Firoz Dattu – Founder & Chair
Firoz is an industry thought leader, who has spent twenty years advising chief legal officers on their key strategy issues. He has been quoted extensively by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, American Lawyer, and other media sources. He launched AdvanceLaw in early 2010.
Firoz was a teaching fellow in the Economics Department of Harvard University, where he received the Derek Bok award for teaching excellence. He practiced law at Paul Weiss, working on a diverse array of litigation matters. After leaving private practice, Firoz helped launch, and later oversaw, the General Counsel Roundtable (now part of Gartner, Inc.), a consultancy serving 600 chief legal officers.
In 2006, Firoz was named Managing Director of the Audit Committee Leadership Forum, advising the Boards of several large companies (including Wells Fargo, Procter & Gamble, H.J. Heinz, and State Farm). In this role, Firoz presented to dozens of Fortune 500 Boards on strategy, legal, compliance, and financial risk oversight. Around the same time, Firoz was appointed lead faculty member of the Legal Leadership Academy, an organization teaching business and leadership skills to in-house counsel.
Across his career, Firoz has co-authored several studies for general counsel on the topic of outside counsel management, and has presented his findings to hundreds of in-house legal teams. He regularly speaks at prominent events, including Inside Counsel’s SuperConference, Thomson Reuters’ Law Firm CFO & COO Forum, CLOC's Annual Conference, and Harvard Law School’s Program on the Legal Profession. Firoz has also presented to a number of law firms, helping them better understand and adapt to client needs.
Firoz received his B.A. from the University of Toronto, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Michael Williams – Chief Executive Officer
For the past fifteen years, Mike has served as a trusted advisor to several of the world’s most prominent general counsel, helping them on all aspects of their role, including cultivating and managing their outside counsel relationships. Mike is widely regarded as an industry expert, having designed and led numerous research studies, and presenting his findings to dozens of in-house legal teams. At AdvanceLaw, Mike oversees all aspects of the business, including client service.
Prior to joining AdvanceLaw, Mike spent several years working with general counsel at Corporate Executive Board. While there, Mike launched and oversaw the Corporate Legal Exchange, a business unit serving legal executives at mid-sized companies. Mike and his staff developed practical tools to help these clients, and the Corporate Legal Exchange experienced dramatic growth, serving over 500 general counsel clients within three years.
Prior to launching the Corporate Legal Exchange, Mike spent six years with the General Counsel Roundtable, where he held numerous leadership and product development roles, advising general counsel and key law department staff at the world’s largest companies. His work included the creation of an outside counsel management toolkit, as well as various tools and research briefs to help corporations with e-discovery and contract management. Mike received his B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.
Dan Currell – Managing Director
Dan has deep expertise in the functioning and evolution of the legal marketplace, especially as it relates to in-house operations and efficiency. His career has focused on advising general counsel, chief compliance officers, and chief financial officers, and he has helped hundreds of corporate legal departments globally on law firm management.
Dan is a regular speaker at legal conferences and executive meetings, and an occasional lecturer in law schools on the future of the legal profession. He is also a regular contributor to Corporate Counsel and Bloomberg Big Law Business, and has written for the Harvard Business Review, the International Review of Law & Economics, and other publications on a wide range of topics relating to law and risk management.
Before joining AdvanceLaw, Dan was Director of Client Solutions at Novus Law LLC, a global legal services firm applying the principles of process excellence (Lean, Six Sigma) to complex legal matters. Previously he served as Executive Director of publicly-traded CEB (acquired by Gartner, Inc.) serving across several divisions of the company, including the General Counsel Roundtable, the Compliance & Ethics Leadership Council, and the Finance Leadership Council. As an extension of his work in risk management, Dan also worked closely with dozens of large company boards of directors. Alongside these responsibilities, he oversaw executive education across CEB, responsible for teaching its global staff how to more effectively present to senior executive audiences.
Dan began his legal career in commercial litigation. He received his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He currently serves on the boards of 1517 Media, Midland University, and Gustavus Adolphus College.
Aaron Kotok – Managing Director
Aaron is an industry veteran and thought leader. He joined AdvanceLaw in 2017 after running a global advisory organization serving hundreds of general counsel and their in-house teams. Aaron is a frequent contributor to legal industry publications, such as ALM’s Corporate Counsel Magazine and ACC’s Docket, and is a sought-after speaker at industry events and general counsel conferences. Over the course of his career, Aaron has also presented at several dozen in-house legal teams’ offsite strategy sessions.
Immediately prior to joining AdvanceLaw, Aaron led the CEB Leadership Council for Legal Executives, where he was responsible for strategy, business and people management, operations, and product development. Aaron was also a member of the company’s Advisory Leadership Group, helping to shape firm-wide policy.
In previous positions at CEB, he managed the client service and research teams and presented to hundreds of general counsel on topics addressing law department challenges, including legal risk management, outside counsel management, law department structure, and legal team productivity. Flagship studies produced under his supervision include The New Legal Operating Model, Managing Law Firms to Actual Quality, and A New Framework for Legal Productivity. Aaron also created and led a legal operations executives cohort at CEB, to assist and advise companies in the areas of records management, law department technology, legal talent management, and law firm spend.
Aaron began his legal career with Venable LLP in Washington, DC, as an attorney in the real estate practice, with a focus on borrower-side commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions, sales, development, and leasing. He also spent time at Gerson Lehrman Group (now GLG) helping to build and manage relationships with law firms (as both clients and experts) and to source expertise to support law firms’ client development, competitive intelligence, primary research, testimony, and consulting needs.
Aaron currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Appeals for the City of Gaithersburg, in Maryland. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his B.A., summa cum laude, in International Relations and American History, from the University of Pennsylvania.
Tamanna Choudhri – Senior Director
Tamanna joined AdvanceLaw in 2011, after more than ten years advising Fortune 500 general counsel on how to increase efficiency and maximize value from their outside service providers. Prior to 2011, Tamanna was at Axiom Legal, an alternative to traditional law firms that provides clients with onsite and virtual legal support. At Axiom, Tamanna served as interim General Manager of the San Francisco office, as well as Practice Manager for strategic clients in the Bay Area, working directly with major companies such as Agilent, Charles Schwab, eBay, Yahoo!, and Google.
Prior to working at Axiom, Tamanna spent seven years at the General Counsel Roundtable (now part of Gartner, Inc.), overseeing new client development. Tamanna led the Roundtable’s expansion to over 600 chief legal officers worldwide, and built client service operations in the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, and South Africa. Tamanna also helped launch the Compliance and Ethics Leadership Council, a global best practices community of several hundred Chief Compliance Officers.
Tamanna began her career as a securities attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of K&L Gates, focusing on securities regulation and litigation. She received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and her B.A. in Political Science and Dramatic Arts from Queen’s University in Canada.
Catherine Cook – Senior Director
Catherine is an industry thought leader who joined AdvanceLaw in 2012. She serves in a lead client relations role, working closely with chief legal officers and law firm management. Before joining the company, Catherine enjoyed a wide range of professional experiences, including nine years advising general counsel on their most pressing strategy and management challenges. In that capacity she presented data, insights, and best practices to in-house legal teams at Fortune 500 companies. For two of those years, Catherine worked from London to facilitate knowledge sharing at a global level.
Catherine has also led numerous research studies and co-authored several books for general counsel audiences, including on the topics of improving law department productivity, structuring and managing corporate compliance programs, overseeing outside counsel relationships, managing intellectual property portfolios, and improving records retention practices.
Just prior to joining AdvanceLaw, Catherine spent several years with a leading electronic medical records company, interpreting and ensuring corporate compliance with new U.S. federal guidelines regarding “meaningful use” of the software and helping doctors employ the technology to receive stimulus funding. Catherine received her B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Owen Bevan – Senior Director
Owen joined AdvanceLaw after more than a decade advising large company general counsel on outside counsel management, productivity, and legal risk management. Owen most recently served as Principal Executive Advisor at CEB Leadership Council for Legal Executives, where he oversaw the client advisory team. Under Owen’s leadership, his team led in-house legal strategic planning exercises, process maturity evaluations, talent assessments, benchmarking projects, and advised on law department structure and risk management approaches for over 350 large corporations.
Prior to this, Owen was product manager, responsible for product development and go-to-market strategy. During Owen’s role as product manager, CEB undertook ground-breaking research to define a new, more effective approach for managing legal risk after finding that the majority of employees did not seek legal counsel when they should and considered the legal department a roadblock. Owen also pioneered new services for in-house litigation heads. Owen has published research studies on legal-business partnership, contract management, and records retention.
Earlier in his career, Owen advised leading financial institutions on customer segmentation, payment processing, and distribution strategy. Owen received his B.A. in International Economics from the University of Nottingham.
Katherine Shell – Director
Katherine joined AdvanceLaw in 2018 after spending three years serving as an advisor to general counsel and their teams on key strategic priorities, such as streamlining workload and improving productivity, assessing and mitigating risk, and effectively managing outside counsel and spend. Katherine has led webinars, panels, strategic sessions, and workshops for general counsel, leadership teams, and entire legal departments.
Prior to AdvanceLaw, Katherine was a Senior Executive Advisor at CEB, now Gartner, where she worked with approximately one hundred general counsel and their departments on critical initiatives, such as evaluating performance of outside counsel and creating effective management strategies; implementing risk management processes; identifying opportunities in workload management; and developing talent across the department. Additionally, Katherine worked with the research team to create new products based on demand from general counsel. She also managed and coached others within the advisory, research, and commercial groups, and partnered with commercial teams to identify new general counsel to join the membership.
Katherine began her career as an associate staff attorney for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, drafting and reviewing over three hundred contracts each year for the largest affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She received her B.A. in English with a concentration in women’s studies from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and her J.D. from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.
Beth Florea – Chief of Staff
Beth has been advising general counsel on their key management issues for more than ten years, specializing in collecting and interpreting data to help in-house legal teams best serve their internal business clients. Beth joined AdvanceLaw in 2010, and she handles key aspects of the company’s management, administration, and operations.
Prior to joining AdvanceLaw, Beth spent five years at a consultancy supporting corporate legal departments. More specifically, she provided support on a variety of projects including the evaluation of outside counsel, selecting and tracking KPIs, and creating and implementing records management programs. While there, Beth also managed a diagnostic survey enabling corporate counsel to receive feedback on their performance from internal stakeholders.
Prior to that, Beth gained valuable experience in the management and administration of high-growth companies, working at Topspins, a medical equipment manufacturer. During her tenure there, she helped the company expand into the international market and led the development of a new product line. Beth holds a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.