News Releases

Baker Botts Elects 14-Member Partnership Class


PALO ALTO, November 21, 2019 – Baker Botts, L.L.P. a leading international energy and technology law firm, today announced the promotion of 14 lawyers to partner, effective January 1, 2020.

“These new partners are future owners and leaders of our Firm,” said John Martin, Managing Partner of Baker Botts. “They provide exemplary client service and share in our culture of collaborative entrepreneurship, creating opportunities with and for others. They make a wide range of contributions to the Firm, not only to their clients and their colleagues, but also in their respective communities.”

The 2020 class of partners comprises lawyers from the firm’s Intellectual Property, Global Projects, Litigation, Corporate and Tax Departments.

The members of Baker Botts’ newest partnership class are listed below, with brief biographies that follow.

  • Katharine Burke, Intellectual Property, Washington, D.C.

  • Rob Butler, Global Projects, London

  • Vern Cassin, Litigation, Washington, D.C.

  • Kristin Cope, Litigation, Dallas

  • Navi Dhillon, Litigation, San Francisco

  • Brendan Dignan, Corporate, Washington, D.C.

  • Stephen Fitzgerald, Litigation, Dallas

  • John Kaercher, Corporate, Austin

  • Konstantin Litvinenko, Global Projects, Moscow

  • Jeffrey Oliver, Litigation, Washington, D.C.

  • Richard Ramirez, Tax, Houston

  • Brett Thompsen, Intellectual Property, Austin

  • Brittany Uthoff, Corporate, New York

  • David Wu, Intellectual Property, Palo Alto

Katharine Burke, Intellectual Property, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Burke’s practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and licensing assertions. She has significant experience with a wide range of technologies and in all aspects of cases, including crafting technical positions, trial presentation and overall team management.

With a background in electrical engineering, Ms. Burke represents clients in cases involving a range of technologies including mobile telecommunications, mobile phone operating systems and applications, flash memory, network protocols, multimedia and medical devices.

She has been part of trial teams in IP litigations in federal district court and at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). She has also represented clients in contract disputes, bankruptcy proceedings and appellate litigation. In addition, she represents pro bono clients in matters related to workplace discrimination, child custody and veterans’ benefits. Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Burke was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis.

Rob Butler, Global Projects, London

Mr. Butler advises clients on a wide range of projects and transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors, with a particular focus on the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors and LNG.

Mr. Butler's experience includes negotiating, drafting and advising on commercial arrangements including LNG sale and purchase agreements, LNG terminal use agreements, common facilities agreements, gas sale and purchase agreements, crude oil offtake agreements, time charter parties, joint venture agreements, asset sales and purchases, and corporate acquisitions, disposals and financings.

Vern Cassin, Litigation, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Cassin focuses on securities and shareholder litigation. He has led or had a senior role in litigation on behalf of major U.S. and foreign companies, as well as foreign states litigating in U.S. courts. He has deep experience representing media and technology clients. His cases often involve working closely with subject matter experts on technical issues, including financial analysis, engineering, and construction.

Mr. Cassin is frequently called upon to advise clients in disputes arising from mergers and acquisitions, including shareholder class actions and securities fraud litigation. In addition to representing clients in court, he frequently advises corporations on mitigating the risks of transactions that may implicate shareholder action.

He is Vice President of the U.S. Court Tennis Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Court Tennis Preservation Foundation.

Kristin Cope, Litigation, Dallas

Ms. Cope is a recognized first-chair trial lawyer and business litigator in the technology, energy and financial services sectors. Ms. Cope was one of the three trial lawyers in one of the largest trade secrets cases in Texas history, and she is known for her significant experience in trade secret disputes. She has represented clients in a diverse range of civil disputes, including breach of contract, consumer law, professional liability, intellectual property and general business torts. She has worked on matters in state and federal trial courts, various Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Following graduation from law school, Ms. Cope served as law clerk to the Honorable David W. McKeague of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She has been appointed by the Sixth Circuit to represent pro bono clients and successfully argued for habeas relief for a client in 2018 in the Sixth Circuit.

She has earned numerous awards and recognitions from law school to the present, not only for her oral advocacy but also her deep commitment to community service.

Navi Dhillon, Litigation, San Francisco

Mr. Dhillon focuses on complex civil, environmental, and regulatory litigation in courts throughout the nation. He is well-known for his work as lead counsel for a broad group of clients including those in the energy, hedge funds, private equity, wine, mining, timber, infrastructure, agriculture and technology industries. His California-based practice includes particularly deep experience in all facets of environmental litigation. His representations have involved a variety of sensitive business concerns, from securities, corporate governance, land use and water pollution, to class actions, fraud and unfair competition.

Mr. Dhillon is a go-to lawyer for clients seeking to develop utility-scale energy and infrastructure projects. His energy and infrastructure work has included receiving approvals for or developing a 300MW battery energy storage system (BESS), a 250MW photovoltaic system, a complex off-shore wind project and an ocean desalination facility.

He has also worked on significant pro bono matters, including an effort to protect an endangered species of salmon in California's Muir Woods.

Brendan Dignan, Corporate, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Dignan advises public and private companies, including private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, in mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and joint ventures, as well as corporate governance, securities law compliance and general corporate matters. He regularly represents clients in complex transactions within a range of industries including manufacturing, energy, defense, technology, media and telecommunications. Before beginning his practice as a transactional lawyer in New York and then Washington, D.C., Mr. Dignan worked in the Middle East and Europe for more than four years, developing a valued global outlook when advocating for clients.

As a former combat officer in the U.S. Army, Mr. Dignan applies the management skills developed during his military service to strategically and efficiently guide deals from initial structuring to closing. He serves as outside counsel and a brand ambassador for the non-profit tasked by Congress to build the National Global War on Terrorism Memorial on the National Mall.

Stephen Fitzgerald, Litigation, Dallas

Mr. Fitzgerald is a nationally known environmental lawyer who advises clients on a wide variety of environmental matters. He is frequently called upon to use his considerable in-house experience and technical background to provide practical guidance to clients navigating complex environmental issues. Mr. Fitzgerald has represented clients at more than 150 environmentally impacted sites in all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regions, Europe and South America. Mr. Fitzgerald litigates environmental, toxic tort and land use cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts and also supports transactional work related to environmental issues.

Mr. Fitzgerald provided onsite representation to clients that were the genesis of the Superfund program. Mr. Fitzgerald routinely defends clients in federal and state enforcement actions and private party suits arising under federal environmental statutes including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and similar environmental laws at the state level.

John Kaercher, Corporate, Austin

Mr. Kaercher is a member of the firm’s Technology and Energy M&A teams and represents clients on a wide-range of corporate matters, including domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures. Mr. Kaercher represents both private equity and venture capital-backed technology companies in M&A transactions as well as companies and investors in the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry.

Additionally, Mr. Kaercher advises companies in numerous industries on public and private securities offerings. Mr. Kaercher was recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer – Rising Star by Thomson Reuters in both 2018 and 2019.

Konstantin Litvinenko, Global Projects, Moscow

Mr. Litvinenko concentrates on project development, mergers and acquisitions, various aspects of transactional and corporate law, and tax matters. He deals with cross-border and domestic M&A transactions, upstream and midstream projects, joint ventures, gas and LNG sales. He also advises clients on regulatory and licensing matters and has particular experience in oil & gas, mining and LNG.

Mr. Litvinenko speaks Russian, English and German. Prior to joining Baker Botts, Konstantin worked at Deloitte and Macleod Dixon ELP.

Jeffrey Oliver, Litigation, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Oliver is an antitrust lawyer with an emphasis on U.S. and international merger reviews. Jeffrey has obtained antitrust clearance for transactions in a wide variety of industries and jurisdictions, including oil and gas, heavy industry, utilities, chemicals, media, transportation and trade associations. His global practice routinely involves substantive advocacy in the U.S., China, Germany, Austria, Australia, before the European Commission and in other jurisdictions.

Prior to joining Baker Botts, Mr. Oliver was a Staff Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition, focusing on merger and conduct investigations in the oil and gas industry. He has experience in all phases of the FTC and DOJ investigation processes, from reviewing HSR filings to challenging mergers in litigation.

Richard Ramirez, Tax, Houston

Mr. Ramirez handles all aspects of estate planning and estate administration for high-net-worth individuals, representation of fiduciaries and beneficiaries in estate and trust administration, and representation of charities. He primarily focuses on preparation of wills and trusts, lifetime transfers of assets, and restructuring family-owned businesses. His practice emphasizes the implementation of advanced asset transfer strategies that preserve estates by minimizing federal gift and estate taxes, as well as strategies to transition ownership of family businesses and legacy properties from one generation to the next.

Mr. Ramirez was a 2015 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow. In addition, he is a member of the Houston Estate and Financial Forum, Houston Estate Planners Association, and Houston Business & Estate Planning Council.

Brett Thompsen, Intellectual Property, Austin

Mr. Thompsen works on a wide range of intellectual property matters, including patent post-grant trials, patent litigation and patent prosecution. He has extensive experience in electrical engineering and analog/mixed-signal circuit design. He has argued at multiple inter partes review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board. He has also been part of multiple patent infringement lawsuits relating to analog/mixed-signal circuitry, power-management technology and telecommunications.

Mr. Thompsen served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Timothy B. Dyk of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Prior to law school, Mr. Thompsen worked for seven years as an analog/mixed-signal circuit designer at Motorola and Texas Instruments. He was the lead design engineer on multiple projects at Texas Instruments and is an inventor on seven issued patents.

Brittany Uthoff, Corporate, New York

Ms. Uthoff advises public and private companies in connection with a variety of complex domestic and cross-border matters, including mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and capital markets transactions.

Ms. Uthoff provides clients with deep sector capabilities in technology, media and telecommunications, and has played a leading role in several of the industry’s recent high-profile transactions. Ms. Uthoff routinely represents Fortune 500 companies in mergers and acquisitions, capital restructurings, and public and private securities offerings. She also counsels clients on Exchange Act reporting, stock exchange compliance and other complex corporate governance matters.

David Wu, Intellectual Property, Palo Alto

Mr. Wu practices intellectual property law with an emphasis on patent prosecution, litigation and post-grant review proceedings. Leveraging his industry experience as an engineer, Mr. Wu has extensive experience prosecuting patent applications in the fields of computer, electrical, mechanical, medical and telecommunication technologies. In addition to prosecution, Mr. Wu is also experienced with all phases of patent litigation and inter partes review proceedings. His practice also includes advising clients on patent strategy and portfolio development, as well as patent enforcement and defensive strategies. Mr. Wu is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Prior to practicing law, Mr. Wu was a software engineer at IBM, where he designed and developed enterprise system software and oversaw software development operations in China.

Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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