Texas Associates Florence T. Chen and Krisina Zuñiga and Partners Michael Kelso and Rocco Magni have been named among Texas’s elite young lawyers as part of Texas Lawyer’s annual Rising Stars awards. Rising Stars are comprised of the state’s top lawyers who are 40 years of age and under. Susman Godfrey has more lawyers on this list than any other firm listed.
Florence is a former investment banker turned lawyer who leverages her finance background to help clients understand complex legal issues and navigate business implications. Florence was a key member of the team that, in 2023, secured $787.5 million for Dominion Voting Systems in its high-profile defamation litigation against Fox News. Dominion’s CFO called Florence a “rock star” for her work on this case and praised the unwavering effort she put in while litigating. Florence also helped achieve a 2023 bench trial victory, defeating a permanent injunction sought against a large industrial client in a major trespass and negligence case.
Michael has won landmark victories for both plaintiffs and defendants in some of the highest profile cases at Susman Godfrey. On the plaintiff side, he has helped recover $781 million in settlements for the direct-purchaser class and achieve precedent-setting wins on class certification and personal jurisdiction in the LIBOR price-fixing case. Michael also represents Baltimore, Maryland, in its lawsuit against the country’s largest opioid drug companies seeking to hold them accountable for the opioid epidemic. On the defense side, Michael’s depositions of two key experts earlier this year contributed to the resolution of claims by the California AG against energy trading company Vitol in a settlement earlier this year. Before that, Michael secured for Vitol a complete dismissal of a $10 billion lawsuit by a special purpose litigation entity purporting represent Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and wrote and argued the key summary judgment motion that defeated claims seeking nearly $4 billion by Puerto Rico’s public utility.
Rocco has achieved significant trial victories and has spent more than 130 days in trial representing clients with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in nearly every case. This year Rocco served as co-lead counsel to Pascal Metrics in a complex trade secret misappropriation case involving healthcare data analytics, ultimately securing an $18.8 million settlement at the pretrial conference after successfully defeating expert challenges. Also in the past year, Rocco represented Black Knight in its trade secret misappropriation case against mortgage servicer PennyMac, for which Black Knight sought damages in excess of $340 million. Rocco played a key role during the multi-month final arbitral hearing, conducting direct and cross examinations of important technical witnesses. A final arbitral award is expected later this month. In 2022 Rocco secured a complete victory for Virage Capital Management after a bench trial involving declarations of contractual rights worth tens of millions of dollars.
Krisina plays a leading role in all efforts leading up to trial or case resolution and regularly has stand up roles at trial. Krisina spent this year on the trial team representing Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in proceedings brought by the FTC related to ICE’s $11.7 billion proposed acquisition of Black Knight. In large part due to Krisina’s hard work, in August 2023, the FTC gave final sign-off to a deal allowing ICE to buy Black Knight. Also in 2023, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota preliminarily approved a settlement that includes a $39 million cash fund in an insurance-related class action that Krisina has been prosecuting for the past five years.