Create Change – Spring 2019

Executive Director's message

Be the change you wish to see in the world . . . – Gandhi

Anna Wang - Photo by Christine Baker-Parrish

As we welcome the end of Winter quarter and look forward to Spring, we have much to celebrate. In this issue, you can read about Judge Carlton Reeves’ hugely successful visit as our inaugural “Inspiring Voices of Social Justice” speaker; be introduced to our spring “Inspiring Voices of Social Justice” speaker, Aracely Muñoz; learn about a new special assignment that Diane Chin, our associate dean for public service and public interest law, will be tackling; view photos from our second annual Valentine’s Day event, #SLSLove (where staff and faculty baked about 1,000 homemade items for students); and see quick snapshots of ten alumni who were profiled in past issues of Create Change.

I hope you enjoy reading about what has happened on campus this past quarter as well as what is anticipated to come this upcoming quarter. As always, I welcome your feedback.


Judge Carlton Reeves Launches Inaugural "Inspiring Voices of Social Justice" Speaker Series

Students who are members of the Black Law Students Association had dinner with Judge Reeves

The Honorable Carlton Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi served as our inaugural “Inspiring Voices of Social Justice” speaker. This speaker series was announced earlier this year to showcase diverse members of the legal profession who can inspire the next generation of lawyers to engage in public service through their careers. Judge Reeves visited Stanford January 28-30, 2019.

Judge Reeves met with a small group of Black Law Students Association members for dinner shortly after arriving on Monday evening. Ethan Amaker, JD ’20; Jyra Bickham, JD ’20; Monique Candiff, JD ’21; Dante Chambers, JD ’21; Sarah Harris, JD ’21; Erika Inwald, JD ’21; Biola Macaulay, JD ’19; Lincoln Mitchell, JD ’19; Christopher Middleton, JD ’21; Hyatt Mustefa, JD ’19; Britany Riley, JD ’19; Makeba Rutahindurwa, JD ’19; and Joel Simwinga, JD ’21 attended the dinner.

Professor David Sklansky and Judge Carlton Reeves

Rutahindurwa shared, “It’s rare in law school to meet someone so accomplished and so down to earth at the same time. Judge Reeves was genuinely excited to meet with students, share his life story, and provide thoughtful insights into the legal field. He managed to make everyone in the room feel heard and appreciated. I was inspired by the way Judge Reeves uses his position to advance equal rights for all people, particularly those most harmed by our legal system. I hope to emulate his passion for justice and compassion for people throughout my life and career.”

The next morning, Judge Reeves began holding office hours to meet with students. Every appointment was booked, with some students coming in pairs. He met with 24 students over the course of his brief visit.

Judge Reeves and Tuesday dinner group photo

Judge Reeves and Professor David Sklansky spoke about criminal sentencing in the federal court system at a lunchtime event on Tuesday. This talk was co-sponsored with the Stanford Criminal Justice Center. Sklansky commented, “It was wonderful having Judge Reeves visit SLS and share his insights. I learned a lot from him, and I am sure our students did as well. His remarks on sentencing in federal court were perceptive and enlightening. It was great to hear how a smart, thoughtful judge wrestles with the hard task of sentencing criminal defendants, and how he thinks about and works with the federal sentencing guidelines. It was great, too, to hear his thoughts on our system of plea bargaining, and how it can make it harder to keep prosecutors accountable and guard against miscarriages of justice.”

Sophia Villarreal, JD ’20, said, “Judge Reeves was incredibly open and generous with his time. I attended his lunch talk and then met with him one-on-one in office hours. There, we mainly discussed how he started his firm, and he had plenty of detailed and practical advice. What I most appreciated, however, was that Judge Reeves encouraged me to think strategically while also centering my personal values. It was a pleasure to have him on campus, and a privilege to meet him.”

Judge speaking to crowd

A small group of faculty, students, and staff had dinner with Judge Reeves on Tuesday evening in the Neukom Faculty Lounge. Professors Jenny Martinez, Phil Malone, Ron Tyler, Jeannie Merino, and David Sklansky were joined by 15 students. Katherine Giordano, JD ’21, attended the dinner and stated, “Judge Reeves swept through campus with his warmth and sincerity. Whether meeting with students in office hours or over dinner, he candidly shared experiences and advice. It was refreshing to meet someone so honest, deeply kind, and committed to sharing his work. His love for Yazoo City, Mississippi reminded me of my love for my hometown. He is inspiring, and spending even a moment with him makes you want to head home and bring about change.”

On Wednesday, Judge Reeves continued to hold office hours and then had lunch with our graduating 3L Public Interest Fellows and Public Interest Associates who intend to pursue careers in public service. David Huang, JD ’19, shared, “Judge Reeves is an inspiration to every aspiring public interest lawyer. He was selfless with his time and generous with his advice. He brought an excitement and optimism that was much needed for those of us who are concerned about the world and profession we are entering.”

Students and staff with Judge Reeves

That evening, Judge Reeves gave his lecture about the importance of diversity in the legal profession. Biola Macaulay, JD ’19, observed, “I attended a number of the events with Judge Reeves during the week that he visited Stanford, and I left every one of them feeling inspired. I really appreciated his message that despite not having the same advantages as our peers, students of color and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds can be just as successful as law clerks and members of the judiciary. I know a number of students in BLSA who are now considering applying for clerkships after our dinner with him. Furthermore, hearing the Judge’s stories about the obstacles that he faced in his career was a great reminder that as difficult as things are now, the United States has gone through worse and we will weather this storm as well. I am grateful for Judge Reeves’ candor and encouragement and the Levin Center’s initiative in bringing him to campus.”

Judge Reeves remarked, “I enjoyed every second with the students and faculty at the law school. You all were so gracious. The students are deeply thoughtful, caring and inspiring. I have no doubt that each of them will go on to do great things. Interacting with and talking to them assures me that our profession and our country will be better because of their involvement. I just hope many of them take me up on my suggestion to make a clerkship a part of their journey so that other judges can be inspired as I have been by the three law clerks from SLS who have decided to spend some time in Mississippi with me.”

Diane Chin, Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law, concluded, “Judge Reeves was the perfect individual to launch our inspiring voices speaker series. Due to his own life but also his thoughtful approach to legal practice and serving on the bench, he illuminated for our students, faculty, and staff, the importance of having diverse practitioners and judges that reflect the communities that frequently need legal institutions and interventions.”

Aracely Muñoz Will Serve as Spring Quarter "Inspiring Voices" Speaker

Aracely Muñoz

Our next “Inspiring Voices of Social Justice” speaker will be Aracely Muñoz, Director of the Lawyers Network and the Washington, D.C. Office of the Center for Reproductive Rights. The Center is the premier global legal organization dedicated to women’s reproductive health, self-determination, and dignity. In her role as director of the Lawyers Network, Muñoz forges relationships with legal leaders across the United States to increase understanding, engagement, and support of women’s reproductive health issues. As director of the Center’s Washington, D.C. office, she oversees its daily operation and represents the Center externally with local partners.

Prior to joining the Center, Muñoz served as vice president for strategic development for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) where she successfully led the development and implementation of all external programs and research focusing on corporate diversity and inclusion and best practices in the legal profession. Prior to MCCA, Muñoz served as associate general counsel and large law programs director for the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). While at ACC she conducted a wide range of compliance and ethics education programs for corporate legal departments and promoted member engagement. Before joining ACC, Muñoz served as the director of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, where she led the establishment of the commission and its seminal report and policy recommendations. She simultaneously held the role of the director of the ABA’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity, where she oversaw its external programming and reporting on diversity in association leadership and its entities. Muñoz started her legal career as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago’s Department of Law, and a civil litigation attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. Prior to her legal career, she worked at the University of Chicago’s University Community Service Center under First Lady Michelle Obama.

Muñoz serves on the board of directors of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and serves as a vice-chair and member of its Executive Committee. She also serves on the ABA’s Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs. She serves as a liaison to the ABA’s Commission on Women, where she co-chairs its Legislative Affairs Committee and serves on its Women of Color Research Advisory Group. Muñoz previously served as a Special Advisor and then Commissioner of the ABA’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Muñoz currently co-chairs the Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) Commission on Latinas in the Legal Profession and serves on its Board of Governors.

Muñoz received her BA and MA from the University of Chicago, and her JD from the University of Iowa College of Law.

She will visit campus April 14-16, 2019. In addition to meeting with students, faculty, and staff, Muñoz will also give a lecture on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. More details will be forthcoming and sent directly to law students.

Associate Dean Diane Chin Will Develop and Launch New Diversity Pipeline Project

Diane Chin

Diane Chin, Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law, will be tackling a special assignment to develop and launch SLS’ new Diversity Pipeline Project, which aims to increase the number of law school applicants from historically underrepresented minority groups as well as low-income and first-generation students while engaging in a first-of-its-kind evaluation to evaluate the interventions that can make a difference. This work will implement one of the recommendations made by the Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion that is strongly supported by students.

As Dean Liz Magill stated in her recent email to the SLS community, “After searching for, but failing to find, the ideal person to launch this program, we had the good fortune to learn that our own Diane Chin has a keen interest in helping to launch this critical initiative. Diane has the background, skills, and commitment that are required to make this program a success, and she has enthusiastically agreed to take on this new effort.”

Chin shares, “I have been very committed to civil rights throughout my career and to the work undertaken to address diversity and inclusion issues at the law school. I volunteered for this new assignment and am very excited to take on this new work at the law school.”

Magill added in that same email, “This does mean that Diane will be stepping back from some of her public interest program work and teaching for the next year and a half. The law school will be hiring an additional public interest career advisor as soon as possible to help fill the gap created by Diane’s shift in duties.”

Chin will continue to think about and work on the institutional issues that support and impact public interest students and alumni of the law school, and will continue to manage and support the Levin Center staff, but will primarily be focused on this new initiative starting this spring and throughout next year. Members of the Levin Center staff will assume some of her regular duties as she will not provide career advising to students or alumni. The Levin Center will also be hiring a new full-time career counselor to help fill the gap. That job announcement is available here. We hope to hire someone to start by this summer. Chin will likely return to her regular duties with the Levin Center at the end of 2020.

#SLSLove - Valentine's Day Event for Students


31 Faculty and Staff baked 1,000 home-made treats for students, including vegan strawberry muffins, banana bread, orange and olive oil cake, cheddar chive scones, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and nutmeg muffins.

Where Are They Now? Updates on Past Create Change Alumni Profile Subjects

Click on the photos below to see more information about each alum.

The Honorable John Owens, JD '96

The Honorable John Owens, JD ’96, is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He was the Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California (San Diego and Imperial Counties) when he was profiled in the Summer 2011 issue.

Catherine Engberg, JD '01

Catherine Engberg, BS ’95/JD’ 01, is a partner at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger in San Francisco. Catherine serves as contract City Attorney to the City of Half Moon Bay, and has served as acting City Attorney to both the City of Orinda and City of Saratoga. She maintains an active practice before the California Public Utilities Commission, representing environmental organizations on a wide array of ratesetting and permitting proceedings related to wildfire risks and costs. Catherine routinely represents community groups in administrative proceedings and CEQA litigation over major infrastructure and residential projects. Catherine has taught land use law at Stanford Law School and Berkeley Law. She recently spoke at an event sponsored by the Stanford Coastside Alumni regarding California’s land use and housing challenges. She was already a partner at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger when she was profiled in Spring 2015 issue of Create Change.

Daniel Silverberg, JD '03

Daniel Silverberg, JD ’03, currently serves as national security advisor to the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. He manages national security-related legislation and helps coordinate foreign policy for House Democrats. For example, last month he helped move a bill that would prohibit the withdrawal of the US from NATO and a resolution rebuking US participation in the Yemen conflict. Daniel was an Associate Deputy General Counsel in the Office of International Affairs within
the Department of Defense’s Office of General Counsel when he was profiled in the Winter 2006 issue.

Edward J. Loya, Jr., JD '05

Edward J. Loya, Jr., JD ’05, is now a litigation partner at Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., a national law firm. He represents companies and individuals in California, Texas, Washington D.C., and New York in business litigation, employee mobility disputes, and white-collar defense and investigation matters. He was a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in their Public Integrity Section when he was profiled in the Spring 2013 issue.

Bryn Martyna, JD '05

Bryn Martyna, JD ’05, serves as the Coordinator of Progressive Discipline for the Madison Metropolitan School District, in Madison, Wisconsin. As part of the Student Services team, she provides consultation to school-based administrators in implementation of the district’s Behavior Education Plan, which places an emphasis on support, education, and equity. She also oversees the expulsion process, including expulsion abeyance options, as well as re-engagement of youth who were previously expelled. For the past three years she was a Youth Justice Policy Coordinator for the state of Wisconsin, where she launched Youth Leadership Teams to elevate the voices of youth directly impacted by the justice system. She was previously a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the National Center for Youth Law (2005-2011) when she profiled in our Fall 2009 issue.

Matthew Liebman, JD '06

Matthew Liebman, JD ’06, is still working at the Animal Legal Defense Fund but now serves as the Director of Litigation, where he leads a team of ten lawyers fighting to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Matthew recently filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit on behalf of a horse named Justice, seeking to establish that animals are legal persons who have the right to sue their abusers for civil damages when they are the victims of cruelty. The case, Justice v. Vercher, is pending before the Oregon Court of Appeals. He was a senior attorney at Animal Legal Defense Fund when he was profiled in the Fall 2015 issue.

Cindy Liou, JD '07

Cindy Liou, JD ’07, is currently the State Policy Director at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a national non-profit working to provide legal counsel to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children in the United States. From 2016-2018, she served as the Deputy Director of Legal Services at KIND. She was a staff attorney and the director of the Human Trafficking Project at Asian Pacific Islander (“API”) Legal Outreach when she was profiled in the Spring 2014 issue.

Kavita Narayan, JD '08

Kavita Narayan, JD ’08, currently serves as a Lead Deputy County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara’s Office of the County Counsel. She leads the Office’s Public Safety and Justice team, which provides advice and counsel to the County’s criminal justice and emergency response agencies, assists them with policy initiatives and significant reform efforts, and supports them in providing high-quality services to County residents. For example, Kavita served as primary legal counsel to a task force charged with reforming the County’s bail and pretrial justice system, and she has long advised the County regarding its policies limiting local involvement in federal immigration enforcement efforts. Kavita also continues to be a member of the Office’s Social Justice and Impact Litigation team, where she was serving as a full-time Deputy County Counsel at the time she was profiled in the Winter 2015 issue.

Mariko Hirose, JD '08

Mariko Hirose, JD ’08, is now the Litigation Director at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), where she founded the department and manages a team of six staff members (and we’ll be hiring more soon!). The mission of IRAP’s litigation department is to advance and defend the rights of refugees and other displaced persons. We have been busy litigating cases against the current attack on humanitarian migration pathways, including in IRAP v. Trump (challenging the Muslim ban); JFS v. Trump (challenging the refugee ban); Doe v. Nielsen (challenging the mass denial of refugee status to Iranian religious minorities); Afghan & Iraqi Allies v. Pompeo (challenging systemic delay in processing of Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans and Iraqis); and S.A. v. Trump (challenging the mass rescission of parole for Central American children seeking to reunite with their parents in the US). Mariko was a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union when she was interviewed in the Summer 2016 issue.

Wilfred Codrington III, JD '09

Wilfred Codrington III, JD ’09, is the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Fellow at the Brennan Center, and counsel in the Democracy Program. He is a researcher, advocate, and litigator at the federal and state level, focusing on elections, the rule of law, and constitutional law & reform. Wilfred writes and speaks for public audiences to educate on these issues, including through expert legislative testimony. Most recently, Wilfred has been a part of a coalition of good government groups that helped the RI Board of Elections develop and conduct a pilot post-election risk limiting audit (RLA). He is currently working with those partners to help with the statewide implementation of the RLA (as required by their law) for the 2020 presidential primary elections and beyond. Wilfred had just left Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s legislative staff for a clerkship when he was profiled in the Winter 2012 issue.

About Create Change

Left: Mike Winn, Jodie Carian, Titi Liu, Diane T. Chin, and Anna Wang.
Photography by Christine Baker-Parrish

Create Change is designed and produced quarterly by the staff of the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law. Unless specifically noted, all articles are written by staff:

Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law: Diane T. Chin
Executive Director: Anna Wang
Director, International Public Interest Initiatives: Titi Liu
Director, Pro Bono and Externship Programs: Mike Winn
Assistant Director: Jodie Carian
Research Assistant: Seimi Chu, BA ’19

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