From Proposition 209 to Proposal 2 (2008)

From Proposition 209 to Proposal 2:
Examining the Effects of Anti-Affirmative Action Voter Initiatives

February 9, 2008

Download Symposium Brochure
Download Symposium Poster

Symposia Logo

The diversity of perspectives that is cherished and celebrated by the Michigan Journal of Race & Law and the University of Michigan community is threatened with the passage of ballot initiatives like Michigan’s Proposal 2, which bans the use of race and gender in school admissions. These issues are both timely and critically important in a society that is becoming increasingly segregated by race and ethnicity, both residentially and socially. With the recent passing of Proposal 2 as well as the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the use of race in public schools, we believe it is crucial to maintain an open and positive dialogue regarding race and education. To that end, our Symposium endeavors to address the variety of policy and legal questions arising out of the anti-affirmative action movement. Our Symposium will explore a broad range of issues including: the current effects of Proposition 209 in California and the potential effects of Proposal 2 on public university education and leadership within the state of Michigan, potential legal alternatives to affirmative action, and existing and emerging efforts to remedy K-12 educational disparities. Most notably, we present this symposium with the hope of preserving the University of Michigan’s longstanding commitment to diversity and as an answer to University of Michigan President Coleman’s request to “Show others what a U-M education looks like”.



Session I: Ending Affirmative Action: The Current Effects of Proposition 209 in California and the Potential Effects of Proposal 2 on Public University Education in Michigan

This panel focuses on the likely impact of the passage of Proposal 2 on public university education in Michigan by examining the effect of Proposition 209, the California constitutional amendment similar to Michigan’s, on California public universities. Panelists will be asked to examine whether Michigan universities will have an equivalent experience as California universities by examining the similarities and differences between the two states in regards to economics and class, racial and ethnic diversity, and local and statewide politics. Because testimonial experiences are just as valuable as facts and data, professionals who are currently teaching and working under the effects of Proposition 209 and Proposal 2 have been selected for this first panel.

Session II: Measuring Diversity in Other Ways: Potential Legal Alternatives to Affirmative Action

After discussing the potential positive and negative effects Proposal 2 will have on Michigan public university education, this panel will focus on possible alternatives to using race and gender classifications to achieve classroom diversity. Are there other quantifiable characteristics that would maintain a healthy level of diversity? Should the use of proxies to race and gender be encouraged, and if so would they be legal under most federal and state constitutions? Panelists will be asked to express their opinion on the effectiveness and legality of the various techniques for obtaining and retaining diversity that have been popularly debated. Panelists will also be asked to voice their approval or concern with the methods public universities have embraced when faced with restrictions on the use of race or gender classifications.p>

Session III: Existing and Emerging Efforts to Remedy K-12 Educational Disparities

The final panel will shift focus from public universities to K-12 public schools. A frequent argument is that affirmative action at the university level is often too late and that the real assistance needs to be made at the K-12 level. This panel will examine several questions including: What duty, if any, do affirmative action supporters have to refocus their efforts on these children after the passage of ballot initiatives like Proposal 2? What disparities should be targeted first? How should they be targeted? Are lawyers in a unique position to address these disparities? Does Proposal 2 limit the techniques that can be used at the K-12 level? The hope is that this panel will generate ideas and excitement to help combat the gross educational disparities that have lead to the need and creation of affirmative action.


Professor Guy-Uriel Charles (University of Minnesota Law School)

Dean Frank Wu (Wayne State University Law School)
Professor Mark Rosenbaum (University of Michigan Law School)
Professor Cheryl Harris (UCLA School of Law)
Professor Emily Houh (University of Cincinnati College of Law)
Professor Matthew Fletcher (Michigan State University College of Law)
Martha Kim (The Level Playing Field Institute)
Professor Christina Whitman (University of Michigan Law School)
Professor Kim Forde-Mazrui (University of Virginia Law School)
Professor Luis Fuentes-Rohwer (University of Indiana-Bloomington School of Law)
Professor Daria Roithmayr (USC Gould School of Law)
Professor Mario Barnes (University of Miami Law School)
Professor Ellen Katz (University of Michigan Law School)
Professor Margaret Montoya (University of New Mexico School of Law)
Dean Michael Kaufman (Loyola University Chicago School of Law)
Professor Sumi Cho (DePaul University School of Law)
Susan Benton (Winston & Strawn LLP)


Cheryl I. Harris is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law where she teaches Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination, Critical Race Theory and Race Conscious Remedies.

A graduate of Wellesley College and Northwestern School of Law, Professor Harris began her teaching career in 1990 after a decade in practice that included criminal appellate and trial work and municipal government representation. Her expertise in issues pertaining to civil rights is an outgrowth of her work as an advocate as well as her deep engagement with international human rights through collaborations with U.S. legal scholars and South African lawyers during the development of South Africa’s constitution.

Professor Harris is the author of groundbreaking scholarship in the field of Critical Race Theory, including the seminal, “Whiteness as Property” (Harvard Law Review). She has lectured at leading institutions and fora both in the US and in Europe, South Africa and Australia. Most recently her research has focused on re-examinations of signature cases implicating race, including Plessy v. FergusonDred Scott and Somerset’s Case as part of a reevaluation of the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. Additionally, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she convened a major conference on race and reconstruction in the Gulf Coast, and has published work in both the academic and popular press relating to how racial frames shaped understandings of this significant event. She has been active in leadership in numerous organizations including the American Studies Association and the ACLU and has served as a consultant to the MacArthur Foundation. She was the recipient in 2002 of a Mellon Fellowship to coordinate an interdisciplinary workshop on redress with the University of California Humanities Research Institute. In 2005 she received the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Professor of the Year for Civil Rights Education. For the past two years she was the Faculty Director of the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA School of Law.


Christina B. Whitman, a former editor in chief of the Michigan Law Review, holds three degrees from the University of Michigan, including a law degree and a graduate degree in Chinese literature. She joined the Michigan law faculty in 1976, after serving as law clerk to Judge Harold Leventhal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and to Justice Lewis Powell of the Supreme Court of the United States. Her research interests include federal courts, constitutional litigation, torts, and feminist jurisprudence. Whitman is also a professor of Women’s Studies at the University and serves as Special Counsel to the Provost for the Policy on Conflicts of Interest/Conflicts of Commitment. She is interested in questions of responsibility and justice, particularly as they arise in cultural conflicts, and in the use of legal language to conceal and reveal responsibility. Whitman served as associate dean for academic affairs for the Law School from 1997-2001, and in November 2001, she was named the Francis A. Allen Collegiate Professor of Law.


Professor Daria Roithmayr teaches and writes in the area of critical race theory and comparative law, focusing on the area of structural racial inequality in the U.S. and South Africa. Her interdisciplinary work draws from complex systems theory, antitrust, law and economics, sociology, history and a range of other areas. She joined USC Law in fall 2006 to teach Civil Procedure and Critical Race Theory.

Before joining USC Law, Professor Roithmayr taught for nine years at the University of Illinois College of Law. She has also visited at Michigan, Minnesota, and the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Among her publications are “Locked in Segregation” (Virginia Journal of Social Policy and Law, 2004); and “Access, Adequacy, and Equality: The Constitutionality of School Fee Financing in Public Education” (South African Journal of Human Rights, 2003). She is currently working on a book that analogizes persistent racial inequality to persistent market monopoly.

Professor Roithmayr received her B.S. from UCLA, and her J.D., (magna cum laude), from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a member of Order of the Coif and served as senior notes editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. She clerked for The Honorable Marvin J. Garbis, judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Professor Roithmayr twice served as special counsel to Senator Edward Kennedy on Supreme Court nominations, and in 2005 was special counsel for People for the American Way, advising the group on the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Judge John Roberts. She also served as special counsel for the Attorney General of Mississippi on the state’s anti-tobacco lawsuit. Since 2000, she has been a consultant for the Education Rights Project in South Africa.


Ellen D. Katz teaches and writes in the areas of property, voting rights and elections, legal history, and equal protection. Prior to joining the Law School faculty in 1999 as an assistant professor, she practiced as an attorney with the appellate sections of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and its Civil Division. Katz also served as a judicial clerk for Justice David H. Souter of the Supreme Court of the United States, and for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She earned her B.A. in history, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale College and her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. Her work includes a detailed empirical study of litigation under the Voting Rights Act as well as articles published in numerous law reviews including the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and the Michigan Law Review.


A graduate of Brown University, Professor Houh earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was a founding member and articles editor of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. After law school, Professor Houh served as a law clerk to the Honorable Anna Diggs Taylor, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. She also practiced law as a staff attorney with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and as a litigation associate at Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, PLC, in Detroit, Michigan. Professor Houh teaches contracts, commercial law, and critical race theory, and in 2006, she won the Goldman Price for Teaching Excellence. Her scholarship focuses on contract law and critical race theory and she is a frequent speaker on these topics at national conferences and symposia. Her articles and essays have appeared in such journals as the Cornell Law Review, University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Utah Law Review, and U.C. Davis Law Review. Currently, Professor Houh serves as the Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law and the Humanities.


Frank H. Wu is the author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White, which entered an immediate second printing in its hardcover edition, and co-author of Race, Rights and Reparation: Law and the Japanese American Internment. In 2004, he returned to his hometown of Detroit to serve as the ninth Dean of Wayne State University Law School. From 1995 to 2004, he served on the law faculty of Howard University. He has been an adjunct professor at Columbia University, a visiting professor at University of Michigan, and a teaching fellow at Stanford University.

Dean Wu serves as a Trustee of Gallaudet University, the only university in the United States serving primarily deaf and hard of hearing. He has taught over several short periods at Deep Springs College, a highly-selective full-scholarship all-male school enrolling twenty-six on a student-run cattle ranch near Death Valley. He served briefly by appointment of the D.C. Court of Appeals on its Board of Professional Responsibility, which adjudicates attorney discipline matters, as well as two terms on Board hearing committees. He was appointed by Mayor Anthony Williams as Chair of the D.C. Human Rights Commission for 2001-02. He joined the Board of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund in 2004. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and a member of the Committee of 100, a civic group founded by Yo-Yo Ma and I.M. Pei, among others, to promote Asian American political participation, as well as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. His media appearances have included the Oprah Winfrey show, Now with Bill Moyers, Lehrer NewshourO’Reilly FactorBook Notes with Brian Lamb, Talk Back Live on CNN, NPR, Voice of America, Fox Movie Channel with George Takai, and the Al Franken show. He has hosted episodes of the “Asian America” PBS-syndicated television show.

Prior to his academic career, Dean Wu held a clerkship with the late U.S. District Judge Frank J. Battisti in Cleveland and practiced law with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. He received a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan. He has completed the Management Development Program of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He is married to Carol L. Izumi.


Guy-Uriel E. Charles became a Co-Dean of the University of Minnesota Law School on June 1, 2006. Along with Fred Morrison, he will serve as Interim Co-Dean for two years. Dean Charles joined the Law School in the Fall of 2000. He clerked for The Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While at the University of Michigan, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. From 1995-2000, he was a graduate student in political science at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the Law School, he taught as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toledo School of Law.

Dean Charles teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, civil procedure, election law, law and politics, and race. His articles have appeared in Constitutional CommentaryMichigan Law ReviewMichigan Journal of Race & LawGeorgetown Law JournalJournal of PoliticsCalifornia Law ReviewNorth Carolina Law Review, among others. He was the Stanley V. Kinyon Teacher of the Year 2002-2003 at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Dean Charles was a member of the National Research Commission on Elections and Voting and the Century Foundation Working Group on Election Reform. He is a frequent television, print, and radio commentator on issues relating to constitutional law, election law, campaign finance, redistricting, politics, and race.

In the Spring of 2006, Co-Dean Charles was the James S. Carpentier Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.


Kim Forde-Mazrui is Professor of Law and Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor in Law at the University of Virginia. He also serves as Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Law at the University of Virginia Law School. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1990, and his Juris Doctorate, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993. After serving a year as judicial clerk to the Honorable Cornelia Kennedy of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, he joined the law firm of Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C. where he practiced law for two years.

Forde-Mazrui joined the law faculty of the University of Virginia in 1996 where he teaches criminal law & procedure, constitutional law, and race and law. His research interests include race and criminal procedure, race in the child placement process, affirmative action, and reparations. Forde-Mazrui’s publications include: Ruling Out the Rule of Law, VAND. L. REV. (forthcoming 2007); Learning Law Through the Lens of Race, 21 J.L. & Pol. 1 (2005); Taking Conservatives Seriously: A Moral Justification for Affirmative Action and Reparations, 92 CAL L. REV. 683 (2004); Live and Let Love: Self-Determination in Matters of Intimacy and Identity, 101 MICH. L. REV. 2185 (2003) (reviewing RANDALL KENNEDY, INTERRACIAL INTIMACIES: SEX, MARRIAGE, IDENTITY AND ADOPTION (2003)); Will Affirmative Action Survive? : Grutter v. Bollinger Asks the Supreme Court, LEGAL TIMES, Vol. XXV, No. 24, p.52 (June 17, 2002) (op-ed); The Constitutional Implications of Race-Neutral Affirmative Action, 88 GEO L.J. 2331 (2000); Jural Districting: Selecting Impartial Juries Through Community Representation, 52 VAND. L. REV. 353 (1999); and Black Identity and Child Placement: The Best Interests of Black and Biracial Children, 92 MICH. L. REV. 925 (1994). Works-in-progress include an examination of the constitutional implications of Arab profiling.


Luis Fuentes-Rohwer is Associate Professor of Law at the Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington. He earned his B.A. in Psychology and Spanish Literature from the University of Michigan in 1989, Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School in 1997, and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2001. In 2002 Professor Fuentes-Rohwer earned his LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Fuentes-Rohwer’s research and teaching interests include voting rights, judicial independence and accountability, legal ethics, and democratic theory. Before coming to Indiana, he was a Visiting Associate Professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he taught Voting Rights, Race and the Law, and American Legal History. Prior to this time at Chicago-Kent, he was a fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Professor Fuentes-Rohwer’s publications include Reconsidering the Law of Democracy: Political Questions, Prudence and the Judicial Role, 47 WILLIAM AND MARY LAW REVIEW 1899 (2006), and Legislative Findings, Congressional Powers, and the Future of the Voting Rights Act, 82 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 99 (2007).

Professor Fuentes-Rohwer’s courses at Indiana include Civil Procedure, Election Law, The Legal Profession, and The Legal Process.


A member of the UNM law school faculty since 1992, Professor Montoya has taught torts, contracts, clinical law, and employment law courses and in her seminars, she examines issues of race, ethnicity, gender and language. She is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, New York, and New Mexico. She has worked extensively in civil rights, especially in education and employment. She has worked on affirmative action plans in business and academic settings, analyzing, writing and implementing student admissions policies at the undergraduate and professional school level. She has been a member of the UNM School of Medicine’s admission committee for its Combined BA/MD Degree program. In 2003, a group of law students under her supervision filed an amicus brief in Grutter v. Bollinger, the affirmative action case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Her article Mascaras, Trenzas y Grenas: Un/Masking the Self While Un/Braiding Latina Stories and Legal Discourse uses personal stories to critique coercive forms of cultural assimilation and is used in many courses throughout the U.S. Her articles appear in law reviews, anthologies, and casebooks.

Professor Montoya is also a regular commentator on The Line, a weekly PBS show that analyzes current events in New Mexico. Professor Montoya has been featured onDemocracy Now in connection with her portrayal of the prosecutor in the day-long mock trial sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee on September 24-26, 2005 in Washington, D.C. Video and pictures of the mock trial of the prosecution of major Bush administration figures, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former CIA Director George Tenet, “indicted” for aiding and abetting torture around the world, are available at this URL:

She has been recognized by her peers and by the Hispano community for her work. She is the recipient of the prestigious Clyde Ferguson Award, given annually by law professors of color for accomplishments in scholarship, teaching and service. In 2003, the National Latina/o Law Students Association awarded her its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004 she was given the Walk the Talk award by the NM Hispano RoundTable, a coalition of some 60 Hispano/Latino organizations. In 2005, she was named by Hispanic Business Magazine to its list of Elite Latinas and also received the Kate Stoneman Award from Albany Law School for expanding opportunities for women.


Professor Mario L. Barnes received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990 and his J.D. in 1995 from the U. C. Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. At Boalt, he was Co-editor-in-Chief and published the first issue of the African-American Law & Policy Report (now Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy). Professor Barnes is a twelve-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. Prior to receiving his honorable discharge in 2002, he served as a prosecutor, defense counsel, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Deputy Admiralty Counsel in the Office of the Judge Advocate General. He also served on the commission that investigated the 2000 terrorist bombing of the USS Cole. He joined the University of Miami law faculty in 2004, after receiving an LL.M. and serving as a William H. Hastie Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Professor Barnes writes and teaches in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law, and race and the law. In recent publications he has examined the use of proxies for race to discriminate in employment and how reverse discrimination jurisprudence has affected military officer promotion systems. In January of 2008, he was awarded the Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award, which is presented by the Minority Groups Section of the American Association of Law Schools to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice through teaching, scholarship and activism.


Mark D. Rosenbaum is legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Los Angeles, where he has worked since 1974. He received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was vice-president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Professor Rosenbaum has also taught at UCLA Law School, University of Southern California Law Center, and Loyola Law School, and he has lectured at Harvard and Duke. He began teaching at Michigan in 1993. He has argued on three occasions before the United State Supreme Court, and has frequently appeared before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court and the Court of Military Appeals. His areas of expertise include race, gender, poverty and homelessness, education, voting rights, workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, the First Amendment and criminal trials. He has received numerous awards and commendations, is regularly selected as one of the most influential lawyers in California and recently was named as California Attorney of the Year in the area of civil rights.


Martha Kim is currently the Director of Research and Workplace Programs at the Level Playing Field Institute, a San Francisco-based nonprofit which studies and identifies barriers against people of color, women and gays and lesbians in higher education and corporate workplaces. The Level Playing Field Institute offers a three-year, summer residential math and science academy for underrepresented high school students and a scholarship program for underrepresented students at the University of California, Berkeley (Initiative for Diversity in Education and Leadership). Prior to joining the Level Playing Field Institute, Martha was at an international, New York-based law firm, where she worked primarily in matters of international antitrust and securities regulation. She represented her employer and clients extensively throughout Asia and the United States in a wide range of litigation matters. Martha received her Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan in 2003, where she served as a research associate to the Assistant Dean of the School of Public Policy. In addition, Martha was a summer associate at the Business and Legal Affairs Department of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in New York. Before attending law school, Martha worked at McKinsey & Company and PricewaterhouseCoopers in San Francisco. She received her B.A. in Political Science in 1999 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was the keynote speaker at the Chancellor’s Annual Scholarship Reception. Her research as a Ronald McNair Scholar, regarding racial discrimination in the National Football League (NFL) and how it is a microcosm for discrimination in society at-large, is published by the University of California.


Matthew L.M. Fletcher is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University College of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He also sits as an appellate judge for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Hoopa Valley Tribe, and is a consultant to the Seneca Nation of Indians Court of Appeals. Professor Fletcher is an enrolled member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, located in Peshawbestown, Michigan.

Professor Fletcher will be co-author of the sixth edition of Cases on Federal Indian Law (West, forthcoming 2008) with David Getches, Charles Wilkinson, and Robert Williams. He also signed a contract with Routledge to publish a book on American Indian education law and policy and will co-edit a collection of essays on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Professor Fletcher recently has published articles with the University of Miami Law Review, the Nebraska Law Review, the Harvard Journal on Legislation, and the Houston Law Review, and has articles forthcoming in the Hastings Law Journal (offer pending), Tulane Law Review, and St. John’s Law Review.

Professor Fletcher graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1997 and the University of Michigan in 1994. He has worked as a staff attorney for four Indian Tribes: the Pascua Yaqui Tribe (1998 to 1999), the Hoopa Valley Tribe (2000 to 2001), the Suquamish Tribe (2001), and the Grand Traverse Band (2001 to 2004). He has litigated over 20 tribal court cases. He is married to Wenona Singel and they have a son named Owen.


Michael Kaufman is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of the ChildLaw and Education Institute, and Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He is the author of over 50 books and countless law review articles, many of them regarding education law. In 2006, Dean Kaufman published one of the nation’s leading treatises and textbooks, Education Law, Policy and Practice. Kaufman also has been elected President and Vice President of the Board of Education of North Shore School District 112, and has served on that Board since 1997. Before joining the law faculty at Loyola University Chicago, Kaufman served as the judicial clerk for Judge Nathaniel Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1983, and from Kenyon College in 1980.


Prof. Cho writes and teaches in the areas of Critical Race Theory, Employment Discrimination, Remedies, and Race, Racism & U.S. Law and speaks nationally on issues of affirmative action, sexual harassment, racial profiling, multiracial politics and coalitions, and remedial theories. She holds a Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies as well as a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She has written extensively on affirmative action including articles such as Embedded Whiteness, Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, (forthcoming), From Massive to Passive to Righteous Resistance: Understanding the Culture Wars from Brown to Grutter, 7 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 809 (2005); Understanding White Women’s Ambivalence Towards Affirmative Action: Theorizing Political Accountability in Coalitions, 71 UMKC L. Rev. 399 (2002); Multiple Consciousness and the Diversity Dilemma, 68 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1035 (1997); and Beyond Self-Interest: Asian Pacific Americans Toward Community of Justice, with Gabriel Chin, Jerry Kang, and Frank Wu, 4 UCLA As. Pac. Am. L. J. 129 (1996). She also serves on the boards the Asian American Institute, the largest pan-Asian advocacy organization in Chicago, the Asian American Justice Center based in Washington, D.C., and “LatCrit,” a critical legal studies organization that explores Latina/Latino issues using an interdisplinary, multicultural approach.


Susan Benton joined the firm’s Chicago office as a partner in 2000. She concentrates her practice in labor relations and employment litigation and counseling. Ms. Benton represents employers in a range of industries, including consulting, insurance, broadcasting, communications, technology, manufacturing, and distribution, as counselor, negotiator, and trial attorney before administrative bodies and state and federal courts. Her experience includes matters involving employment discrimination, sexual harassment, union organizing, collective bargaining, grievance arbitration, NASD arbitration, employment contracts and separation agreements, affirmative action, retaliatory discharge, defamation, confidentiality agreements, restrictive covenants, and related labor and employment issues. Prior to joining Winston & Strawn, Ms. Benton was a partner at another large Chicago law firm. She also has previously managed human resource functions, including employee communications, executive training and development, and executive recruitment, for a division of a major department store and for a financial services company.

Honors and Awards
Ms. Benton is a fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers. She has been named as a top lawyer in the areas of management labor and employment law byLeading Lawyer. She also was chosen as an Illinois Super Lawyer for 2005 and 2006.

Ms. Benton is chair of the firm’s Foundation Committee and a member of the Business Development and Client Services and Diversity Committees. She is a trustee of the Field Museum, a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, and on the boards of directors of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights and The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA).

Ms. Benton received a B.A. in Psychology in 1975 and an M.B.A. in 1982 from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. She received a J.D. in 1982 from Boston University School of Law.

Speeches and Publications
Ms. Benton’s publications include a chapter in the Employment Law Deskbook Ms. Benton’s publications include a chapter in the Employment Law Deskbook for Human Resources Professionals titled “Individual Autonomy” (West Group, 2001), a book and videotape titled Sexual Harassment in the Workplace/A Guide to Prevention, (Crisp Publications, 1995), and an article titled “Managing to Prevent Liability: The Recruitment and Selection Process” ( EMA Journal, Fall 1992).

She has been a featured speaker at the American Management Association Human Resources Conferences, and also lectures extensively in programs sponsored by the Practising Law Institute, American Management Association, Society for Human Resource Professionals, the Employment Management Association, and others.


Winston & Strawn LLP
Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Mayer Brown
Vinson & Elkins
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
DLA Piper