We talked to hundreds of lawyers to find the rising stars whose careers are described below and in the pages that follow. Beginning with a wide and informal canvass that generated more than 200 suggestions, we identified practice areas that seemed rich in opportunity for young litigators and honed in on those for our reporting. That's why the list contains a concentration of appellate, intellectual property, public interest, and products liability lawyers. Others have made a mark as criminal defenders or labor lawyers or securities specialists. All of them have worked relentlessly to get where they are. What follows are the biographies of 50 litigators we expect to see leading the field for years to come.
Co-managing partner of Seyfarth's New York office, Almon specializes in large-scale wage-hour cases. She is lead counsel to Wachovia Corporation in 18 class or collective actions alleging that the bank failed to compensate brokers for overtime hours, and she is also leading Eastman Kodak Company's defense in three putative wage-hour class and collective actions. Almon started her career working for the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York and continues to represent the city in private practice as lead defense counsel in three collective actions pending against the city and the New York City Police Department. In 2004 she successfully defended Costco Wholesale Corporation in a sexual harassment suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Ann Beeson, 43 American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU's associate director, Beeson has always had impeccable timing. While a junior lawyer at the ACLU, she developed an expertise in the Internet just as Congress passed the Communications Decency Act, the first federal Internet censorship law. Beeson argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the law. More recently, she's been leading the ACLU's fight against the USA Patriot Act, winning a major lawsuit last summer for journalists and scholars challenging warrantless government surveillance of American citizens. Beeson is also representing Khaled El-Masri, an accused terrorist who was allegedly kidnapped and tortured by the Central Intelligence Agency in Macedonia.
Barry Berke, 42 Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
Berke, a former federal public defender in New York, has built an enviable white-collar defense practice since joining Kramer Levin in 1996. He represented American International Group, Inc., in the insurance giant's bid-rigging scandal and in an investigation over possible stock manipulation. He also represented the CFO of Oxford Health Plans in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. Berke is scheduled to defend David Pinkerton, former head of an AIG investment fund, in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act trial slated for November 2007. The government alleges that a company in which the fund invested bribed top Azerbaijani officials in exchange for lucrative contracts in the country's oil sector.