Board of Visitors
The NJC’s Board of Visitors is a nationally recognized and select group of individuals charged with furthering the quality of education offered by the NJC. They are renowned professionals who bring a cross-section of perspectives to improve the administration of justice through education. Members also serve as goodwill ambassadors of the NJC by enhancing awareness of the College and assisting with fundraising efforts.
A. Clifford Edwards, Esq., Chair
For 40 years, Mr. Edwards has been practicing law in the areas of personal injury, insurance bad faith, environmental cleanup of Montana property, defective products, and workplace injuries and death. His family has been involved in ranching, business and law in Montana since the early 1890s. Mr. Edwards’ trial practice has resulted in two of the top five jury verdicts entered in Montana. In October 2013 he completed what is believed to be Montana’s largest single injury settlement — a significant eight-figure cash payment for horrific burns in the Bakken Oil Field.
Mr. Edwards received the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montana Trial Lawyers Association. The MTLA is a member organization for Montana attorneys who represent litigants to secure a just result for the injured, the accused, and those whose rights are jeopardized. The award honors Montana Trial attorneys who have made enduring contributions with Superior Advocacy over a long career.
Mr. Edwards belongs to The International Academy of Trial Lawyers, American College of Trial Lawyers and ABOTA; ATLA President’s club; Montana Trial Attorney of the year; AV Martindale Hubble rating for 30 years; listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 27 years.
John L. Holcomb, Esq., Co-Chair
John L. Holcomb was the 2009 National President of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is a shareholder of the Tampa law firm of Hill Ward Henderson. He received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University (Cum Laude) in 1977 and his J.D. from the University of Florida in 1979. He has tried over 100 jury trials to verdict in both state and federal court.
He has been selected by his peers to be included in the Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and the Litigation Counsel of America. He is board certified in civil trial law by The Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is a Master in the J. Clifford Cheatwood Inn of Court. Mr. Holcomb is a recipient of the Florida Trial Lawyer of the Year by FLABOTA in 2006 and the ABOTA Master in Trial Award in 1996.
Hon. Bobbe J. Bridge (Ret.)
Hon. Bobbe J. Bridge (Ret.) is the founding president and CEO of the Center for Children & Youth Justice, a nonprofit she created in 2006 to reform Washington state’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She served on the Washington Supreme Court from 2000 to 2008 and on the King County Superior Court from 1990 to 2000. She was chief juvenile court judge for three years. She continues to chair the Washington Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care. Among other boards and advisory groups, she serves on the board of the Washington State Office of Public Defense.
Before joining the bench, she was the first female partner at the Seattle law firm of Garvey Schubert Barer. Her many awards as an advocate for children and youth include: the 2017 Betty Binns Fletcher Leadership and Justice Award, the 2017 Senator Cantwell’s Women of Valor Award, the 2016 Women Leaders Career Excellence in Public Service Award from the University of Washington School of Law; the 2015 Debra Friedman Timeless Award from City of Tacoma, the 2014 Lifetime of Idealism Award from City Year, the 2014 Baxter Award from the Foster Parent Association of Washington State, the 2010 Advocacy Spirit Award from the National Network for Youth, the 2009 Strategies for Youth Award from the Lieutenant Governor of Washington, the Passing the Torch Award from Washington Women Lawyers, the Seattle Civil Rights Champion Award from Lambda Legal, the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Washington School of Law, and the Judge of the Year Award from the King County Bar Association.
She has been inducted into the Washington Generals for special service to the citizens of the state and into the Warren E. Burger Society of the National Center for State Courts.
Jon Bridge, Esq.
Jon Bridge is co-CEO and general counsel for Ben Bridge Jeweler Inc., a Seattle-based retail firm with 93 stores in 11 states and British Columbia. A Seattle native, he earned an honors degree in economics from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the UW Law School. Among his many civic endeavors, he is past chair and currently on the executive board of the Alliance for Education. He also serves on the boards of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, Jewelers of America Political Action Committee, the Metropolitan Seattle Urban League (where he is a past chair), and the Washington State Courts Historical Society as well as the Pacific NW Regional Council of the New Israel Fund.
He chairs the local Navy Recruiting District Assistance Council and is a retired Navy captain in the JAG Corps. He is past chair of the LAMP Section of the Washington State Bar Association, past chair of the Military Lawyers Committee of the GP/Solo Division of the American Bar Association, past co-chair (along with father Herb) of the United Way of King County’s Annual Campaign, and former president of the Washington State Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. He is also a member of Seattle Rotary and sits on the Ambassador Board of the UW College of Education. He is married to fellow visitor Bobbe Bridge.
Melissa H. Brown, Esq.
Melissa H. Brown is the Associate General Counsel, Legal Reform, at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC.
Effective January 1, 2018, Melissa will be transitioning from chief counsel, legislative legal affairs, at Georgia-Pacific LLC, up to their parent company as associate general counsel, legal reform. Before joining Georgia-Pacific in 2007, she was a partner at the law firm of Baach, Robinson & Lewis in Washington, D.C. In addition to advising clients on legal-reform strategies, she served as defense counsel in white-collar criminal cases and complex civil litigation, including commercial litigation, product liability defense and insurance defense. Her legal career began at the Washington, D.C., office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, where her practice focused on white-collar criminal defense.
She lived in Uganda for four years, spending two years as democracy and governance advisor for the United States Agency for International Development in Kampala, Uganda. She spent a year consulting for UNICEF on Uganda’s compliance with the International Treaty on the Rights of the Child. She also taught a legal skills seminar at the International Law Center in Kampala.
She is a summa cum laude graduate of the American University Washington College of Law. After graduation, she clerked for the Hon. Michael W. Farrell of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. She received her B.A. from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She currently serves in leadership capacities with both state-based and national civil-justice reform organizations around the country.
Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Esq.
San Francisco, CA
Elizabeth has been a partner at San Francisco’s Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein for more than 3 decades. Elizabeth possesses unparalleled expertise in complex civil litigation and has served as court-appointed lead, co-lead, or class counsel in over 80 federal multi-district and state coordinated proceedings. She specializes in complex civil litigation in financial and consumer fraud, anti-competitive practices, harmful drugs and products, and illegal employment practices. She has held leadership roles in cases that resulted in landmark settlements, verdicts, and precedent-setting rulings, including the Exxon Valdez disaster, breast implants, smoker and multi-state tobacco litigation, Fen-Phen (diet drugs), Holocaust litigation, Vioxx, Guidant defibrillators, and Bextra/Celebrex MDL litigations.
Elizabeth earned her Bachelors education at U.C. Berkeley, and J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law also in Berkeley, CA with bar admissions in California, almost all U.S. Courts of Appeal, U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She has authored and co-authored several publications on a wide range of legal topics and received honors and awards too numerous to list. In 2010, the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession honored Elizabeth with its Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. The award recognizes the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers. It is regarded by many as the highest honor in the legal profession for women lawyers. She is consistently ranked as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America.
Elizabeth serves the legal community by membership on enumerable associations and committees including the ABA’s Committee on Mass Torts, TIPS, and the Federal Bar Association. Elizabeth is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Many of our nation’s most accomplished leaders from academia, the social sciences, including the study and practice of the law, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts are members of the Academy.
Timothy R. Donovan, Esq.
Timothy Donovan currently serves as the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Regulatory & Compliance Officer of Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Prior to assuming that position on April 2, 2009, he served as the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Republic Services, Inc. from December 2008 to March 2009, and as the Executive Vice President, Corporate Secretary and General Counsel of Allied Waste Industries, Inc. from April 2007 until its December 2008 merger with Republic. Prior to joining Allied, from August 1999 until March 2007, Mr. Donovan was the General Counsel of, and simultaneously held various other executive level positions at, Tenneco Inc. (formerly known as Tenneco Automotive Inc.).
Prior to joining Tenneco, Mr. Donovan was a Partner in the Chicago-based law firm of Jenner & Block from 1989 to September 1999. He joined the firm in 1982 and served as a member of the firm’s executive committee and as the Chairman of its Corporate and Securities Department from 1997 until his departure in 1999. Mr. Donovan is also currently a director of John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc., a publicly traded leading nut and snack food processor based in Elgin, Illinois, where he is the Chairman of its Compensation Committee and a member of the Audit and Governance Committees.
Augusta S. Dowd, Esq.
Managing lawyer of Arnold & Dowd, in Birmingham, Ala., Augusta Dowd has more than 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer, primarily in civil and complex litigation and white collar criminal defense. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad spectrum of cases, including business, civil, class action, complex litigation, personal injury, mass tort, pharmaceutical, environmental tort, and whistleblower actions.
She has served on the Birmingham Bar Association’s Executive Committee (2004-2007) and Diversity Task Force (2006-2007) and is a fellow of the Birmingham Bar Foundation. She created the original course template for and led the inaugural class of the association’s Future Leaders Forum. In 2017 she served as president-elect designate of the Alabama State Bar Association.
She has been named to many “best of” lists, including: The Best Lawyers in America (2007-Present); Mass Tort Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America (2011); Alabama Super Lawyers (2008-2015); and Super Lawyers, Top 10 Lawyers in Alabama (2011).
Randall M. Ebner
Randall (Randy) M. Ebner is the Vice President and General Counsel of Exxon Mobil Corporation. He has been with ExxonMobil’s law department since graduating Tulane Law School in 1980. He received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in 1977. During his career, he has held numerous positions in the law department including litigation, transactional and management related assignments. Most recently, Mr. Ebner was Assistant General Counsel for Compliance and Corporate Law. He was elected to his current position effective November 1, 2016.
Mr. Ebner serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Legal Reform of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Center for State Courts. He is a member of the Board of Overseers for the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, the Steering Committee for the Civil Justice Reform Group and the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for the Center for American and International Law. Mr. Ebner also serves on the Law Committee for the American Petroleum Institute, the Board of Visitors for the National Judicial College and is a member of the Tulane Law School Dean’s Advisory Board. He is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.
Rew R. Goodenow, Esq.
Rew R. Goodenow has been a business lawyer in private practice for 27 years, in Nevada. During 2006-7 he served as president of the State Bar of Nevada. After that, he became president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents. He has authored numerous articles and a book on the subject of Nevada Business Entities that serves as the preeminent guide for the organization and operation of limited liability companies, corporations and other types of business structures.
Mr. Goodenow graduated from Tulane University in 1985 and from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1988. He is a shareholder in the multistate firm of Parsons, Behle and Latimer and served several terms on its board of directors. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Best Attorneys in Nevada, Chambers, Mountain States Super Lawyers and holds an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory.
Hon. Sophia H. Hall
Judge Hall is the Administrative Presiding Judge of the Resource Section of the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Department of the Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Judge Hall is charged with creating initiatives to facilitate the court and community collaborating to better serve children and families within the Juvenile Court’s jurisdiction. Judge Hall is also assigned to the Chancery Division where she hears, among others, cases seeking equitable relief, corporate and partnership cases, class actions, and declaratory judgment actions. Judge Hall was elected a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1980. She served in the Criminal Division for four years, and thereafter in the Chancery Division for five years. Both assignments made her the first woman in 20 years to serve in either division. When assigned as the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division in 1992, she was the first woman ever to serve as the Presiding Judge of any Division or District of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Judge Hall is a past chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Judicial College. She is a past member of the Board of the State Justice Institute to which she was appointed by President William J. Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate April 3, 1998, and concluded her service in 2010. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts. She is a past Chair of the National Conference of State Trial Judges of the Judicial Division of the American Bar Association, and past President of the National Association of Women Judges, and of the Illinois Judges Association. Among Judge Hall’s publications are “Examining New Paradigms to Address the Complexities of Family and Juvenile Cases,” a Chapter in The Improvement of the Administration of Justice, 7th Edition, 2001 published by the American Bar Association. She also authored articles on “Interlocutory Injunctions” and “Declaratory Judgments” published in the Chicago Bar Association Record.
Judge Hall received her Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law and her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Irwin A. Molasky
Chairman, The Molasky Group of Companies. Founding Chairman, University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation; awarded Trustee Emeritus in February 2007. Founder and former senior officer, Lorimar Entertainment Board of Directors. Inducted February 2003 UNLV Nevada Business Hall of Fame.
Built Sunrise Hospital Surgical Center & Medical Center, Paradise Palms (a planned community), the Bank of America Plaza, the Boulevard Regional Mall, Best in the West and SunMark Plaza power centers, and Nathan Adelson Hospice. Designer and builder of Park Towers high-rise condominiums in Hughes Center, which was recognized as “one of the five best buildings in the United States” by Town & Country magazine. Designed and developed 17-story Molasky Corporate Center in downtown Las Vegas.
Ed Neugebauer, Esq.
Ed Neugebauer is the Head of Litigation for Aetna, Inc. Ed joined U.S. Healthcare in 1994 as Assistant General Counsel responsible for litigation and the Southeast Region. In 1997, he was named Head of Litigation for Aetna U.S. Healthcare. Prior to joining Aetna, Ed worked at the Washington D.C. office of Epstein Becker and Green. He worked on health care related litigation, including antitrust and medical liability issues. Ed also authored or participated in publishing several articles and other publications on these issues. Prior to joining Epstein Becker and Green, he was in private practices in Oklahoma.
Ed is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. He is a member of the Oklahoma, Virginia and Pennsylvania bars. He continues to be involved in speaking and providing materials at conferences regarding legal issues facing the managed care industry.
Marsha J. Rabiteau, Esq.
Legal Policy Strategies Group
Marsha Rabiteau is recognized nationally for her dedication to the rule of law and her leadership roles in successfully overcoming obstacles in difficult policy milieus which focus on the civil and criminal justice systems. Ms. Rabiteau’s professional experience has taken her from an associate’s role at Quarles and Brady to Dow Chemical, where her last litigation assignment was management of the breast implant MDL, and the intersection of the public relations strategies with litigation as the corporation fought the battles in the courtroom and the courtroom of public opinion. The breast implant experience is largely responsible for inspiring her to the roles of Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at the Hartford and as Associate General Counsel, Legal Reform, at Koch Industries.
In her current role as a legal policy management consultant, Ms. Rabiteau leverages for the benefit of her clients significant experience, network and knowledge about civil and criminal policy environments, which consultation includes assisting clients in defining legal reform priorities, strategies and the value proposition for its goals; building interest and coalition formation to advance client’s goals; representing clients in leadership roles and other capacities that drive toward desired results and maximize return on investments; developing client’s personnel to participate meaningfully in legal reform matters and developing and implementing communication plans reflective of team responsibilities, including executive reporting.
Ms. Rabiteau has participated in many leadership roles, including board participation, with the Civil Justice Reform Group, the Product Liability Advisory Council, the American Tort Reform Association, the George Mason Law School Law and Economics Center, the International Association of Defense Counsel, The National Judicial College, the Federalist Society, and the Institute for Legal Reform. By virtue of an appointment by President Obama, she sits on the board of the State Justice Institute.
Joseph M. Racicot, Esq.
Montana Rail Link
Joe Racicot is general counsel for Montana Rail Link, a regional railroad covering more than 900 miles through Montana and northern Idaho. He is responsible for all legal matters for the company, including litigation management, contract drafting and negotiation, collective bargaining, and corporate governance. Previously, he served as counsel to the Washington Companies, a group of individual privately held companies headquartered throughout the United States and western Canada. He is an alumnus of Carroll College and the University of Notre Dame Law School.
Patricia K. Rocha, Esq.
A recognized leading litigator and chair of the Litigation Group, Pat has successfully tried and defended cases ranging from commercial litigation, product liability and toxic tort, employment discrimination and redistricting litigation, bribery, wire fraud, honest services and conspiracy. Pat’s healthcare practice includes representing healthcare providers before state and federal regulatory agencies as well as in civil and criminal investigations.
Dedicated to the law and service to society, Pat has tried cases in state and federal courts throughout the country working as a team with her clients to reach successful resolutions in the most efficient manner.
Pat has co-authored a national text on trial advocacy and written articles on evidence, trial strategy, various aspects of constitutional law, criminal law and on recent changes to the law on federal sentencing guidelines. She frequently lectures at regional and national seminars on these topics.
Tom C. Rodgers, Esq.
Tom Rodgers, Esq. is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe and an advocate/lobbyist for Indian country. In 1994, Tom founded Carlyle Consulting, a governmental/media/public relations firm located in Alexandria, Virginia that represents the interests of Native Americans. From 1990 to 1993, Tom served as tax legislative counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Before that, he served as tax counsel to United States Tax Court Judge Marvin F. Peterson. Tom obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics, J.D. and L.L.M in Taxation at the University of Denver. He went on to obtain a Masters in International Public Policy with an emphasis in China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He also attended the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Executive MBA program. Tom, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, has raised over $1.2 million dollars in charity for Native American youth, tribal governments, Native American financial literacy programs, and Native American voting rights efforts. He grew up on the great plains of Eastern Montana and now resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Hon. James D. Rogers (Ret.)
James D. Rogers served for 32 years in the Fourth Judicial District of Minnesota. He is a founding member of the Forest Landowners Tax Council Board of Directors. He is chair of the Conference of Special Court Judges and was chair of the ABA Traffic Court Committee, Director of the National Traffic Court Seminar for 18 years, and Vice Chair Minnesota Judges Association. He served six years as a member of the Board of Trustees and 12 years on the Faculty Council at The National Judicial College. He received an A.B. at Dartmouth College and his J.D. at the University of Minnesota Law School. He has completed General Jurisdiction and other courses at the NJC.
Judge Rogers is an active member of the American Bar Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association, and the Hennepin County Bar Association. He also serves on the Committee on Substance Abuse, the Committee on Housing and Urban Development Law, Council of the Senior Lawyers Division, and Board of Governors. Rogers served as a Special Agent in the U. S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and is currently serving as an Ombudsman in ESGR (Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve).
Robert Saunooke, Esq.
Saunooke Law Firm
Mr. Saunooke continues a long familial history of working with American Indians and Tribal Governments. He has an extensive background in the creation and drafting of Tribal legislation. Member: ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvement, ABA Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary, Chairman Lawyers Conference Committee on Diversity, National Native American Bar Association. Graduate, Washington and Lee University School of Law.
Roman M. Silberfeld, Esq.
Robins Kaplan, LLP
A member of the Robins Kaplan LLP Executive Board, Mr. Silberfeld also serves as the firm’s National Trial Chair. Member: Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Civil Jury Instructions, Commission for, Impartial Courts, Task Force on Judicial Selection and Retention Committee, American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America), International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow and Member of Board of Directors. Graduate, Loyola Law School.
Dick A. Semerdjian, Esq.
Schwartz Semerdjian Cauley & Moot, LLP
Dick Semerdjian is a founding partner of Schwartz Semerdjian. During a career spanning more than 30 years, he has been recognized by judges and local attorneys as one of the top civil-litigation attorneys in the San Diego and Southern California legal communities. He is regularly recognized and named in The Best Lawyers of America, The Best Attorneys in California, California Super Lawyers, and Top Lawyers in San Diego County.
He has held many prestigious positions in the legal world including, chair of the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section; co-chair of the State Courts subsection of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the American Justice System; director and instructor for the American Board of Trial Advocates/American Bar Association National Trial Academy, located at the National Judicial College; chair of the American Bar Association Commission on the American Jury Project; and membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates American Civil Roundtable.
He is a master of the William B. Enright American Inn of Court. In August 2016, he received the James K. Carroll Leadership Award from the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, which honors members who have shown outstanding leadership qualities and service to the section.
Jason Wilson, Esq.
The focus of Jason’s practice is the representation of Fortune 500 corporations in litigation involving real estate, environmental, intellectual property, class actions, and complex business issues. Former Executive Committee Member IP Section of the State Bar of California, Former Director, Japanese American Bar Association, Member, Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Graduate, Harvard Law School.