Kenneth Halpern is an experienced intellectual property litigator. Over his career, he has represented a range of corporate clients in patent and technical trade secret litigation across a broad range of technologies, including semiconductors, wireless communications, DRM, memory chips and modules, optical disks, social networking, pharmaceuticals, and every variety of software, as well as in copyright and trademark matters. He has practiced in the federal district courts in California, Texas, Delaware, New York, Washington and elsewhere, the state courts of California, and handled numerous appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Bridget Asay is an experienced appellate attorney, who joined the firm in 2017 after serving as the Solicitor General for the State of Vermont. She handles high-stakes appellate and trial court litigation in all areas of the law. Ms. Asay has argued two cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and has briefed and argued dozens of appeals in state and federal courts.
For over a decade, Ms. Asay supervised and conducted appellate litigation for the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. She handled major appeals and civil litigation in a wide variety of areas, including constitutional law, federal jurisdiction, preemption, consumer protection, environmental law, sovereign immunity, employment law, administrative law, ERISA, attorneys’ fees, free speech, religion, civil rights, and taxation. She was lead counsel for Vermont’s groundbreaking consumer-protection case addressing patent trolling, which was litigated in state and federal trial courts and the Federal Circuit. She represented Vermont in several high-profile preemption cases, including a dispute over the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and an ERISA challenge to the state’s health care database, which she argued at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. Earlier, she handled Vermont’s defense of its law restricting pharmaceutical data-mining, a case that also went to the Supreme Court.
During her tenure with Vermont, Ms. Asay also wrote several multistate amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, on issues ranging from takings law to patent litigation. She is a two-time recipient of the prestigious “Best Brief Award” presented by the National Association of Attorneys General for excellence in Supreme Court brief writing.
From 2010-16, Ms. Asay was Chair of the Vermont Board of Bar Examiners, spearheading Vermont’s transition to the Uniform Bar Examination and overseeing a complete revision of the rules of admission.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with honors, from Harvard University and earned her law degree from Yale Law School. After law school, Ms. Asay clerked for Chief Judge J. Garvan Murtha, U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, and Justice Denise Johnson, Vermont Supreme Court.
Mike Donofrio has spent the first 20 years of his career as a litigator, counselor, and problem solver for a diverse array of clients with complex legal needs. From 2012-2016, Mr. Donofrio served as the first general counsel of the Green Mountain Care Board, an innovative, first-of-its-kind regulatory body created by Vermont’s landmark 2011 health care reform law. Tasked with improving health care quality, access, and affordability, the Board’s statutory charge includes traditional regulatory authority over insurers and providers as well as the authority to shape and promote innovation in health care payment and delivery. Mr. Donofrio addressed the Board’s myriad legal needs, from contracting and personnel matters to regulatory process design and rule-making to litigation. He also helped shape the organization’s strategic direction as part of its leadership team, constructed and implemented its regulatory framework, and represented it in the Vermont Legislature.
Before his tenure at the Board, Mr. Donofrio represented Vermont state agencies and officials in a wide array of complex matters: leading a team that successfully prevented cigarette companies from clawing back millions of dollars in a multistate arbitration under the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement; representing the state in complex constitutional litigation; and representing utility regulators in federal multidistrict litigation regarding state authority to investigate whether telecoms were improperly sharing data with intelligence agencies.
A graduate of South Burlington High School, Mr. Donofrio returned to Vermont with his family in 2004, and spent two years clerking for Justice Marilyn Skoglund of the Vermont Supreme Court. Before that, he taught legal writing and research at Brooklyn Law School for two years and spent six years working on complex civil and white-collar criminal litigation at two New York City law firms. He earned his law degree from New York University in 1995 and graduated from Williams College in 1991 with a B.A. in math and philosophy.
Elizabeth Rogers Brannen leads the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice. Immediately prior to joining the firm, Ms. Brannen was the Director of Intellectual Property at Barnes & Noble. She was previously Corporate Counsel in Oracle’s litigation group and has spent over a decade as a litigator in elite private practice. The 2021 edition of Benchmark Litigation recognizes Ms. Brannen as a California and national Litigation Star.
After a Federal Circuit clerkship early in her career, Ms. Brannen became an expert in every stage of patent litigation. Before going in-house several years ago, she successfully resolved, as outside litigation counsel, a wide variety of patent cases in federal courts throughout the United States. At Oracle and then Barnes & Noble, she continued helping companies defeat baseless patent and copyright allegations. Ms. Brannen has experience litigating technology relating to eCommerce, Java, Android, global business applications, middleware, server-management, and other software, as well as hardware including medical devices, blade and rack-mount servers, storage systems, tablets, and mechanical devices. She has achieved successful summary judgment rulings, including one for patent non-infringement where she argued her motion the same day as the initial case management conference.
Since joining Stris & Maher, Ms. Brannen has counseled multiple Fortune clients and closely-held companies with respect to infringement allegations prior to and during litigation, on both the defense and enforcement side, and helped secure multiple resolutions without protracted litigation. She also led the firm’s recent successful effort to defeat a copyright lawsuit involving cloud storage of digital files and defended the victory at oral argument before the Second Circuit, as well as its recent successful effort to win summary judgment dismissing Ohio right of privacy claims.
Given her record of success, adversaries remain inclined to cooperate with Ms. Brannen. She has personally negotiated complete walkaways, including one in a heavily litigated patent matter in which the plaintiff sought tens of millions of dollars in alleged damages. She has also achieved countless favorable settlements. On the enforcement side, she has obtained agreements to cease and desist from trademark infringement without litigation. She has also resolved, on favorable terms, disputes concerning alleged unauthorized use of a variety of things ranging from proprietary third-party software that was considered (but rejected) during product development, to the alleged misappropriation of photographs from a major motion picture, to microdermabrasion technology allegedly incorporated into medical equipment in violation of patent rights.
Ms. Brannen received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, with honors, and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, where, together with Peter Stris, she won the National Debating Championship.
Radha A. Pathak represents firm clients in high-stakes matters and high-impact pro bono cases. Ms. Pathak was formerly Associate Dean of Student & Alumni Engagement, Associate Professor of Law (with tenure), and Director of the Institute for Trial and Appellate Practice at Whittier Law School. Prior to entering academia, Ms. Pathak served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Raymond C. Fisher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Ms. Pathak has been litigating cases before the Unites States Supreme Court since 2005. In the 2016 term, she served on teams representing parties in Microsoft v. Baker, 137 S.Ct. 1702 (2017), and Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson, 137 S.Ct. 1407 (2017). In the 2015 term, she served as counsel of record in Board of Trustees v. Montanile, 136 S.Ct. 651 (2016), represented the respondents in Merrill Lynch v. Manning, 136 S.Ct. 1562 (2016), and was a member of the team representing the State of Vermont in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 136 S.Ct. 936 (2016). She has also litigated numerous cases involving complex procedural issues in federal district and appellate courts throughout the country.
Ms. Pathak frequently speaks and writes about complex procedural issues, especially those pertaining to ERISA and often in collaboration with firm partner and fellow academic, Brendan Maher. Her ERISA publications include Enough About the Constitution: How States Can Regulate Health Insurance Under the ACA, 31 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 275 (2013) (with Brendan S. Maher), Health Insurance and Federalism in Fact, 28 ABA J. Lab. & Emp. L. 73 (2012) (with Brendan S. Maher), Discretionary Clause Bans & ERISA Preemption, 56 S.D. L. Rev. 500 (2011), Statutory Standing and the Tyranny of Labels, 62 Okla. L. Rev. 89 (2009), and Understanding and Problematizing Contractual Tort Subrogation, 40 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 49 (2008) (with Brendan S. Maher). As a professor, she taught appellate advocacy, civil procedure, evidence, federal courts, remedies, and torts.
Ms. Pathak received her J.D., cum laude, from New York University Law School where she was an editor of the New York University Law Review, and her B.A. in Political Science with honors from the University of California at Berkeley.
Ms. Pathak currently serves on the Amicus Brief Committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Brendan S. Maher
Brendan S. Maher is Founder Emeritus (effective upon his retirement in March 2020) of Stris & Maher. In his long litigation career, Mr. Maher had the opportunity to handle cases where millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, or billions of dollars were at stake—and to learn along the way from clients, colleagues, and adversaries alike. After retiring from practice and leaving the firm, Mr. Maher joined the faculty of Texas A&M School of Law as a tenured professor, where he serves as the Director of the Health Law, Policy & Management Program.
Mr. Maher received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his A.B. from Stanford University, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Since joining Stris & Maher in 2012, Mr. O’Connell has litigated over a dozen significant cases in state and federal trial courts, co-authored briefs filed in six federal courts of appeal, and appeared on the merits five times before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. O’Connell’s practice is notable for its breadth. He has represented a wide range of clients including Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, executives, investors, and employees. The disputes he has litigated cover a wide range of subjects including copyright, business torts, employment, healthcare, insurance coverage, pensions, and securities law.
Mr. O’Connell regularly takes a leading role in many of the firm’s cases. He has briefed and argued dispositive motions, taken and defended significant depositions, led mediations and settlement negotiations, and spearheaded fact investigations associated with the filing of multi-million dollar cases.
Mr. O’Connell received his J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and was an editor of the Southern California Law Review. He received his B.S., cum laude, from California State University Long Beach.
Dana Berkowitz chairs Stris & Maher’s healthcare practice and authors many of its high-profile appeals. In 2018, New York Law Journal named Ms. Berkowitz a “Rising Star,” recognizing her as one of the region’s most promising young lawyers.
Ms. Berkowitz’s healthcare practice focuses on high-stakes disputes between providers and insurance companies. She litigates in state and federal trial and appellate courts across the country, with past representations including four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She also advises a number of prominent providers on regulatory compliance and litigation avoidance.
Ms. Berkowitz plays a leading role in the firm’s appellate practice. She has served as the primary author of briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court and four federal courts of appeal. Notably, Ms. Berkowitz led the briefing on appeal in Schueneman v. Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in which the Ninth Circuit reversed an order dismissing a pharmaceutical class action with prejudice. The case later settled for $24 million.
In addition, Ms. Berkowitz maintains an active trial and arbitration practice. She serves as lead trial counsel in complex commercial disputes in New York and across the country.
Ms. Berkowitz began her career at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York. She received her J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School and her A.B. from Princeton University, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She is proficient in Spanish and French, conversant in Mandarin, and has a rudimentary knowledge of Japanese.
Peter K. Stris
Peter K. Stris is one of the most prominent business litigators of his generation, handling trials and appeals in forums nationwide. Chambers USA has described him as “a tactical genius and a great leveler.” And the National Law Journal has highlighted his ability “to win even when conventional wisdom held that he barely had a shot.”
In less than a decade, Mr. Stris has built Stris & Maher into a premier, nationally recognized business litigation boutique. The firm has collected some of the most coveted legal awards, such as being named a finalist for Boutique Litigation Firm of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2019 and making the National Law Journal’s Appellate Hot List in 2016, 2018, and 2019. Mr. Stris has also earned top individual accolades from Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, Law360, and other leading publications for delivering victories to his clients.
Identified by Reuters as one of the nation’s most influential U.S. Supreme Court lawyers, Mr. Stris has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court. He has also represented parties in high-stakes business appeals in federal and state appellate courts throughout the nation. Mr. Stris is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the leading national fellowship for appellate practitioners, as well as the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the leading California fellowship for appellate practitioners.
An accomplished trial lawyer, Mr. Stris has successfully first chaired several high-stakes business cases to verdict or judgment. He is often retained in cases where an effective public communications strategy is critical. Mr. Stris and his work are covered by national newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. And he has appeared on numerous broadcast outlets including morning talk shows (Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Today Show), cable news (Anderson Cooper 360, The Rachel Maddow Show, Morning Joe, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, The Beat with Ari Melber), as well as public radio and television (All Things Considered, Nightly Business Report).
Mr. Stris received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where, together with Elizabeth Brannen, he won the National Debating Championship.