Kelley Drye Announces New Partners

Firm elects four new partners.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is pleased to announce the election of four new partners. Melissa L. Gelade, Andrew W. Homer, Jennifer L. Norkus and Whitney M. Smith will begin their tenure as partners effective July 1, 2020.

This year’s class of new partners is one of the largest in recent firm history and illustrates Kelley Drye’s ongoing commitment to recognizing and developing talent from within our ranks” said Dana Rosenfeld, firm managing partner. Each new partner embraces innovative approaches to client service, brings unique talents to the table, and has the legal skills that make us confident in their ability to serve our clients with distinction.”

The newly elected Kelley Drye partners serve clients in the following areas:

Melissa L. Gelade (New Jersey – Real Estate):
Melissa’s practice comprises commercial real estate finance and commercial mortgage securitization, where she represents debt funds, investment banks, insurance companies, and institutional lenders. Melissa recognizes that even the smallest detail of a transaction has the potential to derail the deal as a whole. As a result, she is appreciated for her ability to identify and resolve potential issues before they can evolve into obstructive problems. Melissa began her career working on a broad range of real estate transactions before moving her focus to real estate finance, and she is therefore able to see the many vantage points and perspectives of myriad deal constituents. She has experience in the origination and securitization of commercial loan structures, including mortgage loans, mezzanine loans, and bridge loans secured by all classes of commercial real estate. Melissa is admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York.

Andrew W. Homer (San Diego – Environmental Litigation):
Andrew represents clients in litigation, permitting, compliance counseling, and transactional support related to federal and state environmental laws and regulations. He handles high-value environmental litigation and enforcement actions for both institutional plaintiffs and defendants. Outside of litigation, Andrew also has significant experience with administrative proceedings, environmental review, project entitlements and approvals, and business transactions with environmental components. He maintains an active pro bono practice, and regularly represents indigent clients seeking asylum and/or other relief from removal from the United States. Earlier in his career, Andrew spent several years as in-house counsel for the largest investor-owned water utility in the United States. His combination of private practice and in-house experience helped him to develop a pragmatic approach to serving clients and solving problems. He is admitted to practice in California.

Jennifer L. Norkus (Chicago – Corporate):
Jennifer represents clients primarily on mergers and acquisitions, finance, and general corporate matters. She has worked with clients in a wide range of industries, including transportation, manufacturing, technology, communications, energy, financial services, medical devices, and life sciences. She has advised both public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and cross-border deals. Jennifer has advised issuers and investors in connection with debt and equity financing, ranging from early stage venture financing to more traditional private equity financing. She also counsels clients on commercial and governance matters, such as services agreements, supply agreements, consignments, and entity formation. Jennifer was recommended in US Legal 500 for her work in the M&A: Middle Market area, 2019-2020, and she was recognized as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois by Leading Lawyers. She is admitted to practice in Illinois.

Whitney M. Smith (New Jersey – Litigation):
Whitney focuses on complex commercial litigation and consumer class action defense. Whitney frequently defends clients faced with claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. She also regularly litigates contract, consumer protection, tort and state common law claims in state and federal courts. In addition to litigation, Whitney has experience representing clients in arbitrations, as well as in investigations before governmental and regulatory bodies. She regularly advises clients on litigation risk and strategy, as well as all facets of E-discovery. Having worked previously in-house at a multinational financial services corporation, Whitney is sensitive to clients’ commercial and business needs and frequently advises them on how to proactively protect themselves from litigation risk. Whitney is admitted to practice in New Jersey and New York.

About Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
Founded in 1836, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is home to skilled practitioners in the areas of litigation, trade, regulatory, government relations, real estate, corporate, and more. A powerhouse firm with the heart of a boutique, the firm’s attorneys provide legal counsel carefully connected to their client’s business strategies. Among the firm’s recent awards: Named to the BTI Client Service A-Team”; recognized by CLOC for Legal Innovation and Design Excellence in Legal Operations”; Chambers USA identified seven practice areas as Leaders in Their Field”; Law360 named the Consumer Protection Practice Group as Group of the Year; and Kelley Drye was named one of America’s Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms, with a Tier 1” national ranking in Communications, Environmental Law, Environmental Litigation, Information Technology, Trusts & Estates, and Real Estate.