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. She is currently on the Mergers and Acquisitions team at Orrick, an international law firm, in Silicon Valley. She previously ran small businesses in Paris, France and in Santa Monica, California. 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 has held leadership positions in women’s organizations since college. She is thrilled to be part of the Ms. JD family!
Diana has a J.D. from UCLA School of Law with a Specialization in Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property. She studied abroad in London where she took LLM courses, volunteered at a legal clinic for European startups, and discovered the wonders of fish & chips. In 2012, Diana graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University with a double major in French and Writing Seminars (Poetry Concentration). She has a penchant for creativity and still writes poetry.
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.
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.
Immediate Past President
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.