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Speakers and Panelists

Keynote Speaker

Dean Camille Nelson

Camille A. Nelson has long been an outstanding member of the law community before her appointment as dean of the Washington College of Law. She is the first black woman to clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada, the first woman and person of color to be appointed dean at Suffolk University Law School, and the first black person ever to be appointed dean at American University Washington College of Law.

Nelson has worked to augment discussions of equality and justice in academic areas of culture and race through publishing revered, well known articles in a variety of academic journals. These publications based in comparative and criminal law have appeared in the Journal of Politics and Law, the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, and the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism, among others. These works, her academic positions, and a multitude of speeches have been recognized through a variety of awards and honors. During her time at Suffolk University, Nelson was given the Trailblazer Award by the Black Law Students' Association " honor of unwavering commitment to create new paths, and to lead others through the legal profession;" the Malcolm Donahue Award, and the law school's annual diversity award has been named "The Dean Camille A. Nelson Award" in honor of her work.


Susan Bisom-Rapp

Susan Bisom-Rapp

Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp is the associate dean for faculty research and scholarship at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Bisom-Rapp is an internationally known scholar in the field of comparative workplace law, who writes about globalization, equal employment opportunity, occupational safety and health, and the gig economy. She is the author and co-author of numerous articles and book chapters, including a chapter in the recently published anthology Vulnerability and the Legal Organization of Work (Martha Albertson Fineman & Jonathan W. Fineman, eds., Routledge 2017). Her latest books include Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce (with Malcolm Sargeant, Cambridge University Press 2016), and the path-breaking casebook, The Global Workplace: International and Comparative Employment Law - Cases and Materials (Aspen 2012).


Douglas Branson

Douglas Branson

Professor Douglas Branson is W. Edward Sell Professor of Business at University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He specializes in corporate law and securities regulation. Branson has published numerous articles and books, including the treatise Corporate Governance (Lexis Law Pub. 1993)(with annual supplements), Corporate Governance Problems (1997), Understanding Corporate Law (Matthew Bender,1999)(3rd ed. 2009)(with A. Pinto), Questions and Answers on Business Organizations (2003)(2d ed. 2012), No Seat at the Table - How Governance and Law Keep Women Out of the Boardroom (NYU Press 2007), Cases and Materials on Business Enterprises (LexisNexus, 2009)(2d ed. 2012)(w. J. Heminway et al), The Last Male Bastion: Gender and the CEO Suite at America’s Public Companies (Routledge 2010), The Russell Sage Handbook of Corporate Governance (2012)(w. T. Clarke), and Tastes of Nuoc Mam The Brown Water Navy and Visits to Vietnam (2012).


Hannah Brenner

Hannah Brenner is a professor of law at California Western School of Law. Professor Brenner researches the complex intersection of law and gender, focusing specifically on institutions and disparate power dynamics. Her research falls into two discrete, but not altogether unrelated areas: gender-based violence and gender inequality in the legal profession. Brenner is particularly interested in exploring the perpetration of sexual violence, and the related reporting, investigation, and adjudication, in closed and quasi-closed institutional settings like prisons, the military, immigration detention centers, and institutions of higher education.


Juanita Brooks

Juanita Brooks

Juanita Brooks is a principal of the firm Fish & Richardson in San Diego and an elected member of the firm’s Management Committee. Brooks is a nationally recognized trial and appellate lawyer who specializes in complex intellectual property, product liability, and mass tort litigation. In 2017, Brooks was inducted into the California Bar Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, the first Latina honoree and only the third inductee from San Diego to receive this honor. In 2014, she was named “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer. Brooks, called “a titan of the patent bar,” has been lead counsel in more than 13 patent trials over the past two years, and has handled more than 150 trials in her career. Because of Brooks’ well-known litigation success as well as her commitment to her community, she is consistently selected for national and local industry honors. Brooks was named an “Intellectual Property (IP) Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal (2016), a “Top 250 Women in IP” by Managing Intellectual Property (2016), and a “Trial Ace” by (2015).


Leslie Culver

Leslie Culver

Leslie Culver is a professor of law at California Western School of Law. Professor Culver's research interests lie at the nexus of critical race theory, anthropology, feminist communication, and social science with a central goal to empower marginalized law students and attorneys. Within the broader framework of critical race theory, her research intentionally brings the tenets of critical race and communication theories into the law school environment. She has presented and published widely in this area and is passionate about empowering all her students to be culturally competent attorneys in this racial era.


Meera Deo

Meera Deo

Meera Deo is an associate professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Deo is an interdisciplinary scholar who utilizes empirical methods to interrogate trends in legal education, institutional diversity, and affirmative action. She has recently authored Diversity in Legal Academia, which will be published by Stanford University Press in 2018. She is a co-editor and contributing author for Legal Education Across Boundaries, forthcoming with Routledge Press. Deo’s interdisciplinary and empirical research on institutional diversity has been cited in numerous amicus briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. Her scholarship draws from original empirical research to investigate the law student and law faculty experience, specifically examining how the intersectionality of race and gender affect tenure and promotion, work/life balance, institutional support, and other aspects of the personal and professional lives of American law faculty.


Jessica Fink

Jessica Fink

Jessica Fink is a professor of law at California Western School of Law, where she teaches remedies, employment law, employment discrimination, and constitutional law. Professor Fink's research focuses on how traditional employment law doctrines have been complicated by developments in the modern workplace and examines how those tensions have played out in civil litigation. Fink previously was a teaching fellow in California Western’s Aspiring Legal Scholars program. She became an assistant professor in 2007, an associate professor in 2010, and was elevated to professor of Law in 2014.


Hon. Judith Haller

Hon. Judith L. Haller

Justice Judith L. Haller is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UCLA and received her law degree from California Western School of Law. Justice Haller also has a master’s degree in history from San Diego State University. Justice Haller was a deputy district attorney with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office for three years before entering private practice. From 1979 until 1989, she practiced law with the firm of Higgs, Fletcher & Mack. She was a partner in the firm’s litigation department when she was appointed to San Diego County Superior Court in 1989, and then the Court of Appeal in 1994. Justice Haller served a four-year term on the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions, and is a master of the American Inns of Court. She is a director of the Board of Trustees of California Western School of Law, a former member of the San Diego County Bar Association Ethics Committee and is Chair of the Appellate Court Legacy Project. Recently, she served as the Chair of the Courts of Appeal 100th Anniversary Centennial Committee and as a special master for the Commission on Judicial Performance. Justice Haller is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs and a guest lecturer at the University of San Diego School of Law. In 2004, Justice Haller was awarded the Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award by the California Women Lawyers for her excellence as a jurist, commitment to gender equity and the elimination of gender bias in the legal profession, and for her service as a role model and an inspiration to women lawyers.


Catherine Hardee

Catherine Hardee

Catherine Hardee is a professor of law at California Western School of Law. Professor Hardee's research and teaching interests are in the fields of business law and torts. Her current writing explores the intersection between corporate personhood, rights claims by corporations, and the corporate social responsibility movement. Hardee's prior projects have focused on the role of consequences in constituting autonomy and the conflict inherent in the Supreme Court's treatment of coordinated speech. Hardee's work is published in the Pepperdine Law Review, the Willamette Law Review, and the New York University Law Review.


Angela Harris

Angela Harris

Professor Angela P. Harris is the Distinguished Professor of Law, Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom of Equality at UC Davis School of Law. She writes widely in the field of critical legal theory, examining how law sometimes reinforces and sometimes challenges subordination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, class, and other dimensions of power and identity. Her writings have been widely anthologized and translated into many languages, from Portuguese to Korean. Professor Harris is the author of a number of widely reprinted and influential articles and essays in critical legal theory. She is also a prolific co-author of casebooks, including Criminal Law: Cases and Materials; Race and Races: Cases and Materials for a Diverse America; Gender and Law; and Economic Justice. Along with Carmen Gonzalez, Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, and Yolanda Flores Niemann, she is editor of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (2013), a well-received anthology focused on the experiences of women of color among faculty and graduate students.


Y-Vonne Hutchinson

Y-Vonne Hutchinson is a former international labor rights lawyer, the founder of Ready Set, a diversity solutions firm based in Oakland, California, and a co-founder of Project Include. As a lawyer and advocate, she has worked with foreign national governments, the U.S. Department of State, and the United Nations. She is a member of Harvard Law’s Institute for Global Law and Policy network and an expert on labor relations and diversity in the workplace.


Marilyn Ireland

Marilyn J. Ireland is a distinguished retired professor emeritus from California Western School of Law. Ireland earned her BA with honors from Miami University, Phi Beta Kappa; and her JD from the University of Chicago, Order of the Coif. Ireland devoted time to improving the function and faculty of California Western—including contributing to an overhaul of the curriculum so that it more effectively combined practical and academic training—but she was happiest in the classroom, where she was a dynamic educator talented enough to teach a variety of subjects. Ireland is a passionate advocate for women in law, having chaired the Legislation Committee of the National Association of Women Lawyers and served as Vice President, Treasurer, and on its Board of Directors, in addition to having chaired the AALS section on women in legal education.


Kit Kinports

Professor Kit Kinports is the Polisher Family Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State Law. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, she clerked for Judge Abner Mikva on the D.C. Circuit and Justice Harry Blackmun on the Supreme Court. Her scholarship and teaching focus on feminist jurisprudence, criminal law, and criminal procedure.


Rebecca Lee

Rebecca K. Lee is an associate professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she teaches in the areas of employment law, employment discrimination, and contracts. Her scholarship focuses on issues of antidiscrimination law and policy in the workplace concerning how to achieve substantive equality at work, particularly gender and race equity. She has written on the relationship between diversity goals and antidiscrimination objectives, and has further examined the importance of organizational leadership in achieving substantive diversity and equality. Her work in this area has been quoted in the amicus briefs for the State of California and other amici filed in the U.S. Supreme Court for Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. More recently, her research has centered on questions of judicial decision making in order to reach impartial and fair outcomes, and also looks at judicial leadership as a significant but under-recognized aspect of a judge’s work.


Orly Lobel

Orly Lobel is the Weckstein Professor of Labor and Employment Law at University of San Diego School of Law. Professor Lobel is a member of the American Law Institute and serves on the advisory boards of the San Diego Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, the Employee Rights Center, and the Oxford Handbook on Governance. Her articles have won several awards including the Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and the Irving Oberman Memorial Award. Lobel was USD's Herzog Endowed Scholar for the 2012-13 academic year, and the 2013-14 recipient of USD’s Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship. Her forthcoming book, You Don't Own Me: How Mattel V. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie's Dark Side, has received rave reviews, including reviews by Johnathan Zittrain (Harvard Law School); Chris Sprigman (NYU Law); and Adam Grant (Wharton Business School, bestselling author of The Originals and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg).


Hon. Barbara L. Major

Justice Barbara L. Major graduated from Stanford University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Art degree in human biology. In 1987, she received her JD from The University of California at Berkeley. She then clerked for the Hon. J. Lawrence Irving, United States District Court for the Southern District of California, for one year. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice Major was an associate at the San Francisco law firm of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon specializing in product liability litigation and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of California. Justice Major became a Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of California in January 2004. Since that time, she has presided over a wide variety of criminal and civil cases. The vast majority of her time is spent conducting settlement conferences, resolving civil discovery disputes, and handling pretrial criminal issues. Justice Major is the President of the William B. Enright Inn of Court, a Board Member of the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, a member of the Court’s Community Outreach Committee, and a past-Chair of the Diversity Committee of the Federal Magistrate Judges’ Association and she participates in a variety of volunteer activities.


Hon. Tilisha Martin

Justice Tilisha Martin is a certified child welfare law specialist, and a San Diego Superior Court Judge appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2015, where she currently sits as the lead judge in a family law assignment at the El Cajon Superior Court. She earned a Master of Justice Management degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, a Master of Social Work degree from San Diego State University, a Juris Doctor degree from the California Western School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Her experience includes adjunct faculty at California Western School of Law and lecturer at San Diego State University. She served as the supervisor for minor’s counsel in San Diego and as deputy public defender in juvenile dependency and criminal divisions. She was the coordinator for the first collaborative community court in downtown San Diego. She also worked as a protective services worker for San Diego County Health and Human Services prior to entering into the legal field. Judge Martin is a member of Lawyers Club of San Diego, National Association of Counsel for Children, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National Association of Women Judges, California Judges Association, Earl B. Gilliam Bar, California Association of Black Lawyers, San Diego County Judges Association, San Diego County Bar Association, American Bar Association and American Bar Foundation Fellows.


Laura Padilla

Laura Padilla

Laura Padilla is a professor of law at California Western School of Law, where she teaches property, business organizations, land use regulation, and trusts and estates. Professor Padilla's research interests lie in the connections between property, power and gender, and land use in the context of broader social issues. Padilla served as associate dean for administration from 2007 to 2013, and on multiple AALS committees and site teams. She was recognized by the San Diego County Bar Association with its 2008 Service to Legal Education Award, by Stanford University with a Governor's Award in 2009, was elected into the American Law Institute in 2010, and was named a Top Attorney by the San Diego Daily Transcript in 2012.


Alicia Plerhoples

Alicia Plerhoples is a professor of law at Georgetown Law. Professor Plerhoples’ research and teaching interests include social enterprise law, nonprofit law, corporate governance, and clinical legal education. Prior to teaching, Plerhoples worked at law firms in New York City and Silicon Valley where she advised asset-based lenders and emerging biomedical and technology companies on finance arrangements. At Georgetown, Plerhoples is director of the Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic through which law students provide pro bono corporate and transactional legal services to social enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses. Plerhoples has been active in the social enterprise legal sector, writing and presenting about corporate governance and corporate laws that facilitate the work of social entrepreneurs.


Regina L. Ramsey

Regina L. Ramsey is a professor of law at the Southern University Law Center. Ramsey joined the Law Center as director of Career Counseling and Development, formerly the Office of Placement and Career Services, in September 2000. Prior to joining the Law Center, she was a federal judicial law clerk, and former associate with McGlinchey Stafford in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Professor Ramsey's research and scholarship focuses on education law and constitutional law. Her recent article titled “How to Fulfill a Broken Promise: Revisiting and Reaffirming the Importance of Desegregated Equal Educational Access and Opportunity” recently appeared at 68 Arkansas Law Review 159 (2015). She is also a frequent CLE speaker on issues of professionalism and ethics.


Ruth Anne Robbins

Ruth Anne Robbins is a distinguished clinical professor of law at Rutgers Law where she teaches courses across the lawyering curriculum, including Persuasion in Legal Writing, the LAWR series, and the Advanced DV Clinic or related Directed Practicum. She has created and taught several courses in the curriculum including Persuasion in Legal Writing, the Domestic Violence Clinic, and Advanced Legal Writing. She also reimagined and redesigned the Hunter Program to its current iteration, with its roots in the Persuasion course. Robbins co-authors a 1L textbook about persuasive legal writing focusing on legal storytelling and client-centeredness. She co-authored two sections of Building Best Practices—a book about experiential legal education—published by the Clinical Legal Education Association. The body of her other work focuses on persuasion theory in two specific areas: applied legal storytelling, and visual design in legal documents. Nationally, she serves as co-editor in chief of the peer-edited journal, Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, publishing articles about lawyering for a practitioner audience.


Stephanie Sipe

Stephane Sipe is professor of legal studies at Georgia Southern University. Prior to joining the faculty of Georgia Southern in 2005, Sipe taught business law and human resource management courses at Eastern Mennonite University and James Madison University. She also practiced law in Virginia for 12 years, where she specialized in civil litigation and developed an expertise in employment law issues. Sipe has an active research agenda with numerous publications in academic journals. Currently, she is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Legal Studies for Business, and is also a member of the Leadership Skills consulting team that provides seminars to new management and supervisory personnel in private industry and education. She is actively engaged in research on university students’ perceptions of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as corporate fraud and whistleblower protections.


JoAnne Sweeny

JoAnne Sweeny is an associate professor of law at University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law where she teaches Lawyering Skills and Writing For Practice. Sweeny's current scholarly interests include comparative constitutional law, freedom of expression, law and gender, and legal history. Some of Sweeny's most recent research has focused the present and historical criminalization of consensual sex, such as the prosecution of teenagers under child pornography laws because they have "sexted" each other nude or erotic photos of themselves. Her comparative work focuses on the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.


India Thusi

I. India Thusi

India Thusi is a professor of law at California Western School of Law. Professor Thusi combines anthropological methodology and historical analysis to examine policing and criminalization at the intersection of justice, gender, and race. She has written on a variety of issues on the structural inequality in the criminal justice system, including the policing of sex workers, the marginalization of students in disciplinary alternative education programs, the systemic causes of the "school-to-prison" pipeline, and the reluctance to embrace judicial discretion for substantial assistance departures (time off for good cooperation) in sentencing decisions. Thusi has published or has forthcoming articles in the Lewis & Clark Law Review, Fordham International Law Journal, and the University of Toledo Law Review, among others.


Kristen Tiscione

Kristen Tiscione is a professor of legal research and writing at Georgetown Law. After graduating from the Law Center, Tiscione joined the firm of Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in commercial litigation, including products liability and copyright infringement. Tiscione taught Legal Research and Writing while still in practice at the George Washington University National Law Center and then began teaching full-time at Georgetown in 1994. Her scholarly interests include classical and contemporary rhetoric, as well as empirical research in the current practice of law and its implications for legal pedagogy. Professor Tiscione is an author of numerous articles and books. Her forthcoming work is titled "The Next Great Challenge: Making Legal Writing Scholarship Count as Legal Scholarship," 22 J. Legal Writing (forthcoming), and her recent book is titled, Rhetoric For Legal Writers: The Theory And Practice Of Analysis And Persuasion (St. Paul, Minn.: West Academic 2d ed. 2016).


Genevieve Tung

Professor Genevieve Tung is the head of circulation and reference librarian at Rutgers Law School. Tung's work focuses on delivering and expanding access to legal information. She is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries and the Greater Philadelphia Law Library Association. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty, she practiced as an intellectual property associate with Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in New York, where she specialized in both patent litigation and all aspects of trademark prosecution and dispute resolution.


Melissa Weresh

Melissa Weresh is the Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor of Law at Drake University Law School where she is the director of legal writing. Weresh has chaired the AALS section on Teaching Methods and was the past president of the Legal Writing Institute (LWI). In 2009, Weresh received the Warren E. Burger Prize from the American Inns of Court, a writing competition designed to encourage outstanding scholarship that “promotes the ideals of excellence, civility, ethics and professionalism within the legal profession.” In 2017, she received the Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in the field of legal writing. She has lectured and written extensively on the ethical and professional considerations associated with legal writing and communication. Weresh is the author of numerous books and articles on legal research, legal writing, and ethics and professional responsibility.