The American Lawyer has recognized six partners from the global law firm Jones Day as "Midwest Trailblazers" in the inaugural list for this special feature, published in its April 2021 issue. The "Trailblazers" are agents of change who have made significant marks on practice, policy, and technological advancements in their areas of legal practice.
The Midwest Trailblazers from Jones Day are:
- Bethany Biesenthal (Chicago), Investigations & White Collar Defense
- Ann Hollenbeck (Detroit), Health Care & Life Sciences
- Heather Lennox (Cleveland), Business Restructuring & Reorganization
- Andrew Luger (Minneapolis), Investigations & White Collar Defense
- Yvette McGee Brown (Columbus), Business & Tort Litigation
- Arthur O'Reilly (Detroit), Business & Tort Litigation
Bethany Biesenthal leads corporate investigations and high profile litigation at Jones Day, has tried more than 20 federal cases to verdict, and is a trusted advisor to her clients regarding their most sensitive issues. As one example, Ms. Biesenthal currently serves as General Counsel for the City of Chicago's civilian police review board, which decides matters of police misconduct. In her role, she guides the board through complicated issues concerning specific allegations of police misconduct and advises the Board on implementing rules focused on constitutional police reform and community policing. Bethany also regularly assists clients in investigating and understanding their obligations in relation to the use of forced labor in corporate supply chains. Prior to joining Jones Day, Bethany served at the U.S. Attorney's Office, where she was promoted to Senior Litigation Counsel, the most senior trial counsel position within the Office. While a prosecutor, Ms. Biesenthal led the human trafficking section, and she now leads Jones Day's trafficking litigation initiative. She is also a member of the steering committee for the Cook County Anti-Trafficking Task Force, and has worked with a major nonprofit organization fighting child exploitation to develop a manual on representing victims of child pornography crimes during the criminal process.
Ann Hollenbeck provides legal counsel to numerous health care systems that are creating, developing, and advancing human subjects research programs and has helped the programs expand to include underserved communities, diverse populations, and socioeconomically disadvantaged patients. Her work is particularly important in the community hospital setting, where research opportunities for patients are very modest when compared to those offered at academic medical centers. She assisted with the formation of an interstate community hospital network that collaboratively sought and received more than $20 million of multi-year grant funding from the National Institutes of Health for oncology research. She also represented a hospital specializing in cancer treatment with the growth of its Phase I research unit. Phase I research (the first step in testing a new treatment in humans) is often considered a last hope for those with cancer, and Ms. Hollenbeck's work enabled a more than 50% increase in enrolled patients. Her recent work in the field has involved "virtual" (also known as "remote") clinical trials where, through the use of digital technology, patients participate in clinical research without visiting a physical site. These studies make clinical research much more accessible to patients who have long been excluded from or under-represented in clinical trials.
Heather Lennox, the first woman to serve as Partner-in-Charge of Jones Day's Cleveland Office, is perhaps best known for co-leading the largest municipal bankruptcy in history (City of Detroit), for which The American Lawyer recognized her and her co-leaders as "Dealmakers of the Year." Other significant matters include leading Jones Day's team in the restructuring of Peabody Energy, the world's largest private sector coal company. In only 11 months, as lead debtors' counsel, she assisted Peabody with negotiating, developing, and confirming a plan of reorganization that reduced Peabody's debt burden by more than $5.2 billion over pre-filing levels. She also led Jones Day's representation of FirstEnergy Corp. and its non-debtor affiliates (FirstEnergy) in connection with the chapter 11 cases of FirstEnergy's competitive generation subsidiaries and advised FirstEnergy in connection with a multi-billion dollar settlement agreement with the debtors, certain ad hoc bondholder groups, and the official committee of unsecured creditors. On the civic front, Ms. Lennox serves on the boards of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Kulas Foundation. She also serves on the Executive Committees of the boards of Cleveland's Playhouse Square and the Ohio Business Roundtable and on the Cleveland State University Community Board.
A fierce advocate, Andy Luger is known for a combination of authenticity and tenacity in his quest for justice. He brings his credibility as a former prosecutor and United States Attorney to every task. Mr. Luger represents companies based in Minnesota and around the world in matters in South America, Africa, and Europe, and interacts with government lawyers and agencies with the highest integrity to represent clients on their most important matters. He has made a significant impact in his community through collaborations with lawyers, civic leaders, community leaders, and the business community to reform policing in Minneapolis and combat extremism in all forms. Mr. Luger investigated police corruption and use of force and has been a vocal advocate for changes in police procedures and culture. He has also represented the victims of violent extremism, partnering with the Anti-Defamation League on a national basis. Prior to joining Jones Day, Mr. Luger served as a U.S. Attorney, where he oversaw the largest terrorism prosecution in the country while concurrently working with community leaders to bring an end to terror recruiting in Minneapolis. His work has brought him a number of commendations, including the Twin Cities Cardozo Society's Lifetime Commitment Award and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association's Meritorious Service Award.
Yvette McGee Brown was the first African-American woman judge on the Franklin County Ohio Common Pleas Court, where she served for almost a decade and implemented a truancy program for children and a family drug court, in addition to improving probation for young people. She retired from the bench to become the founding president at The Center for Child and Family Advocacy (now called the Center for Safety and Healing) at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. At the center, she helped to bring sexual abuse detectives, investigators, and trauma specialists under one roof to serve more than 1,400 children per year. After eight years at the center, Ms. McGee Brown was appointed to serve as the first African-American woman justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio. As a justice, Ms. McGee Brown continued her work advocating for change in the child welfare system and supporting access to justice initiatives. At Jones Day, she continues her work to make the legal profession more diverse as the Firm's Partner-in-Charge of Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement. Ms. McGee Brown has been inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame and the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, and, in 2019, Savoy Magazine recognized her as one of the most influential women in corporate America.
Art O'Reilly is a leading advocate for Michigan businesses with global interests and global businesses with Michigan interests. He has helped clients address an explosion in cross-border disputes, including automotive and mobility industry businesses faced with multidisciplinary issues around the world. Deeply invested in the Detroit community, Mr. O'Reilly's earlier work in the Detroit bankruptcy remains a professional high point. Mr. O'Reilly represented the Detroit Institute of Arts ("DIA") in the City of Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding, in which creditors sought to liquidate $4 billion in artwork to satisfy municipal debts. In an unprecedented example of collaboration by attorneys and parties with a shared sense of duty to the people of the City of Detroit, Mr. O'Reilly helped ensure no art was sold as part of an agreement known as the "Grand Bargain." He argued that the art, most of which had been donated by private citizens, could not be sold to satisfy municipal debts and that doing so would irreparably harm the people of Detroit and destroy any chance for the city to return to its former glory. The court agreed, finding that "to sell the DIA art would be to forfeit Detroit's future."