Board of Directors and Officers
Raychelle A. Tasher is the sole law clerk to Chief Bankruptcy Judge Kathy A. Surratt-States, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Prior to her bankruptcy clerkship, Raychelle practiced bankruptcy law-creditor's rights throughout the State of Florida. Raychelle first became involved with Ms. JD as 2012 Ms. JD Fellow, and has served on the Ms. JD Board of Directors since August 2013. Raychelle is a magna cum laude graduate of Florida A&M University ("FAMU") and also holds a JD from FAMU College of Law. As an undergraduate student, Raychelle became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and was elected Senior Class President. While at FAMU College of Law, Raychelle held numerous leadership roles, most notably National Vice Chair of the ABA Law Student Division. Recently, FAMU College of Law honored Raychelle with a Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Excellence in Government. Raychelle has also been named to Lawyers of Color, LLC's inaugural 2013 "Hot List", recognizing early-to-mid level career lawyers who are excelling in the legal profession. Notably, The National Bar Association honored Raychelle with its 2016 Nation's Best Advocates: "40 Lawyers Under 40" Award for her commitment to the community and leadership in the legal profession. In 2013 Raychelle was selected to the American Bar Association ("ABA") Young Lawyers Division's ("YLD") inaugural Emerging Leaders program and in 2015 she was selected as an ABA YLD Scholar. Currently, Raychelle serves as Chair of the ABA YLD Bankruptcy Law Committee and recently she was selected by the ABA Business Law Section as a 2016-2018 Fellow. Raychelle serves as Ms. JD's chief liaison to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession where she is active in the Sexual Harassment and Bullying subcommittee. Raychelle frequently speaks on issues such as unconscious bias, gender and race in the law.
Elizabeth Hague is a Dispute Resolution associate in the Washington, DC office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, where her work focuses on complex civil litigation and global investigations. She has served on the Ms. JD Board of Directors since March 2013, and serves on the Board of Collective Action for Safe Spaces, a DC-based organization dedicated to making public spaces safer for women.
Elizabeth is a magna cum laude graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and holds a JD from Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, she served in the Board of the Women's Law Association and Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and participated in the Human Rights, Litigating in Family Court, and Gender Violence Clinics. Elizabeth is a former Fulbright Scholar to Morocco, where she researched women's legal empowerment. In her free time, she enjoys visiting national parks, reading, and listening to feminist podcasts. Her personal Twitter is @emh_esq
Chief Financial Officer
Nicole Grabianowski is an associate at Husch Blackwell LLP in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where her practice focuses on banking and finance matters. She is the Chief Financial Officer of Ms. JD. She graduated cum laude from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and also received her M.B.A. from Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business. Nicole is a long time Ms. JD reader and was a 2014 Ms. JD Fellow. While at Loyola, Nicole served as a Lead Articles Editor on the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, as a staff editor for the Loyola Consumer Law Review, and on the board of the Women's Law Society. She also was a Student Fellow for the Loyola Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies from 2013-2015. Originally from Parker, Colorado, Nicole attended Arizona State University graduating cum laude with a B.S. in Finance with an International Business Certificate in addition to earning her B.F.A. in Dance. In addition to her academic pursuits, Nicole completed an externship at the Cook County Department of Revenue and the Circuit Court of Cook County and also worked part-time throughout law school as a Corporate Tax Law Clerk at WEC Energy Group. Prior to attending law school, Nicole worked for a small finance company in Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, all things outdoors, body pump fitness class, yoga, movies, shopping, and football.
Jane Rosales is a third-year law student at New York Law School focusing on criminal defense. Jane is a long-time reader of Ms. JD and previously served as Ms. JD’s social media manager. Previously, Jane was a senior paralegal in the Disability Advocacy Project at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she represented disabled individuals in Social Security Administration hearings. She also served two AmeriCorps terms working in the education sector in Boston. Jane graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Political Science and obtained her Master’s degree in International Affairs from Northeastern University. In addition to serving on the Ms. JD Board of Directions, she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Binghamton University Alumni Association. You can find Jane online at her fitness blog, Run the Jungle, or on Twitter at @janeprosales.
Juliana Siconolfi is thrilled to serve on Ms. JD's Board of Directors, where she also serves as Chair of its Academic Committee and a member of its Marketing & Communications Committee. She is also the Ms. JD Writers in Residence Program Board Liaison. Previously, she served as Ms. JD's inaugural Academic Program Director, its 2014 Writers in Residence Program Director, and a 2013 Writer in Residence. Juliana is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School. She graduated magna cum laude from Bates College, obtained her J.D. from Boston College Law School, and is an LL.M. candidate at The George Washington University Law School. Her unique perspective as a woman in law who has pursued a non-traditional career path, has a background in and great love for the arts, and is a passionate advocate for equality, diversity, and inclusion informs her work and research interests. The latter include diversity and inclusion within the entertainment, fashion, and beauty industries; intersections between forms of self-presentation and equality; legal education pedagogy; and all things professionalism. In her spare time, Juliana loves to read, travel, and eat cheese. She may be found on Twitter at @JulesSiconolfi.
Erin C. Callahan
Erin C. Callahan currently works in an alternative legal career at Berkley Oil and Gas Insurance Company in the claims department. Erin recently relocated to Houston, Texas and is excited about getting to know the city. She is a 2007 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and a 2011 graduate of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas Texas. In law school she served as Women in Law President for two years and as Student Bar Association President her last year. After graduation, she worked for Claim Adjustment Specialists, a small company in the insurance industry, where she was Vice President of Subrogation and Associate Counsel. After CAS, Erin worked for Philadelphia Insurance Companies in Dallas, Texas before she relocated to Houston. Erin attended her first Ms. JD conference in 2011 and served on the conference committee for two years before she was asked to join the board at the 2015 Conference.
Global Education Fund Program Director
Melissa Gardner works at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein in San Francisco, where her practices focuses on consumer protection class actions and torts. She graduated from Harvard Law School, where she was a Student Attorney with the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project and South Brooklyn Legal Services. Before attending law school, Melissa served in the United States Peace Corps, where she taught college students at Gansu Forestry College in Tianshui, China. Melissa has been a member of the GEF Program Council since 2013. She is passionate about helping women navigate the legal profession, in and outside of the United States. In her spare time, Melissa studies foreign languages and sings with Lieff Cabraser’s rock band, the R-23’s.
Diana Stern is a third-year student at UCLA School of Law specializing in the Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Program. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2012. She double majored in French and Writing Seminars, with a concentration in Poetry. Diana gets a kick out of telling people about the similarities between legal and poetic analysis. Diana has held leadership positions in women’s organizations since college, including President of the Panhellenic Council as a member of Alpha Phi. In law school, she is the External Affairs Chair and former Co-President of Law Women of UCLA.
Diana is carving her career at the cross-section of law, tech, and international business. Before law school, she founded and operated a small tutoring business in France. During law school, she interned for tech companies including Pandora Media, Inc., consulted for the HBO series Silicon Valley, and served on the Board of the UCLA Journal of Law and Technology. Diana also engages in pro bono work to support underrepresented communities. She has volunteered for organizations ranging from Code2040 to the Public Council, and she recently assisted in a pro bono domestic violence case while she was a Summer Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in Menlo Park, California.
Diana is finishing her last semester at UCLA Law. She recently returned from London, England, where she took LLM courses for a semester abroad, volunteered at a legal clinic for European startups, and discovered the wonders of fish & chips.
Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Shannon McNeal is a 2011 graduate of the University of Florida (“UF”) and a 2014 graduate of Howard University School of Law. While in law school, Shannon competed at the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington, D.C. During college, Shannon served as the President of the UF Black Student Union, and spent her last semester interning full-time with Senator Jeremy Ring (D) of Florida District 32 through the UF Bob Graham Center for Public Service. Based on her leadership throughout college, Shannon was selected for membership in Florida Blue Key, the oldest honorary society in the state of Florida. Shannon is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Shannon works as a government investigations associate at Hudson Cook LLP in Washington D.C.
Chibundu Nnake is an education advocate in our nation’s capitol where he works to close the achievement gap and improve education access and quality for all. He focuses on policy, strategy and utilizing data to inform those decisions. Chibundu holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with Minors in Spanish and African/African American Studies from The Ohio State University. He is a 2013 graduate of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and Cox School of Business, where he earned his J.D. and M.B.A. (Strategy & Entrepreneurship Concentration with a focus in Business Formations and Nonprofits). In law school, he served in numerous leadership capacities including President of the SMU Black Law Student Association, SMU’s American Bar Association (ABA) Representative and National Chair of the National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA). Chibundu is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. In addition to serving on the Ms. JD Board of Directors, Chibundu serves on the National Advisory Board for NBLSA and the board of A Careful Mind Foundation — which works to eradicate the stigmatization of mental illness and health in our society. When he is not advocating against inequality, you can find him supporting his Buckeyes, playing flag football, brunching or traveling. You can tweet him @BunDraper.
Paige Griffith is currently serving as a law clerk for the Honorable Dana L. Christensen, Chief United States District Judge for the District of Montana. She graduated in May 2016 from the University of Montana School of Law in Missoula, Montana, and also holds a double BA in Economics and Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. During her time in law school, she was actively involved in the Women's Law Caucus, Montana Law Review, and National Moot Court Team. Paige became involved with Ms. JD as a Ms. JD Fellow in 2015 and was the Conference Coordinator for the 2017 Ms. JD Annual Conference. In her free time, Paige loves to OULA (check out oulafitness.com), binge watch TV show marathons, hang out with friends and family, make delicious food, and take photos!
Maleaha Brown is a staff attorney for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, where she primarily practices family law for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Corpus Christi, Texas. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Maleaha received her B.A. in Sociology from Baylor University in 2013, with minors in Child and Family Studies and Spanish. In 2016, Maleaha graduated from Howard University School of Law with her J.D. and Family Law Certificate. While at Howard Law, Maleaha served as the inaugural Dean’s Fellow for the Legal Writing Center and as a Senior Editor on the Howard Human and Civil Rights Law Review. Notably, her Comment, “When Pros Become Cons: Ending the NFL’s History of Domestic Violence Leniency,” was published in the American Bar Association’s Spring 2016 publication of Family Law Quarterly. Maleaha first became involved with Ms. JD as a 2015 Ms. JD Fellow. Thereafter, she has served as the Ms. JD Fellowship Director since September 2016 and joined the Board of Directors in March 2017. In her free time, Maleaha enjoys reading, traveling, and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Founder and Inaugural President
Elizabeth Pederson graduated Order of the Coif with Pro Bono Distinction from Stanford Law School, where she was a Public Interest Fellow and the Symposium Editor on the Executive Board of the Stanford Law Review. Since graduation, Elizabeth clerked on the Northern District of California and served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan DA's Office. Prior to law school, Elizabeth served in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. She holds a M.P.A. from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan as a Frey Foundation Fellow and a B.A. summa cum laude with highest honors from Brandeis University.
Founding Chief Financial Officer
Karen E. Deschaine
Karen E. Deschaine is an Associate in the Cooley LLP Business department. She joined Cooley in 2007 and is resident in the San Diego office. Karen received a J.D. with a specialization in Business Law from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the Editor in Chief of the UCLA Women’s Law Journal. She has a Masters of Business Administration from Auburn University and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the United States Military Academy, in West Point, New York. While at West Point, Karen was on the Sport Parachute Team and, as such, jumped the game ball into numerous Army football games and was named the Overall Novice Champion at the 1994 National Collegiate Skydiving Championships. Prior to law school, Karen served as a captain in the United States Army and commanded two companies. Karen was one of the founding members of Ms. JD's Board of Directors (2006-2012) and is a member of the State Bar of California.
Jessie Kornberg graduated in 2007 from UCLA School of Law, where she was Editor in Chief of the Women's Law Journal and Articles Editor for the Journal of Sexual Orientation Law. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University. During law school Jessie was the Helena Rubenstein Foundation Fellow at Legal Momentum, the legal defense and education fund for NOW. After law school Jessie served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Jon Phipps McCalla, Chief Judge of the Western District of Tennessee. Prior to law school, Jessie worked in homeless family services in New York City and co-authored Homeless in America, Part Two: A Statistical Reader with the Institute for Children and Poverty. In 2009, Jessie became Ms. JD's first Executive Director. Jessie currently also serves on the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession and on the Governing Board of California Women Lawyers. In 2011, Jessie joined the Los Angeles litigation boutique Bird Marella. Jessie has been recognized by The Recorder and Super Lawyers as a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” and “Rising Star,” respectively. In 2014, Jessie became the first female CEO and President of Bet Tzedek.
Janet Wallace co-founded the law firm O'Leary Wallace LLP in San Luis Obispo County, California. Janet is a faculty member at Cuesta Community College, where she teaches courses on Estate Planning and Administration, Business Organizations, Introduction to Law, and Legal Technology. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Davis, where she served as President of Law Students for the Arts and Research Assistant to Professor Lisa R. Pruitt. Janet graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the History of Art and Architecture. Prior to attending law school, Janet was a high school photography teacher, robotics adviser, White House gift wrapper, intern coordinator, office manager, field representative, and art gallery docent. Janet served on the Board of Directors of Ms. JD, the Women Lawyers Association of San Luis Obispo and is Past President of the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council. She graduated from Leadership San Luis Obispo Class XXII and is a trained $tart $mart facilitator. In 2015, Janet was named one of the Top 20 Under 40 by the San Luis Obispo Tribune and received the inaugural Rising Star Award from the Women Lawyer's Association of SLO. Janet and her husband of 13 years have one son, Julian, are licensed foster parents, and craft the perfect basil vodka gimlet (but not one because of the other). You can find Janet online at her personal blog, www.thisconfettilife.com. In her spare time, Janet sleeps.
Immediate Past President
Katie Larkin-Wong is an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Francisco, CA where her practice focuses on antitrust and white collar litigation. She is the second President of Ms. JD. She graduated cum laude from Northwestern Law School. Katie is a long time Ms. JD reader, served as a 2010-2011 Writer-in-Residence, and was a 2010 Ms. JD Fellow. While at Northwestern, she served as the Managing Editor of the Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property and on the board of the Women’s Leadership Coalition. She was also active in Northwestern’s Program on Negotiations and Mediation where she became a certified mediator, mediating and settling cases in the Chicago courts. Katie holds a dual major in psychology and government with an emphasis in women’s studies from Claremont McKenna College and, prior to law school, worked for Verizon’s Corporate Counsel on antitrust and intellectual property matters.