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Affirmative Action—Its History and Its Future: Exploring the Potential Implications for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. CT
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

Complimentary Program via Webinar

*Webinar details will be sent upon registration.*

Click here to register

Sheppard Mullin’s Black Lawyers Network is excited to announce its program, Affirmative Action—Its History and Its Future: Exploring the Potential Implications for the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision, in honor of Black History Month. Featuring Mona Tawatao, civil rights litigator, activist, and co-author of an Amicus Curiae Brief in support of the respondents in the Harvard and UNC cases, this program is part of a series of events sponsored by Diversity and Inclusion at Sheppard Mullin to celebrate the unique contributions and history of Black people.

On October 31, 2022, the United States Supreme Court heard two cases that challenge affirmative action, race-conscious admissions, and their place in higher education: Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. Both cases underscore education’s central role in the pursuit of civil rights and racial equity in our country.

This program will touch on the history of affirmative action jurisprudence that has led us to where we are today, summarize some of the arguments and procedural history of the pending Supreme Court cases, and discuss the potential implications of the upcoming SCOTUS opinion and what policies and measures might continue to promote race equity whatever the outcome. We will also discuss the educational and societal impacts of race-conscious programs in education and in all industries that employ race-conscious initiatives. 

Mona Tawatao | Legal Director, Equal Justice Society (EJS)

Mona Tawatao joined Equal Justice Society (EJS) as its Legal Director in 2019. Mona directs EJS's litigation and advocacy on behalf of and in partnership with community-based organizations and families to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and to fight race discrimination and promote equity in K-12 and higher education, the justice system, and other institutions. Mona was previously Senior Litigator at the Western Center on Law & Poverty where she pursued health, housing, land use and civil rights litigation and advocacy throughout California. She also worked for 22 years on housing and land use advocacy as a legal services attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and then Legal Services of Northern California where she co-founded its Race Equity Project.

Mona's honors include EJS's 2008 Racial Equity Award as a co-honoree with Bill Kennedy and the 2007 Heber-Smith Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for her housing and race equity advocacy. Mona served on the EJS board of directors from July 2010 to January 2019, and was board chair from 2015 to 2017. She currently serves on the National Center for Youth Law board of directors as Vice President and co-leads APIs Rise Fund (Sacramento), a giving circle that supports community engagement and empowerment.

She received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1986 and later served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Moderated By:

  • Ehi Borha, Associate, Sheppard Mullin


This activity has been approved for Minimum 1 Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California. Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP certifies that this activity conforms to the standards for approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum continuing legal education.

New York 
This program has been approved in accordance with the requirements of the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board for a maximum of 1 credit hour which may be applied toward the Areas of Professional Practice requirement, and is suitable for both transitional and non-transitional attorneys.

This program has been approved for 1.0 credits in the State of Texas. 

Credit in Illinois is pending.

*You must attend the full webinar to receive credit.

Additional Information

  • Click here for more information on the Equal Justice Society.
  • Click here to learn more about Sheppard Mullin's Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives.

Questions? Please contact Maricela Alfonso via email.

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