Sanford Heisler on the Move: Firm Elevates Charles Field to Partner, Adds Cleveland Lawrence III to Qui Tam Practice

Posted June 6th, 2016.

Sanford Heisler Names Vince McKnight Managing Partner of DC Office;  Katherine Kimpel Takes on New Public Interest Challenges; Firm Adds Five Associates, Two Civil Rights Fellows

For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, 646-791-4848[email protected]

June 6, 2016, Washington, DC – Sanford Heisler, LLP, a dominant U.S. plaintiffs’ firm, today announced the promotion of Charles Field, Esq., who is based in the firm’s San Diego office, to Partner and Chair of the firm’s Financial Services Litigation practice.  The firm also announced the addition of Cleveland Lawrence III to the firm’s Qui Tam practice in the firm’s DC office.

Vincent McKnight, Jr., currently a partner in the firm’s Washington, DC Office, will assume the role of Managing Partner of that office, after former Managing Partner of DC office Katherine Kimpel announced her decision to depart the firm to pursue other public interest issues.

The Firm has also hired five associates and two litigation fellows.

“As we have earned win after win for ordinary citizens by taking on some of the world’s largest corporations in individual and class actions, the demand for our representation has increased,” said David Sanford, the Firm’s Founding Partner and Chairman.  “With each case we pursue, we strive to set the bar higher and provide an example to employers about how individuals should be treated in the workplace.  These strategic hires and promotions at the firm will ensure we are well prepared for continued success.”


New partner Charles Field is uniquely suited for his role leading the firm’s Financial Services Litigation Section. Field was General Counsel of Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management and its successor, Allianz Global Investors Capital, from 2002 to 2013. He has considerable private practice experience and a deep knowledge of investment law, which he uses to assess whether sellers have breached their legal obligations and whether an aggrieved investor can recover damages.

Field also has considerable experience protecting elders from financial abuse and investors of all ages from stockbrokers, investment advisers and financial planners whose actions are not in investors’ best financial interests. Field is licensed to practice law in California, Indiana and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.

“Charles and Financial Services Co-Chair Grant Morris are among the top litigators focused on protecting the interests of investors and individuals injured by financial fraud,” said Sanford. “Charles has been active for nearly three decades in the securities law arena. His perspective as a former General Counsel of an investment firm has provided him with significant knowledge of the laws that apply to investment advisers and he understands the many ways that financial advisers are able to take advantage of their clients.  In his new role, Charles will be an even greater force for advancing consumer financial rights.”


As one of the leading qui tam lawyers in the country, Cleveland Lawrence III joins a national qui tam practice headed by Ross Brooks in New York and Vincent McKnight in Washington, DC  Mr. Lawrence is an authority on the False Claims Act (FCA), and on whistleblower, fraud and compliance issues.  Most recently, Lawrence was the Co-Executive Director of Taxpayers Against Fraud, where he served for eight years.

“Cleveland has long served as a key advocate and thought leader on behalf of whistleblowers and the whistleblower bar nationally,” said Ross Brooks.  “His passion, intelligence, creativity, and his broad and deep knowledge of the False Claims Act and its enforcers will make him one of the most valuable members of the Sanford Heisler whistleblower team.  We are privileged and delighted to bring him aboard.”

Lawrence has filed numerous amicus curiae briefs on whistleblower issues in federal and state courts across the country–including the U.S. Supreme Court.  He has also drafted proposed legislation and has testified before Congress and state legislatures regarding FCA and other whistleblower-related issues.  He is a frequent speaker at national conferences, seminars, and student groups.

Prior to his service at Taxpayers Against Fraud, Lawrence spent seven years as a litigation  attorney in the DC office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, working principally on qui tam matters.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University, and graduated with honors from the George Washington University Law School.



Washington, DC partner H. Vincent “Vince” McKnight, Jr., today assumes the role of Managing Partner of the Firm’s Washington, DC Office upon Kimpel’s departure

A 1978 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, McKnight is Co-Chair of Sanford Heisler’s whistleblower practice, representing whistleblowers in sealed and unsealed False Claims Act and qui tam suits under investigation by federal authorities and other governmental stakeholders.  He also represents whistleblowers in active litigation, as well as plaintiffs in employment, discrimination and medical malpractice cases and cases filed under the Federal Employers Liability Act.  Right now the firm is handling more than 20 cases under seal and numerous whistleblower cases in active litigation.

McKnight is renowned for winning the first case in which the DC Court of Appeals departed from the employment-at-will doctrine in the District of Columbia. Prior to joining Sanford Heisler, he was co-founder and a principal at McKnight & Kennedy, a premier plaintiffs’ litigation firm in Washington, DC

“We welcome Vince to this key leadership role at the firm, knowing he will capably maintain the momentum Sanford Heisler has established in the nation’s capital,” Mr. Sanford said.

Katherine Kimpel announced her decision to turn her attentions to new public interest challenges; she left the firm effective June 4. “This is a bittersweet moment as it has been an honor and privilege to represent our clients with such an unparalleled group of colleagues,” said Kimpel.  “However, the passion and commitment shown by the firm’s clients, lawyers and legal assistants which inspired me every day compel me now to begin this new chapter.  The national conversation surrounding women and work recently has taken on a new depth and urgency, and our political leadership is focusing more acutely on the challenges that working women and families face.  I am excited to do all that I can to help make sure we can realize the promise of this moment.”

In her nine years at the firm, Kimpel charted an impressive rise, becoming a partner only three years after joining and, in 2012, becoming a member of the Executive Board of the firm while also assuming the role of Managing Partner of the firm’s Washington, DC Office. Kate achieved landmark successes as Lead Counsel on major class action and civil rights matters.  Her victories include helping to secure the largest verdict in a gender discrimination class action in U.S. history, representing Albert Woodfox and the other members of the Angola 3 in their challenge to the constitutionality of the use of indefinite solitary confinement, obtaining collective-action treatment and equitable tolling for more than 1,000 professional women at KPMG, and authoring influential amicus briefs before the Supreme Court in Wal-Mart v. Dukes and Young v. UPS.

David Sanford said, “Kate is a brilliant attorney who has come to define excellence in the law.  The firm has grown significantly since Kate’s arrival in 2007, and she has helped manage that growth through her careful and tireless stewardship over the DC office these past four years.  We will miss her terribly and, even more importantly, our clients will miss her vision, her commitment, and her stellar work in every phase of representation.  Kate has an unflagging commitment to fighting on behalf of working women and people of color, and we wish her great success.”

A 2006 graduate of Yale Law School, Kimpel has dedicated her entire career to social justice causes.  Before joining the firm, Kimpel served as Counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as staff on the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, and as a DC public school teacher.  Kimpel also serves on the board of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and teaches anti-discrimination law at Yale Law School.


The firm’s new associates are Kevin Love Hubbard in the San Francisco office, and James E. “Jimmy” Richardson, Saba Bireda, Aimee Krauss Stewart, and Christine Dunn in the Washington, DC office.  Nicole E. Wiitala and Joseph Kolker will join the firm as new civil rights litigation fellows in the firm’s New York office.

Kevin Love Hubbard is a 2012 graduate of Yale Law School.  Mr. Hubbard clerked for the Honorable Neil V. Wake of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.  He then worked for two years in the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster, where his practice focused on complex commercial litigation, as well as pro bono constitutional civil rights matters.

Jimmy Richardson is a 2009 graduate of Harvard Law School.  Mr. Richardson clerked for the Honorable Mary H. Murguia on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He comes to Sanford Heisler from the World Bank Group Sanctions Board, where he handled corruption and fraud cases in connection with global development projects. He began his law career in the New York City offices of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, where his practice focused on complex commercial matters, civil rights, the arts and investors’ rights.

Saba Bireda is a 2007 graduate of Harvard Law School.  Ms. Bireda joins the firm after three years as a member of the senior political staff at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC and two years as Senior Counsel in the U.S. Office for Civil Rights. Her experience includes service as a policy and legal advisor at Educational Counsel LLC, as Deputy Director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, and as an Education Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress.  Bireda was also a Philadelphia Bar Foundation Fellow, spending one year as a Litigation Associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and a second as Staff Attorney at the Education Law Center, both in Philadelphia.

Aimee Krauss Stewart is a 2013 graduate of Stanford Law School.  Ms. Stewart is now a Legal Fellow at the New York Civil Liberties Union. Before that, Ms. Stewart clerked for the Honorable Margo K. Brodie of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.  During her time at Stanford Law, Stewart worked with the school’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, at the San Francisco Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center’s Gender Project, and in New York at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.  Ms. Stewart will join the firm in the fall of 2016.

Christine Dunn is a 1999 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.  Ms. Dunn clerked for the Honorable Michael Farrell of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  Since then, she has worked as a Special Assistant  United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia; a trial attorney in the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice; an associate at Williams & Connolly, LLP; and an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law.  Ms. Dunn previously worked as an associate at Sanford Heisler, LLP.

Joseph Kolker is a 2016 graduate of Harvard Law School.  After his fellowship with Sanford Heisler, Mr. Kolker will serve as a law clerk for the Honorable Janet Bond Arterton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.  Mr. Kolker was previously an intern at Neufeld Scheck & Burstin, and served as a student attorney at Harvard Law School’s Predatory Lending/Consumer Protection Clinic.

Nicole Wiitala is a 2016 graduate of Pace University Law School. Ms. Wiitala served as Editor-in-Chief of the Pace Law Review.  Ms. Wiitala has been a Law Clerk at Sanford Heisler since September 2015.  Prior to that, she was a summer associate at Havkins Rosenfeld Ritzert & Varialle LLP and a judicial extern for the Honorable Edgardo Ramos in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.