Counsel & Secretary, Travere Therapeutics
Elizabeth Reed is a Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Travere Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to identify, develop and deliver safe, effective and life-changing therapies to people living with rare diseases. Travere’s products include thiola, chenodal and cholbam. The company markets its products through its distribution partners.
Reed has 26 years of experience. She began her career in 1996. Before joining Travere Therapeutics, Reed was a VP and general counsel and secretary at Celladon Corporation, and before that, an SVP, general counsel and corporate secretary at Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Earlier in her career, she worked with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison as an attorney. Reed graduated from Harvard Law School with a JD, and from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
49. Julie Hopper
VP & Deputy General Counsel of Intellectual Property, Maravai LifeSciences
Julie Hopper is a Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Intellectual Property of Maravai LifeSciences. She first joined the company in 2021. Maravai LifeSciences enables the development of drug therapies, diagnostics and novel vaccines and supports research on human diseases through its portfolio of market-leading companies and proprietary technologies. Biomedical innovation is dependent on a reliable supply of reagents in the fields of nucleic acid production and biologics safety testing.
Previously, Hopper was an executive director and senior patent counsel at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and before that, a registered patent agent at Fitch Even Tabin & Flannery. Earlier in her career, she worked with Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP as a patent scientist. Hopper earned a JD from the University of San Diego School of Law, and a master’s and an undergraduate degree in biological sciences from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
View the complete list of awardees.