New York, January 5, 2021 – Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP announced today that it has elected three new partners and five new counsel, effective Jan. 1, 2021.

“We are thrilled to congratulate these outstanding lawyers on their well-deserved promotions,” said Ted Mayer, chair of Hughes Hubbard. “They are leaders in their fields and not only bring a tremendous amount of specialized experience but also a depth of commitment to client service.”

The new partners are Michael DeBernardis in the Washington, D.C., office, Gerold Niggemann in New York, and Emilio Saiz in Miami.

The firm also elevated Emma Baratta, M. Shams Billah, Jeffrey Margolin, and Carl Mills in New York and Brendan Franzoni in Kansas City to counsel.

New Partners

Michael DeBernardis is a member of the firm’s Anti-Corruption and Internal Investigations and White Collar & Regulatory Defense practice groups in the D.C. office. He represents clients in connection with government investigations and criminal, civil and administrative enforcement matters, including matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, financial fraud, money-laundering, and multilateral development bank sanctions. He also routinely advises U.S. and foreign companies in corporate compliance matters, including designing, maintaining, and administering compliance programs. He earned his J.D from George Washington University Law School in 2008 and graduated cum laude. He received his B.B.A. from the University of Delaware in 2005.

Gerold Niggemann is a member of the firm’s Corporate practice group in New York. He advises on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and general corporate matters. Gerold has recently represented Grab Holdings in numerous transactions in a multitude of jurisdictions, including its multi-billion preferred equity fundraising round, its strategic partnership with Microsoft and its acquisition of Uber’s business in Southeast Asia which transaction was selected Technology, Media & Telecom Deal of the Year in The Deal’s Cross-Border Asia Awards; JD Sports in its acquisition of Shoe Palace and Nice Kicks and its public takeover of Finish Line; Latin America’s fintech startup Ualá in all of its preferred equity fundraising rounds since its inception; and Daimler in a number of U.S. transactions, including its acquisition of a majority stake in self-driving technology company Torc Robotics which transaction was selected as a finalist for Most Innovative Deal of the Year in The Deal Awards Middle Market 2020. Gerold earned his doctorate degree (summa cum laude) from the University of Freiburg, Germany in 2008 and his LL.M. from Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

Emilio Saiz is a member of the firm’s Finance, Aviation and Corporate practice groups in Miami. He regularly advises corporations and financial institutions in corporate and structured finance transactions, including syndicated and credit enhanced loan facilities, domestic and cross-border aircraft lending/leasing, acquisition financings, project financings, trade financings, convertible loans, restructurings and derivative products. Emilio also advises corporations and financial institutions in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, product distribution and other general corporate and commercial matters. Emilio has particular experience in matters that are international in nature, most notably in Latin America, and has worked on various transactions awarded Deal of the Year Awards by Airfinance Journal, International Financing Review, Latin Finance and Trade Finance as well as a transaction shortlisted for the Latin Lawyer Deal of the Year award. He earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2008 and his B.A. from Florida State University in 2005.


Emma Baratta is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology practice group in New York. She focuses on litigation involving patents, trademarks and other aspects of intellectual property law. Before graduating from law school, Baratta was an intern in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, where she worked on matters in the General Crimes and Narcotics units of the Criminal Division. As a lawyer, she has worked primarily on intellectual property matters and white-collar criminal defense. Her pro bono practice has included state and federal criminal defense matters as well as immigration proceedings. She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2011. She received her B.A. from Columbia University in 2006, where she graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

M. Shams Billah is a member of the firm's Banking & Financial Services practice group in New York. He maintains a broad corporate practice advising clients on a wide range of financing transactions, including bank financings, debt restructurings and capital markets offerings. Billah has particular expertise in leveraged finance, acquisition finance, private credit transactions and Islamic finance transactions. He earned his J.D from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2011, where he graduated magna cum laude. He received his B.A. (summa cum laude) from The George Washington University in 2008.

Brendan Franzoni is a member of the firm’s Regulatory and Compliance and Litigation practice groups in Kansas City and focuses primarily on regulatory and complex litigation matters. In the regulatory context, Franzoni provides experience and expertise advising national and international products manufacturers and commercial retailers on federal and state regulatory schemes and compliance governing a variety of consumer products, including alcohol, e-vapor products, cigars, CBD, and cannabis. Franzoni’s litigation practice concentrates on complex matters stemming from product liability and toxic torts litigation. Brendan has represented major U.S. products manufacturers in multi-defendant and multi-plaintiff litigation in state and federal court. He earned his J.D. from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law in 2009. He received his B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in 2005, where he graduated summa cum laude and was a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Franzoni is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where served as part of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Services in the Middle East and Europe.

Jeffrey Margolin is a member of the firm’s Corporate Reorganization and Bankruptcy practice group in New York. He has substantial experience in the liquidation of brokerage firms, most notably having played a significant role in the firm’s representation of the trustee liquidating Lehman Brothers Inc. and MF Global Inc. In addition, Jeff’s practice focuses on all aspects of domestic and international debt restructurings and workouts and distressed acquisitions, as well as related litigation. His work has included representing debtors, creditors, and acquirers in U.S. Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 cases. He earned his J.D. from Yeshiva University, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2002, where he was an editor of the Cardozo Women's Law Journal and a Samuel & Ronnie Heyman Corporate Governance Scholar. He received his B.A. (cum laude) from Columbia University in 1998.

Carl Mills is a member of the firm’s Litigation group in New York. He has represented both U.S. and international clients in a variety of industries, including the accounting, financial services, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries. He has extensive experience advising and representing Big Four accounting firms in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and civil litigation matters. Mills also has extensive experience with complex commercial, employment, real estate, trusts and estates litigation, as well as litigation in the corporate reorganization and bankruptcy contexts. Mills has represented pro bono clients in all manner of cases, including civil rights, immigration, housing, and family law matters. Mills earned his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 2005, where he graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Order of the Coif. He received his B.S. from Cornell University in 1999.

About Hughes Hubbard 

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP is a New York City-based international law firm with a relentless focus on providing quality service to our clients and delivering successful results in the most complex matters.  With a powerful combination of scale and agility, we offer clients innovative and effective solutions, while remaining flexible to adapt to their needs and market developments. Known for a collaborative culture, as well as our diversity and pro bono achievements, Hughes Hubbard has a distinguished history dating back more than a century. For more information, visit