Members Who Inspire

33 ABA Journal Members Who Inspire articles.

Two young Native American lawyers call for action on missing and murdered indigenous women

Lauren van Schilfgaarde and Heather Torres introduced the ABA to the missing and murdered indigenous women crisis in February by first sharing the stories of those who suffered. Those stories resonated with the ABA House of Delegates.

Men of Color Project co-chairs lead conversations on racial injustice

“It came down to ‘How do we support this cause?’” says Jerome Crawford, co-chair of the ABA’s Men of Color Project. “We recognized that we represent a unique constituency that needed to be spoken up for. The issues that we’re talking about disproportionately affect men in communities of color, particularly Black and brown men.”

Lawyer certified as emergency medical technician calls on his experience during COVID-19 crisis

“I am able to use my skills to help with the board, to help with meal organization, and to help with providing supplemental staffing at a time when more than ever an EMT is needed,” says lawyer Christopher Jennison, an ABA member, employment and labor counsel with the Federal Aviation Administration, and assembly clerk of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division.

A love of dolphins sparked lawyer’s 30-year crusade to improve well-being of animals

James F. Gesualdi was only a year into his practice of law in 1989 when a trip to a dolphin sanctuary changed the course of his career—and his entire life. “The practice of animal law, like life itself, is all about raising consciousness,” Gesualdi says.

Attorney uses photography and storytelling for legal empowerment

“That is one of my main missions, to elevate and amplify the voices of poor and marginalized people and communities,” says ABA member Deborah Espinosa, who now works as a consultant for Landesa. “Not speak for them—they are not voiceless; it’s just their voices do not often have platforms.”

Robert Saunooke champions Native American issues in his career and in the ABA

The universe unfolds as it is intended. That’s the mantra Robert Saunooke has called on for motivation through much of his life. It guided the citizen and enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians through challenges he encountered during his childhood and opportunities he embraced as he built a practice focused on representing Native American tribes and their members.

Lawyer launches café that employs individuals with disabilities

In December 2018, Vinson & Elkins counsel Noelle Alix teamed up with longtime friend Kim Morrison to open BeanZ & Co. and provide jobs to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Avon, Connecticut.

Assistant public defender: ‘I just personally like to give back’

LaToya Bell, an assistant public defender in Houston County in Georgia, a member of the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division and Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, and a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Young Lawyers Division, handles as many as 200 to 250 cases at any time involving misdemeanors and traffic offenses in state court. She has earned her own reputation for being hopeful for her clients—hopeful not only that justice is served, but that she can in some way improve their lives.

Meet 11 ABA members who inspired us in 2019
Members Who Inspire is an ABA Journal series profiling exceptional ABA members. This past year, we featured many in the legal field who are doing good work and paying it forward, including pro bono for veterans, fighting for prisoners' rights, and promoting literacy and advancing diversity.
Fast track: A 4-time Olympian takes her luge experience to the classroom

Fear and luge are not compatible. Cameron Myler—a four-time Olympian who spent countless hours lying on her back on a tiny sled, feet stretched out in front of her, hurtling down an icy track without brakes—would know. “Luge is not a good sport if you are afraid,” says Myler, a co-vice-chair of the ABA Business Law Section’s Sports Law Committee.

Holocaust survivor has dedicated his career to serving others

John Rosenberg likes to tell people we’re in a country where the rule of law means something, where no one is above the law. “Lawyers make a difference,” he says. “We have demonstrated in our work that we can have a great impact and make our society a better one.”

Seattle lawyer focuses on systemic changes to end youth homelessness

“To me, this represented one of the toughest problems, but absolutely something that was worthwhile to invest a career in, because if we do this right, we are going to open the door for so many other things,” says Casey Trupin, the director of youth homelessness at the Raikes Foundation, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization.

ABA Medal recipient Dale Minami built a career around inclusion and civil rights for Asian Americans

Dale Minami—known as one of the lawyers who helped overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu, the Japanese American man whose name is on a notorious and widely repudiated U.S. Supreme Court case—has been awarded the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor.

New ABA pro bono program gives Mary Ryan a firsthand look at immigration at the border

“Part of the whole point, I think, in the ABA making this opportunity available is so that people can talk about it to people who care what’s happening on the border but can’t go themselves,” says Mary Ryan, an environmental litigator at Nutter McClennen & Fish in Boston. “It will make you a better advocate.”

Sowing seeds: Artika Tyner uses education to nurture social change

A trio of early influences led Artika Tyner to what she calls her life mission—promoting literacy, training the next generation of leaders and advancing diversity and inclusion as the founder of the Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute.

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