Two Tulane Law faculty members have been promoted to new positions responsible for hands-on legal training and pro bono service.
Professor Tonya Jupiter (L’94), most recently Director of the law school's Pro Bono and Advocacy programs, succeeds Prof. Stacy Seicshnaydre (L’92) as the new Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and Public Interest Programs. Prof. Katherine Mattes, longtime Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic, becomes the Law School’s first Faculty Chair of Clinics. The new position has been established to provide dedicated leadership focused on our expanding the clinical program – which now encompasses eight legal clinics.
“Learning professional skills through experience with clients and the community is a cornerstone of modern legal education and Tulane is a national leader in the field,” said Dean David Meyer. “Tonya Jupiter and Katherine Mattes are deeply experienced both as practitioners and as innovators in experiential legal education and I am grateful for their leadership in building on our impressive recent momentum.”
The moves come as Seicshnaydre ends her five-year tenure in a role she founded that for the first time brought integrated leadership to the full range of experiential learning offerings, which span the legal clinics, externships, field training and placements, trial advocacy and Moot Court programs, Intersession boot camps, practicums, and other innovative curricula, as well as our first-in-the-nation pro bono program.
Jupiter’s oversight role in the experiential learning program has expanded substantially in recent years and included primary in-house direction of the Trial Advocacy program, Pro Bono program, the Intersession boot camps, and a variety of innovative field-learning initiatives. She played a pivotal role in curricular development, working in consultation with adjunct and Trial Advocacy faculty to support and strengthen those programs and launch new opportunities for students to gain experience in the field.
As a classroom teacher, Jupiter was elected by the 2021 graduating class to receive the Monte Lemann Award for Distinguished Teaching. For her work expanding pro bono programs, she was honored last year with the Louisiana Appleseed Access to Justice Pro Bono Good Apple Award.
Jupiter also has played a vital leadership role in efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the experiential program and at Tulane Law more generally. She has had significant impact on diverse faculty recruitment, integrating DEI education and training into the experiential curriculum and broadening student mentorship. Jupiter also helped organize Tulane’s successful inaugural Black Law Alumni Reunion Weekend in 2019 and serves on the planning committee for the second triennial BLA event in February 2022.
In her new role, Mattes will set the standard for a new leadership position dedicated to supporting Tulane’s expanding clinical program in collaboration with clinical faculty. An early leader in clinical education, Tulane Law last year added two new clinics focused on the First Amendment and Immigrant Rights. As Faculty Chair of Clinics, Mattes will help bolster administrative support for the school’s eight clinics and facilitate stronger coordination among them. She will continue to direct the Criminal Justice Clinic and co-direct the Women’s Prison Project along with Professor Becki Kondkar.
Mattes joined Tulane Law in 2002 and has directed the clinic since 2007; she also runs the Criminal Practice Track of the annual Intersession Boot Camp. In partnership with Kondkar, she helped found the Women’s Prison Project and helped build it into a major force in criminal justice reform . She pioneered a creative partnership with the Tulane School of Medicine in forensic psychiatry, giving law and medical students the opportunity to develop courtroom skills related to the presentation of expert testimony.
The moves are the latest faculty promotions and come on the heels of Tulane Provost Robin Forman’s appointment of Professor Laila Hlass as Associate Provost for International Programs.
“I am grateful to Stacy and Laila for their selfless leadership and dedication over the past five years,” said Meyer. “They leave a significant legacy and I very much look forward to working closely with Tonya and Katherine in continuing to build Tulane’s national leadership in experiential education.”