Appeals Panel

Appeals Panel

2014-2015 Appeals Panel

Leonard P. Strickman
Florida International College of Law

Leonard Strickman has spent more than 25 years as dean of three law schools, including the period from 2001 to 2009 when he was founding dean of the Florida International University College of Law. During that period he led the college of law to full accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA) and membership in the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).

Professor Strickman began his academic career on the faculty of the Boston University School of Law from 1966 to 1970. He left academia for two years to serve as minority counsel to the United States Senate Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity. He returned to teaching in 1972 at the Boston College Law School where he served for nine years. He continued to teach and write in the areas of Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Education Law, and also taught the basic course in Administrative Law.

In 1981 he joined the faculty of the Northern Illinois University College of Law, where he served as dean for nine years, leading that law school to full accreditation and AALS membership. In 1991 he became dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law, a position in which he served for eight years. He left the faculty there in January, 2001 for the founding deanship at FIU. He continued to teach through most years of his deanships. He has also served as a visiting professor at the University of Colorado School of Law and at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Professor Strickman has been active in national legal education, serving, among other assignments, for six years on the Accreditation Committee of the ABA and the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the AALS. He has performed 21 accreditation site visits for the American Bar Association, chairing 18 of those site teams. Professor Strickman is the currently serves on the Section’s Data Policy & Collection

Joseph F. Baca, Esq.

Joseph F. Baca is a retired chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court and currently engages in a private practice of arbitration and mediation. Mr. Baca was elected to the court in 1988 and served 13 years. He also served 16 years as district judge in the Second Judicial District. He previously served for six years on the Section's Accreditation Committee and Standards Review Committee and on the Council for four years. He also served on the ABA Task Force on Opportunities for Minorities in Law Schools and Opportunities for Minorities in the Judiciary. President Clinton appointed Mr. Baca to the State Justice Institute Board of Directors, where he currently serves as vice-chair.

Mr. Baca earned his J.D. degree at George Washington University School of Law, an LL.M. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, and a B.A. from the University of New Mexico. He also received an honorary doctor of laws from George Washington University Law School.

Diane Camper
Communications Officer
Public Welfare Foundation

Diane Camper has served since 2008 as communications officer for the Public Welfare Foundation, a private philanthropy based in Washington, D.C. A former journalist, Ms. Camper has worked as an assistant editorial page editor at the Baltimore Sun, a member of the editorial board at the New York Times and a bureau correspondent for Newsweek. She has written on a number of issues that affect families and children, including education, early childhood development, criminal and juvenile justice and child welfare. From 1997 to 2004, she was with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, serving as public affairs manager and as a Senior Fellow. She has an undergraduate degree in journalism and political science from Syracuse University and a master of studies in law from Yale University. Ms. Camper served on the Section’s Council from 2003 to 2008 and was elected again in September 2009 to fill a one-year vacancy.


Steven R. Smith
Professor & Dean Emeritus
California Western School
of Law

Steven Smith served as dean of California Western School of Law from 1996 to 2012, following eight years as dean at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall Law School. He had previously been a law professor at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, where he also served as associate dean and acting dean. Dean Smith has received awards for innovative teaching, research and creative activity and distinguished service and has developed and taught courses and seminars on Health Law and Mental Health Law. He has published widely in law and psychology and law and medicine.

Dean Smith served as deputy director of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 1987-88. He remains active in AALS and in the work of the Section, where he served on the Council from 2003 to 2006 and served as chair in 2005-06. He earned a J.D. (high distinction, Order of the Coif) from the University of Iowa College of Law, an M.A. in economics from the University of Iowa, and a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Buena Vista College.

Jerome C. Hafter, Esq.
Phelps Dunbar, LLP

Jerome C. Hafter is a partner in the Jackson, Mississippi office of Phelps Dunbar, LLP, which has offices in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida and the United Kingdom. He practices in the areas of business, corporate, and commercial law with a particular emphasis on representing agribusiness industries. Mr. Hafter has served as president of the Washington County Bar Association, is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Judicature Society, and a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. Since 1979 he has served as chair of the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions; from 1989 to 2000 as a member of the board of managers of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and its chair from 1998 to 1999.

Mr. Hafter received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Rice University where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and president of the student association. He attended Oxford University in England as a Marshall Scholar, obtaining a B.A./M.A. with First Class Honors in modern history and attended law school at Yale University, where he served as associate editor of the Yale Law Journal. Mr. Hafter is the author of numerous published books and articles. He served on the Accreditation Committee from 1998 to 2002, and on the Council from 2002 to 2011, serving as chair of the Council in 2010-11.

R. Barbara Gitenstein
College of New Jersey

R. Barbara Gitenstein is president of the College of New Jersey. She came to the College of New Jersey from Drake University where she served as provost and executive vice president. She currently serves as vice chair of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, as a member of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges Council of Presidents, as a member of the American Council on Education (ACE) Commission on Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equality, and as a member of the ACE Task Force on Accreditation.

Dr. Gitenstein received a B.A. with honors in English from Duke University and a Ph.D. in English and American literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Gitenstein has served on the Accreditation Committee of the Section (2000 to 2002) and has served on six law school site teams for the Section, the most recent one in March of 2011.