Moves Are Indicative of Exceptional Demand and Growth and a Springboard for Unparalleled Client Service
Houston – March 7, 2016 – Morae Legal LLC, a full-service legal consulting and solutions provider, today announces the addition of ten senior legal and consulting executives, as well as the relocation of its Houston headquarters and Chicago office. The company also announces the launch of its information and discovery management service, which will be led by one of the new executives, Jeff Seymour. The service provides Morae Legal clients with end-to-end management of information or component point solutions, including discovery, to meet specific needs.
Former general counsel Roland Castaneda and Rick Wittenbraker join the company as Executive Counsel. Kevin Blodgett, Danish Butt and Carolyn Southerland join the company as Managing Directors, and Teju Deshpande, Malini Ireland, Bill Young and Mark Woolfolk join the company as Senior Directors.
“We are extremely fortunate to have been able to attract such experienced, high-level talent,” says Shahzad Bashir, Morae Legal LLC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The addition of these outstanding professionals puts us in an even better position to achieve our vision, which is to help law departments outperform under the scrutiny of measurable quality and efficiency. As industry veterans and visionary leaders, Roland and Rick will serve as our champions in the marketplace, helping their peers understand how to move away from traditional and toward more innovative business delivery models measured by more efficient and cost-effective performance.”
Bashir continues, “Jeff, Carolyn, Danish, Teju, Mala and Bill have been on the forefront of legal consulting and services for their entire careers. They know how to develop strategy, create processes, deploy people, leverage technology and measure data in order to deliver results. Mark, as a former partner in an Am Law 50 firm, brings law firm quality as well as the ability to deliver just-in-time creative resources with the right skills and experience at the right cost. As former general counsel themselves, Roland, Rick and Kevin understand exactly how law departments work and what they need to achieve their own performance goals.”
Jeff Seymour has been leading information and discovery management practices at major consulting firms for over a decade. Most recently Seymour was the national practice leader for Deloitte’s discovery practice and sat on the Executive Committee for Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP and the board of directors for Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP. He is an expert in a range of related areas, including information governance, computer forensics, electronic discovery and software/application development. Seymour is a recognized thought leader in the electronic discovery domain and specializes in helping law departments manage their information throughout its life cycle. He has deep experience crafting solutions to address cross-border discovery and data privacy challenges. Seymour is based in the company’s New York office.
Roland Castaneda is known by many as a visionary leader able to organize human and capital resources in support of a common business and organizational goal. While serving as General Counsel to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Agency, he led the effort to create The General Counsel Forum, a national best practices peer group that today has a membership of more than 700 General Counsel and Managing Counsel and 37 of the state’s most influential law firms. He has supported numerous pro bono and nonprofit organizations such as the Austin College, the United States Community Development Corp., the Harvard Club of Dallas, the Symphony Society of Dallas, the Dallas Assembly, the Rotary Club of Dallas and the Manos De Cristo Foundation, as well as the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Law School Alumni Associations. Castaneda is based in Dallas.
Rick Wittenbraker was Waste Management’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, and as a member of its senior management team, he was involved in all aspects of the company’s affairs, including strategy, business execution, management structure, board of directors’ activities, litigation, M&A, finance, compliance and governance. Prior to joining Waste Management, he was a partner at the Bracewell firm, where he was heavily involved in the firm’s senior management and ran its business practice. Over the years, he has also served as trustee or director for a variety of nonprofit organizations, such as Texas Christian University, ACT for Channel 8 Television (PBS), the Spring Branch Education Foundation and the Texas General Counsel Forum. Wittenbraker is based in Houston.
Kevin Blodgett most recently served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Rockwater Energy Solutions, Inc. for nearly four years. He previously acted as the General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Administration, of Dynegy Inc. for more than five years. He brings an understanding of leading successful corporate law departments as well as the experience of advising general counsel on law department strategy and operational matters as a consultant. He is also on the board of directors of The General Counsel Forum, a peer-to-peer legal best practices community. Blodgett is based in Houston.
Danish Butt has been a trusted advisor in assisting law departments transform into effective and efficient business partners for more than a decade. He has helped law departments in transformation projects that span organization structures, processes, outside counsel management, knowledge management, technology, data and analytics. His notable clients belong to highly regulated industries such as medical devices, utilities, financial, manufacturing and insurance. Butt is based in Houston and focuses on the Midwest market.
Carolyn Southerland has almost twenty years’ experience in developing processes and strategies for the information life cycle, with a focus on electronic discovery. Southerland has extensive experience establishing procedures for gathering electronic data, searching and culling the data and managing the review and production of electronically stored information, as well as negotiating with opposing parties regarding scope and form of production. Southerland is based in Houston and a frequent speaker and author on the legal issues involved in electronic discovery.
Teju Deshpande has more than twenty years of experience in the technology and legal outsourcing industries. Having already helped to build a disruptive legal outsourcing business, she has significant expertise in managed legal services solutions, technology and strategic client management. Based in Chicago, Deshpande has also built and scaled key enabling functions and developed industry-leading quality frameworks and methodologies.
Malini Ireland is an experienced project manager in the areas of crisis response, claims management and technology project management. With more than 20 years of process and technical expertise, she has assisted clients in managing thousands of claims and resolved complex problems through effective project management. Her experience includes mass-tort claims administration, operational and technology project management, product launch strategy and resource development and planning. Ireland is based in New York.
Mark Woolfolk was a partner at Phillips & Reiter, PLLC, a law firm focused on providing outsourced general counsel services. Before that, he was Associate General Counsel with Hewlett-Packard Company. At HP, he provided legal counsel to senior executives on strategic matters, and in doing so, addressed a broad range of complex legal matters in commercial and consumer industries on a worldwide basis. Prior to HP, he was a partner in the corporate and securities section at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Woolfolk is based in Houston.
Bill Young has managed the legal operations for two different Fortune 500 companies, Dynegy and Quanta Services, and has also been a law department consultant and product line executive for a leading suite of enterprise legal management technology solutions. In his most recent role as Chief of Staff and Director of Legal Operations at Quanta Services, Young’s responsibilities included end-to-end design and management of all legal department operations, and his day-to-day duties ranged from spend management to budgeting to law firm selection and oversight. He is based in Houston.
“The addition of these outstanding professionals is representative of our exceptional success so far,” says Bashir. “They are each positioned to stimulate continued growth in all areas. Further, with new state-of-the-art permanent facilities in Houston and Chicago, we are positioned to serve our clients in a transformational manner with the use of technology, connectivity and knowledge-sharing among our growing ranks.” While Morae Legal launched only six months ago, its bench strength has quadrupled, and with the decades of experience its people bring to bear, the company is positioned to provide innovative services to its clients with measurable results. “We are designed to transform – not step change – the industry,” adds Bashir.
In addition to its headquarters in Houston and office in Chicago, Morae Legal LLC has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.moraelegal.com.
About Morae Legal
Morae Legal LLC is comprised of a seasoned team of professionals who help the office of corporate counsel improve business performance by developing strategy, creating processes, deploying people, leveraging technology and measuring with data in order to deliver results. The company’s core service offerings include law department management consulting, outsourced legal services, crisis management and information and discovery management. More information can be found at www.moraelegal.com.
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