Speakers and honorees



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From Constitutional Literacy to Political Change: Marshall-Brennan Alumni Schooling America

April 3, 2014 ~ American University Washington College of Law

SPEAKERS AND HONOREES

Maryam Ahranjani
Maryam Ahranjani is Associate Director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project and Adjunct Professor of Law. She directs the national and international expansion of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project and oversees the program’s efforts in DC public high schools. Maryam has designed and taught an advanced constitutional law seminar entitled, “Education and the Constitution” to Marshall-Brennan fellows for ten years, and she designed and teaches a seminar entitled, "Reflections on Meaningful Lawyering,” for students engaged in field work in government agencies and non-profit organizations.

Prior to her current position, Maryam worked for Kaplan, Inc., serving as Regional Director and Product Manager for its new bar exam review division. She formerly served as Associate Director of WCL's Program on Law and Government, where she directed the SJD and LLM programs. Co-author of the textbook Youth Justice in America (CQ Press, 2005), Maryam has appeared on C-SPAN and has authored numerous law review and other articles and lesson plans about students’ rights and civic literacy. A founder of the National Youth Justice Alliance, she is also recipient of the 2008 Alumni of the Year Award from the Latino/a Law Students Association and a 2006 American University Performance Award. A magna cum laude graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, Maryam obtained her JD degree from WCL and her LLM from the University of Pennsylvania Law School with a concentration in comparative children’s rights.




Rebecca Kelly Arnold
Rebecca Kelly Arnold is Co-Founder of the University of Connecticut School of Law (UConn) Marshall-Brennan Chapter and a 2012 graduate of the law school. Currently, Rebecca is Associate Counsel with the Legal Mobilization Project (LMP) of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee). As a member of LMP, she focuses on educational opportunities and voting rights. From 2012-2013, Rebecca served as the George N. Lindsay Civil Rights Legal Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee. As the Lindsay Fellow, Rebecca’s work was primarily focused on The School-to-Prison Pipeline, which refers to school discipline policies that disproportionately push students of color and those with disabilities out of the classroom and into the juvenile and adult justice systems. She attacked this problem through national legislative advocacy, community empowerment in Chicago, IL, and developing an impact litigation strategy. 

While at UConn, Rebecca also served as Co-Chair of the Student Bar Association’s Diversity Committee, Symposium Editor of the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, and was Champion of the 2011 Alva P. Loiselle Moot Court Competition.



Sheila Bedi
Sheila Bedi is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law at the Northwestern University School of Law and an attorney with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center. Her work focuses on ending mass imprisonment and enforcing the rights of people caught up in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Previously, Bedi served as the deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center in New Orleans and Mississippi where she represented people who are imprisoned in federal class action litigation challenging abusive prison conditions and worked on community-based policy campaigns aimed at reducing incarceration rates, ensuring fairness in the administrative of justice, and improving access to public education and mental health services. Bedi worked with people who were formerly incarcerated and their families on hard fought campaigns that closed abusive prisons and jails, protected people who were imprisoned from sexual violence, improved access to counsel for poor defendants and people living behind bars, developed alternatives to imprisonment and reduced the number of children who are tried and convicted in the adult criminal justice system. Some of her honors include the Public Voices Fellowship, the Heroes for Children Award, the NAACP's Vernon Dahmer Award, the NAACP's Fannie Lou Hamer Award.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown is the Director of Desegregation at the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). Before that he served as Legal Counsel for the Tucson Unified School District. He received his is JD from the American University Washington College of Law in 2007 and his BA in Political Science and Business from the University of Arizona in 2004. Sam served as a Marshall-Brennan Teaching Fellow from 2005-2006 and has been a loyal alum, including recruiting WCL Marshall-Brennan fellows for legal internships, since he has been at TUSD.

Kailey Burger
Kailey Burger is a Zuckerman Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education pursuing a Master's in Education Policy and Management. While at Harvard, Kailey has participated in the Justice in Schools project as a case study author and presenter, and also developed LettersForLearning.org, a non-traditional approach to inmate education. She earned her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 where she co-founded a chapter of the Marshall-Brennan project and served as a teaching fellow. Kailey holds a B.A. in Political Science from Truman State University. Upon completion of her Ed.M in May 2014, she will begin work as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York.rebe

Mary Clark
Mary Clark is Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at American University Washington College of Law. Dean Clark teaches in the area of Women’s Legal History, Legal Ethics, Judicial Politics, and Property and publishes in the fields of Women’s Legal History and Judicial Politics. Prior to joining the Associate Dean’s office, Professor Clark served as Director of the law school’s SJD Program and Acting Director of its Law and Government Program.

Before joining the WCL faculty, Professor Clark was a visiting lecturer and research scholar at Yale Law School, a Supreme Court fellow with the Federal Judicial Center, a teaching fellow and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and an appellate attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, DC. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College (magna cum laude) and Harvard Law School, she clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Montgomery, Alabama, following graduation from law school.



Charles Crimmins
Charles Crimmins is Coordinator of Legal Services at the College of William & Mary. He works both for university counsel and for the President’s office. Prior to law school, he taught a fourth grade bilingual class through the Teach for America program in Houston, Texas, and returned to Houston during law school to intern with the Honorable Lynn N. Hughes, a federal district judge.

During law school, Charles was an active member of De Vecino a Vecino, a student organization dedicated to serving the local Hispanic immigrant community. Charles launched the William & Mary chapter of Marshall-Brennan, which has become an integral part of the law school culture and is lauded by the public high schools it serves.



Josh Dermott

Josh Dermott recently joined the Georgetown University Office of General Counsel as staff counsel, focusing on student health and safety, employment, and athletics issues.  Until March 2014, he served as associate director of Legal Resources at the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). His responsibilities at NACUA included drafting, editing and publishing concise summaries of legal developments in higher education law; maintaining, editing and updating NACUA's extensive library of legal resources; coordinating cooperative programming with other legal and higher education associations; coordinating resources and programming related to higher education compliance issues, including the Higher Education Compliance Alliance (www.higheredcompliance.org); NACUA's outreach to government agencies; and serving as a liaison to the NACUANOTES Editorial Board and the Editorial Board of The Journal of College and University Law. He recently joined Georgetown University’s Office of General Counsel as an in-house counsel.

Prior to joining NACUA, Josh worked as an Associate at the Washington, DC office of Crowell & Moring, LLP where he represented a wide range of clients in matters related to international trade regulation, export controls, international arbitration and compliance. While at Crowell Moring, he co-authored and edited articles on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and civil litigation against terrorist states.

Josh earned his JD cum laude from WCL and his BA magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, where he was captain of the varsity swim team.


John DiPaolo

John K. DiPaolo is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy of the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. OCR's 600 team members promote educational equity and excellence through the enforcement of civil rights laws addressing race, color, national origin, gender, disability and age in public and private entities that receive federal funding around the country. DiPaolo leads the attorneys and staff who develop and articulate OCR’s policies under these laws and perform critical legal analysis for OCR. DiPaolo has worked in education reform for most of his career. Most recently, he was a senior fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where he worked on education litigation and policy issues. Earlier, he led the creation of a public arts high school and directed policy reform at the local education fund in Boston; managed a foundation overseeing charter schools and served in the general counsel's office of an educational services company in New York City; and directed a university-school partnership in Philadelphia. He has also practiced corporate law at a private firm and taught math at a public high school in Boston. DiPaolo received his bachelor's degree with high honors from Wesleyan University, where he was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated from Yale Law School, where he was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


Seymour “Sy” DuBow
Sy DuBow has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington College of Law since 1998 teaching special education law and externship seminars. He was an Impartial Hearing Officer in the District of Columbia from September 2001 to March 2012 on special education disputes and an Impartial Hearing Officer in Maryland on special education disputes from 1994 to 1996. He was a Clinical Supervisor in the Civil Practice Clinic at WCL from 1999 to 2001. Prior to that, he was a trainer for Key Bridge Foundation on a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to train professional mediators on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) from 1997 to 1999.


Professor Dubow was Legal Director of National Center for Law and Deafness at Gallaudet University from 1975 to 1995 representing deaf and hard- of- hearing persons in the areas of education, employment, access to health care and social services and judicial proceedings. He worked on state and national legislation to provide for communication access for deaf and hard- of-hearing individuals including the ADA and the Television Decoder Circuitry Act. He was involved with several cases that went before the U.S. Supreme Court on disability law including General Electric Co. v. Gilbert; Southeastern Community College v. Davis ; Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley , Irving Independent School District v. Tatro and Consolidated Rail Corporation v. Darrone. Additionally, he was special master for a federal court to monitor compliance with a consent decree on access to theaters. He worked as an attorney with field counsel for NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Richmond, Virginia representing clients in civil rights cases.

DuBow received his BA from Northwestern University and JD from The National Law Center at George Washington University. He is a member of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia.


Lia Epperson
Lia Epperson, Professor of Law and Director of the SJD Program at American University Washington College of Law, is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, constitutional law, and education policy. Her scholarship centers on the constitutional dialogue between federal courts and the political branches, and its implications for educational equity. Her scholarship, published in leading journals, also explores the role of public schools, colleges, and universities in creating equal opportunity. Prior to her appointment at American University, she served on the law faculties of the University of Maryland and Santa Clara University. She has also served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, focusing on federal civil rights enforcement of educational policies and practices. Professor Epperson's research interests are informed by her experiences litigating education cases throughout the country, and lobbying for the maintenance and enforcement of civil rights protections.


Prior to becoming a law professor in 2005, Professor Epperson directed the education law and policy group of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund (LDF). While there, she litigated in federal and state courts, advocated for federal administrative and legislative reforms, and co-authored multiple amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court in the areas of education and affirmative action. In addition, she represented LDF in several national civil rights leadership coalitions, including serving as chair of the Education Task Force for the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights, a coalition of nearly 200 national organizations.

Prior to her time at LDF, Professor Epperson was an attorney with Morrison & Foerster in Palo Alto, CA, and a law clerk to the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She received her law degree from Stanford University, where she served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review as well as the Stanford Law and Policy Review. She earned her bachelor's degree in sociology, magna cum laude, from Harvard University.



Claire Griggs
Claire Griggs is the Program Coordinator for the Washington College of Law Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, and in this capacity she leads the local Marshall-Brennan Project. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University. Prior to that, she served as an Education Law Fellow for the Marshall-Brennan Project. Claire earned her JD from American University Washington College of Law. During law school, she served as a Marshall-Brennan Teaching Fellow from 2010-2011, teaching at Ballou Senior High School in Southeast DC and she served as Managing Editor of the Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law (JGSPL). Her law school comment, Birthing Barbarism: The Unconstitutionality of Shackling Pregnant Prisoners, was published by JGSPL and was a groundbreaking scholarly piece that brought to light the inhumane practice of shackling pregnant prisoners during childbirth. She earned her BA in English from Northwestern University.

Andres Idarraga
Andres is the Co-Founder of the Yale Law School Marshall-Brennan Chapter.  He is President and Co-Founder of the Transcending Through Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides educational resources to people incarcerated in, and transitioning out of, the Rhode Island prison system.  He is also an associate at the Fort Lauderdale office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. Since joining Boies, Schiller & Flexner, Andres has assisted in the representation of a leading international law firm in state and federal courts, a class of shareholders pursuing securities claims against Halliburton Corporation, and top executives of a leading bank in a non-compete action.  Andres has also participated in the pro bono representation of a class of Florida children on Medicaid that seeks to enforce federal Medicaid rights.  

Andres received his JD from Yale Law School in 2011, where he was a student director of the Education Adequacy Clinic and a student member of the Community and Economic Development Clinic. Andres is a member of the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and was selected for the 2013 Lawyers of Color’s Inaugural Hot List.



Angela King

Angela King is a Law Fellow in American University’s Office of General Counsel, where she served as a law clerk during her third year of law school at WCL. As a law student, Angela was a Marshall-Brennan Fellow at Paul Public Charter School, served as a student attorney in the Disability Rights Law Clinic, interned at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, served as a law clerk in the Law Office of Donna L. Wulkan, and completed an internship at the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.

Angela is one of the first Marshall-Brennan fellows who was a Marshall-Brennan high school student (at DC’s School Without Walls). In recognition of her tremendous accomplishments and dedication to improving educational opportunities and outcomes of public school students, she received the inaugural Amanda Howe Scholarship in 2012. Angela earned her BA in Political Science, with a minor in Philosophy, from Rutgers-New Brunswick.

Eric Lerum
Eric Lerum is the Vice President of National Policy at StudentsFirst and has been working on public education reform issues for the past decade. Prior to his position at StudentsFirst, Eric served as Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education for the District of Columbia, playing a lead role in school reform efforts, including the mayoral takeover of the school system and the successful Race to the Top application. A 2003 graduate of the Washington College of Law, Eric also has served as the Legislative Counsel to the Committee on Education, Libraries, and Recreation of the DC Council and as a policy analyst for the DC Board of Education. Eric developed his interests in public education and youth justice while in law school, where he served as a Fellow in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project and taught constitutional literacy to high school students at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy. Eric grew up in Ohio and attended The Ohio State University.

Natasha Quiroga
Natasha Quiroga is counsel for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law’s Educational Opportunities Project, where she serves as a Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program attorney. 

After graduating from law school, Natasha served as the first executive director for Educación Para Nuestro Futuro (formerly Escuela Bolivia) in Arlington, Virginia, an organization which seeks to empower Latino children, youth and families through education and leadership.   Natasha later joined a boutique education firm in Washington, DC, where she advised state and local education agencies on compliance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Opportunities Act, and the Workforce Investment Act.  Also prior to joining the Lawyers' Committee, she coordinated the Asian American Pacific Islanders 2010 Voter Protection efforts in Texas for the Democratic National Committee. 

Natasha founded the Emerging Leaders Program, a leadership and college prep mentoring program for immigrant high school youth, while still in law school.   Additionally, Natasha interned at the ABA Center on Children and the Law; Defense for Children International in Bolivia; the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights; and was a summer associate in the IP and Business Transactions sections at the Dallas office of Haynes & Boone LLP.  Prior to law school, Natasha worked with NetOrganix, an information and communication technology start-up in Bolivia, where she worked with children's orphanages through the Alianza Hogar project.  Upon graduation from college, she joined AVANCE-Dallas, a family literacy program serving immigrant families, where she created the grassroots organization's development office. 

Natasha received her JD from American University Washington College of Law and her Master's in International Politics from American University School of International Service.  She received her BBA in Marketing and BA In Plan II Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.  She is a board member of Educación Para Nuestro Futuro and the Latino/a Alumni Association of the Washington College of Law.  Natasha is fluent in Spanish and is licensed to practice in New York and the District of Columbia. 



Jamin Raskin

Jamie Raskin is a professor of Constitutional Law, the First Amendment, and Legislative Process and founding Director of the Program on Law and Government (with the late Tom Sargentich). Professor Raskin also worked with Professor Steve Wermiel to found the acclaimed Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, which began at WCL but has spread across the country. The bestselling author of Overruling Democracy: the Supreme Court versus the American People and We the Students: Supreme Court Cases for and About Students, Raskin is also a State Senator in Maryland, where he represents Silver Spring and Takoma Park and serves on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and chairs the Special Committee on Ethics Reform. He has been described as the Senate’s “constitutional authority” (Washington Post), the “whiz kid of the General Assembly” (Silver Spring Voice) and “one of Maryland’s Top Ten Most Effective Senators” (Maryland Gazette of Politics and Business). He has successfully introduced and championed numerous nationally significant and landmark pieces of legislation, including the first National Popular Vote law in America, the first Benefit Corporation Law in America, marriage equality, the Maryland Farm-to-Schools Act, felon reenfranchisement, the lowering of the state voter registration age to 16, and giving 17-year olds the right to vote in primary elections. Working with WCL externs who join him for Maryland’s 90 –day legislative session, Raskin has seen more than 50 of his bills pass into law. Professor Raskin and his wife Sarah, a former Governor of the Federal Reserve Board and newly confirmed Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department, have three children.



Vanessa Santos

Vanessa Santos is an attorney with the Division of Educational Equity in the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Education. She has been with the office since 2000. Her work primarily involves providing legal advice to the Office for Civil Rights and other program offices within the Department of Education on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. She also provides legal advice on issues related to the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Part B. Ms. Santos is a 1996 graduate of American University, Washington College of Law and her undergraduate degree is from Providence College.



Jason Snyder
Jason Snyder is a Professorial Lecturer in the School of Education, Teaching and Health at American University. His teaching and research focuses on education law and education policy. Prior to joining American University’s faculty, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. He initially joined the Department of Education through the White House Fellows program, a nonpartisan program for public service and leadership.

Professor Snyder previously served as an education law attorney and social studies teacher. He practiced education and appellate law at Hogan & Hartson LLP, where he advised school districts and drafted briefs in appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining the firm, Snyder served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He also taught government, history, and economics for six years in public secondary schools and for one year at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. Professor Snyder has a JD from Berkeley Law, a MEd from UCLA, and an AB in Public Policy from Stanford University.


Holly Wan
Holly Wan practices at a boutique law firm in Phoenix, Arizona.  Holly was part of the team who started the Marshall-Brennan chapter at Phoenix School of Law in 2011 (now known as Arizona Summit Law School).  After teaching as a Fellow, Holly continued volunteering as a moot court coach and judge at regional competitions.  In addition to her passion for student rights and the Marshall-Brennan program, Holly has also focused her career on the area of crime victims and domestic violence victims’ rights.  She is a member of the Volunteer Lawyers Program where she provides pro bono assistance to victims and low-income residents in Phoenix.  Holly still volunteers as a moot court coach for Marshall-Brennan, and this will be her third year attending the National Competition in Washington, DC. She earned her BA in Sociology from Arizona State University in 2007.

Stephen Wermiel

Stephen Wermiel is a Professor of Practice in Constitutional Law and associate director of the Summer Institute on Law and Government at American University Washington College of Law. He is immediate past chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (IRR) and author of a biweekly column on SCOTUSblog aimed at explaining the Supreme Court to law students. He is co-author of JUSTICE BRENNAN: LIBERAL CHAMPION, the definitive biography of the late Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr., published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in hardcover 2010 and by University Press of Kansas in paperback in 2013. At the Washington College of Law, he serves as an adviser to and was past associate director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, in which Washington College of Law students teach constitutional law in the public high schools of Washington, DC. He also is faculty adviser to the Moot Court Honor Society and serves on the advisory boards of the Administrative Law Review and the Journal of Gender, Social Policy and Law. In the ABA, Wermiel is a member of the Standing Committee on Public Education, serves as chair of the publications committee of IRR, and is a member of the editorial advisory board of Communications Lawyer, the quarterly publication of the Forum on Communications Law.

Wermiel holds expertise in the U.S. Supreme Court, having covered the court for the Wall Street Journal from 1979 until 1991. During his 12-year tenure at the Journal, he covered and interpreted more than 1,300 Supreme Court decisions and analyzed trends on a broad array of legal issues. Wermiel teaches constitutional law, First Amendment and a seminar on the workings of the Supreme Court. Early in his career, Wermiel was a Washington correspondent for the Boston Globe. While teaching in Atlanta in the 1990’s, he served on the board of directors and on the legal committee of the ACLU of Georgia. He earned his BA from Tufts University and his JD from the Washington College of Law. He is a member of the D.C. Bar.






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