Board of Directors and Officers
Erin C. Callahan
Erin 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 and Berkley Oil and Gas in Houston, Texas. She has held several Board of Director positions including Atlantic Housing Foundation, Dallas Women Lawyers Association and now Ms. JD. 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. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @EsqErinCate.
Maleaha Brown is a staff attorney for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, where she represents survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in family law matters in Corpus Christi, Texas. Maleaha received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law and her B.A. in Sociology from Baylor University, with minors in Child and Family Studies and Spanish.
Maleaha became involved with Ms. JD in law school as a 2015 Ms. JD Fellow. Thereafter, she took on the role of Fellowship Coordinator for the organization before joining the Ms. JD Board of Directors in 2017. Maleaha is passionate about advocating for women’s issues. Notably, her articles “When Pros Become Cons: Ending the NFL’s History of Domestic Violence Leniency” and “The Unfair Choice: A Call for Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers” have been published in the ABA’s Family Law Quarterly and the Howard Human and Civil Rights Law Review, respectively.
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 is an entrepreneurial lawyer working at the cross-section of law, tech, and business. Currently, she is a Legal Innovation Designer at BakerHostetler LLP's New York City Office where she leads firm-wide blockchain and smart contract R&D efforts. She previously practiced corporate law at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in Menlo Park, California, founded a boutique innovation firm, Distributive, Inc., and started a small business in Paris, France. She also contributed legal research and analysis to the Federal Trade Commission, the Bitcoin Foundation, Pandora Media, Inc., and the HBO series “Silicon Valley”.
Diana graduated from UCLA School of Law with a specialization in the Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Program. In law school, Diana was on the Board of Law Women of UCLA, and loves being part of UCLA Law Women LEAD and Ms. JD communities today. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2012 with a double major in French and Writing Seminars (Poetry Concentration). Her latest new creative hobby is pyrography.
Katie Day is an attorney with Hopkinson & Abbondanza where she specializes in estate planning, commercial real estate, and residential real estate. She received her Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University School of Law, Summa Cum Laude and her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hofstra University. Katie first became involved with Ms. JD as a pre-law student and worked as Ms. JD's Social Media Manager and Programs Assistant while she attended law school.
Katie has always had a passion for supporting women in the law. While in law school, she served as president of Quinnipiac University's award-winning Women's Law Society and was recognized for her service to the law school community. You can find Katie on Instagram at @heyitskatieday.
Julie S. Alarcón
Julie S. Alarcón is a labor and employment litigation associate at Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers LLP, where she represents and counsels both private and public sector unions on a wide range of legal matters. She received her Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of the Law and her bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles.
Prior to joining her firm, Julie completed a legal fellowship with the AFL-CIO Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C., where she worked on Supreme Court and appellate advocacy that was focused on protecting the rights of workers. While in law school, Julie interned for several non-profits and government agencies committed to serving the needs of the public including ACLU Immigrant Rights’ Project, Legal Aid at Work, National Labor Relations Board (Region 21), California Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights Enforcement and Hastings Community Justice Clinic. She also served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Carlos Vazquez for Los Angeles Superior Court.
Julie first became involved with Ms. JD in law school when she became a founding member of Ms. JD at UC Hastings. She was the organization’s first Outreach and Professional Development Coordinator where she connected more than 30 women law students with mentors. Inspired by Ms. JD, Julie founded the Women of Color Initiative at UC Hastings, which partners with Ms. JD to promote women of color attorneys. She was selected as a Ms. JD National Fellow for her leadership and commitment to public service.
Amber C. Thomson
Amber Thomson is an Associate at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton’s Washington, D.C. office, where she counsels companies on cybersecurity and data breach matters, as well as U.S. and international data privacy, data transfer and “Big Data” issues. She graduated Cum Laude from Howard University School of Law where she served as Vice President of Epsilon Sigma Iota Sorority, Inc. the nation’s first legal sorority. She also served as President of OUTlaw, Howard’s LGBT organization, and President of the school’s International Moot Court Team. Amber received her B.S.B.A. with a focus on International Business and Spanish from Old Dominion University. Prior to attending law school, Amber worked for A.P. Moller-Maersk, first as an International Shipping Education trainee and later in various management roles in the United States and Latin America.
Amber is dedicated to mentoring young women in law school and serves as a Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) mentor. She is also the founder of Lesbian Lawyers of Color. Amber first became involved with Ms. JD in law school when she was selected as a Ms. JD Fellow. She was so inspired by her experience as a Fellow that she became determined to contribute more to the organization. You can find Amber on Instagram at @lady_bijou.
Okeoma Moronu is an in-house attorney at an aviation company based in Dallas, Texas. She received her JD from Columbia University School of Law and an L.LM. in International law from the University of Amsterdam. Prior to going in-house, Okeoma was a corporate associate at Baker Botts in Dallas and a Capital Markets attorney at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in both their New York and Singapore offices.
In 2016 Okeoma launched the Happy Lawyer Project Podcast, a weekly lifestyle podcast for lawyers looking to find happiness in life with a law degree. The podcast was honored by the ABA in 2017 and 2018 as a top podcast for lawyers. The show provides Okeoma with the opportunity to share her passion for showing lawyers that happiness and fulfillment are possible in life and law.
In her spare time, Okeoma loves traveling with her husband and two little ones, spending time with her chickens and writing personal finance books for children.
Sonya Laddon Rahders
Sonya Laddon Rahders is an associate attorney with Athene Law, LLP, a boutique health law firm in California representing healthcare providers. Prior to joining Athene Law at its founding in 2017 Sonya worked in-house as regulatory counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, and with Advocates for Youth in Washington, DC as a federal domestic policy analyst and If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow. Sonya earned her J.D. with a concentration in Social Justice Lawyering from UC Hastings College of the Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the Hastings Women’s Law Journal, a founding member of Ms. JD at UC Hastings, and a 2014 Ms. JD Fellow. Sonya previously served on the national Board of Directors of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. Prior to her legal career, Sonya worked for several years in nonprofit administration and human resources. She earned her A.A. in Sociology with High Honors from Cabrillo College, and her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Women’s/Gender Studies, summa cum laude, from University of California, Los Angeles. In her spare time, Sonya teaches an online graduate class on Human Sexuality and Public Policy for University of Minnesota, volunteers with ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, and takes slow walks with her elderly dog.
Noorulanne Jan is currently a law student at the University of Texas School of Law. Her current legal passions include indigent defense and research into toxic torts, especially in low-income communities. Before law school, Noorulanne spent some time as a high school English teacher and as a policy fellow with the Urban Leaders Fellowship, where she researched effective principalship programs. Though she is a newcomer to the Austin area, she hit the gorund running by being selected as a Ruth Ellinger Labor Leader Fellow with the Texas AFL-CIO. Currently, she spends her evenings teaching English to non-native speakers with Austin Community College.
Noorulanne graduated from Texas Tech University in 2015 with a triple major in English, Political Science, and Sociology. After her time in Austin, she plans to move back to her hometown of Houston and would like to pursue employment in the public sector.
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.
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.