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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.

Purvi G. Patel

Purvi G. Patel, a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP, is a recognized leader, mentor, and role model in her practice, within the firm, and throughout the community. Purvi has a defined niche that cuts across the firm’s Class Actions & Mass Torts and Privacy + Data Security Groups. In addition to her class action defense and privacy litigation and counseling practice, Purvi is an advocate for those in need, dedicating her time to pro bono work relating to immigration issues.

Purvi is also dedicated to supporting diversity in her practice and to serving as a leader and mentor within the firm and in the broader legal community. Her commitment to mentoring and helping to advance the careers of diverse and female attorneys is evident in the several influential positions she has assumed at the firm. She serves as co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Strategy Committee, hiring partner for the Los Angeles office, and a member of the firm’s Women’s Strategy Committee.

In addition, Purvi’s commitment to advancing diversity in the legal profession at large can be seen by the many programs and initiatives to which she dedicates her time. For example, in addition to serving on LEAP’s board, Purvi is a member of a steering committee of judges, in-house and outside counsel, and educators working with Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization to develop and implement a Los Angeles‒based summer legal institute for diverse high school students. In 2018, she served as co-president of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, which recently recognized her as its 2019 Mentor of the Year.

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.

Derek Meeker

Derek Meeker, a partner with the Spivey Consulting Group, has over 20 years of experience in law school admissions and legal recruiting. He has served as the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid for the University of Pennsylvania Law School, as a global recruiting manager for Paul Hastings LLP, and as an admissions reader for the University of Chicago Law School. As a consultant for Spivey, he guides law school applicants through the admissions process and has advised law schools on their admission, financial aid, and career services strategies.

A first-generation college student from rural Ohio and member of the LGBTQ+ community, Derek is most proud of his legacy of increasing racial, sexual orientation, and socio-economic diversity at Penn Law and in helping to launch diversity scholarships at Paul Hastings. He also has volunteered as a career mentor and writing coach to first-generation college applicants in the Los Angeles area through the Posse Foundation and College Summit. Derek graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Journalism, then earned his J.D. from Capital University as a part-time evening student while working as a Legislative Aide for the Ohio Senate.

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.