BU Law Welcomes New Faculty

Experts in cyberlaw, international law, criminal justice, and bankruptcy join the BU Law faculty this year.

The faculty of Boston University School of Law regularly rank at the top of Princeton Review’s Best Law Professors list, and command respect as leading scholars on a variety of legal topics across many fields of law. Experts in cyberlaw, international law, criminal justice, and bankruptcy join the BU Law faculty this year. The school’s launch of the Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, creation of the Corporate Counsel Externship Program, and expansion of the Entrepreneurship & IP Clinic have resulted in four new appointments, while five full-time instructors have been hired to teach in the school’s new Lawyering Program.

Full-time and Clinical Faculty Appointments

Ahmed Ghappour, Associate Professor of Law

Associate Professor of Law Ahmed GhappourAhmed Ghappour, an expert in criminal law and computer security, has joined the full-time faculty of Boston University School of Law as an associate professor of law. He will teach Criminal Law, Cybersecurity Law and a seminar on Security and Technology Law. Ghappour was previously a visiting assistant professor at UC Hastings College of the Law where he taught Criminal Procedure and a seminar on Electronic Surveillance.

His research bridges computer science and the law to address contemporary challenges wrought by new technologies in the administration of criminal justice and national security. His recently published Stanford Law Review article, “Searching Places Unknown: Law Enforcement Jurisdiction on the Dark Web,” examines the foreign relations and national security implications of government hacking operations that use malware to pursue criminal suspects that use sophisticated cryptographic tools to anonymize their communications on the “dark web.” The article was competitively selected for presentation at the New Voices in National Security Law session of the 2017 American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, and the New Voices in International Law session of the 2017 American Society of International Law Annual Meeting.

Ghappour’s research and teaching interests stem from his experience litigating complex computer crime and national security cases. At UC Hastings, he founded the school’s Liberty, Security & Technology Clinic, which provided legal services to criminal defendants in espionage and computer crime cases. Prior to UC-Hastings, he taught the National Security Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, represented Guantanamo detainees in their habeas corpus proceedings at Reprieve UK, and worked as a patent litigator at Orrick Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP. Formerly, Ghappour was a computer engineer focused on automation, diagnostics, distributed systems architecture and high-performance computing.

Cecily Banks, Director, Corporate Externship Program, and Lecturer

Cecily Banks HCecily Banks joins BU Law as the director of the law school’s first Corporate Counsel Externship Program. In this role, she will develop and run a new externship program dedicated to placing BU Law students to train in the legal offices of for-profit and not-for-profit corporations in Boston and beyond.  Banks also joins BU as a Lecturer to teach contract drafting as part of the law school’s Transactional Law Program.

Banks previously served as director of the first Corporate Counsel Clinical Externship Program at Roger Williams University School of Law, as a professor of experiential education to teach contract drafting and transactional lawyering courses, and as a professor of legal practice to teach the first-year research, writing, and oral advocacy curriculum.

Prior to joining the faculty of RWU Law, Banks practiced in the area of commercial litigation as part of the Litigation Practice Group at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder in Providence, RI and Boston, MA.  There, she represented business clients in all aspects of dispute resolution, trials, and appeals.  Prior to that, she practiced law at Richards, McGettigan, Reilly & West in Alexandria, VA, where she represented business clients in a wide range of transactional and commercial litigation matters in the state and federal courts in Virginia.

Banks is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Sweet Briar College.

Sheila Bridges, Lecturer, Small & Mid-Size Externship Program

bridges-sheilaSheila Bridges will launch the Boston University School of Law’s new Small and Medium Law Firm Externship, which provides students with the opportunity to work in small and medium-sized law firms for academic credit. In addition to helping students find appropriate placements, Bridges will teach a course designed to introduce them to the major legal and professional issues that arise in the practice and management of small and medium-sized law firms, as well as the skills needed to succeed in such firms.

Bridges earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. After law school, she earned a Master of Philosophy in Gender Studies from the University of Cambridge where she wrote a dissertation on the micro politics and practices of attorneys in large and midsize firms in Boston. Bridges went on to earn a Master’s in Government from Cornell University where she taught Political Theory and Introduction to American Politics and Government as a teaching fellow.

Bridges’ law practice has spanned complex commercial litigation, family law, and estate planning in both large international firms and midsize regional firms. Currently, she counsels families and individuals in estate planning, estate and gift taxation, charitable gift planning, and estate and trust administration at Sideman & Bancroft LLP. Previously, Bridges worked at Cooley LLP and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP in San Francisco, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in Boston, concentrating on complex commercial litigation. In addition, Bridges has worked as a volunteer attorney at the Women’s Bar Foundation—Family Law Project. Bridges has also worked in law firm management at Proskauer Rose LLP and Mintz Levin in Boston, where she focused on inclusion and diversity efforts as well as attorney coaching.

Julie A. Dahlstrom, Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program

Julie Dahlstrom HJulie Dahlstrom has been appointed director of BU Law’s Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program. Law students in this program have the unique opportunity to represent noncitizen and survivor clients while developing important lawyering skills. Dahlstrom founded and directed the Human Trafficking Clinic since it opened in 2012. In 2014, the Human Trafficking Clinic was recognized by preLaw magazine as one of the top 25 most innovative clinical programs nationally.

Dahlstrom served previously as a senior staff attorney at Casa Myrna Vazquez, where she represented survivors of commercial sexual exploitation, and as managing attorney of the Immigration Legal Assistance Program at Ascentria Care Alliance. She founded and co-chairs the U and T Visa Working Group of the Immigration Coalition and is a member of the Human Trafficking Subcommittee of the Delivery of Legal Services Committee. She previously served as the co-chair of the Public Service Subcommittee of the Immigration Committee of the Boston Bar Association.

In 2012, Dahlstrom was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to the Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force, chaired by the Attorney General, and she has served as the co-chair of the Victim Services Subcommittee and a member of the Labor Trafficking Subcommittee. In 2016, she received the Top Women of the Law Award from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Dahlstrom received a JD from Boston College Law School and a BA from Boston College.

Sarah Sherman-Stokes, Clinical Instructor and Associate Director, Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program

Sarah Sherman-StokesSarah Sherman-Stokes has been appointed associate director of the Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program at BU Law. The program is comprised of the Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking clinics in which students represent asylum seekers, human trafficking survivors, and other vulnerable immigrants before administrative agencies and the Immigration Court. She has taught in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic since 2013.

Previously, Sherman-Stokes was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project where she represented non-citizens in removal proceedings before the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals, with a special focus on the representation of detained, mentally ill refugees.

She has presented nationally on the representation of mentally ill non-citizens in removal proceedings, and lead trainings on immigration detention and deportation, as well as the recent immigration Executive Orders. Sherman-Stokes has led efforts to bring BU law students to Boston’s Logan Airport to provide legal aid in the wake of the Travel Ban and supervised students providing immigration legal rights presentations in the Greater Boston community.

She has guest-lectured at Boston College Law School and Roger Williams University School of Law. Sherman-Stokes is the co-chair of the Criminal-Immigration Working Group at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute. She graduated cum laude from Boston College Law School and Bates College.

Samuel Taylor, Clinical Instructor and Assistant Director, Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Clinic

Sam Taylor HSamuel Taylor (12) joined BU Law in 2017 as assistant director of the Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Clinic. He oversees and instructs BU Law students who are advising student entrepreneurs from MIT and BU seeking to turn their ideas into real businesses.

Before joining BU Law, Taylor spent five years as an IP attorney in Boston, first at WGBH, then at Holland & Knight LLP and Gunderson Dettmer LLP. He represented clients in software, technology, biotech, government, entertainment, and real estate, working on IP licensing matters, business agreements, early and late stage investments, mergers and acquisitions, and trademark and copyright applications and enforcement.

While he was a student at BU Law, he created Promoter, an online business model that rewards fans for promoting music. His project was one of three finalists in the 2012 Rethink Music Genesis Project competition to create innovative business models for the music industry. Taylor also served as a legal intern at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and at the Law Offices of Vinca Jarrett and Associates, where he negotiated and drafted contracts for clients in the arts industries. He has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from BU Law.

Visiting Faculty Appointments

Cornell W. Brooks, Visiting Professor of Social Ethics, Law, and Justice Movements

BU School of Law and School of Social Work

Cornell William BrooksThe BU School of Theology (STH) and School of Law (LAW) are pleased to welcome Reverend Cornell William Brooks, Esq. (STH’87, LAW Hon.’15), former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to both the STH and LAW faculties as a visiting professor of Social Ethics, Law, and Justice Movements for the 2017–2018 academic year.

This unique appointment will be co-hosted by STH and LAW. Brooks is expected to teach one course each semester that will be offered to students enrolled at either school, and will also be available for activities such as lectures and seminars, with a particular focus on theology and/or law. His fall semester 2017 course, titled “Violence, the Vote, and Hope: An Examination of Ethics, Law and Justice Movements,” will allow students to explore efforts to secure the right to vote and end racialized violence through advocacy in the streets, from the pulpit, and through the courts.

Brooks earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in political science from Jackson State University in 1983, and his Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in social ethics and systematic theology from Boston University School of Theology in 1987. As a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar while studying at Boston University, he was awarded both the Oxnam-Leibman Fellowship for outstanding scholarship and promoting racial harmony, and the Jefferson Fellowship for outstanding scholarship and excellence in preaching. In 1990, he earned his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School, where he served as a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and member of the Yale Law and Policy Review.

Prior to the NAACP, Brooks had previously served as executive director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington, was a trial attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was the 1998 Democratic Nominee for the US House of Representatives for the 10th District of Virginia, was the senior counsel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and served as the president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Bennett Capers, Visiting Professor of Law

capersBennett Capers, the Stanley A. August Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, joins BU Law this fall as a visiting professor. Capers’ academic interests include the relationship between race, gender, and criminal justice. His articles and essays on these topics have been published in numerous law journals including California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and he is co-editing the forthcoming book Critical Race Judgments: Rewritten U.S. Court Opinions on Race and Law.

Before joining the faculty of Brooklyn Law School, he taught at Hofstra University School of Law, where he also served as Associate Dean of Faculty Development. Prior to teaching, he spent nearly ten years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. He also practiced with the firms of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton and Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and clerked for the Hon. John S. Martin, Jr. of the Southern District of New York.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Capers to serve on the New York State Judicial Screening Committee for the New York Court of Claims and for the Second Department. In 2013, he served as Chairperson of the AALS 2013 Conference on Criminal Justice. That same year, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin appointed him to chair the Academic Advisory Council to assist in implementing the remedial order in the stop-and-frisk class action Floyd v. City of New York.

Capers graduated from Princeton University, where he was awarded the Class of 1983 Prize, and from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

Jared A. Ellias, Visiting Associate Professor of Law

elliasJared A. Ellias joins BU Law this year as a visiting associate professor from UC-Hastings College of Law. His current research focuses on the governance of large bankrupt firms and the role played by activist investors. He is also studying agency costs in distressed firms more generally. His research interests include corporate bankruptcy, corporate governance, contract law, empirical methods in social science and law and economics.

A member of the UC-Hastings faculty since 2014, Ellias previously served as a lecturer and teaching fellow at Stanford Law School. Prior to his teaching career, Ellias was an associate in private practice at Brown Rudnick LLP in New York, where he represented financial institutions and ad hoc and statutory creditor committees in corporate restructuring transactions, both in and out of bankruptcy court. He has trial experience in the Bankruptcy Courts of the District of Delaware, the Western District of Louisiana and the Southern District of New York.

Ellias received his JD from Columbia Law School in 2008 and his AB from the University of Michigan in 2005.

Chantal Thomas, William & Patricia Kleh Visiting Professor in International Law

chantal-thomas-tnCornell Law School Professor Chantal Thomas joins BU Law this year as the William & Patricia Kleh Visiting Professor in International Law. She will deliver the Kleh Lecture at BU Law on September 25. Her scholarship focuses on the relationship between international law, political economy, and global social justice in a variety of contexts, with a focus on international trade and international migration. She has been published in Law & History Review, Cornell Law Review, Journal of Comparative Law, Melbourne Journal of International Law, and the American Journal of Comparative Law.

At Cornell, Thomas directs the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa and teaches in the areas of Law and Development and International Economic Law.

Prior to joining Cornell, Thomas chaired the Law Department of the American University in Cairo, and also served on the University of Minnesota and Fordham University law faculties. She has been a visiting professor teaching international economic law at institutions such as Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, the Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London, and Soochow University in China.

Thomas has consulted for the USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Affairs, and she has served on the US State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law, and as vice president, and on the Executive Council, of the American Society of International Law. She earned her BA from McGill University, her JD from Harvard Law School, and her PhD from the University of Cambridge.

Lawyering Program Lecturer Appointments

Claire Abely HClaire Bishop Abely
Before joining the Lawyering Program, Claire Abely was an instructor of legal writing at Vanderbilt Law School. Prior to that, she was a legal writing instructor in the BU Law LLM Writing Program. In addition, Abely has worked for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and was an associate at Foley & Lardner in Boston. She also served as a law clerk to Justice Francis X. Spina of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Marni Goldstein HMarni Goldstein Caputo
Marni Goldstein Caputo has served as a legal writing instructor in BU Law’s LLM Writing Program for over ten years. She has also taught Legal Research and Writing at Harvard Law School. Caputo has worked as the director of International Advising at the Harvard Law School Office of Career Services. Prior to that, she was a staff attorney at the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Caputo has worked as an associate at Hill & Barlow and Prince, Lobel, Glovsky & Tye, both in Boston. She also clerked for Judge Willis B. Hunt Jr. of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Laura DAmato HLaura E. D’Amato
Laura D’Amato served as assistant director of the Law School’s Office of Career Development & Public Service before joining the Lawyering Program. Prior to that, she was a litigation partner at Goulston & Storrs in Boston. In addition, D’Amato has taught at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.

Kathy Luz HKathleen Luz
Kathy Luz taught in the First Year Writing Program at BU Law for five years. She has also taught at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. Prior to that, Luz was a partner at Goodwin Proctor in Boston.


Gigi Walker HNaomi G. Hodo Walker
Naomi “Gigi” Walker taught in the First Year Writing Program at BU Law for ten years. She has also taught English at the Lincoln School in Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to teaching, Walker was an associate at Wilson & Orcutt and the Law Offices of Kathleen Foley, both in Acton, Massachusetts, specializing in Family Law.