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Next Gen Lawyering: DEI, Professional Identity, and the Practice of Law

Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom

4/14/2023 09:00am - 5:00pm

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are increasingly being recognized as core values in building a just legal system and in the practice of law. This symposium will bring together legal educators, judges, practicing lawyers, and law students to better understand and integrate DEI as an important part of a lawyer’s work and in achieving justice. Widener Law Review will explore these issues in our upcoming DEI Symposium on April 14, 2023. This all day event will feature Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz, Jr. of the Delaware Supreme Court as well as other members of the Delaware legal community. With much enthusiasm, we invite you to join us and to save the date.

5 CLE ETHICS credits in Delaware, Pennsylvania – New Jersey may self-report. Registration coming soon.


8:30 a.m. Registration Check-In and Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:15 a.m. Welcome and Introductory Overview
Alicia B. Kelly, Interim Dean and Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School
Caleb Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief, Widener Law Review

9:15 – 10:15 a.m. DEI as a Core Value of Law & Why Diversity Matters
Panel Chair: DLS Interim Dean Alicia B. Kelly
Panelists: Chief Justice Collins J. Seitz Jr. (Del. Supreme Court); Alicia B. Kelly (Interim Dean, Delaware Law School); Todd Clark (incoming Dean, Delaware Law School)
Facilitator: Micki Davis (Chief Diversity Officer, Widener University)

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. DEI and Educating Lawyers
This panel includes the relevant ABA standards and Rules of Professional Conduct
Panel Chair: DLS Professor Sara Hildebrand
Panelists: DLS Professor Iva J. Ferrell; Eric M. Kniskern (Director of Recruitment & Diversity Enrollment Initiatives, DLS Admissions); Tracey D. Baker (4L student, WLR DEI Editor); Kathleen M. Vavala (DLS adjunct faculty & ODC – Office of Disciplinary Counsel); TaWanda Stallworth (Program Manager, Antiracist Development Institute – Penn State Dickinson Law)

11:30 am – 12:30 p.m. DEI and Dignity
This panel focuses on how the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging advance and protect the inherent and equal human dignity of all people.
Panel Co-Chairs: DLS Professors James R. May & Erin Daly
Panelists: Dwayne Bensing (Legal Director, ACLU of Delaware; Dennis Coker (Chief, Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware; Michele Roberts (National Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance); Madhuri Ray (DLS '22)

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch – Barristers’ Club

1:45 – 2:45 p.m. DEI & Legal Decision-making in Legislative & Judicial Systems
Panel Chair: DLS Professor Keeshea Roberts Turner (moderator)
Panelists: Selena E. Molina (Master in Chancery, Delaware Court of Chancery); William L. Chapman Jr. (Chief Diversity Officer & Sr. Counsel, Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP); Chris Johnson (Councilman, Wilmington City Council & DLS Alum); Nathaniel (Nick) C. Nichols (Judge (ret.), Delaware County Court of Common Pleas; former professor, Dean of Students and Director of Clinical Programs at Widener Law School, now DLS); pending availability Senator S. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman (Delaware Senate).

2:45 – 3:00 pm Break

3:00 – 4:15 p.m. DEI in Law Practice
The panel will include discussion of best practices, cultural competency and effective lawyering.
Panel Chair: DLS DEI Assistant Dean Joseph D. Farris III (moderator)
Panelists: Felicia Brownell (Brownell Law Group LLC); Deborah R. Edwards (DEI Director, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP); Alexander S. Mackler (Delaware Department of Justice); Paige C. Chapman (Delaware Office of Defense Services); Shannon Mace (Executive Director, HELP:Medical Legal Partnership)

4:15 – 4:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
Caleb Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief, Widener Law Review
Alicia B. Kelly, Interim Dean and Professor of Law, Widener University Delaware Law School