Converge 2015



Save the Date

On March 18, 2015 in New York City, Above the Law will host CONVERGE—a conference designed for attorneys as well as law firm communications, marketing, business development, public relations, and technology professionals.

CONVERGE will feature a series of panel discussions on a full range of challenges and opportunities facing the legal industry, including:

  • privacy
  • reputation
  • communications strategies
  • emerging technical trends

Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, will deliver the opening remarks for the conference. Panels will be CLE-accredited by Marino Legal and CONVERGE's continental breakfast and luncheon will offer a great opportunity to network with other attendees.



College Hall Foyer
Guest Check-In
Dwight Ballroom
Continental Breakfast
College Hall
Opening Keynote Q&A with Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group
Interviewer: ATL Managing Editor David Lat
9:30–9:45am Break
College Hall
Online Reputation, Privacy and the Law
CLE - NY: 1.0 credit, Professional Practice; NJ, PA: 1.0 credit, General
Moderated by ATL editor Staci Zaretsky

Confirmed Panelists
Kashmir Hill - Senior Editor, Fusion
Michael Gottlieb - Partner, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
Leeza Garber - Corporate Counsel & Director of Business Development at Capsicum Group, LLC
Mary-Rose Papandrea - Professor at Boston College Law School

An exploration of the intersection of law and policy issues relating to online reputation, information privacy, client confidentiality, cybersecurity, and other related topics, with a special emphasis on recent jurisprudence such the Google “right to be forgotten” case.
10:45-11:00am Break
College Hall
Pitching the Mainstream Media
sponsored by Hellerman Baretz Communications
Moderator: ATL Managing Editor David Lat

Confirmed Panelists
Ashby Jones - Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal Law Bureau
John Hellerman - Partner, Hellerman Baretz Communications
Casey Sullivan - Senior Editorial Director, Bloomberg BNA

All legal industry communications and public relations professionals face the steep challenge of telling their organizations’ story beyond the confines of the industry press. Learn from prominent members of the mainstream media what it takes to pique their interest in legal stories.
12:00–1:30pm Lunch Reception
College Hall
Emerging Technical Trends and Best Practices
CLE - NY: 1.0 credit, Skills; NJ, PA: 1.0 credit, General
Moderator: ATL Editor Joe Patrice

Confirmed Panelists
Tasha Cooper, Esq. - President, UpwardAction®
Dan Lear - Director of Industry Relations, Avvo
Ryan Lytle - Social Projects Manager, Mashable
Michael C. Schmidt - Partner, Cozen O' Connor
This panel will explore the intersection of social technologies and the law. Topics to include content strategy, the use of social media for business development, SEO, blogging platforms, and more.
2:30–2:45pm Break
College Hall
The Future of Law
Moderator: Breaking Media Editor at Large Elie Mystal

Confirmed Panelists
Dr. Silvia Hodges-Silverstein - Executive Director and Founder, Buying Legal Council
Jessica Hunt - Managing Director and GM East Coast, Axiom
Rakesh Madhava - CEO, Nextpoint
Adam Nguyen - Co-Founder, eBrevia

Avoiding the jargon-choked and inaccessible discourse which typically characterizes discussions of legal technology, this session will explore the real world, concrete implications of emerging technologies and their impact on legal careers. Let's finally settle the question of whether robots are coming to take all our jobs.
3:45–4pm Closing Remarks

Speakers & Panelists


Justin B. Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Bloomberg Media Group

Justin B. Smith is Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg Media Group, Bloomberg L.P.'s global multi-platform media organization that comprises web, mobile, television, digital video, radio, print magazines and live events platforms.

Since joining Bloomberg L.P. in September 2013, Justin has completed a strategic review of Bloomberg Media and outlined a new vision to build the leading, next generation media company for global business by concentrating on the development of a series of digitally-led, multi-platform new brands. Crediting him as an "aggressive digital innovator," Justin was recently named to The Hollywood Reporter's 35 Most Powerful People in New York Media 2014.

Prior to Bloomberg, Justin was President of Atlantic Media where he spearheaded a dramatic revitalization of The Atlantic and launched award-winning digital brands such as Quartz, The Atlantic Wire, and Defense One. Under his leadership, Justin and his teams were recognized by The New York Times as "something of a marvel in the publishing world," along with a number of awards, including Advertising Age's 2010 "Publishing Executive of the Year," Advertising Age's 2010 "Magazine A-List" 2010 and min's 2010 "Most Intriguing People in Media."

Previously, Justin served as President and Publisher of The Week magazine, where he introduced the U.S. version in 2001. In this role, he was named to Advertising Age's 2006 "40 Under 40" ranking. Justin came to The Week from The Economist Group, where he led corporate strategy in London, Hong Kong and New York. He began his career in media at the International Herald Tribune in Paris and Hong Kong, helping to build the global newspaper's conference business.

Justin is the founder of Breaking Media, a network of websites, events and social media channels that includes Above the Law, Dealbreaker, Fashionista, Breaking Defense, Breaking Energy and Breaking Gov.

He serves on the Board of Directors of Georgetown University, where he received his B.S. from the School of Foreign Service in 1991. Justin was named to the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation Board of Directors in 2014, is a 2013 Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His philanthropic efforts include founding the Bali Purnati Center for the Arts and the Ouagadougou Education Project.

Justin commutes between New York City and Washington, D.C., where he lives with his two children.

Online Reputation, Privacy and the Law

  • Leeza Garber

    Leeza is Corporate Counsel & Director of Business Development at Capsicum Group, LLC. Leeza is a licensed attorney specializing in cybersecurity and privacy law. She has made numerous television appearances as an expert analyst on various legal and tech issues, including segments on the Sony hack, Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems, and the use of social media evidence in the courtroom. She has also been featured in Forbes to provide commentary on privacy and technology. Leeza is an alumna of Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

  • Michael Gottlieb

    Michael Gottlieb is a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. His practice focuses on government and regulatory litigation, white collar criminal investigations and enforcement actions involving state and federal regulatory agencies, securities litigation and enforcement, data privacy and cyber security issues, and appellate and constitutional litigation.

    Mr. Gottlieb joined the firm after more than five years in senior positions in the Executive Branch, including three years as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel for President Obama (2009, 2011-2013), and more than a year as the Deputy Director of Joint Task Force 435 in Kabul, Afghanistan (2010-2011). Earlier in his career, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, as an advisor to a United States Senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as a law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.

  • Kashmir Hill

    A self-described “privacy pragmatist,” Kash is a senior editor at Fusion writing about the intersection of technology and privacy. Previously, she was a senior online editor at Forbes, and before that, an editor at Above the Law, relying on the legal knowledge gained from two years working for corporate law firm Covington & Burling. She also spent a few years traveling the world managing educational programs for international journalists for the National Press Foundation.

  • Mary-Rose Papandrea

    Mary-Rose Papandrea joined the Boston College Law faculty in 2004. Prior to coming to Boston College, Professor Papandrea was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Connecticut and Fordham. After graduating from Yale College and the University of Chicago Law School, Professor Papandrea clerked for Hon. John G. Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Hon. Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Hon. David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. Following her clerkships, Professor Papandrea spent several years as a litigator at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in First Amendment and media defense litigation. Papandrea is Chair of the AALS National Security Law Section and past Chair of the AALS Mass Communication Law Section. Professor Papandrea's research focuses on the impact of new technology on our understanding of the First Amendment and Media law.

Emerging Technical Trends and Best Practices

  • Tasha Cooper

    Tasha (TC) Cooper, Esq. is the president of UpwardAction® – an online reputation management and social marketing consultancy – and the founder of – an online education and training portal for lawyers. She is also a social media lawyer. TC been engaged by businesses and government agencies that include: NASA, Wall Street Project Economic Summit, Rutgers University, Levin Institute Kauffman and FastTrac Programs and the Maryland Bar Association, and numerous individual attorneys, consultants, and small firms. TC is also a frequent instructor on social media, online reputation management and digital technology topics for the D.C. Bar Association.TC has been named a top 100 urban entrepreneur, and has received numerous accolades and awards for her work with small businesses by state organizations. She has also appeared in magazines as varied as Black Enterprise Magazine and the California Bar Journal. TC graduated from Hampton University with honors and Columbia Law School as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

  • Ryan Lytle

    Ryan Lytle is the social projects manager for Mashable, where he focuses on social strategy, user-generated content packages and partnerships. Since joining the company in December 2012, Ryan has managed projects such as the first-ever Hangout-a-thon for charity, the first-ever Pridecast live stream of the NYC Pride March and Mashable's first-ever crowdsourced Digital Bill of Rights. Prior to joining Mashable, Ryan spent two years in Washington, DC with U.S. News & World Report. His work has been seen on The Washington Post, The TODAY Show and MTV, among other publications.

  • Dan Lear

    Dan Lear is Director of Industry Relations for Avvo. Lear is a technology lawyer, facilitator, and blogger, and is the cofounder of the Seattle Legal Technology and Innovation MeetUp, a self-styled "legal hacking" group that meets regularly to explore, identify, and implement unconventional solutions to law's problems, big and small. He's also blogged and written extensively about the profession and its evolution on his blog Right Brain Law and for other online and print publications.

    In his six years as a practicing attorney and more than ten years in the legal industry, Dan worked for two lean "NewLaw" law firms, designed and implemented an online program for procurement contract processing, and was a part of early international legal outsourcing efforts with a Fortune 500 company.

    Lear received his BA in International Studies from Brigham Young University, and his JD and MBA from Seattle University.

  • Michael C. Schmidt

    Michael C. Schmidt is the vice chair of Cozen O' Connor's Labor & Employment Department, and the office managing partner, vice chair, of the New York Midtown office, where he is resident. For more than two decades, Mike has concentrated his practice on representing companies and management in all facets of employment law. He has tried cases and argued appeals in federal and state courts, and has represented companies (non-union and union) in arbitration, and before federal and state administrative agencies. Beyond his regular client practice, Mike publishes and edits the Social Media Employment Law Blog.

Pitching the Mainstream Media
sponsored by Hellerman Baretz Communications

  • John Hellerman

    John Hellerman, a perpetual forward thinker, is a partner at Hellerman Baretz Communications, an award-winning corporate communications agency specializing in thought leadership, branded content development, reputation management, and revenue growth for the world’s leading law, consulting, healthcare, and financial services firms. John is a respected thought leader whose expertise spans the communications spectrum, including content strategy, crisis management, public relations, and social media. He has been called a “PR whiz” and “top media relations pro” by Law Practice Management and PRWeek. Recently, John was recognized in The National Law Journal’s inaugural list of “50 Business of Law Trailblazers & Pioneers.”

  • Ashby Jones

    Ashby Jones is Deputy Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal Law Bureau, covering national legal affairs. He was the lead writer of the Law Blog from 2009-2011, during which time he wrote over 4000 posts – and somehow managed to avoid carpal tunnel. He joined the Wall Street Journal in 2005 from The Deal, where he covered bankruptcy and real estate. Before entering journalism, Ashby worked as a litigator at a large law firm and clerked for a federal judge. He graduated from Haverford College and the University of Michigan Law School.

  • Casey Sullivan

    Casey Sullivan, Senior Editorial Director at Bloomberg BNA, has revealed and analyzed business developments that have come to embody the disruption sweeping Big Law. From the multi-million dollar pay packages that led to the bankruptcy of Dewey & LeBeouf, to the financial pressures that caused established firms like Bingham McCutchen and Patton Boggs to seek a merger, Sullivan has consistently been the first to report on the internal forces driving these events, and providing competitive intelligence to the Big Law Community. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, CNBC, Reuters, MSN, Yahoo, among other international publications. He is a graduate of Colby College, where he studied writing and philosophy, and Phillips Exeter Academy.

The Future of Law

  • Silvia Hodges

    Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein is the executive director of the Buying Legal Council, the organization of procurement and operations professionals tasked with sourcing legal services and managing legal services supplier relationships. She is also a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School, where she pioneered courses in law firm management.

    Silvia has co-authored law firm case studies for Harvard Business School and is the author/editor of a number of books, including the Legal Procurement Handbook.

    Silvia earned her PhD at Nottingham Law School (UK) and holds a Masters in business from Universität Bayreuth (Germany) and Warwick Business School (UK) as well as an undergraduate degree in economics from Universität Bayreuth (Germany). She is a fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.

  • Jessica Hunt

    Jessica Hunt is the East Coast Managing Director of Axiom, the world’s largest provider of tech-enabled legal, contracts and compliance solutions for large enterprises. In her role, Jessica is responsible for the New York & Boston markets, including general management of the regions, client development, client service, attorney recruiting, marketing and P&L management.

    Prior to joining Axiom, Jessica acted as General Manager and Head of Sales & Marketing for a number of different high growth B2B businesses at Gerson Lehrman Group, growing the business from the first 11 corporate clients to 160 in the US, EU & Asia. Before joining GLG, Jessica was trained as a human paleontologist, focusing primarily on the period of human evolution from 14 million to 7 million years ago and on mathematical modeling of primate skull evolution. Jessica obtained a BA from Duke and a PhD from Yale.

  • Rakesh Madhava

    Rakesh Madhava is the founder and CEO of Nextpoint, a Chicago-based company pioneering internet technologies within the legal justice system. Rakesh leads the company's efforts to deliver cloud-based software that maximizes efficiency of litigation. He has led the company's engagements in both technology and consulting projects for some of the largest US law firms and corporations. Rakesh’s industry leadership includes being named co-inventor on Nextpoint’s 2013 patent awarded for cloud technology in managing litigation data.

    Rakesh has served as an adjunct lecturer at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University on new media topics, and is a frequent speaker on the topics of cloud computing and new technologies. In 2005, he received a special proclamation from the 7th Circuit Bar Association for his work with that group, and is a member of The Sedona Conference as well as a member of the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch.

  • Adam Nguyen

    Adam Nguyen is a co-founder and COO/CFO of eBrevia, a software company that automates the contract review process by using machine learning technology. eBrevia’s products are used by law firms and corporate legal departments for due diligence, contract management, lease abstraction, and document drafting. Adam is also the founder of Ivy Link, an education advisory firm, and was the Chief-of-Staff and Legal Officer of Vantage Properties, a real estate investment and management firm. In addition to operational management, finance and in-house legal experience, Adam has practiced law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Shearman & Sterling LLP, where he focused on private equity, hedge fund formation and mergers and acquisitions — and at AQR Capital Management, where he helped to expand the firm’s hedge fund products. Adam holds a BA from Columbia and a JD from Harvard Law School.


CONVERGE will take place at the University Club located at One West 54th Street, New York.

Please be advised of The University Club's dress code which is in effect at all times. Male members and guests are required to wear jackets, dress shirts and ties. Female members and guests are required to wear clothing meeting similar standards: tailored clothing that otherwise conforms to this rule including suits, dresses and skirts or tailored trousers with dress shirts, blouses or sweaters. Jeans, corduroy, shorts, capris, denim, sneakers, flip flops and other such casual sportswear are not considered appropriate attire. Cellular phones and personal digital assistants must remain silent and may not be used in public areas of the Clubhouse. Cell phones and PDAs may be used in the telephone booths throughout the Clubhouse.

Overnight accommodations are available at the club. For individual reservations call the Front Office Manager Lars Dewenter at 212-572-3454, or email him at


Above the Law is partnering with the Marino Legal Academy, an accredited Continuing Legal Education provider to certify the CONVERGE Conference for Continuing Legal Education credits. Online Registration for CLE is required. For questions about CLE and your state’s specific Continuing Legal Education rules and requirements, please call Marino Legal Academy at 1-800-562-7466.

Note: Attorneys registered for CLE credit will be contacted by Marino Legal Academy directly to complete the authentication process. Please be on the lookout for e-mail communications from Marino Legal Academy.


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