Prof. Mary Beth Beazley, Professor of Law
Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law
Mary Beth Beazley has taught legal writing for 35 years. She recently joined the law faculty at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas after nearly 30 years at Ohio State. Professor Beazley has held numerous leadership positions in legal education, including President of the Legal Writing Institute and Chair of the ABA’s Communication Skills Committee. She is the author of A Practical Guide to Appellate Advocacy and co-author of Legal Writing for Legal Readers. Her current scholarship focuses on behavioral aspects of legal writing and legal reading, and on the impact that digital platforms have on cognitive aspects of legal reading.
Wendy McGuire Coats, Partner & Appellate Counsel
Fisher & Phillips
Wendy McGuire Coats is a certified specialist in appellate law by the California Board of Legal Specialization and has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Court of Appeal, and the California Supreme Court. Before joining Fisher Phillips, Ms. Coats founded McGuire Coats LLP and was an associate in the Global Litigation & White Collar Defense practice groups of an international law firm, where she was the primary associate dedicated to two federal criminal trials. She was named to Super Lawyers in Appellate Law in 2016, after receiving the Rising Star in Appellate Law for several years. Ms. Coats attended Pepperdine University School of Law where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Pepperdine Law Review.
*Cliffie Wesson, Staff Attorney
Texas Court of Appeals, Fifth District
Cliffie Wesson received her J.D. summa cum laude from Texas Wesleyan School of Law (now known as Texas A&M School of Law), where she served on law review and was inducted into the Order of Barristers. Before she worked for the court, she taught Appellate Advocacy and Writing at Texas A&M for 10 years. As General Counsel for the Fifth District Court, Ms. Wesson works collaboratively with the justices and staff attorneys in processing to conclusion appeals, pre-submission motions, and petitions for writ of mandamus and habeas corpus. She is responsible for the direct supervision of Central Staff Attorneys, consults with and advises the Clerk of the Court, and acts as the court’s independent ethics and conflicts advisor.
Hon. Gina Benavides, Justice
Texas Court of Appeals, Thirteenth District
Justice Gina Benavides is a justice on the Texas Thirteenth Court of Appeals. She was elected to her first term in 2006 and re-elected to a second term in 2012. Justice Benavides obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to serving on the Texas Thirteenth Court of Appeals, Justice Benavides was a private litigator in Texas. Justice Benavides was recognized as the Latina Judge of the Year in 2007 by the National Hispanic Bar Association.
Joseph Lipner, Partner
Irell & Manella
Joseph M. Lipner is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP, where he is a member of the firm’s intellectual property and litigation groups and chair of the firm’s appellate practice group. He also chairs the firm’s ethics committee. Mr. Lipner has litigated in the superior and appellate courts of California, federal district courts, the Second, Ninth and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Yeshiva College and his law degree from Harvard Law School.
Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw, Judge
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Judge Wardlaw graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with an A.B. in Communication Studies in 1976. She obtained her J.D. in 1979 from UCLA Law School. She was awarded Order of the Coif and named Outstanding Graduate of the Class of 1979. She served as a law clerk for District Court Judge William P. Gray in the Central District of California. Nominated by President William Jefferson Clinton to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Wardlaw was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on July 31, 1998. Judge Wardlaw had previously served on the United States District Court for the Central District of California since January 3, 1996. Before then, she was a litigation partner of the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers. While in private practice, Judge Wardlaw served in various offices of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, the Women Lawyers Public Action Grant Foundation and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. Also while in private practice, Judge Wardlaw was involved in numerous community, political and governmental activities.
*Bennett Evan Cooper, Partner
Steptoe & Johnson
Bennett Evan Cooper is a partner in the Phoenix and San Francisco offices of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He obtained his undergraduate education from Harvard University and his law degree from Harvard Law School. Mr. Cooper is a nationally recognized appellate lawyer and the author of Federal Appellate Practice: Ninth Circuit (2015-2016 ed.), a 1,500-page treatise published annually by Thomson Reuters.
Hon. Cheryl Chambers, Associate Justice
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department
Cheryl Chambers began her career in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in 1985 where she was Chief of the Domestic Violence Bureau, after serving as a Deputy Chief in the Trial Division and as an assistant district attorney in the Trial and Appeals Bureaus. Justice Chambers served as a Justice of the Supreme Court in Kings County for nine years, where she presided over complex, high-profile matters, as well as selected personal injury cases. In 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed her to a senior “constitutional” seat on the court and is the first African-American woman to achieve this status.
John Doerner, Principal Court Management Consultant
National Center for State Courts
John Doerner joined the National Center for State Courts in 2007, bringing a broad range of experience in judicial administration as well as appellate courts. Before joining the NCSC, he served as Clerk of Court for the Colorado Court of Appeals, managing all administrative and operational components for the statewide intermediate appellate court. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Doerner was the Manager of Operations Support for the Colorado Judicial Branch. Mr. Doerner was awarded a Bachelors degree in Business Administration by the College of St. Francis (Joliet, Illinois) in 1975. He received an MBA degree from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1987 and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant by the State of Colorado.
Hon. Randy Smith, U.S. Circuit Judge
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Randy Smith was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In addition to his duties as judge, he has been appointed to hear Federal District Court and Bankruptcy cases in Idaho and Montana. Judge Smith also teaches at Idaho State University, teaching Legal Environment of Business and Business Law. Judge Smith has served on the Ninth Circuit Executive Committee and as Administrative Judge of the Northern Area of the Ninth Circuit; as Conference Chairman, Program Chairman, and member of the Executive Committee of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.
*Ric Schickele, Career Law Clerk
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Richard Schickele is a Career Law Clerk with Judge Consuelo Callahan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Richard received his undergraduate degree from Whitman College before receiving a Master’s degree from George Washington University and his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Hon. David Carter, U.S. District Judge
U.S. District Court, Central District of California
David Carter received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1972. Following law school, Judge Carter worked at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office as a homicide prosecutor. Governor Brown Jr. then appointed him as judge for Orange County Municipal Court, and was then elected to serve as an Orange County Superior Court Judge. Following his term, Governor Brown Jr. appointed Judge Carter to the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif. President Clinton then nominated him to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and gained Senate confirmation in 1998.
Hon. Stephen Markman, Chief Justice
Michigan Supreme Court
Stephen Markman was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court to serve as its Chief Justice on January 6, 2017. He has previously served as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals and practiced law at Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone. President George H. W. Bush nominated Justice Markman to serve as U.S. Attorney in Michigan. Before that, he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to serve as Assistant Attorney General. As Assistant Attorney General, he headed the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy, which coordinated the federal judicial selection process. He has also served as Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, and as Deputy Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
*Mary Massaron, Partner
Mary Massaron heads the appellate practice group at Plunkett Cooney. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), and has served as chair of the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers (CAL), a division of the Appellate Judges Conference, the ABA TIPS Appellate Advocacy Committee, and the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan. She is a past president of DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar, the first woman to have served as president of Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ), and the current chair of its Class Action, Mass Torts, and MDL Reform Committee. Ms. Massaron has handled appeals in state and federal appellate courts for governmental and private clients, including representing property owners to overturn decades-old precedent involving condemnation, establishing the retroactivity of dealer statute amendments before the Michigan Supreme Court, and overturning multi-million dollar judgments on appeal.
Alan Charles “Chuck” Dell’Ario, Attorney
Chuck Dell’Ario has been representing individuals and small businesses in the California and Federal courts since 1974. In 1997, Mr. Dell’Ario was certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in appellate law and has participated in more than 250 appeals in the California Courts of Appeal, Supreme Court of California, Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He has presented more than 100 oral arguments.
Heather New, Assistant Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel, Appellate Litigation
Heather Bailey New is an in-house appellate lawyer for AT&T. After graduating from Baylor Law School, Ms. New clerked for the Honorable Priscilla Owen at the Texas Supreme Court. Following her clerkship, Ms. New joined the law firm of Haynes and Boone LLP in Dallas where she practiced appellate litigation for 14 years. She then joined the law firm of Bell Nunnally LLP where she was head of its appellate group. In 2016, Heather joined AT&T, where she handles appellate matters throughout the country.
Hon. Rosalyn Richter, Associate Justice
New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department
Rosalyn Richter began her judicial career in 1990 when she was appointed to the New York City Criminal Court, where she presided over criminal cases in Manhattan and the Bronx, and was Supervising Judge of the Bronx Criminal Court. Before her appointment to the state court bench, she was the Executive Director of Lambda Legal and its first paid staff attorney, a supervisor in the Appeals Bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and an ALJ for the NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. In March 2009 she was appointed to the position of Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, First Department.
*Lisa Perrochet, Partner
Horvitz & Levy
Lisa Perrochet is a partner at Horvitz & Levy, the largest firm in the nation specializing exclusively in civil appeals. She has been a California State Bar Certified Appellate Specialist since the first year the State Bar offered certification in 1996. Ms. Perrochet has represented clients in hundreds of appeals and writ proceedings, and has argued before the California Supreme Court and intermediate appellate courts throughout the state. She has also handled matters in other jurisdictions, notably Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Hawaii. She is active in the legal community, including as a Fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, as the longest tenured board member of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, and as a decades-long member of the Los Angeles County Bar Appellate Courts Section. She is the head of her firm’s professional responsibility and conflicts programming, and has built a reputation for creativity and success in high stakes appellate litigation in a variety of practice areas, including professional liability and ethics matters.
Lisa Fitzgerald, Staff Attorney
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Lisa Fitzgerald is the Senior Staff Attorney for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She oversees more than 80 attorneys and 10 support staff who comprise the Staff Attorneys’ Office. The office is responsible for processing approximately 1,400 requests for certificates of appealability, 1,800 screening cases, and more than 8,000 motions each year, as well as inventorying more than 4,000 fully briefed cases and tracking the issues they raise. Before coming to this court in 1997, Ms. Fitzgerald spent three years clerking for U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Weigel in the Northern District of California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1992.
Prof. Heidi Rummel, Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Post-Conviction Justice Project
University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Heidi Rummel received her J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law and clerked for the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Professor Rummel has served in the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles where she prosecuted violent crime and criminal civil rights cases, as well as deputy chief in the Training Section. Professor Rummel is a Clinical Professor at the USC Gould School of Law where she co-directs the Post-Conviction Justice Project. Under her supervision, second- and third-year law students represent California life-term inmates, primarily women and youth offenders. The project has won the release of more than 100 lifers through the parole process and on habeas corpus.
*Prof. Leah Litman, Assistant Professor of Law
University of California, Irvine School of Law
Leah Litman graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and clerked for Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Following her clerkships, she worked at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP where she specialized in appellate litigation. Professor Litman was also a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.
* session moderator