News Release

Locke Lord Elects 12 New Partners in 7 U.S. Cities; Half of Those Promoted are Women

December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016Locke Lord has promoted 12 lawyers from seven offices and four Practice Groups to Partnership level, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

Half of the 12 newly-elected Partners are women. The lawyers represent the Firm’s Corporate, Litigation, Finance, Banking and Real Estate and Intellectual Property Departments.

The new Partners include:

In Chicago:

Carolyn Blessing concentrates her practice in IP Pharmaceutical matters and Hatch-Waxman litigation. She represents pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in all aspects of federal intellectual property litigation, including pre-litigation activities, Paragraph IV Certifications, filing, fact and expert discovery, claim construction, motion practice, pre-trial, trial and post-trial phases. In 2016, she was listed as a “Rising Star” in Illinois by Super Lawyers magazine. Blessing serves as Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee for the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law. She served as Chair of the Firm’s St. Procopius Legal Aid Clinic from 2014 through 2016.

Jennifer Garner practices real estate law and has experience working on local and national matters involving the acquisition, disposition, financing and leasing of commercial properties. She drafts and negotiates purchase and sale agreements, financing documents, reciprocal easement and operating agreements, and leases. A significant portion of her practice includes office, retail and industrial leasing for both landlords and tenants.

Ben Sykes concentrates his practice on insurance, health care and administrative matters. He has experience advising insurers, managed care organizations, health care providers, state agencies, managing general agents and third party administrators on complex issues relating to compliance with various federal and state insurance laws and providing counsel on transactional matters. His insurance practice includes extensive experience with reinsurance transactions in all lines of business for the insurance industry.

Bilal Zaheer focuses his practice in the area of business litigation and dispute resolution in both state and federal court, where he advises clients on a variety of business law matters, including complex commercial contract disputes, corporate governance disputes, business and securities fraud, issues arising under the Uniform Commercial Code and adversary proceedings pending in bankruptcy court. Zaheer is experienced in all phases of litigation, as well as in mediation and arbitration. He has been recognized on several occasions as a "Rising Star" in Illinois by Super Lawyers magazine and in 2015 and 2016, he was named an "Emerging Lawyer" by Leading Lawyers magazine. Zaheer serves as Co-Chair of the Litigation Committee and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. He is also Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Division for the South Asian Bar Association of North America.

In Houston

Sara Longtain concentrates her practice in labor and employment law. She has litigated a wide variety of employment-related disputes, including, but not limited to, claims of discrimination, harassment, failure to accommodate (both religion and disability) and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, wage and hour disputes under the Fair Labor Standards Act, defense and enforcement of covenants not to compete and non-solicitation agreements and workers' compensation retaliation claims. Longtain has been recognized as a “Rising Star” in Texas by Super Lawyers magazine from 2014 through 2016.

Hunter Summerford concentrates his practice on energy and oil and gas matters. He has extensive acquisition and divestiture experience with respect to upstream assets, and additionally represents and counsels oil and gas companies in all phases of their business operations and transactions, with a particular emphasis on the midstream space. Summerford has broad experience in the midstream and downstream sectors relating to the construction and operation of petrochemical facilities, pipelines, storage facilities and related assets.

In New Orleans:

Brad Knapp is a member of the Firm's Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Insolvency and Consumer Finance Practice Groups. He advises on a variety of litigation and bankruptcy matters, including representing consumer finance and energy industry clients in bankruptcy proceedings and bankruptcy litigation. Knapp represents debtor clients in bankruptcy proceedings and represents energy clients in regulatory matters. Knapp also handles a wide variety of state and federal court business litigation.

In New York:

Jason Ulezalka is a member of the Firm’s Debt Finance Practice Group. He represents banks, private equity funds, mezzanine debt funds and other financial institutions in a variety of financing transactions, including senior, second lien and subordinated credit facilities, commercial real estate loans and distressed debt investments. In addition to being a debt finance lawyer, Ulezalka is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).


About Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord is a full-service, international law firm of more than 20 offices designed to meet clients’ needs around the world. The Firm has a history that spans more than 125 years and is a worldwide leader in the middle market sector. Locke Lord advises clients across a broad spectrum of industries including energy, financial services, fund formation, health care, insurance and reinsurance, private equity and venture capital, public finance, real estate, and technology, media and telecommunications, while providing a wealth of experience through its complex litigation, intellectual property, tax, regulatory and transactional teams.