Melinda Cooperman, Academic Director (Law Institute I)
Melinda Cooperman is returning for her third summer as Program Director for the Summer Law Institute I program.
Melinda is Associate Director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, and member of the adjunct faculty, at American University Washington College of Law. She oversees the program’s efforts in DC public high schools, supervises the 36 Marshall-Brennan Fellows in their classroom work, and teaches a seminar in advanced constitutional law.
Melinda is a passionate advocate for justice and dignity for the most marginalized members of our society. Melinda is a proud graduate of the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where she was a Haywood Burns Fellow in Civil and Human Rights. Prior to working at Washington College of Law, Melinda was a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center’s Street Law Clinic and concurrently earned an LLM. While at the Street Law Clinic Melinda, and her colleagues, created an Innocence Project curriculum to teach students about the issue of wrongful convictions.
Melinda received a B.A. in Political Communication from The George Washington University. Before attending law school, Melinda served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural El Salvador where she worked to increase citizen participation in government program, directed a youth and family education program at a transitional homeless shelter in San Francisco, and worked with as a pension rights counselor at Legal Services of New York.
Prior to joining the Executive Office of the Mayor as the Deputy Director and General Counsel of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Charisma X. Howell was a Visiting Professor and Clinic Co-Director at Georgetown University Law Center.
She has conducted research in the areas of education policy, accountability, assessment and best practices. Mrs. Howell is a practicing lawyer and is a successful trial attorney.
Mrs. Howell amassed numerous academic and trial skills related awards. Mrs. Howell participated in the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy's Trial Skills Academy. Although the only student among 75 trial attorneys, Mrs. Howell was named "Best Advocate." She won a not guilty verdict in her first criminal jury trial as a Post Bar Clerk for the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office. Ms. Howell has worked for the Honorable Judge John A. Houston of the United States District Court, Southern District of California and also interned at the California Innocence project which seeks the release of wrongfully convicted prisoners in California.
Mrs. Howell attended Arizona State University achieving a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with an emphasis in Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She obtained her law degree from California Western School of Law and her Master of Laws in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center.
Andrea Mayer is the Academic Director of the Law Institute and Capstone Director of the Leadership Institute. Professor Mayer served as a trial attorney for the federal government for nine years, where she specialized in litigation related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, other laws prohibiting discrimination in federally assisted programs, and federal receiverships. She has represented the federal government in numerous capacities, including Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, receivership counsel, and agency counsel, where she provided legal advice relating to employment law, fraud, venture capital and investment law, regulatory enforcement, and governmental privileges.
Previously, she served on the legal staff of the U.S. Bankruptcy Review Commission and the U.S.
Sentencing Commission. Professor Mayer has also worked as a trial and jury consultant in connection with numerous high-profile criminal and civil cases, and as a judicial law clerk. She regularly lectures on topics related to constitutional law and federalism, including lectures at Georgetowns Center for Intercultural Education and Development, Program on Public Policy and Ethics in the USA, and the Library of Congress Open Leadership Program. She has been selected as Georgetowns 2009 Pro-Seminar Fellow for American Government, and will serve as Georgetown Adjunct Faculty in spring 2010. Professor Mayer received her J.D. from George Washington University and M.A. in Government from Georgetown University. She has completed coursework towards her Ph.D. in Government at Georgetown University and Harvard University, and is currently working on her dissertation in the area of Law and Society. Her research and teaching interests center on constitutional law, tolerance attitudes, and social change.