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2013 National Institute Faculty
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Pamela L. Hemminger, Chair.

Pamela L. Hemminger, Chair. Pamela L. Hemminger is an arbitrator, mediator, investigator and trainer. She is on the American Arbitration Association employment panel (Southern California) and national class action panel as well a mediator with expertise in complex, class action, and individual cases. Her investigations have included those involving high-level corporate executives.  An employment law partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP for many years before recently retiring, she is a past chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association, a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a past Board member of Dispute Resolution Services (1999 -2009) and a  gubernatorial appointee to the California Law Revision Commission (1998-99; 2005-2010). She is a well-known author and speaker, and has contributed to Employment Discrimination Law (settlement), California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation (leaves of absence; worker safety) and EEOC Litigation and Charge Resolution (employer responses), and has been featured in The Best Lawyers in America (15 years) and Top 50 Women Super Lawyers (Southern California).

Sue Ann Van Dermyden, Vice Chair

Sue Ann Van Dermyden, Vice Chair. Sue Ann Van Dermyden, a shareholder of Van Dermyden Allison Law Corporation, has specialized in employment law since 1993. She is a licensed private investigator and certified EEOC investigator. Her practice focuses on investigating complex work-related claims related to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, misconduct and performance issues; providing expert witness testimony on employment matters; advising clients on complex employment-related matters; and, conducting training seminars. Ms. Van Dermyden is a founding member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). She is also a AWI Board Member and Officer, and currently serves as the Annual Conference Committee Chair and the Sacramento Local Circle Convener. She has authored numerous articles on employment law and conducted countless training seminars. Ms. Van Dermyden is a native of North Dakota and alumnus of Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

Scott Barer

Scott Barer, Former Chief Labor and Employment Attorney for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), joined EXTTI in 2005. Mr. Barer received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies in 1979 from UCLA. In 1989 he obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Marymount University Law School. From 1976 to 1989, Mr. Barer worked in a variety of positions in television news, including as Manager of News Operations for KTLA News. Then, after receiving his JD degree, he worked as an Associate at Ballard, Rosenberg & Golper, practicing labor and employment Law. In 1991, Mr. Barer joined the Beverly Hills law firm of Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, LLP as an Associate in the Labor and Employment Law Department. In 1998 he was elected to the partnership of that firm. After nine years at Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, Mr. Barer began to concentrate in the public sector--representing public employers through his work at Richards, Watson & Gershon, and then as Chief Labor and Employment Attorney for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Having previously conducted many workplace investigations, while at the LAUSD workplace investigations were conducted by a team under his leadership. In 2004, Mr. Barer returned to Ballard, Rosenberg & Golper as Senior Counsel, and then joined EXTTI in 2005. Experienced in both the public and private sectors, Mr. Barer brings more than 15 years of expertise to the following areas: (1) expert witness testimony and consulting in sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and other employment related litigation; (2) training in these same areas; and (3) investigation of claims of harassment, discrimination, and employee misconduct (including Cotran investigations).

Nancy Bornn

Nancy Bornn is an employment lawyer in Playa del Rey, California. She has over 30 years of experience as an employment lawyer. She currently focuses her practice on conducting workplace investigations, testifying as an expert witness on HR matters, and training for AB 1825 compliance. Ms. Bornn is a Governor on of the Board of Governors of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and serves on its Credentials Committee. She is a Founding and Charter Director on the Board of Directors of the Association of Workplace Investigators, Inc.  She is a former Chair of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She is a former Chair of the California Employment Lawyers Association. Ms. Bornn also served as an Executive Board member of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Ms. Bornn has published numerous articles in the area of employment law and is the author of the legal treatise, Representing California Sexual Harassment Plaintiffs (James Publishing 2004), updated in part in 2007 (Nancy Bornn A Law Corporation 2007), and the co-author of Practice Pointers for Workplace Investigations (SHRM 2010).

James S. Cawood

James S. Cawood is President of Factor One which is a California based corporation specializing in violence risk assessment, threat assessment, behavioral analysis, security consulting, and investigations. Mr. Cawood has worked in the area of threat assessment, violence risk assessment, behavioral analysis, violence prevention, security analysis, and incident resolution for more than 20 years.  He has successfully assessed and managed over 4000 violence related cases for federal and state government agencies, public and private corporations, and other business entities throughout North America. Mr. Cawood has also provided consultation and training to these same types of organizations on the design and implementation of threat assessment, violence risk assessment, and incident response protocols. This included participation in the development of the P.O.S.T. (Peace Officers Standards and Training) telecourse for Workplace Violence for California and Arizona law enforcement; California P.O.S.T. development of a Fear and Anger Control telecourse; Association of Threat Assessment Professionals' Risk Assessment Guideline Elements for Violence (R.A.G.E.-V); ASIS International’s Workplace Violence Prevention and Response guideline; and development of a threat assessment protocol by the California District Attorney's Association for use in training judges, district attorneys, and others in the California justice system. Mr. Cawood has served as an expert witness in dozens of cases involving questions concerning investigative and security issues, including threat assessment and violence in the workplace. He is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Professional Certified Investigator (PCI), Physical Security Professional (PSP), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and a Private Investigator licensed by the State of California. Mr. Cawood is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and holds a Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University. 

Barry Chersky

Barry Chersky is a trainer and consultant focusing on civil rights issues in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally. For more than 20 years he has presented training on preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation in a variety of workplace settings. He has conducted investigations on behalf of employers in a wide range of industries including entertainment, biotechnology, insurance, financial services, legal, and medical, in workplaces ranging from small non-profits to labor unions to multinational corporations. He has served as an expert witness in several court cases which included the evaluation of investigation practices. From 2007 through 2012 he served as the Senior Human Resources Consultant at Saint Mary's College of California where he conducted internal investigations. Mr. Chersky is a private investigator licensed by the State of California, and is a founding Director and Sustaining Member of the Association of Workplace Investigators.

Lindsay Harris

Lindsay Harris brings considerable employment law and investigative experience to her current practice focused on conducting independent investigations of suspected workplace misconduct. Prior to founding West Coast Workplace Investigations in 2009, she spent nearly five years as senior counsel at Speer Associates/Workplace Counsel, where her practice focused on conducting internal investigations of alleged workplace misconduct, with an emphasis on high-level, complex, and sensitive matters. Among other employment law-related claims, Ms. Harris has examined allegations of discrimination retaliation, harassment, and sexual favoritism. Ms. Harris has investigated allegations affecting senior and executive management, and her clients have included companies across a variety of industries, Fortune 500 companies, and public-sector organizations. Prior to joining Speer Associates, Ms. Harris practiced employment law at the international law firm of Morrison & Foerster. She currently serves as Chair of AWI's Marketing Committee.

Lauren Kalty

Laura Kalty is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore. She began as a litigator and has grown into a trusted advisor for public agencies. Ms. Kalty provides a full range of legal services, beginning with a focus on prevention and education through training, continuing with daily advice and counsel, and when necessary, vigorous defense in litigation and discipline appeals. She has a demonstrated record of success in handling all facets of litigation, from trial to appeal, including in the areas of wage and hour, discrimination, constitutional, and tort claims, both in State and Federal court. Ms. Kalty is a dynamic trainer, who draws on her legal expertise and commitment to her clients' success in her work as one of her firm's top presenters. She presents on such topics as the elimination of bias, privacy, social media, leaves and investigations. Ms. Kalty has been honored to present for such groups as the League of California Cities, the California Special Districts Association, the California Background Investigators Association, the County Counsels' Association of California, as well as a countless number of her firm's employment consortiums. Additionally, she was one of the presenters of her
firm's statewide Firefighter Bill of Rights Act seminars. One of the most rewarding and continuous aspects of Ms. Kalty’s practice is responding to requests from agencies for guidance on how to manage and address concerns involving employees. In this regard, she also regularly reviews and revises agency policies and drafts employee handbooks and manuals.

Karen Kramer

Karen Kramer is an employment law attorney specializing in workplace investigations. Since forming Kramer-Wiese in 2000, Ms. Kramer's practice has focused primarily on conducting personnel investigations involving allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as misconduct and disciplinary matters. She previously litigated employment law matters with Porter Scott and worked as an Employment Law Attorney with LexisNexis. Ms. Kramer's experience includes testifying during administrative and judicial proceedings regarding completed investigations. Ms. Kramer has conducted hundreds of workplace investigations for public agencies, and is well versed in the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights. She has also conducted many complex and high profile investigations involving high level public employees and elected officials. Ms. Kramer is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine (1989) and University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (1992).

Robin Oaks

Robin Oaks is an attorney who practices exclusively as an independent workplace investigator, trainer, and conflict resolution consultant. Ms. Oaks worked as an employment, environmental, and education law attorney for twelve years. Since 1997 she has focused her practice on conducting investigations and resolving conflicts in both the public and private sectors. She began her legal career in 1985 as a judicial law clerk for Judge John Garrett Penn, District Court, District of Columbia, who was the trial judge for Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, the landmark case in which the Supreme Court first recognized a hostile environment claim under Title VII. A former public school teacher and law school instructor, Ms. Oaks has special expertise investigating sexual harassment and discrimination complaints arising in schools and public institutions. She has written extensively about investigations, including the chapter, "Cross Cultural Issues and Sexual Harassment," in a national textbook published by Allyn & Bacon, and the section on conducting investigations in Educator's Guide to Controlling Sexual Harassment, published by Thompson Publishing Group.

Amy Oppenheimer

Amy Oppenheimer has more than 25 years experience working in the field of employment law, emphasizing preventing and responding to workplace harassment and discrimination. As an attorney, she has litigated employment cases. Since 1992 she has acted as a neutral in a variety of capacities, including investigating claims of harassment and discrimination, training workplace investigators, mediation and arbitration. Amy is the author of many articles about harassment, bias and discrimination, including one of the only practical guides to doing investigations: Investigating Workplace Harassment, How to be Fair, Thorough and Legal, published in 2003 by Society of Human Resource Practice (SHRM). She is a trial qualified expert on the issue of employment practices in preventing, responding to and investigating workplace harassment and discrimination. Ms. Oppenheimer is the founder and President of AWI.

Linda Dixon

Linda Ordonio-Dixon has been a Senior Trial Attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in San Francisco for the past fifteen years. During that time she has handled complex public enforcement litigation involving civil rights in employment. Ms. Dixon worked for over a decade as a machinist prior to becoming an attorney. She completed an apprenticeship at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard and later became the first woman to work in a journey-level position at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. Her motivation to practice employment discrimination law was sparked by her negative experiences as a woman in a nontraditional trade.

John Patzakis

John Patzakis. As President and CEO of X1 Discovery, John Patzakis leads the company's strategy and oversees all operations. He has an extensive background and expertise in eDiscovery and corporate compliance, combining strong knowledge of both the law and the supporting technologies in those areas. Prior to joining X1, Mr. Patzakis served as a consultant providing strategic planning and product strategies to eDiscovery and compliance solution providers. Mr. Patzakis also spent nearly a decade at Guidance Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: GUID) where he held senior management positions, including Chief Strategy Officer, Vice Chairman, Chief Legal Officer and President and CEO. While at Guidance, Mr. Patzakis led the transition of the company from start-up to a major enterprise software firm and grew revenues from $5 million to $40 million during his tenure. Prior to joining Guidance, Mr. Patzakis spent eight years practicing law in the fields of commercial litigation and business transactions. Mr. Patzakis received an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and a JD from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

Melanie Poturica

Melanie Poturica has been with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (LCW) since the firm's inception in 1980.  She was its Managing Partner from 1995 until 2010. While managing the firm, Ms. Poturica continued to handle litigation, administrative hearings and advice and counsel. She is a vigorous litigator with an extensive background in suits involving discrimination and harassment, as well as disciplinary and due process issues, and other employment law topics.  She tried several cases to verdict and/or judgment in state and federal court, and has successfully represented many clients in arbitrations and in administrative hearings. Additionally, Ms. Poturica has conducted many investigations for public agencies, private companies and law firms. She has made dozens of presentations on the topic of investigations over the years and is responsible for creating the firm's first workbook regarding investigations. Ms. Poturica is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section and as a member of the Labor and Employment Law Symposium Committee. She has been selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers 2005 – 2012 and was listed as one of the Top 50 Female Attorneys in Southern California in 2007.

Michael A. Robbins

Michael A. Robbins is President of EXTTI, Incorporated. EXTTI provides Expert Testimony, Training and Investigation services in employment matters. He is a frequent lecturer and author on employment issues. Mr. Robbins has conducted and/or supervised over 500 workplace investigations and has served as an expert witness in close to 450 employment cases--mostly on workplace investigations and interactive process issues. Prior to forming EXTTI, he was a Labor & Employment attorney for 20 years--including 4 years as in-house counsel and 16 years in two nationally recognized law firms. Mr. Robbins graduated Phi Beta Kappa from San Diego State University and received his JD degree from UCLA School of Law. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Labor & Employment Section, is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the Society of Independent Workplace Investigators (SIWI) and is a Charter Member and Vice President of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI).

Keith Rohman

Keith Rohman has worked as an investigator in the public and private sectors for 30 years. As president of Public Interest Investigations, Inc. (PII) in Los Angeles, he has been involved in many high-profile cases, including litigation related to the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, allegations of shootings of Iraqis by Blackwater, Inc., the trial against Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney King, and numerous capital murder cases.  Mr. Rohman is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, where he teaches fact investigation. Mr. Rohman currently serves as the court appointed Monitor in the matter of Pierce v. Orange County, et al., a federal ADA class action case filed on behalf of disabled inmates at the Orange County Jail.  He was appointed by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to the Equity Oversight Panel (EOP) of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a civilian oversight board that oversees Internal Affairs investigations of discrimination allegations at the LASD.  PII is currently contracted to investigate discrimination complaints against elected officials and high-level County executives with the County of Los Angeles, and was recently selected by the City of Los Angeles as an investigator for the Special Committee on Investigative Oversight which handles similar investigations.  Mr. Rohman served as the executive director of Los Angeles City Office of Discrimination Investigation, which conducted more than 300 employment discrimination investigations, and provided recommendations to the City Council on restructuring how the City handled these matters. Mr. Rohman is holds the office of secretary on the Board of Directors of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI).

Lorene Schaefer

Lorene F. Schaefer is a registered mediator, arbitrator and neutral third-party workplace investigator with One Mediation, Inc. and the founder of e-Resolved, Inc., a company dedicated to helping employers and employees resolve conflicts in the workplace quickly and fairly. She also blogs regularly at about the management of workplace conflict to quickly identify legal trends and solutions for good leadership and governance.  Prior to founding e-Resolved and joining One Mediation, Ms. Schaefer practiced law for more than 20 years, including 14 years as in-house counsel at the General Electric Company where she was General Counsel of GE Transportation.  Over the course of her two decade career, Ms. Schaefer has spearheaded hundreds of complex and sensitive investigations into allegations of misconduct, including sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and violations of company policy. Her leadership and ability to establish trust and confidence in the integrity of the investigative process has led to the successful resolution of many situations and assisted in avoiding costly litigation. Ms. Schaefer enjoys an excellent reputation with both the plaintiff and defense bars and is a trusted resource providing a balanced perspective on workplace issues to the media, including The Wall Street Journal, Corporate Counsel, Inside Counsel and Business Insurance.

Jody Shipper

Jody Shipper is the Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity for the University of Southern California, where she investigates claims of harassment and discrimination brought by faculty, students, and staff. She also oversees the university's affirmative action compliance program, provides advice on diversity efforts, and trains staff and faculty on harassment and discrimination issues. In addition to litigating employment matters in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, she has conducted and overseen countless investigations, lectured on investigative procedures and employment law, and provided counsel to employers on risk management, employment practices, and legal compliance. She is the author of Workplace Investigations: The HR Manager's Step-by-Step Guide, published by M. Lee Smith.

Dan Stormer

Dan Stormer is a 1974 graduate of New York University School of Law. He has been a Civil Rights, International Human Rights and Constitutional lawyer for thirty-seven years. Mr. Stormer has repeatedly been listed in the Top 100 Most Influential Lawyers in CaliforniaBest Lawyers in America, as well as in the Top 10 Lawyers in Southern California. He was recently named "Attorney of the Year" by the California Lawyer for his work in International Human Rights. As a result of a nationwide survey, he is listed among Lawdragon Magazine's 500 Leading Lawyers and 500 Leading Litigators in America. He has been profiled repeatedly by various legal periodicals, including The Daily Journal, Los Angeles Lawyer, California Law - Business, California Lawyer, and The Legal Exchange. He was named as one of the top 10 plaintiff-side employment lawyers in California by The Daily Journal. He was also named one of the top 5 plaintiff-side employment lawyers in California by Chambers U.S.A. - America’s Leading Lawyers. He has been repeatedly named one of Southern California's Super Lawyers by Los Angeles Magazine and Law & Politics Magazine. He is rated "AV Preeminent" rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He has been repeatedly recognized in the Guide to the World’s Leading Labour and Employment Lawyers. He has presented at the "Arguments of the Masters" and the "Legends of Litigation." Mr. Stormer has lectured and published extensively, including legal treatises and law reviews. He has taught at over 200 seminars and trial programs, including the national conventions for the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the National Employment Lawyers Association, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and other advocacy programs. He has also taught law school at Hastings College of Law, Loyola Law School, University of San Fernando Law School, Southwestern Law School and People’s College of Law. Mr. Stormer has been involved in over 70 published appellate decisions and has argued cases at all levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Julie B. Yanow

Julie B. Yanow has been in practice for over two decades; she founded EquiLaw in 2003. Ms. Yanow has conducted several hundred workplace investigations of employment-related matters and has presented workplace training to thousands of employees across a broad spectrum of industries, in addition to serving as an expert witness/consultant for plaintiff and defense counsel. Having also practiced for 11 years as in-house employment and labor relations counsel at Fortune 500 companies and for 2.5 years as an associate attorney at a national law firm prior to founding EquiLaw, Ms. Yanow's skill-set includes a unique 360 view of workplace matters. Ms. Yanow is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of U.C. Berkeley and received her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. Ms. Yanow is a member of the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Labor/Employment Section. Ms. Yanow also is a member of the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association. She is a published author on the topic of workplace investigations, is a Founding Member of the Society of Independent Workplace Investigators (SIWI) and is a Charter Member of AWI.