Speaker Bios

Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., AAAL Fellow
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Los Angeles, California

Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, is global co-chair of the firm's litigation group and previously led the firm's appellate, crisis management, transnational litigation, and media groups. He also is a member of the firm's Executive and Management Committees. As both a crisis management strategist and a seasoned appellate and media lawyer, Mr. Boutrous has extensive experience handling high-profile litigation, media relations, and media legal issues. According to the National Law Journal, he "is known for his wise, strategic advice to clients in crisis and is a media law star."


Tillman Breckenridge, AAAL Fellow
Stris & Maher LLP
Washington, D.C.

Tillman Breckenridge is a partner in the appellate practice at Stris & Maher LLP in Washington, D.C. He has represented companies; organizations; individuals; and foreign, state, and local governments before the U.S. Supreme Court, every federal court of appeals, and several state courts, such as the Supreme Court of Virginia, the California Courts of Appeal, and the Illinois Courts of Appeal. Mr. Breckenridge received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he argued, and won, his first appeal as a third-year student in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in a case that presented an issue of first impression.


Laura W. Brill
Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP and The Civics Center
Los Angeles, California

Laura W. Brill is a founding partner of the Los Angeles litigation and appellate boutique Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP. She is also the founder and director of The Civics Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving high school voter registration and civic engagement. Recognized as among the top appellate lawyers in California, Ms. Brill served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and to Hon. Wilfred Feinberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She has been a law school guest lecturer at Georgetown, Stanford, UC Irvine, UCLA, University of Michigan, USC, and Yale. She publishes and speaks widely on legal issues, especially voting rights, the First Amendment, and the legal profession.


Adam H. Charnes, AAAL Fellow
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Dallas, Texas, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Adam H. Charnes is the leader of the appellate practice at Kilpatrick Townsend. He has argued appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, most of the federal courts of appeals, and many state appellate courts. After law school, he clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.


Justice Ming Chin (Ret.)
ADR Services, Inc.
San Francisco, California

Ming Chin has enjoyed a highly decorated and illustrious career marked by exemplary public service, including 24 years as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. He is deeply respected and admired among his peers, not only for his remarkable intellect and strength of character but also for his great dedication and contributions to the California judiciary and to the legal community at large. As a mediator, arbitrator, referee, and appellate consultant at ADR Services, Inc., Justice Chin continues to serve the business and legal communities by resolving complex and divisive matters through alternative dispute resolution.


Rollins Emerson
Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society
San Francisco, California

Rollins Emerson has worked at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for 35 years, first staffing court committees, and then working 20 years for Judge Joe Sneed. He has been the court's archivist and historian since 2008. He has a B.A. in literature and an M.A. in clinical psychology. Mr. Emerson is the first full-time archivist of any circuit court. He has a deep interest in the court and its judges and courthouses, and works to preserve and celebrate its history.


Professor Jeffrey L. Fisher
Stanford Law School
Stanford, California

A leading authority on Supreme Court practice and a nationally recognized expert on criminal procedure, Jeffrey L. Fisher's work at Stanford Law School revolves around handling cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. He has argued over 40 cases in the Court, on issues ranging from criminal procedure to maritime law to civil and human rights. Professor Fisher's successes include the landmark cases of Crawford v. Washington, Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, Riley v. California, and Ramos v. Louisiana. He has handled other significant cases involving the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Sixth Amendment (right to an impartial jury free from racial bias), and the Eighth Amendment (protection against cruel and unusual punishment). Professor Fisher was also co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees same-sex couples a right to marry. In addition to his teaching and practice concerning the Supreme Court, Professor Fisher has published numerous articles on various criminal and constitutional issues, and he currently is writing a treatise on the Confrontation Clause. He also serves as special counsel to the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice group of O'Melveny & Myers. Before joining the Stanford faculty, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


Justice Margaret M. Grignon (Ret.), AAAL Fellow
Grignon Law Firm
Long Beach, California

Margaret M. Grignon is a retired California Court of Appeal Justice. After six years on the trial court bench, she sat on Division Five of the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles for 14 years and authored more than 2,230 opinions, more than 160 of which were published or precedential. Since leaving the bench, she has practiced appellate law and has represented clients in more than 44 published opinions in a wide variety of cases. She is a past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and a former board member of AAAL.


Professor Richard L. Hasen
University of California
Irvine, California

Richard L. Hasen is Chancellor's Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine, and is co-director of the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center. Professor Hasen is a nationally recognized expert in election law and campaign finance regulation, writing as well in the areas of legislation and statutory interpretation, remedies, and torts.


Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson (Ret.), AAAL Fellow
Alexander Dubose & Jefferson LLP
Austin, Texas

Wallace B. Jefferson is a partner at Alexander Dubose & Jefferson. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, he served as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. Appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001 and named chief justice in 2004, he made Texas judicial history as the court's first African-American justice and chief justice. He led the court's efforts to fund access to justice programs; helped reform juvenile justice; and implemented a statewide electronic filing system for Texas courts. Chief Justice Jefferson is treasurer of the American Law Institute and an AAAL Fellow, and he serves on the board of Lexitas. He has been certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1993.


Kirk C. Jenkins, AAAL Fellow
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
San Francisco, California

Kirk C. Jenkins is senior counsel in the Appellate and Supreme Court practice group at Arnold & Porter in San Francisco. He writes widely on issues of appellate decision-making and judicial analytics. He is the immediate past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers and has been an AAAL Fellow since 2017.


Jim Layton
Teuth Keeney Cooper Mohan Jackstadt P.C.
St. Louis, Missouri

Jim Layton served in the Missouri Attorney General's office from 1995–2017—nearly all of that time as state solicitor/solicitor general. He not only supervised all civil appeals, but all litigation involving the constitutionality of statutes and the preparation of opinions. Having studied and written about state solicitors general, Mr. Layton has frequently been interviewed about litigation involving state attorneys general. Now in private practice at Tueth Keeney in St. Louis, he currently handles appeals and represents a wide variety of government entities.


Honorable Kenneth K. Lee
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
San Diego, California

Kenneth Kiyul Lee is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to his appointment, Judge Lee was a partner at the law firm of Jenner & Block. He previously served as an associate counsel to President George W. Bush and started his legal career as an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Judge Lee is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and a summa cum laude graduate of Cornell University. He clerked for Judge Emilio M. Garza of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


Elizabeth Murrill
Solicitor General, Louisiana
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Elizabeth (Liz) Murrill has over 30 years of experience in complex state and federal litigation. She has argued four times at the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous times in state and federal appeal courts. She is a 1991 graduate of Louisiana State University Law School, where she was editor in chief of the Law Review, and she obtained an L.L.M. in alternative dispute resolution from Pepperdine University in 2010. She is the first solicitor general for the state of Louisiana.


John Neiman, AAAL Fellow
Maynard Cooper & Gale
Birmingham, Alabama

John Neiman is chair of the Appellate group at Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C., in Birmingham, Alabama. He previously was state solicitor general in Alabama, when he argued two cases at the U.S. Supreme Court and was twice awarded Best Briefs awards by the National Association of Attorneys General. He clerked for Hon. Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court from 2001–2002, and for Hon. Paul V. Niemeyer on the Fourth Circuit from 2000–2001. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2000 and from the University of North Carolina in 1997.


Honorable Jacqueline H. Nguyen
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Pasadena, California

Nominated by President Barack Obama, Jacqueline H. Nguyen was confirmed and received her commission to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in May 2012. Judge Nguyen is the first Asian American woman to serve on a federal court of appeals. Prior to her confirmation to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Nguyen was the first Asian American woman to serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. She began her judicial career as a trial judge on the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, California, serving from 2002–2009. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Nguyen spent seven years as a federal prosecutor in the U.S Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, where she also served as a deputy chief in charge of training new assistant U.S. attorneys. Judge Nguyen began her legal career in private practice. She received her A.B. from Occidental College in 1987, and her J.D. from UCLA Law School in 1991.


Mary R. O'Grady, AAAL Fellow
Osborn Maledon, P.A.
Phoenix, Arizona

Mary O'Grady is a partner at Osborn Maledon, where she works on civil litigation and appeals, with an emphasis on public law issues. Ms. O'Grady served as Arizona solicitor general from August 2002–March 2011. She has worked on significant appeals in state and federal courts, with a particular emphasis on campaign finance and election law and other state and federal constitutional issues. Since joining Osborn Maledon in 2011, her work has included representing the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, various Indian tribes, community colleges and universities, and local governments and businesses. She has worked on 12 cases on the merits before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. O'Grady earned her J.D. from Arizona State University. She also has an M.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a B.A. in history from Arizona State University.


Honorable John B. Owens
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
San Diego, California

John Byron Owens is a U.S. circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In 1993, he graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1996, graduating first in his class and earning the Stanford Law Review Board of Editors Award. After law school, Judge Owens clerked for Judge J. Clifford Wallace on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The following year, he clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. After these distinguished clerkships, Judge Owens worked as trial attorney in the Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation (now Consumer Protection Branch) from 1998–1999, and as a litigation association at O'Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C. from 2000–2001. In 2001, Judge Owens became an assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District of California. He transferred to the Southern District of California in 2004. In 2008, he was named deputy chief of major frauds in that district, and he was elevated to chief of the Criminal Division in 2010. In 2012, Judge Owens joined the firm of Munger, Tolles, & Olson as a partner.


Pamela B. Petersen, AAAL Fellow
Axon Enterprise, Inc.
Scottsdale, Arizona

Pamela B. Petersen is vice president of litigation and national appellate counsel for Axon Enterprise, formerly known as TASER International, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Axon is a world leader in technology products for public safety, including less lethal weapons, body-worn and fleet vehicle cameras, and digital evidence management solutions. Ms. Petersen is a passionate spokesperson for the company's empathy-based virtual reality training, a game-changer for law enforcement community engagement. She previously clerked for Hon. Mary Schroeder on the Ninth Circuit, was editor and co-chair of the Arizona Appellate Handbook for over a decade, and chaired the Appellate Practice Section's Executive Council and Appellate Practice Institute. She became an AAAL Fellow in 2013.


Michael A. Scodro, AAAL Fellow
Mayer Brown LLP
Chicago, Illinois

Michael A. Scodro is a partner in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice at Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago. He previously served as the Illinois solicitor general and has argued numerous appeals in state and federal court, including three in the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Scodro also teaches courses on the Supreme Court and state attorneys general at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the immediate past president of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association, past chair of the ABA's Council of Appellate Lawyers, and a member of AAAL and the American Law Institute. Following his graduation from Yale Law School, Mr. Scodro clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Kannon K. Shanmugam, AAAL Fellow
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Washington, D.C.

Kannon K. Shanmugam is a partner at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He is chair of the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation practice and managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office. Mr. Shanmugam is widely recognized as one of the nation's top appellate litigators. He has argued 34 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and dozens of appeals, including all 13 U.S. courts of appeals and numerous state courts.


Peter K. Stris, AAAL Fellow
Stris & Maher LLP
Los Angeles, California

Peter K. Stris is the founding partner of Stris & Maher LLP, a litigation boutique specializing in high-stakes business cases. Based in Los Angeles, he leads the firm's Supreme Court and Appellate practice. Mr. Stris has argued 10 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has represented a wide range of clients in appeals throughout the country.


Kathleen Sullivan, AAAL Fellow
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
Los Angeles, California

Kathleen Sullivan is partner and founding chair of the national appellate practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. She has argued over 200 appeals, including 11 in the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining the firm, Ms. Sullivan was a professor of law at Harvard and Stanford Law Schools and served as the 11th dean of Stanford Law School. She holds a J.D. from Harvard, a B.A. from Cornell, and an M.A. from Oxford (which she attended as a Marshall Scholar), and she was a law clerk to Judge James L. Oakes on the Second Circuit.


Professor Eugene Volokh
University of California
Los Angeles, California

Eugene Volokh teaches First Amendment law and a First Amendment amicus brief clinic at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught criminal law, copyright law, tort law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. Before coming to UCLA, he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Volokh is the author of the textbooks The First Amendment and Related Statutes (7th ed. 2020) and Academic Legal Writing (5th ed. 2016), as well as over 90 law review articles. In addition to his academic work, he has also filed briefs in more than 125 appellate cases throughout the country since 2013 and has argued in over 30 federal and state appellate cases.


Honorable Kim Wardlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Pasadena, California

Kim McLane Wardlaw serves on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was nominated by President William Jefferson Clinton on January 27, 1998. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and appointed to the court in 1998. Judge Wardlaw had previously served on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California since 1996. Before joining the district court, she was a litigation partner at O'Melveny & Myers. There, she enjoyed a general business litigation practice, with special emphases in intellectual property and media defense law. While in private practice, Judge Wardlaw was involved in numerous community, political, and governmental activities, taking leaves of absence from her practice to join the Clinton-Gore Presidential Transition Team, where she worked in the U.S. Department of Justice, and serving as Mayor-elect Richard J. Riordan's government liaison during his mayoral transition. Judge Wardlaw graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with an A.B. in communication studies in 1976. She obtained her J.D. in 1979 from UCLA Law School, where she was awarded Order of the Coif and named Outstanding Graduate of the Class of 1979. She was a legal extern during law school for the late Hon. Joseph T. Sneed III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and upon graduation, clerked for Hon. William P. Gray of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.