Monsurat Adebanjo’s personal and professional life has been dedicated to the promotion and protection of the arts, advocating for diversity and empowering underrepresented people. Monsurat is a practicing attorney and the founder of Brown Girl For The Arts Media; The Urban Culturist, a tech startup; and Brown Girl Artists. Brown Girl For The Arts Media is committed to broadening the sluggishly changing narrative of the Diaspora through representation in the media. The Urban Culturist utilizes its digital space to promote diversity, access and exposure within the art world and share new and diverse opportunities to appreciate art and culture. Brown Girl Artists, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering girls of color to envision their futures as artists, professionals and world changers by connecting them with positive, relatable and accomplished role models of color.
Joanna Visser Adjoian
Joanna Visser Adjoian, Esq. is co-founder and Co-Director of the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project. Prior to co-founding YSRP, Joanna served as Associate Director and Staff Attorney of the Toll Public Interest Center at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she oversaw the Center’s 26 student pro bono projects, offered guidance to more than 100 student leaders, and directly supervised students in new and existing pro bono initiatives. Before joining the Toll Center, Joanna clerked for Judge Joel Schneider in the United States District Court of the District of New Jersey, and completed a Penn Law Postgraduate Fellowship at Juvenile Law Center, where she advanced efforts to end the practice of sentencing children to life in prison without parole, including co-authoring an Amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case of Miller v. Alabama.
Joanna is a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2016 Claneil Emerging Leader Fellow, a 2016 recipient of the Penn Law Young Alumni Award, a 2017 recipient of the Penn Law Alan Lerner Rising Star Award, a NITA presenter, and has appeared on local radio and television news programs. Joanna is a member of The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s American Inns of Court. She serves as co-chair of the Legal Rights of Children Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Public Interest Section, is a member of the Toll Public Interest Center Advisory Board, and sits on the steering committee of the Pennsylvania Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. Before law school, Joanna worked as a paralegal in the Family Law Unit of Philadelphia Legal Assistance and taught English in Ecuador. Joanna received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Senet S. Bischoff
Senet S. Bischoff is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins. Mr. Bischoff is a member of the Corporate Department and his practice focuses on corporate finance and general securities and corporate matters.
Mr. Bischoff has experience at a broad range of financing transactions, including: High yield bond offerings; Leveraged buy-outs; Recapitalizations; Initial public offerings; Distressed debt exchanges; Block trades; and Tax-free debt exchanges.
Mr. Bischoff currently serves on the firm’s Ethics Committee, Finance Committee, Women Enriching Business Committee, and Opinions and Confirmations Committee. He previously served on the firm’s Training and Career Enhancement Committee and Associates Committee, and is a former Co-Chair of its Corporate Department in New York.
Mr. Bischoff has been recognized by Chambers USA as a leading capital markets attorney from 2014 – 2018 and The Legal 500 US from 2010 – 2018. He was included in the 2011 – 2014 editions of New York Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in the area of Corporate Finance and Securities.
Mr. Bischoff represents underwriters, placement agents, initial purchasers, issuers, and other parties in public and private, secured and unsecured, investment grade, high yield, and convertible debt and equity offerings of all kinds in a broad array of industries. He also represents public and private companies in connection with corporate governance, securities law, and financing matters.
Mr. Bischoff also advises investment banks, companies, private equity sponsors, and investors in all manner of other engagements, including SEC, FINRA, NASDAQ, and NYSE filings and compliance; tender offers and consent solicitations; the purchase or sale of distressed debt, restructurings (including exchange offers), and bridge lending, and loan commitments.
Carrie H. Cohen
Carrie H. Cohen is a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Investigations + White Collar Defense Group in New York, where she co-chairs its Workplace Misconduct Task Force and routinely advises and represents corporations, boards, and c-suite executives in sensitive investigative and regulatory matters and bet the company criminal and civil cases.
A former federal and state prosecutor, Carrie investigated and tried public corruption, investment fraud, and securities cases while serving as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. She also served as Chief of the Public Integrity Unit in the Criminal Division in the New York State Attorney General’s Office and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau, where she received the Louis J. Lefkowitz Memorial Award. She currently serves on the New York State Bar Association’s Wrongful Convictions Task Force and the New York County Lawyers Association’s Plea Bargaining Task Force as well as being a trustee of the Federal Bar Council and a member of the Federal-State Judicial Advisory Council.
Carrie has long been a leader in advancing women in the legal profession both in the United States and globally. She co-chairs Morrison & Foerster’s Women’s Strategy Committee, a group that works closely with firm leaders to ensure the advancement of women remains a strategic priority, and serves as a member of the New York City Bar’s Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, where she spearheads a professional development program for women attorneys in Latin America and South Africa. Carrie also co-authored the recent and acclaimed New York State Bar Association report adopted by the American Bar Association “If Not Now, When?: Achieving Equality for Women Attorneys in the Courtroom and in ADR.”
Carrie earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she is currently an adjunct professor, and her B.A. from Cornell University.
Gary A. Deutsch
Gary A. Deutsch is Managing Chief Counsel – Consumer Finance Litigation for PNC Bank, N.A. Mr. Deutsch leads the litigation group supporting PNC Retail Lending Services, the bank’s consumer lending division that is one of the nation’s top mortgage and retail lenders and servicers. Prior to joining PNC, Mr. Deutsch was assistant general counsel and chief litigation counsel for a large regional bank. In 2017, he was elected as a Fellow of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers. Mr. Deutsch is also a board member of Steppingstone Scholars, Inc. and Philadelphia Theatre Company
Lissette A. Duran
Lissette A. Duran is an associate in the litigation department at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where she handles complex commercial litigation across a range of industries, including banking, energy and manufacturing. Lissette has represented major firm clients in internal investigations and in regulatory enforcement matters, including anti-money laundering and SEC matters and investigations by state attorneys general. Currently, she is representing clients in patent litigation. Lissette is also deeply committed to pro bono. She has recently been involved in family reunification efforts in Texas and has represented a number of pro bono clients in immigration matters. From 2016-2017, she clerked for Judge Edgardo Ramos of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Lissette earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, and her B.A., with distinction, from the University of Pennsylvania. She was born and raised in New York City.
Major Sarah W. Edmundson
Major Sarah W. Edmundson is the Chief, Accessions Branch, Professional Development Directorate (HQ USAF/JAX), Office of The Judge Advocate General. Her primary responsibility is to manage the accession of attorneys into the Air Force JAG Corps.
Major Edmundson received a direct commission as an Air Force judge advocate in February 2008 and entered active duty in March 2008. She previously served as an area defense counsel, professor of law at the United States Air Force Academy, and senior special victims’ counsel. In 2009, she deployed in support of Task Force 134 as a liaison officer to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. She is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Illinois and the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Joie C. Hand
Joie C. Hand is an associate in the Washington D.C. office of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. Ms. Hand counsels clients facing all stages of litigation proceedings, ranging from researching best strategies in order to advise clients’ business concerns through obtaining summary judgment. She has worked on various matter types, including antitrust investigations, shareholder/executive actions, Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act claims, and white-collar defense engagements. Joie regularly drafts memoranda, motions, interrogatories, and correspondence to address client needs.
As a summer associate with Drinker Biddle & Reath, Joie began to cultivate a pro bono practice, contributing to the team representing a tribe of Native Americans seeking cancellation of the disparaging federal trademark registrations used by the Washington, D.C. professional football team.
Ms. Hand received her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School. During law school, Joie served the Student Bar Association as the Chair of the London Programme before studying international and European Union law for a semester in London, England. Upon returning to campus, she served the Student Bar Association as a member of the Career Development Office Committee. Joie also served as a Vice President of the Black Law Student Association and a Senior Article Editor for the Journal of International and Comparative Law. In her final semester at Notre Dame, she interned in the Athletics Compliance Office.
Sharon E. Jones
Ms. Jones is a diversity consultant who specializes in providing diversity/inclusion consulting and training to law firms, professional services firms, corporations, not for profits and other types of organizations. She is the President of Jones Diversity, Inc. Her firm’s broad range of services enable the organization to fully utilize, retain and promote diverse employees into leadership roles. We work to build diverse and inclusive workplace cultures and communities. She has served as the Interim Founding Director for the Center for Diversity Innovation at the University at Buffalo which focused on translational research in diversity and inclusion and bringing those best practices to employers in all sectors.
Ms. Jones has practiced law and been a community leader over a 25-year career, including positions as a federal prosecutor, with major law firms and with Fortune 500 Corporations. She has been highly successful as a litigator, a counselor, an educator and a problem-solver regarding extremely complex and sensitive matters. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Chicago Urban League, managing a $10 million budget with over 70 employees.
From 1985-1989, Ms. Jones served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, based in Chicago, where she conducted federal grand jury investigations and trials in high profile white-collar criminal cases. In private law practice, she was a partner at Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert & Matz in Los Angeles. In addition to her litigation practice, she was responsible for all in-house continuing legal education, as well as being an adviser to clients on a variety of employment and workplace harassment issues. She was Of Counsel at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in Los Angeles, where she created and implemented its litigation training as well as firm-wide orientation training and evaluation programs.
In the corporate sector, Ms. Jones managed litigation matters worldwide for Abbott Laboratories, as well as advising senior management in matters of crisis management and in fashioning creative solutions to highly complex business issues. Most recently, Ms. Jones acted as Senior Counsel at SBC Communications. Ms. Jones was Counsel of Record in the amicus curiae brief filed in the United States Supreme Court in 2003 by the Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago in Grutter v. Bollinger and the University of Michigan in support of diversity in higher education.
Ms. Jones is a past President of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago. Previously, she served as the Program Chair and created the innovative monthly BWLA Roundtable luncheon series designed to increase mentoring and networking opportunities for its members. She was the Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Committee on Racial & Ethnic Diversity and was instrumental in the 2006 adoption of the Chicago Bar Association’s Diversity Initiative and Commitments on Racial & Ethnic Diversity. She is a past President of the Harvard Law School Alumni Association (2010-2012) and responsible for the launch of the HLSA Global Women’s Alliance and the HLSA of Arabia, among others. She currently serves on the Board of the National Association of Women Lawyers and she is an elected director of the Harvard Alumni Association.
Ms. Jones has received numerous awards including the Chicago Bar Association’s Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges Award (2008) and the Black Women Lawyer’s Visionary Award for Women Making History for Making a Difference (2004). Ms. Jones is a co-author of a guide published by the American Bar Association in May 2004 entitled, “Walking the Talk: Creating a Law Firm Culture Where Women Succeed” which deals with the retention and promotion of women in law firms. She is the author of “Mastering the Game: Career Strategies for Success” which provides the unwritten rules for career success for women and diverse professionals.
Ms. Jones is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.
Elizabeth J. Kim
Elizabeth J. Kim is an Associate General Counsel at Sallie Mae Bank, headquartered in Newark, Delaware. In that role, Liz manages the Bank’s litigation, and provides legal advice on routine and complex matters in support of the Bank’s operations. She was previously in private practice at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and Reed Smith LLP. In between her stints in private practice, Liz worked at the NYC Economic Development Corporation under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Liz earned her J.D. in 2003 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was both a Public Interest Scholar and a Keedy Cup finalist. She also earned a Masters in Public Administration and Urban and Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a B.A., cum laude, from Barnard College.
Rachel J. Lewis
Rachel J. Lewis is an Associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Rachel represents clients in diverse industries and regularly advises on transactions relating to corporate real estate and the acquisition, disposition, leasing, development, and financing of a variety of commercial properties, including multifamily housing, office buildings, industrial complexes, retail centers, and mixed-use projects. She has experience representing clients in complex ground lease development negotiations, including advising the nation’s largest developer of student housing. Rachel also advises institutional investors and investment managers in connection with extensive refinancing transactions, multistate portfolio transactions, and large-scale development negotiations.
Rachel received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law in 2012. During law school, Rachel was a note and comment editor for the Journal of Law and Social Policy and completed an externship with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), a public-private economic development corporation. Rachel also holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania, and prior to attending law school, taught seventh-grade English and social studies in the School District of Philadelphia through Teach for America
Jennifer Gentile Long
Jennifer Gentile Long currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of AEquitas, which she co-founded in April 2009 and serves as an expert on issues related to the prosecution of sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking. She began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia where she specialized in adult and child physical and sexual abuse and served in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit. After her departure, served as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and child abuse in Bermuda and Philadelphia, respectively.
Jennifer was a Senior Attorney and then was appointed the Director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women at the American Prosecutors Research Institute at NDAA. She promoted meaningful multidisciplinary collaboration and improved prosecution practices through authorship and contribution to numerous articles, publications, resources and curricula and provided assistance to prosecutors and allied professionals.
Jennifer’s commitment to the identification, implementation and preservation of innovative, research-informed practices led her to co-found AEquitas, where she continues to work with prosecutors, allied professionals, and policy makers across the United States and internationally. Jennifer serves as an Advisory Committee Member with the American Law Institute, an Editorial Board Member with the Civic Research Institute for the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Reports, and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches Prosecuting Sexual Violence: From Research to Practice.
Jennifer graduated from Lehigh University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and East Asian Studies and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Fels School of Government with a Juris Doctor degree and a Masters in Government Administration. She is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bars. She enjoys running, walking her dogs and making homemade pancakes for her family.
Jess Penkoff is an Access to Justice Advocate, Civil Legal Aid Attorney, and the current Pro Bono & Strategic Initiatives Coordinator at Pro Bono Net. Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit that uses technology solutions and collaborative networking to close the justice gap. Jess spearheads current web-based pro bono initiatives and partnerships in New York, and coordinates project management of new initiatives designed to increase volunteer mobilization. Prior to becoming an aspiring legal-techie, Jess worked as a Senior Staff Attorney providing eviction defense to low-income tenants in Brooklyn (CAMBA Legal Services), as well as a Staff Attorney serving homeowners affected by Superstorm Sandy (NYLAG). She is also proud to have volunteered with Sanctuary for Families and the LGBT Bar Association of New York to expand access to justice for homeless/at-risk LGBTQ+ youth through a weekly walk-in legal clinic in the West Village. Jess was born and raised in Southern California, where she earned her B.A. in International Development Studies from U.C.L.A. in 2007. In 2009, she moved to NYC to attend Fordham University School of Law, where she earned her J.D. in 2012. Jess is admitted to practice law in New York and California.
Lieutenant Commander Emma Robertson, JAGC, USN
Lieutenant Commander Emma Robertson is currently serving as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate in the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Headquarters.
Lieutenant Commander Robertson, a Green Bay, Wisconsin native, received her commission from Officer Development School and Naval Justice School in 2010. She is a 2006 graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, IL with Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and German. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law school in 2010. She received a Fulbright grant to study in Vienna, Austria before beginning law school.
Her previous duty assignments include Naval Legal Service Office Southwest, where she was a defense counsel and legal assistance attorney. During this tour she supported RIMPAC 2012 as a deputy Staff Judge Advocate for U.S. Third Fleet. Region Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic where she served as Staff Judge Advocate for Naval Weapons Station Earle and Naval Support Activity Lakehurst, and Region Legal Service Office Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia Detachment Rota where she served as trial counsel and the primary legal advisor to four destroyers homeported in Rota, Spain.
Personal awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
Lieutenant Commander Robertson and her husband David have two children, Ellwood and Jeanette, and reside in Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Cheryl Solomon founded Row House – rowhouseyarn.com – in 2016, and the website launched on Black Friday 2016. Knitting has been one of Cheryl’s creative, meditative, and stress-relieving outlets throughout her career. After leaving TOMS, she decided to start an e-commerce company to spread her love of knitting, so Row House’s mission is to bring the joy of knitting to all, digitally. Row House curates ethically sourced yarns and modern trend-relevant designs. In addition, a core mission of Row House is to help more people start knitting, so Row House created KnitSchool – a library of knitting skills videos shot by the videographer for the LA Country Museum of Art. Row House currently has Instagram followers of more than 44k, and its YouTube videos have been viewed more than 28k times.
Prior to starting Row House, she was TOMS Shoes’ first Chief Legal Officer from 2013 through 2015. In that role, she managed the global legal affairs for TOMS and was also responsible for the corporate social responsibility function. This included matters such as human resources, intellectual property, international business development, advertising, digital and social media, compliance, real estate, and charitable giving. TOMS is the pioneer of conscious capitalism and developed the One for One business model under which for each pair of shoes sold, a pair is given to a person in need.
Prior to joining TOMS, Ms. Solomon was the global general counsel of the Gucci Group (now the Luxury Division of Kering) from 2004 through 2011. During her tenure, Gucci Group owned and operated a number of luxury brands, including Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Boucheron, Sergio Rossi, Bedat and the YSL Beaute beauty business. In that role, she managed the global legal affairs for the company. This included matters such as joint ventures, international tax planning, executive compensation, corporate governance, licensing, intellectual property, and compliance.
After law school, Ms. Solomon clerked for the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (now on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals). After her clerkship, she was a litigation associate at a major Washington DC law firm and then a litigation associate and Of Counsel at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in New York before joining Gucci Group.
She graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. At Penn she was a member of Law Review and involved in the Law School Light Opera Company. She received a BA in Theater Arts from Brandeis University
Linda Shi is an Associate Counsel in The Vanguard Group, Inc.’s Office of the General Counsel. In this role, she supports Vanguard’s Philadelphia-based Innovation Studio and broader digital and technology-driven initiatives at the organization. She previously served as the General Counsel and head of compliance at Red Spark, a diversified digital media and technology company, with her practice focusing on intellectual property, privacy, and internet legal issues. In addition to her legal function, she also held significant operational and management responsibilities. Prior to joining Red Spark, she served as the assistant general counsel of IP for an international business software and services company, and prior to that, as an intellectual property associate with a premier intellectual property boutique law firm. She was recently recognized by First Chair Awards as a 2017 Top General Counsel, and is the past recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2016 Women of Distinction Award and 2015 Top Corporate Counsel Award for her advisory work. She is also a recipient of the Penn Law Women's Summit Rising Star Award.
An engineering as well as a lawyer by training, Linda is the co-founder of Likuma Laboratories, an industrial design and product engineering firm based in Philadelphia. In 2016, she and other partners launched Kapsul, a consumer HVAC company in the process of bringing an innovative compact window AC to market. Kapsul has raised over $2M in crowdfunding through its Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, and has been profiled by publications including the Philadelphia Business Journal, Tech Insider, The Verge, and New York Magazine.
Linda received dual degrees in Mechanical Engineering and English from Rutgers University, and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as an editor of the Law Review. She is a registered patent attorney with the USPTO, and licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Linda takes an active part in the local startup community and various bar associations, and is a frequent speaker on issues of diversity and inclusiveness.
Clarissa J. Sparks
Clarissa J. Sparks is a branding and marketing strategist, experienced facilitator, and founder of the She Sparks Agency in Atlanta, Georgia. She is intentional about leveraging her experience across a wide range of industries to help startup and small business owners build stronger brands.
Clarissa is passionate about turning ideas into visual and tangible experiences and always brings a fresh perspective to the table - for over 10 years she has inspired her clients to maximize their impact and gain visibility by clearly communicating their vision, mission, values, and brand promises while mentoring them through the Brand Thinking process in private and group workshops. She is the author of This Little Light of Mine, A Guided Journal of Purpose, Passion and Shine, co-author of Business & Career for the Christian Woman, and host of the Atlanta Business Radio X series Spark Stories
Kerriann Stout is the founder and CEO of Vinco, a bar exam-coaching company that helps law students pass the bar exam with less stress and more confidence. In her 5+ years in legal education, Kerriann has helped hundreds of students successfully navigate the difficulties of surviving law school and the bar exam. Kerriann regularly writes and presents on all things related to law school and the bar exam. You can follow her weekly column at “Above the Law” at https://abovethelaw.com/author/kerriannstout.
A proud Native New York, Kerriann earned her B.A. in Modern Languages, magna cum laude, from Pace University, and her J.D., cum laude, from The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She continues to live, work, and play in New York.
Yvette Valdez is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins. Ms. Valdez is head of the US Derivatives Regulatory practice and a member of the firm’s Financial Institutions and FinTech Industry Groups and Financial Regulatory and Derivatives Practices.
Ms. Valdez advises emerging companies, financial institutions, and investment managers on complex regulatory challenges in the development of bespoke financial crypto-asset and cryptocurrency technologies including token sales, market infrastructure, trading, clearing, and settlement solutions on distributed ledger technology. She also advises clients on domestic and cross-border cutting edge FinTech initiatives in the derivatives markets.
Ms. Valdez also has significant experience representing dealers, intermediaries, and end-users in connection with derivatives (swaps and futures) legal and regulatory matters under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, as well as related CFTC, SEC, and prudential regulation.
Ms. Valdez’s regulatory practice consists of assisting foreign and domestic investment banks, futures commission merchants, introducing brokers, broker-dealers, and commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors with their derivatives regulatory compliance requirements as well as advising buy-side clients in connection with their margining, clearing, and trade execution requirements. Ms. Valdez also counsels clients in market infrastructure, trading, clearing, and settlement in the derivatives markets, including FBOTs, swap execution facilities, and designated contract markets.
Ms. Valdez also has extensive experience representing financial institutions in bespoke derivatives transactions, including interest rate and credit derivatives, foreign exchange transactions, total return swaps, commodity transactions, futures, and options
Anne Weisberg is Director of the Women’s Initiative at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, where she is responsible for designing and implementing a gender strategy that fosters a high performing, inclusive work environment for all.
Anne joined Paul Weiss from the Families and Work Institute, where she served as Senior Vice President. She has worked at BlackRock and Deloitte on women’s leadership and talent management strategies, and at Catalyst, the non-profit research and advisory organization focused on changing workplaces for women, where she advised law firms and directed seminal research on women in the legal profession. Anne, a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, has practiced law and written extensively on the topic of women and the workforce, including co-authoring the best-selling Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace With Today’s Nontraditional Workforce. She is an adjunct professor of management at the NYU-Stern School of Business, where she teaches a course on inclusive leadership. She and her husband reside in New York and have five children between them.
COL Warren L. Wells
Colonel Wells serves as the Chief of Plans for the US Army’s Office of The Judge Advocate General, overseeing force structure planning and personnel policies for the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, an organization of over 9,800 active duty, reserve, and civilian attorneys, paralegals and support staff operating around the world.
Prior to becoming the Chief of Plans, COL Wells served as the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) (i.e., General Counsel) of 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley, Kansas. During that time, he deployed to Iraq, where he also served as the SJA for the Combined Joint Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve. In that role, he and his multinational team of attorneys provided advice on international and operational law to commanders of a 23-nation coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) during the campaign to liberate the city of Mosul.
COL Wells grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi in 1993. He was commissioned an Army Second Lieutenant through ROTC. He earned his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Brigham Young University in 1996. His military education includes Command and General Staff College, an LL.M. from The Judge Advocate General’s School, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
COL Wells began his career with the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk, Louisiana, where he practiced legal assistance and administrative law. While there he deployed for a year as a Trial Counsel (prosecutor) and Operational Law Attorney to Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of Operation Joint Guard. From 1999-2001, he served as the Trial Counsel for 2d Brigade, 1st Armored Division in Baumholder, Germany, where he prosecuted numerous drug and sexual assault cases. He was then assigned as the Senior Defense Counsel at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, leading a team that defended Soldiers at courts-martial and adverse administrative hearings.
In 2004, COL Wells joined the faculty at the Air Force JAG School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, where he taught military criminal law. He eventually became the first Army instructor to become the Chief of the Criminal Law Department at the Air Force JAG School.
From 2008-2010, COL Wells served as the Deputy SJA of 1st Armored Division in Wiesbaden, Germany. He twice deployed to Iraq with the division. The legal team provided a full range of legal support in garrison and in combat, including criminal law, international law, torts, detainee operations, rule of law support, legal assistance, and administrative law. From 2010-2012 COL Wells served as the Career Manager for all Army JAG Captains, and from 2012-2014 he served as the Regional Defense Counsel (RDC), Great Plains Region, U.S. Army Trial Defense Service. As the RDC, COL Wells supervised 20 defense counsel at five field offices who defended active duty Soldiers within a 13-state region who faced criminal prosecution and adverse administrative action.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Parachutist Badge. He is married to Mary-Elizabeth Wells of Wichita, Kansas. They have four children: Marc, Lauren, Eli, and Whitney
Michaele N. Turnage Young
Michaele N. Turnage Young serves as Senior Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (“LDF”), where she litigates education and voting rights cases.
Ms. Turnage Young co-authored amicus briefs of behalf of 25 Harvard student and alumni organizations in SFFA v. Harvard, arguing that the court should uphold settled law allowing universities to consider race, as one of many factors, in admissions so that universities can assemble diverse student bodies and students can enjoy the educational benefits of diversity. In addition, she represents Black parents and children in school desegregation cases in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Ms. Turnage Young also serves as counsel in Terrebonne Parish Branch NAACP v. Jindal, wherein the court held that Louisiana violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act when it intentionally discriminated against Terrebonne’s Black voters by using at-large voting to elect the five judges of the 32nd Judicial District Court, the state court that serves Terrebonne, even though that voting scheme diminishes the voting power of Terrebonne’s Black voters.
Prior to joining LDF in 2017, Ms. Turnage Young served as a Trial Attorney with the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. There, she prosecuted 13 school desegregation cases in seven federal court jurisdictions across the country. Her efforts led school districts to desegregate their students and faculties, equalize access to course offerings, equalize their facilities, transform their discipline practices, and dramatically reduce the amount of instructional time students lost to exclusionary discipline. Ms. Turnage Young received the Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award in recognition of her work advancing educational equity.
Ms. Turnage Young clerked for the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She received her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she served as a student attorney with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Ms. Turnage Young earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA.