Imoh Emmanuel Akpan is a principal at Franklin & Prokopik. Imoh concentrates his practice in transportation and retail and hospitality with a focus on negligent security and civil rights defense. Imoh is the legal counsel for the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the National African American Insurance Association, a co-chair of the Annual Gala for the University of Baltimore's Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence and a member of planning committee for DRI's Diversity for Success Conference and Interview Expo.
Geri Lynn Arrindell of Mickes O'Toole LLP in St. Louis, Missouri practices labor & employment law and general business litigation. An experienced business partner and problem solver, Geri Lynn has served as litigation counsel to governmental entities and non-for-profit organizations and has represented clients in arbitrations and before labor boards and federal regulatory agencies. She has counseled employers on myriad issues; guided clients through alternative dispute resolution; defended discrimination claims; handled administrative appeals; and defended clients in all phases of state and federal civil litigation.
Wesley Bizzell is Senior Assistant General Counsel, External Affairs & Managing Director of Political Law & Ethics Programs for Altria Client Services LLC. He is an authority on political law compliance. Wesley is president-elect of the National LGBT Bar Association. He also was a founding member of and is on the leadership team for Altria's LGBT Employee Resource Group, Mosaic. Wesley volunteers as a mentor for the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity's Law School Mentoring Program.
Natalie Renee Bolling is Employment & Compliance Counsel with Vulcan Materials Company. Natalie advises Vulcan on all areas of employment law and represents Vulcan in litigation employment disputes. Natalie trains employees on employment and business conduct compliance matters. Prior to joining Vulcan, Natalie was a litigation shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. Natalie earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Alabama and a law degree at the University of Iowa College of Law. Natalie further served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Karen Wells Roby of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Sheila S. Boston is a litigation partner with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP's top-ranked Product Liability Group. She is a trial lawyer and litigation strategist who defends clients from case initiation through trial and creative settlement resolutions. She has successfully litigated before both state and federal courts, and has significant MDL and class action experience. Sheila is a longtime member of DRI's Drug & Medical Device Steering Committee and is currently serving as the Chair of its annual seminar.
Joe Briggs is Public Policy Counsel for the National Football League Players Association ("NFLPA") and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University where he teaches in the Master's in Sports Industry Management Program. Briggs worked in corporate American before transitioning into education, politics and law. Briggs graduated from Florida State University College of Law and worked as a law clerk at a top-tier public finance firm before becoming a U.S. Senate Legal Extern. Briggs was hired by NFLPA to manage their Financial Programs Department, and is the first individual to lead NFLPA's Governmental Relations Department. Briggs often speaks on issues related to politics and sports.
The Honorable Nannette Jolivette Brown holds a Juris Doctor and LLM in Energy and Environment from Tulane Law School. Before assuming the bench, she was a partner at Chaffe McCall, LLP, taught at three of Louisiana's law schools, and served as Deputy Mayor and City Attorney for the City of New Orleans. In 2011, she was nominated to Louisiana's Eastern District Court by President Obama. She is the first Africa American female district judge appointed to a Louisiana federal court, and the first African American judge to serve as Chief Judge at Louisiana's Eastern District Court.
Taren N. (Stanton) Butcher is Senior Associate General Counsel for Allegis Group, Inc. She serves as legal counsel for Aerotek, Inc., a global staffing company operating across the United States, Canada, Europe, and India. She advises business leaders and HR partners on an array of workplace issues, including discrimination laws, internal investigations, wage and hour issues, leave, non-compete agreements and terminations. Ms. Butcher also defends Aerotek in administrative proceedings and mediations before the EEOC and state/local agencies and manages outside counsel.
James G. Bynoe is Chief Claims Counsel for OneBeacon Insurance. The Claims Legal group sets the direction and implementation of claims litigation strategy and coverage determination. The group also provides advice and counsel regarding OneBeacon's insurance policies and any litigation arising from coverage disputes. Jim monitors existing coverage litigation and is responsible for the negotiation of all extra contractual exposures. As Chief Claims Counsel, Jim is also responsible for the management and development of OneBeacon's in-house staff counsel program.
Gary M. Carter, Jr. is a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He is an experienced trial attorney, having practiced in the Products Liability Section of McGlinchey Stafford and as Senior Counsel with Entergy Corporation. Gary resigned from Entergy in 2015 to run for the Louisiana Legislature and joined Kelly Hart & Pitre, an energy-focused law firm, as a partner in its New Orleans Office. In 2017, Gary joined Frischhertz, Poulliard, Frischhertz and Impastato where he represents both Plaintiffs and Fortune 500 Corporations in civil litigation.
Elizabeth B. Davis is a Partner with Burr & Forman LLP's Atlanta office and a former Assistant Regional Counsel with U.S. EPA in Region 4. Beth's environmental and food, drug and medical device practices focus on compliance, permitting, and enforcement defense. In addition to her practice, Beth participates in the firm's diversity committee and is a member of the Board of the National LGBT Bar Association.
Stacy L. Douglas is a Partner in the Los Angeles office of Collinson Daenke Inlow & Greco (CDIG), a female-owned law firm. Formerly a partner in a majority-owned national firm, Stacy joined her female colleagues at CDIG, a firm serving Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Northern California, to expand the presence of female litigators in the profession. Stacy has successfully taken cases to trial, focusing on transportation, commercial litigation and employment matters. She is the 2019 Diversity for Success Seminar Chair.
Atoyia Scott Harris practices labor and employment litigation at Ogletree Deakins. Atoyia successfully defended matters and assisted clients on a wide variety of litigation matters including but not limited to claims under Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Prior to Ogletree Deakins, Atoyia represented local and national corporations in complex civil litigation matters on a wide variety of matters, including but not limited to governmental liability, wrongful death, product liability, and financial services.
Rosary A. Hernandez, a Shareholder at Tiffany & Bosco, PA, is first generation Cuban American. Her areas of practice include commercial and business litigation, professional liability defense, construction law, and tort defense including tortious interference and related claims. Since 1993 she has represented clients in litigation and arbitration in Texas, Arizona, and California. Ms. Hernandez's professional affiliations include DRI, Executive Board of Diversity Committee, Co-Chair of Construction Seminar 2015, State Bar of AZ – Past Board of Directors for Construction Section, Past Chair of MCBA Construction Section and Past Board of Directors for Arizona Association of Defense Counsel. Ms. Hernandez is the Chair for the Diversity for Success Seminar and Corporate Expo.
Gary L. Howard is a Partner in Bradley's Birmingham, Alabama office where he is a Litigation Team Leader, on the Diversity Task Force, and editor of the Underwritten legal blog. Gary specializes in risk mitigation, strategic planning, and caseload management. He has served as national and regional counsel, having represented clients in cases—from class actions to interpleaders—nationwide. Gary serves or has served in various DRI leadership roles including: Alabama State Membership Chair, Diversity Expo Chair, and Diversity Seminar Vice-Chair.
Sheryl M. Howard received her Juris Doctorate from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University and frequently served as a faculty member for the LSU Trial Advocacy Program. In 2003, she was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court as Judge Pro Tem for the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. During her 26 year career, she tried over 100 judge and jury trials in state courts including cases involving catastrophic injuries and significant client exposure.
Chief Justice, Bernette J. Johnson is the Louisiana Supreme Court's 25th Chief Justice, its second female Chief Justice, and its first African-American Chief Justice. Born in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, she attended Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science in 1964. She was one of the first African-American women to attend and earn a Juris Doctorate degree from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in 1969. She also received an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Spelman College in 2001. Chief Justice Johnson was inducted into the LSU Law Center's Hall of Fame in 1996 and was recently named as an Honorary Inductee into the LSU Order of the Coif.
Monica A. Johnson is General Counsel for Bonduelle Fresh Americas & Bonduelle Americas Long Life. Ready Pac, a Bonduelle brand, manufactures a range of products featuring fresh produce and protein in the company's Bistro®, Ready Snax®, and Fresh Pickedô Brands. Offerings include fresh-cut salads, vegetables, snacking and fresh-prepared meals. Monica is responsible for the company's legal affairs, including operational support, sales, marketing, R&D, corporate governance, risk management, government relations, and compliance. Monica has experience in a broad range of industries, including foodservice, retail, technology, manufacturing, and supply chain/logistics. She has also served in the administrations of three California governors.
The Honorable Keva Landrum-Johnson The Honorable Keva Landrum-Johnson serves as Judge at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, Section E, where she presides over criminal felony and misdemeanor cases. Judge Landrum-Johnson was first elected to serve at criminal court in 2008, and was re-elected to a second term in 2015. In both instances, she was elected without opposition. In January 2018, Judge Landrum-Johnson was appointed Chief Judge at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court criminal court and made history as the first African American woman to serve in the court's highest office.
Jaime Walker Luse is a partner in the Baltimore firm of Tydings & Rosenberg LLP. Ms. Luse defends businesses of all sizes in commercial and employment litigation. An advocate who has prevailed in many difficult trials, she has experience in the state and federal courts of Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia. She is also adept at negotiating with adversaries to resolve disputes efficiently on behalf of her clients. Ms. Luse has handled numerous commercial cases, including negligence, insurance coverage, breach of contract, and leasing disputes. In addition to her commercial litigation practice, Ms. Luse defends employers against employment-related claims, including discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, violations of the Family Medical Leave Act, claims brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and unlawful retaliation. Ms. Luse also has appellate experience. She has briefed and argued before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, and briefed before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Luse is DRI Law Institute liaison for the Diversity for Success Seminar and Corporate Expo.
Todd S. Manuel is Director of Organizational Health & Diversity with Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. As director of OH&D, Todd is responsible for developing and leading the company's strategy for improving organizational health, diversity and inclusion. He is also responsible for ensuring Entergy meets all compliance requirements set by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
David Peim is Deputy General Counsel of Honda North America. At Honda his practice focuses on all areas of complex litigation involving finance, compliance, privacy, cyber security, regulation updates, class actions, and operating procedure updates. Prior to Honda, he was in private practice and defended high exposure products liability cases, class actions, professional liability claims, and employment matters. David is a graduate of Loyola Law School and also holds a PhD. in Molecular Biology.
Donald S. Prophete is a Partner with Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP. He is a trial lawyer who excels at representing large clients in complex and multi-plaintiff race employment discrimination cases. He has handled high-profile cases in the sports, military contractor and retail industries. Don also serves as chair of the firm's Whistleblower practice group. Don's daily practice revolves around providing counsel to C-Suite executives on whistleblower and other matters in the following business sectors: Retail, Restaurant, Technology, and Manufacturing.
Scott Rochelleis President & CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA), the official alumni association of the NBA and WNBA. He currently holds the position of General Counsel after representing the association in private practice. Rochelle began his legal career in commercial litigation and gained extensive experience in the federal court system through civil rights, governmental and business matters. He earned a B.A. from Morehouse College and an Ed.M. and J.D. from the University of Illinois.
Keshia L. Rodriguez currently serves as Divisional Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, and Assistant Secretary for Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, Inc. managing a wide variety of legal issues for the company. Prior to her current role, she practiced in a private, international law firm for seven years in the area of complex commercial litigation representing clients in a wide variety of matters in both state and federal courts, some of which include product liability, specialty torts, business torts, premise liability, insurance coverage, and insurance defense cases. She has represented clients from many industries including, but not limited to, insurance, manufacturing industries, retail, hospitality, real estate, automotive and construction.
Ricardo A. Woodsis a shareholder in Burr & Forman LLP's Mobile, Alabama office. His practice focuses on defending product liability, toxic tort and government liability claims. He is a creative problem solver who provides his clients with innovative and cost-effective solutions and strategies. No stranger to the courtroom, Ricardo is experienced in handling all stages of complex litigation. He has first-chair jury trial experience and extensive pre-trial litigation experience. Ricardo serves as Vice-Chair of the DRI Diversity Committee.