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Speakers and Bios

Keynote Speaker

Victoria Nourse is the Burrus-Bascom Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin, where she has taught for almost two decades. Professor Nourse has extensive experience both as an appellate lawyer for the Justice Department, under George H.W. Bush, and as a legislative drafter, as special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. As a young lawyer, she argued cases for the government in the courts of appeals. Since becoming a professor, she has published dozens of law journal articles, a critically acclaimed book, and taught over a thousand students the arts of appellate lawyering. Over a period of two decades, Professor Nourse has been a visiting professor at Yale, NYU, Georgetown, and Emory, always commuting to her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In July 2010, she was nominated by the President to sit on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She is widely recognized as the principal staffer responsible for drafting the Violence Against Women Act on behalf of then-Senator and now Vice President Biden.

“What do we mean by 'Violence Against Women'?” Panel

Jesselyn McCurdy (moderator) is a Senior Legislative Counsel in the Washington Legislative Office (WLO) of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and is responsible for defending civil liberties in Congress and in the Executive Branch in the areas of criminal justice. Prior, she was a Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and a Legislative Counsel in the Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union working on criminal justice issues federally. Jesselyn was also the Co-Director of the Children's Defense Fund’s Education and Youth Development Division. Jesselyn has also worked as the Assistant Section Director of the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and was a staff attorney for the American Prosecutors Research Institute affiliated with the National District Attorney’s Association. Jesselyn received a BA in Journalism and Political Science from Rutgers University and her JD from Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

Caroline Bettinger-Lopez (panelist) is a professor at Miami Law. Bettinger-López’s scholarship, advocacy, and teaching focus on international human rights law and advocacy, including the implementation of human rights norms at the domestic level. Her main regional focus is the United States and Latin America, and her principal areas of interest include violence against women, gender and race discrimination, and immigrants’ rights. Bettinger-López regularly litigates and engages in other forms of advocacy in the Inter-American Human Rights system, federal and state courts and legislative bodies, and the United Nations. Bettinger-López holds a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Lynn Hecht Schafran (panelist) is Senior Vice President of Legal Momentum and Director since l981 of its National Judicial Education Program to Promote Equality for Women and Men in the Courts (NJEP), a project co-sponsored by the National Association of Women Judges. She has designed and presented programs for national, state and federal judicial colleges across the country .and advised the state and federal task forces on gender bias in the courts that emerged nationwide in response. Her numerous publications include model judicial education curricula and DVDs on topics such as sexual assault trials and equal justice for women of color in the courts. See www.legalmomentum.org/.njep. Her work to eliminate gender bias in the courts has been recognized with many awards including the Smith College Medal and the American Bar Association Margaret Brent Woman Lawyer of Achievement Award. Ms. Schafran worked with then-Senator Biden’s staff, Legal Momentum colleagues, the National Association of Women Judges and others to draft VAWA and secure its passage in the face of opposition from several judicial organizations. The reports of the task forces on gender bias in the courts noted above dealt extensively with violence against women and figured heavily in the development of VAWA, the Congressional hearings and the dissent in U.S. v. Morrison, the case holding the civil rights remedy unconstitutional In recent years VAWA funding has enabled NJEP to conduct extensive judicial education about sexual assault, most recently in a Web course/Resource, Intimate Partner Sexual Abuse: Adjudicating this Hidden Dimension of Domestic Violence, www. njep-ipsacourse.org. Registration is free and open to all. In 2009 Ms. Schafran organized a Symposium Celebrating the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act and Honoring its Champion, Vice President Joe Biden, at the Georgetown Law Center. The entire symposium is published in XI THE GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF GENDER AND THE LAW 511 (2010).

Michael Shaw (panelist) is the co-director of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services at Waypoint Services for Women, Children and Families. For more than 30 years, Michael has worked in a variety of capacities as an advocate and youth worker. Michael is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. He is a certified sexual assault and domestic violence counselor and an experienced trainer on a variety of sexual assault and domestic violence issues. Michael received his Bachelor and Master degrees in social work from the University of Iowa.

“Rights, Power, History and Status Inequality” Panel

Judith Resnik (Moderator) is the Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School where she teaches about federalism, procedure, courts, equality, and citizenship. She also served as a co-chair of the Women's Faculty Forum of Yale University. Professor Resnik has also testified before Congress, before rulemaking committees of the federal judiciary, and before the House of Commons of Canada. In 1998, Professor Resnik was the recipient of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the Commission on Women of the American Bar Association. In 2001, she was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2002, a member of the American Philosophical Society, where she delivered the Henry LaBarre Jayne Lecture in 2005. In 2008, Professor Resnik received the Outstanding Scholar of the Year Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. In 2010, she was named a recipient of the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Prize, awarded to outstanding faculty in higher education in the fields of psychology or law.

Dean Larry Sager (panelist) is the Dean of the University of Texas Law School and one of the nation's preeminent constitutional theorists and scholars. Dean Sager came to Texas from New York University School of Law, where he was the Robert B. McKay Professor and Co-Founder of the Program in Law, Philosophy & Social Theory. He has also taught at Harvard, Princeton, Boston University, UCLA, and the University of Michigan. Dean Sager is the author or co-author of dozens of articles, many now classics in the canon of legal scholarship. Sager is the author of two books: Justice in Plainclothes: a Theory of American Constitutional Practice (Yale Univ. Press), and Religious Freedom and the Constitution (co-authored with Christopher Eisgruber) (Harvard Univ. Press).

Julie Goldscheid (panelist) is a professor at CUNY School of Law. She holds a B.S. from Cornell, an M.S.W. from Hunter College School of Social Work, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. In addition to clerking for the New Jersey Supreme Court, working at a private firm and teaching at both Penn State-Dickinson Law School and Brooklyn Law School, she spent six years at Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund); her last position there was Acting Legal Director. She has also served as General Counsel of Safe Horizon, an organization committed to victim assistance, advocacy, and violence prevention, where she oversaw its domestic violence law project and immigration law project. She has written widely about violence against women and is active in a number of organizations, including various Sections of the American Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the Stonewall Community Foundation. She is a former member of the board of directors of the Hetrick Martin Institute and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

Mike Kavey (panelist) is an Associate-in-Law at Columbia Law School. He holds a B.A. from Yale College, an M.A. from Middlebury College (School of Spain), and a J.D. from Yale Law School. After graduating law school, Michael clerked for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor – who at the time sat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – and for the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch – who at the time sat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. After clerking, he practiced law with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York, where he served as the Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellow (2007-2009) and as an Affiliated Attorney (2009-2010). His litigation and advocacy at Lambda Legal focused on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students and their allies in schools. Michael has also worked as a research assistant for Kenji Yoshino, now the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law. Michael's recent writing includes The Public Faces of Privacy: Reconsidering the 1999 ECHR Judgments in the British Military Cases, in DIVERSITY AND EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS: REWRITING JUDGMENTS OF THE ECHR (Eva Brems ed., Cambridge Univ. Press, forthcoming 2012), and Immodest Claims and Modest Contributions: Sexual Orientation in Comparative Constitutional Law (with Kenji Yoshino), in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW (Michel Rosenfeld & Andras Sajo eds., forthcoming 2012).  

“Intimate Violence and the Family” Panel

Talia Kraemer (moderator) is a third-year student at Yale Law School. Before law school, Talia worked at Children's Rights, a national watchdog organization that advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children. At Yale, Talia represents children in neglect proceedings and serves as a student director of the Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic. Talia was also a Student Fellow for the Yale China Law Center's Juvenile Justice Project, where she conducted research on predisposition reporting in juvenile justice cases and the scope of child welfare services in the United States. Talia is also a Notes Editor of The Yale Law Journal. She has clerked at the Supreme Court of Israel, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, and the Federal Programs Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. Talia received her A.B. in Physics from Harvard College.

Deborah Weissman (panelist) is the Reef Ivey II Distinguished Professor of Law at University of North Carolina School of Law. Her research, teaching, and practice interests include gender-based violence law, civil rights, immigration law, and human rights in the local and international realm. Some of her recent related publications include Redefining Human Rights Lawyering Through the Lens of Critical Theory: Lessons for Pedagogy and Practice (with Caroline Bettinger-Lopez, et al.), 18 Georgetown J. of Law and Poverty 337 (2011); Global Economics and Their Progenies: Theorizing Femicide in Context, in Terrorizing Women, Femicide in the Americas, (Rosa-Linda Fregoso and Cynthia Bejarano, eds., 2010 Duke Press); The Legal Production of the Transgressive Family: Binational Family Relationships Between Cuba and the United States, 88 North Carolina Law Review 1881 (2010); The Moral Politics of Social Control: Political Culture and Ordinary Crime in Cuba (with Marsha Weissman), 35 Brooklyn J. of Int'l L. 311 (2010); Gender and Human Rights: Between Morals and Politics in Gender Equality (Linda C. McClain and Joanna L. Grossman, eds. 2009); Domestic Violence in the PostIndustrial Household, In Violence Against Women in Families and Relationships (Evan Stark and Eve Buzawa eds. 2009); The Personal is Political and Economic: Rethinking Domestic Violence, 2007 BYU L. Rev. 387 (2007); Public Power and Private Purpose: Odious Debt and the Political Economy of Hegemony (with Louis A. Perez, Jr.), 32 N.C. J. Int'l L. & Comm. Reg. 699 (2007); The Political Economy of Violence: Toward an Understanding of the Gender-Based Murders of Ciudad Juarez, 30 N.C. J. Int'l L. & Comm. Reg. 795 (2005).
Professor Weissman teaches the Immigration/Human Rights Policy Clinic at the UNC School of Law. The clinic provides representation to immigrants with a focus on women who have been victims of gender violence and engages in policy projects in coordination with human rights NGOs, primarily in the Western Hemisphere. She has collaborated with the Ministry of Justice in Havana, Cuba on issues related to domestic violence. Professor Weissman has testified before Congress about the clinic's research findings and has consulted with national immigrant rights groups about federal-local immigration partnerships and their impact on local communities. Her current research project focuses on U.S. foreign policy and Mexico's "drug war" and its impact on U.S. immigration enforcement.

Emily Sack (panelist) is currently a Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law, where she teaches in the areas of Criminal Law, Domestic Violence Law, Family Law, and Juvenile Justice. She is the author of several articles related to domestic violence, including Battered Women and the State: The Struggle for the Future of Domestic Violence Policy (2004 Wisc. L. Rev. 1657), which was quoted in Justice Stevens’ dissenting opinion in Castle Rock v. Gonzales (U.S. 2005). She is co-author of the third edition of one of the leading casebooks in this area, Domestic Violence and the Law: Theory and Practice (Foundation Press, 3rd ed., forthcoming 2012) (with Elizabeth Schneider, Cheryl Hanna & Judith G. Greenberg).
Prior to joining the RWU Law School faculty, Professor Sack served as Deputy Director of the Center for Court Innovation, a New York-based foundation that plans and operates court demonstration projects. She was responsible for developing and implementing domestic violence courts throughout New York State, including the first felony domestic violence court in the country, in Brooklyn. The Center for Court Innovation was the recipient of an Innovations in American Government award (sponsored by the Ford Foundation and Harvard’s Kennedy School) for its court improvement work, including the Brooklyn Domestic Violence Court.
Professor Sack has worked intensively with several jurisdictions around the country on improving their court response to domestic violence, including Anchorage, Alaska, Portland, Maine, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. She has served as a peer grant reviewer for several grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as the Centers for Disease Control, and has given presentations and participated on panels at many national conferences, including the Association of American Law Schools, the National College of District Attorneys, and the American Society of Criminology.
Professor Sack previously practiced in the areas of criminal defense and family law in New York City. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and New York University School of Law.

Sheila Hayre (panelist) is a staff attorney at New Haven Legal Assistance Association, where she practices both family law - including divorce, child custody and visitation, alimony and child support, and restraining orders - and immigration law-including VAWA Self-Petitions, U Visas, and T Visas. Sheila's work in family law and immigration has focused on the neediest, particularly undocumented women who are victims of domestic violence. She was among the first legal services attorneys in Connecticut to pursue visa status adjustments for battered spouses, and she has recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of victims of trafficking and employer abuse.
Hayre received her J.D. in 2002 from Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and student board chair of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization. After graduating, she clerked for the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit under Judge Jon O. Newman. Hayres holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Stanford University. She currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for IRIS, or Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, a New Haven-based non-profit which assists refugees and other immigrants as they establish new lives in communities across Connecticut.