Loyola University > School of Law > Faculty > Meet some of our faculty of color
Meet some of our faculty of color
Sacha M. Coupet
Morris I. Leibman Professor of Law
Professor Sacha M. Coupet was born and raised in New York, the city that welcomed both of her Haitian immigrant parents in the 1950s. She has served on Loyola Law’s faculty since 2004. She holds a PhD in psychology (clinical) from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Eternally fascinated by human behavior and the ways in which people's lived realities are recognized within the law, Professor Coupet strives to synthesize her backgrounds in psychology and law. Her research focuses on the regulation of families and children, including the privileges, rights, and interests of those within the family, as well as issues related to identities within law. She and her spouse are parents to two energetic young kids and the caretakers of a canine with an insatiable appetite. When she is not working, she can be found elbow deep in one or more of her many hobbies or making good trouble.
Sarah J. Diaz
Associate Director, Center for the Human Rights of Children; Lecturer
Through years of visiting family in Mexico, Professor Sarah J. Diaz cultivated a deep connection to the protection of human rights and dignity in the Americas and beyond. Committed to learning more about human rights protection, she studied human rights in Chiapas, Mexico, and San Jose, Costa Rica, during law school. As a practitioner of human rights, Professor Diaz began her career as the Immigrant Child Protection Project staff attorney at the National Immigrant Justice Center. While serving as the national case director with the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, she helped facilitate the expansion of the Young Center to eight national offices with an eye toward universalizing the incorporation of a best-interests standard for children under immigration law. Professor Diaz taught immigration law clinical modules, including an immigrant detainee clinic and an immigration policy clinic, while working at the DePaul Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic. At Loyola, Professor Diaz focuses her research on child migration and human rights, supervising students engaged in human rights advocacy efforts.
Wing-Tat Lee Chair in International Law; Professor of Law
Born and raised in rural central Kenya, Professor James Gathii arrived in the United States in 1994 to study for his Masters and SJD (PhD) at Harvard Law School. His work ethic was acquired helping his parents on their small subsistence farms on which they depended for food. When he was a university student in Kenya, the campaign to end one-party rule at the end of the Cold War shaped Professor Gathii's scholarly, research, and writing interests in comparative constitutional law, human rights, and international trade and international law. A little over two decades later, after acquiring his PhD, Professor Gathii is the Wing-Tat Lee Chair in International Law and sits on the editorial boards of leading journals in his fields. He has published four books and over 100 articles and book chapters. His research, scholarship, and teaching champion the interests of the poorest and underprivileged populations and peoples.
Carmen G. Gonzalez
Morris I. Leibman Professor of Law
Professor Carmen G. Gonzalez was born in Cuba and raised in a blue-collar, Latinx immigrant community in northern New Jersey. Her parents, who did not speak English and whose education terminated after fifth grade, instilled in her an intellectual curiosity that propelled her to Yale University and Harvard Law School. Inspired by the air and water pollution of her New Jersey childhood, her scholarship addresses environmental injustice: the disproportionate impact of environmental degradation on communities of color in the United States and on the world’s poor and disenfranchised. She has co-edited two books on women of color in academia. Her goal as a teacher is to foster critical thinking informed by a commitment to the eradication of poverty, racism, and other forms of injustice. In pre-pandemic times, her teaching and consulting projects took her all over the world. Professor Gonzalez teaches Torts and International Environmental Law.
Josie M. Gough
Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity; Curt and Linda Rodin Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Social Justice
Hailing from the south side of Chicago, Dean Josie M. Gough is a proud alumna of Loyola University Chicago (BA, MEd, and JD). She is first-generation and credits her hardworking mother for instilling in her the belief that education was the key to success. As assistant dean for inclusion, diversity, and equity, she leads ongoing efforts to further enhance and cultivate a learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff that promotes inclusion, excellence, and belonging. Prior to joining the faculty at Loyola, Dean Gough practiced law in Illinois on behalf of public- and private-sector clients for more than 25 years. She has been a member of the Illinois Bar since 1984. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs; Director, Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy
Associate Dean Zelda Harris will become interim dean of Loyola School of Law on July 1. She joined the faculty of Loyola in August 2012 as director of the Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy and was appointed associate dean of academic affairs in January 2018. Dean Harris teaches courses in trial advocacy, evidence, and domestic violence law. She has a 20-plus-year history as a trial attorney representing survivors of family and intimate partner violence. Dean Harris grew up in a family of academics who stressed the value and importance of education to achieve social mobility despite the barriers of systemic racialized oppression. She has had the privilege to live in many diverse cities across the U.S. including Princeton; Charlottesville; Baton Rouge; Newton, Mass.; Syracuse; St. Louis; Tucson; Philadelphia; and Chicago. Dean Harris is a graduate of Washington University School of Law and received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University. She is married to the internationally recognized social justice advocate Jonathan Peck, and they are the proud parents of Jonathan and Wesley, two sons with boundless energy and imagination.
Clifford E. Vickrey Research Professor; Director, Intellectual Property Program
Professor Cynthia Ho was born in New York to parents who emigrated from Hong Kong. She is the only person in her extended family to attend law school and is committed to helping all students—especially first-generation students—excel in law school. Professor Ho teaches Civil Procedure as well as classes in intellectual property law. As director of the Intellectual Property Program, she oversees co-curricular activities, such as the Loyola IP blog. Most of her writing focuses on the intersection of patent and regulatory protection of drugs, with a frequent focus on how intellectual property can impede access to affordable drugs, especially for marginalized communities and individuals. She has written a book on these issues and also engages in policy discussions that include signing onto an amicus brief before an international tribunal. She also has co-authored a tool to help students learn Civil Procedure.
Patricia H. Lee
Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin Professor of Business Law; Director, Business Law Clinic; Executive Director, Business Law Center
Professor Patricia Lee’s research interests include the intersectionality of law, entrepreneurship, and business/securities markets from Main Street to Wall Street, and she has written extensively on these topics. She has received numerous service awards and has had a distinguished career in entrepreneurship clinical program development at several law schools around the nation, including Saint Louis University School of Law, West Virginia University College of Law, and University of Chicago Law School. While serving as a clinical director, she and other clinicians won the 2012 and 2014 Super Lawyers Award for Public Service, the 2015 Clinical Legal Education Award, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Community Service. Professor Lee is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Washington, DC, and before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and also has lived and worked in Maryland; Washington, DC; West Virginia; and Missouri.
Adrienne D. Mebane
Associate Director, Dan K. Webb Center for Advocacy; Professor
Associate Director Adrienne Mebane is a lifelong Chicago resident. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college, and she was also the first person in her family to graduate from law school. Higher education came with a financial hurdle, but thanks to her family’s sacrifices and loans, it was never out of reach. Director Mebane has worked as a trial attorney, supervisor, and executive staff member in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. She was deputy general counsel of enforcement and investigations in the Chicago Transit Authority’s law department. She also has worked as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, teaching trial advocacy. She earned her JD from DePaul University College of Law and her LLM in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Chipo C. Nyambuya
Director, Experiential Programming and Professional Development
Director Chipo Nyambuya oversees and advises students on the opportunities available to gain practical experience while in school. Her goal is two-fold: to provide access to a broad range of in-field practice areas so students understand the breadth of potential career opportunities, and to provide a practical foundation in legal professionalism and the importance of diversity and ethics in the practice. A history/English major (AB with distinction, Go Blue!) and graduate of The Ohio State University College of Law, Director Nyambuya began her legal career in the mid-1990s as in-house counsel in the financial services sector with a focus on copyright and technology procurement, at the dawn of e-commerce. Her career ethos is a reflection of her third culture identity. New Jersey-born to a Liberian mother and Zimbabwean father, Director Nyambuya has served as a policy advisor for Fortune 500 corporations, start-ups, NGOs, and foreign governments. A complete Chicagophile, she’s fascinated by the city’s complexities and blood-sport politics. She sees her avocation as a disruptive servant.
Juan F. Perea
Curt and Linda Rodin Professor of Law and Social Justice
Professor Juan F. Perea joined the full-time law faculty in 2011 after teaching at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. He also has served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and Boston College Law School. Much of his writing focuses on racial unfairness and its origins, and he writes about many issues affecting Latinos, including immigration, educational inequality, and workplace inequality. More recently, he has written about the early origins of structural racism in the United States, including slavery and conquest. He is the lead author of Race and Races: Cases and Resources for a Diverse America (West, third edition, 2015), a leading textbook on race and the law used throughout the country. He enjoys playing keyboards and walking his dog, Maxx.
Abner J. Mikva Professor of Law; Director, Business Law Center
Professor Steven Ramirez joined the faculty of Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2006. He came to Loyola from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, where he was the founding director of the Business and Transactional Law Center. Previously, he was a partner with Robinson Curley & Clayton, a Chicago litigation firm, specializing in corporate, securities, and banking litigation. He also served as a senior attorney for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and as an enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Professor Ramirez teaches Business Organizations, Securities Litigation Seminar, and other business-related classes. He has published extensively in the areas of law and economics, corporate governance, and financial regulation.
Karen Alicia Shaw
Director of Graduate Legal Studies and Adjunct Professor
The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Professor Shaw directs and consults on university procedures and best practices and develops general administrative and academic policies for post-JD and non-JD graduate law programs. She also teaches health law-focused legal writing courses, an interdisciplinary seminar on health literacy and health equity, and a socio-legal research and writing course on rule of law and international development. Prior to Loyola, Professor Shaw worked in various health law and other legal practice settings and taught courses in health insurance policy, medical law and ethics, and English, where she had the privilege of instructing and mentoring many first-generation and nontraditional students. In addition, she served as a program dean at a career college, where she developed health care curricula and implemented the college’s academic assessment initiatives. She holds a JD from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was an associate editor for the Journal of Law and Commerce, and an LLM in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Professor Shaw spends her free time cooking Jamaican cuisine, listening to Christian reggae music, and running 5K and 10K races.
Director, Maywood Medical-Legal Partnership; Clinical Teaching Fellow, Health Justice Project
Professor Maya Watson is a native of Detroit and the youngest child of University of Michigan alumni. She wanted to be an attorney early, as she frequently accompanied her family to human rights conferences and studied impacts of global injustices. Instead of following in the family tradition, she enrolled at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the nation's first degree-granting HBCU and alma mater of Thurgood Marshall. She studied in China and Ghana and honed her advocacy skills. She returned to Detroit to practice transactional law and became a law firm partner. In 2018, she pursued an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Northwestern School of Law and went to Ethiopia and Geneva with Professor Bridget Arimond to advocate for a U.N. human rights report. At Loyola since 2020, Professor Watson enjoys working with the Health Justice Project, the Maywood Medical-Legal Partnership, and the COVID Equity Response Collaborative: Loyola (CERCL). Her research focuses on health equity and reparative justice.
Nathaniel R. Jones Associate Professor of Law
Professor Neil Williams teaches contracts and commercial law courses. In recognition of his scholarship promoting racial fairness, he holds a professorship named after Nathaniel R. Jones, Jr., an African-American social justice warrior who became an acclaimed federal court of appeals judge. Professor Williams grew up in Atlanta during the 1960s and 1970s. His mother and father received undergraduate and advanced degrees from HBCUs, and his father was a pioneering black veterinarian who cared for pets owned by Dr. Martin Luther King. After attending segregated elementary schools, Professor Williams became the first African-American valedictorian at his recently integrated high school. He graduated summa cum laude from Duke University and attended the University of Chicago Law School as a Mechem Scholar. He served as a law clerk to the Hon. George N. Leighton of the Northern District of Illinois and worked as a corporate attorney at Chicago-based firm Sidley & Austin, where he introduced summer associate Barack Obama to Michelle Robinson. Professor Williams has been on the Loyola faculty and has served as the advisor to Loyola’s BLSA chapter for more than 30 years.