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Dismantling Bias - LLNE & SNELLA Fall 2020 Virtual Conference

Maryanne Daly-Doran, UConn School of Law, Digital Services Reference Librarian

Maryanne Daly-DoranMaryanne is responsible for coordinating the reference department’s digital presence.  She also provides reference services, research assistance and instruction to all library patrons. Prior to joining the library staff, Maryanne served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Justices of the Rhode Island Superior, District, and Family Courts.   She holds a B.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, a J.D. from the University of New Hampshire School Of Law, and earned her M.L.I.S from San Jose State University.

Jessica de Perio Wittman, UConn School of Law, Director of the Law Library, Associate Professor of Law and Cornelius J. Scanlon Scholar, SNELLA President

Jessica de Perio Wittman

Jessica de Perio Wittman serves as the Director of the Law Library and Associate Professor of Law.  Professor de Perio Wittman directs all library operations and oversees the day-to-day operations of the information technology systems, equipment and services for the law school campus.  She teaches Advanced Legal Research, Technology and Law Practice, and Special Education Law.  Her research interests focus on assistive and adaptive technologies and its intersection with the law and libraries.

Prior to joining UConn as the Director of Information Technology in 2012, de Perio Wittman was the Assistant Director for Academic Technology at The John Marshall Law School, and was responsible for managing classroom technology, distance education, and media services.  She also pioneered the first distance education course at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and was instrumental in the creation of three online degrees at The John Marshall Law School.

Professor de Perio Wittman has held many leadership positions within the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and continues to be a member of AALL, Law Librarians of New England (LLNE), Southern New England Law Libraries Association (SNELLA), and the Connecticut Bar Association.  She is a frequent presenter at AALL and other professional conferences, where she speaks on cybersecurity and teaching legal technology competencies to today’s law students, as well as other topics related to diversity and inclusion in law librarianship and legal education.  She received her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law and her M.L.S. from the University at Buffalo.

Karen DeMeola, UConn School of Law, Assistant Dean for Finance, Administration, and Enrollment

Karen DeMeolaKaren DeMeola is the Assistant Dean for Finance, Administration, and Enrollment at UConn School of Law and is a past president of the Connecticut Bar Association. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from UConn and her J.D. from UConn Law. After graduation from law school, Karen was a civil rights litigator whose practice focused primarily on employment discrimination, police brutality, and housing discrimination. While at UConn Law, she has served as an adjunct professor teaching Critical Identity Theory and Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession. Karen has presented on numerous panels, symposia, and conferences on diversity, inclusion and belonging, implicit bias, intersectionality, and inclusive leadership. She has created numerous pipeline projects, including the CBA Pathways to Legal Careers Pipeline. Karen is a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. 

Karen has been recognized for her work by the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Connecticut Law Tribune, Connecticut Italian American Bar Association, Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity, and University of Connecticut School of Law Alumni Association.

Karen serves on the boards of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, and Family Equality (emeritus).

Nicole Dyszlewski, RWU School of Law, Head of Reference Instruction and Engagement, LLNE President

Nicole P. DyszlewskiNicole P. Dyszlewski currently serves as the Head of Reference, Instruction, and Engagement at the RWU Law Library. She joined the staff in 2015 as the Research/Access Services Librarian having come from a public legislative library. She received a B.A. from Hofstra University, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and an M.L.I.S. from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She is a member of the Massachusetts State Bar and the Rhode Island State Bar. Prior to becoming a law librarian, Nicole practiced real estate law. Her areas of interest are mass incarceration, access to justice, law library leadership, and engagement.

Raquel Gabriel, CUNY Law, Director of the Law Library, Professor of Law

Raquel J. GabrielRaquel J. Gabriel is a Professor of Law and Director of the Law Library at CUNY School of Law where she teaches Legal Research and Advanced Legal Research. Her scholarly interests include integrating issues involving diversity into the pedagogy of teaching legal research as well as into legal education and law librarianship. From 2010 to 2013, she penned a series of columns in Law Library Journal geared towards exploring diversity issues in the law library profession. Professor Gabriel was profiled in the book Celebrating Diversity: A Legacy of Minority Leadership in American Association of Law Libraries (2nd ed).

She is one of the co-editors of the upcoming book (Spring 2021): Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion in the First Year Law School Classroom along with Nicole Dyszlewski, Suzanne Harrington-Steppen, Anna Russell and Genevieve Tung. The book is a collection of essays with practical advice, guidance, and reflections on ways to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into the law school curriculum. Chapters are on subjects traditionally taught in the first-year curriculum and includes a stand-alone chapter on Legal Research. Each chapter also includes a short bibliography curated by a law librarian.

Julie Graves Krishnaswami, Yale Law School, Head of Research Instruction and Lecturer in Legal Research

Julie Graves KrishnaswamiJulie Graves Krishnaswami is the Head of Research Instruction and a Lecturer in Legal Research at the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School. Since 2012, she has taught Advanced Legal Research (ALR), among other courses. Julie also regularly lectures on regulatory, statutory, and legislative history research methods. Her current research focuses on the structure of the United States Code. With Shawn Nevers of BYU Law School, she has a forthcoming article, The Shadow Code: Statutory Notes in the United States Code. With Fred Shapiro of Yale Law School, Julie also published the Secret History of the Bluebook in the Minnesota Law Review. She has also published several pieces on integrating critical thinking methodology into legal research pedagogy. Additionally, Julie is an active member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). Most notably, she served on the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, chaired the Law Library Journal Article of the Year Award Jury, and was elected Member at Large for the Research Instruction and Patron Services Special Interest Section (RIPS-SIS).

Before coming to Yale Law School in 2011, Julie was a law librarian and legal research professor at Vermont Law School and an Associate Law Library Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. As an attorney, Julie worked as a litigator on national securities and antitrust class actions, and she clerked for Judge Susan L. Reisner of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. In law school, Julie represented public benefit recipients in administrative hearings before the New York City Department of Human Resources Administration. She has also worked for the Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA), tracking and researching state legislation on abortion and women’s health issues in the public policy/litigation and law departments.

Julie earned her JD from CUNY School of Law (2004), where she was the Symposium and Articles Editor for The New York City Law Review. She received her Masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Pratt Institute (2008) and her BA in history from Reed College (1999).

Homa Naficy, Hartford Public Libraries, Executive Director of the American Place

Homa NaficyHoma Naficy’s service to immigrants and refugees at Hartford Public Library is a powerful example of how libraries promote equity and inclusion.

Through the library’s nationally-recognized “The American Place” program, Homa is dedicated to providing services to assist immigrants and refugees as they transition to their new home. The wide array of resources include English language classes, job seeking assistance, computer skills training, and GED preparation.

After Homa identified a need to support immigrant teens at Hartford high schools with their language skills, she introduced an after-school program in partnership with the city. The program focuses on improving the students’ everyday English as well as fostering community connections and civic awareness. There is an interactive, online curriculum designed to strengthen students’ language and academic development through specific assignments related to the concept of belonging.  

To help immigrants with their residency status and efforts to become a naturalized citizen, Homa partnered with Hartford’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office. Through the collaboration, the library was able to receive accreditation by the Bureau of Immigration Affairs to provide legal services to immigrants. Hartford Public Library was the first library in the nation to receive such a designation and has become a model for other libraries.

In addition, Homa developed “Crossroads-to-Connectivity,” an innovative project that offers low-income adults enrolled in educational or training programs access to a laptop and mobile Wi-Fi device. Forty percent of Hartford residents do not have broadband Internet services at home, so the project has been critical in helping participants continue their education and professional development.

Tanya M. Johnson, UConn School of Law, Reference Librarian

Tanya M. JohnsonTanya provides reference services, including research assistance and instruction, to all library patrons. She is also an adjunct professor, teaching Advanced Legal Research and Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession. She earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served as an editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and her M.L.I.S. from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Prior to her library work, Tanya practiced law at large and mid-size law firms, specializing in First Amendment law and complex litigation, and served as a Deputy Law Clerk for a Justice on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Eboni S. Nelson, UConn School of Law, Dean and Professor of Law

Eboni S. Nelson

Eboni S. Nelson became dean of the University of Connecticut School of Law on July 31, 2020. She came to UConn from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she taught for 13 years. From 2018 onward, she served as the associate dean for academic affairs. At South Carolina Law, she received the Best Classroom Teacher and Outstanding Faculty Service awards.

Before joining the South Carolina Law faculty in 2007, Dean Nelson taught at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and practiced employee benefits law at Bracewell LLP in Houston, Texas. Her scholarship focuses on education law and policy, and she is especially interested in the availability of educational opportunities for disadvantaged and minority students.

Dean Nelson graduated summa cum laude from Wake Forest University and earned her JD from Harvard Law School, where she served as a Contracts teaching assistant to then-Professor Elizabeth Warren.

Throughout her career, Dean Nelson has been committed to public service. She served as the chair of the South Carolina Commission on Consumer Affairs and vice chair of the South Carolina State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She has also been a member of the Law School Admission Council Finance and Legal Affairs Committee and the American Bar Association Sabbatical Review Site Team. She is currently a member of the Law School Admission Council Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Dean Nelson teaches in the fields of Contracts; Commercial Law; Consumer Law; and Race, Class and Education.

Carol Reimers, President, League of Women Voters of Connecticut

Carol ReimersCarol has been serving as President of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut (LWVCT) since 2017.  The League of Women Voters is one of the country's largest and oldest non-partisan voter education and advocacy organizations.  Carol has served in a variety of leadership roles in the League of Women Voters, including LWV of the United States Membership Director and LWVUS National Coordinator of the Ruth Shur Fellows.  She has held leadership positions with LWV of Connecticut as Public Issues Vice President and Legislative Director; LWV of Massachusetts as Citizen Education Vice President; and LWV of Fairfax Area, Virginia as President.

Carol is member of the Connecticut Centennial Commission which is set up to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment for women’s suffrage.  2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the League of Women Voters.

Carol is past Chairperson of the Killingworth, CT Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission and served on the Killingworth Town Office Building Committee.  Carol is an active member of the Killingworth Lions Club.  She was a member of the Board of Visitors for the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University and on the Parents Council for James Madison University. She served as a member of the Town of Hingham, MA Advisory Committee (Finance) and the Wilton, CT Board of Education.

Douglas Spencer, UConn School of Law, Professor of Law and Public Policy

Douglas SpencerDoug Spencer is Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Connecticut. During the 2020-2021 academic year he is visiting Colorado Law as Distinguished Faculty Fellow at The Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law. Spencer is an election law scholar whose research addresses the role of prejudice and racial attitudes in Voting Rights Act litigation, the empirical implications of various campaign finance regulations, and the many ways that election rules and political campaigns contribute to growing inequality in America.