Mid-Atlantic People of Color Conference

Penn Law
Mid-Atlantic People of Color COnference

Panelist Bios

Amna Akbar is a Visiting Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law.  Akbar received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. the University of Michigan, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review.  She clerked on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of N.Y., then practiced as a community services lawyers and taught human rights law while working in an immigration clinic for three years. Her pending publications are Radicalization, 3 U. C. Irvine L. Rev. ___ (2013), and   “Muslim Fundamentalism” and “Human Rights in the Age of Terror and Empire” (with Rupal Oza), in Gender, National Security and Counter-Terrorism: Human Rights Perspectives (M. Satterthwaite & J. Huckerby eds.) ( Routledge 2013).


Regina Austin is the William A. Schnader Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law.  In addition to substantive law courses on torts, Professor Austin teaches Documentaries & the Law and the Visual Legal Advocacy seminar.  Professor Austin’s seminar students make short advocacy videos on behalf of public interest clients and organizations.  Many of these videos are posted on YouTube and the website of the Documentaries’ Program.  Much of Professor Austin’s recent scholarship deals with the treatment of race, gender, and class in contemporary documentary films, as well as with the use of visual advocacy in criminal justice proceedings, particularly victim impact videos and sentencing mitigation videos. 


Bridgette Baldwin, Ph.D., Professor of Law at Western New England University School of Law, teaches Criminal Law and Procedure, International Criminal Justice, Evidence, Critical Race Theory, and Welfare Law. Her scholarly work has examined the intersection of the Ninth Amendment and social movements, as well as the convergence of race, class, and gender on welfare reform legislation and affirmative action initiatives.


Taunya Lovell Banks is the Jacob A. France Professor of Equality Jurisprudence at the University of Maryland School of Law where she teaches constitutional law, torts, and seminars on law in popular culture (film or literature), citizenship and critical race theory. Prior to entering legal education in 1976, she worked as a civil rights lawyer in Mississippi, litigating voting rights and housing discrimination cases and providing technical assistance to black elected officials. During the 1979-1980 academic year she worked as a senior trial attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Los Angeles, litigating some of the early sexual harassment cases under the interim guidelines.


Cheryl Nelson Butler teaches torts and critical race theory at the Southern Methodist University, SMU Dedman School of Law.  Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of race, gender and the law. She utilizes feminist legal theory, critical race theory, and legal history as tools to explore these issues.   Professor Butler has is a frequent speaker on the intersection of race and gender in Tort Law and Criminal Law and has presented her work at various law schools including Wisconsin, American University, Washington University, and Arizona State.  Professor Butler’s articles have been accepted for publication in the Washington University Law Review, Seton Hall Law Review. She is completing a book chapter, Kids, Race and Commercial Sex to be published in the book, Sex and the Law by NYU Press.  Professor Butler is a graduate of Harvard University, where she received a B.A. with Magna Cum Laude honors in American History and African-American Studies.  She received her JD from New York University School of Law where she was a Root Tilden Kern Scholar and a Fellow with the Center for International Legal Studies.  She has received numerous awards for her work on equal justice issues.


Jennifer M. Chacón, a Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law, has published dozens of articles and book chapters focusing on criminal law and procedure, constitutional law, and immigration law and policy.  She received her received her A.B. with Distinction from Stanford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.  Before she began teaching in 2004, she was a law clerk to the Honorable Sydney R. Thomas of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and an attorney with the New York law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell.


Henry L. Chambers, Jr., teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, criminal law, law and religion, employment discrimination, evidence, and sexual harassment. His scholarship has appeared in the Journal of Law and ReligionMaryland Law ReviewEmory Law JournalGeorgia Law Review, and Alabama Law Review, among other venues. Professor Chambers has been a member of the American Law Institute since 2002 and is active in the Virginia State Bar, including serving as chair of its Section on the Education of Lawyers from 2007-2009. Professor Chambers has served as Special Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2011. He also frequently lectures on constitutional law through the We The People program, which provides civic education instruction to school teachers and the public.


andré douglas pond cummings, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the Indiana Tech Law School, teaches Civil Procedure, Business Organizations, Entertainment Law, Securities Regulation, and Sports Law.  Before moving to Indiana Tech, he was a Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law.  Prior to teaching, andré clerked for Chief Justice Christine M. Durham of the Utah Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Joseph W. Hatchett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  He practiced at the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Simultaneously, andré represented NFL athletes, record labels, and a variety of authors, including Hollywood screenwriters and novelists. 


Benjamin G. Davis, an Associate Professor of Law at University of Toledo College of Law, teaches Contracts, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Public International Law, and International Business Transactions.  Widely published and a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School, where he served as Articles Editor, Harvard International Law Journal, and Harvard Business School, he worked for 17 years in Paris in development and strategic business consulting and as American Legal Counsel at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.  He led the American Society of International Centennial Resolution on the Laws of War and Detainee Treatment process.  Published widely, he was the designated observer for the Guantanamo Military Commissions.


Jeannine DeLombard, an Associate Professor of English, teaches American Literature at the University of Toronto. Her most recent book, In the Shadow of the Gallows: Race, Crime, and American Civic Identity (University of Pennsylvania Press 2012) is a prequel of sorts to Slavery on Trial: Law, Print, and Abolitionism (University of North Carolina Press 2007). Her current book project, Ebony Idols & Blackened Reputations, views the phenomenon of the fugitive slave celebrity author in light of privacy and other dignitary harms.


Atiba Ellis, an Associate Professor of Law at West Virginia University College of Law, teaches Election Law, Race and the Law, Property and Trust and Estate Law.  He writes on the law of democracy with a focus on voting rights law and the implications of race and class on democratic theory. He has written on the barriers created by voter identification laws and the personhood questions raised by the Citizens United decision.  His forthcoming work concerns voter fraud, felon disenfranchisement, and the legacy of slavery. Before joining the West Virginia faculty, he taught Legal Writing at the Howard University School of Law.


Robert Fabrikant, a Professor-in-the-Practice at Howard University School of Law, and a Litigation Partner in Manatt Phelps Phillips’ Washington, DC office, teaches Legal Aspects of Civil War Emancipation and serves as Faculty Advisor to the National Moot Court Team.  He has lectured and written frequently on the Emancipation Proclamation.  His articles include: “Lincoln, Emancipation and ‘Military Necessity’: Review of Burrus M. Carnahan’s Act of Justice:  Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War,” 52 Howard Law Journal 375 (2009); “Some Legal Myths about Lincoln,” 29 Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 38 (2008); and” Lincoln’s Legal Acolytes,” 49 American Journal of Legal History 169 (2007).


Anthony Paul Farley, the James Campbell Mathews Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence at Albany Law School, was formerly tenured at Boston College, and has been Haywood Burns Chair in Civil Rights at CUNY.  His work has appeared in After the Storm: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina (Troutt ed., The New Press: 2006); Cultural Analysis, Cultural Studies & the Law (Sarat & Simon eds., Duke University: 2003); Crossroads, Directions & a New Critical Race Theory (Valdes et. al. eds., Temple University: 2002); and Black Men on Race, Gender & Sexuality (Carbado ed., NYU: 1999). He has also published in the Yale Journal of Law & Humanities, the NYU Review of Law & Social Change, the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, the Michigan Journal of Race & Law, the Cardozo Law Review, Law & Literature, and the Columbia Journal of Race & Law.


Paul Finkelman, Ph.D., the John Hope Franklin Visiting Professor at Duke Law School and the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School, has published numerous books including Millard Fillmore (2011); Slavery and the Founders (2001); and A March of Liberty (2011).  The U.S. Supreme Court has cited his Bill of Rights scholarship.  He has published op-ed pieces in the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Huffingtonpost.com.  He has appeared on PBS, the History Channel, C-Span, and in the movie Up For Grabs.  He was an expert witness in the Alabama Ten Commandments Monument Case and also in the lawsuit over the ownership of Barry Bonds’ 73rd Home Run Ball.  In 2009, he gave the Nathan I. Huggins Lectures at Harvard University.


Ruth Gordon’s scholarly interests focus on international law. She is the author of several articles on the various roles the United Nations plays in developing countries. Professor Gordon received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, and her LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. She was a Riesenfeld Fellow in Public International Law at the University of California at Berkeley. She was also a Revson Fellowship Scholar at The City College of the City University of New York Center for Legal Education & Urban Policy, where she developed and taught a two-semester course on international economic law from the perspective of developing countries.


Phoebe Haddon is a widely respected national leader in legal education and an expert in jury participation, the courts and diversity. A fourth-generation lawyer, she was appointed in 2009 Dean of the University of Maryland School of Law. Dean Haddon joined Maryland Law after more than 25 years as a distinguished faculty member at the Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. An accomplished scholar on constitutional law and tort law, Dean Haddon is the co-author of two casebooks in those fields and has written numerous scholarly articles on equal protection, jury participation, academic freedom and diversity. She is currently on the board of The Constitution Project, a national nonpartisan effort to promote and safeguard the nation’s founding charter. Dean Haddon earned an LLM from Yale Law School and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Duquesne University School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Duquesne Law Review. She received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and served as vice-chair of the Smith College Board of Trustees until her appointment as dean.


Crisarla Houston, an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Legal Writing Program at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, teaches legal writing and appellate litigation. She has also taught Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Columbia College’s Orlando Campus. Her areas of scholarly interest include legal writing, appellate litigation, international law, human rights law, food and drug law, and criminal law. She has also published “From the Farm to the Factory: An Overview of the American and European Approaches to Regulation of the Beef Industry,” 1 Journal of Food Law & Policy 269 (2005).


Sydney Howe-Barksdale, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Legal Methods at the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware, teaches Clinical Public Interest Externships and Legal Methods. A legal anthropologist, she examines the impact of legal systems on women’s rights. Her current writing studies the Semiotics of Feminism in Political Conservatism, in which she argues conservative politics problematically “hijacks” important signifiers within feminist discourse. She promotes working for social justice among Widener Law students and advises the Public Interest Law Alliance.


Samuel V. Jones, the John Marshall Law School. Professor Jones holds a JD cum laude from Texas Southern University, and an LLM, with recognition, from Columbia University Law School. He was an associate with the Dallas office of Hughes & Luce, LLP (now known as K & L Gates), one of the nation’s largest law firms, for several years. Thereafter, he served as Senior Counsel in the Commercial Law group at AT&T Corp and later as Corporate Counsel for Labor and Employment for Blockbuster, Inc. Professor Jones is also a former U.S. judge advocate (MAJ, USAR (Ret.)) and former rifleman/scout (SGT, U.S. Marines). Professor Jones’s scholarship has focused primarily on international criminal law, with an emphasis on “just war” doctrine and moral and ethics philosophy, criminal law, and contracts.


Randall Kennedy holds the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where he teaches courses on contracts, freedom of expression, and the regulation of race relations. He served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court of the United States. Awarded the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Race, Crime, and the Law, Mr. Kennedy writes for a wide range of scholarly and general interest publications, and his most recently published Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency. He sits on the editorial boards of The Nation, Dissent, and The American Prospect. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association.


Elizabeth Keyes, an Assistant Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, and Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, teaches improving access to justice for immigrants in the immigration system and other intersecting areas of the law, from criminal to family law.  Prior to teaching, Liz spent several years in practice at non-profits handling immigration, family law and employment cases for immigrants, particularly for immigrant women.  Liz received her law degree from Georgetown, and a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University.


Sophia Lee is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is a legal historian whose scholarship synthesizes labor, constitutional, and administrative law. She earned her J.D. and Ph.D. in history from Yale and is currently writing a history of the workplace Constitution from the 1930s to the 1980s.


Bekah Mandell is the New Media Director of the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance and an Adjunct Professor at the Community College of Vermont. She earned her B.A. at Vassar College and her J.D. at Boston College.


Melinda S. Molina, an Assistant Professor at Capital University Law School, focuses on how the law impacts subordinate and marginalized groups in the United States. She has co-authored two national studies on Latinas lawyers, which were the first studies to provide national and legal sector qualitative and quantitative data on the experiences and status of Latinas in the legal profession, providing demographic and professional profiles on more than 900 Latina attorneys.  She was a fellow at the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development at St. John’s University School of Law.  Before joining academia, she was an associate in the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.


Debra Waire Post is Professor of Law at Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg School of Law. She graduated cum laude from Hofstra University with a major in Anthropology and took a job first as an editorial assistant and then as a teaching assistant to Margaret Mead, the noted anthropologist, before attending Harvard Law School. She began her legal career working in the corporate section of a law firm in Houston, Texas. She left practice for a position at the University of Houston Law School and moved to New York to Touro Law Center in 1987. In the academic year 1994-95 she was a visiting professor at Syracuse Law School. In 2000 she was Distinguished Visiting Professor at DePaul Law School. Professor Post has written extensively in what she considers her three areas of expertise: business associations, legal education and critical race theory. Professor Post seeks to apply an anthropologist’s sensibilities and methodologies to the study of law.


Steven Ramirez, Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago, and Director of its Business and Corporate Governance Law Center, Business Organizations, Corporate Governance Law and Practice, and other business related classes.  Before entering the legal academy in 1995, he was a partner with Robinson Curley & Clayton, a Chicago litigation firm, specializing in corporate, securities and banking litigation. He also served as a Senior Attorney for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and as an Enforcement Attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has published extensively in the areas of law and economics, corporate governance and financial regulation. His new book is Lawless Capitalism (NYU Press 2012).


Jaya Ramji-Nogales is an Associate Professor of Law at Temple University, Beasley School of Law, where she teaches Refugee Law and Policy.  In 2007, along with Professors Philip G. Schrag and Andrew I. Schoenholtz of Georgetown University, she published Refugee Roulette, a ground-breaking empirical study of disparities in asylum adjudication in the United States.  Prof. Ramji-Nogales has also published articles on the intersection of immigration and international human rights law.  She is currently finalizing Lives in the Balance, a book project with her Georgetown co-authors that includes quantitative and qualitative analyses of decision-making at the Department of Homeland Security’s eight asylum offices.


Jayesh Rathod, an Associate Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law, and Director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic, has expertise and scholarly interests in immigration law & immigrants’ rights, labor and employment law, occupational safety and health, and the intersection of law and organizing. Prior law teaching, he was a Staff Attorney at CASA of Maryland. He also practiced in the litigation section at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering LLP, and was law clerk to the Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.


Will Rhee is an Associate Professor of Law at the West Virginia University College of Law where he teaches Civil Procedure: Jurisdiction, Civil Procedure: Rules, Evidence, Animal Law, and Empirical Legal Methods.  His scholarship focuses upon evidence-based policy in a deliberative democracy where both citizens and their government justify law with public reason.  Through evidence and public reason, he hopes to increase public consensus between conflicting perspectives in antidiscrimination law, civil procedure, and the relationship between the legal academy and legal practice.


Dorothy Roberts is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Roberts, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law, joined the University of Pennsylvania as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the Law School. Her pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health, social justice, and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans. Her major books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997). She is the author of more than 80 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law and women and the law.


Reginald Leamon Robinson, a Professor of Law at the Howard University School of Law, teaches Agency, Partnerships, and LLCs; Child and the Law; Critical Race Theory; Family Law; and Jurisprudence.  From 2007 to 2008, he served as the Distinguished University Professor of Law and Critical Theory at Southern Illinois University.  His writings meld consciousness, child welfare, critical theory, culture, eastern metaphysics, existential psychology, film, New Age philosophy, race, and quantum culture and theory.  He organized the Howard Law Journal symposium The State of the Ordinary Family, in which he published “Dark Secrets:  Obedience Training, Rigid Physical Violence, Black Parenting, and Reassessing the Origins of Instability in the Black Family Through a Re-Reading of Fox Butterfield’s ALL GOD’S CHILDREN,” 55 Howard Law Journal 393 (2012).  He also recently published “Precious: A Tale of Three Explanations for Child Maltreatment,” 1 Columbia Journal of Race and Law 434 (2012). He is an elected member of American Law Institute.


Jasmine Gonzales Rose, an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, teaches Race and the Law, Evidence, and Complex Litigation.  A critical proceduralist, she focuses on the interaction of procedural and evidentiary rules with language rights, substantive and theoretical notions of citizenship, and democratic principles. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as Editor-In-Chief of the Harvard Latino Law Review.  She clerked for Judge Damon Keith of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and Judge Hector Lafitte of the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico.


Josephine Ross, an Associate Professor at Howard University School of Law, teaches Criminal Procedure, a seminar on HBO’s The Wire, a criminal clinic, and International Criminal Law this summer in South Africa. She has published over a dozen law review articles from the Confrontation Clause to Marriage Equality. Professor Ross used feminist theory to critique stop and frisks in “Blaming The Victim:  ‘Consent’ Within The Fourth Amendment and Rape Law,” 26 Harvard Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice 1 (2010). Her most recent article advocates harnessing social science data to challenge so-called “consensual” police searches.


Natsu Taylor Saito, a Professor of Law at Georgia State University’s College of Law, teaches Race, Ethnicity and the Law; Immigration; Criminal Procedure; Public International Law; International Human Rights; and Professional Responsibility. Her scholarship focuses on questions of race, alienage, citizenship, and the rights of indigenous peoples; national security and political repression; and the availability of international human rights remedies for race-based injustices. She is the author of Meeting the Enemy:  American Exceptionalism and International Law (NYU 2010) and From Chinese Exclusion to Guantánamo Bay:  Plenary Power and the Prerogative State (Univ. Press of Colorado, 2006).


Sudha Setty is the Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Intellectual Life and a Professor of Law at Western New England University School of Law.  Her scholarly work focuses on comparative analysis of separation of powers, rule of law, and national security issues.  She teaches Law and Terrorism, Comparative Constitutional Law, Constitutional Law, and Contracts, and was awarded the Catherine J. Jones Professor of Year Award in 2009.  She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2011.  Professor Setty graduated as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar from Columbia Law School and received her A.B. in History (concentration in comparative civil rights) with honors from Stanford University.


Dave Sidhu is Assistant Professor of Law and Regents’ Lecturer at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, national security, and civil rights.  Prior to joining UNM, Dave held research posts at Harvard, Georgetown, and Stanford, worked in the policy arm of a federal agency, and was a law clerk to a federal judge.  He has published fourteen law review articles, co-authored a book, and written commentary for the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, and SCOTUSblog, among others.  He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington Law School.


Andre L. Smith, an Associate Professor of Law at Widener Law School in Wilmington, Delaware, serves as faculty editor of the Widener Journal of Race, Economics and Law.  He holds an LL.M. in taxation from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law.  He has written in such areas as tax, race, law & economics, hip-hop, sports and entertainment, and administrative law, and recently published “Race, Law and Free Markets,” 4 Georgetown Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives 39 (2012).  His current book project, which honors the late Derrick Bell, is entitled Afrolantican Jurisprudence.


Donald Tibbs expertise focuses on the overlapping issues of race, law, civil rights and criminal procedure. Professor Tibbs came to the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law from Southern University Law Center, where he was an assistant professor of law and director of the Institute for Civil Rights and Justice. Previously, he was a lecturer in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in the School of Justice Studies and the Department of African American Studies at Arizona State University and in the Department of Criminal Justice at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte. Professor Tibbs received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he was a semi-finalist in the Frederick Douglas Moot Court Competition. He received the Sheila S. Skipper Award for outstanding graduate work while pursuing his Ph.D. in Law and the Social Sciences at Arizona State University.