GALLUP Strengths Coach & founder of BloomRise.

Vanessa Kuljis works with organizations and unconventional professionals seeking clarity about the next steps in their careers and lives so they can work and live with impact, freedom, adventure, and well-being.

Vanessa received her JD from the University of Chicago. Her professional experience includes corporate litigation at two AmLaw 100 firms in Miami, a secondment to the legal department of a multinational bank in London, coaching and project management at a nonprofit diversity organization in New York City, and building programs as a higher education director focusing on professional coaching and leadership development.

As a GALLUP Certified Strengths Coach and founder of BloomRise, Vanessa specializes in strengths coaching which helps people maximize their talents, own their worth, and set and achieve authentic goals.


Founder and CEO of Creating Equity, LLC

Vonne Jacobs is the Founder and CEO of Creating Equity, LLC, a global strategic advisory and consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations design and implement simple, practical solutions to complex problems.

As a transformational coach, she supports and guides black womxn lawyers to find fulfilment in their careers and their lives.

Prior to starting Creating Equity, Vonne served as Associate University Counsel for Duke University and Duke University Health System where she provided advice and counsel to one of the world’s preeminent health systems on a broad range of regulatory, operational and transactional matters.

A lover of bourbon and an advocate for Black womxn everywhere, Vonne loves spending her days getting into good drink, good music and good trouble.


Elizabeth Lippy

Elizabeth Lippy is the Founder and Director of TACT. In addition to her position at TACT, Ms. Lippy serves as the Director of Trial Advocacy for Temple University’s Beasley School of Law and maintains a private practice as a founding member of the law firm of Fairlie & Lippy, P.C.  For almost a decade, Ms. Lippy received the Super Lawyer designation in Pennsylvania and most recently named one of Pennsylvania’s 10 best female attorneys by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. She formerly served as Associate Director of the Trial Advocacy Program at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. Ms. Lippy currently teaches an array of different courses at Temple and oversees the Integrated Trial Advocacy Program.

Judge Christina Weems

Judge Weems Judge Weems

Christine Weems is currently Judge of the 281st Judicial District Court in Houston, Harris County, Texas. She is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.  Judge Weems is the Director of the Interscholastic Mock Trial at the University of Houston Law Center.  She was also an extra in Office Space.

Megan F. Chaney

Megan F. Chaney is Professor of Law, Faculty Advisor to the award-winning Nova Southeastern University Law Trial Team Association, trial team and moot court coach at the Nova Southeastern University – Shepard Broad College of Law in South Florida.  she has also co-directed the Criminal Justice Field Placement Clinic.  Professor Chaney’s experience includes serving as an Assistant Public Defender at the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office, co-directing criminal defense and juvenile justice clinics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Yale Law School, and serving as a professor and Director of Experiential Learning at a law school in Southern California.  She has extensive experiential and advocacy teaching training.  Professor Chaney has spoken at numerous academic conferences throughout the United States, including the AALS Clinical Conference, the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, and the Wells Adoption Conference.

Judge Mia R. Perez


Born and raised in Philadelphia and a proud product of the city’s public school system, Judge Perez attended Julia R. Masterman High School before matriculating to Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Spurred by an early interest in law and social justice, and eager to return home, Judge Perez enrolled at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. Immediately upon graduating, Judge Perez accepted a position at the Defender Association of Philadelphia where she honed her skills as a trial attorney dedicating thousands of hours to her cases, culminating with the representation of indigent defendants in the Court of Common Pleas, Major Trial Division.


Ready for a different challenge, Judge Perez was then tapped to serve as an associate at Friedman Schuman Applebaum, PC where she represented municipalities in counties throughout the region and members of Laborers Union Local 135. 


In 2011, Judge Perez established her own practice, Perez Law LLC, specializing in criminal defense and family law. The practice argued cases in federal court, in addition to counties throughout Pennsylvania, while maintaining an office in Philadelphia. Judge Perez has handle various types of major felony cases including sex trafficking and capital homicides. 


In 2016, Judge Perez became one of the youngest judges to serve on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas bench. She currently sits in the Criminal Division and has presided over an average of 282 non-homicide felony waiver and jury trials in the past calendar year. 


Judge Perez has also served since 2011 as an adjunct professor at the James E. Beasley School of Law (Temple University) teaching second year law students. Judge Perez is co-chair of the First Judicial District’s Education Committee and also serves on the First Judicial District Jury Committee and Judicial Ambassadors Program. Judge Perez is also a member of the executive board of the Clifford Scott Green Chapter of Judicial Council.


Laura Rose

Laura Rose is the Assistant Professor in Trial Advocacy at the University of South Dakota and the coach of USD Law’s National Trial Team. A member of the Florida Bar, Professor Rose previously worked as the Advocacy Fellow at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law, where her responsibilities included the instruction and coaching of members of UMKC’s National Trial Team. Prior to that, she worked for the Florida Office of the Attorney General as an Assistant Statewide Prosecutor in Tampa, Florida, with the majority of her practice focused on the prosecution of White Collar Crimes. In addition to her “day job,” Professor Rose also coached for Stetson University College of Law’s Mock Trial Team. 

Valonne Ehrhardt

Captain Valonne Ehrhardt is a Judge Advocate with the United States Marine Corps. During her time in the Marine Corps, she has served as a trial defense attorney, appellate defense attorney, national security litigation advisor, and operational law attorney. She was selected as the 2017 Defense Counsel of the Year for the National Capital Region, while serving as first-chair on several felony criminal trials. She served as an adjunct professor at the United States Naval Academy, teaching Law for the Junior Officer. Captain Ehrhardt also serves as a mock trial coach for American University Washington College of Law.                                                                                                                                              ***The depiction of Captain Ehrhardt in uniform, and her participation in this forum, does not imply or constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of the Navy (DON) or United States Marine Corps (USMC). Additionally, Captain Ehrhardt’ s participation in this forum is in her own personal capacity. Any views expressed by Captain Ehrhardt in this forum are those of Captain Ehrhardt and are not attributable to those aforementioned government entities.***




Sara Jacobson


Sara Jacobson is the Executive Director of Training for the Public Defender Association of Pennsylvania.  She was formerly the Director of Trial Advocacy at Temple University Beasley School of law. In addition to her significant teaching experience, Jacobson is a successful attorney. She tried thousands of cases as a Philadelphia public defender and served as the Assistant Chief of the Juvenile Unit at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. She also earned an LL.M. in Trial Advocacy from Temple. Jacobson frequently speaks on issues related to juvenile justice and trains lawyers and judges across the country and internationally. 


Erika McArdle

Erika McArdle is an Assistant State Attorney for the 12th Judicial Circuit in the State of Florida.  Prior to becoming a prosecutor, she was the Assistant Director of the Center of Excellence in Advocacy at Stetson University College of Law.   As a student member of Stetson’s top-ranked national trial team, Wilson advocated in numerous state, regional, and national competitions. For her accomplishments at Stetson, she won The International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award, which goes to the advocate who demonstrated overall ability in trial advocacy by achievements in Trial Practice, Evidence, and Pleading and Procedure courses. She also won the Victor O. Wehle Award, awarded each semester to the most outstanding advocate in each section of Trial Advocacy.


Kaelyn Romey


In 2017, Professor Romey joined academia as the Director of the Litigation Center at Golden Gate University School of Law. Prior to her Director role, she was Senior Counsel for 11 years at the Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel specializing in federal tax controversy litigation handling high-dollar complex cases. Ms. Romey also counseled special enforcement agents regarding cross-border, foreign reporting penalties, off-shore compliance issues, and abusive transaction case development. She successfully settled hundreds of cases and litigated over 23 cases as lead trial counsel before the United States Tax Court. Prior to her career with the federal government, she worked in private practice in civil litigation. 

Ms. Romey conducted nationwide trainings for IRS, Chief Counsel, and for NITA in effective cross examination, deposition, and trial skills. Throughout her academic and professional careers, she actively led committees and volunteer efforts in both state and local bar associations including an executive committee leadership role with the California State Bar Taxation Section. She was the Speaker Chair for the Taxation Section Annual Meeting, chaired the 2016 DC Delegation, chaired the San Francisco Barristers Bar Association Taxation Committee, and served on the BASF executive board.


Megan Whiteside


Megan Whiteside is Of Counsel at Shiffman & Shiffman, P.C. in Washington, DC and a Trial Advocacy Adjunct Professor at American University Washington College of Law. Professor Whiteside’s practice focuses on representing injured people in litigation, from pre-suit negotiations through trial. Prior to joining Shiffman & Shiffman, Professor Whiteside served as a law clerk at the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland and as an associate for a medical malpractice defense firm. She uses that prior experience and perspective to advise and zealously represent injured people. Professor Whiteside teaches Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony and coaches mock trial competition teams.

Kristen Feden

Kristen Gibbons Feden 

Kristen M. Gibbons Feden is widely regarded as one of the Nation’s leading litigators in the field of sexual abuse. She has proven herself to be fearless when fighting for survivors against high profile offenders and large institutions. Christened by the New York Times as “The Prosecutor Who Stared Down Bill Cosby,” Kristen is internationally recognized as a leading litigator in the #MeToo Movement. Nationally acclaimed as a fierce litigator, Kristen has represented numerous sexual abuse survivors in their pursuit of civil justice and received a multitude of awards for her tireless work with the most vulnerable survivors, many of whom were in their darkest moments when they sought her out.

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina






Circuit Court Judge, Ingham County, Michigan

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1984 after earning her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Michigan State University in 1979. She began her legal career working in the Michigan Senate as an Administrative Assistant after which, she opened Aquilina Law Firm, PLC. Judge Aquilina became part of Michigan’s history as the first female JAG Officer in the Michigan Army National Guard retiring honorably after twenty years. Judge Aquilina also made history when she allowed 156 Sister-Survivors and other victims for a total of 169 victims to speak over seven days in the People v Nassar case. She again made history as the first female professor to speak at the MSU College of Law Commencement in the Spring of 2018 and in 2020 hearing the first hybrid jury trial during Covid-19. Judge Aquilina has served as a civilian judge for sixteen years. During her first four years, she served as Chief Judge and Sobriety Court Judge in the 55th District Court, and she founded the Ingham County Sobriety Court Foundation to assist those in recovery. Judge Aquilina was then elected to the 30th Circuit Court for Ingham County, where she has served for twelve years, recently being elected to another 6-year term. Additionally, Judge Aquilina is a published fiction author.  Her novels include Feel No Evil, Triple Cross Killer, and  All Rise. Her memoir, Just Watch Me, will be released December 10, 2020 by Audible as part of the First Originals from Reese Witherspoon and Hello Sunshine. 

Elizabeth M. Fraley

Elizabeth M. Fraley





Elizabeth M. Fraley is a Professor at Baylor Law School, teaching Practice Court and serving as co-director of the Executive LL.M. in Litigation Management.  She serves as faculty at the Academy of the Advocate in St. Andrews, Scotland.  Liz is an actively practicing attorney with more than 30 years of trial and mediation experience representing health care providers and businesses.  She has been named a Texas Super Lawyer every year starting in 2004 and has been a D Magazine “Best Lawyers in Dallas” annually since 2011.  She is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), is president of the Waco Chapter and a national board member.  She acted as faculty in the ABOTA Masters in Trial series.  She serves as faculty for the Judicial Education Conference, teaching evidence to sitting judges.  She is a member of the Abner McCall Inn of Court, the McLennan County Bar Association and is chair of the State Bar Advanced Medical Torts Course.   She is a co-author of Texas Commercial Causes of Action, author of the updated Powell and Kinkeade’s Practical Guide to Texas Evidence and co-author of Fundamentals of Lawyer Leadership.  Liz is a frequent author and speaker on trial skills, virtual advocacy, leadership civil procedure and evidence.  An avid runner and traveler, she is the mother of three children.

Setara Foster

Setara Foster

Setara Foster started her professional career in insurance defense. Since then, her practice has encompassed personal injury, wrongful death, consumer and commercial fraud, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury. Mrs. Foster became the third named partner for Moore, Young, Foster & Hazelton, LLP in 2020. She has tried numerous high-exposure suits to verdict in both state and federal court.  

Mrs. Foster received her JD from the Samford University-Cumberland School of Law in Alabama. She continues to hold posts as a coach for the National Trial Team and as an Adjunct Professor of Basic Skills in Trial Advocacy at Cumberland School of Law. 

A self-described foodie, Setara embraces most-things-millennial with a particular affection towards avocado toast and Rosé.


"I just finished a two day CLE Advocacy Training event by Trial Advocacy Consulting & Training LLC (TACT) and Mom Life and Law. It was a tremendous event I would recommend to any female litigator. The event had noted keynote speakers Judge Rosemary Aqualina and litigator Courtney Rowley of "Trial by Woman". The program had content for litigators both new to the profession and seasoned litigators that just want to hone their litigation skills since the courthouses have been covid closed, or maybe just want a little more practice with new techniques. Do yourself a favor, if you practice in litigation, take this course.


"For Women By Women Virtual Trial Advocacy Training was an amazing experience. It gave us a safe space to learn, practice, discuss issues and concerns, and remind us that we are not alone. Regardless of all of the challenges COVID-19 has brought on everyone, this training brought women from all over the world together, and we took advantage of this space. I not only practiced my trial advocacy skills, and improved, but I also grew as a future female litigator, and I know that this is where I belong. Thank you for all the efforts, love, and hard work that TACT, Mom Life, and everyone involved put into this. It truly made a huge impact on me."


"What a phenomenal training! Each speaker and trainer was engaging, energized and an expert in her area of the law. I am taking with me so many tips and techniques, and cannot wait to incorporate them into my practice. I highly recommend For Women By Women Advocacy Training."


"With For Women by Women, I got reminded what I knew all along: that my difference is my strength. For this diverse body of trainers, with different personalities and perspectives on the world, I gained even more than legal skills. I gained what lies behind every lawyer: the why. I'll add that I was the only foreign lawyer of the training and yet felt that I belong to a community."


"Most inspiring informative CLE I’ve attended in over 30 years. Women Attorneys supporting each other is phenomenal and a great bonus to the continued legal education aspect."


"Even though I have been a lawyer for forty years, I learned from every aspect of this course and highly recommend it to all. The caliber of trainers and attendees is unsurpassed in any other course. Also it was thoroughly enjoyable and a delight to learn and network and practice actual skills and trial techniques taught by the best in the field. The fact that it is by women for women is so empowering and it was all-inclusive as well that speaks to the excellence of the sponsors. This has been the best CLE I have ever taken in my forty years of practice since I learned far more than in any others. In every minute of the program, invaluable skills and knowledge were imparted that could not be learned anywhere else."


"This was a unique, special opportunity for female litigators to learn, build community, network, and empower one another. Trainings like this are sorely needed in a profession that doesn't value women enough."