The American Law Institute Elects Professor Jonathan Rapping as New Member

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates and celebrates Professor Jonathan Rapping, Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, for his recent election to The American Law Institute (ALI). The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law.

As stated by the ALI, “Our membership consists of eminent judges, lawyers, and law professors from all areas of the United States and from many foreign countries, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law.

To further its work, the Institute elects individuals who reflect the excellence and diversity of today’s legal profession. Membership in The American Law Institute is a distinct professional honor, and the number of elected members is limited.”

Professor Rapping is one of sixty new members elected this summer. He shared, “It is a great honor to be elected as a member of the American Law Institute. I look forward to bringing my experience as a Law Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, my work as a criminal justice reformer through Gideon’s Promise, and my scholarship and expertise in the areas of public defense and criminal justice to this organization.”

In addition to leading the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Professor Rapping has taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Criminal Justice Lawyering at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

Congratulations, Professor!

Dr. Bridgett Ortega Honored at ACLU Annual Meeting

Courtesy, ACLU of GA

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) joins the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia in celebrating Dr. Bridgett Ortega, Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, for her 12 years of service and leadership. After 11 years at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Dr. Ortega is closing out her last month as a full-time administrator and will return this fall as an Adjunct Professor in her retirement.

Joined by her family and AJMLS team members, Dr. Ortega attended the 2022 Annual Membership Meeting for the ACLU of Georgia on June 29, 2022 at the Atlanta History Center. At the event, she was celebrated by her peers and thanked for her long term service and contributions. 

The ACLU shared at the event, “The current ACLU of Georgia you helped build is one that brings a complex, expert, and passionate approach to the considerable civil rights and civil liberties challenges of our times. In your role as the Equity Officer, you have guided our organization to integrate Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging into all aspects of our work, and the increasingly diverse staff and Board are reflections of this.”

Dr. Ortega served the ACLU of Georgia Board of Directors as the Equity Officer from 2011-2022 and co-chairs the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at AJMLS since its inception.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the ACLU. I am just one of many voices for liberty and justice who work for and with the ACLU. I will continue my journey with them but as a ground soldier now.” said Dr. Ortega.

AJMLS acknowledges the incredible contributions that Dr. Ortega has made at the Law School and in our community, and we applaud her ongoing service to the ACLU.

AJMLS Announces the Retirement of Professor Robert D’Agostino

After over 28 years of distinguished service, Professor D’Agostino, “Dag”, has announced his retirement from teaching at the end of May 2022. He will continue to serve as Dean Emeritus for an additional academic year to complete various projects and publications.

It is with mixed feelings that we announce the retirement of Professor Robert D’Agostino. It is difficult if not impossible to sum up all of his achievements over 28 years of dedicated service.

Professor D’Agostino began his career at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 1995. Prior to joining the Law School and after practicing law for some 15 years, Professor D’Agostino was a tenured professor at what is now Widener Law School in Delaware. From 1981 to 1982, he took a two year leave of absence from Widener to serve as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan, where he served as an Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights. Professor D’Agostino also served as Dean of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School from 1996 to 2000, during some tumultuous times for the Law School. He is responsible for Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in how it operates today.

Professor D’Agostino has authored more than 30 publications prior to and during his tenure in academia. His publications deal with topics related to bankruptcy, civil rights, and constitutional law. In addition, over the course of his career, Professor D’Agostino has also participated in several U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs dealing with bankruptcy issues. Professor D’Agostino is a graduate of Columbia University, and he received his J.D. from Emory University.

Please join us in congratulating Professor D’Agostino on his impressive career, and wishing him a long and healthy retirement with his family.

Dean Jace C. Gatewood

AJMLS Announces the Retirement of Dr. Bridgett Ortega, Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development

After 11 years of distinguished service, Dr. Ortega has announced her retirement at the end of July 2022.

Dean Jace C. Gatewood stated, “Dr. Ortega has been a steadfast colleague and friend to all who have worked with her. I personally consider her my mentor and have appreciated her guidance and counsel during my time as Dean. It has been my absolute privilege working with her.”

Dr. Bridgett Ortega, a veteran of the United States Air Force, is the Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She has been a key administrator since joining the team in early 2011 and is also a Sr. organizational consultant and trainer for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, American University’s Justice Program Office and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. She is a lawyer, researcher, and the Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center in Washington, D.C. She is also currently the Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU.

As the Law School has evolved, so has Dr. Ortega, having earned her master’s and doctorate degrees while also serving in roles such as Assistant Dean of Externship and Pro Bono Services and Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning. She has also managed department programs such as Street Law, Re-entry Forum, and Youth and the Law Summit. As a teaching administrator, Dr. Ortega developed and teaches the Learning from Practice course which includes modules on Cultural Competency, Equity and Inclusion, and Navigating Cultural Difference. 

Dr. Ortega has spent over 30 years advocating for criminal and juvenile justice reform. She is a passionate advocate for the incarcerated and their children with an emphasis on compassionate practice in the justice system. She is a National Trainer on subjects dealing with Juvenile and Adult Drug Courts, Compassionate Practice in Problem Solving Courts, Compassionate Communication, Compassionate Family Engagement, Domestic Violence, Equity and Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Improving Outcomes for Children of the Incarcerated and all things Juvenile Justice. Dr. Ortega is the former Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures Initiative, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening in the lives of young people with substance disorders and other issues that bring them into the justice system.

She has been featured in the ABC Nightline “Kids in Court” series and the Frontline Juvenile Justice documentary. Dr. Ortega is the recipient of the ABA Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for outstanding advocacy in juvenile justice, the NAACP Freedom Fund Civil and Human Rights Award and in December of 2018 she was recognized by the National Juvenile Defender Center as a champion for juvenile justice for her work in defending youth rights. She co-founded the Santa Clara County California Juvenile Drug Treatment Court with the Honorable Judge Thomas Edwards for which she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for invaluable service to the community. Dr. Ortega holds a Master of Arts degree, Juris Doctorate and a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership. Her published research dissertation is entitled, Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ortega on her incredibly impactful career, and wishing her a long and healthy retirement with her beloved family.

Dean Jace C. Gatewood Signs Letter to Support Supreme Court Justice Nominee

On March 2, 2022, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Dean and CEO, Jace C. Gatewood, signed his support for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic nomination, which was sent to Senate Leadership and the Committee on the Judiciary. Dean Gatewood was one of 38 Black Law Deans that submit the letter of support.

The letter begins,

“We, the Black Deans of U.S. Law schools, write to express our strong and unequivocal support for the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of the United States. As leaders in the American legal academy, we believe this confirmation would represent a triumph for this nation. By confirming this honors graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, who has participated in civil cases at the highest levels and has also represented indigent criminal defendants, the Senate will not only add a supremely qualified justice to the Supreme Court, but will also ensure that people from all communities across our nation enjoy the promise emblazoned over the Court architrave that declares “Equal Justice Under Law.””

After a summary of the Judge’s credentials, the Deans conclude with,

“We, the undersigned Black Law Deans, are leaders of the legal academy educating the next generation of lawyers who will serve on our courts, in our legislatures, and in other roles in our justice system. We have signed this letter in our individual capacities, noting our institutional affiliation for identification purposes only. Yet, we are unified in our conviction that Judge Jackson is exceptionally well qualified and well prepared to serve on this nation’s highest Court.”

Click here to read the full letter

Dr. Bridgett Ortega Presents at National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, Dr. Bridgett Ortega, recently presented at multiple sessions at The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) Conference – RISE21 in National Harbor, Maryland.

RISE21 was held August 15-18, 2021 and brought together judges, law enforcement officials, treatment providers, drug and veterans court coordinators, researchers, celebrities, leading authorities on best practices in adult, juvenile, and veterans substance abuse treatment, drug court graduates, veteran treatment court graduates, probation officers, attorneys, consumer advocates, and experts in the treatment court field. The attendees gained new tactics, insights, and increased ability to improve the success of their treatment courts.

In-line with her dissertation and expertise, Dr. Ortega presented at two sessions on Compassionate Jurisprudence and one session on Compassionate Communication and Family Engagement.

Dr. Bridgett Ortega, a veteran of the United States Air Force, is the Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She has been a key administrator since joining the team in early 2011 and is also a Sr. organizational consultant and trainer for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, American University’s Justice Program Office and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. She is a lawyer, researcher, and the Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center in Washington, D.C. She is also currently the Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU.

Dr. Ortega has spent over 30 years advocating for criminal and juvenile justice reform. She is a passionate advocate for the incarcerated and their children with an emphasis on compassionate practice in the justice system. She is a National Trainer on subjects dealing with Juvenile and Adult Drug Courts, Compassionate Practice in Problem Solving Courts, Compassionate Communication, Compassionate Family Engagement, Domestic Violence, Equity and Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Improving Outcomes for Children of the Incarcerated and all things Juvenile Justice. Dr. Ortega is the former Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures Initiative, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening in the lives of young people with substance disorders and other issues that bring them into the justice system.

She has been featured in the ABC Nightline “Kids in Court” series and the Frontline Juvenile Justice documentary. Dr. Ortega is the recipient of the ABA Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for outstanding advocacy in juvenile justice, the NAACP Freedom Fund Civil and Human Rights Award and in December of 2018 she was recognized by the National Juvenile Defender Center as a champion for juvenile justice for her work in defending youth rights. She co-founded the Santa Clara County California Juvenile Drug Treatment Court with the Honorable Judge Thomas Edwards for which she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for invaluable service to the community. Dr. Ortega holds a Master of Arts degree, Juris Doctorate and a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership. Her published research dissertation is entitled, Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud of Dr. Ortega’s service to her community and students, and looks forward to championing her continued leadership in and out of the classroom.

Professor Jonathan Rapping Receives The University of Chicago Alumni Professional Achievement Award

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Professor Jonathan Rapping, Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, for his recent honor receiving the Alumni Professional Achievement Award from The University of Chicago. 

The Alumni Professional Achievement Award recipients are accomplished luminaries in any professional field. These alumni’s achievements have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the University, and real benefit to their communities.

When asked of his recent honor, Professor Rapping reflected, “This award is incredibly meaningful to me because my experience at the University of Chicago helped set me on a path to live out my vision for myself as part of a larger effort to make the world more just. As a Professor at AJMLS I am able to help students define their vision for how they want to serve. Atlanta’s John Marshall did not expect me to leave my previous work to become a law teacher. Instead, it welcomed me bringing that work into my teaching and scholarship to train a student body to carve a career path consistent with our mission to develop the lawyers of tomorrow who will serve those who have historically had the least access to justice. I am honored to be able to live the professional achievement that this award recognizes through my work at AJMLS.”

Outside the classroom, Professor Rapping is the founder and president of Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization with the mission to transform criminal justice by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities. In addition to his full-time teaching at AJMLS, he is also a visiting professor at Harvard University Law School.

Professor Rapping recently authored Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice (2020), building on an extensive collection of scholarship and informed by his work in the field. In the book, he argues that cultural transformation is critical to realizing justice in America’s criminal legal system and provides a blueprint for achieving that vision. In 2014, Professor Rapping received the prestigious MacArthur Genius Fellowship for his cutting-edge approach to justice transformation. He is the co-host of Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast, along with his wife and Gideon’s Promise co-founder and executive director, Ilham Askia. Professor Rapping’s work was also the inspiration for the award-winning HBO documentary Gideon’s Army.

Congratulations, Professor, it is our honor to support your mission and champion your successes. AJMLS students are afforded the very best criminal justice education from you.

Professor John Melvin Published by National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Adjunct Professor, John Melvin, for his recent publication, Georgia Objections at Trial, Second Edition. The ebook is a publication for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) and is an invaluable guide that helps judges, lawyers, and law students navigate the Georgia Evidence Code. The publication is current through 2021 and the new edition provides evidence scenarios and the reasons behind the rulings. 

Professor Melvin, who has taught evenings at AJMLS since 2012, teaches Trial Advocacy and is the current Assistant Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Having tried 180 trials during his time at the Cobb County, Dekalb County, and Gwinnett County District Attorneys’ Offices, he brings the wisdom of his quarter-century of courtroom experience to the publication and classroom. During his time as a prosecutor, he served as Acting District Attorney, Chief Assistant District, Deputy Chief, Public Integrity and White Collar, and Senior Assistant District Attorney. Professor Melvin is also a lecturer at the National College of District Attorneys and served on the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council Basic Litigation committee.

Professor Melvin’s courtroom and leadership experience has brought invaluable lessons and insight to AJMLS students in the classroom and we are thankful for his near decade of service to our students. 

Professor Jaffe Cited in Michigan Supreme Court Concurring Opinion

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor Elizabeth Jaffe’s 2016 article on swatting was cited in the Concurring Opinion in the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Pagano, 2021 WL 1570350. In this case, the Defendant was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a child as a passenger and having an open container in a motor vehicle. The Defendant filed a motion to dismiss arguing the traffic stop was unlawful. The District Court granted the motion and the Circuit Court affirmed the decision. The State appealed and the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the decision. The Defendant appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court and the Court reversed and remanded finding in favor of the Defendant. In the Concurring Opinion, Justice Zahra cited to Professor Jaffe’s 2016 article in footnote 2. 

The footnote is based upon an article written by Professor Jaffe in which she addresses the crime of swatting. The footnote reads “In recent years, individuals have used spoofing technology to make fake 911 calls in order to prank or harass individuals. See Chapter 284, 45 McGeorge L. Rev. at 585; Jaffe, Swatting: The New Cyberbullying Frontier After Elonis v. United States, 64 Drake L. Rev. 455, 456 (2016).”

Professor Jaffe has been on faculty since 2006. She teaches Domestic Relations, Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II, Pretrial Practice & Procedure, and Depositions. She has conducted extensive scholarly research with the focus on education law and the legal response to bullying, and has several published articles in this area. In addition to published articles, she has presented at the Symposium “Cyberbullying in America: A Discussion of Liability, Policy, and Progress” and has received national media coverage for her expertise in this area of law.

Thank you for your continued contributions to both AJMLS and the legal community, Professor Jaffe. We appreciate all of your efforts!

Professor Burch to argue before the Palau Supreme Court, Publishes Book Chapter

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) faculty are diverse in trial, classroom, and scholarship experience, with a strong international presence. When stateside, Professor Burch teaches a variety of courses at AJMLS, including Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law; and presents at conferences such as the recent Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era: Beyond the Physical Classroom Conference.

Professor Burch is set to argue before the Palau Supreme Court, Appellate Division next week. On Friday, August 13th, Professor Burch will represent the Republic of Palau in oral argument in the case of Ochedaruchei Clan v. Oilouch, where she will be presenting argument on the issue of sovereign immunity. Professor Burch is assisting the Republic of Palau’s Office of Attorney General while she is on a leave of absence from the Law School.

In addition, Professor Burch’s chapter titled: “Blasphemy! Skills-Based Constitutional Law Online” has been published by Carolina Academic Press in “Law Teaching Strategies For a New Era”. Professor Burch’s chapter discusses how to design formative assessments that scaffold skills acquisition and provide opportunities for students to acquire competency in course material.

Atlanta’s John Marshall students have had the pleasure of learning from Professor Burch since 2003 and we look forward to her classroom return.

Professor Michael Mears Selected to Participate in Transnational Legal Education Project

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Michael Mears, has been selected to participate in a transnational legal education project with the National Law University in New Delhi, India.

The National Law University in New Delhi is one of the national law schools in India built on the five-year law degree model proposed and implemented by the Bar Council of India. National Law University (NLU) Delhi was established in 2008 with the objective of promoting ethical values with a view to promoting the rule of law and the objectives laid down in the Constitution of India. The University offers various courses including an LL.B. Program and a Ph.D. Program in multiple specializations.

Professor Mears will be lecturing on several selected themes including the American Legal System’s adversarial system, the right against self-incrimination, and the advancement of forensic evidence in the American Judicial System. Professor Mears will be collaborating in this series of lectures with Dr. Bharti Yadav, Assistant Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi.

Professor Mears has been on the faculty at AJMLS since 2007. He teaches evidence, advanced evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal law ethics. In 2003, Mears was selected to be the founding Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council after serving for over ten years as the Director of the Multi-County County Public Defender Office, a state-wide death penalty public defender service funded by the State of Georgia. He then retired from that position in 2007 and has been an Associate Professor AJMLS since.

Thank you for your contributions to the international legal community, Professor Mears. We are thrilled that law students internationally have the opportunity to learn from your expertise.

AJMLS Dean, Jace C. Gatewood, Joins Law Deans in Joint Statement About the Election and Events at the Capitol

“In difficult times, such as the times we find ourselves in today, it may be necessary to speak in one collective voice so that all our voices are heard. As lawyers and future lawyers, we are in a unique position to have our voices heard the loudest. I hope you will find the joint statement of Law School deans signed by the deans of more than three-quarters of the nation’s law schools on the recent attempts to overturn the election to be a loud voice.”

– Jace C. Gatewood, Dean and CEO of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

The following is a joint statement signed by 157 sitting law school deans. Written as a collaboration after a joint virtual meeting.

January 12, 2021

Law Deans Joint Statement on the 2020 Election and Events at the Capitol

We are deans of a diverse range of law schools across the country. We do not use our positions to advance our individual views. But we do have an obligation to support the rule of law and preserve the integrity of the legal profession. On rare occasions, despite our differing situations and views, that obligation requires us to speak as one to defend the fundamental commitments of our profession. This is such a moment.

The violent attack on the Capitol was an assault on our democracy and the rule of law. The effort to disrupt the certification of a free and fair election was a betrayal of the core values that undergird our Constitution. Lives were lost, the seat of our democracy was desecrated, and our country was shamed.

Many lawyers and judges worked honestly and in good faith, often in the face of considerable political pressure, to ensure the 2020 election was free and fair. However, we recognize with dismay and sorrow that some lawyers challenged the outcome of the election with claims that they did not support with facts or evidence. This betrayed the values of our profession. Our profession demands that when lawyers pursue legal action, they must bring claims in good faith, grounded in facts and evidence, and demonstrate respect for the legal system. Only then can lawyers fulfill their responsibilities as lawyers and public citizens to promote public confidence in the rule of law and the justice system — duties that extend to all professional activities, whether lawyers are representing a client or not. The rule of law is as much a touchstone of our profession as it is of our Constitution.

As law deans, our mission is to train the next generation of leaders to uphold the core values of our profession and sustain the rule of law. This should be a moment of reflection for legal educators and members of the legal profession. A sustained effort will be necessary to repair and preserve our precious democratic institutions. As legal educators and lawyers ourselves, we must redouble our efforts to restore faith in the rule of law and the ideals of the legal profession. We have enormous faith in the law’s enduring values and in our students, who will soon lead this profession. We call upon all members of the legal profession to join us in the vital work ahead.

Signed,

Alicia Ouellette
President and Dean
Albany Law School

Robert Dinerstein
Acting Dean and Professor of Law
American University, Washington College of Law

Jace C. Gatewood
Dean and CEO
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

Melanie Leslie
Dean and Samuel Belkin Professor of Law
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

Vincent Rougeau
Dean and Professor
Boston College Law School

Angela Onwuachi-Willig
Dean and Professor of Law
Boston University School of Law

Michael T. Cahill
President, Joseph Crea Dean & Professor of Law
Brooklyn Law School

Sean M. Scott
President and Dean
California Western School of Law

J. Rich Leonard
Dean
Campbell Law School

Reynaldo Anaya Valencia
Dean and Professor of Law
Capital University Law School

Anita K. Krug
Dean and Professor
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology

Charles H. Rose III
Dean and Professor of Law
Claude W. Pettit College of Law, Ohio Northern University

Lee Fisher
Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University

Gillian Lester
Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law
Columbia Law School

Jens David Ohlin
Interim Dean & Professor of Law
Cornell Law School

Joshua P. Fershée
Dean and Professor of Law
Creighton University School of Law

Henry C. Strickland
Dean
Cumberland School of Law, Samford University

Mary Lu Bilek
Dean and Professor of Law
CUNY School of Law

Rodney A. Smolla
Dean & Professor of Law
Delaware Law School, Widener University

Jennifer Rosato Perea
Dean and Professor
DePaul University College of Law

Jerry L. Anderson
Dean and Richard M. and Anita Calkins Distinguished Professor of Law
Drake University Law School

Kerry Abrams
James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean and Professor of Law
Duke University School of Law

April M. Barton
Dean and Professor of Law
Duquesne University School of Law

Leticia M. Diaz
Dean and Professor of Law
Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Barry University

Horace Anderson
Dean and Professor of Law
Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University

Luke Bierman
Dean and Professor of Law
Elon University School of Law

Mary Anne Bobinski
Dean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law
Emory University School of Law

Deidré A. Keller
Dean and Professor of Law
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law

C. Peter Goplerud
Dean and Professor of Law
Florida Coastal School of Law

Antony Page
Dean & FIU Foundation Professor of Law
Florida International University College of Law

Erin O’Hara O’Connor
Dean and McKenzie Professor of Law
Florida State University College of Law

Matthew Diller
Dean and Paul Fuller Professor of Law
Fordham University School of Law

William M. Treanor
Dean & Executive Vice President
Georgetown Law

Leslie E. Wolf
Interim Dean and Distinguished University Professor
Georgia State University College of Law

Eric C. Christiansen
Dean of the Law School (Interim, 2020-21), Professor of Law
Golden Gate University, School of Law

Jacob Rooksby
Dean and Professor of Law
Gonzaga University School of Law

John F. Manning
Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law
Harvard Law School

Danielle Holley-Walker
Dean and Professor of Law
Howard University School of Law

Austen Parrish
Dean and James H. Rudy Professor of Law
Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Karen E. Bravo
Dean and Professor of Law
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Gordon Smith
Dean and Woodruff J. Deem Professor of Law
J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University

Jennifer J. Johnson
Dean and Erskine Wood Sr. Professor of Law
Lewis and Clark Law School

Matthew R. Lyon
Vice President & Dean
Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law

Colin Crawford
Dean and Professor of Law
Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville

Lee Ann Wheelis Lockridge
Interim Dean and Professor of Law
Louisiana State University Law Center

Michael Waterstone
Dean and Professor of Law
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Michael J. Kaufman
Dean and Professor of Law
Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Madeleine M. Landrieu
Dean and Judge Adrian G. Duplantier Distinguished Professor of Law
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Gail Prudenti
Dean
Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

Cathy Cox
Dean and Professor of Law
Mercer University School of Law

Lincoln L. Davies
Dean & Frank R. Strong Chair in Law
Michael E. Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

Melanie B. Jacobs
Interim Dean & Professor of Law
Michigan State University College of Law

Patricia Bennett
Dean & Professor of Law
Mississippi College School of Law

Anthony Niedwiecki
President and Dean
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Scott P. Brown
President and Dean
New England Law/Boston

Anthony W. Crowell
Dean and President
New York Law School

Trevor Morrison
Dean and Eric M. and Laurie B. Roth Professor of Law
New York University School of Law

James Hackney
Dean and Professor of Law
Northeastern University School of Law

Cassandra L. Hill
Dean and Professor of Law
Northern Illinois University College of Law

James Speta
Interim Dean
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

José Roberto (Beto) Juárez, Jr.
Dean and Professor of Law
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law

Jim Roth
Dean and Professor of Law
Oklahoma City University School of Law

Danielle M. Conway
Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law
Penn State Dickinson Law

Hari M. Osofsky
Dean, Penn State Law and Penn State School of International Affairs
Distinguished Professor of Law, Professor of International Affairs, and Professor of Geography

Paul L. Caron
Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law
Pepperdine University Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Fernando Moreno Orama
Dean
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico

Jennifer Gerarda Brown
Dean and Professor of Law
Quinnipiac University School of Law

Gregory W. Bowman
Dean & Professor of Law
Roger Williams University School of Law

David Lopez
Co-Dean & Professor of Law
Rutgers Law School

Kimberly M. Mutcherson
Co-Dean & Professor of Law
Rutgers Law School

Elizabeth Kronk Warner
Dean
S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

William P. Johnson
Dean and Professor of Law
Saint Louis University School of Law

Judith Daar
Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold Dean and Professor of Law
Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University

Douglas J. Sylvester
Dean and Professor of Law
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University

Anna M. Han
Interim Dean
Santa Clara University School of Law

Camille M. Davidson
Dean and Professor of Law
School of Law, Southern Illinois University

Martin H. Brinkley
Dean and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor
School of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Annette E. Clark
Dean and Professor of Law
Seattle University School of Law

Kathleen M. Boozang
Dean and Professor of Law
Seton Hall University School of Law

Jennifer M. Collins
Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law
SMU Dedman School of Law

John Pierre
Chancellor
Southern University Law Center

Susan Westerberg Prager
President and Dean
Southwestern Law School

Michael A. Simons
Dean and John V. Brennan Professor of Law
St. John’s University School of Law

Jenny S. Martinez
Richard E. Lang Professor of Law & Dean
Stanford Law School

Michèle Alexandre
Dean and Professor of Law
Stetson University College of Law

Andrew Perlman
Dean & Professor of Law
Suffolk University Law School

Craig M. Boise
Dean and Professor of Law
Syracuse University College of Law

Gregory N. Mandel
Dean & Peter J. Liacouras Professor of Law
Temple University, Beasley School of Law

Dayna Bowen Matthew
Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law
The George Washington University Law School

Christopher J. (C.J.) Peters
Dean and C. Blake McDowell, Jr. Professor of Law
The University of Akron School of Law

Mark E. Brandon
Dean and Thomas E. McMillan Professor of Law
The University of Alabama School of Law

Katharine Traylor Schaffzin
Dean & Professor of Law
The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Sergio Pareja
Dean
The University of New Mexico School of Law

Benjamin Barros
Dean and Professor of Law
The University of Toledo College of Law

Lyn Suzanne Entzeroth
Dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair
The University of Tulsa College of Law

Daniel M. Filler
Dean and Professor of Law
Thomas R. Kline School of Law, Drexel University

Elena B. Langan
Dean and Professor of Law
Touro Law Center

David D. Meyer
Dean and Mitchell Franklin Professor of Law
Tulane University Law School

Theresa Beiner
Dean & Nadine Baum Distinguished Professor of Law
UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law

Kevin R. Johnson
Dean
UC Davis School of Law

Jennifer L. Mnookin
Dean and Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Professor of Law
UCLA School of Law

Darby Dickerson
Dean and Professor of Law
UIC John Marshall Law School, The University of Illinois at Chicago

Barbara Glesner Fines
Dean & Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law
UMKC School of Law

Aviva Abramovsky
Dean and Professor of Law
University at Buffalo School of Law, The State University of New York

Marc L. Miller
Dean & Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Margaret Sova McCabe
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Arkansas School of Law

Ronald Weich
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Baltimore School of Law

David L. Faigman
Chancellor & Dean and John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California Hastings College of the Law

Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley School of Law

L. Song Richardson
Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law
University of California, Irivine School of Law

Thomas J. Miles
Dean and Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics
University of Chicago Law School

Verna L. Williams
Dean and Nippert Professor of Law
University of Cincinnati College of Law

S. James Anaya
Dean and University Distinguished Professor
University of Colorado Law School

Eboni S. Nelson
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Connecticut School of Law

Andrew Strauss
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Dayton School of Law

Bruce P. Smith
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Phyllis L. Crocker
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

Laura Ann Rosenbury
Dean and Levin, Mabie & Levin Professor of Law
University of Florida Levin College of Law

Peter B. Rutledge
Dean
University of Georgia School of Law

Camille A. Nelson
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law

Leonard M. Baynes
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center

Jerrold Long
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Idaho College of Law

Vikram David Amar
Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law
University of Illinois College of Law

Stephen W. Mazza
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Kansas School of Law

Mary J. Davis
Dean and Ashland-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law
University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law

Donald B. Tobin
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Eric J. Mitnick
Dean & Professor of Law
University of Massachusetts School of Law

Anthony E. Varona
Dean and M. Minnette Massey Professor of Law
University of Miami School of Law

Mark D. West
Dean and Nippon Life Professor of Law
University of Michigan Law School

Garry W. Jenkins
Dean & William S. Pattee Professor of Law
University of Minnesota Law School

Susan H. Duncan
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Mississippi

Lyrissa Lidsky
Dean & Judge C.A. Leedy Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

Richard Moberly
Dean and Richard C. & Catherine S. Schmoker Professor of Law
University of Nebraska College of Law

Daniel W. Hamilton
Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law
University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law

Megan Carpenter
Dean and Professor of Law
University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law

Michael S. McGinniss
Dean and Professor of Law
University of North Dakota School of Law

Katheleen R. Guzman
Interim Dean and Professor
University of Oklahoma College of Law

Marcilynn A. Burke
Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law
University of Oregon School of Law

Theodore W. Ruger
Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Amy J. Wildermuth
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Vivian I. Neptune
Dean
University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Wendy C. Perdue
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Richmond School of Law

Robert Schapiro
Dean and Professor of Law
University of San Diego School of Law

Susan H. Freiwald
Dean and Professor of Law
University of San Francisco School of Law

William C. Hubbard
Dean and Professor of Law
University of South Carolina School of Law

Neil Fulton
Dean
University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law

Andrew T. Guzman
Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law, and Professor of Law and Political Science
University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Robert K. Vischer
Dean and Mengler Chair in Law
University of St. Thomas School of Law

Douglas Blaze
Interim Dean and Art Stolnitz and E.O. Overton Professor of Law
University of Tennessee College of Law

Renée McDonald Hutchins
Dean & Rauh Chair of Public Interest Law
University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law

Michael Hunter Schwartz
Dean and Professor of Law
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Risa Goluboff
Dean and Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law and Professor of History
University of Virginia School of Law

Mario L. Barnes
Toni Rembe Dean and Professor of Law
University of Washington School of Law

Daniel P. Tokaji
Fred W. & Vi Miller Dean and Professor of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School

Klint Alexander
Dean and Professor of Law
University of Wyoming College of law

Chris Guthrie
Dean
Vanderbilt Law School

Thomas McHenry
President and Dean
Vermont Law School

Mark C. Alexander
Arthur J. Kania Dean and Professor of Law
Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

Jane H Aiken
Dean and Professor of Law
Wake Forest Law School

Carla D. Pratt
Dean and Professor of Law
Washburn University School of Law

Brant J. Hellwig
Dean and Professor of Law
Washington and Lee University School of Law

Nancy Staudt
Dean and Howard & Caroline Cayne Distinguished Professor of Law
Washington University School of Law

Richard A. Bierschbach
Dean and Professor of Law
Wayne State University Law School

James McGrath
Dean and President
Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Sudha Setty
Dean and Professor of Law
Western New England University School of Law

Allen K. Easley
Dean & Professor of Law
Western State College of Law at Westcliff University

Brian Gallini
Dean & Professor of Law
Willamette University College of Law

A. Benjamin Spencer
Dean & Chancellor Professor
William & Mary Law School

John E. Taylor
Interim Dean and Jackson Kelly Professor of Law
WVU College of Law

Heather K. Gerken
Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law
Yale Law School

AJMLS Leadership: A Re-introduction to Dr. Bridgett Ortega, Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is led by a dynamic team of leaders and we are pleased to re-introduce you to them in this AJMLS Leadership article series.

Dr. Bridgett Ortega, a veteran of the United States Air Force, is the Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She has been a key administrator since joining the team in early 2011 and is also a Sr. organizational consultant and trainer for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, American University’s Justice Program Office and the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence. She is a lawyer, researcher, and the Past President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Juvenile Defender Center in Washington, D.C. She is also currently the Equity and Inclusion Officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU.

Dr. Ortega, who oversees Career Services, Experiential Learning, Alumni Affairs, and the John Marshall Law School Foundation, said “I have lived a charmed life, always involved and engaged in impactful work. Not many people can say that. Working at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, having the ability to share the life and career lessons I’ve learned along the way is the icing on the cake.”

As the Law School has evolved, so has Dr. Ortega, having earned her master’s and doctorate degrees while also serving in roles such as Assistant Dean of Externship and Pro Bono Services and Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning. She has also managed department programs such as Street Law, Re-entry Forum, and Youth and the Law Summit. As a teaching administrator, Dr. Ortega developed and teaches the Learning from Practice course which includes modules on Cultural Competency, Equity and Inclusion, and Navigating Cultural Difference. 

Dr. Ortega has spent over 30 years advocating for criminal and juvenile justice reform. She is a passionate advocate for the incarcerated and their children with an emphasis on compassionate practice in the justice system. She is a National Trainer on subjects dealing with Juvenile and Adult Drug Courts, Compassionate Practice in Problem Solving Courts, Compassionate Communication, Compassionate Family Engagement, Domestic Violence, Equity and Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Improving Outcomes for Children of the Incarcerated and all things Juvenile Justice. Dr. Ortega is the former Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures Initiative, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening in the lives of young people with substance disorders and other issues that bring them into the justice system.

She has been featured in the ABC Nightline “Kids in Court” series and the Frontline Juvenile Justice documentary. Dr. Ortega is the recipient of the ABA Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award for outstanding advocacy in juvenile justice, the NAACP Freedom Fund Civil and Human Rights Award and in December of 2018 she was recognized by the National Juvenile Defender Center as a champion for juvenile justice for her work in defending youth rights. She co-founded the Santa Clara County California Juvenile Drug Treatment Court with the Honorable Judge Thomas Edwards for which she received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for invaluable service to the community. Dr. Ortega holds a Master of Arts degree, Juris Doctorate and a Doctorate Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership. Her published research dissertation is entitled, Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice.

“Having attended a law school very similar to Atlanta’s John Marshall, said Dr. Ortega, “I can honestly say that your career in law has much more to do with your work ethic, your commitment to your clients, and your service than the law school you attended.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is thankful for Dr. Ortega’s service to her community and students, and looks forward to her continued leadership as the school converts to a non-profit institution. 

Professor Rapping Publishes Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is proud to share that Professor Jonathan Rapping, Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, has published Gideon’s Promise: A Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice.

The book hit shelves this month and is a #1 New Release on Amazon. The book is described online as,

A blueprint for criminal justice reform that lays the foundation for how model public defense programs should work to end mass incarceration.

Combining wisdom drawn from over a dozen years as a public defender and cutting-edge research in the fields of organizational and cultural psychology, Jonathan Rapping proposes a radical cultural shift to a “fiercely client-based ethos” driven by values-based recruitment training, awakening defenders to their role in upholding an unjust status quo, and a renewed pride in the essential role of moral lawyering in a democratic society.

Public defenders represent over 80% of those who interact with the court system, a disproportionate number of whom are poor, non-white citizens who rely on them to navigate the law on their behalf. More often than not, even the most well-meaning of those defenders are over-worked, under-funded, and incentivized to put the interests of judges and politicians above those of their clients in a culture that beats the passion out of talented, driven advocates, and has led to an embarrassingly low standard of justice for those who depend on the promises of Gideon v. Wainwright.

However, rather than arguing for a change in rules that govern the actions of lawyers, judges, and other advocates, Rapping proposes a radical cultural shift to a “fiercely client-based ethos” driven by values-based recruitment and training, awakening defenders to their role in upholding an unjust status quo, and a renewed pride in the essential role of moral lawyering in a democratic society.

Through the story of founding Gideon’s Promise and anecdotes of his time as a defender and teacher, Rapping reanimates the possibility of public defenders serving as a radical bulwark against government oppression and a megaphone to amplify the voices of those they serve.

In addition to his book publication, he has been serving as Co-Chair to the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Use of Force. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced seven Administrative Orders (AO) after receiving the Mayor’s Use of Force Advisory Council’s 45-day recommendations. The Advisory Council provided 33 recommendations spanning five areas of focus on policing practices: Mission, Vision, Values; Standard Operating Procedures; Governance; Community Partnerships; and Reporting and Transparency. The full report may be read here.

Thank you, Professor, for continuing to change the culture and practice of public defense in America. AJMLS students are afforded the very best criminal justice education from you.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Board of Directors Officially Name Jace C. Gatewood 10th Dean of Law School

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce the permanent appointment of its 10th Dean, Jace C. Gatewood. Dean Gatewood succeeded Dean Malcolm L. Morris on January 1, 2020 as Interim Dean and CEO, and has now been affirmed by the Board as the permanent Dean. Dean Gatewood became the first African American to serve in the role since the school’s founding in 1933.

Dean Gatewood, who has been a senior member of the faculty since 2008, said “I am deeply honored and humbled to be appointed the new permanent Dean of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. I am thrilled to be able to continue the rich legacy of the Law School as a school that provides opportunity for legal training to those who might not otherwise be able to earn a law degree. For much of its history, women and African-Americans were more welcome at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School than at many law schools, and I look forward to continuing this tradition of diversity.”

Since assuming his interim role in early 2020, the world experienced record events and the Law School required unparalleled leadership to maintain its stability. Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael C. Markovitz noted “Dean Gatewood has come through brilliantly [the past six months]. The Law School is the better for it and is making plans for this coming year that include, among other things, an improved online learning platform.” AJMLS has continued its J.D. programs remotely and enrolled a strong Fall 2020 class amid the global pandemic.

Dean Gatewood has served in roles such as Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, and Associate Dean of Academic Programs. In addition to teaching, he has chaired the curriculum committee, and been a member of the admissions committee and faculty recruitment committee. Dean Gatewood has taught a range of courses including Property, Business Organizations, Sales and Secured Transactions, Wills, Trusts and Estates, and Agency and Negotiations. As a faculty member at Atlanta’s John Marshall, Dean Gatewood has authored numerous scholarly publications, with his chief research topic being the fourth amendment and an individual’s right to privacy in an increasingly technological world.

Dean Gatewood attended Georgetown University where he was a full scholarship track and field athlete. Becoming the first African American Dean of AJMLS was not his first historic moment, he was also a world and American record-holder for the Distance Medley Relay in 1980. Dean Gatewood went on to earn his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Prior to entering academia, Dean Gatewood practiced for nearly two decades in New York and Atlanta at Weil Gotshal LLP, Troutman Sanders LLP, Powell Goldstein LLP, Atlanta Housing Authority, and the Law Offices of Jace C. Gatewood. He specialized in a wide range of commercial lending and corporate and real estate finance transactions. His expertise includes the representation of lenders and foreign and domestic commercial banks in the establishment and administration of single lender and syndicated loan facilities of all kinds.

“While I understand the symbolism of my being the first African American appointed Dean of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, especially during a period of social unrest in the wake of a national antiracism movement and a global pandemic, my focus as Dean will be to move the school to be a more progressive institution by incorporating emerging technologies into the classroom to enable more innovative and engaging teaching methods and learning experiences,” said Dean Gatewood. “All while continuing the efforts of the Law School to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the legal field.”

Despite the events and challenges of 2020, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has evolved and maintained a rigorous course of study under Dean Gatewood’s leadership. The Law School continues to finalize its new status as a not-for-profit law school and looks forward to a successful academic year.

Professor Malempati Elected to the Board of the National Association of Legal Advocacy Educators (NALAE)

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) congratulates Professor Suparna Malempati, who has been elected to the Board of the National Association of Legal Advocacy Educators (NALAE). NALAE is a newly formed organization which supports the community of educators dedicated to elevating advocacy skills education in American law schools. 

Professor Malempati will be serving as a Regional Representative for law schools in Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico. She will actively participate in the establishment of NALAE’s goals, bylaws, projects, committees, and other activities. Although NALAE is a brand new organization, over 500 votes were cast from 108 law schools around the country. Professor Malempati has demonstrated a commitment to advocacy education through teaching trial advocacy and working with John Marshall’s advocacy competition teams since 2009.

Prior to joining the AJMLS faculty, Professor Malempati served for two years as lead counsel for the Office of the Child Advocate Attorneys in Fulton County Juvenile Court, where she led a team of lawyers and investigators representing children in abuse and neglect proceedings. She is also an experienced trial attorney, having worked in criminal defense for ten years as an Assistant Public Defender in Fulton County. Throughout her career as a trial lawyer, she successfully defended murders, sex crimes and other complex felony cases. She also wrote briefs and argued cases to the Appellate and Supreme Courts of Georgia.

Congratulations, Professor! We can’t wait to see what great things the Board accomplishes.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law Establishes Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is proud to announce it has formally established the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee. The Committee was created early June 2020 by Dean Jace C. Gatewood and is Chaired by both Professor Kathleen Burch and Professor Erika Walker-Cash.

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee advises the Dean on equity, diversity and inclusion issues with the goal of ensuring that Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School becomes a more anti-racist, equitable and inclusive community for all who study, learn, teach and serve here. The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee seeks to: engage the law school community in thoughtful discussion and reflection around race; develop educational and professional programming that includes and addresses topics of diversity and discrimination; and assist students and alumni to identify opportunities to continue this work as lawyers.  

The EDI Committee has already hosted its first two events, a town hall meeting, Activism During Social Unrest: A Conversation with the Atlanta’s John Marshall Community. The inaugural Zoom event was attended by over 75 AJMLS community members ranging from current students to alumni and administrators. The discussion was led by Dr. Bridgett Ortega and breakout sessions allowed participants an intimate opportunity to connect and bring ideas to the table. The Committee also co-hosted with the Office of Student Affairs, the Student Bar Association, and the Black Law Students Association chapter at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School a panel discussion on Police Reform in the 21st Century. The program brought together experts, public officials, and organizers to examine the history of policing in America and discuss how to change policing in America in the context of broader concerns about systemic racism and structural inequality.

The Committee will be hosting and sharing additional events on their webpage here.

Questions, comments, and suggestions may be directed by email at equitydiversityinclusion@johnmarshall.edu.

Professor Mears Quoted in Time Magazine About the Suit Filed by Governor Kemp Against Atlanta City Council and Mayor Bottoms

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Michael Mears, was interviewed by Time Magazine for their recent piece, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Sued to Block Atlanta’s Face Mask Ordinance. In the article, the writer interviewed legal experts at Georgia law schools on whether Governor Kemp’s suit to block the local ordinance mandating masks would be successful in court. 

This case has drawn national attention as Georgia is not the only state that has seen differing views between local municipalities and state leadership. Professor Mears echoed a similar point to other legal experts, telling TIME that 

“there’s a number of cases in Georgia going back to the 1930s that give the authority to the governor.” 

Mears also goes on to note,

“…the case will also likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court. Don’t be surprised if this challenge is just the beginning of a longer legal battle.”

Professor Mears has been on the faculty at AJMLS since 2007. He teaches evidence, advanced evidence, criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminal law ethics. In 2003, Michael was selected to be the founding Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council after serving for over ten years as the Director of the Multi-County County Public Defender Office, a state-wide death penalty public defender service funded by the State of Georgia. He then retired from that position in 2007 and has been an Associate Professor AJMLS since. Professor Mears is the author of numerous articles and books, and his unique and diverse background makes him uniquely qualified to comment on the issue as he too has been a Mayor in Georgia for the city of Decatur.

Thank you for your continued contributions to the legal community, Professor Mears. We appreciate all of your efforts!

Professor Mears Appointed to Board of Trustees for Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Professor, Michael B. Mears, has been reappointed to the Board of Trustees for the Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). Mears has served on the Board for over seven years and has previously served two consecutive terms as Chairman of the Board.

The Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education is a not-for-profit educational service of the State Bar of Georgia and is responsible for providing continuing legal education for all lawyers in the State of Georgia. The Institute is a consortium of the Bar and the Law Schools of the Universities of Georgia, Emory, Mercer, Georgia State, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

The Institute provides over 300 seminars, webinars, and video seminars to the members of the State Bar of Georgia each year. The Supreme Court of Georgia requires that every active member of the State Bar successfully complete at least 12 hours of legal education in order to maintain their license to practice law. The twelve trustees of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education are charged with the responsibility of developing programs and instituting policies which will provide legal education for members of the State Bar of Georgia.

When asked of his appointment, Professor Mears remarked, 

“I am honored to continue my service as a member of the Board of Trustees of the State Bar’s Institute of Continuing Legal Education. ICLE is dedicated to providing the highest level of continuing legal education to the members of the Bar.”

Professor, thank you for representing Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. Your leadership and legal expertise will continue to bring great things to the Georgia legal community.

Dr. Ortega Announced as Keynote Speaker for National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 83rd Annual Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, Dr. Bridgett Ortega, has been announced as the opening keynote speaker for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges 83rd Annual Conference on July 20, 2020.

Dr. Ortega’s session on Compassionate Jurisprudence will help to set the tone for the conference and inspire change. This topic is of particular interest to Dr. Ortega as it is also the title of her dissertation: Compassionate Jurisprudence: As Praxis for Justice

Dr. Ortega is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and is currently the equity and inclusion officer for the Georgia affiliate of the ACLU. She has spent more than 30 years working for criminal and juvenile justice reform and is a national trainer on subjects dealing with juvenile and adult drug courts, domestic violence, equity, and inclusion, improving outcomes for children of the incarcerated, and is an expert in juvenile justice. As a law professor, she has taught ethics, trial skills, criminal and juvenile justice, and experiential learning courses. Dr. Ortega also spearheaded the creation of the Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic at AJMLS and collaborated with AJMLS students to develop and write Home for Good: Overcoming Legal Barriers to Reentry in Georgia, a self-help guide designed to answer practical, legal questions to help citizens successfully remain in their community. 

Previously in May, Dr. Ortega spoke at another national conference, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals RISE20. Her session at this conference was also entitled Compassionate Jurisprudence. The conference program described her session as,

Little is understood about human-centered judging or how judging with compassion impacts everyone in the courtroom. Given this lack of understanding, an action research study was conducted to explore how human-centered judging affected the thoughts, communications, and behaviors of 32 adult drug court judges. This workshop will explore the themes discovered that support a more compassionate approach to justice in our system of American jurisprudence.

Thank you, Dr. Ortega, for sharing your expertise and passion both in and out of the classroom. Your research is making a difference and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law students are receiving invaluable instruction from you.

Chief Judge and Adjunct Professor Steve Teske Delivers Keynote at State Bar Conference, Publishes Series of Regional and National Journal Articles

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Adjunct Professor and Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, Steve Teske, has been especially active outside the court and classroom in recent months.

In January, The Child Protection and Advocacy section of the State Bar of Georgia invited Judge Teske to deliver the keynote address at their annual conference. The paper he authored was titled “How Professionalism Can Promote Child Protection and Advocacy Using ‘Procedural Fairness’ as a Court Reform”. The paper thesis is below:

“This paper contends that extending ourselves beyond the minimum standards required of our code of ethics and engaging our clients specifically, and our court system generally, through the lens of professionalism, we can improve the outcomes for our respective clients by : 1) shaping facets of our juvenile justice and child welfare systems to conform to best practices that in turn leads to; 2) producing court orders best suited to meet the needs of our clients (whether a child in a delinquency or dependency case or a parent in a dependency matter); and 3) increase the level of compliance in cases where our client is adjudicated, and is required to be under supervision for re-unification (i.e. parent); probation conditions (delinquent youth); or a child in need of services whether dependent, unruly, or truant.

This paper will focus on a particular model called “Procedural Fairness” as a methodology for exercising the values of professionalism that when employed with fidelity, outcomes for children and for parents will improve dramatically in both the juvenile justice and dependency domains of our juvenile courts. Procedural fairness is not to be confused with due process, procedural or substantive. Like our code of ethics, due process sets forth the minimal rules by which we must afford parties that appropriate modicum of fairness. Procedural fairness is all about professionalism and therefore, goes beyond the minimum. Like our values of professionalism, procedural fairness expects higher standards by which fairness is not only defined by the law, but is measured by the litigant.”

Beginning in late 2019, Judge Teske published a series of articles both regionally and nationally. While he publishes regularly for Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE), this particular series on plea bargaining in the juvenile court began with his piece, “The Contrariness of Plea Bargaining in the Juvenile Courts”, published in December 2019, which was then followed by two more articles published in January 2020 titled “Plea Bargaining Hurts Both Guilty and Innocent Kids” and “To Use Evidence-Based Programs for Kids, Get the Lawyers Out of Here”. After editors at the national quarterly journal, Juvenile Justice Update, took an interest in his thoughts on the subject, they approached Judge Teske to write an additional article, also titled “The Contrariness of Plea Bargaining”.

When asked about the content of this series, Judge Teske kindly summarized for AJMLS,

These series of articles begin with describing plea bargaining, its history and development, and leading into the pros and cons. It is the sharp difference in the role of the juvenile courts–rehabilitation over punishment–that makes plea bargaining a tool that works contrary to the rehabilitative role. To understand this how plea bargaining works conversely to rehabilitation requires an understanding of the “What Works” literature developed over the past nearly three decades, which is a collection of practices and programs proven to reduce recidivism among high-risk offenders and prevent delinquency by taking steps to avoid what I call “hyper-recidivism.” The rub is that many of these evidence-based tools that provide the most informed recommendations for rehabilitation cannot be administered prior to the guilt-innocence stage without violating the child’s 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. In other words, absent these tools, prosecutors and defenders are negotiating dispositions for kids that will be less effective to ward rehabilitation. Thus, plea bargaining should be limited or eliminated altogether as I did in my court as early as 2003 that has played a role in reducing delinquency filings to the court as much as 82 percent.  

Still forthcoming in 2020 will be Judge Teske’s article in Volume 54 Issue 4 of the Georgia Law Review titled “Georgia Juvenile Justice Reform: Using a Collective Decision-Making Approach to De-Politicize Crime and Punishment”. The abstract of the forthcoming article is below:

“Since the creation of the first juvenile court in 1899, juvenile courts have undergone periods of transition in response to legislative enactments prompted by societal events or in response to legal challenges involving due process rights of children. This Article examines the extent to which politics has played a role in shaping juvenile justice and crime policies and its impact on children and public safety. In this critical review of each period of transition, this Article concludes that the lack of success among juvenile justice agencies, including the courts, is predominately the result of the politicizing of crime and punishment in the United States. This politicization consequently disrupts efforts to employ programs and practices that empirical evidence has shown to prevent and reduce delinquency. Using Georgia’s approach to juvenile justice reform as a case study, this Article shows how using a collaborative approach coupled with employing a methodical analytic decisionmaking process de-politicizes the issues, allowing for a discussion of programs and practices that work”. 

Thank you, Judge Teske, for your incredible work in the juvenile courts. Your research and experience brings the very best juvenile law learning experience to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students.

Editor’s note: Since publication, Judge Teske’s article in the Georgia Law Review has been published. You may read the full article here.

Atlanta Mayor Appoints Professor Rapping as Co-Chair to Use of Force Advisory Council

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan Rapping, was recently appointed by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as Co-Chair of the new Use of Force Advisory Council in Atlanta. 

Mayor Bottoms issued an Administrative Order to convene an Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to examine the City’s use of force policies and procedures. The Advisory Council will make recommendations for operational or legislative changes to the City’s existing use of force policies.*

Professor Rapping is not new to inspiring reform, as the President and Founder of non-profit Gideon’s Promise, his work and support to public defender offices across the nation is transforming the criminal justice system. The vision of Gideon’s Promise is We envision a nation where every person has access to zealous, outstanding representation necessary to ensure “equal justice for all” in the criminal justice arena.

On June 3rd, Gideon’s Promise launched its new weekly podcast hosted by Professor Rapping. Gideon’s Promise: The Podcast explores the critical role of public defenders in systemic justice reform. Each episode explores a wide range of issues facing marginalized communities with subject matter experts, key opinion leaders, and people impacted by the American criminal legal system.

Rapping is a passionate educator, both at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Harvard Law School. Recently, Law360 interviewed him for their Access to Justice series. In the piece, Jon Rapping Talks Pandemics, Protests And Public Defense, he addressed a question specific to teaching:

As a teacher, what do you have to say to law students preparing to enter the workforce during a pandemic and widespread civil unrest over the justice system?

I came to, and remain at, John Marshall because of its mission to prepare students for practice who otherwise would not have access to law school. Roughly half our students are students of color. They are disproportionately impacted by the issues that give rise to the protests we are seeing and disproportionately likely to use their law degrees to address these problems.

At orientation for first-year students, I say to them, at the end of your first year you’ll have read countless cases. But I bet you couldn’t tell me one thing about a single person behind those cases. And that’s because of the way we train lawyers. Good lawyers are people who can mechanically follow a set of steps to arrive at a logical conclusion. When lawyers then enter the system we do the same thing — we see people as cases to resolve and legal issues to address, not as human beings. We dehumanize.

But If we’re going to ever have a criminal justice system that treats people fairly, we have to humanize it. And public defenders are really doing that.

As ongoing national protests against police violence take place, Professor Rapping is an ally and passionate public speaker. He was a keynote speaker this past week at the Public Defenders for Black Lives Rally in Atlanta, hosted by the ACLU of Georgia, Cochran Firm, Gideon’s Promise, and Southern Center for Human Rights. 

Also this past week, Rapping served as one of five panelists for Microsoft’s Criminal Justice Reform Atlanta Forum. This was a partnership between Microsoft’s Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs (CELA) division, the African American/Black Employee Network (AA/BEN), and the Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) employee resource group to host a series of Criminal Justice Reform town halls across our nation. Other panelists included Hip Hop star David Banner, Civil Rights attorney Chris Stewart (represents George Floyd’s family), Doug Ammar, ED of Georgia Justice Project, and Judge Beryl Anderson.

Thank you to Professor Rapping for all that you do, in and out of the classroom. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law students will forever be impacted by your teaching and leadership.

*Press Release: Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Appoints Members to Use of Force Advisory Council

A Statement from the Faculty of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

The willful and wanton murder of George Floyd serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing institutional racial and social injustices in this country. The painful wounds that flow from the unequal administration of justice run deep. In a democratic society, law is the covenant that binds free people together. The legitimacy of that covenant rests on the bedrock of equal protection—the fundamental principle that everyone stands on a level playing field in the eyes of the law. Racism, however, makes equal protection impossible. To mistreat a person on account of that person’s skin color is evil. When that racism takes the form of state-sponsored police brutality, the ties that link us together as fellow citizens sear from the pain of the oppressed.

No one is unaffected. While wrongfully imprisoned by police in a Birmingham jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught the world that the infection of inequality lands on each of us: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

We, the faculty of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, denounce the murder of George Floyd and the senseless killing of countless others. We share the heartache of all those who are hurting from the continuing stain of racism. We also stand in solidarity with our many students and alumni who are battling on the front lines to make this country more just. Their example inspires us, and we remain steadfast in our mission of shaping future lawyers dedicated to forging a system of justice that lives up to our nation’s stated, yet unrealized, ideals.The courage and passion of our students and alumni provide hope that the day is near when the constitutional guarantee of equal protection becomes a living, breathing reality for all races.

Dr. Ortega Advocates for Reentry Education, Homeless Veterans, and Talks Voting Disenfranchisement

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Associate Dean of Career Services and Professional Development, Dr. Bridgett Ortega, is on the move in Georgia, advocating for others.

In her capacity at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Dr. Ortega collaborated with AJMLS students to develop and write Home for Good: Overcoming Legal Barriers to Reentry in Georgia*, a self-help guide designed to answer practical, legal questions to help citizens successfully remain in their community. This publication is distributed free of charge and is available on the Law School website here. Dr. Ortega’s office provides pro-bono opportunities for students to reach their community at events such as the Restoration Resources Fair for Ex-Offenders, hosted by Congressman Henry “Hank” Johnson on Thursday, February 20th. The 4th edition of the publication is forthcoming in 2020.

As a veteran herself, Dr. Ortega spearhead the creation of the Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic. Now under the leadership of her office and AJMLS alumnus, Corey Martin of Martin and Associates, the second Friday of each month, AJMLS provides representation and advocacy to system-involved veterans through its Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic in partnership with the Atlanta V.A. Medical Center. These services are provided at Ft. McPherson in the Justice Programs Office.

In January, Dr. Ortega was the lead presenter at the January meeting of the End Mass Incarceration Georgia Network, where her presentation spoke to the background on voting disenfranchisement for felonies in Georgia. Georgia law states that anyone convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” will lose their voting rights. However, it does not clearly define what “moral turpitude” means. Dr. Ortega lead the discussion and sought to educate, organize, and help disenfranchised people to understand their rights.

As a law professor she has taught ethics, trial skills, criminal and juvenile justice, and experiential learning courses. She has nearly 30 years experience in legal and programmatic positions aimed at criminal and juvenile justice reform. Her life’s work has been the zealous advocacy for and on behalf of children and disenfranchised adults, as a public defender, researcher, and policy consultant. Dr. Ortega was formerly Deputy Director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Reclaiming Futures, a juvenile justice reform initiative aimed at creating strategies for intervening with young people with substance abuse and other issues that bring them into the criminal justice system. She is also a trainer for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and former member at large of The National Juvenile Defender Center. Her dissertation is entitled Compassionate Jurisprudence: A Praxis for Justice.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students have had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Ortega since 2011 and we thank her for her tireless service!

*The guide is information only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal advice in any particular situation. If you need legal help or have questions about your particular situation, call a lawyer. Only licensed attorneys can interpret the law for you. See the resource section at the end of the book.

Professor Rapping Inspires Criminal Justice Reform in North Carolina and California

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) Professor and Director of the Criminal Justice Certificate Program, Jonathan A. Rapping, has been on the move in December and January speaking about criminal justice. In addition to his roles at AJMLS, Professor Rapping serves as the President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise, is a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University Law School, and is a frequent presenter and contributor to national conversations on criminal justice reform. Rapping is also the recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, the American College of Trial Lawyers Emil Gumpert Award, Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship, Cardozo Law School Inspire Award, and the George Soros Open Society Fellowship along with many other honors and recognitions.

In December, Professor Rapping was the keynote speaker in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at “Where Do We Go from Here? A community forum on criminal justice reform in Orange County”. The event was co-sponsored by Orange County and the District 18 Bar Racial Justice Task Force. Invested panelists included the District Attorney, Public Defender, County Sheriff, Police Chief, Superior Court Judge, and representatives from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, University of North Carolina School of Government, North Carolina Justice Center, and the District Courts. The impressive table of panelists engaged in discussions about “The role of stakeholders in criminal justice reform” and “The intersection of poverty and the criminal justice system”. Professor Rapping’s keynote was entitled: Rewriting the Criminal Justice Narrative.

Later in January, Professor Rapping will travel to Los Angeles to participate in three separate events on the topic of criminal justice reform. The first, a lecture hosted by the University of Southern California’s Dornsife Pre-Law Speaker Series discussing “The Lawyer’s Role in a Just Society”. The second, Professor Rapping is presenting to the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office a lecture discussing “A public defender movement to transform criminal justice”. The third, a lunch event presented by UCLA Law’s Criminal Justice Program and David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy discussing “Gideon’s Promise: Building a Public Defender Movement to Transform Criminal Justice”.

When asked of his work, Professor Rapping remarked “Lawyers have always played a critical role in the ongoing struggle to push our nation to achieve its stated ideals. The criminal justice system is one example of how far we are from living our democratic values. It is not enough that lawyers help administer the system as it exists; they must be change agents to make society more just. How law schools educate future lawyers determines whether they are prepared to raise the standard of justice or perpetuate the status quo. I am proud of our mission at John Marshall and our commitment to creating lawyers who will leave the legal system better than when they entered it. ”

The Law School is proud to offer its students the opportunity to learn criminal law from one of the nation’s leaders working to improve the criminal justice system. Thank you, Professor!