Missouri Lawyers Weekly has selected three Thompson Coburn partners as 2013 “Up & Coming” attorney award winners. Hope Abramov, Matt Braunel, and Jeff Masson will be honored at the 2013 Up & Coming awards on Sept. 13 at the Chase Park Plaza.
The awards honor attorneys who are under 40 or in the first 10 years of their legal careers. Judges considered more than 170 nominations and selected 48 winners. Winners were selected based on their academic and career accomplishments, community involvement, and potential to make a difference in the profession, legal system, or the community. The newspaper will also honor five mentors, nonprofit leaders, and law firm leaders.
Formerly associate general counsel at Bunge North America, Hope Abramov joined Thompson Coburn in 2012. As a partner in the Labor and Employment group, Hope counsels human resource departments and business leaders on compliance with employment laws, including those involving discrimination, wage and hour, benefits, health and safety, and worker's compensation. She has also developed extensive experience in complex labor negotiations, including a high-profile dispute in 2011 with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, a dispute that turned violent when the union vandalized a Washington state grain facility and threatened security guards. Hope and TC partner Cliff Godiner successfully obtained an injunction against the union and more than $100,000 in contempt sanctions, an award that was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month. Cliff and Hope recently told the story of this dispute and its remarkable outcome at the 2013 national meeting of the Society of Human Resource Management.
Matt Braunel is an Intellectual Property partner with a special focus on “brand integrity,” a rapidly expanding area of law that responds to the myriad counterfeit products flooding U.S. markets — everything from designer handbags to airline parts. Matt is Thompson Coburn’s representative to the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, and has led extensive investigations into counterfeit packaging and products. For other clients, Matt has created and implemented anti-counterfeiting programs that enlist the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in rooting out and blocking the entry of counterfeit products into the United States. Matt holds degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics, and completed graduate-level course work in radiopharmaceutical chemistry before attending law school at Saint Louis University. Earlier this year, he led a well-attended TCLE webinar that detailed strategies businesses can employ to prevent the manufacture and distribution of costly counterfeit goods. In 2013, he was selected by Lexology as a 2013 Client Choice award winner in the category of Intellectual Property-Trademarks.
Jeff Masson was a major player in one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most talked-about decisions of 2013. In Bowman v. Monsanto, the high court issued a unanimous decision that not only preserved essential patent protections for St. Louis-based Monsanto; it extended the same protections to a host of other innovators who produce self-replicating technologies, such as vaccines and cell lines. Jeff helped develop Monsanto’s core legal strategy in the case and led the company through six years of appeals. His careful work on depositions in the case resulted in discovery findings that laid the groundwork for the company’s victory; many of those findings were cited by Justice Elena Kagan in her opinion. Jeff’s longtime work for biotechnology companies is bolstered by his own uniquely personal knowledge of all aspects of the agricultural growing process. He grew up on a rice farm in Louisiana, studied agronomy at Louisiana State University, and earned a master’s of science in plant pathology and crop physiology, with a special focus on weed science.
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