Jennifer Millard, Kalon Gutierrez and Farnaz Alemi bring extensive consulting experience to firm’s hybridized Digital and Technology group
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a multidisciplinary, integrated professional services firm, announced today that managing directors Jennifer Millard and Kalon Gutierrez and partner Farnaz Alemi have joined the firm’s Digital and Technology group. Their arrival further expands Manatt’s extensive business and compliance consulting capabilities, which are central to the firm’s hybridized professional services model. Together, they will add significantly to Manatt’s existing consulting and legal services for global technology, media/entertainment, consumer, retail, fintech, ecommerce and gaming enterprises, advising them around a broad array of strategic advisory activities including market and product development, build/buy/partner initiatives, content and advertising strategies, and the integration of emerging technologies and new business models.
“Jennifer, Kalon and Farnaz have all worked at the forefront of the digital revolution, where they have proven track records of helping both the disruptors and disrupted build brands, protect their assets and navigate the increasingly complex digital world,” said Donna L. Wilson, Manatt’s CEO and Managing Partner. “With the events of the last 12 months, now more than ever, our clients are seeking hybridized consulting and legal solutions as they navigate the acceleration of digital, business and legal trends. Jennifer, Kalon and Farnaz will be instrumental as we continue to develop these innovative strategies for our clients.”
Millard and Gutierrez join the firm from Sanctum Insights, the consulting firm they jointly formed to serve some of the world’s most recognized technology, retail and financial services brands. With more than 25 years of experience leading consumer and data technology innovation businesses, Millard’s expertise in omnichannel retail technology and financial services innovation is unparalleled. She excels at go-to-market strategies and engaging with the venture capital, private equity and private investor communities to guide them through due diligence activities and assist their portfolio companies with strategies to grow and prosper. Her varied background and history of entrepreneurial and large company leadership augments the firm’s strategic business counseling capabilities. Prior to Sanctum Insights, Millard held executive roles at Mastercard, TruAxis and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others. Millard studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business and Stanford University, and received her bachelor’s degree from Colby College.
As a respected entrepreneur and strategist, Gutierrez has co-founded three companies and has since advised both early-stage and Fortune 500 companies around technology, go-to-market, growth and innovation initiatives. He has guided numerous next-generation consumer, retail, media and entertainment technology companies and helped them navigate through the full landscape of business, brand development, partnership and investment opportunities. Gutierrez previously held leadership roles at JCPenney, ZoomSystems and Nomadic, among others, before starting Sanctum Insights with Millard. Gutierrez holds a master’s degree from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a bachelor’s degree from University of California, San Diego and training from the Co-Active Training Institute.
Alemi brings significant transactional, litigation, in-house and consulting experience to Manatt. Formerly a senior member of a “Big Four” firm’s advisory services arm and an in-house legal executive for one of the largest entertainment trade associations in the world, Alemi has extensive experience providing both strategic legal and consulting counsel to new media startups, complex technology platforms and entertainment studios. While in consulting, she focused on building different technologies and solutions for Fortune 100 clients in the emerging media space, as well as helping clients strategically assess and manage risks related to their IP assets. Alemi also was involved with her previous firm’s in-house incubator, designing and developing cutting-edge service offerings for entertainment and media clients. Previously, Alemi served as Vice President, Global Content Protection Counsel for the Motion Picture Association, where she developed and led worldwide strategies and solutions to preserve and protect the IP rights of its six studio members. Her expertise protecting IP assets for emerging technology, new media and entertainment companies, combined with her deep-rooted understanding of the evolving digital landscape, complements the firm’s entertainment, IP and digital media capabilities across a variety of industry groups and practices. Alemi’s Big Law experience includes both litigation and transactional work for clients in the entertainment, gaming/esports, software, edtech, retail and digital advertising industries. Alemi earned her juris doctorate from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Stanford University.
“I’m excited to join a firm with a reputation for successfully guiding companies through their digital transformations, especially amid today’s increasingly tech-driven economy,” said Millard.
Gutierrez added, “Manatt’s entrepreneurial spirit, vision for growth and commitment to delivering top-quality client services provide a great foundation to build upon. I’m thrilled to join a team of innovative thinkers in the technology and digital spaces.”
“Manatt’s reputation in the digital media and entertainment industries speaks for itself, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to join a firm that perfectly mirrors my own blended experience working in Big Law, in-house and consulting,” said Alemi.
Joining Manatt’s Digital and Technology group, which is led by venture capitalist, entrepreneur and business strategist Lisa Suennen, the arrivals are the latest example of the firm’s continued expansion within the digital and technology sectors. Following closely on the recent arrival of decentralized finance (DeFi) and fintech partners, Manatt has been strategically expanding its roster of legal and strategy consulting professionals to meet the ever-evolving needs of its clients. Other recent hires include national technology and IP litigation practice leader Amar L. Thakur, patent litigator Bruce Zisser, digital health expert Dr. Vivian de Ruijter and former Commissioner of the California Department of Business Oversight Jan L. Owen.