November 01, 2019 Section News

Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program

The Section selected an inaugural class for the new Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program beginning in ABA year 2017-2018. The Fellowship Program provides opportunities for lawyers from underrepresented groups such as racial and ethnically diverse lawyers, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, to participate in leadership roles within the Criminal Justice Section.

The goal of the program is to increase the number of diverse attorneys within the Section and offer an opportunity to develop skills and make professional connections within the criminal justice community. The program ensures appointment to one of The Section’s committees and mentorship for fellows.

Additionally, each fellow also assumes responsibility for a committee project designed to further the goals and objectives of the Section. Our fellows have each demonstrated a history of commitment to criminal justice, public service, and professional excellence. We are proud to recognize our inaugural fellows for the completion of their Fellowship this August 2019:

Patrice James, Still She Rises

Area of Practice: Criminal Defense

Project: Electronic Monitoring: E-Carceration or “Better than Jail”? (Webinar)

Patrice James is the director of community justice at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago, Illinois. She has spent her career tackling the inequities of the criminal justice system. Most recently she was a founding attorney of Still She Rises, Tulsa, where she provided holistic legal representation primarily to low-income women of color, engaged in community building, and advocated for shifting the narrative of women involved in the criminal justice system “from broken women to broken systems” as the Director of External Relations. While in Tulsa, Patrice immersed herself in the needs of north Tulsa by volunteering with various organizations and serving on several boards, including the Met Cares Foundation and the Greater Tulsa African American Affairs Commission. Prior to Tulsa, Patrice was a public defender at the Bronx Defenders for five years, where she provided zealous criminal defense representation to people living in the Bronx. Understanding the value of community, Patrice lead the office’s mentoring program for incoming attorneys and provided “Know Your Rights” trainings for students at local middle and high schools.

Sam Potts, Law Offices of Douglas Horngrad

Area of Practice: Criminal Defense

Project: Assist the Women in Criminal Justice Task Force host a listening session during the 2019 Annual meeting

Sam Potts is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, School of Law. While in law school, Mr. Potts was selected to participate in the prestigious Keta Taylor Colby Death Penalty project. As a law clerk for the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, he participated in an in-depth study analyzing the racial disparities in the application of the death penalty in Louisiana. Mr. Potts continued his commitment to criminal and racial justice by participating in the inaugural Racial Justice Clinic, the Criminal Juvenile Justice Clinic, and later as a research assistant to Professor Emeritus Sharon A. Meadows. Mr. Potts serves on the board of directors for Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom and is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the American Bar Association. Prior to law school, Mr. Potts received his undergraduate degree in Politics and Latin American Latino Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. After college graduation, Mr. Potts worked for nine years at a preeminent bay area criminal defense firm.

Tracie Todd-Coleman, the State of Alabama

Area of Practice: Circuit Court Judge – Criminal Division

Project: The Second Step: The First Step Act - A Path for State Criminal Justice Reform, Co-Sponsored by The National Judicial College (Webinar)

The Honorable Tracie A. Todd is a graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana where she received a dual Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Japanese studies. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law and Master of Laws from the Duke University School of Law.

After graduating from law school, she served the State of Alabama as a Deputy District Attorney for the Tenth Judicial Circuit – Birmingham Division with responsibility for felony and misdemeanor prosecution. She successfully litigated felony and misdemeanor crimes in circuit, district, and juvenile courts. In recognition of her litigation skills, she was awarded the David Barber Prosecutor’s Award in 2010.

In that same year, Tracie was unanimously appointed by the Birmingham City Council to serve as Municipal Court Judge. Judge Todd became dedicated to educating the public on matters of the law through a weekly newspaper commentary, A Benchside Chat with Judge Tracie. In 2012, Judge Todd was elected to serve the State of Alabama as a Circuit Court Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit – Criminal Division, with responsibility for state felony and misdemeanor law.

Judge Todd has received recognition for her service to the community and professional accomplishments. In 2014, Judge Todd was invited to join the faculty at the National Judicial College located on the campus of University of Nevada at Reno, instructing judges from jurisdictions across the United States. In 2017, Judge Todd was selected to serve as an ABA Criminal Justice Section Diversity Fellow and in 2018 appointed to serve as member of the ABA Criminal Justice Standards Committee.

Andrew Rhoden, Horack, Talley, Pharr & Lowndes, PA

Area of Practice: White Collar Crime & Employment Discrimination

Project: Fall Meeting Video

Currently serving as the leader of Horack Talley’s sports law practice, Andrew advises public and private universities regarding Title IX compliance and infractions. In addition, he represents college coaches throughout the country in areas such as career development services, marketing opportunities, and conflict management.

Andrew is actively involved in the ABA where he is currently holds leadership positions in the Criminal Justice Section such as the Co-Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee; Chair of the Law Student Professional Development Committee; and Co-Chair for the White Collar Crime Diversity Committee. He previously served as a Member of the House of Delegates and a Council Member for The Section of Civil Rights & Social Justice.

While in law school Andrew served as a federal judicial intern in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for the Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee. He also served as a certified student attorney in Washington, DC, where he represented indigent clients in civil matters and provided hundreds of hours of pro bono work. Andrew served in the Montgomery County (MD) State’s Attorney’s Office, where he worked on matters such as financial crimes, investigations, and theft. He also worked as a law clerk at one of the largest employment law firms in the country.

As a Fellow of the ABA Criminal Justice Section, Andrew hosted the First Annual Law Student Professional Day at the 2018 Fall Meeting, and he has recruited a number of law students and undergraduate students to the Section. He is currently developing a pipeline for undergraduate students at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to get actively involved in the Section and assist them to pursue a career in the legal field.

Reyhan Watson, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Area of Practice: Litigation

Project: Work with kids of diverse backgrounds to give them an opportunity to learn more about the legal profession

Reyhan works on a wide variety of complex civil cases, including domestic and international arbitrations, as well as white collar criminal and regulatory investigations and prosecutions. His arbitration work involves experience under federal and state arbitration laws and under major institutional rules such as the AAA-ICDR and ICC rules. Reyhan dedicates significant time to pro bono service, representing clients in a broad array of matters, including civil, family court, immigration, human rights, and criminal proceedings. His most recent pro bono work involves filing lawsuits to challenge and reform New York’s bail system in criminal cases.