Blank Rome Announces 2021 Promotions: Kierstan L. Carlson Elected as Maritime Partner

Effective January 1, 2021, Blank Rome announced the election of Kierstan L. Carlson to partner in the firm’s Maritime and International Trade practice group. In total, the firm elected eight associates and five of counsel to partner, and elevated four associates to of counsel.

In addition to Kierstan, the newly elected partners are Ory Apelboim, Michael J. Barry, Shaun J. Bockert, Melanie S. Carter, Thomas A. Cournoyer, Molly E. Crane, Ryan E. Cronin, Stephanie M. Harden, Martin S. Krezalek, Kevin M. O’Malley, Michael D. Silberfarb, and John P. Wixted. The new of counsel are Samir Ahuja, Kevin M. Eddy, Alexander S. Perry, and Michael P. Trainor.

“We congratulate this outstanding group of talented attorneys on their new roles at Blank Rome,” said Grant S. Palmer, Managing Partner and CEO. “Our firm’s elevation decisions are a long-term investment in the future of Blank Rome, and we are confident that this impressive group of attorneys will continue to promote our culture of teamwork and collaboration while providing exceptional service to our clients.”

ASSOCIATES ELECTED PARTNER

Ory Apelboim
Matrimonial & Family Law • New York

Ory concentrates his practice on complex matrimonial and family law matters for high-net-worth individuals, including divorce, property distribution, child custody, spousal and child support, and marital agreements. Prior to practicing family law, Ory focused on complex commercial litigation and international arbitration, representing entities and individuals in a wide range of commercial matters, including bank fraud and breach of contract matters, as well as the negotiation and drafting of commercial agreements.

Shaun J. Bockert
Intellectual Property & Technology • Philadelphia

Shaun concentrates his intellectual property practice on business and transactional matters, with a focus on complex commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and new media and digital marketing. He has experience serving a broad spectrum of clients, including public and private companies, funds, and institutional investors, as well as entrepreneurs, start-ups, and other emerging businesses.

Kierstan L. Carlson
Maritime and International Trade • Washington, D.C.

Kierstan focuses her practice on white collar enforcement actions and complex civil litigation matters, with a focus on the shipping industry. She has substantial experience defending clients in environmental criminal cases involving MARPOL and the Clean Water Act, as well as in enforcement actions involving the False Claims Act, customs fraud, and other regulatory violations. Kierstan also represents clients in civil fraud litigation matters in state and federal courts. Beyond her everyday practice, Kierstan is dedicated to pro bono work, particularly on behalf of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.

Melanie S. Carter
Commercial Litigation • Philadelphia

Melanie concentrates her practice on complex commercial and corporate matters, counseling clients on a wide range of business disputes, including breach of contract, fraud, and other business torts; real estate tax assessment, exemption, and constitutional litigation; and energy litigation. She also regularly represents pharmaceutical companies in national state and federal products liability cases. Melanie is actively engaged in pro bono work, and has received accolades for her representation on behalf of indigent clients as well as those served through local and national pro bono organizations.

Thomas A. Cournoyer
Corporate, M&A, and Securities • New York

Thomas concentrates his practice on business and corporate law matters, including mergers and acquisitions; private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies; public and private securities offerings and other financings; securities regulation compliance and corporate governance matters; general business matters, including business formation and planning; and commercial agreements. He also represents pro bono clients in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, including family court proceedings and immigration court removal proceedings.

Molly E. Crane
Corporate, M&A, and Securities • Philadelphia

Molly is a business attorney with significant transaction experience across a broad range of industries. She concentrates her practice on corporate matters, including mergers and acquisitions; private equity transactions; start-up and emerging growth company matters; business formation and planning; negotiation and preparation of commercial agreements; executive compensation and equity compensation arrangements; and franchise-related matters. Molly serves as a member of Blank Rome’s Philadelphia Pro Bono Committee and Alumni Committee and has been a mentor to summer associates through the Firm’s summer associate program.

Stephanie M. Harden
Government Contracts • Washington, D.C.

Stephanie represents government contractors in a variety of litigation and counseling matters, including bid protests before the Government Accountability Office and U.S. Court of Federal Claims audits by the Defense Contract Audit Agency; disputes before the boards of contract appeals; False Claims Act litigation; and compliance issues and internal investigations involving the mandatory disclosure rule, small business regulations, the Anti-Kickback Act, the False Claims Act, and gift and gratuity regulations. Stephanie also defends the award of major contracts as well as secures favorable corrective action for contractors challenging agency award decisions.

John P. Wixted
Commercial Litigation • Philadelphia

John focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, counseling clients on matters involving contract disputes and business torts, real estate, consumer class actions, mergers and acquisitions, professional liability, trade secrets and other intellectual property disputes, products liability defense, and appellate litigation. John has also provided pro bono representation to clients in prisoner civil rights matters and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

OF COUNSEL ELECTED PARTNER

Michael J. Barry
Consumer Finance • Philadelphia

Michael provides regulatory compliance counsel to banks and financial institutions. He advises clients on compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations, and safety and soundness issues with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Michael’s practice also encompasses all aspects of mortgage lending, from origination and servicing to secondary market transactions and vendor agreements. He also provides state and federal licensing counsel, including to FinTech clients. Michael’s pro bono efforts include a clemency project for federal prisoners, immigration work for refugees, and election protection.

Ryan E. Cronin
Corporate Litigation • New York

Ryan is an experienced litigator who represents clients in matters involving complex contract disputes, product liability disputes, real estate disputes, trusts and estates disputes, and insurance coverage disputes. He is currently the lead litigator on behalf of eight families in litigations against two well-known American toy companies relating to the death of infants. Ryan also remains politically active following his New York State Senate campaigns, and regularly advises clients on government relations matters.

Martin S. Krezalek
Corporate Litigation • New York

Martin concentrates his practice on business litigation and dispute resolution, notably focusing on complex contractual matters, fraud, fiduciary breaches, business torts, and closely held ownership and partnership disputes, including business divorce. He routinely handles disputes concerning complex business interests enmeshed in matrimonial and quasi-matrimonial proceedings. Additionally, Martin regularly defends businesses facing website accessibility lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Martin is also actively engaged in pro bono work, often representing noncitizens facing deportation and working on high-profile litigation matters to end gun violence.

Kevin M. O’Malley
Finance, Restructuring, and Bankruptcy • Los Angeles

Kevin concentrates his practice on financial services and secured lending across several industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and technology. He advises commercial banks, mezzanine and second lien lenders, equity sponsors, and other institutional lenders and borrowers in complex asset-based and cash flow financings, including split-lien and unitrache structures. He is also experienced in guiding clients through distressed loan workouts, Article 9 sales, orderly wind downs, and bankruptcy proceedings. Kevin has served as a board member of various organizations that combat homelessness and assist individuals living in poverty.

Michael D. Silberfarb
Commercial Litigation • Philadelphia and New York

Michael has represented companies of all sizes in their largest and most important litigations, and he has substantial first-chair trial experience. He represents clients in the technology, healthcare data, automotive, consumer packaged goods, and real estate industries. He has also litigated more than 100 disputes in bankruptcy court, and has represented key stakeholders in some of the highest-profile bankruptcies in U.S. history. Michael maintains a strong pro bono practice, including securing asylum for a Gambian journalist and youth activist who fled the country after being threatened directly by its dictator.

ASSOCIATES ELEVATED TO OF COUNSEL

Samir Ahuja
Finance, Restructuring, and Bankruptcy • New York

Samir concentrates his practice on finance, restructuring, and bankruptcy matters. He represents investment banks, financial institutions, and borrowers in connection with acquisition and general financing transactions, including asset-based lending and secured transactions, syndicated and leveraged finance transactions, FAL facilities, fund financing transactions, debt restructurings, and cross-border transactions.

Kevin M. Eddy
Commercial Litigation • Pittsburgh

Kevin represents companies in the energy, construction, commercial real estate, and manufacturing industries in a wide range of commercial litigation matters involving commercial and government contracts, class actions, trade secrets, land use, environmental concerns, product liability actions, employment, insurance, and government investigations. He also provides these companies with risk avoidance and risk management guidance. He has tried several cases to verdict and has argued before the various appellate courts in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Kevin is actively involved in several charitable organizations that support and fund the arts in Pittsburgh.

Alexander S. Perry
Intellectual Property & Technology • Washington, D.C.

Alex focuses his intellectual property practice in the areas of patent and trademark portfolio procurement and management, opinions, and licensing, as well as in locating and reducing risk through his mergers and acquisitions due diligence. He has experience in a broad range of intersecting technical fields, including power generation, semiconductors, sensors, controls, materials, and fasteners, among others. Alex has additional experience through his work as a nuclear propulsion engineer and Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy and as a chemical analyst at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Michael P. Trainor
Consumer Finance • Philadelphia Michael has more than a decade of legal experience serving at the trial and appellate levels. He primarily focuses his practice on consumer financial services, notably representing lenders, mortgage servicers, and other financial institutions on a wide array of federal and state litigation matters. He regularly advises clients on compliance issues as well as various other federal and state consumer protection laws and regulations. Michael’s practice also includes gaming law and regulatory matters for casino and horse racing licensees, Internet gaming operators, and sports betting companies.