Working Group Announcement
To the Pitt Law Community:
I am pleased to share with you the members of the Law School’s Working Group on Diversity, Inclusion, and Learning Environment. This Working Group is comprised of a cross-section of all of Pitt Law’s constituencies (students, faculty, staff, and alumni). The Working Group’s mandate includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Developing recommendations for new educational opportunities for faculty, staff, and students regarding issues of diversity and inclusion, cultural sensitivity, and freedom of expression in the learning environment.
Developing recommendations relating to the Law School’s existing Diversity Committee.
Developing recommendations for regularly gathering structured feedback from students regarding their experiences in the Law School.
Considering bringing in an external entity to do an on-the-ground assessment of the School’s climate.
Developing recommendations regarding the structure of the new faculty or staff position that we recently announced, which will serve as the point person on issues of diversity, inclusion, and freedom of expression in the learning environment.
Members of the working group include:
Maximilian F. Beier, ’99, (Alumnus) is Partner in the law firm of Beier, Beier & Beier. He is a longtime member and past President of the Pitt Law Alumni Association, the Pitt Law Board of Visitors, and multiple philanthropic organizations.
Anthony W. Cosgrove (Student), a Pitt Law 2L, serves as Vice President of the Federalist Society and as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Law and Commerce. He interned for the Honorable Thomas M. Hardiman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Cosgrove holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Pitt.
Stephanie Dangel (Staff) is Executive Director of Pitt Law’s Innovation Practice Institute and is co-leading a Pittsburgh initiative that will use social innovation to build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. She clerked in the Southern District of New York and at the U.S. Supreme Court, practiced law with K&L Gates, and led a social enterprise in Pittsburgh's arts and entertainment sector.
Jasmine Gonzales Rose (Faculty) has taught courses in Race and the Law, Evidence, Civil Procedure, and Complex Litigation with an emphasis on Social Change. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Latino Law Review. She clerked for Judge Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Judge Héctor M. Laffitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, and has worked for a variety of non-profit and governmental organizations on issues of civil and human rights.
David Harris (Faculty), the Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair, specializes in race and criminal justice, racial profiling, police accountability, and search and seizure law. His books include Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work (2001), and he has testified numerous times in Congress and spoken at the White House on issues of race and the criminal justice system. Professor Harris worked with the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania to help build the Police/Community Relations Group, an alliance of African American community leaders, police chiefs, civil rights advocates, and public officials to help rebuild and restore mutual trust in Pittsburgh.
Katrina Harrison (Student), a Pitt Law 1L, obtained her B.A. in Political Science from Temple University in 2014. In addition to pursuing her J.D., she co-facilitates Cross Cultural Communication and Leadership workshops with the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship Program for Women in Global Leadership.
Elizabeth L. Hughes, ’04, (Alumna) is Assistant Counsel in the UPMC Corporate Legal Department, serving as general counsel to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Children’s Community Pediatrics and UPMC Mercy. Prior to joining UPMC, she was an associate at Raphael, Ramsden and Behers, P.C. practicing in the areas of family law, guardianships and mental health law. She clerked for the Honorable Justin M. Johnson of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Hughes is an active member of the Allegheny County Bar Association and Vice President of the Pitt Law Alumni Association.
Rondell Jordan (Student) is a 3L joint-degree student at Pitt Law and Carnegie Mellon University, where he is earning a Master of Science in public policy and management. He has served as President of the Black Law Students Association at Pitt and as President of the Heinz Council for Diversity, Richness, and Inclusion at Carnegie Mellon.
Keziah Lukombo (Staff) is a staff member at Pitt Law’s Barco Law library. She was born in Luanda, Angola and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Lukombo studied Legal Studies and Korean here at the University of Pittsburgh and hopes to further her dreams of a career in International Law and Foreign Affairs.
Jamey Mentzer (Staff) is the Assistant Director, JD Advantage Careers in Pitt Law’s Office of Professional and Career Development. He also serves as the staff advisor to OUTLaw, Pitt Law’s student group for LGBTQ+ students and allies, and as a member of the Law School’s Diversity Committee. Mentzer attended the University of Akron School of Law and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education degree at Pitt focusing his research on diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education.
Toni Moran (Student) is a 2L at Pitt Law where she serves as the Vice President of OUTlaw and an editor for the Journal of Law and Commerce. Originally from New Jersey, Moran was a Sergeant in the Army and worked for Joint Special Operations Command in Afghanistan. This summer, she will be a summer associate at a labor and employment law firm in Philadelphia.
Tomar Pierson-Brown (Faculty) is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law Clinic. The Health Law Clinic is a medical-legal partnership between Pitt Law and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Prior to teaching at Pitt Law, she was a Clinical Instructor at the University of the District of Columbia - David A. Clarke School of Law, and a Senior Attorney with The Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C.
Lu-in Wang (Faculty) has been a member of the School of Law faculty for over 20 years and has served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Her scholarship examines ordinary and extraordinary forms of discrimination and the connections between them, drawing on insights from historical, sociological, and social psychological literature to illuminate legal issues relevant to anti-discrimination law. Professor Wang is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Student Bar Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
The Honorable Christine A. Ward, ’82, (Alumna) was elected to a ten-year term on the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in November and served in the Family Division of the Court for four years until June of 2007. Currently, Judge Ward is one of two judges sitting in the Court’s Center for Commerce and Complex Litigation. She is a member and Vice President of the American College of Business Court Judges and was selected to be a Business Court Representative to the ABA Business Law Section. She serves on the statewide Judicial Ethics Committee for the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Court Judges and is the current Chair of the Civil Judges’ Section.
Rob Wible (Staff) is the Director of Academic Success and Bar Exam Services at Pitt Law. His responsibilities include helping students acquire the skills necessary to succeed in law school and on the bar exam. In addition to his professional role, he’s a first-generation college and law school graduate and shares this perspective with Pitt Law’s many first-generation students.
I anticipate that the Working Group’s first meeting will be held in late March or early April. The Chair of the Working Group will be determined in consultation with incoming Dean Wildermuth prior to the Working Group’s first meeting.