women and minority attorneys

Taft is committed to creating an inclusive culture of individuals from diverse backgrounds. We are proud of our ongoing efforts in this area and of our growing diversity, and we invite you to contact any of our women and minority attorneys to discuss what it is like to practice at Taft.

Below are informal profiles for some of our women and minority attorneys. To see a full list, click on “View by Last Name” or “View by Practice Area.”

View by Last Name View by Practice Area

Photo of Barbara Duncombe Barbara Duncombe

In 1974, when Barbara graduated with a bachelor's degree in cross-cultural communications, it was much more difficult for a woman to find a job other than as a mom, a secretary, a teacher or a nurse. After a brief career as a secretary, Barbara became a paralegal and, a year later, was admitted to George Washington University Law School as a night student. By taking night classes year round Barbara graduated just three years later. A dozen years after her graduation from law school, Barbara was able to use both her undergraduate and legal degrees when she began training UN personnel worldwide in public buying. She has been able to combine her passion for cross-cultural communications (and her dual US/Irish citizenship) with her government contract law practice by working with international non-governmental organizations and UN agencies worldwide to achieve greater buying power and ensure the funding goes to those who need it most, the beneficiaries of these organizations.

Photo of Cassandra L. Elrod Cassandra L. Elrod

Cassie is an associate in Taft’s Indianapolis office and a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Litigation groups. She received her B.A. in journalism, magna cum laude, from the University of Georgia and earned her J.D., cum laude, from Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where she attended as a Dean’s Scholar. While in law school, Cassie served as a notes editor for the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies and was published in the journal for her note "The Domino Effect: How Inadequate Intellectual Property Rights in the Fashion Industry Affect Global Sustainability." She also attended ESADE Business and Law School as part of a study abroad program. Prior to joining Taft, Cassie was a summer associate with the firm and an intern with Ingardus LLC.

Photo of Erin T. Escoffery Erin T. Escoffery

Erin joined Taft’s Labor and Employment group in 2014. While in law school at Notre Dame, Erin was a solicitations editor for the Journal of College and University Law and a member of the Notre Dame Journal of International & Comparative Law. Erin also worked as a legal intern for both Rolls-Royce North America and the Notre Dame Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic. Eager to get involved in campus life, Erin served as an assistant rector in Walsh Hall, an all-female residence hall, and joined the Graduate Women’s Group. Before law school, Erin worked for HarperCollins Publishers in New York City.  

 

Photo of Caitlin Graham Felvus Caitlin Graham Felvus

Caitlin is a Cincinnati native and an associate at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. She studied journalism at Ohio University where she also worked as a recruiting assistant for the Bobcat football team. Before returning to her hometown for law school, Caitlin spent time working in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich and U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. During law school, Caitlin was the editor of the inaugural UC Law Review Blog and represented local small businesses in the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic. Caitlin is the chair of Taft Women 360, an initiative focused on recruiting, retaining and promoting female attorneys to leadership positions at Taft. She is also a high school mock trial coach at her all-girls alma mater, St. Ursula Academy, and a member of United Way LINC. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys cheering for the Bengals, the Reds and FC Cincinnati, as well as supporting the Cincinnati Arts, including the CSO through CSO Encore. 

Photo of Melissa A. Gardner Melissa A. Gardner

Melissa is an associate in the firm’s Labor and Employment and Litigation practice groups. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Valparaiso University where she was a member of the Valparaiso University Law Review and served as a Legal Writing Teaching Assistant. She also received Course Honors Awards in eight different classes for achieving the highest grades in those classes. Before law school, Melissa graduated from Marquette Universtiy, cum laude, with a B.A. in economics and political science. Melissa has always had a passion for helping underprivileged youth. While at Marquette, she volunteered as a tutor for high school students in the Milwaukee Public School system. One student she tutored for three years became the first in his family to attend college and graduate with a college degree. Melissa serves as chair of the board of directors for the Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) and is a member of the American Red Cross Young Professionals Board. 

Photo of Monica L. Gearding Monica L. Gearding

Monica honed her time management skills by juggling parenting and full-time work and school, ultimately graduating cum laude from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She is a partner in our Real Estate Practice Group and she focuses her practice on commercial and corporate law, with an emphasis on real estate matters, commercial lending and consumer finance. Monica is active in the community; she serves on the board of directors of Advanced Industrial Measurement Systems, Inc. and completed six terms as a member of the Wilder, Kentucky City Council. Monica was recently honored at The Ohio Conference for Women as one of twelve recipients of the Glass Ceiling Award, which honors individuals for their commitment to their profession, their achievement of personal success, and their examples of leadership. When not working or volunteering, Monica enjoys spending time with her husband and wonderful children.

Photo of Graham C. Grady Graham C. Grady

Graham practices government relations, zoning land use and public law primarily in the city of Chicago. A native Chicagoan, Graham has deep roots in Chicago, including a 12 year career in municipal government as zoning administrator and commissioner of the Department of Buildings, ex-officio member of the Chicago Plan Commission, acting commissioner of economic development and chief executive of the Chicago Housing Authority. Graham’s civic portfolio includes immediate past chair of the African-American Legacy of the Chicago Community Trust, chair of the Trustees Subcommittee of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Donors Forum of Chicago, member of the Leadership Advisory Committee of the Art Institute of Chicago and trustee of the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. He was featured in Ebony magazine’s “30 Under 30” and Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Leaders Under 40.” Graham was a featured speaker at the Aspen Institute, and he is a faculty member of the Land Use Institute of the American Law Institute and vice president of the Realty Club of Chicago. Graham is a member of the Nonprofit Advisory Council of the Office of the Illinois Comptroller, appointed by Illinois Comptroller; the Charitable Advisory Council of the state of Illinois, appointed by Illinois Attorney General; and the Economic Development Committee of Cook County, appointed by the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Graham has twin college-age daughters.

Photo of David L. Guevara, Ph.D. David L. Guevara, Ph.D.

David attended the University of Notre Dame Law School where he was Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of College and University Law and recipient of the Graham Law Fellowship. While at Notre Dame, David received a Dean’s Award for achieving the highest grade in Trial Advocacy. Before law school, David received a Ph.D. in philosophy and a M.A. in religious studies. David is a member of Taft’s Environmental Law and Litigation Practice Groups and his background in analytic studies has provided a successful foundation for recognizing clients’ problems and finding solutions. David is also a published poet, was a guest actor at the Indiana Repertory Theatre’s production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and is a recipient of the Indiana Careers Award.