Confirmed Speakers for the NLLSA Conference at Yale Law School

In NLLSA on April 8, 2010 by nllsachair

The 2010 National Latina/o Law Students Association Conference this October at Yale Law School is coming together.  Remember to save the date:

October 1-2, 2010

Yale Law School

New Haven, CT

We have an amazing program planned for that weekend, and we will be sending more updates over the next few months.  We are pleased to announced that the following people have confirmed they will participate as speakers or panelists:

  • Hon. José Cabranes, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. President Carter made Judge Cabranes the first Puerto Rican appointed to the federal bench, and in 1994 President Clinton made him the second Puerto Rican to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals.  Judge Cabranes is also a founding member of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund.
  • Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel – MALDEF. Before returning to MALDEF in August 2009, Mr. Saenz served as Counsel to the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, providing legal and policy advice.  Previously, Saenz practiced civil rights litigation at MALDEF where he served as Vice President of Litigation.
  • Hon. Cecilia Altonaga, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.  Judge Altonaga became the first Cuban-American to serve as a federal judge when President Bush appointed her in 2003.  Notably, Judge Altonaga presided over the trial of Charles McArthur Emmanuel, son of Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, the first American to be charged for participating in torture overseas.
  • Gerald Torres, Professor – University of Texas, Austin.  Professor Torres is former president of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), and a leading figure in critical race theory, and environmental law.  Torres has served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and as counsel to then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
  • Cristina Rodríguez, Professor – New York University School of Law.  Professor Rodríguez has written extensively on the effects of immigration on a society and culture, and on the legal and political strategies different societies adopt to absorb immigrant populations.  Before teaching, Professor Rodríguez was a Rhodes Scholar, a graduate of Yale Law School, and clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Joaquin Avila, Professor – Seattle University School of Law.  Professor Avila is a nationally recognized expert on voting rights, and has successfully argued two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding special provisions in the Voting Rights Act.  A graduate of Harvard Law School, he now directs the National Voting Rights Advocacy Initiative at Seattle University.
  • Drew Days, Professor – Yale Law School.  Before joining the Yale Law School faculty in 1981, Professor Days served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights during the Carter Administration.  In 1988 he founded the Orville H. Schell Jr. Center for Human Rights at Yale, serving as its director.  Between 1993 and 1996 Professor Days served as Solicitor General under President Clinton, arguing regularly before the Supreme Court.
  • Leon Rodriguez, Department of Justice – Civil Rights Division.  Mr. Rodriguez is the Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff for Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.  Mr. Rodriguez served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh as chief of the White Collar Crimes Section, then as First Assistant U.S. Attorney.  Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College School of Law.
  • Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel – MALDEF.  Ms. Perales directs MALDEF’s litigation, advocacy and public education in nine southern and western states. Ms. Perales specializes in voting rights litigation, including redistricting and vote dilution challenges. In 2006, Ms. Perales successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in LULAC v. Perry, a Latino vote-dilution challenge to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan.
  • · George Gascón, Police Chief – City of San Francisco.  Chief Gascón began his career as an officer for the Los Angeles Police Department.  He eventually rose to be the Assistant Chief of the LAPD, where he oversaw all of the Department’s patrol and detective functions.  Before his appointment in San Francisco, he served as Police Chief in Mesa, Arizona.  He has also helped train police departments in El Salvador and Colombia.
  • Heather Gerken, Professor – Yale Law School. Professor Gerken is one of the country’s leading experts on voting rights and election law, the role of groups in the democratic process, and the relationship between diversity and democracy.  She is best known for her seminal book, The Democracy Index.  After graduating from Princeton University and Michigan Law School, Professor Gerken clerked for Justice Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Michael Wishnie, Professor – Yale Law School.  Professor Wishnie is an expert on national security law, as well as worker and immigrant’s rights.  Professor Wishnie served as a Skadden Fellow, representing New York City taxi drivers, garment, construction, restaurant and domestic workers in their efforts to vindicate basic labor and employment rights.  A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Professor Wishnie clerked for both Justice Harry A. Blackmun and Justice Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Gerardo Vildostegui, Professor – Rutgers School of Law.  Professor Vildostegui received his J.D. from Yale University in 2000, where he was the first Latino editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal.  He has written reports on prison conditions in Puerto Rico, worked at the Office of the Legal Adviser in the State Department, at the Center for Justice and International Law in Costa Rica.
  • Fred Rivera, Partner – Perkins Coie.  Mr. Rivera is the co-chair of the Financial Services Litigation & Investigations practice at Perkins Coie.  An expert on mortgage fraud, fair housing and fair lending claims, Mr. Rivera began his career as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  He briefly returned to public service from 2006-2008 as the head of investigations at Fannie Mae.
  • Arturo Vargas, Senior Fellow – UCLA School of Public Affairs. Mr. Vargas is the Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and the NALEO Educational Fund.  The NALEO Educational Fund empowers Latinos by providing citizenship outreach and assistance, civic participation, campaign training, technical assistance to elected and appointed Latino officials, youth leadership development, research on Latino demographic and electoral trends, and policy analysis and advocacy on access to the democratic process.

We’ll be sending out some more updates as other speakers confirm.  We hope to see you all in New Haven this October!


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