The Board of Visitors is a group of nationally recognized individuals who advance the quality of education at the College by serving as goodwill ambassadors, enhancing awareness of the College, and assisting with fundraising efforts.
John L. Holcomb was the 2009 National President of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is a founding member of Holcomb Law, PLLC. 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.
A member of the Robins Kaplan LLP Executive Board, Mr. Silberfeld also serves as the firm’s National Trial Chair. He is currently serving as the President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. 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.
Widely recognized as one of San Francisco’s top personal injury attorneys, Mary Alexander is known for having obtained some of the largest and highest-profile verdicts and settlements in California over the course of her career. Much of her work has involved protecting consumer rights. She was a scientist before she studied law and is well known for her ability to explain complicated theories to juries.
She was a lead attorney and negotiated a $305 million settlement on behalf of 10 California counties against several paint companies involved in a nearly 20-year lawsuit over lead paint in California. She also won a $21.4 million jury verdict on behalf of the families of two brothers who died of cancer as a result of their exposure to the known cancer-causing chemical benzene.
She is a past president of both the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and Consumer Attorneys of California. Her honors include being named a Top 100 Attorney in California by the Daily Journal in 2018 and 2019 and one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s “Top 10 Trial Attorneys” by the San Francisco Chronicle. She has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer every year since in 2006.
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 is retired co-CEO and presently 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 Legal Assistance for Military Personnel 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 is the Associate General Counsel, Public Policy & Pro Bono, at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC.
January 1, 2018, Melissa transitioned 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.
Mark Bruce has a business law practice assisting Nevada, national and international businesses in the areas of business formation, licensing, operations, agreements, entitlements and real estate development. He frequently oversees complex business litigation matters. He assists his clients with government relations and serves as a trustee in estate planning matters.
His philanthropic efforts focus on the environment, at-risk youth, education and social justice. Over the last decade, he has served as a trustee for The Children’s Cabinet and the Desert Research Institute Foundation. He has also served as co-chair of the Philanthropy Leaders Summit, Nevada’s premier philanthropic conference.
He has served two Nevada governors on the Nevada Gaming Policy Committee and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, including as vice chairman. He has been a trustee to Educational Pathways International, which supports college and postgraduate education for economically disadvantaged youth in Ghana. He led branding experts formerly with Nike and National Geographic in a campaign titled Simplify Sustainability that attracted significant attention at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s annual national conference.
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.
Widely recognized for her legal work and for becoming the 106th President of the San Francisco Bar Association, Ms. Cheng has been ranked as one of the top 50 women lawyers in Northern California.
She is listed among the Best Lawyers of America®, SuperLawyers®, and San Francisco Best Lawyers. Specializing in complex injuries caused by third-party negligence, Ms. Cheng has obtained multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of disabled citizens throughout California.
She completed a $13,500,000 settlement on behalf of 60-year-old gentleman who suffered severe brain damage due to carbon monoxide poisoning; a $6,800,000 award on behalf of a mother and her child for birth injuries resulting in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy to the child; and a global $14,250,000 settlement on behalf of a 45-year-old man who suffered severe burn injuries in an industrial accident.
Doris Cheng was awarded the Champion of Justice Award from the American Board of Trial Advocates in May of 2022.
Ahmed Davis is a principal in the Washington, D.C., office of Fish & Richardson, national chair of the Fish & Richardson Diversity Initiative, and a member of the firm’s management committee. His practice focuses on complex patent litigation in a range of technical areas, including chemistry, biotechnology, medical devices and mechanical and electrical engineering. A trial attorney experienced in all phases of litigation, he has been lead counsel in the International Trade Commission and federal district court, has argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and has litigated cases before the United States Court of Federal Claims. He has particular expertise and is the firm’s leading attorney for matters in the “rocket docket” that is the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
He regularly speaks and lectures on issues relevant to the patent bar. Since 2008, he has been a faculty member at the ALI-ABA Conference “Trial of A Patent Case” and, since 2010, a faculty member at the annual PLI Conference on Patent Litigation. He has spoken or been a guest lecturer on patent issues at Howard University Law School, Catholic University Columbus School of Law, Temple Law School and Fordham Law School.
Vice President and Managing Lawyer of White 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. She served as president-elect designate, president, and immediate past-president of the Alabama State Bar Assosocaiton.
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).
Rew R. Goodenow has been a business lawyer in private practice for more than 30 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.
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.
Joseph Ortego is one of the nation’s most successful and experienced trial lawyers. Representing major private and public corporations and their executives, he has tried over 100 cases to verdict in both federal and state courts throughout the country, and successfully represented clients before arbitration tribunals around the world. Joseph leads the firm’s NP Trial® practice, an international team of leading courtroom lawyers, and is past Chairman of the ABA/ABOTA National Trial Academy. In addition, he leads the firm’s Aviation practice and is recent former vice chair of the firm’s entire Litigation Department.
Joseph is also Nixon Peabody’s diversity partner, overseeing the firm’s strategy to attract, retain and promote talented people with exceptional ability from a broad range of backgrounds.
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.
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.
Ricky Raven is Senior Vice President-Deputy General Counsel at Allstate Insurance. Prior to joining Allstate, Mr. Raven was a partner with Reed Smith LLP. Prior to joining Reed Smith in 2015, Ricky practiced trial law with Thomson & Knight for 13 years. For the past 35 years, he has had first-chair responsibilities on behalf of Honeywell International’s national trial team handling multidistrict litigation involving Bendix brakes.
Mr. Raven is currently a regent at the University of Houston System, a former director of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, a former trustee of the University of Houston Foundation, a former director of the University of Houston Board of Visitors, a current or former commissioner of the Police Officers’ Civil Service Commission, a former commissioner and secretary of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and also has been involved with many other civic and philanthropic organizations over the years.
Ricky graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Houston in 1983 and earned his law degree from that institution in 1986. He has served on Southwestern University’s Parent Leadership Gift Council since 2016 and spoke at the President’s Thinking Symposium in 2017. He was appointed to the University of Houston System Board of Regents by Gov. Greg Abbot in 2021 for a six-year term.
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).
During her tenure on the federal bench, Judge Segal presided over numerous trials, evidentiary hearings, motions, and discovery conferences involving diverse subject matter. Judge Segal served as the settlement judge in hundreds of cases, settling business and insurance disputes; patent, trademark, and copyright actions; and employment, civil rights, and tort cases. Judge Segal handled a wide range of motions and settlements arising out of class actions, particularly in the wage and hour context.
Judge Segal has broad experience in securities litigation, including matters brought by private investors and the SEC. In addition, Judge Segal has extensive experience in matters involving the False Claims Act and related actions involving the healthcare industry.
Judge Segal has served as a special master or discovery referee in cases involving the False Claims Act, mass tort and insurance claims, patent litigation, and product liability claims.
Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Segal served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Civil Division of the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office for 12 years. As an AUSA, Judge Segal handled a variety of cases, including contract, employment, civil rights, Medicare reimbursement, and tort claims. She also brought consumer and civil rights actions on behalf of the Department of Justice. From 1999 to 2002, she served as the Chief of Civil Appeals for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Prior to serving in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Judge Segal was a civil litigator at Dewey, Ballantine and Adams, Duque and Hazeltine.
Judge Segal has also served as a lecturer in Law at UCLA School of Law and Loyola Law School.
Judge Segal is known for her work ethic and persistent dedication to reach a positive result for the parties.
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.
Ann Silver was born and raised in New York City and found her way to northern Nevada following graduation from Cornell University and Notre Dame Law School. She started her career as an attorney for Indian Legal Services in Carson City and decided the West was where she was meant to be.
Following her appointment as Executive Director of the state’s Department of Employment & Training, which she led for several years, she returned to New York City to begin a career in the private sector. She served as SenIor VP of Human Resources & Labor Relations before being promoted to the role of General Manager of the famed Radio City Music Hall. She then moved on to lead labor relations at Compass Group, the largest food service and restaurant operator in the world, which had its operations dramatically impacted by the 9/11 tragedy. Ms. Silver was instrumental in dealing with hundreds of lost employees and their families.
In 2005, she returned to Nevada, led several nonprofits, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada, and in 2016 became the first female to serve as CEO of the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce in 98 years. The organization has grown to serve 2,300 business and nonprofit members that employ over 100,000 Washoe County residents. The Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce receives no federal, state or local funding, and Ms. Silver maintains a small but mighty team of which she is very proud.
The focus of Jason’s practice is the representation of Fortune 500 corporations in litigation involving real estate, environmental protection, 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.