Below are brief biographies of our presenters and facilitators.
Darren Aitchison is Director of Training and Support at the Restorative Justice Alliance International. He is also a Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Special Education. He is a doctoral student working on his dissertation, which is on the intersection of restorative practices and mental health practices in public school settings. He currently holds credentials behavior analyst, teacher, administrator, and school restorative justice trainer. He published the first research on behavioral science and restorative practices working in tandem, and is the primary author of a new online restorative justice training program, and of his book entitled The Mediator: Using Restorative Justice and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy to Disrupt the School to Prison Pipeline. He learned the process of mediation from the legendary Dr. Ron Claassen, and is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in the collaboration of the behavioral sciences with restorative practices. His personal and professional goals continue to be first the disruption, and then the dismantling of the school to prison pipeline.
Zainab Alkebsi is the Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). She is responsible for providing analysis, recommendations, and counsel to the NAD on policy issues affecting people who are deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind. Prior to joining the NAD, she served as Deputy Director at the Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing where she coordinated the office’s legislative and policy efforts. Licensed to practice law in Maryland, she is also a member of the American Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association. She received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She also has a B.A. in Political Science from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Zainab is excited to come full-circle in her path as a Deaf attorney since her very first policy internship was at the NAD! Born and raised in the D.C. area, she enjoys rooting for D.C. sports teams. She also enjoys reading historical non-fiction in her spare time.
Christina Asbee joined DRNY in 2014. She is the PAAT, PATBI and PAVA Programs’ Director. Christy serves NYS residents with disabilities receiving, interested in receiving, or having difficulty obtaining assistive technology (AT). Christy also assists voters who have disabilities, and people who have traumatic brain injury (TBI). Through her advocacy, she has helped individuals receive devices such as motorized wheelchairs, speech generating devices, computers and training services and other AT devices. Through PAVA, Christy advocates for NYS voters with disabilities to ensure voting programs are accessible to all. She has contributed to the publishing of numerous reports on poll site inaccessibility across New York State. Christy helps people with TBI navigate a variety of legal issues that relate to their ability to live independently, their education, and acquire or maintain gainful employment. Christy is experienced in both State and Federal litigation, manages complex administrative matters, and negotiates with State and Federal agencies on behalf of DRNY clients. Christy received her J.D. from Vermont Law School in 2011. Prior to law school, she received a B.S. from Elmhurst College in Chicago, IL, attended Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, and worked for two years in Akita, Japan.
Rosa Lee “Rosie” Bichell
Rosa Lee “Rosie” Bichell (she/her/hers) joined Disability Rights Advocates in 2019 as a Justice Catalyst Fellow and became a Staff Attorney in 2021. Since joining DRA, her advocacy has primarily been at the intersections of disability, immigration, and incarceration, and she has contributed to several cases aimed at increasing voting access for voters with disabilities. Ms. Bichell received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2019 and her B.S. magna cum laude from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 2015. During law school, she represented people seeking asylum and other forms of immigration relief as a legal intern at both the New York Legal Assistance Program and the Legal Aid Society of New York, as well as in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. She also had a clinical placement at the Disability Law Center in Boston, where she researched and monitored the undue isolation of adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in day programs. Ms. Bichell was also involved in research and advocacy projects in the Harvard Project on Disability, the Harvard Immigration Project, the Tenant Advocacy Project, and the Health Law and Policy Clinic.
Anna is a staff attorney with the NAD. As litigator and intake specialist, her duties include handling inquiries from consumers seeking legal or advocacy assistance and engaging in litigation and administrative advocacy on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Prior to joining the NAD, she was an associate attorney for Dansie & Dansie, LLP representing clients in a variety of civil and criminal matters before administrative agencies, and state and federal judges and juries. Anna is a graduate of University of Maryland College Park (B.S.) and the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (J.D.). While in law school, Anna served as Senior Note and Comment Editor of the Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy. Her Note, “Tripping over TRIPS and the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Legislation and Political Decisions in Brazil and the United States”, was published in the same Journal. Anna also served as judicial intern to Special Master Golkiewicz of the United States Court of Federal Claims. Anna was born in Brazil to an Italian family and is a polyglot and self-professed linguaphile. In her spare time, she dances and practices yoga and enjoys outdoor sports such as hiking, running, and climbing. She loves theatre and performed with National Theatre of the Deaf in a national tour. Anna also loves to read and travel, especially to Brazil and Italy to visit her family.
Marc P. Charmatz
The longest serving staff member, Marc started work at the NAD in 1977. He is renowned throughout the disability community for taking part in several landmark cases and legal actions on behalf of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Charmatz is a graduate of New York University (B.A.) and the Northwestern University School of Law. From 1977 until 2002, he served as the director of the NAD Law and Advocacy Center (LAC). In 2002, Marc stepped down to work as an NAD senior attorney on a part-time basis. He currently is an adjunct professor of Law at the University of Maryland Law School, where he teaches the Civil Rights of Individuals with Disabilities Clinic. Marc answers numerous email and telephone/TTY messages from individuals who have questions about legal issues and provides information to enable deaf and hard of hearing individuals, encouraging them to become advocates on the issues they are concerned about. He sums up his experiences this way: “I truly believe that I have had one of the most interesting public interest careers serving deaf and hard of hearing individuals.” In his free time, Marc collects sports cards – baseball, football, and basketball, and enjoys going to flea markets and yard sales.
Natalie M. Chin
Natalie M. Chin is an Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York and Co-Director of the Disability and Aging Justice Clinic (DAJC). The DAJC represents low-income New Yorkers in a range of issues including prisoners’ rights; securing due process protections in areas that include guardianship; alternatives to guardianship; and disability-based discrimination. Prior to joining CUNY’s faculty, Professor Chin was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Law and Faculty Director of the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic at Brooklyn Law School, where she created and developed the first law school clinic that advocates for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During her tenure at BLS, the clinic represented clients in federal, state and administrative proceedings. Students advocated on a range of issues, including the right to maintain sexual autonomy, discrimination in access to health care, deaf discrimination, administrative appeals to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, parental rights, and ensuring that the due process rights of adults with intellectual disabilities was protected in 17-A guardianship proceedings.
Prior to her teaching career, Professor Chin was a devoted public interest attorney. She litigated cases and led education and public policy reform efforts to achieve equal rights for LGBT people and individuals living with HIV at Lambda Legal. Her litigation also included cases that affect people with mental health disabilities and the elderly, as well as those involving violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Prior to starting her legal career, Professor Chin was a journalist in California and worked in South Africa, where her reported predominantly focused on social welfare issues and on Black South African women living in the township and rural areas.
Professor Chin was appointed in 2018 to serve on the Board of Directors of the Disability Rights Bar Association (DRBA). She is also a member of the DRBA’s Diversity Task Force. She is a on the Advisory Committee of the Supported Decision Making New York State project. Professor Chin is also a former Co-Chair and board member of FIERCE, an LGBT youth of color organization. Professor Chin graduated with a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University. She received her J.D. from George Washington School of Law. Professor Chin’s scholarship explores the intersections of disability and civil rights law in areas that impact the most fundamental aspects of one’s life, including sexuality, sexual rights and reproductive justice.
Lia Sifuentes Davis
Lia Sifuentes Davis is a senior litigation attorney at Disability Rights Texas, the federally mandated protection and advocacy organization for people with disabilities in Texas. Specializing in the areas of employment, access, and voting, Davis currently leads the voting rights team at Disability Rights Texas and litigates and researches issues pertaining to the voting rights of people with disabilities. Davis has presented on a wide range of disability topics, including veterans’ issues, service animals, housing rights, and employment rights. Davis has testified in front of the Texas legislature on voting legislation and changes to state antidiscrimination laws. Davis has also been invited to present to law students on the practice of public interest law and disability rights and is passionate about mentoring law students and new attorneys who want to pursue public interest law. Davis is a member of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association and the Disability Rights Bar Association and is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and Brown University, where Davis concentrated in Community Health and American Studies.
Richard Dellheim, Deputy Chief, Voting Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Dellheim has more than 25 years’ experience in investigating, litigating, and supervising matters under the federal voting rights laws enforced by the Voting Section, including those affecting persons with disabilities.
Brian Dimmick is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Disability Rights Program at the American Civil Liberties Union, where he focuses on protecting the rights of people with disabilities in voting, education, the criminal legal system, and other areas. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2020, he was an attorney with the Program Legal Group of the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, where he worked on disability education policy issues under the ADA and Section 504. He also previously served as a staff attorney and as the Director of Litigation for the American Diabetes Association, where he helped lead litigation and policy efforts to end on discrimination against people with diabetes in employment, education, and correctional facilities and as a Skadden Fellow with Disability Rights Advocates. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Wake Forest University and lives in Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth Edwards is a Senior Attorney in the National Health Law Program’s North Carolina offices. In addition to working with the National Health Law Program’s litigation team to advance the health rights of low income and underserved individuals, Elizabeth’s work includes policy advocacy and legal education. Elizabeth joined the National Health Law Program after five years with Disability Rights North Carolina, where she used the Medicaid Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and public policy to ensure equal access and community integration for individuals and groups, along with other ADA issues such as voting rights and accessibility. A graduate of the law school at UNC-Chapel Hill, Elizabeth obtained her bachelor’s in environmental science and policy from Duke University. Despite the law degree, she remains an ardent Duke fan. Elizabeth is from rural North Carolina and often returns to play in the country, or at least get out to the area greenways and parks.
James Fletcher is a Trial Attorney with the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, which enforces the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. James began his legal career as a law fellow with Disability Rights DC, the Protection & Advocacy program for the District of Columbia, where he worked on that organization’s Olmstead class action regarding segregation in nursing facilities. After clerking for two judges in the District of Columbia, James came to the Disability Rights Section as a Trial Attorney.
Deena Fox is a Deputy Chief in the Disability Practice Group within the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section. Fox is a 2008 graduate of NYU School of Law and completed a two-year fellowship at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law before joining the Civil Rights Division. At the DOJ, Fox has worked on statewide Olmstead matters in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Mississippi.
Morissa Fregeau has built a legal career supporting businesses with changes—change in law and change in business practices. Fregeau has led corporate implementation of significant federal laws including the Affordable Care Act and the 2017 changes to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, helping unravel complicated legal rhetoric into understandable plain language. Fregeau joined the Aflac legal team in September of 2020 as Senior Associate Counsel supporting the group business, implementation of absence management, group product development, and guidance on issues related to accessibility. Prior to Aflac, Fregeau was at UnitedHealth Group supporting traditional and digital operations. Fregeau started a legal career at GE Financial which later broke off as Genworth Financial. Prior to law school, Fregeau spent ten years as a counselor, social worker, and a mediator. Fregeau earned an MA in counseling psychology from Antioch University and a JD from Western New England University School of Law.
M. Geron Gadd
M. Geron Gadd is a Senior Attorney at AARP Foundation Litigation specializing in systemic litigation seeking to protect the rights of older adults with disabilities, those isolated and neglected in congregate care settings, and those affected by unscrupulous commercial practices. Geron began her legal career in New York, where she represented corporate clients in intellectual property, securities, and related commercial disputes, and in Florida, where she represented corporate clients in commercial and construction disputes. In 2011, Geron returned to Alabama, from which her family hails, to focus on public-interest litigation on behalf of people with disabilities and in an array of civil rights matters. Prior to joining AARP Foundation, Geron served as Legal Director of the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, the state’s protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities. While in Alabama, she served as lead class counsel in Hunter, et al. v. Beshear, 2:16-cv-798 (M.D. Ala.), a class action resulting in a consent decree requiring the Alabama Department of Mental Health to timely provide court-ordered psychiatric services. Geron earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Methodist University, a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a law degree from Harvard Law School.
Seema Gajwani is Special Counsel for Juvenile Justice Reform at the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, where she oversees juvenile justice reform initiatives focusing on diversion, restorative justice, trauma services for victims of crime, and improved data collection and analysis. Prior to this position, Seema ran the Criminal Justice Program at the Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, D.C., funding efforts to improve criminal and juvenile justice systems across the country, with a focus on pretrial detention reform and improved prosecution decision-making. Ms. Gajwani started her career as a trial attorney at the D.C. Public Defender Service, where she represented juvenile and adult defendants for 6 years. She graduated from Northwestern University and New York University School of Law.
Kevin Gilbert oversees the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion principles throughout the educational program and school system culture. Gilbert’s previous leadership roles include Teacher Leadership and Special Projects Coordinator at Clinton Public Schools, Miss., and President of the Mississippi Association of Educators. He also served as Assistant Principal and Teacher with the Clinton Public Schools, Rankin County School District and Hinds County School District, all in Mississippi.
Shira Gordon is a trial attorney with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Shira has worked in OGC’s Office of Fair Housing, Compliance Division since joining HUD through HUD’s Legal Honors Program in 2016. Shira received a BA in political science and human rights from Barnard College, and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School. Shira is a member of the New York Bar.
Steve Gordon for the last twenty-six years has been employed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), most recently as an Assistant US Attorney with the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia. While with the DOJ, Gordon has developed cases under the DOJ’s Elder Justice Initiative and served as lead counsel in actions involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Administrative Procedures Act, False Claims Act, Contract Disputes Act, and other federal statutes. Gordon also has appellate experience in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and other jurisdictions. As the founder and coordinator of a district-wide civil rights enforcement program for the US Attorney’s Office, Gordon engages in community outreach, pursues civil rights cases, and provides guidance to less experienced attorneys. Before becoming an assistant US attorney, Gordon worked as an attorney for the DOJ’s civil division, the National Labor Relations Board, and the law firm formerly known as Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. Gordon has presented widely on a variety of ADA topics, including the ADA in the state and local criminal justice system and disability discrimination in health care settings. Gordon earned a BA from Brandeis University and JD from Northeastern University School of Law.
Erin Haire handles the voting work for Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, South Carolina’s independent, statewide nonprofit dedicated to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. Her work focuses on expanding voting options for South Carolinians with disabilities, ensuring the state’s polling places are accessible, and engaging youth in the voting process. She also coordinates the state’s PAIMI Advisory Council and supervises DRSC’s outreach efforts. Erin is a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina and is a graduate of Clemson University. She received her JD from Georgia State University College of Law, with a certificate in Public Interest Law and Public Policy. While in Atlanta, Erin worked with the Center for Access to Justice at Georgia State, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyer’s Foundation, and was an Equal Justice Works law clerk at West Tennessee Legal Services. She got her start in the world of disability advocacy with the Disability Integration Project at Atlanta Legal Aid, where she advocated for children with autism who were seeking Medicaid services.
Marvalee Harris is the newly appointed Clinical Director for Aflac’s Premier Life, Absence, and Disability Solutions team. She began her work in absence management at Kemper National Services in 2002. She managed Workers’ Comp medical and behavioral health precertification requests before transitioning into STD and LTD case management for behavioral health conditions. Harris rejoined the Disability and Absence Management industry after working in Aetna’s Learning and Performance team for nearly nine years. She trained Aetna’s nurses and Medical Directors on various concepts related to medical necessity directly linked to regulatory and accreditation standards in addition to developing multiple instructor-led and technology-based educational content for new hire training, systems, policy implementation, and ad hoc training. Harris is versed in course curriculum development (which includes the creation of course objectives) and incorporates various testing methods to evaluate learning comprehension. Her educational background includes an Associate Degree in Nursing from Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing degree from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, A Master of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Phoenix, a Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Informatics from Walden University, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Chamberlain University, Downers Grove, IL. She is a consummate educator and believes in continuous learning. She is currently an adjunct nursing professor at Aspen University and has taught nursing students at Chamberlain University for approximately ten years.
Patrick Holkins is a Trial Attorney in the Disability Practice Group of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section. After a one-year clerkship at the Arizona Supreme Court, Patrick joined the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division in 2014 through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. He transferred to the Special Litigation Section in 2017. At DOJ, he has worked on statewide litigation under the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, including Olmstead matters in Mississippi and Georgia.
Chloe Holzman joined Disability Rights Advocates in 2020 as a Staff Attorney. Her past practice has focused on housing, public benefits, and reducing barriers to employment for people with disabilities. Prior to joining DRA, she was an Agency Attorney at the New York City Commission on Human Rights, where she prosecuted violations of the City’s anti-discrimination law. Previously, she represented clients with mental illness in housing and other civil cases as a Senior Staff Attorney with the Mental Health Law Project at Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services). Additionally, she worked in the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, enforcing the integration mandate under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ms. Holzman’s experience also includes post-graduate legal fellowships with an LGBTQI advocacy group in El Salvador and with the Legal Aid Society’s Homeless Rights Project in NYC, as well as summer positions during law school with the HIV Project at Brooklyn Legal Services and at a civil rights firm in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. from Brown University, and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. She speaks fluent Spanish.
Jennifer A. Holmes
Jennifer A. Holmes serves as Assistant Counsel at LDF, where she works on cases that advance racial justice in the areas of educational equity, economic justice, and voting rights. Jennifer was trial counsel on behalf of a coalition of Harvard student and alumni groups in SFFA v. Harvard , an ongoing lawsuit in which LDF is fighting to preserve the ability of colleges and universities to use race-conscious admissions to diversify their student bodies. Jennifer was also part of the litigation team in Jones v. DeSantis, which challenged a Florida law that barred people with felony convictions from voting due to unpaid fines and fees. Jennifer also helps develop LDF lawsuits that promote fair housing and economic security to strengthen Black communities, including a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland for its discriminatory water billing policies and a lawsuit challenging a predatory home purchase scheme by a private company in Detroit. Jennifer has also authored amicus briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. A native of Washington, D.C., Jennifer received her J.D. from Stanford Law School and her B.A. from Yale University with distinction in Political Science. She is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, New York state, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
John A. Inglish
John Inglish is the program director for the Conflict and Dispute Resolution (CRES) master’s program at the Knight Law Center. John practiced school-based occupational therapy for many years before pursuing graduate studies in law and public administration. After graduate school he served as associate director for the Disability Law Center of Utah, advocating for individuals with disabilities in a variety of areas including education, public benefits, and housing. Upon moving to Oregon, John held a research faculty position in the University of Oregon’s College of Education, where he directed a consulting unit serving state education agencies across the nation. Prior to joining the Knight Law Center, John oversaw safe and healthy schools initiatives and managed the state mediation program for the Oregon Department of Education. He holds undergraduate degrees in occupational therapy, psychology, and legal studies, a master’s in public administration and policy, and a doctorate in law. He is currently a co-investigator on a federal research grant focused on integrating restorative justice practices with current school behavior management frameworks.
Elizabeth Johnson is a senior trial attorney in the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section and, since 2005, a coordinator of the US Attorney’s program for ADA enforcement. Ms. Johnson investigates and litigates claims under the ADA specializing in voting, and coordinates ADA work with approximately 35 US Attorneys’ offices.
Elizabeth Jordan oversees CREEC’s work protecting the rights of immigrants who are being detained in immigration jails and has significant experience with issues at the intersection of immigration law, disability law, and the criminal legal system. Her practice focuses on advancing human rights in the United States legal system. She focuses on trauma-informed, cross-cultural representation of vulnerable people, and her practice has included zealous representation of death-sentenced prisoners, immigrant children, and immigrants with disabilities locked up by ICE.
Before joining CREEC, Liz was a staff attorney at The Door’s Legal Services Center, New York City and was a Fellow with the Capital Appeals Project in Louisiana. Prior to law school, Liz spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain studying human rights issues. Liz received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and graduated summa cum laude from New York University’s School of Law. Liz is admitted to practice in Louisiana and New York.
Arlene S. Kanter
Professor Kanter is the founder and Director of the College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program (DLPP) and the Faculty Director of International Programs. The DLPP houses the nation’s most extensive disability law program, including joint degrees, certificates, clinics and externships, and the first LL.M. Program in the US with a specialization in international human rights and comparative disability law. Professor Kanter is an internationally acclaimed expert in international and comparative disability law. She publishes and lectures extensively on domestic and international human rights and disability law and policy. Her recent book, The Development of Disability Rights Under International Law: From Charity to Human Rights (Routledge, 2015, 2017) traces the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CPRD). She is co-author (with Beth Ferri) of Righting Educational Wrongs: Disability Studies in Law and Education (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2014). This is the first book to bring together scholars from the fields of law, education, and disability studies. She also co-authored the first law casebook on international and comparative disability law, and has published over 100 articles and book chapters on topics related to international human rights and comparative disability law, US disability and special education laws, inclusive education, violence against women with disabilities, mental health law, legal personhood, and alternatives to guardianship.
Christine Inkyung Kim is a trial attorney with the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), where Kim investigates and litigates violations of the ADA, focusing on schools, employment, prison, childcare, and foster care. Prior to joining the DOJ, Kim worked as a legal intern at the Center for Responsible Lending, Duke HIV/AIDS Policy Clinic, the appellate section of the Office of General Counsel in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and as a law clerk at both Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC and the DOJ. Kim obtained a BA from Tufts University and a JD in 2016 from Duke University School of Law.
Jillian Lenson is a Trial Attorney with the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, which enforces the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. Prior to joining the Disability Rights Section, Jillian worked to enforce civil rights statutes, including the American with Disabilities Act, at both the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and at the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development.
Adam Lewis is a Trial Attorney in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice where he enforces the ADA. Prior to joining the Civil Rights Division in 2019, Mr. Lewis worked first as a law clerk for Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco and then for Judge Roy McLeese III of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Mr. Lewis holds a B.A. from Haverford College and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
Shirley Lin is Assistant Professor of Law at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Prior to joining the Haub Law faculty, Professor Lin was an Acting Assistant Professor at NYU School of Law from 2018–2021. Her scholarship focuses on the legal regulation of relationships, identity formation, and the political economy, and she currently teaches Employment Discrimination, Employment Law, Contracts, and Corporations.
Before teaching law, Professor Lin was a senior associate at Outten & Golden LLP, a national labor and employment law firm, where she advised and litigated on behalf of plaintiffs in civil rights and commercial matters. Upon graduating from the City University of New York School of Law, where she was a Haywood Burns Fellow in Civil Rights & Human Rights, Professor Lin clerked for the Honorable Denny Chin of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. From 2011–2013, she served as a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, a national civil rights organization. Professor Lin is a frequent commentator on issues of race, sex, and disability discrimination, and legal theory. Her scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in the NYU Law Review, Lewis & Clark Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, among others. She has contributed chapters to GENDER JUSTICE AND THE LAW: THEORETICAL PRACTICES OF INTERSECTIONALITY and EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION: LAW AND LITIGATION (Thomson West), and is a co-editor of the Human Rights at Home blog. From 2014–2020, she served as on the Board of Directors of Adhikaar, a women-led workers’ center in Queens, New York that advocates for the economic, political, and social rights of immigrants within the Nepali-speaking diaspora. Professor Lin received a B.A. in Spanish and Women’s Studies from Dartmouth College, where she graduated cum laude and was honored with the Hannah Croasdale Award.
Julia Longoria is a staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization, whose mission is to protect and defend the rights of all Latinos living in the United States and the constitutional rights of all Americans. Ms. Longoria served as the Education Team Manager at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid prior to joining MALDEF. She also spent several years advocating for rights of children with disabilities at Disability Rights Texas, the protection and advocacy agency of the state of Texas. Prior to her work at Disability Rights Texas, Ms. Longoria spent two years at DeMott, McChesney, Curtright and Armendariz, (DMCA) a full-service immigration law firm in San Antonio, Texas. While at DMCA, Ms. Longoria represented clients in immigration proceedings and petitions. Ms. Longoria specialized in cases with overlapping immigration and disability related issues. Ms. Longoria attended the University of Notre Dame where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She earned her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.
Professor Jamelia Morgan is an award-winning and acclaimed scholar and teacher focusing on issues at the intersections of race, gender, disability, and criminal law and punishment. Her scholarship and teaching examine the development of disability as a legal category in American law, disability and policing, overcriminalization and the regulation of physical and social disorder, and the constitutional dimensions of the criminalization of status.
Prof. Morgan joins UCI Law from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she was Associate Professor of Law. Prof. Morgan has taught at Brooklyn Law School, NYU School of Law and Yale Law School. Prior to Prof. Morgan’s academic career, she was a civil rights litigator at the Abolitionist Law Center and worked to end the use of solitary confinement in Pennsylvania state prisons. Prof. Morgan was also an Arthur Liman Fellow with the ACLU National Prison Project, where she focused on the impact of prisons on individuals with physical disabilities. Prior to her fellowship, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard W. Roberts of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Prof. Morgan received a B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Sociology from Stanford University, and her J.D. from Yale Law School. Prior to law school, she served as associate director of the African American Policy Forum, a social justice think tank that works to bridge the gap between scholarly research and public discourse related to affirmative action, structural racism, and gender inequality. Prof. Morgan has also served as counsel, vice president and board member of the Abolitionist Law Center, board member for the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, and as a board member of Mary’s Daughter, LLC, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the needs of formerly incarcerated women of color.
Prianka Nair is Assistant Professor of Clinical Law and Faculty Director of the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic. The clinic represents adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with respect to a range of issues, including access to public benefits, housing and guardianship termination, and restoration of rights.
Prior to joining the faculty at Brooklyn Law School, Professor Nair worked as a public interest attorney at Disability Rights New York. She conducted abuse and neglect investigations, focusing on access to services in correctional facilities across New York State. She has also litigated cases and led policy changes to achieve equal rights for persons with disabilities. Her litigation included cases involving violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Fourteenth Amendment. She has also represented clients in all aspects of guardianship and related proceedings in state and federal court. Professor Nair completed her Masters of Law (LL.M) at Columbia University, where she was a Kent Scholar. Prior to this, she worked as a solicitor representing the Australian federal government at the Australian Government Solicitor.
Qudsiya Naqui leads Pew’s research at the intersection of technology and civil legal system reform. She conducts and supports studies that evaluate and test technology interventions in state civil courts to ensure that these efforts further efficiency, equity, and transparency in the legal process, particularly for litigants who navigate the system without a lawyer. Before joining Pew, Naqui designed and implemented legal services programs in the areas of immigration, housing, and disaster recovery at the Vera Institute of Justice and Equal Justice Works. She began her legal career representing immigrant women and girls in immigration court proceedings and before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She brings her experiences as a blind, South Asian woman and disability activist to her access to justice work. Naqui hosts a podcast called Down to the Struts about disability, design, and intersectionality.
Kate Nemens graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and went on to receive her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law. Attorney Nemens is presently the Supervising Attorney for the Family Law Project at the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, which is co-funded by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. The Project represents low-income parents with mental health issues and/or psychiatric disabilities in their custody and parenting time cases in the Probate and Family Court and provides technical assistance to attorneys representing parents with psychiatric disabilities in child welfare cases in the Juvenile Court. Before coming to the Project, she worked with low-income clients as a staff attorney in the family law unit of the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts (now Community Legal Aid in Worcester), primarily representing victims of domestic violence.
Attorney Nemens is an organizing member of the Coalition for the Rights of Families with Disabilities, a coalition of disability advocates and individuals with disabilities working with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services - Office of Civil Rights on the enforcement of the settlement agreement between these federal agencies and the Department of Children and Families on behalf of parents with disabilities. She is also an organizing member of the Massachusetts Child Welfare Coalition, the states only independent group of child welfare advocates working for meaningful change of our child welfare system. Attorney Nemens serves on the steering committee and several working groups of the Coalition.
Attorney Nemens was a 2005-2006 Boston Bar Association Public Interest Leader, and a 2008 Women’s Bar Foundation, Family Law Project for Battered Women Volunteer Attorney Award recipient. Attorney Nemens is a regular presenter and trainer of attorneys, clinicians, advocates, peers and parents regarding representing parents with psychiatric disabilities, and has participated in over 40 local, regional, national and international panels and conferences. She is a volunteer mentor attorney for the Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Project for Battered Women, a member of the Strengthening Families Coalition, an advisory committee member for Boston Medical Center’s Project RESPECT PLUS, and an advisor to Child and Family Connections, Inc. out of Philadelphia, PA.
Amy Nicholas is a Senior Attorney Advisor on NCD’s Policy Team and has been with NCD for seven years. She has served in the capacity as agreement coordinator for multiple NCD reports. Amy has subject matter expertise disability employment such as sheltered workshops and AbilityOne, emergency management and transportation (not an exhaustive list). Amy served as NCD designee on FEMA’s National Advisory Council (NAC) IPAWS Subcommittee and has represented NCD on many committees during her tenure at NCD. Amy is also NCD’s FOIA Public liaison, managing incoming FOIA requests and reports. Prior to joining NCD, Amy was an Equal Opportunity Specialist at the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights. Amy graduated from the Robert H. McKinney Indiana University School of Law with a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) and attended the University of Cincinnati where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Electronic Media.
Ronza M. Othman, is the director of the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Compliance Group with the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights. In that capacity, Othman oversees the staff and work of the agency’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment complaint program, including drafting and issuing Final Agency Decisions and Settlement Enforcement Determinations. While with the EEO complaints program, Othman has managed and processed complaints of employment discrimination, provided EEO counseling to aggrieved parties, advised agency leadership on civil rights policies and programs, and negotiated, drafted, and implemented settlement agreements. Othman also serves as the Contract Officer’s Representative on numerous contracts. In that capacity, Othman oversees and directs the work of all contracting personnel who provide direct services concerning EEO compliance and reasonable accommodations to CMS. Prior to joining the DHSS, Othman among other things served as a policy advisor at the US Department of Homeland Security, Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Othman’s work involved engagement with post-9/11 communities to facilitate integration and counter violent extremism. Othman served as a national subject matter expert on various areas associated with the American Arab, Muslim, South Asian, Sikh, Somali, and Middle Eastern communities. Othman also provided leadership and guidance to various federal, state, and local agencies concerning countering violent extremism protocols, as well as protections of the civil rights of members of the post-9/11 communities. Othman is the current president of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland, a member organization that provides advocacy, outreach, and training on civil rights matters pertinent to the blind, including areas such as education, social and government services, and employment. Othman earned a BA from Saint Xavier University in Chicago, an MA from DePaul University, and a JD from DePaul University College of Law.
Katherine Pérez is the inaugural Director of the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation. She graduated from the UCLA School of Law (2013) and is a current doctoral candidate in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is writing a dissertation on the Burger Supreme Court (1969-1986) cases on the criminal legal system and mental disability. Katherine writes about and presents on Disability and Immigration law and policy. Her article, "A Critical Race and Disability Legal Studies Approach to Immigration Law and Policy" advocates for a an intersectional approach to understanding immigration that considers disability as well as a multidisciplinary approach that combines grassroots activism with legal work. Katherine teaches a Disability Rights Law course at Loyola Law School as a Visiting Professor of Law.
Katherine's sense of disability justice formed at a young age as she grew up with psychiatric disabilities and is a sister to an autistic woman with intellectual disability. Katherine has dedicated her life toward advocating for people with disabilities on local, national, and international levels. She worked for Congresswoman Linda Sanchez as a Legislative Fellow from 2006-2007 as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow. From 2008-2010, Katherine lived in La Libertad, Peru working with a local disability rights organization as a Peace Corps volunteer. From 2015-2019, she helped launch and led The National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD), an intersectional organization that advocates on important issues and provides a positive space for the disabled Latinx community. As a queer, disabled woman of color, and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, Katherine's lived experienced informs her approach to intersectional justice.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) honored Katherine in 2017 with the prestigious Paul G. Hearne Award for her work as a CNLD co-founder. Katherine currently serves on a number of boards, advisory boards, committees and councils.
Robyn Powell joined Stetson University College of Law in August 2020 as a Bruce R. Jacob Visiting Assistant Professor, where she teaches Disability Law, Torts, and Public Health Law. As a disabled woman, Dr. Powell has dedicated her career to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. Before coming to Stetson Law, Dr. Powell was a Research Associate at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University. For nearly five years, Dr. Powell served as an Attorney-Advisor at the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President and Congress on matters concerning people with disabilities. Previously, she served as the Disability Rights Program Manager at the Equal Rights Center, Assistant Director for Policy and Advocacy at the Disability Policy Consortium, and Staff Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. While in law school, Dr. Powell interned for both the NCD and the Disability Law Center, the Massachusetts Protection & Advocacy agency.
Dr. Powell is one of the country’s foremost authorities on the rights of parents with disabilities. She is the principal author of NCD’s Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and their Children. Dr. Powell has written and presented extensively on the rights, needs, and experiences of parents with disabilities and has been interviewed by various news outlets, including NPR, BBC, ABC News, the Daily Beast, and the Associated Press. In May 2016, Dr. Powell was an invited speaker at the White House Forum on Civil Rights of Parents with Disabilities.
Jeannie M. Rhinehart is a mentor, advocate, and practicing attorney with the Committee for Public Counsel Services of Massachusetts. Jeannie is the Attorney in Charge for the Committee’s Brockton Office of the Children and Family Law Division. She is also a member of the Coalition for the Rights of Families with Disabilities. Jeannie’s passion for justice and equality was sparked when she began her public service career as a case manager and advocate for dually diagnosed individuals afflicted with mental health issues, substance use disorders, and terminal illness. Jeannie is a 2006 graduate of Syracuse University College of Law and is licensed to practice law in both New York and Massachusetts. Jeannie's practice has spanned 9 of the 14 counties across Massachusetts over the past 14 years where she has served as a mentor, a trainer, and an advocate on behalf of children and families in state custody. In 2015, Jeannie was the recipient of the Mary C. Fitzpatrick Children and Family Law Award for her outstanding work as one of the attorneys on a case in which the Department of Children and Families sought to terminate a mother’s rights because of her disabilities. The case was investigated by the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services which resulted in the 2015 Gordon letter of findings. Jeannie also received special recognition from the United ARC of Massachusetts for legal advocacy in a landmark significance for parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. In her spare time, Jeannie loves spending time with family, traveling, and attending cultural events.
Howard started as the Chief Executive Officer of the NAD in April 2011 and also serves as an ex officio member of the NAD Board of Directors. He comes to the NAD after 22 years as a lawyer, focusing his practice on disability rights and special education law. For nine years, he was a Senior Attorney at Equip for Equality, the Protection & Advocacy entity for Illinois. The previous 10 years, he worked as an associate at Monahan & Cohen, and briefly as a legal counsel at Access Living, the center for independent living in Chicago. In 1997, he founded the Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf, and served as Board Chair until 2011. In 2010 and again in 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Howard to serve on the United States Access Board. Howard has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering from the University of Arizona and a Juris Doctor degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law. Born and raised in Chicago, he is a diehard fan of Chicago sports teams. Howard also enjoys traveling the world to meet deaf people in other countries and learning their sign languages.
Cheryl Rost enforces the ADA as a Trial Attorney in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. Prior to joining the Civil Rights Division in 2015, Ms. Rost worked as a Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General and served as a law clerk for Justice Jaynee LaVecchia of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Ms. Rost holds a B.A. from Rutgers University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Megan Schuller is a trial attorney in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice where she enforces the ADA. Ms. Schuller holds a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California Berkeley School of Law.
Brittany Shrader is a staff attorney with the NAD. She focuses primarily on civil rights litigation filed on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing individuals to enforce federal antidiscrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Prior to joining the NAD, Brittany worked as a senior litigation associate and trial attorney for Eisenberg & Baum, LLP's Law Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in New York City, where she also concentrated her practice on the protection of rights of deaf and hard of hearing persons under local, state and federal law. Prior to becoming a civil litigator, Brittany was a juvenile delinquency prosecutor for the City of New York. Brittany's experience prosecuting sex crimes and major crimes shaped her into a compassionate advocate with the ability to effectively represent and communicate with individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Brittany holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia where she dual majored in East Asian Studies and Financial Economics and minored in World Religion. She spent summers studying at East China Normal University in Shanghai, China and at Oxford in England. Brittany also holds a J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law with a concentration in Child and Family Advocacy. In addition to English and American Sign Language, Brittany also has proficiency in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. In her free time, Brittany enjoys musicals, traveling and spending quality time with family.
Shelly L. Skeen, formerly of BFS Law Group, practiced complex commercial litigation, representing businesses across the country in commercial disputes in state and federal trial courts, appellate courts and in arbitrations. After graduating magna cum laude from law school, Shelly began her law practice as a briefing attorney for a Texas State Appellate Court. Shelly has been a certified mediator since 2001, earned a Diploma in International Arbitration, and achieved a “Fellow” designation from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London (CIArb), making Shelly one of less than 475 lawyers in the U.S. at the time to hold the Fellow designation. Shelly also handled online free speech, business disparagement and defamation cases as well as probate and estate planning matters for individuals and families, including LGBT individuals and families. Shelly has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court; appeared successfully before the Texas Supreme Court; appeared before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana; the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio; the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois; United States District Courts in Texas, Michigan, and Illinois; and several Texas State Appellate Courts. Shelly has served a Council Member, Vice President, and Chair of the LGBT Law Section for the State Bar of Texas, as the President of the Dallas LGBT Bar Association, and as a board member of nonprofits, including Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and the Coalition for Aging, LGBT, where she served as the Co-Chair of the Policy & Legislative Advocacy Committee. Shelly is currently serving a second three (3) year term on the State Bar of Texas’ CLE Committee, after being appointed by two separate Presidents of the State Bar of Texas. Shelly is a frequent speaker and often cited author on LGBTQ+ legal issues, including the First Amendment, Public Accommodations, Marriage Equality, Employment, and Probate. She is also adjunct faculty for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy where she teaches trial and deposition skills to lawyers, is an adjunct instructor for UNT School of Law where she teaches a course on LGBTQI+ Law, and has taught as a “Tudor” for the CIArb in its “Member” program in international arbitration. In 2016, The Texas Bar College awarded Shelly The Franklin Jones Award for the Best Continuing Legal Education Article as voted by her peers. The LGBT Law Section also honored Shelly with its highest award, the Judge Black Award, for her work on behalf of the LGBTQI+ community. Shelly is active in the local community where she performs volunteer work, has mentored night-time law students and high school students, and has served as an assistant city prosecutor. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, hiking, and reading. In August of 2017, Shelly left the full-time practice of law to attend UCLA School of Law, where she earned an LL.M. in 2018, with specializations in both Constitutional Law and Law & Sexuality (LGBTQ Law). Shelly is now a Senior Attorney for Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. in Dallas, Texas and serves on the Board of the Juanita J.Craft Civil Rights House and Museum where she is the Chair of the Civil Rights Trial Committee.
Amged Soliman is a Senior Attorney Advisor serving on the policy and legal team of NCD. He is a member of the Maryland State Bar, has spent several years working in disability rights law, and has lectured on the subject of disability rights law and administrative law at various conferences and classrooms nationally. His work at NCD has involved, among others, serving as the staff lead of NCD’s health equity work including related issues of Medicaid coverage, better medical and dental school disability competency training, draft legislation that would designate people with I/DD as a medically underserved population, and data collection.
R. Larkin Taylor-Parker is a staff attorney at Disability Rights North Carolina. They graduated from Agnes Scott College with a B.A. in history in 2014 and the University of Georgia School of Law in 2017. Larkin currently works to reduce the incidence and restrictiveness of guardianship and enforce Titles I-III of the ADA in North Carolina. In their spare time, Larkin enjoys disability history, culture, and community, working on old machinery, and playing the tuba.
Ana Torres-Davis is a Senior Attorney-Advisor at the National Council on Disability where she provides legal and policy advice and leads the development of reports to the President and Congress on critical issues impacting people with disabilities. Her areas of focus and interest include healthcare discrimination and bioethics; Home and Community-Based Services; education; transportation; fair housing, public accommodations, and employment. A career civil rights and disability-rights advisor, she has held positions as the Deputy Director of HUD’s Fair Housing Information Clearinghouse; Attorney for the AARP Foundation, an Assistant County Attorney, and several government contracts focused on maintaining a safety net for older persons, and people with disabilities. Ana earned her J.D. from Catholic University and is an active member of the Virginia Bar.
Dr. John VanDenBerg has lectured in every US state and almost all areas of Canada, in Europe and Asia. He has been a major innovator, researcher, co-founder and pioneer in the gradual perfecting of the Wraparound Process, which now reaches hundreds of thousands of families worldwide. In the 1980s, he developed the first demonstration of cross-agency state-wide wraparound process, the Alaska Youth Initiative, which focused on building community around youth instead of putting them in institutions. This was one of the first national efforts focused on services integration for children and families with complex needs, and proved the role of relationship and support in supporting youth with complex behavioral health needs. Dr. VanDenBerg has worked extensively with state and tribal governments.
Angelica Vega (She/Her/Hers) is a May 2020 graduate of American University in Washington, DC, where she earned both department and Latin honors in Philosophy. Angelica’s sense of leadership came from the various positions she held during university, which included her tenure as a College of Arts and Sciences Leadership and Ethical Development program (CAS LEAD) student, an assistant coach and judge for the DC Ethics Bowl, and a teaching assistant for Theories of Democracy and Human Rights.
Shira Wakschlag is the senior director of legal advocacy and general counsel for The Arc. Wakschlag’s work involves directing The Arc’s participation in disability rights litigation to advance the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities nationwide. Prior to joining The Arc, Wakschlag worked on civil and disability rights impact litigation in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Skadden Fellow at Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, and as an associate attorney at a civil rights firm. Wakschlag is on the board of the Disability Rights Bar Association and has published articles with the Denver Law Review, the American Bar Association’s Human Rights Magazine, and the University of Minnesota’s Impact magazine. Wakschlag received a JD from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and a BA from Brown University.
Appointed as the 18th dean and senior vice president of LMU Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (LLS) on June 1, 2016, Dean Michael Waterstone is a nationally recognized expert in disability and civil rights law. Since the beginning of his tenure at LLS in 2006, Waterstone has served as the Associate Dean for Research and Academic Centers from 2009-2014, and as the dean from 2016 to present.Waterstone has been a visiting professor at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, University of Haifa, Faculty of Law, and Northwestern University School of Law, where he was selected as the Outstanding First Year Professor in 2014-1015.
Throughout his legal career, Waterstone consulted on projects for the National Council on Disability and testified before the United States Senate on issues related to voters with disabilities and older voters. Internationally, he worked with foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions on disability rights laws in Israel, Japan, China, Bangladesh, Ireland, and Vietnam. He has published articles in the Harvard Law Review, Emory Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Vanderbilt Law Review, William and Mary Law Review, and Northwestern Law Review, amongst others.Before joining the LLS community, Waterstone taught at the University of Mississippi Law School and served as a litigation associate at Munger, Tolles, & Olson. Waterstone also clerked for the Honorable Richard S. Arnold on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Corey Welch is an insurance industry leader with 36 years of expertise managing diverse products including disability, life, AD&D, premium waiver, voluntary products, third party administration, and group reinsurance. Welch has expertise in claims practices, appeals, federal and state compliance, audit, and litigation management. Welch’s passion is improving the stakeholder and customer experience while ensuring ethical and accurate plan administration and strict compliance. Welch joined the Aflac team in June of 2020 as long term disability product and appeals director. Prior to Aflac, Welch was a business consultant at Matrix Absence Management, quality and appeals manager at The Hartford, and a claims consultant at Unum. Welch has a BBA in marketing from the University of North Georgia, one of the six senior military colleges in the country.
Dr. Amy Elizabeth West is a Clinical Child Psychologist and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Psychology, and Psychiatry & the Behavioral Sciences, Associate Training Director for Psychology in the Division of General Pediatrics, and Director of the Child Clinical and Pediatric Psychology Internship, at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. Dr. West’s primary clinical and research interests focus on psychosocial treatment outcome and mechanisms of treatment response in pediatric mood and anxiety disorders, and specifically the effectiveness of such interventions in underserved, diverse populations. Dr. West has Southern Cheyenne heritage and has also partnered with urban and other tribal American Indian/Alaska Native communities nationally to conduct participatory research focused on mental health and substance use needs assessment and the development of culturally-based mental health services in Native communities.
Darcy White is a Senior Officer for the Civil Legal System Modernization project at The Pew Charitable Trusts. In this capacity, Darcy develops and oversees the project’s research agenda, leads research on court modernization and lawsuits impacting family and economic stability, and manages relationships with research grantees and partners. Darcy previously worked on Pew’s Results First Initiative, where she led research focused on advancing evidence-based policymaking at the state and local level. Prior to joining Pew, she worked for a global pro bono law firm where she conducted policy analysis for international clients engaged in peace negotiations and post-conflict constitution drafting, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya’s Deaf Education sector.
Leah Wiederhorn joined the NAD in 2019 and is responsible for litigating civil rights disability cases on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. Prior to joining the NAD, Leah was a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she litigated complex reproductive rights lawsuits around the country. Leah was an attorney at the Law Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at Eisenberg and Baum, LLP, where she litigated complex discrimination lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, as well as applicable state civil rights laws. Leah previously served as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society, representing children in foster care proceedings and juvenile delinquency defense, among other Family Court matters. Leah was of counsel to the Law Office of Rankin & Taylor in Section 1983, Bivens, and Federal Tort Claims Act litigation and has also worked as a litigation associate at Rosin Steinhagen Mendel. Leah holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, where she received the Professor Nancy H. Fink Family Law Award, the Brooklyn Law School Public Service Award, and the CALI Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy. While at Brooklyn Law School, Leah was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society and served as co-chair of Brooklyn Law School Students for the Public Interest. Leah received her B.A. in American History and Human Rights from Columbia University. In her free time, Leah enjoys reading literature, traveling, and independent film.
Matthew Yanez is a disability advocate focused on creating an inclusive and equitable world for all. Prior to starting law school, Matthew worked with several non-profit groups including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Arc of the United States and the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation. Each of these opportunities has allowed Matthew to take an intersectional approach on how to best tackle the systems of inequality that impact so many. While at Syracuse University, he is pursuing a Dual J.D./MPA Degree with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and the College of Law. Matthew was selected to be a closing speaker during the first-ever Disability Vote Summit during the 2020 Presidential Election where he spoke about the importance of voter participation. Lastly, Matthew was recently invited to the White House to speak with Vice President Kamala Harris and advocate for strengthening voting rights and the impact it would have on the disability community.
Catherine Yoon is a Trial Attorney in the Disability Practice Group within the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section. Yoon joined DOJ in 2020 after working at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as Special Assistant to the General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. At DOJ, Yoon has worked on Olmstead matters in Alaska and Iowa.