Babst Calland Grows Emerging Technologies Practice, Adds Three Lateral Attorneys

Babst Calland today announced the addition of three lateral moves to support early stage businesses and companies with emerging technologies.

“The addition of these technology and startup-focused attorneys supports the Firm’s strategy to expand its multidisciplinary team to serve the needs of clients developing new technologies, new companies and new ideas,” said Babst Calland’s Managing Shareholder Donald C. Bluedorn II.

Justine M. Kasznica joined as shareholder in the Firm’s Mobility, Transport and Safety and Corporate and Commercial groups. Ms. Kasznica is a technology and commercial transactions attorney who represents technology companies, investor groups, universities and research institutions seeking to commercialize new technologies, as well as innovative products and services. Her clients are customers and vendors of software, SaaS, IoT, AI and robotics products and services in the retail, aerospace, autonomous vehicle, healthcare, education, emergency management and system safety/security industries, among others. In addition, she has experience in general corporate and commercial law matters, and supports clients with their entity formation, corporate governance, venture capital and private equity investments, and commercial contract needs.

A recreational drone pilot with a passion for robotics, space and aviation, she represents commercial space and drone (unmanned aircraft systems – UAS) companies in connection with their regulatory needs, and she also advises universities and large commercial institutions with respect to their UAS operations. In this role, she regularly participates in speaking engagements and leads workshops on legal and regulatory topics related to UAS and commercial space, and serves as an advisor to various UAS and space technology companies and projects.

Ms. Kasznica has been actively involved in Pittsburgh’s innovation economy since she moved to Pittsburgh in 2008. She served as Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law Innovation Practice Institute and remains active on the boards of several entrepreneurship-focused organizations and programs, including Ascender, an accelerator and co-working hub. She is a founding member of ReefBot, a collaborative partnership between Carnegie Mellon’s Robotic Institute, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium to develop autonomous underwater vehicles for the purpose of oceanographic exploration and coral reef conservation.

Ms. Kasznica graduated from Yale University (Branford College) with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and earned her Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law-Camden. She served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas M. Hardiman on the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She currently serves as the President of the Yale Club of Pittsburgh.

Carl A. Ronald joined as shareholder in the Corporate and Commercial Group. As a highly-experienced intellectual property attorney for more than 20 years, he represents clients, large and small, in the prosecution, licensing, and enforcement of their patent, copyright, and trademark rights. As part of his practice, he counsels clients on how to strategically protect their inventive creations, domestically and in foreign jurisdictions, as well as providing advice on freedom to operate, infringement studies, portfolio analyses, and white space evaluations. He also routinely prepares and negotiates commercial and employment documentation relating to the ownership, use, transfer, sharing, and joint development of existing and new intellectual property.

Mr. Ronald also has significant expertise in dispute resolution, having represented client interests in federal and state courts, as well as before panels in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as arbitrations and mediations. He has also engaged in appellate work when necessary to protect a client’s interests, advocating client positions before the Third and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeals, as well as arguing on behalf of clients before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Alexandria, Va.  He has been actively involved in Pittsburgh’s start-up scene throughout his legal career, dating back to his own startup company, and more recently working on-site site with a medical robotics company. He also volunteers his time and expertise screening and vetting the IP portfolios of funding candidates for two local angel investment groups and often speaks on topics related to intellectual property.

Mr. Ronald graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and earned his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law. He is also a graduate of the Benchtop to Bedside certificate program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Michael E. Fink joined as associate in the Corporate and Commercial Group. Mr. Fink focuses his practice on technology transactions and licensing with analysis and negotiation of intellectual property.  He represents clients in mergers and acquisitions in general corporate, energy, and healthcare sectors, and handles private placements involving preferred stock, convertible debt, and seed and angel financings, preparation of pro forma capitalization tables, document drafting and negotiation, and deal closings. He also counsels clients in securities compliance providing substantive and technical reviews of annual reports, quarterly reports, current reports, proxy statements, and registration statements, as well as disclosure research and analysis. In addition, Mr. Fink provides general corporate counsel in entity formation including negotiation and preparation of governing documents, capitalization tables, corporate governance advice including best practices and observation of formalities and fiduciary duties, and board and stockholder meeting minute drafting and review.

Mr. Fink graduated from Albright College with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and earned his Juris Doctor from University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

“Justine, Carl, and Michael are well-respected, accomplished legal professionals with backgrounds and experience unique to the industries and clients they serve. They join forces with Babst Calland’s existing multidisciplinary team focusing on the needs and expectations of startups and companies with emerging technologies. They are a natural fit for our Firm as they share similar values, experience and philosophy in serving clients,” said Bluedorn.