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  • M&A and Private Equity
  • Renewable Energy
  • Energy
  • Infrastructure

Riccardo Valle Special Counsel M&A and Private Equity, Renewable Energy


Riccardo Valle is a lawyer with our corporate team, focusing (in regards to transactional/litigation matters before Civil and Administrative Courts) in providing legal assistance to clients active in highly regulated markets, with specific focus on energy (including generation, infrastructures, incentives, PPA/EFET, and IPEX), environment (including waste, and EIA/IPPC), and pharmaceuticals (including AIFA regulations and wholesale distribution).  




  • Intellectual Property
  • Trade Secrets Litigation

Amy Van Zant Partner Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets Litigation

Silicon Valley

Clients count on Amy to move their business forward. Whether litigating a complex patent suit, or advising on a multi-faceted IP strategy, Amy incorporates an in-depth understanding of each client’s business, employees and corporate strategy into her solutions.

For her litigation practice, Amy’s ability to distill the most complicated technology across an array of fields, including telecommunications, semiconductor manufacturing, renewable energy, cloud computing, and big data, into relatable, every day concepts that has made her successful in persuading judges and juries alike. She has led trial teams, litigated, and tried cases in state court in California, numerous District Courts, the International Trade Commission, and has briefed appeals before the 9th Circuit, the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court of California, and the United States Supreme Court. Whether litigating patent, trade secret, or IP contract disputes, Amy strives to put herself in her client’s shoes to ensure personalized results tailored to each client’s business objectives.

Amy also provides comprehensive IP counseling on issues including trade secrets protection, employee departure investigations, freedom to operate analysis, licensing strategies, data privacy protection, and regulatory compliance. She has also conducted comprehensive patent portfolio reviews and assisted with IP corporate transactions.

In addition to her IP work, Amy devotes significant time to her pro bono work. For more than a decade, she has assisted domestic violence victims, as well as led Orrick’s Bay Area summer program that enables law clerks to be certified to argue in Family Court to obtain Temporary Restraining Orders for domestic violence clients.

Barrie VanBrackle Partner

Washington, D.C.

Barrie VanBrackle, a partner in Orrick’s Washington, D.C., office, is a member of the Cyber, Privacy & Data Innovation practice and co-leads Orrick's Fintech team.

An authority on payments and consumer financial services compliance, Barrie focuses on three areas at the cross-section of the fintech space: consumer-facing financial and banking, regulatory counseling and investigations, payment card industry, including brand operating rules and data security standards; money transmission; and prepaid card access on behalf of leading merchants, payment processors and industry vendors. Barrie advises on transactions involving the payment systems participants, including large merchants and financial technology companies, with respect to payment acceptance, payment issuance, co-brand agreements, payment card industry data security issues, and payment regulatory matters. In addition, Barrie has deep experience advising corporate and private equity clients in M&A contexts and other investments in fintech. Barrie represents payment card issuing and merchant acquiring banks (including acquiring a card program for one of the Top 5 largest financial institutions, negotiating cobrand agreements for a large issuing bank and a sports franchise, and negotiating novel payment acceptance methods for more traditional merchants). She helps fintechs navigate the banking and money transmission rules, including representing new market entrants into the US.

Barrie is a sought after speaker on the evolving regulatory and compliance issues surrounding payments and related e-commerce matters. Prior to joining Orrick, Barrie was a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP.



  • White Collar, Investigations, Securities Litigation & Compliance
  • Securities Litigation, Class Actions and Shareholder Derivative Lawsuits
  • Internal Investigations
  • White Collar
  • Trials

Robert P. Varian Senior Counsel White Collar, Investigations, Securities Litigation & Compliance, Securities Litigation, Class Actions and Shareholder Derivative Lawsuits

San Francisco

Robert P. Varian, senior counsel, served as a partner in Orrick's San Francisco office for 12 years, and was previously a partner in Clifford Chance US LLP and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

He has been named to Lawdragon's Top 500 Leading Lawyers in America list, one of the most elite accolades in the legal profession, and as one of the top 20 lawyers of the year by The California Lawyer. He is one of the few attorneys in the United States who has successfully tried securities class actions to verdict (twice), and won one of the National Law Journal's top 10 defense verdicts in the United States in the major securities class action jury trial.

Bob has extensive experience in defending securities class actions, SEC investigations and enforcement proceedings, and derivative lawsuits throughout the United States. He has led a wide variety of internal investigations centered in the United States and China, and has represented executives, directors and auditors in internal investigations, SEC investigations and enforcement actions, and in securities class actions and other shareholder litigation. He also has extensive experience in defending consumer class actions and complex business cases, and special expertise in representing Chinese companies and individuals in litigation and investigations.

Bob has successfully litigated numerous high profile cases that have received coverage in the national media.


  • Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Aisling Vaughan Associate Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution

New York

Aisling is an Associate in Orrick's International Arbitration Practice Group based in the Geneva office. She focuses on international arbitration, commercial litigation and cross-border disputes.

Aisling represents clients in all phases of complex, multi-jurisdictional disputes before major arbitral institutions, including the ICC, SCC, LCIA, SIAC and HKIAC. She acts as counsel in a wide range of matters, including disputes involving construction contracts, agency and shareholder agreements, trade and commodities. She has experience with a broad range of issues, from seeking emergency interim relief, to the enforcement of international arbitral awards in multiple jurisdictions around the world.

Prior to joining Orrick, Aisling practiced as an associate with the International Arbitration Practice Group in the Geneva office of a leading international law firm where she gained arbitration and dispute settlement experience, including a focus on corporate finance and energy disputes.



  • Mass Torts & Product Liability
  • Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Trade Secrets Litigation
  • International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution
  • Class Action Defense
  • 3D Printing

Christopher Vejnoska Partner Mass Torts & Product Liability, Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution

San Francisco

Chris is a first chair trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience handling high stakes, precedent-setting cases, particularly in the products liability arena. He has had years where clients asked him to serve as trial counsel for five or more products cases, and his current products liability engagements include leading a cross-office team in defending multiple Chinese companies in an MDL and serving as trial counsel for a large talc company.

Chris also has acted as national counsel for companies facing thousands of mass tort product liability claims and complex, multiparty class action litigation, and has counseled multinational companies entangled in lengthy, enterprise-threatening litigation and negotiated legal and business solutions involving billions of dollars. He has extensive experience in complex and commercial litigation, ranging from insurance recovery disputes to trade secrets issues, and has significant experience in assisting foreign aerospace companies with international arbitration disputes with first-tier aircraft manufacturers.

Earlier in his career, Chris represented large public companies in mergers, acquisitions, strategic investments and private financings; private companies in initial public offerings; and emerging growth companies in general corporate matters. Chris' transactional experience also offers clients a unique perspective on risk mitigation strategies to avoid costly litigation in the future.

Chris is the Chair of Orrick’s Risk Management Committee and acts as the President of a captive insurance company owned by Orrick and a number of other law firms. Prior to joining the firm, Chris was a partner at Clifford Chance and a partner at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where he was a member of the Policy Committee, a member of the Executive Committee, Chair of the Risk Management Committee and Chair of the Hiring Committee.



  • Technology Companies Group
  • Corporate
  • Corporate Governance
  • Equity Capital Markets
  • M&A and Private Equity
  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Stephen Venuto Partner Technology Companies Group, Corporate

Silicon Valley; San Francisco

Stephen Venuto, a partner who works out of both the Silicon Valley and San Francisco offices, is a member of the Technology Companies group. His practice focuses on advising high-growth technology and media companies and their founders, advisors and investors.

Steve was Facebook’s first lawyer and is widely recognized as one of the leading startup lawyers in the country. The American Lawyer recently named him “Dealmaker of the Year”, recognizing his corporate work and representation of Instagram in its sale to Facebook, and quoting a prominent board member as saying that Steve “is an outstanding lawyer, but he’s also an outstanding business partner . . . someone who cares about everybody [who's] involved in a company.” The Daily Journal has named him to its list of Top 100 Lawyers in California (chosen regardless of specialty), and, separately, to its inaugural Top Emerging Companies Lawyers list.

Numerous standout technology companies and their founders have turned to Steve for representation including Asana, Bleacher Report, Facebook, Getaround, Instagram, Ooma (NYSE), Pinterest, ResearchGate, Quora, and Warby Parker. He also has worked with new media companies including Brit & Co., Full Picture Productions (executive producer of Project Runway), U2 and Zuckerberg Media. Steve provides general corporate legal counseling and represents companies at all stages of their life-cycle.



  • Energy
  • Infrastructure
  • M&A and Private Equity
  • Renewable Energy
  • Real Estate

Eleanor Verret Managing Associate Energy, Infrastructure


Eleanor’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, project development and project finance, particularly in the energy sector.

She also focuses on real property matters, both in support of energy project development and in more traditional real estate contexts. Eleanor’s real estate experience includes drafting purchase and sale agreements and easements, negotiating title insurance policies, and coordinating title curative work. Prior to joining Orrick, Eleanor practiced at a Texas-based real estate firm and in the Houston office of another major international law firm.



  • Public Finance

Bryan Victor Partner Public Finance


 Bryan D. Victor, a partner in the Sacramento office, has been a member of the Public Finance practice group since 2003. His practice includes bond, disclosure, issuer’s and underwriter’s counsel work for tax-exempt and taxable financings.  His practice is focused primarily on transactions for 501(c)(3) organizations, with a focus on health care transactions (he has worked on more than 115 health care transactions as bond, disclosure or underwriter's counsel through 2018), the State of California and the California Department of Water Resources.

Bryan has experience with many structures used in public finance, including master trust indentures, fixed and variable rate bonds, direct purchases, delayed delivery bonds, insurance, letters of credit and other credit or liquidity agreements; commercial paper programs; conversions and reofferings.  Bryan has extensive experience working with stand alone hospitals, health care clinics and large health systems.  He provides annual and bi-annual federal securities law training for staff of the State of California Treasurer's Office, the State of California Department of Finance, the State Controller's Office, CalPERs and other state agencies and applies that securities law expertise on health care transactions.   Bryan is the lead partner for general public finance matters for the State of California as bond and disclosure counsel, including the issuance of general obligation commercial paper notes, general obligation bonds and revenue anticipation notes, negotiation and review of credit and liquidity agreements related to such obligations and disclosure related to same. 



  • Renewable Energy
  • Oil & Gas
  • Energy

Ayla Vilander Associate Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas


Ayla is an associate in the Energy & Infrastructure group in Orrick's Houston office.

Ayla focuses her practice on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, project development, and general corporate matters for clients in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Michelle Visser Partner

San Francisco; Boston

Michelle Visser has extensive experience in defending companies that face the regulatory investigations, class action litigation, and payment card brand claims that frequently follow the announcement of cybersecurity incidents. In addition to litigating privacy and cybersecurity matters, Michelle has navigated numerous companies through their cybersecurity response, including by overseeing technical forensic investigations, advising on notification obligations and coordinating communication strategies.

When faced with an incident, companies call Michelle for crisis response with an eye toward potential litigation. Clients also look to Michelle for privacy and cybersecurity advice before a crisis is at hand. Michelle regularly takes the lessons learned from litigating privacy and cybersecurity matters to provide clients with proactive advice on how to structure their privacy and cybersecurity programs and incident response plans in ways designed to reduce legal exposure.

For her role in representing companies that have faced some of the most high-profile cybersecurity incidents and litigation to date, Michelle was named one of the “40 Under 40” in 2018 by the Global Data Review and a “Rising Star” by Law360 in 2015. She was also recognized as one of the “Women Leaders in Technology Law” by The San Francisco Recorder in 2015.

Michelle is also regularly turned to for defense against other types of class actions and complex litigation with experience in defending companies against securities, antitrust, and other commercial claims.