Beth Wilkinson Named Top 10 Female Litigator by Benchmark Litigation for 2022

For the second year in a row, Beth Wilkinson has been named a Top 10 Female Litigator by Benchmark Litigation. While Benchmark honors the Top 250 female litigators across the US each year, the publication also recognizes the elite top 10 leading lawyers of that iconic cohort. The Benchmark Top 10 Female Litigator list identifies the most prominent individuals, nominated on the strength of historical and unwavering peer and client review, as well as proven achievements. The firm celebrates Beth’s unparalleled record of victories in the courtroom and congratulates her on this latest recognition.

Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Named to Benchmark Litigation 40 & Under List

Wilkinson Stekloff Partners Kieran Gostin, Rakesh Kilaru, and Moira Penza were named to the 2022 Benchmark Litigation 40 & Under List, the guide to the nation’s most notable up-and-coming litigation attorneys. This is the second consecutive year that all three partners have been recognized by Benchmark, with Kieran making a third appearance and Rakesh securing a spot each year since 2018. Kieran has made his career representing the government and private clients in high-profile matters. Recently, he has represented clients in several major class actions, including obtaining a complete defense verdict in a rare trial of a major consumer class action. Over the past five years, he has also gone to trial in five product-liability trials, securing defense judgments in each case.  Rakesh specializes in delivering favorable results to clients at every stage of litigation, tackling everything from arguing dispositive motions to crossing expert witnesses at trial to arguing precedent-setting appeals. He …

Wilkinson Stekloff Partner Cali Cope-Kasten Featured in Law.com’s “How I Made Partner” Series

For its series asking top-tier lawyers about their path to promotion, Law.com recently featured Wilkinson Stekloff partner Cali Cope-Kasten. Cali reflects on the key to successful business development — “doing excellent work” — and the impact founding partner Beth Wilkinson has made on her development as a trial attorney: “She has been a champion for me and for so many young women at our firm. She helped me develop a reputation with our clients by giving me opportunities early in my career to have a seat at the table in client meetings and encouraging me to stand up and speak up to present my work every chance I got. And watching her engage with judges and juries has been an incredible learning experience that has provided me with inspiration to develop my own style.” Cali made partner in early 2022 following the critical role she played in Clark v. Monsanto …

Wilkinson Stekloff Helps Secure Win Blocking Arizona “Fetal Personhood” Law

A federal district court has granted a preliminary injunction preventing a 2021 law that grants “personhood” rights to fetuses, embryos, and fertilized eggs from being used to prohibit abortion care in Arizona. The emergency motion for an injunction was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Arizona, and Wilkinson Stekloff LLP on behalf of the Arizona Medical Association, the Arizona National Council of Jewish Women, Arizona NOW, and two abortion providers, Dr. Paul Isaacson and Dr. Eric Reuss. “The district court decision blocking the enforcement of Arizona’s personhood law helps protect Arizonans from civil and criminal penalties stemming from the provision of abortion care,” said Wilkinson Stekloff partner Ralia Polechronis. “Before this significant ruling, confusion and fear created by this vague provision were resulting in Arizonans being deprived of access to essential and time-sensitive healthcare. We are proud to have achieved this meaningful victory …

Business Insider Names Cali Cope-Kasten 2022 Rising Star of the Courtroom

Cali Cope-Kasten has been named a 2022 Rising Star of the Courtroom by Business Insider. The prestigious list profiles 15 up-and-coming litigators who have represented clients in blockbuster trials and class actions around the country. An embodiment of Wilkinson Stekloff’s mission to develop the next generation of trial lawyers, Cali has earned this recognition at the age of 33, years before most of her fellow recipients.     Late last year, Cali played a critical role examining several witnesses in Clark v. Monsanto, the first case involving a child plaintiff in the litigation over whether the herbicide Roundup causes Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. After a single day of deliberation, a jury delivered the first-ever verdict for Monsanto.  Describing her experience with Business Insider, Cali shared that “jurors told her afterward that her questioning of a weed scientist about how often Roundup was typically used was key to their understanding of the case.” Brian Stekloff, who has known Cali …

Wilkinson Stekloff Welcomes Hannah Bedard

Wilkinson Stekloff is pleased to announce that Hannah Bedard has joined the firm as an associate. Previously, Hannah was an associate at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C. She has worked on a variety of complex civil litigation matters, including patent, trade secret, contract, and False Claims Act cases. Hannah has experience in all stages of litigation and has represented clients in motions for injunctive relief, summary judgment, and post-trial relief. She has also been a member of numerous appellate teams. In addition to her litigation work, Hannah maintains an active pro bono practice. She has represented clients in federal appellate courts, state courts, and agencies. Among other successes, she represented an incarcerated defendant before the Seventh Circuit and secured his release by persuading the court that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as an executive editor …

Wilkinson Stekloff Recognized in The Legal 500

Wilkinson Stekloff has been recognized by The Legal 500 as a Tier 1 firm in Dispute Resolution: Leading Trial Lawyers. WS is one of only seven firms in the United States to achieve this high honor in the newly released 2022 edition of the publication.  In addition, The Legal 500 named WS Founding Partner Beth Wilkinson to the Hall of Fame within the same category. This recognition is reserved for individuals who, “have received constant praise from their clients for continued excellence,” and “are at the pinnacle of the profession.” WS is the leading trial litigation boutique in the country, demonstrating a depth of talent and dexterity of skill unmatched by firms of any size. In the past six years, the firm has tried over 20 cases to verdict, winning the vast majority.  The Legal 500 is based on research gathered by experienced lawyers and journalists from the law firms …

Clayton Wiggins Joins Wilkinson Stekloff

Wilkinson Stekloff is pleased to announce Clayton Wiggins has joined the firm as an Associate in the Washington, D.C., office. Clayton most recently served as a prosecutor and appellate counsel in the United States Marine Corps.  As a prosecutor, Clayton tried four contested criminal cases before juries and was lead counsel on ten felony-level guilty pleas. As an appellate counsel, he briefed and argued multiple cases before the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.   Clayton was named the Department of the Navy’s Military Justice Officer of the Year for 2021. Prior to law school, Clayton deployed for seven months with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of military exercises and contingency operations in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School and B.S., B.A. cum laude, and M.A. from the University of Tennessee.  

Wilkinson Stekloff Partner and “Trial Ace” Grace Hill Featured in Law 360

The legal press has taken notice of Wilkinson Stekloff’s newest partner, former federal prosecutor Grace Hill, most recently with an article in Law 360 about her decision to move from public service to private practice. Grace’s reputation for excellence in the courtroom, and her more than seven years of experience as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, make her an extraordinarily valuable addition to the firm’s team. And we are proud that Wilkinson Stekloff’s culture — with an emphasis on flexible scheduling and women in leadership — played a role in convincing Grace to bring her talents to the firm. During her time with EDVA, Grace tried seven complex criminal cases to a jury and argued a Fourth Circuit appeal. She has prosecuted a wide range of white-collar cases, including offenses involving bribery and public corruption, CIPA equities, government contract fraud, FCPA, investment fraud, securities fraud, …

Wilkinson Stekloff Partner Moira Penza Writes for Law 360 on Her First Case as a Civil Defense Attorney

In a recent article for Law 360 Pulse, WS Partner Moira Penza reflects back on lessons learned serving as co-lead counsel on a multibillion-dollar class action, her first case after joining the firm in 2019. While technical expertise and legal acumen are top priorities in every case, Moira understood from her time as a federal prosecutor that interpersonal dynamics can have a profound effect on the outcome of a case, and that building credibility with all players in the trial would be key to securing a satisfying result for her client. Moira discusses the importance of helping jurors feel heard, drawing on the unique experience of local counsel, and building the morale of the legal team, among other recommendations. Moira has always been generous about sharing her professional insights with colleagues, and we are pleased to see them in print. Read the full article here.