Northwestern Law Board Appoints New Executive Committee Members


After Law School Alumni News
Top, from left: Meredith Blum-Wolf, Ben Kaplan, Christina Martini, Paul Marushka; Bottom, from left: Jackie Bryant, Christine Evans, Donna Haddad, Tom Hawkins, Sherrese Smith

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law announced the appointment of new Law Board members, including new members of the Executive Committee. The Law Board is dedicated to advancing Northwestern Pritzker Law and supporting its students. The Board serves in an advisory capacity to help shape strategy and acts as an advocate for the Law School in the legal profession, business community, and general public.

“I am extremely grateful to these incredible leaders for joining the Law Board and its Executive Committee,” said Dean Hari Osofsky.  “I am excited to partner with them to prepare our students to lead at this time of change and advance the Law School’s ambitious and innovative path forward.”

To learn more about the new Law Board members, check out their profiles below:

New Executive Committee Members:

Jacqueline Shim Bryant (BSC ’85) is an active alumna of Northwestern University. Bryant serves on the board of directors of the Woman’s Educational Aid Association (including 12 years as president), board member on the Northwestern School of Communications National Advisory Council; board member of the Pritzker Law School advisory board; founding member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100; and admissions reader and interviewer of the Northwestern Alumni Admissions Council. She has previously served on Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees; director of the John Evans Club; director of the Northwestern Alumni Association, and co-chair of her 30th and 35th Reunions (2015, 2020). She has engaged in strategic planning for Porchlight Music Theatre, the WEAA, and the Women’s Athletic Club. Jackie practiced real estate law for 24 years before retiring in 2013. She has co-authored the IICLE volume of Condominium Law and is a member of the Asian-American Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association.

Christine M. Evans (JD ’03, LLM-IHR ’11) is the founder and principal director of Shared Roots Mediation, a dispute resolution practice that applies the principles and processes of restorative and transformative justice to address sexual harm and help bring healing, accountability, and community to survivors. She has 20 years of experience as a public interest and human rights attorney, both in the United States and internationally. Evans applies her expertise and knowledge of the criminal legal system, victims’ and gender rights, and issues of sexual harm to tailoring personalized processes for harm survivors seeking accountability and justice outside of traditional legal systems. In addition to this work, she teaches on gender and human rights as an adjunct professor at Northwestern Pritzker Law and serves as the president and chief funding officer of the Evans Family Foundation.

Donna Haddad (BA ’92, JD ’95) is currently the vice president and associate general counsel at IBM Cloud, with global responsibility for supporting IBM’s cloud business. She is also a founding board member of IBM’s AI Ethics Board, and she led IBM’s Global Pro Bono Program for three years. From 2011 to 2014, Haddad worked in Dubai on international assignment as senior regional counsel for IBM Middle East, North and West Africa. She has over 25 years of experience in advising her senior business clients on legal issues related to intellectual property, privacy, software licensing, cloud, services, and artificial intelligence in complex technology transactions, as well as more than 25 years of non-profit board service in a variety of leadership, advisory, and committee roles. Haddad is also a speaker on AI, AI Ethics, AI and the Law, and the intersection of STEM and the Law.

Tom W. Hawkins (JD ’86) has served both public and private companies for more than 30 years as a lawyer, executive, and director. He has led law departments, corporate development teams, and other functions at three Fortune 500 Companies: Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, AutoNation, Inc., and Republic Services, Inc. His experience covers a broad range of industries: Retail, Automotive, Entertainment, Waste Management and Healthcare. In 2018, Hawkins retired from Mednax, Inc., a publicly traded healthcare company, where he served most recently as a consultant and previously as general counsel where he was responsible for legal, risk management, compliance, and government relations. Hawkins is presently a member of the board of directors of MSP Recovery, Inc. (NASDAQ: LIFW), a Medicare, Medicaid, commercial and secondary reimbursement recovery, and technology leader, where he chairs the Audit Committee.

Sherrese M. Smith (JD ’96) is the Managing Partner of Paul Hastings. As Managing Partner, Smith helps direct the growth, management, and strategy of the firm. Smith previously served as the Vice Chair of the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity practice. She is known as one of the country’s preeminent Data Privacy and Cybersecurity and Media and Technology attorneys. Consistently ranked as a leading lawyer in Chambers USA and Legal 500, she is recognized throughout the legal, media, communications, and technology industries for her leadership, business acumen, and dedication to clients. Her work includes data privacy, cybersecurity and breach response issues, crisis response, regulatory investigations, and enforcement proceedings, as well as counseling on global privacy and cybersecurity. Before joining Paul Hastings, Smith served as Chief Counsel to Chairman Julius Genachowski at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She was responsible for determining the agency’s business and policy agenda on a multitude of media and technology maters and for leading the FCC’s cross-agency efforts to refine and implement new rules on data privacy and cybersecurity for multinational companies navigating complex data and privacy rules in the U.S., EU, and Asia.

New Law Board Members:

Meredith A. Blum-Wolf (JD ’95) is an attorney with the Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago Law Department from 1995 until 1997. Since then, she has devoted her time to charitable interests including board memberships of Teach for America, The Boys and Girls Club, Steppenwolf Theater, The Art Institute of Chicago Women’s Board, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Collections Committee, and the Art Institute of Chicago Photography Associates. Bluhm-Wolf is a Director of the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation. In recent years, she has worked alongside her father and JMB Realty Corp on property redevelopment and oversight as well as commercial leasing and asset management.

Ben Kaplan (JD-MBA ’15) joined BCI in 2022, focusing on the private equity investments in financial services sector covering numerous verticals including insurance services, asset and wealth management, financial technology, specialty finance, and payment solutions. Prior to BCI, Kaplan was the managing partner of C9 Partners LLC, a private investment firm he founded in 2018. While at C9, he served as the chairman of PROVE Partners, managing partner of Echelon Asset Holdings, and a board member of Case Works LLC. Previously, Kaplan was a vice president with Lovell Minnick Partners, a private equity firm focused on the financial services sector. He was also an associate at Century Equity Partners and an analyst at Raymond James Capital Markets, where he focused on financial services and technology transactions.

Christina Martini (JD ‘94) is the global head of McDermott’s Trademark Prosecution and Controversy Practice. Her practice focuses on domestic and international trademark and copyright law, as well as domain name, Internet, social media, advertising, unfair competition and entertainment law. Martini has extensive experience in counseling, prosecution, enforcement, due diligence and licensing maters. She successfully assists clients in protecting their intellectual property rights through litigation and other means, including the courts and uniform dispute resolution procedures. In addition to her trademark group leadership role, Martini also sits on the firm’s Racial and Ethnic Diversity Committee and Gender Diversity Committee. She also previously served as the firm’s co-national hiring partner. Prior to joining the Firm, Martini was a partner at an AmLaw 100 global firm where she practiced for nearly 25 years. She held a number of key leadership roles, including serving as the firm’s National Hiring Partner-Associate Recruiting, sitting on the firm’s Executive and Policy Committees, serving as chair of the Chicago Intellectual Property Practice and serving on its Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, among other roles.

Paul Marushka (JD ’96) is the founding CEO and president of Sphera. He is responsible for providing overall strategic leadership for the company in developing, directing, and implementing go-to-market, service, product and operational plans. Marushka has grown businesses by bringing innovative solutions to market in leveraging software, analytics, and technology services. Prior to joining Sphera, he served as president of Marsh ClearSight, a business unit of Marsh & McLennan, which is a leading provider of software, services and analytics for enterprise risk management, safety and compliance management and claims administration. Marushka also has held executive positions at software and data companies such as Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) and CCC Information Services. During his career, he has developed and launched a variety of software and analytics products recognized by the Gartner Group for their impact on the industry. He has authored numerous articles in publications, including the United Nations Global Yearbook, on the use of analytics and technology in decision-making.

For more information on Law Board and its members, click here.