Irell Elects Michael Kaplan as Partner; Promotes H. Annita Zhong and Sandra Haberny

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January 2017

Irell & Manella LLP (www.irell.com) announces the election of Michael W. Kaplan as a partner of the firm and the promotions of H. Annita Zhong to of counsel and Sandra L. Haberny to counsel, effective January 1. Kaplan is a member of the transactions group; Zhong and Haberny are both litigators. Kaplan and Zhong are based in Irell's Los Angeles office, and Haberny is based in Newport Beach.

"We are extremely proud to welcome Mike to the partnership and to promote Annita and Sandy," said Andrei Iancu, Irell & Manella managing partner. "All three have distinguished themselves as exceptionally talented lawyers, as well as leaders both within the firm and the community at large."

Kaplan's practice encompasses public and private equity and debt financings, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and corporate securities. He represents funds, targets and issuers in a range of industries including software, technology and manufacturing. Kaplan is recognized as a "Rising Star" by Southern California Super Lawyers.

Outside of his practice, Kaplan has provided pro bono legal services to clients including several non-profits in the educational field and a charity for youth and adults with special needs. He was honored by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as one of "LA's Finest," recognizing servant leadership and excellence in the greater Los Angeles business community. Within the firm, Kaplan serves on the Hiring Committee and is active in associate mentorship. He graduated cum laude from University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was the executive editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Kaplan earned his B.A., cum laude, from Yale University.     

Zhong's practice is focused on intellectual property litigation and licensing. She has extensive experience in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office proceedings including inter partes review. Zhong has litigated patent, trade secret and copyright-related cases before numerous federal and state courts, the International Trade Commission, arbitral panels and the PTO's Patent Trial and Appeal Board. She has experience with a broad spectrum of technologies including semiconductor fabrication and packaging, computer architecture, telecommunication hardware, digital signal processing, wireless communication, chemistry and materials. Outside of her practice, Zhong serves on the Planning Committee for the University of Southern California Law School’s Intellectual Property Institute. Within the firm, she serves on the Hiring Committee.

Zhong earned her J.D. from Yale Law School, her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from California Institute of Technology, and her B.S. in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to law school, she worked as a senior research scientist in the areas of catalysis, semiconductor packaging and bio-imaging at General Electric Company's Global Research Center. Zhong is a co-author and co-inventor on peer-reviewed journal articles and issued patents.

Haberny represents clients in a variety of complex commercial and patent litigation matters in both state and federal court. Her clients span numerous industries including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, energy and higher education. In addition to her practice, Haberny is active in the legal community, including serving as the 2017 chair of the Orange County Bar Association's Intellectual Property and Technology Section. She is a frequent author and speaker. Haberny also maintains an active pro bono practice and is a leader of Irell’s Women’s Network, where she has been responsible for spearheading networking and business development events within the Orange County business community. 

Haberny received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she was an associate editor of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology from New York University School of Medicine and her B.S. in Biological Sciences, cum laude, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.