Washington College of Law Welcomes New Distinguished Faculty Members


WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 20, 2009 – American University Washington College of Law (WCL) welcomes Michael Carroll, Anna Gelpern, Benjamin Leff, and Jayesh Rathod to the full-time faculty.  A total of 11 practitioners-in-residence, fellows, and visiting professors will also join WCL this fall.

“WCL is honored to have such an outstanding group of professors join our exceptional faculty,” said Dean Claudio Grossman. “They will bring diverse legal, teaching, scholarship, and service backgrounds to the law school and I am certain they will have an extremely positive impact on WCL’s future lawyers.”

  • Michael Carroll, now a professor of law and director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, was a visiting professor from the Villanova University School of Law during the 2008-09 academic year. He will teach courses in Cyberlaw, Contracts, Intellectual Property in Cyberspace, and Licensing and Legal Entrepreneurship. Carroll's research focuses on the search for balance in intellectual property law over time in the face of challenges posed by new technologies. He is a founding member of Creative Commons, Inc., a global organization that provides free, standardized copyright licenses to enable and encourage legal sharing of creative and other copyrighted works.

    Carroll also is recognized as a leading advocate for open access over the Internet to the research that appears in scholarly and scientific journals. He has written white papers and has given numerous presentations to university faculty, administrators, and staff around the country on this issue. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Chicago.

  • Anna Gelpern, an associate professor of law, comes to WCL from Rutgers University, and will teach courses including Contracts, International Finance, and Financial Institutions. Her research explores the legal and policy aspects of financial integration. She is a visiting fellow at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics and previously held a joint appointment as an associate professor at Rutgers School of Law Newark and Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs. Before teaching, she was an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, served in legal and policy positions at the U.S. Treasury Department, and was in private practice focusing on cross-border financial transactions. Gelpern earned an A.B. from Princeton University, a JD from Harvard Law School, and a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

  • Benjamin Leff, an assistant professor of law, was a visiting assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School. He will teach Federal Income Tax, Federal Estate Tax, Tax-Exempt Organizations, Tax Procedure, and Tax Policy.   His scholarship focuses on the regulation of nonprofit organizations.  Prior to joining the WCL faculty, Leff was an associate at Vinson and Elkins LLP in Austin, Texas.  He received his BA from Oberlin College, MA from the University of Chicago in Religious Studies, and JD at Yale Law School, where he was the managing director of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities and a student director of the Housing and Community Development Clinic. After law school, he clerked for The Honorable Douglas Woodlock, U.S. District Court in Boston.

  • Jayesh Rathod, now an assistant professor of law, was previously a practitioner-in-residence with the International Human Rights Law Clinic at WCL.  He will teach in the International Human Rights Law Clinic - Immigrants’ Rights Division, and will teach a course in the spring.  His areas of specialty include immigrants’ rights, labor and employment, occupational safety and health, and the intersection of law and organizing. Prior to joining the faculty, he was a staff attorney at CASA of Maryland, representing low-wage immigrant workers on employment law and immigration matters, and participating in worker education, organizing, and advocacy efforts.  Rathod received his JD from Columbia University School of Law and A.B. from Harvard University. 

 Visiting Professors, Practitioners-in-Residence, and Fellows

  • David Baluarte, practitioner-in-residence, who previously clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, will have supervision and teaching duties in the International Human Rights Law Clinic – General Human Rights Section.
  • Yael Cannon, practitioner-in-residence, is  a senior attorney/policy attorney at The Children’s Law Center’s Health Access Project in Washington, D.C. She will have supervision and teaching duties in the Disability Rights Law Clinic.
  • David Gantz, visiting professor, and professor of law and director of the International Trade Law Program at the University of Arizona, Rogers College of Law, will be teaching International Trade Law II and other courses in international law.
  • Elizabeth Keyes, practitioner-in-residence, is a supervising attorney at WEAVE (Women Empowered Against Violence). She will have supervision and teaching duties in the International Human Rights Law Clinic, Immigrants’ Rights Division.
  • Jamie Lee, practitioner-in-residence, is currently a partner in the D.C. law firm of Reno & Cavanaugh. She will have supervision and teaching duties in the Community and Economic Development Clinic.
  • Juan Mendez, visiting professor, is the special advisor on crime prevention at the International Criminal Court, and the former president of the International Center for Transitional Justice. He will teach Advanced Human Rights, a seminar on genocide, International Criminal Law, and Regional Approaches to Human Rights.
  • Amy Myers, practitioner-in-residence, is a supervising attorney at WEAVE. She will have supervision and teaching duties in the Domestic Violence Clinic.
  • Jenny Roberts, visiting associate professor, is assistant professor of law and director of the Criminal Defense Clinic at Syracuse. She will teach in the area of criminal law, and in the Criminal Justice Clinic.
  • Ediberto Roman, visiting professor, is a professor of law at the Florida International University College of Law. He will teach Torts.
  • Stephen Wermiel, law and government fellow, was the associate director of WCL’s Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. He will teach Constitutional Law and a seminar on the Supreme Court.
  • William Yeomans, law and government fellow, has served as chief judiciary counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy. He will teach Legislative Process, a seminar on Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch, Constitutional Law, and an Advanced Civil Rights seminar.

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