Justice for All: Demanding Accessibility for Underrepresented Communities in the Law
A Roger Williams University Law Review Symposium
Justice for All: Demanding Accessibility for Underrepresented Communities in the Law
Friday, November 4, 2022 – Virtual Program (Zoom)
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM EST
The phrase “Justice for All” dates back to the founding of our country, but it has become increasingly clear that many groups of people are often left out of the “All” category. A persons race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, citizenship, ability, age, and/or socioeconomic status are just a few of the factors that lock them out of receiving equal treatment in our justice system. People in these groups have limited access to lawyers, legal services, and legal education, which undermines the principle of justice that is the essence of the U.S. Constitution.
This symposium welcomes RWU Law Review’s newest journal, Justice for All, in its inaugural year by demanding the expansion of “All” in the phrase “Justice for All.” Led by a mix of professionals and students, the panel will discuss how different legal services and legal education programs can be made more accessible and inclusive to traditionally marginalized communities. By creating more accessible spaces, we can finally begin working towards achieving justice for everyone.
The symposium will be presented as a fully virtual experience. Those invited to speak will have an opportunity to publish a written piece on their topic in Justice for All.
Meet the Speakers
Katherine Alteneder is the Consulting Senior Strategic Advisor to the Self-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN), connecting and educating lawyers, judges, and allied professionals who are creating innovative and evidence-based solutions so that self-represented litigants have meaningful access to the courts and get the legal help they need. Katherine also leads SRLN’s geospatial initiative that uses public and private data to inform digital and human services design to create a fair and accessible justice system. Before joining SRLN in 2013, Ms. Alteneder spent her career in Alaska, initially as a trial court law clerk and then as a legal aid lawyer. In 2001, Ms. Alteneder joined the Alaska Court System to serve as the Founding Director of the nation’s first comprehensive phone and internet-based court self-help center. In 2008, Ms. Alteneder established a successful unbundled practice and founded the first Unbundled Law Section of a state bar. Katherine serves in an advisory capacity to many access to justice organizations and initiatives including Voices for Civil Justice, the National Center for State Court’s Justice for All Project, and is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Technology Law and Policy. She received the National Center for State Court's Distinguished Service Award in 2019 for her work to improve access to justice. She has a BA from Northwestern University, and JD from Seattle University School of Law. She resides in Virginia.
Heidi K. Brown is a graduate of The University of Virginia School of Law, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School, and a former litigator in the construction industry. Professor Brown is the author of Untangling Fear in Lawyering: A Four-Step Journey Toward Powerful Advocacy (ABA 2019), The Introverted Lawyer: A Seven-Step Journey Toward Authentically Empowered Advocacy (ABA 2017), and a two-volume legal writing book series entitled The Mindful Legal Writer. Professor Brown champions the importance of openly discussing stressors, anxieties, and fears in lawyering, and helping quiet and anxious law students and lawyers become profoundly effective advocates, in their authentic voices. Professor Brown just released her third well-being book entitled, The Flourishing Lawyer: A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Performance and Well-Being. Twitter: @introvertlawyer
Michael Donnelly-Boylen brings over two decades of legal education experience to his position as Associate Dean of Enrollment and Strategic Initiatives at Roger Williams University School of Law. He has become a leader on issues relating to the inclusion of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in legal education.
Dean Donnelly-Boylen joined RWU Law in 2002, was promoted to Assistant Dean in 2005, and to Associate Dean in 2022. He is a member of the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) Board of Trustees and chairs the Schools & Candidates Committee. He has been a member of LSAC’s Diversity Committee, Services and Programs Committee, and Test Development and Research Committee. He has served as Chair of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Section on Admissions and Pre-Legal Education. He has also chaired LSAC’s LGBT Issues Subcommittee. He has coordinated panels and spoken at numerous conferences on LGBT inclusion issues for organizations like AALS, LSAC, the Pre-Law Advisor National Conference, and the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors.
Dean Donnelly-Boylen began his career in legal education in 1995 at Suffolk University Law School working in both admissions and career services. He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Notre Dame and a M.S. in political science from Suffolk University.
Danielle Hirsch is the Interim Court Services Director of the Court Consulting Division at the National Center for State Courts. In that capacity, Danielle is working to develop, guide and implement policies and procedures of court consulting operations to ensure success, high-quality work. In addition, Danielle has a professional focus on access to justice initiatives. She leads several large national access to justice projects for NCSC and serves as lead staff for the new $11M Eviction Diversion Initiative, and the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators’ Access and Fairness Committee, the Post-Pandemic Planning Technology Supergroup, and the Blueprint for Racial Justice’s Improving Diversity of the Bench, Bar and Workforce Working Group. In addition, Danielle is the co-creator and a co-host of Tiny Chats.
Before joining NCSC, Danielle was the Assistant Director of Civil Justice Division of the Administrative Office of Illinois, where Danielle was responsible for leading and managing the judicial branch’s work to promote, facilitate and enhance access to justice in Illinois with a particular emphasis on efforts to remove barriers and increase the ease of interacting with courts by persons who cannot afford lawyers to represent their interests and needs. Before joining the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts, Danielle served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and the Director of Advocacy at The Chicago Bar Foundation. Among many highlights of her work, Danielle developed and managed an innovative new program, Illinois JusticeCorps, which places college and law students in courthouses to provide procedural assistance to people without lawyers. At the beginning of her career, Danielle clerked for the Honorable William Wayne Justice of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas and Justice ZM Yacoob of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Danielle brings a broad range of relevant experience to the NCSC. Danielle has authored numerous articles in law reviews, bar journals and other publications and frequently is called upon to speak at legal, academic, and nonprofit meetings and events.
Nellie Large, Class of 2023 RWU Law student, moved to Rhode Island from NYC. Before coming to RWU Law, Nellie worked in housing and homeless prevention in the Bronx. While at RWU Law, Nellie has continued to work in eviction defense as a weekly volunteer at the RWU Law Eviction Help Desk. Nellie also works with the Adult Correctional Institution Project, where she advises incarcerated people in Rhode Island medium and maximum prisons regarding the civil fallout of their criminal matter. Additionally, Nellie is a member of the RWU Law Trial Team and is currently participating in the RWU Law Criminal Defense Clinic. Nellie is a teaching assistant for Professor Thompson and an Academic Excellence Teaching Fellow. This Spring, Nellie will return to NYC to work for the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem on their Eviction Defense Team as a New York Pro Bono Scholar.
Lois R. Lupica is the Director of the Law + Innovation Lab at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and the Maine Law Foundation Professor of Law, Emerita at the University of Maine School of Law. In 2019 she received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award where she researched access to justice and technology at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Professor Lupica is an Affiliated Faculty member of the Harvard Law School Access to Justice Lab, Co-Principal Investigator of the Financial Distress Research Study, and Co-Principal Investigator of the Princeton Debt Lab. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Colorado Law & Policy Center. Her empirical work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the Arnold Foundation, JPAL, and the American Bankruptcy Institute. She has published articles on a variety of topics including access to justice, legal design, bankruptcy, consumer finance, securitization, property and contract theory, intellectual property in commerce, secured transactions, legal ethics, as well as a leading Casebook on Bankruptcy Law & Practice. She is also a member of Sync Gallery in Denver, Colorado where she shows her Cold Wax and Encaustic paintings. Her artwork is in numerous private and corporate collections and has been featured in museums and galleries.
Martha Minow has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981, where her courses include civil procedure, constitutional law, fairness and privacy, family law, international criminal justice, jurisprudence, law and education, nonprofit organizations, and the public law workshop. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, she also writes and teaches about digital communications, democracy, privatization, military justice, and ethnic and religious conflict.
Currently the co-chair of the access to justice project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-chair of the advisory board to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Schwartzman College of Computing, Minow has served on the Center for Strategic and International Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism and on the Independent International Commission Kosovo. She helped to launch Imagine Co-existence, a program of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies. Her five-year partnership with the federal Department of Education and the Center for Applied Special Technology worked to increase access to the curriculum for students with disabilities and resulted in both legislative initiatives and a voluntary national standard opening access to curricular materials for individuals with disabilities.
Minow served as Dean of Harvard Law School between 2009 and 2017 and as the inaugural Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor. She co-chaired the Law School’s curricular reform committee from 2003 to 2006, an effort that led to innovation in the first-year curriculum as well as new programs of study for second- and third-year J.D. students. As dean, she strengthened public interest and clinical programs; diversity among faculty, staff, and students; interdisciplinary studies; and financial stability for the School.
After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Minow received a master’s degree in education from Harvard and a law degree from Yale. She clerked for Judge David Bazelon of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States. She joined the Harvard Law faculty as an assistant professor in 1981, was promoted to professor in 1986, was named the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of Law in 2003, and became the Jeremiah Smith Jr., Professor of Law in 2005. During 2017-2018, after her service as Dean, Minow held the Carter Chair in General Jurisprudence, and in 2018, she became the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University.
Tamera N. Rocha, Esq., serves as the Rhode Island Supreme Court Access to Justice Office director. In this role, Ms. Rocha oversees three vital court services: language access for court users and litigants with limited English proficiency, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and expanding services and resources for self-represented litigants. Ms. Rocha seeks to ensure that all individuals have access to the services, programs, and proceedings of the court irrespective of English proficiency, disability status, and/or access to counsel by identifying and eliminating access to justice barriers.
Prior to serving as the Access to Justice Office director, Ms. Rocha served as a staff attorney in the Rhode Island Supreme Court Office of General Counsel. In this role, Ms. Rocha served as legal counsel to the Supreme Court’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee and Committee on Character and Fitness. In addition, Ms. Rocha assisted the general counsel with handling accommodation requests and ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws.
Ms. Rocha obtained a B.S. from Central Michigan University, where she was a standout track and field athlete earning NCAA All-American honors and the Bill Bowden Leadership recipient for her community involvement, leadership, and athletic accomplishments.
Ms. Rocha received her J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law and is admitted to practice law in Rhode Island, and Ohio (inactive). Ms. Rocha has served on various local committees including the Local Rules Review Committee – General Rules Subcommittee for the United States District Court District of Rhode Island and as a panelist for events conducted by the Rhode Island Judiciary.
Monica Teixeira de Sousa is a Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law where she teaches Property, Family Law, and Race & the Foundations of American Law. Prior to joining the RWU Law faculty in 2022, Monica was a tenured professor at New England Law | Boston where she created and served as the director of the First Generation Students Program. Before her academic career, Monica was a staff attorney at Rhode Island Legal Services, where she began practicing in 2002 as a Skadden Fellow and created a school-based legal clinic at her former elementary school in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She represented parents and students in school discipline and special education cases, as well as public benefits and housing matters. Monica has served as a member of the Rhode Island College Upward Bound Program Alumni Scholarship Committee since 2013. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Cape Verdean American Lawyers Association and the Board of Justice at Work. Monica earned her JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 2002 and her BA from Brown University in 1998.
Quinten Steenhuis is a practitioner in residence and adjunct professor at Suffolk University Law School's Legal Innovation and Technology Lab. He spent 12 years as a housing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. His work focuses on closing the access to justice gap with technology, especially interactive tools that help people who cannot afford an attorney. Quinten’s signature projects include MADE, the Massachusetts Defense for Eviction tool, and Court Forms Online, an international response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, Quinten Steenhuis was named a "Legal Rebel" by the ABA Journal. His work automating legal help has been highlighted in national media, including the New York Times and Boston Globe, and in 2022 he was recognized in a joint press release by the White House and the Department of Justice.
Makayla Thomas is a third-year law student at Roger Williams University. She received her bachelors from Suffolk University in Boston, MA. Makayla has more than ten years of work experience supporting the legal field. Currently, she works for Motley Rice as a Law Clerk. Before that, she was a Judicial Intern for the Rhode Island Workers' Compensation Court while simultaneously interning for the Rhode Island Association for Justice. Before law school, she worked in Plaintiff's personal injury as a Senior Litigation Paralegal, assisting in many noteworthy trials.
Makayla is the current President and previous Vice President of a student trial group, Students for Civil Justice, where she organized a mentorship program between RIAJ attorneys and RWU Law students. She is also active in her community and serves as a member of multiple committees.
Yulyana Torres is a third-year law student and a Student Admissions Ambassador at Roger Williams University School of Law. Yulyana was raised in Providence, Rhode Island and considers herself lucky to call Rhode Island home. Yulyana's legal interests are in Public Interest Law and she has participated in multiple pro-bono projects during her time in law school. Yulyana has been invested in fighting social justice issues her whole life and is excited to use her law school education to uplift her community.
Eden Yerby is a current Roger Williams University School of Law student, Class of 2023. Eden completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at University of South Carolina in Global Studies with an emphasis on Sustainable Development in December 2019. She is currently completing her JD at RWU and plans on pursuing a law career in environmental or land use lawfollowing her expected graduation in the Spring of 2023. Eden has spent a significant amount of time in law school advocating on behalf of diverse students. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion and serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee as well as the LGBTQ+ subcommittee at RWU Law. During her time at RWU she has been an active member in the Sea Grant Fellowship program where she has assisted in researching issues facing the Rhode Island communities and their ability to access the coast. Additionally she has participated in the Street Law Pro Bono collaborative and has served as a teaching assistant for professor Shine Tu’s property class.
Zach Zarnow has focused his career on increasing access to justice. After graduating from Brandeis University, Zach spent two years in Eastern Ukraine as a Peace Corps Community Development Volunteer, where he developed civil society networks, established social enterprises, and created anti-corruption initiatives. This experience drove him to enroll at American University’s Washington College of Law, where he focused his studies on access to justice, human rights, and legal empowerment. Both during and after law school he held fellowships and positions with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative, the Open Society Foundations, Public Justice, the American Association for Justice, and the Council for Court Excellence.
As a Principal Court Management Consultant with the National Center for State Courts, Zach is working on national level initiatives to increase access to justice, including working with various court systems to improve the experience of self-represented litigants through process improvement, technological innovation, and system change. At NCSC, Zach is the co-creator and a co-host of Tiny Chats—offering free, digestible, and creative short-form educational videos on topics about access to justice. He was also instrumental in securing $11 million in funding to support the Eviction Diversion Initiative and in its design, staffs the CCJ/COSCA Policy Committee, and has authored numerous reports and resources on access to justice topics, including severalinteractive tools.
Prior to joining NCSC, Zach was the Program Director at the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, where he ran the statewide grantmaking and program evaluation of legal aid organizations and was responsible for the development and management of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network.
Meet the Moderators
Nicole P. Dyszlewski is one of the editors of Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion and Equity in the Law School Classroom. She currently serves as the Director of Special Programs, Academic Affairs at RWU Law and as an adjunct professor.
She received a B.A. from Hofstra University, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and an M.L.I.S. from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She is a member of the Massachusetts State Bar and the Rhode Island State Bar. Her areas of interest are mass incarceration, access to justice, and systems of race and gender inequality in law. Nicole was the 2020 recipient of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Volunteer Service Award and the 2015 recipient of the AALL Emerging Leader Award.
Suzanne Harrington-Steppen is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Associate Director of Pro Bono Programs at Roger Williams University School of Law. She recently co-edited Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion and Equity in the Law School Classroom (Carolina Academic Press 2021)(with Nicole Dyszlewski, Raquel J. Gabriel, Anna Russell, and Genevieve B. Tung) and is working on the second book in this series. She received a B.A. Boston College and a J.D. from City University of New York School of Law.
Eliza Vorenberg is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Director of Pro Bono and Community Partnerships at RWU Law. She directs the New York Pro Bono Scholars Program at RWU Law and teaches the co-curricular seminar. Eliza has directed the Pro Bono Collaborative since January, 2006. Before joining RWU Law, Eliza devoted her legal practice to increasing access to justice in the areas of family Law, employment discrimination, and civil rights, among other areas.
This program has been approved for 6.5 Rhode Island CLE Credit Hours.
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