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Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program

About the Program

The Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program provides opportunities for lawyers in under-represented groups such as ethnically diverse lawyers, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, to actively participate within the Criminal Justice Section and prepare them to take on leadership roles within the Section.

The primary objectives of the program are to attract, retain and develop talented diverse lawyers, foster a culture of diversity and inclusion, to further demonstrate the Section’s commitment to ensuring equal opportunity in the profession and to create a pipeline of future Section leaders.

Fellowship Details

The Criminal Justice Section (“CJS”) selects two Diversity and Inclusion Fellows every two years.  The fellows serve two-year terms and are recognized in CJS publications and on the CJS website. 

Fellows are assigned mentors, appointed to the CJS Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and invited to join another CJS subcommittee of their choice. 

Fellows are expected to:

·         Actively participate in the work of the CJS Diversity and Inclusion Committee;

·         Attend, at least, two (2) CJS leadership meetings annually:  the CJS Fall Institute, and at least one of either the American Bar Association Annual Meeting or CJS Spring Meeting.  Fellows will receive reimbursement of round-trip airfare, hotel and  ground transportation costs, and per diem expenses for attendance at CJS leadership meetings, capped at $2,000 per year; and

·         Complete, at least, one project each year designed to further the goals and objectives of the Section, such as organizing a Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) event (e.g., webinar or panel) or publishing an article in a CJS publication. 

Application Information

Candidates must be members of the American Bar Association to apply for the Fellowship Program.  If selected to serve as a Fellow, the candidate must also become a member of the Criminal Justice Section.

Current  Fellows

Andrew Beshai


Andrew Beshai is an associate at Larson LLP, a boutique litigation firm in Los Angeles, where he specializes in white collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation.   

Andrew graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and clerked at the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Andrew then joined the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division where he investigated and litigated discrimination cases against state and local entities in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Colorado.  After leaving the Civil Rights Division, Andrew worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, where, among other cases, he prosecuted a doctor who operated corrupt medical clinics, a bank employee who stole millions from elderly customers, cyber actors who defrauded international companies through a business email compromise scheme, and business owners who committed tax fraud and laundered millions of dollars.

Prior to law school, Andrew earned his M.Ed from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada and worked as a middle school teacher in an under-resourced community through the Teach For America program.  Andrew immigrated to the United States from Egypt when he was a child, and his experiences growing up in a working class immigrant community drive his commitment to civic engagement and furthering diversity in the legal profession.  He is currently a member of the Arab American Lawyers Association of Southern California, the Loyola Law School Board of Governors, and the ABA Criminal Justice Section.  Additionally, for the last two years, Andrew has been teaching an upper-division legal drafting course at Loyola Law School. 

Paula Edgar

Paula T. Edgar is CEO of PGE Consulting Group LLC, an organizational strategy firm that provides training and education solutions at the intersection of professional development and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Paula is a highly sought-after keynote speaker and facilitator, conducting live and virtual presentations for clients across industries.  Paula develops customized programming to maximize the experience for attendees, ensuring they leave informed and inspired to have a lasting impact both individually and within their organizations.  Paula’s areas of diversity expertise include unconscious bias, inclusive leadership, and allyship.  Her professional development skill set includes personal branding, relationship building, mentor/sponsor best practices, and business development.  

Paula is also a committed civic leader.  She is active in numerous organizations and social justice initiatives, including her role as a New York City Bar Board Officer, a past President of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, and as a founding Board Member of The Black BigLaw Pipeline, Inc.  Additionally, Paula is a 2015 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow, a Trustee of the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation, and a former member of the Executive Committee of the Deerfield Academy Alumni Association.

As an attorney, Paula practiced employment and workplace discrimination law for the New York City Commission on Human Rights and her professional experiences include several leadership roles focused on talent development and inclusion.

Paula has written for and been featured in a wide array of publications including the New York Times, Bloomberg Law, Essence Magazine, Shondaland, and Business Insider.  Paula received the Ruth Whitehead Whaley Service Award from the Association of Black Women Attorneys.  She has also been recognized by the Network Journal Magazine as a “40 Under Forty” Achievement Awardee, a Ms. JD “Woman of Inspiration,” and as a “Rising Star” by A Better Chance.

Paula received her B.A. in Anthropology from California State University, Fullerton, and her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.