MAD Conference 2018

MAD Conference 2018

Making A Difference Conference: Passion for Justice

Making a Difference Conference
"Passion for Justice"

Using your law degree to pursue your passion and serve those in your community

Hosted by Baylor Law School and LEAD Counsel

Friday, February 9, 2018, 2:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Baylor Law School
Jim Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Classroom & Courtroom,
Room 127, Sheila & Walter Umphrey Law Center
1114 South University Parks Drive, Waco, TX 76706

Reception to follow

An Open Invitation

The goal of the Making a Difference Conference is to inspire law students and lawyers to use their legal training to make meaningful contributions to their communities.

The theme of the second annual conference is Passion for Justice and aims to inspire and equip attendees to become servant leaders and to put their own passions into practice. The speakers and panels will focus upon ways in which law students and lawyers can combine their passions with their legal training – both now and in their future careers – to expand access to justice. Areas of focus will include the state of access to justice in Texas, international efforts to expand access, and human trafficking. Attendees with hear stories from those in the legal profession who have modeled exemplary public service in these areas.

This conference is open to the public. Any interested person is welcome to attend.

For additional information, please contact

Baylor law students will receive two dual professional and leadership development credits for attending the full conference.*

This course has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of 3 credit hours of which 2 credit hours will apply to legal ethics/professional responsibility credit.

*If you are a non-Baylor law student but have a similar requirement for professional development at your institution, please email with the correct contact information at your law school. We will contact your school regarding credit for your attendance.

Schedule of Events

2:00 p.m.

Morgan Blair, LEAD Counsel President

2:05 p.m.

Leah W. Teague
Associate Dean, Baylor Law School
Founder, LEAD Mentoring Program

2:10 p.m.
Access to Justice in Texas

A View from the Bench
Hon. Nathan Hecht, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas

3:10 - 3:15 p.m.
Transition Period

3:15 p.m.
Combating Human Trafficking

Choosing a Cause: Applying Your Passion
Shannon Sedgwick Davis, CEO, Bridgeway Foundation
Kirsta Melton, Deputy Criminal Chief, Office of the Texas Attorney General

4:15 - 4:30 p.m.
Dr. Pepper Float Break

4:30 p.m.
Keynote Address

Global Justice
Jim Gash
Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and External Relations, Professor of Law
Pepperdine Law School

5:30 p.m.
Closing Remarks:

Brad Toben, Dean, Baylor Law School

A Reception Will Be Held Immediately Following Closing Remarks
(Heavy hors d'oeuvres)

The reception will be held outside the Jim Kronzer Appellate
Advocacy Classroom & Courtroom, Room 127

About the Speakers

Access to Justice in Texas Speaker

Nathan Hecht

Hon. Nathan Hecht
Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Texas

Nathan L. Hecht is the 27th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. He has been elected to the Court six times, first in 1988 as a Justice, and most recently in 2014 as Chief Justice. He is the longest-serving Member of the Court in Texas history and the senior Texas appellate judge in active service. Throughout his service on the Court, Chief Justice Hecht has overseen revisions to the rules of administration, practice, and procedure in Texas courts, and was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. Chief Justice Hecht is also active in the Court's efforts to assure that Texans living below the poverty level, as well as others with limited means, have access to basic civil legal services.

Chief Justice Hecht was appointed to the district court in 1981 and was elected to the court of appeals in 1986. Before taking the bench, he was a partner in the Locke firm in Dallas. Chief Justice Hecht holds a B.A. degree with honors in philosophy from Yale University, and a J.D. degree cum laude from the SMU School of Law, where he was a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar. He clerked for Judge Roger Robb on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps.

Chief Justice Hecht is a Life Member of the American Law Institute and a member of Council. He is also a member of the Texas Philosophical Society.

Human Trafficking Panel

Ashley Allison

Shannon Sedgwick Davis
CEO, Bridgeway Foundation

Shannon Sedgwick Davis is CEO of the Bridgeway Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Bridgeway Capital Management, Inc. An attorney, Davis is a passionate advocate for social justice and International human rights. She is a well-known strategist engaged in promoting peace and ending human atrocities across our globe.

Davis is a recipient of The Spirit of Mcmurry award, given annually to one outstanding alumni, as well as Baylor Law School's 2011 Young Lawyer of the year award. Davis' work has been featured a number of times on radio, television, and through print media.

Davis previously served as Vice-President of Geneva Global, and Director of Public Affairs at International Justice Mission. She is currently a board member of several organizations within the U.S. and abroad including The Elders, Humanity United, and Toms Shoes.

Abby Griffith

Kirsta Melton
Deputy Criminal Chief, Office of the Texas Attorney General

Kirsta Leeburg Melton is the Deputy Criminal Chief of the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section of the Office of the Texas Attorney General. From 2000-2014 she prosecuted in the Family Justice Unit of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, combating human trafficking, physical and sexual abuse of children and family violence, and in 2012 helped establish and lead the Bexar County DA’s Human Trafficking Unit.

Melton has chaired the Alamo Area Coalition against Trafficking, a regional multi-disciplinary group of law enforcement, non-profits, government agencies, business people, and academics assembled to coordinate the fight against human trafficking. She has trained more than 10,000 people across the state on human trafficking and has testified on multiple occasions before the Texas legislature on trafficking related issues.

Melton graduated from Cornell University in 1993 and received her J.D. and Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Texas in 1998. In addition to prosecuting, Melton is one of the founding members of Truckers against Trafficking, a nationwide campaign dedicated to educating, equipping, empowering and mobilizing the trucking industry in the fight against human trafficking.

Keynote Address Speaker

Jim Gash

Jim Gash
Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and External Relations, Professor of Law, Pepperdine Law School

Jim Gash is a Professor of Law in his nineteenth year of teaching. After graduating summa cum laude from Abilene Christian University in 1989, he attended law school at Pepperdine, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Pepperdine Law Review and graduating first in his class in 1993. After graduating, Gash clerked for the Honorable Edith Jones on the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit in Houston, Texas, after which he practiced law for Kirkland & Ellis in D.C. and L.A. until joining the faculty at Pepperdine Law School in 1999. After being granted tenure in 2005, he served as Dean of Students from 2005-12. He currently serves as the Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and External Relations.

In 2010, Gash began traveling periodically to Uganda to help imprisoned juveniles waiting for their day in court. He now directs the Sudreau Global Justice Program and has returned to Uganda twenty-one times to help other juvenile and adult prisoners secure access to justice. At the invitation of the Chief Justice of Uganda, Professor Gash became a Specialist Advisor to the High Court in January of 2012 and moved his family to Uganda for six months.

In recognition of his ongoing work in the developing world, Professor Gash received the 2013 Warren Christopher Award, which is presented to California's International Lawyer of the Year. His book "Divine Collision: An African Boy, An American Lawyer, and Their Remarkable Battle for Freedom" was published in 2016, and a documentary called "REMAND" featuring His work was released in 2017 and has won numerous film festivals awards.