BWLN Leadership

Leadership

 

Faculty Director
Melissa Murray

Melissa Murray

Melissa Murray is the Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law at NYU and faculty director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network. Murray is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where she was a Jefferson Scholar and an Echols Scholar, and Yale Law School, where she was notes development editor of the Yale Law Journal and earned special recognition as an NAACP-LDF/Shearman & Sterling Scholar. Following law school, Murray clerked for Sonia Sotomayor, then of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Stefan Underhill of the US District Court for the District of Connecticut. Murray teaches constitutional law, family law, criminal law, and reproductive rights and justice, and her research focuses on the legal regulation of sex and sexuality and encompasses such topics as marriage and its alternatives, the marriage equality debate, the legal recognition of caregiving, and reproductive rights and justice. Her publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, and Yale Law Journal, among others. She is an author of Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice, the first casebook to cover the field of reproductive rights and justice. She has also written for the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and the Huffington Post, and has offered commentary for NPR, MSNBC, and PBS, among other media outlets. In 2010, Murray was awarded the Association of American Law School’s Derrick A. Bell Award, which is given to a junior faculty member who has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice. Murray was previously on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Rutter Award for Teaching Distinction. From March 2016 to June 2017, she served as interim dean of Berkeley Law.

Executive Director
Abigail Belknap Seidner ’13

Abby Seidner headshot

Abigail Belknap Seidner ’13 is the executive director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network. She joined the BWLN in 2019 after most recently serving as assistant special counsel for public integrity in the New York State Executive Chamber, where she identified, developed, and implemented best practices to mitigate risks faced by the Governor’s office and state agencies. Prior to entering public service, Seidner was a litigation associate at Cooley LLP, where her practice focused on white-collar criminal defense, internal investigations, and regulatory enforcement proceedings in addition to significant pro bono commitments including asylum, indigent criminal defense, and voter protection. During and prior to law school, she worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP. Seidner earned her BA in international relations from Pomona College and her JD from NYU, where she was awarded the Vanderbilt Medal for outstanding contributions to the School of Law for her work on women’s equity and advancement.

Assistant Director
Claire Whitman

Claire Whitman

Claire Whitman is the assistant director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network. She joined the Law School in 2015 as leadership initiatives coordinator; in this position, she helped implement a wide range of leadership programming, including workshops for students and law firms, as well as conversations with notable guest speakers. Prior to NYU Law, she spent three years working as the assistant to the president of a small cultural nonprofit in New York City before attending graduate school. She graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in politics and received an MA in political communications from Goldsmiths, University of London.

 

Affiliated Faculty and Administrators

Florencia Marotta-Wurgler

Florencia Marotta-Wurgler ’01 is a professor of law at NYU Law and the faculty director of NYU Law Abroad in Buenos Aires. A former faculty co-director of the Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network, she continues to support the BWLN through empirical research and supervision of the Abby Lyn Gillette Research Assistantship. Her teaching and research interests are contracts, consumer privacy, electronic commerce, and law and economics. Her published research has addressed various problems associated with standard form contracts online, such as the effectiveness of disclosure regimes and whether people read the fine print. She is currently working on a large empirical project on consumer privacy policies online and on the effectiveness of the Federal Trade Commission’s privacy enforcement actions. In 2009, she testified before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation at a hearing titled, “Aggressive Sales Tactics on the Internet and Their Impact on American Consumers.” She is a co-reporter of the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law of Consumer Contracts, a board member of the American Law and Economics Association, and a fellow at the Law School's Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy. She received a BA magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD cum laude from NYU School of Law.

Kelley Spencer

Kelley Spencer is the associate director of alumni relations in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at NYU School of Law. In this role, she is responsible for alumni engagement. As a key resource for diversity efforts, Spencer actively creates synergies across the institution that effectively support and contribute to the yield and retention of diversity candidates; foster good institutional relationships with our alumni base; as well as aid in strengthening the diversity pipeline for recruitment initiatives. She holds a BA in Spanish Language and Literature from Hofstra University, as well as an MA in Media, Culture and Communication and an MS in Human Resource Management and Development from New York University.
 

Partners

K.M. Zouhary

K.M. Zouhary is the founder of Cadenza Communications and serves as a consultant for the Women’s Leadership Fellows Program. She believes in the transformational power of improvisation. She founded Cadenza Communications to help professionals connect with their audiences by improving communication, persuasion, and negotiation skills. Zouhary’s nonlinear career path started in The Second City’s smoke‐filled lobby, led her to the halls of Washington, and zigzagged back to Chicago’s courtrooms. As an attorney at Proskauer Rose and Schiff Hardin, she represented clients in court and before administrative agencies. Zouhary investigated significant claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation for her clients. Prior to her legal career, Zouhary served as Chief of Staff of the National Endowment for the Arts and Associate Producer of HAIRSPRAY (Broadway). She graduated from the Second City Chicago’s Conservatory, studied improvisation at the Magnet Theatre and PIT, and performed at St. Ann’s Warehouse and Ars Nova. Zouhary’s students nominated her for the 2018 Outstanding Adjunct Professor Award at Northwestern University School of Law. She appeared on 60 Minutes in connection with her clinical work for the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. Zouhary received her JD (magna cum laude and Order of the Coif) from Northwestern University School of Law and her BA (cum laude) from Yale.

Monica Parham

Monica Parham, who worked with the BWLN to develop the Womens Leadership Fellows Program, passed away in 2020.

Monica Parham was a consultant, speaker, coach, and facilitator in the areas of diversity and inclusion, talent, and professional/leadership development. She worked with individuals ranging from pre-college students to executive-level leaders, and with for-profit, non-profit, educational and government entities. Parham served as president of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and the Women’s Bar Association Foundation — the first woman of color to hold both roles. She held leadership roles with several community-facing organizations and serves on the advisory board of the Honors College at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Parham was an appointed member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE), focusing on expanding opportunities in the telecommunications and tech industries. Previously, Parham served as Diversity Counsel/Head of Diversity at Crowell & Moring LLP, where she worked across firm functions and with internal and external stakeholders to address and enhance the recruitment, retention, and promotion of attorneys from traditionally underrepresented groups. She was a former president of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals, and in 2011 was named a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation for her inclusion work. Prior to moving into D&I, Parham was a commercial litigator. Parham received her JD from Yale Law School, where she was Finals Chairman of the Yale Moot Court Board, and a BA with honors and distinction in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa.