Sanford Heisler Adds Co-Vice Chair, New Managing Partners

Posted November 1st, 2021.

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By Matt Perez

Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP announced on Monday a slew of new leadership positions and additions to its legal team, including the appointment of a new co-vice chair of the firm.

Kevin Sharp, the firm’s former Nashville managing partner and named partner of the firm, is now the co-vice chair alongside co-founder Jeremy Heisler.

“We continue to grow the firm and expand our impact and influence through strategic internal promotions and recruiting top talent to the firm,” David Sanford, the firm’s chairman and co-founder, said in a statement. “2021 has been another exceptionally successful year for the firm handling public interest and social justice cases of importance to individuals, families and communities. These promotions and new hires will make the firm even stronger in the years ahead.”

Sharp is a former judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. He joined the firm in 2017, and handles individual and class employment litigation. He’s also led litigation on behalf of cities and counties seeking damages from harm related to the opioid crisis. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Christian Brothers College and his law degree from Vanderbilt University.

Succeeding Sharp as managing partner in Nashville is Leigh Anne St. Charles. Before her promotion to partner, St. Charles served as a senior litigation counsel and previously was an associate at Arnold & Porter.

St. Charles works out of the firm’s employment discrimination and financial services groups. Her experience includes representing the co-founder of semiconductor company InnoGrit, resulting in an arbitration verdict of $8.3 million, as well as the former CEO of the Nashville International Airport in claims over disability and family medical leave discrimination, winning a settlement of more than $2 million. She received her bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University and her law degree from Columbia University.

“It is my honor to serve as the managing partner of the Nashville office, and I appreciate the confidence that the other partners of the firm have placed in me,” St. Charles told Law360 on Monday. “I look forward to supporting the Nashville office in its work to continue Sanford Heisler Sharp’s mission of providing excellent client representation to those most in need with our incredible pool of best in class legal talent.”

Sanford Heisler also appointed a new general counsel, Russell Kornblith, the firm’s former New York managing partner. Practicing employment law — in particular whistleblower, sexual assault and discrimination litigation — he previously served as co-lead counsel for a class of sale representatives alleging gender discrimination against Merck & Co., winning a $6.2 million settlement. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and his law degree from Harvard University.

Taking over for Kornblith in New York is Michael Palmer, co-chair of the firm’s wage and hour practice. In his practice, he represents individuals in actions involving the False Claims Act and employment discrimination. He’s currently leading a case against Oracle under the California Private Attorneys General Act, as well as a $100 million gender discrimination class action against Schlumberger Technology Corp. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and his law degree from New York University.

Several others moved into managing partner roles at Sanford Heisler, as well. Currently, the managing partner of the Baltimore office, Deborah K. Marcuse will also take on the role of firm wide managing partner and report to the executive committee. Also serving as a co-chair of the firm’s discrimination and harassment practice, Marcuse last year secured a $14 million settlement on behalf of graduate students alleging a gender-based hostile environment at Dartmouth University. She earned her bachelor’s degree and law degree from Yale University.

“I’m so grateful to be at a firm where someone can be as candid and outspoken as I am and still have a job, let alone get elevated to a role like this,” Marcuse told Law360. “Thrilled to find new ways to be useful to my amazing colleagues, our wonderful clients and to a profession that has made great strides but still has a long way to go toward justice.”

The firm’s co-chair of discrimination and harassment practice, Kate Mueting, will additionally take on the role of co-managing partner of the Washington, D.C. office, alongside partner Vincent McKnight. This year, she helped secure $10 million from KPMG’s tax and advisory department related to pay and sex discrimination. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and her law degree from the University of Iowa.

“The firm has grown tremendously since I joined nearly 10 years ago,” Mueting said. “We have more offices, practice areas and attorneys, and I am proud that through that growth we have not lost but have strengthened our core commitment to social justice. I am excited and honored to be a part of the firm’s expanded leadership team.”

Also moving up into leadership positions, Alexandra Harwin becomes the executive firm chair of the firm’s discrimination and harassment practice and Melinda Koster and Danielle Fuschetti will become co-chairs of the group. Nicole Wiitala will also become co-ombudsperson.

Jonathan Tepe was promoted to senior litigation counsel in Nashville, while five attorneys became associates: Amee Vora, Michael Lockman, Kaitlin Leary, Frank Xu and James Hannaway. Additionally, four lawyers will become litigation fellows.

Founded in 2004, Sanford Heisler employs around 90 professionals across six offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville and Baltimore.

–Editing by Nicole Bleier.

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