Our Leadership Team
The HLSA of Los Angeles is an alumni volunteer managed organization. We thank our Officers and Board Members for their dedication and support of HLS alumni activities.
Our board of directors is composed of the elected officers of the HLSA of Los Angeles. Members of the board and participating members of the organization are listed below. For more information about our leadership team or to get involved, you can contact us at email@example.com.
If you are a board member looking for our internal board page with minutes and agendas, you can find it here.
Sherry A. William '10 - Co-President
Sherry A. William, Principal of Pacific Ivy Law Group, provides legal, business and strategic advice to companies of all sizes, individuals, governments, and financial institutions, domestically and internationally. Prior to launching Pacific Ivy Law Group, Ms. William practiced law in the New York offices and Los Angeles office at three of the top law firms in the world. She is licensed to practice law in California and New York and is fluent in Arabic and conversant in Spanish. Ms. William has also spent time in Tokyo, Japan at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, one of the most highly regarded law firms in Japan.
Ms. William is active in her community. In addition to serving as President of the Harvard Law School Association of Los Angeles, she is also President of the League of Egyptian American Professionals. Early in her career she was an immigration law fellow at the nationally recognized Greater Boston Legal Services where she represented clients in defensive and affirmative asylum claims and Violence Against Women and Act and U-Visa petitions. She has continued to advise on immigration issues since.
Ms. William is direct, practical, responsive and trustworthy. She is a fierce negotiator who takes a personal and measured approach. She is fluent in Arabic and conversant in Spanish, is licensed to practice law in California and New York and holds a real estate broker license in both California and New York.
Steve Papkin '94 - Co-President
Andrew Row '17 - Co-Vice President
Angela M. Sousa '80 - Co-Vice President and Diversity Co-Chair
With over thirty years of experience in business litigation, labor & employment law and governmental regulation, Angela M. Sousa has recently traded big for small, re-launching her individual law practice in Century City, California. Angela’s return to this individualized practice grew out of a desire to provide service to small to medium-sized businesses or individual clients who often found themselves priced-out of the larger law firms at which Angela previously practiced. A lifelong Californian, Angela headed to Harvard Law School after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. American History, with distinction and Phi Beta Kappa, 1976). In addition to her J.D. from HLS (1980), Angela also holds a Master’s in City & Regional Planning received from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1980) through a joint degree program with her law degree from HLS. Angela then began her litigation career as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington D.C. as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Law Graduate program. Following her stint with the Justice Department, Angela returned to California, practicing law at both major international firms, including McCutchen Doyle (San Francisco) and Jones Day (Los Angeles), as well as at local Los Angeles boutique law firms. Angela’s HLS alumni activities have included serving on the Host Committee for Celebration 50, the Programming Committee for Celebration 60, and at the launch of the Southern California chapter of the Harvard Law School Women’s Alliance. Angela has been on the Board of the HLSA-LA since 2015, also serving as its Membership Co-Chair for three years, Co-Chair for Diversity for two years, and Liaison Co-Chair for one year. In January 2020, Angela was elected Co-Vice-President.
Jon C. Walls '90 - Treasurer and Diversity Co-Chair
Jon C. Walls is a Managing Director at investment banking firm, Azurest Partners. He is a senior finance executive possessing over 25 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies and small to mid-sized businesses. Jon began his career at Lehman Brothers where he served as a Senior Vice President of Investment Banking until 2000 with an industry specialization in Financial Institutions. While at Lehman, he developed his deep expertise in delivering complex M&A, equity and fixed income solutions to sophisticated clients. Over a span of eight years, he successfully executed more than 30 transactions totaling over $16 billion in mergers and acquisitions and over $5 billion in debt and equity financings.
Jon’s most recent experience includes over 8 years leading a professional staff as President of an insurance brokerage he acquired with private equity and property management partners. During that time he turned around the sales and overall financial performance of the company while overhauling the company’s technology infrastructure and its financial strategy. In addition, for more than ten years, Jon was the instructor of S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Fundamentals of Bank Valuation, a seminar he designed which is offered throughout the country. Jon has also held senior leadership roles at a mortgage bank and a technology
Jon holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a JD from Harvard Law School (Cum Laude) and a BA from Yale University.
Sabra Gandhi '01 - Co-Secretary
Sabra Gandhi Sellers Esq. is the Managing Director and Broker of Record for Sabra Sellers Real Estate. She is a licensed Real Estate Broker in both California and New York. Sabra graduated cum laude, from the Harvard Law School, and received her B.A., cum laude, from Columbia University. Prior to joining Nest Seekers, Sabra was a corporate and real estate lawyer with the prestigious Wall Street law firms, Cleary Gottlieb and Proskauer Rose. She represented major Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, Citibank, McDonald’s, Tower Records and Honda, among others.
Sabra specializes in the following neighborhoods—Santa Monica, Venice, Mar Vista, Culver City, Brentwood and Beverly Hills. She has sold properties all over Southern California and New York. When representing buyers, she focuses on finding her client the home that best fits his or her needs and negotiating for the best value. When representing sellers, Sabra does a thorough evaluation of every aspect of the property to make sure it is properly prepared for sale, and then marketed in the best way to expose the property to the buyers most suited for the property.
She serves on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Law School Alumni Association as the Secretary and on the Board of Directors of the Hill & Dale Learning Center Preschool in Santa Monica as the Vice President.
She is a member of the Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles Realtors Association, as well as both the New York and California bar associations. Sabra speaks multiple languages, including French, Japanese, Spanish and Hindi and has spent time living in Japan, France, Hong Kong and India.
Marina Shvarts '13 - Co-Secretary
Jillian London '13 - Marketing Co-Chair
Jillian London is an attorney in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She practices in the firm’s Litigation, Media, Entertainment & Technology, Class Actions, and Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Groups. Jillian has extensive experience litigating all stages of commercial disputes in the technology and entertainment sectors, including in the areas of breach of contract, class actions, intellectual property, and employment. She is also a member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.
Jillian received her law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was a technical editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review and the President of the Board of Student Advisers, and received the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Harvard College, magna cum laude, and received an MSc with Distinction in Philosophy & Public Policy from the London School of Economics & Political Science. She currently serves as a Board Member for KEEN Los Angeles.
Todd Plutsky '03 - Marketing Co-Chair
Melissa M. Mikail '18 - Technology and Communications Co-Chair
Melissa Mikail is a law clerk to the Hon. Consuelo B. Marshall of the U.S. District Court for the Cental District of California. Melissa previously practiced commercial, securities, and entertainment litigation at Sheppard Mullin. Melissa also represented clients in pro bono matters, including asylum, adoption, and domestic violence cases. Melissa sits on the board of the University of California, Riverside, and is a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers and American Bar Association Young Advocates Committee. Melissa earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2018 and her B.A. in Philosophy/Law and Society from the University of California, Riverside, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. When she isn't researching or drafting, Melissa loves cooking and spending time outdoors with her husband & toddler.
April Hua '19 - Technology and Communications Co-Chair
April Hua is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Nixon Peabody. She is a member of the firm’s Entertainment practice group, where she counsels individuals and entities in the entertainment, music, and influencer industries on various transactional matters. Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, April practiced as an entertainment, media, and intellectual property litigator.
April graduated from UCLA in 2015, where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in Film & Television Studies. April then received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2019, where she was a line editor for the Journal of Law and Technology (JOLT), team leader in the Recording Artists Project (RAP), member of the Food Law & Policy Clinic, and co-president of HL Central.
Ariel Shpigel '18 - Membership Co-Chair
Ariel Shpigel works at Matt Tolmach Productions, a feature film and television production company that has produced titles including Jumanji, Venom, Spider-Man: Far from Home, and the upcoming Dark Matter, Kraven the Hunter, Exoplanet, and Blocks. Previously, she was an attorney in Sheppard Mullin's Entertainment, Technology, and Advertising practice group. In 2021, she left entertainment law to pursue a career in producing.
Ariel is a graduate of Harvard Law School (J.D., 2018) and Duke University (A.B., Environmental Science and Policy, 2014). At HLS, she was President of Scales of Justice and Vice President of the Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law.
Jacklyn Park '95 - Membership Co-Chair
Jacklyn Park is the Assistant General Counsel, Corporate, Securities & Acquisitions at Oracle. She began at Oracle as a lead attorney on M&A deals, and was promoted to Chief Counsel overseeing the integration of all of Oracle’s acquisitions. She currently oversees the management of all of Oracle’s subsidiaries worldwide, restructurings, integrations, and other corporate matters. Prior to Oracle, Jacklyn worked in the Los Angeles and Asia offices of Latham & Watkins.
Jacklyn received her B.A. in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley summa cum laude, and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was Co-Chair of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and articles editor of the Journal on Legislation.
Antony Gordon '90 - Speaker Chair and Liaison Co-Chair
After graduating from Harvard Law School with an LL.M, Antony worked in the Entertainment Department at Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell in LA before accepting a Business Affairs position with one of the clients of the firm.
Antony parlayed his skills and relationships into the high-end of the financial service industry. After several years at UBS’s Private Client Group, Antony joined the flagship office of Morgan Stanley on the West Coast. After leaving the bulge bracket investment banks, Antony launched Stealth Capital Management, LLC (“Stealth Capital”), a boutique merchant bank; Life After Sports Transition, LLC (“L.A.S.T”), focused on assisting professional athletes to make a seamless transition to the business world post playing career as well as participated in the founding of two hedge funds.
In February 2017, Mr. Gordon joined MGO, one of the fastest growing professional services firms to spearhead business developments with a specific emphasis on the firm’s sports and entertainment clients as well as to assist in the growth of Ello, a wholly owned subsidiary of MGO, which has earned the reputation of being the leading advisory firm in the USA in the cannabis space.
Tim Lamoureux '13 - Liaison Co-Chair
Nader Rousta '15 - Mentorship Co-Chair
Nader Rousta is a Vice President within Lazard’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group. Nader has over 8 years of investment banking experience in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and debt and equity financings. Nader has successfully represented dozens of companies, completing transactions for and with leading public corporations, private equity funds, and entrepreneurs across a broad range of industries. Nader joined Lazard in 2018 from Jefferies Group in New York, where he worked in the investment bank’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group.
Nader received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was Senior Editor of the Harvard Business Law Review, and his B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude, from the University of California, San Diego.
Monica Johnson '04 - Mentorship Co-Chair
Monica Johnson is a former federal prosecutor, entrepreneur and board advisor with more than 18 years of cumulative experience across the public service, law, health and wellness, and technology sectors. She is currently the COO and General Counsel of Introsight Advisors, a global strategic marketing firm with offices in Dubai, London and Los Angeles that services sophisticated global investors. Monica started her career as a litigator at Munger, Tulles & Olson working on complex, high-profile cases primarily in the corporate and white collar space. She later became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California where she prosecuted white collar crimes, led large trial teams and briefed complex appeals. In 2012, Monica co-founded a wellness tech start-up which was acquired in December 2015. Prior to acquisition, Monica led product development, brand positioning, marketing, strategic partnerships, celebrity development, fundraising and company operations.
Monica currently sits on the advisory board of various start-ups and educational non-profits and enjoys inspiring and advising others on how to proactively fund, develop, operate, build and grow innovative products and services. She holds both a BA and MA from Stanford University.
Zach Elsea '11 - Social Networking Co-Chair
Zachary Elsea is a litigation partner at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert in Santa Monica. He specializes in representing clients in the entertainment and technology industries and has practiced in state and federal courts across the country. Recognized for his expertise on entertainment and IP issues, Mr. Elsea has been published in and quoted by major media outlets such as USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Los Angeles Lawyer, and others. Mr. Elsea clerked for a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and holds degrees from Harvard College and Oxford University in addition to Harvard Law School. He lives with his wife and two children in Culver City.
David Thomas '01 - Liaison Co-Chair
David A. Thomas is a Partner in the Insurance Recovery Practice Group of Blank Rome LLP, where he represents corporate and institutional policyholders in litigation and non-litigation matters relating to a diverse array of commercial insurance lines, including cybersecurity and privacy, commercial general liability, umbrella, D&O, bankers professional liability, employment practices liability, and first-party property and business interruption. Dave also represents and counsels individual property owners in high-value insurance claims, including due to wildfires, mudslides, and other natural disasters. He is listed in Chambers USA for Insurance: Policyholder Law (California). Dave additionally has an active complex commercial litigation practice involving contract disputes, tort claims, and corporate disputes. Prior to joining Blank Rome in 2017, he was a litigation partner in a national law firm. Dave is a graduate of Harvard Law School (J.D., 2001) and Stanford University (A.B., Public Policy, 1998, Departmental Honors and Distinction).
Amber Melius '03 - Liaison Co-Chair
Amber Melius is a partner at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert, LLP (KWIKA), a litigation boutique firm located in Santa Monica. She handles a broad range of complex litigation matters, including, without limitation, entertainment, copyright, employment, contract and other commercial disputes, and was recently named one of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Top Minority Attorneys.” Prior to joining KWIKA, Ms. Melius was an attorney at the Century City office of O’Melveny & Myers LLP. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003 and holds an undergraduate degree from Stanford University.
Ryan G. Baker '00 - Marketing Co-Chair
Ryan G. Baker is the co-founding partner of Baker Marquart LLP, a boutique litigation firm known for winning trials and appeals across the country for Fortune 500 companies, startups and high net worth individuals. Ryan has represented some of the world’s largest companies in complex commercial litigation, often dealing with innovative or disruptive technology.
Dennis Ardi '71 - Marketing Co-Chair
Dennis Ardi’s 25-year Beverly Hills law practice comprises Litigation (for plaintiffs), Project Finance, Entertainment Law, Motion Pictures and Television, Motion Picture Finance, Magazine Publishing, Trademark Licensing and Litigation, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Corporate Finance. Before that, Dennis was a member of Shearman & Sterling in Los Angeles and in New York. His clients have include well-known celebrities, national and local banks, a well-known national comedy entertainment chain, a well-known fashion designer, and a prominent art collector. Dennis is a member of the bar in California, New York, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia. His reported cases include Fulle v. Kanani, 7 Cal.App.5th 1305 (2017) and Southern California Gas Company v. Flannery, 5 Cal.App.5th 476 (2016).
Danielle Simmons '08 - Public Interest Co-Chair
Danielle Simmons is the Executive Director of Helena. A former associate with the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Danielle represented private equity funds andcorporations in the practice area of mergers and acquisitions while also working on pro bono matters ranging from 501(c)(3) formations to asylum applications. Prior to law, Danielle earned a two-year post-baccalaureate research training award with National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland in which she conducted research in the Molecular Mechanisms of Behavior Unit for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While at NIH she designed and conducted experiments concerning the molecular adaptations involved in learning and memory of drug and environment interactions and is published in various scientific journals including the Journal of Neurochemistry and Nature Neuroscience. In her spare time Danielle volunteers for UNICEF, including being a Founding Member of UNICEF NextGen LA and Co-Chairing the UNICEF Masquerade Ball. Danielle received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science from University of Southern California and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
Zachary Turke '06 - At-large Member
Zachary Turke is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP. Based in the firm’s Los Angeles office, his practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financing, venture capital, and joint ventures and strategic alliances. Zachary also advises clients on securities offerings and corporate governance. Zachary has worked with clients in a wide range of industries, including technology, the Internet, manufacturing, construction, financial services, entertainment, healthcare, and defense.
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