Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.
Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced.
Mr. Stevenson has initiated major new anti-poverty and anti-discrimination efforts that challenge inequality in America. He led the creation of two highly acclaimed cultural sites which opened in 2018: the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. These new national landmark institutions chronicle the legacy of slavery, lynching, and racial segregation, and the connection to mass incarceration and contemporary issues of racial bias. Mr. Stevenson is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. Read more
J.D. Class Speaker
Originally from Los Angeles, Jessica Williams received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis where she was a John B. Ervin Scholar. She worked in a variety of positions in communication, education, social justice, and the arts while earning a Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University.
At Berkeley, in addition to being involved with the Student Association at Berkeley Law as both 1L Rep and the student rep to the Visual Arts Committee, Jessica was a member of the East Bay Community Law Center’s Consumer Justice Clinic and initiated a Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trip to Atlanta. She also served on the board of the Law Students of African Descent, and as co-chair of the Womxn of Color Collective, co-Editor-in-Chief of Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, and Senior Diversity Editor of the California Law Review. She is graduating with the Public Interest and Social Justice Certificate as well as the Race and Law Certificate from the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice. After graduation, Jessica will be an associate at Cooley in Washington, D.C.
Professor Seth Davis
Seth Davis is an expert on federal litigation, federal Indian law, fiduciary law, and tort law. His scholarship focuses upon questions of sovereignty, responsibility, and redress as they arise in both public law and private law. His scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in leading law reviews, including the Stanford Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the California Law Review, and he is a co-author of books on the federal courts, federal Indian law, and fiduciary law.
After graduating from Columbia Law School, Professor Davis clerked for the Honorable Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Following his clerkship, Prof. Davis served as a volunteer legal intern at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and then as a litigation associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where he specialized in appellate litigation and financial services regulatory law and also developed a pro bono practice working with Indian Nations and intertribal organizations.
LL.M. Class Speaker
Deepika Raikwar is an LL.M. student from India. She holds a B.A., LL.B. Honours degree from the National Law Institute University and an MBA degree with a major in Business Strategy and Marketing from the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode. Prior to attending Berkeley Law, she worked for 12 years as a corporate and commercial counsel for multinational corporations in the insurance, consumer goods industry, and at a law firm.
Deepika is passionate about the changing landscape of information privacy and believes in conserving nature through sustainable living. She runs an e-commerce business in order to provide sustainable fashion manufacturers in Southeast Asia with opportunities to generate livelihoods.
At Berkeley Law, she was a board member of PrivLab and received the Law and Technology Certificate. She aspires to be an information privacy and cybersecurity counsel in order to bring positive change to those spaces.