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Board Members

Carlos Moreno

Hon. Carlos R. Moreno: A key advisory board member for LEAP is the Honorable Carlos R. Moreno, former California Supreme Court Justice and former US Ambassador to Belize. Justice Moreno brings a high level of expertise to LEAP from a 25-year career on the judiciary, where he authored more than 140 majority opinions on a wide range of precedent-setting cases, including opinions implicating LGBT rights, arbitration, and insurance policy coverage.

Justice Moreno is a first-generation Mexican American, the third Latino to serve on the Supreme Court of California, and a former president of the Mexican American Bar Association. Justice Moreno brings invaluable expertise in our core objective to elevate diversity in the US legal system. He also currently serves on the boards of the Arroyo Vista Family Health Center and the Western Justice Center Foundation.


Ashley Inouye Rodriguez

Also on LEAP’s advisory board is Ashley Inouye Rodriguez, former associate at Reed Smith. In her role at Reed Smith, Inouye Rodriguez specialized in insurance recovery. In addition, Inouye Rodriguez has significant experience in general commercial contract disputes, financial services litigation, and appellate matters. Prior to her work at Reed Smith, Inouye Rodriguez spent a year working for the Ninth Circuit where she served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Ferdinand F. Fernandez. As a former Ninth Circuit clerk, Inouye Rodriguez has developed a keen understanding of appellate issues. Inouye Rodriguez is a 2015 magna cum laude Loyola Law graduate.

Roger Lowenstein

Advisory board member Roger Lowenstein was selected as the first Federal Public Defender in New Jersey. He has also taught courses in constitutional law and was one of the first writers for the hit television show LA Law. In 2002 Lowenstein founded LA Leadership Academy, a school for low income students that was founded to academically prepare and to orient students as community activists. Lowenstein brings a sense of social justice and deep experience in education and law to LEAP’s board.

Thaila Sundaresan

Thaila Sundaresan is a partner in the Telecommunications and Appellate Litigation practice at Davis Wright Tremaine. She leverages her years of practice in government and the private sector to solve problems for broadband, communications, and tech clients who find themselves involved in matters before state and federal regulators and the courts. As a former appellate litigator at the Federal Communications Commission for six years, Thaila has briefed and argued numerous complex cases in the federal courts of appeals. The extensive first-chair litigation experience she gained at the Commission gives her particular insight into the regulatory process, the industries affected, and the technologies at issue before regulators and the courts. Thaila's work also includes representing communications clients before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other state public utility commissions.

As a first generation law student and daughter of a mother who never had the opportunity to attend college, Thaila is committed to mentoring and increasing diversity in the legal profession. In addition to her work on the LEAP board, Thaila serves on the board of the South Asian Bar Association – Northern CA (SABA-NC) chapter and is the co-chair of the SABA-NC Endorsements Committee, whose mission is to help appoint qualified diverse candidates to the judicial bench. She is also the co-chair of the Northern California chapter of the Federal Communications Bar Association, where she has mentored many law students interested in pursuing careers in telecommunications and tech law.

Thaila received her B.A. from Stanford University, with honors, and her J.D. from the University of Maryland's Francis King Carey School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Mary Beatty

Mary Beatty is a Senior Vice President at Bank of America Global Commercial Banking. A commercial banker of 25+ years with roles including team management, statewide credit policy, and as an individual producer. In her current role, she extends credit and leads syndicated and bilateral facilities to public and private businesses with revenues ranging from $50 million to over $2 billion.

As a member of the bank’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, Mary has designed, led, moderated, and presented a variety of programs including Courageous Conversations, LGBTQ+ Regional Ally Week, and Connecting one’s personal story to Unconscious Bias training.

Mary’s MBA is from Boston University, Questrom School of Business, and her BS in Biology is from University of California, Irvine.

Judge Lucy Armendariz

Judge Lucy Armendariz was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2018 where she is currently serving at the Central Criminal Division. She was first appointed to the bench in 2007 at the State Bar Court where she served as Supervising Judge and handled thousands of matters that that included trials, motion hearings and settlement conferences.

Judge Armendariz previously served as Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader. Governor Gray Davis appointed Judge Armendariz as the first Ombudsman for women’s prisons in California.

Judge Armendariz serves on the Judicial Council of California, Commissioner on the California Commission on Access to Justice. She has also volunteered her time as a Commissioner to the Supreme Court Blue Ribbon Commission on Foster Care.

She has a deep commitment to her community and has been a recipient of several awards and recognitions for her community service. Judge Armendariz is a volunteer Teen Court Judge at her alma mater Roosevelt High School. She sits on the advisory board of several organizations including Latina Lawyers Bar Association, East Los Angeles Community College Pathway to Law, and Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA.

Shellye Pruitt

Shellye Pruitt joined Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in 2020 as its first Senior Director of Attorney Development and Diversity. She is at the forefront of the career development profession, driving a new, comprehensive approach to supporting the full attorney life cycle. Shellye is a change agent and culture steward and has more than two decades of experience in recruiting, retaining, and developing attorneys in the law firm environment. Prior to joining Munger, Tolles & Olson, she held an attorney development leadership role at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Steven Levick

Steven Levick is a corporate attorney in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Mr. Levick’s practice touches on a wide array of corporate transactions and securities matters, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and investment funds. His clients range from large, publicly traded businesses to private investment firms to some of the most notable family offices in the country.

At the firm, Mr. Levick has maintained a focus on community service, volunteering as an attorney advisor to several aspiring law students from underserved backgrounds as they prepare to apply to law school as part of the MTO Fellows Program, and he helped establish MTO’s partnership with LEAP. He also contributes and participates in the Food From the Bar campaign, and the Paul Davis MTO Associate Fund, an associate-led fund that makes donations to charitable organizations in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. communities.

Prior to joining the firm, he earned his B.S. in economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned his J.D. with a business law specialization from the UCLA School of Law. He received Moot Court Honors, and served as senior editor of the UCLA Law Review. While in law school, he worked as a law clerk for Senator Dianne Feinstein and as a judicial extern to Judge Sandra S. Ikuta on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Rey Rodriguez

Rey Rodriguez, assistant Chief Counsel of Legal Affairs at Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures, is a twenty-three-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company. Rey serves the global theatrical distribution arm of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, covering the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He is fluent in Spanish, which has played an important role in managing issues and developing relationships in Latin America and Spain. Previous to his work at Disney, Rey was an attorney at Paul Hastings.

In addition to his professional career, Rey feels an important obligation to give back to his community. He is a 20 plus year board member of Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission; a board member of the Western Center on Law and Poverty; and a member of the board of Family Foothill Services.

Through the Disney Legal Department Pro Bono Program, Rey has provided legal services to two unaccompanied minors who ultimately received their permanent residency to study, work and live in the United States. Rey has achieved a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Cornell University, a master’s in public affairs from Princeton University and JD from University of California at Berkeley. He has climbed Mt. Whitney several times, each time in one day. He is a black belt in Aikido. He is blessed to be married to Vivian Rodríguez Godoy and has two boys, Diego and Pablo.

Judge George Bird

Judge George Bird was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 2015 and is currently assigned to the civil division. He serves on the faculty of the Judicial Council’s “Center for Judicial Education and Research” where he teaches “New Judge Orientation” and serves as a Seminar Leader at Judicial College.

Judge Bird attended public schools in the San Fernando Valley and enlisted in the United States Navy after graduating from high school. Judge Bird completed his BS degree in Political Science and graduated with his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in 1985. Judge Bird worked as a Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender for five years, and qualified as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist and as a Board-Certified Criminal Law Trial Advocate. He practiced nearly 30 years before his appointment to the bench.

He was elected to the Palos Verdes Estates City Council in 2009 and served two terms as Mayor until his appointment to the bench. Judge Bird has received numerous awards. He is also an accomplished musician, having played the timpani and was a charter member of the Los Angeles Lawyers’ Philharmonic.