About the Commission Members - Bios
Read news release of Ms. Liebenberg's appointment to chair the Commission
Roberta D. Liebenberg is a senior partner at Fine Kaplan and Black in Philadelphia, where she focuses her practice on class actions, antitrust and complex commercial litigation. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Catholic University Columbus School of Law, magna cum laude, where she was the Notes Editor of the Law Review. Thereafter, she served as a law clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Ms. Liebenberg is the recipient of the 2008 Sandra Day O'Connor Award by the Philadelphia Bar Association. This award is conferred annually on a woman attorney who has demonstrated superior legal talent, achieved significant legal accomplishments, and has furthered the advancement of women in both the profession and the community. In May, 2007, Ms. Liebenberg was named as one of The National Law Journal's "50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America." In 2008, 2009 and 2010, she was named as one of the "Top Ten Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania" in Philadelphia Magazine, the only woman to receive such an honor. In October, 2006, Ms. Liebenberg was named by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell as a "Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania" for her leadership and contributions to the State. In April, 2003, she was named as the first recipient of the Lynette Norton Award by the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession. That award was given to her in recognition of her outstanding litigation skills and mentoring of women attorneys. In April 2010, she was named one of the "Women of Distinction" by The Legal Intelligencer. In December, 2003, she was named as one of the "Women of Distinction" by the Philadelphia Business Journal and the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Every year since 2004, Ms. Liebenberg has been listed in the highest band-level as one of the leading antitrust lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Chambers USA Guide: America's Leading Business Lawyers. The 2009 Chambers Guide states that she is a "first-class litigator" and "she truly is one of the most talented and accomplished antitrust lawyers in the country." Since 2006, she has been listed in Best Lawyers in America in the field of Antitrust. Ms. Liebenberg serves as a member of the Best Lawyers Advisory Board.
Ms. Liebenberg served as Chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary from 2006–2007. Prior to that appointment, she served as the Third Circuit representative on the Standing Committee from 2005-2006. She co-chaired the Practitioners' Reading Group in connection with the Standing Committee's evaluations of Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor and Kagan in 2009 and 2010. From 2003 to 2005, Ms. Liebenberg was a member of the Board of Governors of the ABA, representing Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She also was one of the founders of "DirectWomen," an ABA initiative to enable women lawyers to prepare for service as directors on corporate boards.
She chaired the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession from 1995 to 1997. She also served as Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Women in the Profession Committee from 2005-2007. In 2010, Ms. Liebenberg was selected as one of fourteen national "Visionary Delegates" for Vision 2020, a national project focused on advancing gender equality. Ms. Liebenberg was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to the Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness, and serves as Chair of its Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims Committee. Previously, she was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to its Committee on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System, where she was Co-Chair of the Gender Bias Committee. In addition, she served as Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Special Committee to Coordinate the Bar's Response to Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System, as well as its Gender Fairness Task Force.
Ms. Liebenberg is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has written and lectured extensively on a wide range of subjects, including antitrust, class actions, consumer financial services litigation and expert witness testimony, and issues pertaining to gender, racial and ethnic fairness in the justice system.
Ruthe Catolico Ashley is the founder and president of Diversity Matters, a consulting firm dedicated to workforce development, educational pipelines, and diversity. Prior to this, she was the founder, president and chief executive officer of CaliforniaALL (Aspire•Learn•Lead), an innovative non-profit organization created to coordinate, communicate, and collaborate along the full extent of the educational pipeline with a goal of closing the achievement gap and enhancing the success of California's students to ensure the education and diversity of tomorrow's workforce and leaders. Created while Ashley was at CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System), other founding partners included the State Bar of California, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Department of Insurance. She was formerly the Division Chief - Diversity Officer, External Affairs for CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the United States with assets of $190 billion. CalPERS was the only state agency to create this position, allowing CalPERS to extend its core value of diversity to its external partnerships. Prior to joining CalPERS, Ashley was the Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Her extensive rolodex assisted students in building relationships in California and across the nation.
A 1988 graduate of Pacific McGeorge, Ashley practiced law for 14 years prior to returning to her alma mater's career office. Her prior legal experience included trial work in both large and small law firms. In 1998, she was a founding partner at the first Asian-American women-owned law firm in the greater Sacramento area, which specialized in healthcare law, civil rights, employment, and business litigation. Ashley was a nurse for 15 years prior to becoming a lawyer. She was a public health nurse and ended her nursing career as an Assistant Professor of Nursing.
Ashley was elected to the State Bar of California Board of Governors in 2004 and was appointed to chair a major initiative, the Diversity Pipeline Task Force. As chair of the Diversity Pipeline Task Force, Ashley created the model that led a group of 70 prominent members of the legal community in a project that facilitated the formation of diversity pipeline programs. This unique project put the State Bar of California in the lead in providing a resource of best practices that was continuous, sustainable, had impact, and could be replicated by any legal entity. Ashley led the Board of Governors in the creation of a new Access and Fairness Council that institutionalizes the work of the task force into the State Bar structure.
Ashley was appointed to the nominating committee for American Bar Association President-Elect, Stephen Zack, in October, 2009. In July, 2007, Ashley was appointed as the chair of the Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline (Pipeline Council), known formerly as the Presidential Advisory Council on Diversity (ACD), which focuses on pipeline projects for the American Bar Association. As chair, the council educated and increased the visibility of diversity and the pipeline in the bar and beyond. In October, 2007, she was appointed as the co-chair of the Bench Bar Coalition, with members from the California bench and bar, which advocates with the California legislature on issues that affect California's courts and judiciary. Ashley's commitment and passion for diversity led her to full-time efforts on behalf of underrepresented communities.
Awards include the Trailblazer Award presented by the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (2009), Distinguished Community Service Award presented by the Philippine American Bar Association (2007), Heritage Award presented by the California State Legislature (2005), Filipinas Who Could be President (2004) presented by the Filipina Women's Network, Lifetime Achievement Award from Pace University School of Law (2004), the Unity Award for Community Service from the Unity Bar Association (2002), Unsung Heroes Award from Sacramento's public television station KVIE and Union Bank for volunteerism and activism (2001), and the Trailblazer Award presented by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (1998).
She is a past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, which represents the interests of 40,000 APA lawyers across the nation, a past president of Legal Services of Northern California, a past chair of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and a past president of the Asian Bar Association of Sacramento. She was a governor appointee to the Developmentally Disabled Area III Board. She continues to serve on other boards and commissions including the ABA's Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO). She is also a dynamic and entertaining speaker who has traveled nationally as a spokesperson for diversity, the pipeline, career development, healthcare and professional liability issues, and building a workforce for the future.
Fernande R.V. Duffly was appointed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court by Governor Paul Cellucci on February 15, 2000. She had previously served on the Probate and Family Court, to which she was appointed by Governor William Weld in 1992. After earning a B.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1973 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1978, she joined the litigation department of the Boston law firm then known as Warner and Stackpole (now K&L Gates).
Throughout her career, Justice Duffly has worked to ensure that justice is available to all who come before the courts and to advance women in the profession. As an attorney, she provided pro bono legal services to indigent clients through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. As a judge she continues to work toward promoting equal access to the courts and full diversity on the bench and the legal profession. She is a member of the National Association of Women Judges and served as NAWJ's president for the term ending November, 2008. A member of the American Bar Association, she also served as NAWJ liaison to the ABA's Commission on Women in the Profession. She has served on the Boston Bar Association's committees on pro se litigation and attorney volunteerism, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court's committee on pro se access to the courts, the ABA subcommittee on the representation of children, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's Standing Committee on Substance Abuse. She has written articles and taught seminars on a broad range of topics, including appellate decision-making, family law, trusts, parental rights, and gender, ethnic, and racial bias.
In 2001, Justice Duffly was part of a delegation of Massachusetts judges hosted by the Supreme People's Court; there she promoted the rule of law in China. Recently, ABA ROLI sponsored her participation in a conference on Women and the Judiciary, in Kuwait. She has presented educational programs to visiting judges from a host of countries including China, Iraq, the United Kingdom, Egypt, and others.
Justice Duffly has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Probate Judge's Association, the Distinguished Jurist Award from the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers, and the Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She was recognized as a Diversity Hero by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and was named a 2008 Woman of Justice, an award co-sponsored by Lawyers Weekly, the Women's Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Women Lawyers. She was the 2009 recipient of the Boston Bar Association citation for Judicial Excellence.
Bio to come
Jim Goh is a partner at Holland & Hart LLP in Denver, specializing in employment and education law. He represents management in the areas of employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, wage/hour, employment-related torts, employment contracts, and labor arbitration. Mr. Goh also has substantial experience in the defense of complex multi-plaintiff cases and class actions. In addition, Mr. Goh represents and counsels colleges and universities on issues related to employment, student privacy, student and faculty discipline, tenure denials, student athletics, diversity-based scholarships, and other aspects of education law.
An AV-rated lawyer, Mr. Goh frequently lectures on employment issues, both nationally and internationally, including Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Canada. From 2002 through 2005, Mr. Goh served as Chair of the Employment and Immigration Committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA), an association of lawyers from around the world. He was also Vice-Chair of the Employer-Employee Relations subcommittee of the ABA's Torts & Insurance Practice Section.
In 1999, Mr. Goh was invited to be a member of President Clinton's Lawyers for One America Initiative. He has also been appointed by three successive ABA Presidents to serve on the ABA's Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice. From 1995 to 1999, he served on the Board of Governors of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). Presently, Mr. Goh chairs NAPABA's Best Lawyers Under 40 Committee.
Within Holland & Hart, Mr. Goh chairs the firm's Diversity Committee. He also serves on the firm's Recruiting and Partnership committees.
Prior to joining Holland & Hart, Mr. Goh clerked for Hon. Frank G. Theis, U.S. District of Kansas. He received his B.A. (English), from The Colorado College, and his J.D. (1991) from the University of Kansas, where he served on the Kansas Law Review.
Lisa Horowitz is Director of Professional Development at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, an international law firm with offices throughout the United States and Europe. She facilitated the design, development, and implementation of McDermott University, an integrated talent development system that includes firmwide and practice group core competencies, aligned training, mentoring, and career development planning. She is a frequent trainer and speaker on leadership development, career planning, and mentoring both at the firm and externally including at the ABA Women in Law Leadership Academies. She has also had experience facilitating strategic planning and teambuilding for a number of large organizations.
A graduate of Tufts University, Ms. Horowitz received her J.D. from The National Law Center, George Washington University, and her M.S. in organizational development/human resources from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar. As a practicing attorney, she was a partner with the law firm of Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg, Manley & Casey and most recently special counsel at Arnold & Porter.
Ms. Horowitz was president of the National Association of Women Lawyers and is on the NAWL board as well as the NAWL Foundation board. She also served on the steering committee of the Law Practice Management Section of the District of Columbia Bar. She is a member of the Professional Development Consortium, the American Bar Association, and the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia as well.
Bio to come
Eileen M. Letts is co-founder and co-managing partner of Greene and Letts in Chicago. She graduated from ITT Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1978 and received the degree of Juris Doctor. Ms. Letts was admitted to practice before the Illinois Bar and the Federal Bar. She received her Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University in 1975.
Ms. Letts has extensive experience in litigation. Her emphasis has been on personal injury defense matters, where she has tried numerous cases to verdict. She has also tried contract disputes and construction litigation claims. She remains extensively involved in continuing legal education and the constant changes taking place in the practice of law and in the business of law.
Ms. Letts’ activities in the legal community include: Member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, Past President, Chicago Bar Foundation, President, ITF Board of Directors, Member of the Economic Club of Chicago, Past Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness, Committee Chair American Bar Association Section of Litigation, and Member of the 1996 – 97 Magistrate Merit Selection Panel for the Northern District of Illinois.
In the past, Ms. Letts has served the legal community as: Member of the Council of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association; Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association of Chicago-Kent College of Law; Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Chicago Bar Association; Chairperson of the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association; Member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Association; Co-Chair of the Solo and Small Firm Committee for the American Bar Association Section of Litigation; Liaison to the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Solo and Small Firm Practitioners; Member of the Executive Committee of the Cook County Bar Association Special Committee on Minority Federal Jury Service, Member of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Justice, and; President of Minority Legal Education Resources, Inc. Ms. Letts also served on the transition team for Chicago Mayor-Elect, Harold Washington. She belongs to the American, National, Chicago and Cook County Bar Associations.
Lorelie S. Masters is a partner in Jenner & Block's Washington, DC office. She is a member of the Firm's Litigation Department and Climate and Clean Technology Law and Insurance Litigation and Counseling Practices. Ms. Masters is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell's highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability.
Prior to joining Jenner & Block, Ms. Masters spent 17 years at Anderson Kill & Olick, L.L.P., in its nationally recognized insurance coverage group. Since 1983, she has advised and represented companies and individuals seeking to enforce insurance coverage under general liability, directors & officers, first-party property, health, and other types of insurance. Ms. Masters also has extensive experience in e-commerce issues and related records-management and electronic-discovery issues that arise from the increasing reliance on technology and computers.
Ms. Masters has handled, tried, and settled cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts across the country and, more recently, in arbitrations in the United States and abroad. At issue in these cases typically have been millions of dollars of insurance coverage for products liability and directors and officers claims.
Ms. Masters served as lead trial counsel for policyholder Hoechst Celanese Corporation in its action enforcing general liability insurance coverage for hundreds of thousands of product-liability claims against the policyholder in what the press called the largest property damage class action settlement ever. The National Law Journal called the jury's verdict in Hoechst Celanese's coverage case one of the "most significant jury verdicts of 1997." Most recently, Ms. Masters obtained an award of more than $92 million to cover product-liability claims against a major pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturer in an arbitration conducted in London under the English Arbitration Act, 1996.
Ms. Masters is co-author of Insurance Coverage Litigation, an in-depth legal treatise first published in 1997 and updated annually, and Liability Insurance in International Arbitration: The Bermuda Form. Ms. Masters serves on the Litigation Steering Committee for the District of Columbia Bar and on the Committee on Admissions which administers and oversees applications and examinations for admission to the District of Columbia Bar. Ms. Masters was President of the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia from 2007-2008. She is a past Policyholder Chair of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association and continues to serve in the Section of Litigation's Leadership. She chaired the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee's Midyear CLE Meeting in 1999 and is a former Editor of the Committee's award-winning, bi-monthly journal, Coverage.
Ms. Masters received the National Association of Women Lawyer's 2005 Service Award for her work as Chair of NAWL's Amicus Committee. Ms. Masters was also recognized in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions of Washington DC Super Lawyers for Insurance Coverage Litigation, and by The Best Lawyers in America for Insurance Law in 2008 and 2009. Since 2005, Chambers & Partners USA has named Ms. Masters one of the country's leading lawyers in Insurance Law. Ms. Masters graduated in 1981 from Notre Dame Law School, where she was editor-in chief of the Journal of Legislation and a Scholar with the Thomas J. and Alberta White Center. She graduated from Georgetown University, cum laude, in 1977.
Gloria Santona is the chief legal officer of McDonald's Corporation, the world's largest quick service restaurant company, with over 31,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries. In this role, she leads McDonald's worldwide legal, compliance, regulatory, and corporate governance functions. As part of McDonald's senior leadership team, Ms. Santona is also actively involved in the company's strategic direction and growth. Ms. Santona has fostered the legal department's diversity efforts and on-going engagement in pro bono legal services, which have garnered the McDonald's legal department awards in recognition of the legal and educational services it has provided to underserved communities.
Ms. Santona joined McDonald's as an attorney upon her graduation from the University of Michigan Law School, and subsequently held a number of management positions in the legal department. She became the company's corporate secretary in 1996 and has served as general counsel since 2001. She is a member of the board of directors of Aon Corporation, serving on its Audit and Governance Committees and as chairman of its Compliance Committee. In addition, Ms. Santona serves on the board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Chicago and as a trustee of Rush University Medical Center and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Santona is a member of several professional organizations and is a frequent speaker and panel member on a variety of diversity, legal, compliance, and corporate governance topics. She was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine and has received numerous awards, including the Women with Vision Award from the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, the Excellence in Corporate Practice Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Women of Achievement Award from the Anti-Defamation League, and the National Hispanic Woman of the Year Award from the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation. In addition, Ms. Santona has been recognized as one of America's Top General Counsel by Corporate Board Member magazine.
James R. Silkenat is a Partner in the New York office of Sullivan & Worcester LLP, where he coordinates the firm’s International Business Practice Group. His primary focus is on international joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, privatizations, project finance transactions (in both developed and developing countries) and private equity investment funds. He has extensive experience in international energy transactions and is a former Legal Counsel at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.
Mr. Silkenat’s recent representations have included: investors and fund managers in international investment funds; governments and bidders in privatization transactions; European banks in loan transactions in the U.S.; Asian corporations and financial institutions in cross-border acquisitions and financings; U.S. corporations in joint ventures overseas; U.S., Latin American, Asian and African companies in project financings, particularly in the energy sector; and U.S. and international technology companies in capital raising activities.
An active member of the American Bar Association, Mr. Silkenat has served as Chair of both the Section of International Law and the Section Officers Conference. In 1990, he was elected to the ABA House of Delegates and served as Chair of the New York Delegation in the House of Delegates from 2000-2009. He now represents the New York State Bar Association in the ABA House. He served on the ABA Board of Governors from 1994-1997 (including as a member of the Executive Committee) and has Chaired the American Bar Association’s Latin American Legal Initiatives Council and the ABA’s China Committee. He is also a former Chair of the ABA’s Museum of Law. In 2007 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the ABA’s Section of International Law. In addition to his responsibilities in the ABA, Mr. Silkenat is a Member of the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association and has served as Chair of the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights (now Human Rights First). He is currently a member of the board of directors of the World Justice Project, a multidisciplinary effort to promote the Rule of Law around the world. In 2009, he received the Diversity Champion Award from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Mr. Silkenat received his BA Degree from Drury College, his JD from the University of Chicago School of Law (where he was Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review) and his LLM (International Law) from New York University School of Law.
Mr. Silkenat is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Law Institute, has served as Fellow in the U.S. State Department Scholar/Diplomat Program, and was a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. A prolific writer, he has authored more than 100 articles on law and business for various national and international publications and is the Editor of numerous books including: The Imperial Presidency and the Consequences of 9/11: Lawyers React to the Global War on Terrorism (2007); The Law of International Insolvencies and Debt Restructurings (2006); The ABA Guide to International Business Negotiations (1994, 2004, and 2009 Editions); and The ABA Guide to Foreign Law Firms (1988, 1993, 1999, 2004, and 2010 Editions). He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and has served as National Chair of the Fellows. Mr. Silkenat is also a former Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. In 2000, he received the Outstanding Alumni Award for Career Achievement from Drury University.
Marsha E. Simms is a partner in Weil, Gotshal & Manges' Corporate department. She practices in the areas of debt financing & restructuring. She has extensive experience negotiating financing & restructuring documentation, and has participated in transactions in numerous industries, including retail, telecommunications, energy and manufacturing. She has also represented major lenders providing debtor-in-possession financing and exit financing to newly reorganized companies.
Ms. Simms has lectured in legal areas related to asset-based lending and debt financing for the Practicing Law Institute and ALI/ABA, in Africa for American Bar Association technical legal assistance projects as well as in areas related to women and minorities' participation in corporate law practice. She has been named one of the "World’s Leading Lawyers" in the area of banking and finance by Chambers Global for the years 2001 - 2007, and in 2003 was named one of America's Top Black Lawyers by Black Enterprise Magazine. Ms. Simms was recognized in Chambers USA - America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 as a leader in the field of Banking and Finance.
Within the American Bar Association Business Law Section, Ms. Simms is a member of the Editorial Board of The Business Lawyer, a former member of the Editorial Board of Business Law Today, and was the former chair of the ABA Relations Committee and of the Secured Transactions Subcommittee, UCC Committee. She is a member of the ABA's Africa Law Initiative Council, and a member of the African Commercial Law Subcommittee of the International Law and Practice Section. She is a member of the Banking Law Committee and the Committee on Minorities in the Profession of the New York State Bar Association, and a member of the Audit Committee of the New York City Bar Association. She is a past President of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers and a member of The American Law Institute. She is past Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a life member of the Board of Trustees of Educational Broadcasting Corporation (Channel 13), a member of the Board of Directors of MK Level Playing Field Institute and a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association. Ms. Simms is a former trustee of the Stanford Alumni Association and was a member of the Stanford Law School Campaign Steering Committee.