ArentFox Schiff Welcomes Top Automotive Team in Boston

ArentFox Schiff is pleased to announce the expansion of its nationally recognized Automotive practice with the addition of Partners Paul Marshall Harris, Sara Decatur Judge, Gregory S. Paonessa, and Kelly Kirby Ballentine in the firm’s Boston office.

The Boston-based group has deep ties in the region and brings extensive experience across the automotive industry, including industry mergers and acquisitions, franchise disputes, regulatory compliance and enforcement defense, labor and employment, and other corporate and commercial matters. Their depth of knowledge and regional industry dominance will strengthen the firm’s national Automotive practice, which provides industry counseling from coast to coast. All four partners join ArentFox Schiff from Burns & Levinson.

“With the auto sector undergoing a major post-COVID comeback, we’ve seen an upsurge in consolidation, franchise litigation, and regulatory compliance and defense matters. I’m thrilled to have this knowledgeable and well-respected group join our growing Automotive team during such an exciting time for the industry.”

Aaron Jacoby, Automotive Group Leader and Los Angeles Managing Partner

“This team has long been entrenched in New England, and we are excited to have them join us in Boston. Paul, Sara, Greg, and Kelly have such deep and unique experience in the region and beyond — and our clients and attorneys will greatly benefit from their capabilities.”

David Barbash, Boston Managing Partner

Meet our New Partners

Paul Marshall Harris: With over 30 years of industry experience, Paul provides strategic advice to closely held businesses, distribution businesses, and franchises in the automotive industry. He regularly counsels motor vehicle dealers on transactional matters (buy/sell agreements), regulatory practices, compliance issues, dealer terminations and protests, labor and employment matters, defense of consumer protection claims, breach of contract actions, and other commercial litigation disputes. In addition to his automotive clients, he has experience counseling large equipment distributors.

Sara Judge: A seasoned business litigation attorney, Sara represents companies and individuals across the automotive, distribution, and franchise industries, with a particular focus on representing motor vehicle dealers in trade regulatory matters across New England. Specifically, Sara handles franchise matters, including dealer appointments, protests, relocations, buy/sell agreements, and terminations, and has extensive knowledge of Massachusetts’ dealer protection statute, Chapter 93B. Sara also has experience with commercial disputes and class action defense.

Gregory Paonessa: For over a decade, Greg has counseled clients on complex business disputes and resolutions in the automotive, franchise, real estate, and construction industries. Additionally, Greg is experienced in a range of commercial disputes involving claims based on tort and contractual issues and has extensive experience handling “bet the company” litigation.

Kelly Kirby Ballentine: Kelly provides reliable legal counsel to employers of all sizes. She helps her clients avoid litigation by advising on employment-related issues, such as internal complaints, wage and hour laws, leave laws, employee handbooks, pay plans, separation agreements, and restrictive covenants. When litigation cannot be avoided, Kelly represents her clients in business and employment-related disputes in the automotive, consumer products and services, finance, real estate, and technology industries.

Our Automotive team works with clients to address all of their business and legal challenges. From privacy and cybersecurity to taxation, HSR filings and licensing, from Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions to franchise litigation, and from class actions to criminal accusations. Combining industry experience with our team’s bench gives us a formidable market presence.

Smart In Your World
Your goals define our mission. Whether an immediate need or a long-term objective, ArentFox Schiff helps you reach your full potential. As industry insiders, we partner with you to develop practical business strategies and sophisticated legal solutions to achieve today’s targets and anticipate tomorrow’s problems. We get you across the finish line.


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