From energy to entertainment to the environment and more, our seventh Who’s Next class is filled with young legal experts working across Pittsburgh.
One works for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Another works to protect constitutional rights of those who are incarcerated. Others have opened their own firms. And multiple started in other careers before going to law school.
The Incline’s editorial staff put together this list of 12 young legal leaders from dozens of nominees. (Nominate someone for our upcoming class: Who’s Next: Education by 5 p.m. today.)
You can meet and celebrate with the honorees at a happy hour, presented by S&T Bank and Meyers, Evans, Lupetin, & Unatin, LLC.
Join us as we recognize stellar under-40 leaders shaping Pittsburgh's legal community. Your ticket includes appetizers, beer and wine from the Rivers Club, as well as your chance to meet The Incline's Who's Next: Law class. Presented by S&T Bank and Meyers, Evans, Lupetin, & Unatin, LLC.
Where: The Rivers Club at 301 Grant St. (Downtown)
When: June 28, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
How much: $20 for public | Free for Who's Next: Law honorees
Kara Bailey grew up in Pittsburgh, and after a decade away, returned to Pittsburgh seven years ago. She works on a team in the Office of the Federal Public Defender’s Capital Habeas Unit. Bailey told The Incline that “the effective representation of a death-sentenced client does not rise and fall on a single, hot-shot lawyer; rather, it requires a collaborative defense team skilled in the law, investigation and the social sciences.” She said the team she works on aims “to reverse the inequities that flow from a state system where my client's identity and poverty — and not the evidence against him — determine his judicial outcomes.” Bailey is passionate about providing legal representation to low-income clients and encourages more lawyers to do the same. She was a facilitator for the 2011 and 2012 classes of Coro Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership Program. Bailey “took an active role in her community by encouraging other women to assess their own leadership roles and is living out those values in her own career,” her nominator wrote. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and University of Michigan Law School and lives in Allegheny West.
Seth I. Corbin is a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP, but he’s also been an active member of Big Brothers Big Sisters for a decade. As a lawyer, Corbin focuses on corporate law, employee pension and welfare benefits, employment law, health law, estate planning, taxation and executive compensation. He’s also worked with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to help clients get permits and approvals related to importing wine from South America and Europe. Corbin’s expertise also includes helping clients address issues and changes in health care laws and working with the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor programs. At Big Brothers and Big Sisters, he’s volunteered as a big brother for 10 years and worked with the local board of directors for seven, including as a past president. In 2011, he won the Jefferson Award for his “steadfast volunteer service” with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Corbin was named to a list of “Pennsylvania Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers Magazine from 2013 to 2017. He is a graduate of University of Pittsburgh with bachelor’s and law degrees and lives in Gibsonia, Pa.
Elizabeth A. DeLosa works at as a managing attorney for the Pennsylvania Innocence Project’s Pittsburgh Division based at Duquesne University. There, DeLosa works to exonerate those wrongfully convicted of crimes and to prevent innocent people from being convicted. She’s also an adjunct professor at Duquesne’s school of law. DeLosa previously worked for the Allegheny County Office of Conflict Counsel, developing new programs and collaborating with community agencies to make sure juveniles had quality legal representation. She also worked for the office’s trial unit. DeLosa previously worked as a research and writing attorney and assistant federal defender in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the Duquesne University School of Law. DeLosa lives in Squirrel Hill.
In September 2016, Matthew S. Feinman opened his law office, where his expertise includes bankruptcy, entertainment, small business start-ups, landlord/tenant issues and estate planning. He started his career in entertainment and moved to education but “always had that itch in the back of my mind that I should go to law school and make that my career,” he said. He moved from Orlando, Fla., to Pittsburgh to attend the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and graduated in 2015. “While a majority of the city may not know who he is now, I guarantee you he will be an attorney the city is talking about in the next five years,” his nominator wrote. When he’s not working, Feinman said he likes to explore Pittsburgh with his wife and three kids. He also is a member of the parent association of Community Day School, a board member of the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh and a confirmation teacher at the Beth El Congregation in the South Hills. Also a graduate of Full Sail University, Feinman lives in Squirrel Hill.
After working as a high school science teacher and in medical device sales, Kate Gafner decided to move to a career in law. Now, she said she uses her science background to “understand the technical nature” of the energy sector as an associate in the energy practice group at K&L Gates LLP. Gafner focuses on advising and advocating for energy clients including in crisis management and oil and gas transactions. “She's now the firm's go-to energy litigation associate,” her nominator wrote. And her teaching experience is still put to work as she mentors junior associates. Outside of work, Gafner is a fan of Pittsburgh sports and the city’s food scene and is a member of the Board of Directors for Bethany House Academy. The academy works to meet the needs of high-risk families in Northview Heights, including providing preschool, after school and summer programs. She is a graduate of Grove City College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and lives in Manchester.
As an attorney for Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, Ryan E. Hamilton provides the legal tools needed for those working to increase sustainability in Western Pennsylvania. He’s helped clients with public trail access issues, conservation easements, eminent domain, property disputes and more. “Because of Ryan’s work, individuals have a say in their community’s future and development,” his nominator wrote. Hamilton has worked at Fair Shake since 2014 and before that, worked in the U.S. EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, as well as for the Environmental Integrity Project, both in Washington, D.C. He also worked for the Freshwater Trust and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center in Portland, Ore. Outside of work, Hamilton told The Incline that he’s “an avid cyclist and enjoys foraging for wild mushrooms” and volunteers with Tree Pittsburgh. He’s a graduate of Lewis & Clark College’s Law School in Portland, Ore. and Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. and lives in Lawrenceville.
Anthony Jackson says he dreamed of becoming a criminal defense attorney. He’s now achieved that as an associate attorney for two Pittsburgh firms: Justin Ketchel Law and Zuckerman Law Firm. Jackson previously worked as a contract attorney for Eckert Seamans Attorneys at Law and was a case manager and paralegal at Chaffin Luhana LLP. He is a graduate of the College of Wooster, where he played football, and Duquesne University School of Law. At Duquesne, Jackson was a member of the Moot Court Board and a board member of the National Black Law Students Association. A native of Steubenville, Ohio, he lives Downtown.
At Duquesne Light Company, Martin McKown works to “reinforce a culture of ethics” as compliance counsel. In that role, “he assists with the development, implementation and oversight of corporate and regulatory compliance protocols,” according to his bio. Before joining the utility, he was a congressional staffer for a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a law clerk for a District Court judge and a teaching assistant at Duquesne University School of Law. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler and Duquesne University School of Law, where he served as president of the Appellate Moot Court Board. McKown was named a member of the 2016 class of social fraternity Pi Kappa Phi’s “Thirty Under 30.” He’s a volunteer for the fraternity’s Ability Experience charity, which serves people with disabilities. He lives in Mt. Washington.
Alexandra Morgan-Kurtz is a Western Pa.-based staff attorney for the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, which works to protect the constitutional rights of incarcerated persons. Among her clients, she is currently representing women who were placed in solitary confinement at the Allegheny County Jail while pregnant. Morgan-Kurtz, a graduate of Penn State and the University of Virginia School of Law, previously worked for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “At only 30 years old, she handles a large and complex caseload virtually single-handedly,” wrote the person who nominated Morgan-Kurtz. “She is intelligent and compassionate and has devoted her career to vindicating the constitutional rights of individuals who are often ignored or even despised by most of society.” Morgan-Kurtz lives in Seven Fields with her husband Kevin and three cats: Logan, Sherlock and Nibbler.
Jennifer O. Price started her own law firm in 2016 after spending several years as an assistant district attorney for Allegheny County. She represents children with special needs against school districts, whether that be attending disciplinary hearings or providing a criminal defense. As an assistant district attorney, Price prosecuted felonies from attempted homicides to sexual abuse of children. She plans to launch “PricEd 2 Change,” a podcast “where I interview people making investments in the community, children and education,” she said. “The podcast will discuss topics, including incarcerated parents and their children, girls and education, education technology, and sports and youth.” Price is a graduate of Fayetteville State University and Hamline University School of Law. She lives in Murrysville.
Marlene van Es has a deep background in environmental and agricultural policy. She was a law clerk for PennFuture, legal intern for the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection and an agricultural policy intern for Vela Environmental. She also has a degree in Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources from Cornell University. With that expertise, she founded her own practice, Trellis Legal LLC, in January 2016, which seeks to make legal services more accessible. “Marlene van Es is as powerful and driven of a lawyer as I've ever met and doing amazing things here in Southwestern Pa. to disrupt the legal services process and bring her small business, nonprofit and individual clients accessible legal expertise,” wrote one of the people who nominated her. She serves as a board member for the Pennsylvania Farmers Union and is a member of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, van Es lives in Lawrenceville.
For more than two years, Sylvia Winston Nichols has been an associate at Jones Day as part of the Business and Tort Litigation group. Before that, she was a litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago. Nichols is involved with several nonprofits and serves as president of the Young Leader's Board of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. “She executes every job, role and mission with precision and grace,” a person who nominated her wrote. “She is an advocate for change, an advocate for women's rights, and she is making a change for the better in our area, on many fronts.” She graduated from Duke University and from that university’s School of Law. A Kansas City native, she now lives in Morgantown, W.V.