Founder/Partner/CEO of InnovaCounsel Services, LLC
Stuart Blake is an attorney with more than 30 years of in-house corporate legal experience. He has vast knowledge of the legal issues involved in consumer products industries, for which he has counseled on general business, commercial contracts, employment matters, litigation mergers and acquisitions, and corporate compliance and government. He has built a solid track record of forging successful working relationships with executive management teams.
Stuart was the Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Kinko’s, Inc., for five years, the Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Baskin-Robbins, USA, Co. for six years and spent six years as Corporate Counsel and Senior Corporate Counsel with the Burger King Corporation. He formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Community Services Branch of the YMCA of Orange County and the Board of Directors of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel America (ACCA).
Founder/Managing Partner of InnovaCounsel, LLP
Michael Oswald is an attorney with over 25 years of in-house corporate legal and management experience. His broad range of experience spans aerospace, construction consulting and technology, and he has counseled on a wide variety of general business, government contracts, commercial contracts, employment matters, litigation, mergers and acquisitions and corporate compliance and governance.
Michael most recently served as Vice President and General Counsel of SRS Labs, Inc., a publicly traded developer and licensor of audio and voice technologies. He previously acted as Vice President and General Counsel of Lantronix, Inc., a publicly traded provider of computer networking technologies. Prior to his public company experience, Michael was General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer at NowDocs, Inc., and General Counsel at Acuity Corp. He held several management positions at SEMATECH, a semiconductor industry research and development consortium. He has also served as Assistant General Counsel to a government construction contracts consulting firm and a Subcontract Administrator at Lockheed and Ford Aerospace.
He has served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Western State University College of Law, where he taught business law courses, and also served as Assistant Director of the school’s Business Law Center. Michael also serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel – America (ACCA).
Vincent J. Roth, Partner
Vincent J. Roth is a highly educated and broadly experienced corporate attorney with over 14 years of in-house experience. Vincent provides legal services in the high-technology, healthcare, entertainment, real estate, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, medical device and biotechnology industries to both public and private companies. He is very familiar with highly regulated industries. In addition to managing legal departments, Vincent is often responsible for Human Resources departments and often serves as the Corporate Secretary where he guides and assists companies with their corporate governance and corporate culture and helps the boards of directors and CEOs unfold their visions. He also enjoys helping companies develop and protect their intellectual property to create value.
Prior to working with InnovaCounsel, Vincent served as the full-time General Counsel for three public companies in the biotech, telecommunications and computer networking industries and a private biotechnology contract manufacturer. Before practicing law, he worked in healthcare management for eight years.
Vincent recently completed a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Intellectual Property at the University of San Diego with honors. He previously received an LL.M. in Business and Corporate Law from the University of San Diego where he graduated #1 in his class, a Juris Doctor and M.B.A. from Temple University, a Master of Liberal Arts in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.B.A. in Marketing and Human Resource Administration from Temple University. In addition to these six degrees, Vincent has also been awarded three master certificates in related disciplines and now has two published articles with prestigious law journals.
Warner Broaddus was Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated from 2001-2007. Prior to joining Ligand, Warner served as General Counsel and Secretary of Invitrogen Corporation, a biotechnology reagents & equipment maker, where he was employed from October 1994 to November 2000. In these capacities he had overall responsibility for the company’s legal affairs, including intellectual property, corporate and securities matters, litigation, compliance and corporate governance. From 1986 to 1990, Warner was an analyst for Morgan Stanley & Co. and UBS Securities, Inc. (now UBS Warburg).
Warner holds a J.D. from the University of San Diego and a B.S. (computer science) from the University of Virginia.
Ramona Petersen joined The General Counsel in February 2009, bringing with her several years of Corporate Counsel experience for companies such as K&N Engineering, Inc., Focus on the Family and Kustom Phinish, Inc. In addition, Ramona spent three years running the Benefits Department for the 17,000+ employees of the County of San Bernardino.
Recently, in addition to her corporate counsel responsibilities, Ramona served as CEO for a design/finish carpentry business. She believes this experience was invaluable in teaching her all aspects of running a small corporation. She not only served as a member of the executive team but also directed the marketing and business development activities of the company and worked with all levels of employees. Ramona took the construction experience she gained from those years and now serves as an adjunct professor in the Construction Technology Department at Fullerton College, teaching Business Administration and Construction License Law.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Chapman University, Ramona earned her JD degree at Western State University College of Law in 1997 and in 2004 earned a CEBS (Certified Employee Benefits Specialist), Retirement Plans Associate and Group Benefits Associate Designation from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the current President and co-founder of the Venus Elite Network for Professional Women, a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the In-house Counsel Committee of the Intellectual Property Section of the California Bar Association. She is also a past mentor for Volunteers in Parole, a group that matches attorneys with women reentering society upon being paroled.
Geri L. Bone
Geri Bone has over 20 years of legal experience both in house and in prominent law firms. She was Secretary and Associate General Counsel of Pacific Century Homes from 2000-2002, Senior Transactions Counsel at Lennar Corporation from 2002-2006 and National Environmental Counsel for Lennar Corporation from 2006-2007. Prior to joining Innovacounsel, Geri was Of Counsel at Robert Smylie and Associates and head of the San Diego Offices.
Geri has extensive experience in all areas of real estate development/law including acquisitions/dispositions, formation, asset management and representation of ventures, LLC’s, limited and general partnerships, land use issues (procurement and perfection of entitlements, permits, approvals), environmental law, residential, commercial and resort subdivisions, construction issues, equity and construction financing, Department of Real Estate licensing and regulatory issues and preparation and negotiation of construction agreements. In addition, she has considerable general business law experience, including, but not limited to, corporate law, employment law, mergers and acquisitions, complex contract negotiation and preparation, corporate compliance and governance, licensing, intellectual property, litigation, including pre-litigation dispute management.
Geri earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and her JD degree from University of West Los Angeles School of Law in Los Angeles. She is a member of the Real Estate and Environmental Law Sections of the State Bar of California. Prior to attending law school, Geri worked as a paralegal for various law firms, including, Latham and Watkins in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Geri also has the unique background of having in essence grown up in the real estate/escrow/construction business, having worked in various capacities in the field and in the office, for her families’ various businesses, including, but not limited to, Mustang Development Corporation, Sunrise Company and Pacific Coast Escrow prior to attending law school. Geri is a member of the Builders Industry Association, San Diego Chapter and where she serves on the Political Communications, Legislative and Storm Water Committees. Additionally, Geri routinely participates in Habitat for Humanity community build projects throughout Southern California.
Marty Bell has 25+ years of cumulative “all things legal” corporate counsel experience in publicly traded and privately held multi-national defense/aerospace companies (units of Litton Industries, Textron Inc., and Sabtech Industries, Inc.), and an industry-leading multi-national flexible packaging company (Scholle Corporation).
His experience encompasses virtually every facet of a global business enterprise, including, strategic planning, M&A, transactional and complex agreement drafting, analysis and negotiation, intellectual property portfolio management (trademark and patents), labor & employment law (claims, layoffs, ADA, FMLA, HIPAA, FLSA, WARN, Title VII, training, litigation management), commercial law, government/defense contracting (FAR, DFARS, Suspension/Debarment), export controls (ITAR, EAR), risk management (FCPA, UK Bribery Act), corporate governance, and compliance.
Marty has active associations with the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Association of Corporate Counsel, and the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics. Having attended several colleges, including, Metropolitan State College, the University of Denver, and Western State University College of Law, Marty holds BSL and JD degrees, is licensed by the state bars of California and Georgia, and is admitted to the following courts: U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Sabtech Industries, Inc.
Harold Laufer is a highly experienced attorney with over 30 years of practice as both a senior partner in a large law firm (heading its M&A Practice Group) and as both in-house and outside General Counsel to a variety of businesses. Harold has represented companies of all sizes – from small to middle market to Fortune 500, and including closely held, family and public companies.
Harold has a reputation for his practical problem solving skills, his business acumen and he is known as a trusted advisor to owners and managers of companies in almost every industry. In addition to counseling businesses on their merger and acquisition deals, and on contentious negotiations, Harold has advised on personal wealth management and estate planning issues for high net worth individuals, litigation avoidance, HR and strategic planning.
Harold is engaged by clients having complex business issues, difficult negotiations and those needing real world problem solving when aggravated disputes arise between partners and owners of companies.
Among the industries in which Harold has successfully handled transactions are: healthcare, professional service providers, defense and aerospace, banking, investment banking and fund raising, technology, manufacturing, services, real estate, transportation and logistics,wholesale and retail sellers and distributors and industries involving intellectual property and Trade Secrets.
Harold has taught business school level classes on family businesses and is associated with UCLA’s Anderson School of Businesses’ MBA programs and entrepreneurs.
Russell Case approaches law from a business perspective. He understands his role is to understand and, through that knowledge, advance his clients’ goals. Driven by innovation, he has a penchant for helping start-ups shine, but the bedrock of his character is grounded in sound ethics, up-front honesty and absolute trust.
Russell’s experience spans twenty-five years as a business attorney, business strategist and board member, and he’s developed a diverse portfolio working with start-ups, growth enterprises and established multinationals. These experiences underlie a simple philosophy – lawyers must add value to business, not be a time and cost distraction.
Following graduation from Williams College and Cornell Law School, Russell joined the Kilpatrick law firm in Atlanta, Georgia as a corporate/securities attorney, then went on to take in-house positions with a number of prominent national and international corporations.
While he’s an astute attorney, Russell’s professional experience extends far beyond the law. He is one of the few lawyers who has seamlessly transitioned between law and business. First as a corporate development director with BellSouth Corporation, then as vice president of global mergers and acquisitions with Concert BV (ATT’s worldwide joint venture with British Telecom), and now through his work with Idaho companies, Russell has deep hands-on experience creating strategic plans, identifying opportunities and implementing business expansion efforts.
Russell is a life-long learner, as evidenced by his recent completion of an International Business degree from the prestigious Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix.
Russell’s extensive resume could land him in any number of large metropolitan markets the world over, but he chooses to live in Boise, Idaho specifically because of its diverse, thriving and strong-minded business community and its proclivity for cutting-edge innovation.
Nicholas Morgan joined the InnovaCounsel team in 2014 to offer special expertise in nonprofit corporation issues. In addition to his work with InnovaCounsel, Nicholas serves as Chief Legal Officer and Chief Policy Officer for TEAM, a large international NGO. In this role, Nicholas overseas compliance and authors policy for TEAM’s operations in more than 40 countries.
Nicholas brings broad experience in the area of nonprofits, business, and law. His professional background includes church pastor, international NGO Executive Director, and membership on the boards and advisory panels of multiple nonprofit corporations.
Nicholas holds a J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law, and M.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, and undergraduate degrees in History and Philosophy from the University of Idaho.
G. Connie Runia
G. Connie Runia is licensed in Oregon and Idaho. She earned her JD from Willamette University College of Law in 1986 and began her practice in Oregon with a large regional law firm with focus on business, banking, corporate finance and securities. Her practice later shifted to general business representation when she accepted a position as in-house counsel to a technology company. There she added to her experience – regulatory compliance, employee policy development, contracting with local and international vendors and protection of proprietary intellectual property. Most recently in Idaho, Ms. Runia served as General Counsel to a local collection agency before opening her own practice and co-founding On Behalf LLC, an Accounts Receivable consulting and management business.
Connie has served in executive position in local and national industry associations. She was invited to participate in a broad study group convened by the Idaho Supreme Court to consider revisions to Idaho’s garnishment laws and currently serves on the Oregon State Bar House of Delegates. Ms. Runia is a frequent speaker on business and credit cycle related topics to attorneys, industry associations and business groups.