Law & Leadership Conference 2023
Conference Schedule – Friday, January 27, 2023
|This conference is hosted by Dean Gordon Smith.
We encourage students, faculty, and staff to attend in person in room 303 JRCB.
|9:00||Welcome: Dean Gordon Smith|
|9:15-10:00||Keynote: Meera Deo, The Honorable Vaino Spencer Chair & Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School. Director of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)|
|Introduction: Amaris Leiataua, BYU Law & Leadership Fellow|
|10:15-11:15||Panel: What is the legal profession doing?|
|Moderator: Anna Mae Walker Arner, BYU Law & Leadership Fellow|
Matt Thiese, Associate Professor & Occupational Injury Prevention Director, University of Utah;
Founder & Chief Research Officer, SafeLane Health, Inc
|11:30-12:30||Panel: Community Well-being|
|Moderator: Erin Kitchen Wong, BYU Law & Leadership Fellow|
Abby Dizon-Maughan, Associate, Parsons Behle & Latimer
Pamela Beatse, Access to Justice Director, Utah State Bar
|12:30||Lunch & Speaker: Jane Mitchell, Research Fellow, BYU Law School
Introduction: Shubham Shah, BYU Law & Leadership Fellow
|1:45-2:45||Panel: Well-being Among Minorities|
|Moderator: Matthew Johnson, BYU Law & Leadership Fellow|
Bryan Jackson, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Tatenda Makanza, BYU Law & Leadership Fellow
Dailyah Rudek, Student, BYU Law School
|2:45||Closing Remarks: Dean Gordon Smith|
Executive Director of Utah State Bar’s Well-Being Committee for the Legal Profession
Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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.
Meera E. Deo
Meera E Deo is Director of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) and The Honorable Vaino Spencer Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School. She was previously the Neukom Chair in Diversity and Law at the American Bar Foundation. Her research merges jurisprudence with empirical methods to interrogate institutional diversity, affirmative action, and racial representation. Professor Deo’s book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia, examines how the intersection of raceXgender affects faculty experiences. She has received support from the National Science Foundation, Paul & Daisy Soros, AccessLex, and Wolters Kluwer. She is a member of the American Law Institute.
Martha Knudson, J.D., MAPP
Martha is a lawyer, speaker, and consultant working at the intersection of the legal profession and the science of well-being. Among the first to specialize in this area, Martha is passionate about using evidence-based well-being strategies to drive professional success, working with both private clients and as the Executive Director of the Utah State Bar’s Well-Being Committee.
In her prior life Martha practiced law, graduating magna cum laude from BYU’s School of Law in 1999. During her legal career she litigated in private law-firm practice, rising to the rank of shareholder, and later became the general counsel of a national real-estate management company. While still practicing law full-time, Martha earned a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from The University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, she spent several years working as an assistant instructor to the program.
Martha is a frequent speaker on well-being topics and publishes articles related to well-being and the legal profession. She also volunteers with the National Institute for Well-Being in Law and the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion.
Matt Thiese, PhD, MSPH
My research focuses on the overlap between a person’s job and their health. This includes everything from musculoskeletal disorders like Low Back Pain or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, to motor vehicle crashes, to COVID-19, to mental well-being. I am interested in identification of potential risk factors, interventions to prevent injury or illness, evidence-based practice for both treatment and prevention, and assessments of worker health and safety fitness-for-duty. My graduate degrees are in Public Health, specifically Occupational Epidemiology and Injury Prevention. I have has coauthored 125 articles (31 as first author), 34 practice guidelines and 5 book chapters. I am a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. I have mentored 21 PhD and Masters Students, and teach 4 courses. I also am on the board for the Institute for Well-Being in Law as the Vice-President for Research and Scholarship. I have extensive experience in designing and conducting epidemiologic and interventional research. I have worked with first responders, healthcare providers, manufacturing, construction and transportation workers, including research-analyzing relationships between driver health and subsequent crashes in a retrospective cohort of 90,000 drivers. I have been part of multiple large prospective cohort studies evaluating relationships between musculoskeletal disorders and both job and personal factors. Lawyer well-being is my current career focus. I am currently conducting research in several different areas of law.
Pamela is the Utah State Bar’s Access to Justice Director. She has spent over a decade serving people in need by creating outreach programs and promoting equal justice. Pamela is a graduate of the S.J. Quinney College of Law where she earned a JD with honors. She served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law and Family Studies and was a mentor and teaching assistant. She is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at S.J. Quinney College of Law, and she has a BA from Brigham Young University.
Jane Mitchell teaches Transformational Leadership at BYU Law School, where she is currently a Research Fellow. She is simultaneously completing her PhD at NYU in the learning sciences. Prior to starting her PhD, Jane was the founder and CEO of The Reset Foundation, a non-profit focused on empowering young adults trapped in the criminal justice system by operating education-focused “Reset campuses.” Before Reset, Jane practiced corporate law at Kaye Scholer, LLP. She helped found the ROADS Charter High Schools in the Bronx and worked on the Strategy & Accountability team of NYC’s Department of Education. She has experience teaching in jails in San Francisco, Utah, and NYC’s Rikers Island. She graduated from Stanford in Political Science and holds a JD from Columbia Law School and an EdM in Educational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College. She is a former Echoing Green Fellow, Google Impact Challenge winner, and was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2015.
Melinda spent the early years of her career at the law firm of Snow Christensen & Martineau before serving as a judicial law clerk for Judge Tena Campbell in the United States District Court for the District of Utah and for Judge Carolyn McHugh on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. After her clerkships, Melinda had the opportunity to return to BYU Law, her alma mater, this time as a full-time professor teaching courses in criminal law and criminal procedure. Although Melinda enjoyed teaching, she missed working closely with clients to address legal needs in real-time. She therefore returned to practice, first as a civil litigator at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office and now back at Snow Christensen & Martineau.
In addition to her work for clients, Melinda gives extensive time to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, both in the law and in the larger community. She regularly presents on these topics, mentors students of all ages, and assists with programs that provide resources to those with diverse identities as they navigate individual paths to professional careers. Outside of these efforts, Melinda also enjoys traveling, running, eating good food with good friends, watching sporting events (especially when her kids are participating), and doing all things outdoors. Whenever possible, she does these things with her husband, four boys, and their trusty black lab, Tupac.
Bryan has written and lectured extensively on construction law topics. He served as the founding editor of the Green Building Update from 2008 – 2013. He was Chair of the Subsection on Construction Law (1995 – 1996) and Chair of the Real Property Section (2004 – 2005) of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He was Chair of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Los Angeles Chapter, from 2000 – 2003, International Board Member from 2003 – 2008 and Area Director of the California Region from 2009 – 2012.