Panel Option #1: An introduction to the Lawyers Division



Lisa Budzynski Ezell is the Vice President and Director of the Federalist Society’s Lawyers Chapters. In this role, she manages a growing network of over 90 lawyers chapters nationwide, including oversight of leadership recruitment, chapter programming, state conferences, civics education outreach, and young lawyers activities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Mary’s College in Political Science and History and a Master of Public Policy from George Mason University.

PANELIST: Judge Jennifer Perkins


Judge Perkins started her career at the law firm of Peifer, Hanson, & Mullins in NM.  She then clerked for NM District Court Judge James O. Browning. 

After her clerkship, Judge Perkins moved to AZ to work for the Institute for Justice.  In 2009, the judge became Disciplinary Counsel for the AZ Commission on Judicial Conduct. Judge Perkins then joined appellate law firm Mandel Young in 2014.

In 2015, Judge Perkins joined the Office of the AZ Attorney General to serve as the first Assistant Solicitor General.  The Honorable Jennifer M. Perkins began service on the AZ Court of Appeals, Division One, in 2017.  

PANELIST: Justice John Lopez IV


Justice John Lopez IV serves on the Arizona Supreme Court. Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Lopez served as Arizona’s Solicitor General. Before that, he served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office as Executive assistant U.S. attorney; Chief assistant, U.S. Attorney's office in Phoenix; Chief of the Financial Crimes and Public Integrity Section; and Deputy appellate chief. Previous to that, Lopez worked as a legal advisor in the Regime Crimes Liaison Office of the Department of Justice, as an attorney with Bryan Cave, and a law clerk to Justice Charles Jones of the Arizona Supreme Court.

PANELIST: Stephen Richer


Stephen Richer is an associate at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he focuses his practice on buying and selling (M&A), search funds, contract drafting, startup guidance, structuring entities, independent investigations, and new technologies. As part of his transactional practice, Stephen has helped a wide array of companies – from start-ups to major corporations – achieve their goals by advising them on corporate formation, corporate governance, employee management, litigation avoidance, risk management, insurance, commercial transactions, and mergers and acquisitions. Stephen takes the time to understand the company and its business before recommending legal solutions.

PANELIST: Paul Avelar


Paul Avelar is the Managing Attorney of the AZ office of the Institute for Justice.  Paul's main areas of involvement are related to economic liberty and First Amendment rights.  He often speaks at law schools across the country about constitutional issues and his work at IJ.

Prior to joining IJ-AZ, Paul worked as an attorney in Philadelphia. He clerked for Judge Roger Minor on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Justice Andrew Hurwitz on the Arizona Supreme Court, and Judge Daniel Barker on the Arizona Court of Appeals.

PANELIST: Dominic Draye


Dominic Draye was appointed AZ Solicitor General in Jan. 2017. Prior to his current position, Draye served as the Deputy Solicitor General.  Previously, Draye worked in the Washington D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.  At Kirkland, his practice focused on legal issues and appeals in a broad range of topics.  Before joining the firm, Draye clerked for Hon. Edith H. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Panel Option #2: BEcoming an Academic

MODERATOR: Lee Liberman Otis


Lee Liberman Otis is the SVP and Faculty Division Director of the Federalist Society. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) and chair of the Conference’s Judicial Review Committee, and as the co-chair of the National Constitution Center's Coalition of Freedom Advisory Board. She previously was a special assistant and an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, General Counsel of the Department of Energy, an associate in the appellate section of Jones Day, an associate counsel to President George H.W. Bush, and a law clerk to Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. She also served as an assistant professor of law at George Mason, where she taught legislation, federal jurisdiction, constitutional law, civil procedure, and appellate advocacy. She is a Founding Director of the Federalist Society.

PANELIST: Prof. Randy Barnett


Randy E. Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts, and is Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. After graduating from Northwestern University and Harvard Law School, he tried many felony cases as a prosecutor in the Cook County States’ Attorney’s Office in Chicago. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Constitutional Studies and the Bradley Prize, Professor Barnett has been a visiting professor at Penn, Northwestern, and Harvard Law School.

Professor Barnett’s publications includes twelve books, more than 100 articles and reviews, as well as numerous op-eds.

In 2004, he argued the medical marijuana case of Gonzalez v. Raich before the SCOTUS. In 2012, he was one of the lawyers representing the National Federation of Independent Business in its constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

PANELIST: Prof. John McGinnis


John O. McGinnis is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He also has an MA degree from Balliol College, Oxford, in philosophy and theology. Professor McGinnis clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. From 1987 to 1991, he was deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. He is the author of Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Government Through Technology (Princeton 2013) and Originalism and the Good Constitution (Harvard 2013) (with M. Rappaport). He is a past winner of the Paul Bator award given by the Federalist Society to an outstanding academic under 40. He has been listed by the United States on the roster of panelists who may be called upon to decide World Trade Organization Disputes.

PANELIST: Prof. Richard Epstein


Prof. Richard A. Epstein is the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law. He has served as the Peter and Kirstin Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution since 2000. Prof. Epstein is also the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1985 and has been a Senior Fellow of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago Division of Biological Sciences, also since 1983.  He served as editor of the Journal of Legal Studies from 1981 to 1991, and of the Journal of Law and Economics from 1991-2001. From 2001 to 2010 he was a director of the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago.

Prof. Epstein's writings have extensively influenced American legal thought. In 2000, a study published in The Journal of Legal Studies identified Epstein as the 12th-most cited legal scholar of the 20th century. In 2008, he was chosen in a poll taken by Legal Affairs as one of the most influential legal thinkers of modern times. A study of legal publications between 2009 - 2013 found Epstein to be the 3rd-most frequently cited American legal scholar during that period, behind only Cass Sunstein and Erwin Chemerinsky.

PANELIST: Prof. Tessa Dysart


Tessa L. Dysart is the Assistant Director of Legal Writing and Associate Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. With the Hon. Leslie H. Southwick of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, she co-authored the third edition of Winning on Appeal:  Better Briefs and Oral Arguments. She manages the Appellate Advocacy Blog, writes on human trafficking and constitutional law, and lectures nationally on developing effective state anti-trafficking laws.

She clerked for the Hon. Dennis W. Shedd of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Her practice experience includes working for the U.S. DOJ Office of Legal Policy and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

PANELIST: Prof. Sam Bray


Professor Samuel L. Bray joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 2018. Before coming to Notre Dame, he was an assistant professor of law at UCLA from 2011 to 2016, and a professor of law from 2016 to 2018. In addition, he was a Harrington Faculty Fellow at the University of Texas-Austin for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Bray is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and he clerked for then-Judge Michael W. McConnell on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. After clerking, he practiced law at Mayer Brown LLP, was an associate-in-law at Columbia Law School, and was executive director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School.