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Graphic: SF Criminal Law & Death Penalty Panel

2022 Summer Forum Preview: Criminal Law & Death Penalty Panel

Our Constitution protects our most fundamental rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Criminal and death penalty lawyers fight every day to ensure that those fundamental principles are protected in our courts. Their cases can be gut-wrenching and involve some of the most impactful issues that lawyers handle. Whether a criminal or death penalty case is a part of your full-time public-interest gig or a pro bono interest, there is no doubt that your work matters. 

Learn more about this important area of law at our 2022 Summer Forum panel on Criminal Law & Death Penalty practice on Thursday, June 16, at 1:15 pm ET.  Register here to join the virtual conversation. 

Our panelists will be: 

Naida Henao, Network for Victim Recovery of DC

Naida Henao is the Head of Engagement at the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC). In this capacity, Naida works collaboratively with NVRDC staff and leadership to identify systemic barriers that impact NVRDC’s clients’ access to justice and creates strategic solutions to streamline our advocacy, legal, and communications to combat these barriers. Her responsibilities range from managing NVRDC’s communications to analyzing and providing testimony on proposed legislation and supporting the Legal Program through complex motions practice and brief advice for clients. Naida joined NVRDC as a Bilingual Staff Attorney in 2016 and represented survivors in criminal cases, civil protection orders, and Title IX proceedings. In 2017, she became NVRDC’s Strategic Advocacy Counsel and took on legislative advocacy responsibilities in addition to her legal work. Before coming to NVRDC, Naida worked as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Timothy Lydon at Mercer County Superior Court’s Criminal Part in Trenton, New Jersey. Naida received her B.A. in International Studies at DePaul University, and her J.D. at American University’s Washington College of Law.

Matthew Hellman, Jenner & Block 

Matthew S. Hellman is co-chair of Jenner & Block’s Appellate and Supreme Court Practice. He has been lead counsel in dozens of appellate matters and has presented arguments in the US Supreme Court and in federal and state appellate courts around the country. He has successfully defended on appeal more than $1 billion in commercial claims, and he has prevailed in the Supreme Court in important bankruptcy, copyright, First Amendment, and administrative law cases. Clients such as Marriott, GE, Nomura, and General Dynamics have sought his counsel on a wide variety of banking, hospitality, government contracts, copyright, and business torts matters. Matthew maintains a substantial pro bono practice, including matters with significant commercial implications, such as his win in the US Supreme Court in Law v. Siegel, which was called the most important bankruptcy case of that term. He has argued or supervised more than a dozen pro bono cases in the courts of appeals, including two capital cases. In 2007, Jenner & Block recognized Matthew with the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Pro Bono Award, which annually recognizes lawyers in the firm with a strong commitment to pro bono or public service work. In 2016, Matthew was named co-director of the Jenner & Block University of Chicago Law School Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic, a testament to his experience as well as his ability to teach the next generation of appellate advocates. He is also a member of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court and on the Board of Directors of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. He serves as co-chair of the DC Hiring and Hiring Executive Committees and is also a member of the Associate Development and Evaluation Committee and the Finance Committee.

Emily Olson-Gault, ABA Death Penalty Representation Project

Emily Olson-Gault is the Project Director & Chief Counsel for the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project. Emily works with civil lawyers and law firms that are interested in pro bono death penalty representation to identify cases in need of assistance that match the needs and interests of the firm. She also oversees the Project’s systemic reform efforts and serves as a national expert on the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment & Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases. She routinely provides training and technical assistance to capital defenders and pro bono counsel and also assists state agencies and lawmakers with implementing qualification and performance standards for capital defenders. Emily co-teaches a habeas practicum at Georgetown University Law Center with staff attorney Christina Mathieson in the fall semester. The course introduces students to habeas law and how to address issues such as mass incarceration, systemic racism, and geographic disparity in the American legal system through individual direct representation as well as systemic litigation. Emily graduated from New York University School of Law in 2006. 

Andrew Wise, Miller & Chevalier

Andy Wise is the Chair of Miller & Chevalier’s Litigation Department. He defends clients in white-collar criminal and civil trials and represents multinational companies in fraud and anti-corruption investigations. The most recent edition of Chambers USA recognized Mr. Wise for his white-collar crime and government investigations work and described him as “highly thought of for his white-collar expertise … has key experience in taking cases to trial as well as handling complex investigations,” and “extraordinarily detailed, passionate, whip-smart and just a great, great advocate.” In addition to his recognition by Chambers, Mr. Wise has been named as one of Washington’s top trial and white-collar crime lawyers by Washingtonian Magazine and recognized by Ethisphere Institute as one of the “Attorneys Who Matter” because of his work in the enforcement and compliance areas. Before joining Miller & Chevalier, Mr. Wise worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he defended indigent clients charged with serious criminal offenses in the District of Columbia Superior Court. During his career, Mr. Wise has tried more than 50 cases to resolution before juries and judges in federal and state courts.

Tara Chen, The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Tara Chen is a Staff Attorney in the Prisoner & Reentry Legal Services Program of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and has been with the Community Defender Division since 2015. She directly advises and collaborates with Trial Division attorneys to develop holistic and effective defense strategies to address conditions of confinement, sentencing outcomes, and client needs while incarcerated. Tara has successfully represented clients serving life or lengthy prison sentences in obtaining release through parole, juvenile resentencing laws, and compassionate release. She provides legal representation and advocacy to individuals incarcerated in the D.C. Department of Corrections and those serving felony sentences in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She also represents individuals in the community struggling with the collateral consequences of their criminal record on issues such as supervision conditions, early termination of supervision, record sealing, and employment. Before working at PDS, Tara was an assistant general counsel in the Employment Law Branch for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There, she litigated before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), Merit System Protection Board (MSPB), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and Arbitrators based on the collective bargaining agreement between the national union and management. Tara obtained her J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law in 2011 and is a member of both the District of Columbia and California bars. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California San Diego.

Stephon Woods, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Moderator

Our panel of experts will be moderated by Stephon Woods. Stephon is a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing Enforcement Division, where he investigates and litigates claims of discrimination in housing across the country. Prior to his current role, Stephon served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Office of Attorney General for the District of Columbia’s (OAG) Social Justice Section. In that role, he investigated and litigated cases under the Tenant Receivership Act to compel housing providers to make outstanding repairs to their properties to protect the health and safety of their tenants. He also recovered more than $2 million in restitution and penalties for harmed consumers for unfair and deceptive practices committed by housing providers under the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. Stephon also fought for much-needed security improvements at residential and commercial properties around the District through enforcement of the Drug-, Firearm-, or Prostitution-Related Nuisance Abatement Act. He is a former Staff Attorney for Bread for the City’s Legal Clinic and a current member of Washington Council of Lawyers’ Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Washington Bar Association’s Knowledge is Power Committee.

Don’t miss our updates and the opportunity to join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo22 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

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