June 12, 2014 Diversity & Inclusion

Judicial Intern Opportunity Program: Ten Alumni Who Shine

Read about 10 outstanding alums from the Section's JIOP program.

By Cindy Tsai

Last month, Law360 named JIOP alumnus Joseph Hanna as one of its 2014 Rising Stars. This national honor is awarded to a selective group of attorneys under 40 whose legal achievements belie their age. A quick review of his bio easily explains why Law360 selected Mr. Hanna for this distinction, but it didn’t take more than a few minutes into our conversation for me to realize that the depth of his contribution to the legal industry exceeds his resume.

As a fellow JIOP alumnus, I wasn’t surprised when he told me that he credits many of his legal accomplishments to JIOP. For him, the benefits of JIOP started as early as the application process. Interviews were opportunities for him to network with attorneys practicing in the same geographic region he hoped to practice after school and meetings with judges helped him identify the skills necessary to become a successful litigator. In the end, Joe secured a State Court clerkship in Houston, TX. During that summer, he enhanced his writing skills, and picked up on how the law is interpreted and how judges think. All of these skills continue to be highly relevant in his legal career.

Today, Joe is a partner at Goldberg Segalla, concentrating his practice in commercial litigation with a primary focus on sports and entertainment law and retail, hospitality, and development litigation. He represents sports franchises and professional athletes relating to licensing and contract disputes. Being named as a leader in this highly specialized practice area did not come easy. Joe joined Goldberg Segalla in 2005. At that time, Goldberg Segalla did not have a Sports and Entertainment practice group, but the firm supported his interest in this area. His mentor, Rick Cohen, encouraged him to develop the practice and provided him with the necessary resources to be successful. But how does an associate straight out of law school build a practice from bottom up? Joe explained when you are a first-year associate at a firm that had never hired anyone directly out of law school, partners are not running to you with assignments. “I took full advantage of that. From the first week, I was researching and writing. I reached out to the ABA and various bar associations and organizations.” The ABA and the DRI published his article about the Cleveland Browns and its famed Dawg Pound mark before he celebrated his first anniversary at the firm. Fast forward almost a decade later, Joe continues to write and participate in panel discussions. He believes this is one of the best way to grow the practice.

Joe is also dedicated to diversity in the workplace and is the founder of many diversity and outreach programs, including Goldberg Segalla’s Diversity Task Force. The firm was recognized in 2012 by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association for its innovative program. Under Joe’s leadership, the Diversity Task Force is pushing diversity beyond the walls of the firm; it is committed to increase diversity in the wider legal and business communities. Joe’s message is clear—in order to keep moving forward, law firms need to do a better job retaining minority attorneys by assigning them meaningful projects, and mentors need to stay in touch with their law student mentees and provide guidance through the three years of school and the bar exam.

Forty minutes into our phone call, Joe took me down memory lane and revealed that he was on the Syracuse University (my college alma mater) campus, finishing up a paper due the next day. At which point, I had to ask —“Why another master’s degree? Why Syracuse?” The decision to go back to school was a ‘no brainer’. Five years ago, Joe started Bunkers in Baghdad, a nonprofit organization that collects and ships new and used golf equipment for recreational purposes to American troops around the world. The organization also works with schools nationwide to have their students write letters to our overseas soldiers. Bunkers in Baghdad partners with various VA hospitals and centers in the United States to aid in rehabilitation process. Joe explained that the golf swing helps develop muscle throughout the entire body. As the charity is about to ship its 5 millionth golf ball, Joe wants to ensure that the charity continues its success. Thus, it was a no brainer for him to return to school and learn about how to manage nonprofit organizations. Why Syracuse? His response: “I wanted to learn from the best”. I couldn’t help but smile.

Given the endless list of achievements, it is hard to believe that Joe is less than 10 years out of law school. I, for one, am looking forward to see what he has in store for the next 10 years!

1. Joseph M. Hanna

  • State University of New York
  • 2004 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Elizabeth Ray.  Houston, TX
  • Partner, Goldberg Segalla
  • Co-Chair, Minority Trial Lawyer Committee, JIOP Working Group, Young Lawyer Leadership Program, Outstanding Subcommittee Co-Chair Award, Section of Litigation Good Works Award.
  • Founder and President, Bunkers in Baghdad
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York, President 2011
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York Foundation, President
  • Commercial Litigation Committee: Chair, Sports and Entertainment Law
  • Young Lawyers Division: Chair, Seminar Planning Committee; Chair, Minority Outreach Committee
  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • Upstate New York Super Lawyers, Rising Stars 2013 (Entertainment and Sports)
  • MCCA George B. Vashon Innovator Award, 2012
  • New York State Bar Association Diversity Trailblazer Award, 2012


2. Christina Liu

  • University of Miami School of Law
  • 2005 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Donald L. Graham. Miami, FL
  • Assistant General Counsel, Illinois Department of Insurance
  • Co-Chair, Young Advocates Committee, Young Lawyer Leadership Program, Outstanding Subcommittee Chair Award, 2012, for Small and Solo Firm Committee.
  • Committees and Liaisons Director for ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD), YLD Treasurer-Designee 2014–2016 term, Star of the Quarter Spring 2012 and Winter 2013
  • Member, Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline.


3. Alexis Foster

  • Arizona State University
  • 2003 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Matthew Kennelly. Chicago, IL
  • Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Kitsap County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
  • Young Lawyer Leadership Program, Minority Trial Lawyer Committee, social media chair, Young Advocates Committee social media chair, JIOP working group
  • Law Student Division 15th Circuit Governor (2002-2003)
  • Washington Women Lawyers Board, Kitsap County Representative, Washington Woman Lawyers Kitsap County Chapter Judicial Evaluation Committee, Fellow Washington State Bar Association Bar Association Leadership Institute, Secretary National Black Prosecutors Association.


4. Patrick Soon

  • Whittier Law School
  • 2011 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Michael J. McCarthy. Washington, DC
  • Trademark and Litigation Associate Attorney, WHGC, PLC
  • Co-chair multimedia subcommittee, editor for Technology for the Litigator
  • Minorities in the Profession Co-Chair, Young Lawyers Division Scholarship Award


5. Erika Glenn

  • Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • 2009 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Andrew Hanen. Brownsville, TX
  • Attorney at Rodney Jones Law Group
  • Membership co-chair for Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee, contributing editor for Access to Justice Newsletter, web editor for the Minority Trial Newsletter, web editor for JIOP. Member of the Minority Trial Lawyer Committee, Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee and & JIOP alumni committee
  • Legal Assistance Volunteer to lawful permanent residents. Neighborhood Centers Incorporated volunteer, pro bono attorney for Kids in Need of Defense.


6. Chantal Kazay

  • Loyola University Chicago
  • 2008 JIOP Alum. 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Lake County. The Hon. Mary Seminara-Schostok
  • Associate at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Diker
  • Committee Roundtables Co-Chair, JIOP Alumni Committee subcommittee co-chair, interviewing and screening


7. Aaron V. Gleaton

  • American University Washington College of Law
  • 2011 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby. Washington, DC
  • Associate at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Former law clerk, JIOP alumni mentoring committee, Section of Intellectual Property Diversity Action Group, Co-chair Virginia State Bar’s Northern Virginia Minority Prelaw Conference, Just the Beginning-a Pipeline Organization, National Bar Association, National LGBT Bar Association and American Intellectual Property Law Association


8. Roberto Martell

  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • 2011 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Brigid M. McGrath. Chicago, IL
  • Assistant Attorney General, Labor Division, General Law Bureau, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Technology for the Litigation contributor, JIOP alumni group, JIOP mentoring circle
  • Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Federalist Society, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association


9. Christina O. Alabi

  • University of Illinois College of Law
  • 2008 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Patricia B. Martin. Chicago, IL
  • Attorney, National Labor Relations Board
  • Employment and Labor Relations Law Newsletter Co-Editor; JIOP alumni committee, JIOP mentoring program


10.  William H. Knight

  • Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • 2011 JIOP Alum. The Hon. Jon Thompson. Phoenix, AZ
  • JIOP alumni subcommittee website editor and outstanding subcommittee co-chair award, Access to Justice member, Young Lawyers Division liaison to the commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities

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