October 05, 2011

2008-2009 Scholars

2008-2009 ABA YLD Scholars

Each year the ABA YLD awards a number of scholarships to encourage the participation of minority, solo/small firm, government, private sector, and military service attorneys in the Young Lawyers Division.  This year we are excited to have these scholars involved with the YLD.

Minorities in the Profession Committee

Francine Baily, Chicago, IL
Francine Baily received her B.A. degree from Cornell College in 2003, where she majored in International Business and French and minored in Spanish.  Ms. Baily attended law school at the University of Wisconsin.  She is currently licensed in both Wisconsin and Illinois. 

In May 2007, Ms. Baily was elected to the Board of Directors of the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin.  She is also a member of the Diversity Outreach Committee. 

Last spring, Ms. Baily was appointed to be an Assistant Editor with the ABA YLD publication, The Affiliate

Manish Borde

Manish Borde, Seattle, WA
Manish Borde is an Associate in the Seattle office of Williams Kastner where his practice is focused on commercial litigation, mass torts, and product liability defense.

Raised in Northern California, Mr. Borde moved to Illinois to pursue a B.A. in Economics at Northwestern University. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City to work as a paralegal for a large law firm. Mr. Borde received his J.D. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Law in 2007.

He is active in the Washington State Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division and has been elected to its Board of Trustees. Mr. Borde is a member of the Washington State Bar Association; the King County Bar Association; the South Asian Bar Association of Washington and the Asian American Bar Association of Washington.

He has defended human right issues for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and is on the Board of Directors for Lawyers Helping Hungry Children.

Anthony Butler

Anthony I. Butler, Baltimore, MD
Anthony Butler is the managing principal of Butler & Associates, a law and consulting firm headquartered in Baltimore, MD. Mr. Butler's law practice focuses primarily on Criminal Defense, Employment Law, General Business/Corporate, Real Estate Transactions, Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning. As a consultant, he also advises clients on a variety of human resources and employment law issues.

Mr. Butler received his B.A. in Political Science from Truman State University and his juris doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law, where he completed the Employment Law Certificate program, was on the Mock Trial team, and received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Student Advocacy Award.

Mr. Butler is an active member of the legal community. He is the Chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Special Committee on Minorities in the Legal Profession, President-Elect of the Monumental City Bar Association, formerly served on the editorial board of the American Bar Association’s Minority Trial Lawyer Newsletter, and is a member of the Baltimore City Bar Association. In addition to these professional organizations, Mr. Butler serves on the board of The Concrete Garden, Inc. and Justice Maryland, both headquartered in Baltimore, Md. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, and Black Professional Men, Inc. of Baltimore, MD.

Eiko Harris, Memphis, TN
Eiko Harris is the Assistant General Counsel Department of Children’s Services, Memphis, TN: Ms. Harris specializes in matters involving child neglect, abuse, dependency and parental rights. Prior to working in the area of juvenile law, she worked in private practice representing plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases. Ms. Harris has actively been involved in several legal associations as well as sharing her passion for cultural arts as a Leadership Council member of BravoMemphis, a young professional subsidiary of ArtsMemphis. She attended Clark Atlanta University and earned her law degree at the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. While attending law school, she was awarded the Dean’s award for Best Oral Advocate.


Arielle Harry-Bess, Baltimore, MD
Arielle Harry-Bess serves in the position of Counsel with a member of the Aegon group of companies in Maryland.  In this capacity she handles transactional, regulatory, and litigation matters.

Ms. Harry-Bess is immediate Past President of the Alliance of Black Women Attorneys of Maryland (ABWA). During her term, the ABWA offered a variety of professional and self-development programs. The ABWA also achieved a 100% increase in paid membership. In addition to her work with the ABWA, Ms. Harry-Bess also serves as Chair of the Maryland State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section Diversity Initiatives Committee and on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for the University of Maryland School of Law. While at Maryland, she received the A.J. Cooper Award and the William Cunningham Award. Ms. Harry-Bess is a 2006 Maryland State Bar Association Leadership Academy Fellow and a 2008 Maryland Bar Foundation Fellow.

Melissa Ho

Melissa Ho, Phoenix, AZ
Melissa Ho has experience handling all aspects of traditional criminal defense, white collar criminal defense and compliance matters. A former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, she has defended misdemeanor and felony matters in Superior and Federal District Court as well as specialized courts including Juvenile Court and Early Disposition Court. In addition to defense of criminal matters, Ms. Ho has experience handling parallel civil proceedings and administrative law proceedings. The White Collar and Criminal Defense group at Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander has extensive experience conducting internal investigations on behalf of corporate, government and tribal entities.

Maurice Ruffin, New Orleans, LA
"Maurice Ruffin is an associate at Adams and Reese, LLP. He is a member of the firm's Commercial Disputes Resolution and Health Care Litigation Teams. Mr. Ruffin is also experienced in the areas of business litigation, drug and medical device, product liability and railroad and casualty litigation.

In 2003, Mr. Ruffin received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University School of Law where he was a member of the Law Review and was elected class speaker by his colleagues. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of New Orleans in 2000, where he received the award for Outstanding Service to the College of Liberal Arts.

A frequent speaker at bar seminars, Mr. Ruffin has given presentations on diversity, pro bono service and work/life balance issues. Mr. Ruffin is Chair-Elect of the Young Lawyer's Section of the New Orleans Bar Association and has also volunteered his time to the New Orleans Pro Bono Project, the HELP program and Louisiana Appleseed. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Desire NOLA. The Louisiana State Bar Association honored Mr. Ruffin with the 2007-2008 President's Award."

Jason Sengheiser

Jason Sengheiser, Imperial, MO
Jason Sengheiser is a law clerk for the Honorable Robert G. Dowd, Jr. at the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District.  Previously, he also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Gary M. Gaertner, Sr. at the same court. 

Mr. Sengheiser received B.A. degrees in Environmental Science and German Studies from Saint Louis University in 2000.  He also received his J.D. from Saint Louis University in 2003.  In addition, Mr. Sengheiser received his LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from Columbia University in 2006.

Mr. Sengheiser is a member of the American Bar Association, and is the current Chair of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Committee for the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association. 

Mr. Sengheiser is also active with Amnesty International and has served two terms on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA.

Antwaun Smith, Kansas City, MO
Antwaun is an attorney in the firm's General Litigation Division. He practices in the area of insurance litigation and complex commercial litigation.

Antwaun received a Rhodes Scholarship, which he used to study business at Oxford University. He has also done graduate work in religious studies at Harvard University while on fellowships from the Mellon and Ford Foundations.

He is a continuing fellow with transatlantic leadership societies. Prior to joining SHB, Antwaun spent two years in China, studying Chinese and working as a mergers and acquisitions consultant.


Raul Torrez, Albuquerque, NM
Raúl Torrez is a second-generation prosecutor and a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard University in 1999 he worked for a technology startup in New York and Silicon Valley before enrolling in a Master’s Degree program at the London School of Economics. Upon completing his studies in London he returned to the United States and became the Development Director for the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation in Los Angeles. From there he went on to Stanford Law School and, upon receiving his J.D., returned home to begin his legal career as a felony trial attorney. Currently, he holds a position as both an Assistant Attorney General and a Special Assistant United States Attorney – the only full-time, cross-designated state and federal prosecutor in the District of New Mexico.

GP Solo Committee

Valerie L. Moore, Lenexa, KS
Valerie L. Moore is a sole practitioner in Lenexa, Kansas. She graduated from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas and from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas.

After graduating from law school, Valerie worked at Kansas Legal Services in their domestic violence department. After completing her contract with Kansas Legal Services, she went on a small firm and then decided to hang up her own shingle. Valerie primarily practices in the areas of family law and a good portion of her practice is devoted to representing children in child protection cases.

She has served on positions within her local and state bar and currently is the Secretary of the Kansas Bar Associations Family Law Section. She currently serves as an Executive Committee Member of the Family Law Section's Ethics and Professional Responsibility committee. She has served in the YLD as a vice-chair of the Family Law section on two occasions and is currently the Chair of the Family Law Committee of the YLD.

She lives in Olathe, Kansas with her husband, three children, three cats, and a dog.

Kari Petrasek

Kari Petrasek, Everett, WA
Kari Petrasek is currently one of two attorneys at the Carson Law Group, P.S. in Everett, Washington. She has significant experience in the area of juvenile law, handling mostly dependency and termination matters and also juvenile offender cases. Ms. Petrasek is also a dedicated advocate for children, serving as a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem for dependent children. In addition to juvenile cases, Ms. Petrasek also handles business law, collection, and trusts and estates matters.

Currently, Ms. Petrasek is a judge on the ABA YLD Awards and Subgrants Team. She is also a Trustee on the Washington Young Lawyers Division Board of Trustees and the immediate past president of the Snohomish County Young Lawyers Division. 

She also serves on numerous other boards and committees in her community. In her free time, Ms. Petrasek enjoys skiing, golfing, and watching baseball games.

Ireneo Reus

Ireneo Reus, III, Long Beach, CA
Ireneo A. Reus III practices in the areas of business litigation and employment law. Prior to establishing his own law firm, Mr. Reus worked for a national public finance law firm, a civil litigation firm, and the General Counsel's office of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Mr. Reus earned his Juris Doctor degree from the UCLA School of Law, where he was a member of the Moot Court Honors Program and served as Senior Articles Editor for the UCLA Journal of Law Technology. He also earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Political Science, summa cum laude, from Whittier College, where he competed for the Rhodes Scholarship.

Mr. Reus is a member of the Judge William J. Rea ABOTA-Inn of Court, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Southern California Leadership Network. Mr. Reus also serves on the Board of Governors of the Philippine American Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the Whittier College Alumni Association.

Government, Military and Public Sector Lawyers Committee

Brandi Davis, Montgomery, AL
Brandi Davis is currently a law fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center based Montgomery, AL.  Prior to her fellowship, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Charles Wilson on the US Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit. 

In 2003, she graduated from Brown University with a dual major in public policy and psychology.  She later graduated from Stanford Law School with Pro Bono Distinction. 

She is a member of the Alabama and Florida Bars.  She will serve the ABA YLD as an assistant editor with The Young Lawyer during the 2008-2009 bar year.

Jason Gordon, Savannah, GA
Captain Gordon is currently Trial Counsel stationed with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, GA, where he is a criminal prosecutor and general counsel for the Garrison Command and the Special Troops Battalion.

Captain Gordon attended the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, where he received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Spanish.  He subsequently attended the University of South Carolina School of Law, graduating in May of 2006.  Captain Gordon took and passed the SC Bar Exam in July of 2007 and was sworn into the SC Bar on November of 2006.

During his first year in law school he worked at Todd & Ward, PC.  During his second and third years he worked as an intern in the legal department for SCANA, Corp., South Carolina’s only Fortune 500 Company.  In  February 2007 he began Army training, where he spent 3 months learning military law at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, VA. In July of 2007 he reported for duty at Fort Stewart, GA.  Prior to his current role as Trial Counsel, Captain Gordon served as a legal assistance attorney, Officer in Charge of the Marne Tax Center, and chief of Legal Assistance.

Maha Jweied, Potomac, MD
Maha Jweied is a civil rights attorney at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights where she works on a range of civil rights issues including school desegregation and voting rights.  She recently returned from a sabbatical, during which time she served as a law clerk to Judge Shahabuddeen of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague, Netherlands.  Previously, Maha was a litigation associate at the law firm of Arent Fox, where she was involved in a variety of matters including a juvenile death penalty case.  She also spent time at Mizan Law Group for Human Rights, a human rights NGO located in Amman, Jordan, where she worked on refugee and child custody matters.  Maha received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2004 and an LLM in Public International Law from the London School of Economics in 2003.  She is a member of the New York State and District of Columbia bars.

Meet the 2007-2008 Scholars