About the Conference

Each year, BYU Law School invites leaders on an issue of current importance to discuss how we might change the world for the better using our legal education. Following the historic decision by several states, including Utah, to adopt an emergency diploma privilege in the summer of 2020 and recognizing the known racial, gender, and other biases present in traditional bar examinations, this year’s topic is “Paths to Bar Licensure.” In 2020, a pandemic and global racial upheaval have combined to trigger a reconsideration of bar examinations as the gateway to licensure. In this conference, we will examine the features and shortcomings of the bar examination and other potential paths to bar licensure.



Conference Schedule – Friday, January 29, 2021

9:00 MST Registration
9:30 MST Welcome: (View Recording)

Dean Gordon Smith, BYU Law School

Morning Keynote Address: (View Recording)

Joan Howarth, Interim Associate Dean for Experiential Legal Education and Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law, “A Short History of Attorney Licensing: Tales of Protection, Prestige, Exclusion, & Good Faith”

10:30 MST Break
10:45 MST Panel: Examining the Bar Examination (View Recording)

Andrea A. Curcio, Professor of Law, Georgia State University, College of Law

Marsha Griggs, Associate Professor of Law and Director of Academic Support and Bar Passage, Washburn University School of Law

Victor D. Quintanilla, Professor of Law and Val Nolan Faculty Fellow, Indiana University Bloomington, Maurer School of Law

12:00 MST Break
1:00 MST Afternoon Keynote Address: (View Recording)

Deborah Jones Merritt, Distinguished University Professor and John Deaver Drinko-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law, The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law, “Designing an Evidence Based Licensing System”

2:00 MST Break
2:15 MST Panel: Alternatives to the Bar Examination: (View Recording)

Megan Carpenter, Dean, University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce School of Law

Ian Holloway, Dean, University of Calgary Faculty of Law

Eileen Kaufman, Professor Emerita, Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Kevin Kelly, Associate Dean of Student & Academic Affairs, University of Wisconsin Law School

3:00 MST Break
3:15 MST Panel: Utah’s Emergency Diploma Privilege and Supervised Practice (View Recording)

Catherine Bramble (moderator), Professor at BYU Law School

Hayley Cousin, Timpanogos Legal Center

Susan Griffith, BYU Law School & Timpanogos Legal Center

Jarom Harrison, Kirton McConkie

Lauren Heperi, The Appellate Group

Zachary Zundel, Judicial Clerk for the 4th and 5th District Courts of Utah

4:15 MST Concluding Remarks: (View Recording)

Dean Gordon Smith, BYU Law School



Joan W. Howarth

Joan Howarth served as dean of the Michigan State University Law College from 2008-2016. Prior to her deanship, she joined the faculty at the Boyd School of Law, UNLV, in 2001, having been named William S. Boyd Professor of Law in 2003 and serving four years as associate dean. She returned to UNLV as Distinguished Visiting Professor in 2017.

She began her career as a law professor in 1989 after practicing with California’s Office of the State Public Defender and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. She has been a faculty member at the Golden Gate University School of Law and a visiting professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; UC Hastings College of Law; and UC Davis School of Law.

Her scholarship focuses on attorney licensing; legal education; LGBT legal history; and capital punishment, especially as related to gender and sexuality. Her recent publications on attorney licensing include The Professional Responsibility Case for Valid and Nondiscriminatory Bar Exams, 33 Geo. J. Leg. Ethics 931 (2020); What Law Must Lawyers Know?, 19 Conn. Pub. Int. L.J. 1 (2019); Ringing Changes: Systems Thinking About Legal Licensing, 13 FIU L. Rev. 383 (2019) (with Judith Wegner) and The Case for a Uniform Cut Score, 42 J. Legal Prof. 69 (2017).

She is a leader in legal education through work with the Association of American Law Schools, the American Bar Association, the Collaboratory on Legal Education and Licensing for Practice, and the Society of American Law Teachers.



Professor Andrea [Andi] Curcio 

Professor Curcio is a full professor at Georgia State University College of Law.  She began her academic career after six years as a litigator.  Her scholarship has covered a range of areas, including extensive research and writing about legal education and law licensure reform.  Her first article arguing for bar exam reform was published in 2002.  Professor Curcio is a member of the Collaboratory on Legal Education and Licensing for Practice – a group of legal educators and scholars around the country who have been engaging in research on law licensure reform for decades.  Last year, Professor Curcio was part of a national research team engaging in focus groups across the country, including five groups in Georgia, exploring the skills new lawyers actually need to practice competently. Professor Curcio also has researched and written in the areas of gender and racial bias.  She currently teaches civil procedure, evidence, and pre-trial litigation.



Marsha Griggs

Marsha Griggs is an associate professor at Washburn School of Law where she directs the academic support and bar readiness program. She has worked in the area of standardized test and bar exam preparation for more than twenty years. She lends her voice to the national conversation about licensure reform through her scholarship, experience, and advocacy. She chairs the Bar Advocacy Committee for the Association of Academic Support Educators and she serves on the executive boards for the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and the AALS [pronounced “double A L S”] Section for Academic Support.

Professor Griggs holds a Bachelors Degree from Northwestern University, a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Texas, and a J.D. from Notre Dame Law School. Admitted to practice in multiple jurisdictions, Professor Griggs practiced commercial litigation before teaching and was inducted into the Texas Jury Verdicts Hall of Fame in 2014.



Victor D. Quintanilla

Victor D. Quintanilla is the Co-Director of the Law School’s Center for Law, Society & Culture, an Indiana University Bicentennial Professor, Professor of Law, and an Adjunct Professor at the Indiana University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Quintanilla’s research investigates civil justice design, access to justice, and legal education by drawing on theory and methods within the field of psychological science, including experiments conducted with judges, lawyers, law students, and members of the public.  He is currently serving as the principal investigator of a research line on Mindsets in Legal Education (MILE), seeking to create, implement, and evaluate social psychological interventions to promote productive mindsets, diversity, and enhance the student experience and performance throughout the pipeline of legal education, which has received funding from the AccessLex Institute.  He is also serving as the principal investigator on a second research line that harnesses psychological methods to examine how unrepresented persons are socially constructed and stereotyped into pro se parties and designs and evaluates social psychological interventions to improve their experiences and outcomes. 

Quintanilla is developing an interdisciplinary approach to improve and innovate the delivery of legal services known as human-centered civil justice design, which harnesses psychological and behavioral science, and centers on an empirical and ethical understanding of the persons and parties within the civil justice system so as to better serve the needs of our society.  He served as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (2015-2016).  He has presented his research at a variety of academic conferences, including the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Conference for Empirical Legal Studies, and the Law and Society Association.

Before joining the Law School, Quintanilla served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; an associate of Sidley Austin LLP; a staff law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a law clerk to the Honorable Peter J. Messitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.



Deborah Jones Merritt

Professor Deborah Jones Merritt graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude in 1977 and from Columbia Law School in 1980. While at Columbia, she was managing editor of the Columbia Law Review and won the Robert Noxon Toppan Prize.

After graduation, Professor Merritt clerked for Judge (now Justice) Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Professor Merritt practiced law in Atlanta and joined the law faculty at the University of Illinois in 1985. She served there as professor of law, professor of women’s studies, advisor to the Joint JD/MD Program, and associate dean for academic affairs before moving to Ohio State, where she accepted the Drinko Chair in 1995.

Professor Merritt has published widely on issues of equality, affirmative action, federalism, health and technology, legal education, tort reform, and law and social science. Much of her work has focused on public policy issues, and she has made numerous presentations to judges, legislators, and other policymakers. In 2009, the United States Supreme Court invited her to defend the lower-court judgment in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick, a prominent copyright class action. Professor Merritt also has co-taught courses in Europe with both Justice Ginsburg and Justice O’Connor.

In December 2008, Professor Merritt and her Moritz colleague Professor Ric Simmons published Learning Evidence: From the Federal Rules to the Courtroom, a text that offers a new pedagogy for teaching the basic Evidence course. A comprehensive teacher’s manual and website, www.merrittevidence.com, complement the book. The book is now in its fourth edition, and West has created a full series, the Learning Series, based on the Merritt and Simmons model.

Professor Merritt has been honored as an Ohio State University Distinguished Lecturer (1999), University Distinguished Scholar (2002), and Distinguished Teacher (2009). She has also won university-wide awards for Distinguished Diversity Enhancement (2004) and Distinguished Faculty Service (2013). In addition, she served as the university’s general commencement speaker for the Autumn 2004 commencement. In 2019, the Board of Trustees capped these awards by naming her a Distinguished University Professor.

From 2017—2019, Professor Merritt served on the ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Education. Her current research focuses on identifying the knowledge and skills that new lawyers need to serve clients effectively in practice, as well as on the pedagogies and workplace structures needed to develop that competence. She is the co-principal investigator on a nationwide empirical study of new lawyers’ work, Building a Better Bar.



Megan Carpenter

Megan M. Carpenter is dean of the University of New Hampshire School of Law. Dean Carpenter is an internationally known expert in intellectual property, with particular interests in entrepreneurship, branding, and the arts.

Prior to joining UNH Law, Dean Carpenter was founder and co-director of the Center for Law and Intellectual Property at Texas A&M University School of Law, where she also served as Professor of Law and Faculty Director of three intellectual property and entrepreneurship-related clinical programs.

Dean Carpenter has extensive experience in institution-building; her talent for driving initiatives from concept to execution has helped to establish successful programs both within law schools and universities generally. She has spearheaded the creation of innovative academic programs, including experiential learning initiatives, joint degree programs, study abroad, regular conferences and symposia, certificate programs, and interdisciplinary programs with various colleges across university campuses. A hallmark of her leadership is a collaborative and student-centered approach.

She writes and publishes in the area of intellectual property and innovation, including the book, Evolving Economies: The Role of Law in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She has written multiple book chapters and published works in the Hastings Law Journal, Fordham Law Review, Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, and the Yale Journal of Human Rights and Development.

Dean Carpenter believes that learning best takes place at the intersection of theory, policy, and practice. She has received multiple awards for her dedication to students, her skills in program development, and her service to the university and the community, including the Texas A&M University System Distinguished Faculty Award, the President’s Grand Challenge Award, the Judith Kuhn & Stephen R. Alton Service Award, and the United States Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (USASBE) Best Workshop Award. Throughout her career, Dean Carpenter has engaged intellectual property law with underserved communities such as early-stage entrepreneurs, musicians, and grassroots arts organizations.

Dean Carpenter practiced law at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart (now K&L Gates), where she represented clients on a variety of intellectual property and technology-related issues.



Ian Holloway

The Hon Ian Holloway PC QC has been Dean of Law at the University of Calgary since 2011. Prior to this, he served as dean at another Canadian school and as associate dean at the Australian National University. Over the years, he has also held appointments at Cambridge and the National University of Singapore. He is a graduate of Dalhousie University, the University of California at Berkeley and the Australian National University. He is a member of the Bars of Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Uniquely in the Commonwealth today, he holds the rank of Queen’s Counsel in two different jurisdictions. He is a member of the American Law Institute, and a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.
In 2015, he was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and made a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. He served for twenty-five years in the Royal Canadian and Royal Australian Navies.



Eileen Kaufman

Eileen Kaufman is Professor Emerita at Touro Law School, having served as Touro’s Vice Dean from 1996-2000. Professor Kaufman served as Co-President of the Society of American Law Teachers, Reporter for the NY Pattern Jury Instructions Committee, chairperson of the Bar Admission and Lawyer Performance Committee of the American Association of Law Schools,  co-chair of the Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the New York State Bar Association, and currently serves as a member of the New York State Bar Association Task Force on the New York Bar Exam and on the Board of Directors of the Tibet Justice Center. Professor Kaufman has published primarily in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights and human rights. Professor Kaufman is the recipient of the 2004 Ruth G. Schapiro Award of the New York State Bar Association.  She has also repeatedly received Touro Law Center’s Professor of the Year Award and Touro’s Public Interest Award.



Kevin Kelly

Kevin M. Kelly has been on the Law School staff since 1998. He received a B.S. with honors in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and his J.D. with honors from the University of Wisconsin, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Wisconsin Law Review. Following graduation from law school, Associate Dean Kelly served as a criminal defense attorney and staff judge advocate in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and was stationed in San Francisco and Scotland. In addition to his Law School student and academic affairs duties, Dean Kelly, who is an officer in the Navy Reserve specializing in military operational law and international law issues, occasionally teaches courses on the Law of Armed Conflict and on the Just War tradition. In 2003, he was recalled to active duty, serving as a NATO legal adviser to the Peace Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as on the U.S. European Command headquarters staff during the Iraq War. He has served as Commanding Officer of two Navy Reserve units: U.S Naval Forces Europe-Africa-6th Fleet Legal (Naples, Italy) and the U.S. Naval War College International Law Department (Newport, Rhode Island).  His current assignment is to the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, National Security Law, Pentagon. Associate Dean Kelly represented the Law School on the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners from 2000 to 2006 and again commencing in 2019.



Catherine Bramble

Catherine Bramble joined BYU Law School as a member of the Rex E. Lee Advocacy program in 2011. She teaches Introduction to Legal Research and Writing, Introduction to Advocacy, Fundamentals of Legal Analysis, and Strategies in Legal Analysis. In the spring of 2019, she was appointed the Director of Academic Advisement and Development at BYU Law School, and now oversees that program in addition to her teaching responsibilities.

Professor Bramble graduated summa cum laude from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 2005 and was awarded both the Order of the Coif and the Order of the Barrister upon graduation. During her time in law school, she served as an editor for the BYU Law Review, competed on BYU Law School’s National Trial Advocacy Team, and was a recipient of the J. Reuben Clark Award. During both of her law school summers, she clerked for the Salt Lake City law firm of Snow Christensen & Martineau.

Following graduation from law school, Professor Bramble worked as the Prelaw Advisor for BYU and then as the first Director of Preprofessional Advisement at BYU, where she oversaw advisement for all undergraduates applying to graduate law, health, and business management programs. After she left BYU, Professor Bramble joined MHM Law Offices in Provo, Utah, where she worked for 8 years as a practicing attorney specializing in legal drafting.



Hayley Cousin

Hayley Cousin received her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in English language with minors in editing and business management. She graduated with honors from the J. Reuben Clark School and will soon be sworn into the Utah State Bar. Hayley’s focus is on expanding access to justice, especially to victims of domestic violence. Her focus at Timpanogos Legal Center is assisting clients with family law matters. She seeks to broaden the access to legal services within Utah’s seventh judicial district.



Susan Griffith

Professor Susan Griffith has been teaching part-time at the J. Reuben Clark Law School since 1995. She is the Director of the Family Law Clinic and has taught the doctrinal course on Family Law. She teaches or has taught service-learning courses in Elder Law, Domestic Violence Intervention, Child Advocacy and Domestic Relations. She has worked with the externship program for 22 years.  She teaches a Clinical Alliance course for students in private firms.  Professor Griffith started the Strategies in Legal Analysis course to help students prepare for the Bar. Most of Professor Griffith’s courses are tied to hands-on work in the community. She has worked extensively in the community including serving as the Chair of the Utah County Child Abuse Prevention Team, Chair of the Protective Order Committee on the Utah County Domestic Violence Coalition, Board Member on the Wasatch Mental Health Advisory Board, and Board Member for the Utah Crime Victims Center. Professor Griffith was an Assistant Attorney General in Child Protection during the 2003-2004 school year.

Professor Griffith is the Executive Director of Timpanogos Legal Center (TLC), a non-profit organization dedicated to recruiting, training, and supporting local attorneys in providing pro bono services to low-income people.  TLC operates three clinics.  One is a weekly advice clinic for people with family law, housing, elder law and immigration questions.  The second is a Document Clinic designed to help self-represented parties prepare quality documents for their divorce or custody case. The third clinic is a courthouse clinic for pro se parties in which volunteer attorneys and mediators appear at a pretrial for the purpose of negotiating a resolution.

Professor Griffith graduated with a BS in Psychology from BYU in 1984 and received her JD from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1987. She found her passion in representing low-income clients at Utah Legal Service from 1985-1993 first as an extern, then clerk, then staff attorney and ultimately as managing attorney. She primarily handled domestic cases in which the spouse or children were abused.

Professor Griffith lives in Highland, Utah with her husband and they are the parents of five amazing children.



Jarom Harrison

Mr. Harrison is a member of the firm’s First Amendment and Religious Organizations section. His practice focuses on protecting organizations and corporations from liability, both on the front end through regulatory compliance and policy design, and on the back end through mediation and litigation.

Mr. Harrison also has extensive experience in appellate matters, assisting in petitions and briefs filed with the United States Supreme Court, the Utah appellate system, and the National College Athletics Association. His work has included such cases as Bostock v. Clayton CountyAmerican Legion v. American Humanist AssociationRimini Street v. Oracle, and Patterson v. Walgreens. Mr. Harrison also has considerable experience in designing and conducting corpus linguistics studies for both judicial and academic audiences.



Lauren Heperi

Lauren is a 2020 BYU Law graduate whose plans to take the bar in July 2020 were derailed by the pandemic. She did her diploma privilege hours in criminal appeals, drafting briefs for the defense, and worked on a case that will be argued before the Utah Supreme Court. From her time working in appeals, her interest shifted from corporate law to public interest and she intends to continue to work in public interest law in the future.



Zachary Zundel

Zachary Zundel is a judicial law clerk for judges in the Fourth and Fifth District Courts in the State of Utah. He is a BYU Law School graduate where he served as president of the Government and Politics Legal Society, was a managing editor of the BYU Journal of Public Law, and represented the school at the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition. While a student, Zachary also worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Utah Supreme Court, and the Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel. Prior to entering law school, he graduated with a B.A. in History from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago.



Dean Gordon Smith

Dean Smith is a leading figure in the field of law and entrepreneurship and has done foundational work on fiduciary theory. He has also made important contributions to the academic literature on corporate governance and transactional lawyering.

After writing extensively about venture capital contracts early in his career, Dean Smith began thinking more broadly about the connections between law and entrepreneurship. Among other works, two articles with Darian Ibrahim of William & Mary Law School are aimed at advancing the nascent field of law and entrepreneurship. Law and Entrepreneurial Opportunities, 98 Cornell L. Rev. 1533 (2013); Entrepreneurs on Horseback: Reflections on the Organization of Law, 50 Ariz. L. Rev. 71 (2008). Dean Smith served as the associate director of the Initiative for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin, where he launched the annual Law & Entrepreneurship Retreat. More recently, he co-founded (with Brian Broughman of the Indiana University School of Law) the Law & Entrepreneurship Association, a scholarly society that encourages the study of law and entrepreneurship by organizing conferences and building networks of scholars. He is also one of the founding faculty members of the Crocker Innovation Fellowship at BYU.

A Delaware corporate lawyer, Professor Smith has written extensively on fiduciary law, including two foundational pieces — The Shareholder Primacy Norm, 23 J. Corp. L. 277 (1998) and The Critical Resource Theory of Fiduciary Duty, 55 Vand. L. Rev. 1399 (2002) — that have become standard citations in the field. One of his more recent works, Fiduciary Discretion, 75 Ohio State L.J. 609 (2014) (with Jordan C. Lee), continues his effort to build an overarching theory of fiduciary law. Professor Smith also co-authors a popular teaching casebook, Business Organizations: Cases, Problems & Case Studies, with Professor Cynthia Williams of Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, and he is editing The Research Handbook on Fiduciary Law (Edward Elgar) with Andrew Gold of DePaul University College of Law.

Throughout his career, Dean Smith has been active in developing scholarly communities. In 2004 he co-founded (with Christine Hurt, also of BYU Law School) The Conglomerate Blog, a popular law professor blog focusing on business law. He has served as Chair of the Section on Business Associations in the American Association of Law Schools (AALS), and he participated in the creation of the Section on Transactional Law and Skills, for which he currently serves as Secretary. In 2009 he served on the planning committee for the AALS Workshop on Transactional Law. During that same year, he co-founded the annual Rocky Mountain Junior Scholars Forum. In 2012 he co-founded (with Afra Afsharipour of UC Davis School of Law) the Transactional Law Workshop, a monthly virtual gathering of transactional law scholars. And in 2013, he co-founded (with Colleen Baker) the Business Ethics Book Club, a virtual book club of law professors, who meet once a semester to discuss a recent work on business ethics.

During his five years as the Associate Dean of Faculty and Curriculum (2009-14), BYU Law School developed a large number of new course offerings, including a Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic. He has taught at six law schools in the U.S., as well as law programs in Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, and Hong Kong. Before entering academe, Dean Smith clerked for Judge W. Eugene Davis in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and was an associate in the Delaware office of the international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.