Dean's Executive Advisory Board
Members of the Dean's Advisory Board provide the Dean of the School of Law with insight, advice, and support in areas of mutual interest including issues relevant to the practice of law, practice trends and needs, professional norms, technology, and hiring needs. The board will provide support and advice for academic programs, provide input on the development of new programs and the evolution of current programs. Board members will also serve as ambassadors to the law school, providing a connection to and ongoing exchange of information and ideas with members of the legal community and beyond.
The Honorable Kristine Baker (J.D. '96)
US District Judge
Little Rock, AR - Term Ends 2024
Kristine Baker is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. She joined the court in 2012 after a nomination from President Barack Obama. At the time of nomination, she was a partner at the law firm Quattlebaum, Groom, Tull & Burrow, PLLC where she specialized in commercial, employment, and First Amendment litigation. Baker joined the firm as an associate in 2000 and became a partner in 2002. She previously worked at the law firm Williams & Anderson LLP from 1998 to 2000. Baker began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Susan Webber Wright of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas from 1996 to 1998. She received her J.D. with high honors in 1996 from the University of Arkansas School of Law and her B.A. summa cum laude in 1993 from Saint Louis University. Baker has handled and assisted in handling a number of complex commercial litigation cases in both state and federal courts, including class actions involving multiple plaintiffs and defendants. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for her work in commercial litigation, First Amendment law and labor and employment law.
David Boling (J.D. '87)
Director, Japan & Asian Trade
Washington DC - Term Ends 2024
David leads the firm's coverage of Japan and works on Asian trade issues. Before joining Eurasia Group, he served for more than seven years as a negotiator at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where he helped negotiate the US-Japan Trade Agreement and Japan-related provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. He has passed the highest level of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test.
Earlier in his career, David worked as an antitrust prosecutor for the US Justice Department and spent one year in the Japanese government as a Mike Mansfield Fellow. Later he served as the vice president of the Mansfield Foundation, which focuses its activities on Northeast Asia. He also spent time on Capitol Hill as the chief of staff to a member of Congress and launched a political candidacy of his own. A native of southeast Arkansas, David would love to chat with you all day long about the Razorbacks' football, basketball, or baseball teams.
Debbie Branson (J.D. '80)
Attorney - Law Offices of Frank L. Branson
Dallas, TX - Term Ends 2024
Debbie is a fourth-generation lawyer with a respected and accomplished career in Dallas. Since 1983, she has practiced with The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson as part of an experienced trial team on a full spectrum of cases. Much of her work is concentrated behind the scenes, focusing on litigation strategies that include focus groups, attitudinal surveys, jury selection, witness preparation, and jury debriefing. Branson is one of the most celebrated trial attorneys in the nation, having served as past president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, as well as acting chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the Budget Committee of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. She was vice-chair of the List Committee and a member of the List Advisory Committee of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. In 2011, the WLSA of the University of Arkansas presented Debbie with the Gayle Pettus Pontz award.
KenDrell Collins, (J.D. '18)
Federal Public Defender - State of Arkansas
Little Rock, AR - Term Ends 2024
KenDrell serves as a trial attorney at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Arkansas, which is an organization that works to ensure no person is disadvantaged simply because of their inability to afford private legal counsel. Active community builder and attorney with a demonstrated history of working on issues of justice & equity. Governed by a philosophy of love in practice and radical hope. A leader with a vision of a society stitched together in unity. Skilled in Writing, Public Speaking, Criminal Law, and Chess. Strong legal professional graduated from University of Arkansas School of Law, Fayetteville. Published author of personal development, non-fiction book.
Kelly Damewood (LLM '17)
Chief Executive Officer - California Certified Organic Farmers
Lake Tahoe, CA - Term Ends 2025
Kelly has spent over a decade working towards a single goal: helping organic farmers thrive. After her own experience running a small farm, Damewood went to law school determined to help farmers who farm in a better way. In her previous role as CCOF's policy director, Damewood spearheaded key initiatives such as passage of state legislation to improve an outdated regulatory program for organic farmers and creating a groundbreaking project to drive organic production and consumption in California. Damewood holds a Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School and a Master of Laws degree in agricultural and food law from the University of Arkansas School of Law.
Elise Holman (J.D. 17)
Judiciary Counsel - Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Washington DC - Term Ends 2025
Elise was recently appointed judiciary counsel to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. She most recently served as judiciary counsel for Senator Diane Feinstein. Prior to her appointment in 2021, Elise was an attorney in the litigation division for the Federal Election Commission. Previous roles include Associate with Covington and Burling LLP, and judicial clerk for the Honorable Bobby Shepherd. During her time at the law school, Elise was involved with the criminal law and human trafficking clinics. She also served as the Arkansas Law Review Symposium Editor.
Rebecca Hurst (J.D. '05)
Partner - Conner and Winters
Fayetteville, AR - Term Ends 2024
Rebecca joined Conner & Winters in 2023 as a Partner in the Fayetteville office. Originally focusing her legal practice on estate planning and philanthropic endeavors of high net worth individuals and families who have amassed their wealth from family business activities, over the past decade Ms. Hurst's practice has naturally evolved to not only represent her clients in their estate planning and philanthropic endeavors but also in their business, corporate and real estate activities. She frequently serves as general legal counsel in a family office role for many of her clients.
In addition to an extensive family office practice, Rebecca routinely advises businesses and corporations with respect to corporate representation, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private placements of securities. Rebecca's experience in client representation includes acting as general “outside” counsel to companies, advising on daily business matters, including employment contracting and trade secret issues, corporate structure and governance, financing, contract drafting and negotiation and transactions. Ms. Hurst also routinely advises tax exempt organizations ranging from public charities, agricultural organizations and political action committees.
Since 2007, Rebecca has been an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law where she teaches advanced classes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax, Nonprofit Organizations and Estate Planning. Prior to attending law school, Rebecca worked as an accountant for Beverly Enterprises (now Golden Living) in Fort Smith, Arkansas, serving seventeen skilled nursing facilities with Medicare, Medicaid and financial audit and reporting matters.
Rebecca obtained her Masters of Law in Taxation degree (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas School of Law where she was the executive editor of the Arkansas Law Review and a Charles Thomas Pearson fellow. Rebecca attended Arkansas State University (Fort Smith Campus) where she graduated with an accounting degree magna cum laude and first in the degree.
Ron LeMay (J.D. '72)
Chief Executive Officer - Main Street Data
Kansas City, MO - Term Ends 2024
Ron is a serial entrepreneur with expertise at scaling businesses, including twice from start up to global leader. He has spent more than 40 years pioneering new opportunities for traditional and emerging industries as a corporate executive, entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He brings a unique perspective to Main Street Data's leadership team that was achieved through diverse executive leadership experiences and spanning the full spectrum of company development. In addition to his role with Main Street Data, Ron is the managing director and co-founder of OpenAir Equity Partners, where he recognizes innovation and guides up-and-coming companies in successfully applying technology in the marketplace.
Prior to starting OpenAir Equity Partners, he spent decades in senior leadership roles with Sprint (President and COO), AT&T and Southwestern Bell. As the first employee and CEO of Sprint PCS, Ron guided the company from start-up to $10B in annual revenue faster than any company in U.S. history. After leaving Sprint in 2003, Ron became a partner with Ripplewood Holdings, where he helped orchestrate the turn-around of Japan Telecom as its CEO. Ron also was instrumental in the formation of GoGo In flight Internet Services, the leading broadband in-flight Internet service, serving as CEO and now Chairman. He currently serves on the boards of GoGo In flight Internet Services (GOGO), Hyla Mobile (HYLA) and Zubie.
Alex Nguyen (J.D. '17)
Litigation Counsel - DOW Chemical Company
Midland, MI - Term Ends 2024
Alex concentrates his practice in product liability matters with an emphasis on science, health, and biotechnology issues. Before joining DOW, he worked as an associate attorney for Shook, Hardy, & Bacon, L.L.P for three years. Prior to this, he served as a clerk to The Honorable Lavenski R. Smith, Chief Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. During law school, Alex completed clerkships and internships with three Arkansas law firms as well as the Consumer Protection Department of the Arkansas Attorney General's Office in Little Rock. He also developed his litigation skills first by competing in the ABA NAAC National Moot Court as a brief writer and subsequently as an assistant coach to the national moot court teams.
Alex served as a student attorney in the criminal practice clinic where he worked with indigent clients on misdemeanor and felony matters. He speaks fluent Vietnamese and served as a court interpreter and translator for Arkansas district and circuit courts, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Public Defender's Commission.
Dequeshia Prude-Wheeler (J.D. '17)
Owner and Founder - Prude Legacy Law Group
Rogers, AR - Term Ends 2025
Dequeshia is the owner and founder of Prude Legacy Law Group, PLLC. Prior to launching PLLG, Dequeshia worked in Ethics and Compliance for a Fortune 500 corporation, served as legal counsel for a major hospital system in Northwest Arkansas, and represented chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy debtors in federal court. Dequeshia tried her first case as a third-year Federal Clinic law student when she successfully represented a low-income disabled client and helped the client discharge over $17,000 in student loan debt due to financial hardship.
Currently, Dequeshia represents the Arkansas Bar Association on the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission and serves in various capacities in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. She was named the Commitment to Justice - Early Career Award recipient in 2023 by the School of Law.
John Raffaelli II (J.D. '78)
Founding Partner - Capital Counsel LLC
Washington DC - Term Ends 2024
John Raffaelli has more than 35 years of experience in federal policymaking, with an emphasis on taxation, finance, health care, international trade, and general business matters. Raffaelli is nationally recognized as one of the most effective lobbyists in Washington and is respected by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. In 1994, he was named by Washingtonian magazine as one of the Top 50 Lobbyists in the Nation's Capital, and he has made every top lobbyist list in the magazine since it began publishing them. In 2012, he was listed in Washington Life Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Washington. Raffaelli is active each year in many House and Senate campaigns.
Karen Roberts (J.D. '95)
Former Executive Vice President & General Counsel - Walmart Legal
Rogers, AR - Term Ends 2024
Now retired and focusing on philanthropic endeavors. Prior to retirement, Karen oversaw the legal department, which is responsible for handling all legal matters affecting the company in its domestic and international markets. Karen was previously executive vice president and president of Walmart Realty, where she was responsible for Walmart's real estate operations and a portfolio of close to 1 billion square feet. Prior to her move to Realty, she served as senior vice president and chief compliance officer for Walmart. She managed operations and pharmacy compliance, environmental compliance, immigration and financial services compliance, product safety compliance, food safety and quality assurance and the privacy office.
Joseph “Bo” Segers (J.D. '91)
General Counsel - Breakaway League
Nashville, TN - Term Ends 2024
In this role, he has primary responsibility for the legal issues affecting the League. In addition, he assists its clients understand the implications of their retirement choices. He continues to work with a strong team of people whose goal is to help their clients succeed. He joined The Breakaway League LLC in January 2020, and continues his efforts to be a strong business partner and advisor. In January 2021, he founded Bo Segers Coaching, LLC. Prior to working with The Breakaway League, Bo worked for Mars, Inc for nearly a decade overseeing all legal matters relating to Mars' Pet Nutrition Segment's operations in North America.
He was promoted to general counsel for North and South America four years into his time with Mars, Inc. Prior to this, he held a variety of positions in complex commercial litigation with global legal and public affairs.
The Honorable Rodney Earl Slater (J.D. '80)
Partner - Squire Patton Boggs
Washington DC - Term Ends 2024
As a former US Secretary of Transportation, he helps clients integrate their interests in the vision for the transportation system - a vision he set as Transportation Secretary to promote a safer, environmentally sound, and sustainable infrastructure. Prior to his tenure as Transportation Secretary, he served as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, where he oversaw the development of an innovative financing program that resulted in hundreds of transportation projects being completed two to three years ahead of schedule with greater cost efficiencies. He is chairman of the Board of Directors of the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation, which promotes the role of public service and pro bono work in the practice of law and the development of public policy.
Slater became an assistant Attorney General upon graduation from law school, and he remained in that position until 1982. In 1983, Bill Clinton named him one of his assistants, where he worked first in the economic and community affairs areas, and then later as special assistant for community and minority affairs. In 1987, Clinton named Slater to the Arkansas Highway Commission, where he became chairman in 1992. During this time, Slater served as director of government affairs for Arkansas State University. Following the election of Clinton as President of the United States, Slater was named the director of the Federal Highway Administration, and in 1997, he was named Secretary of Transportation, a position he held until the end of the Clinton administration.