Speaker Biographies

Ilya Somin

Luncheon Speaker

Professor of Law, George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia 

Ilya Somin is a professor of law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and the study of popular political Ilya Sominparticipation and its implications for constitutional democracy. He is the author of Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain, coauthor of A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case, and co-editor of Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective. Democracy and Political Ignorance has been translated into Italian and Japanese.

Somin's work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Critical Review, and others. Somin has also published articles and been quoted in a variety of popular press outlets. He testified on the use of drones for targeted killing in the War on Terror before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. In 2009, he testified on property rights issues at the US Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Somin writes regularly for the popular Volokh Conspiracy law and politics blog, now affiliated with Reason magazine. From 2006 to 2013, he served as co-editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review, one of the country's top-rated law and economics journals.

Somin has served as a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany, the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Zhengzhou University in China. Before joining the faculty at George Mason, Somin was the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Northwestern University Law School in 2002-03. In 2001-02, he clerked for the Hon. Judge Jerry E. Smith of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Somin earned his BA, summa cum laude, at Amherst College, MA in political science from Harvard University, and JD from Yale Law School.


Larry Brant

Panelist

Owner, Garvey Schubert Barer
Portland, Oregon

Larry J. Brant is a shareholder in the Portland office of Garvey Schubert Barer. His practice focuses on tax planning and advice, tax controversy, Larry Brantand business transactions. Brant regularly advises clients in structuring mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other business transactions.

Brant publishes articles on numerous income tax issues, including Worker Classification, Corporate Tax, Taxation of S Corporations, Tax Reform, Reasonable Compensation, and other subjects. In addition, he regularly speaks at national, regional, and local tax institutes, including the NYU Tax Institute, Florida Tax Institute, and others.

Brant obtained his LLM in Taxation from the University of Florida College of Law; his JD, cum laude, from Willamette Law, and his BS in business administration, cum laude, from Portland State University.


The Hon. Robert Manicke

Panelist

Judge, Oregon Tax Court
Salem, Oregon

The Honorable Robert T. Manicke was appointed judge of the Oregon Tax Court effective January 1, 2018. Judge Manicke earned his bachelor's degree Robert Manickefrom Willamette University in 1984 and his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1992. He began his law practice at San Francisco's Pillsbury law firm in 1992 and joined Stoel Rives LLP in Portland as an associate in 1995. He became a partner at Stoel Rives in 2001 and remained there until December 31, 2017. 

Judge Manicke's legal practice focused on state and local tax and employment tax, including tax controversies, transactions, and legislative matters. He has held officer positions in the Oregon State Bar Taxation Section, and he chaired the Section's Laws Committee from 2007 to 2017.


Trevor Cartales

Panelist

Attorney, Loney Law Group
Portland, Oregon

Trevor J. Cartales received his JD from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2012 and his undergraduate degree in philosophy from theTrevor Cartales University of Oregon in 2008. Cartales has experience in regulatory compliance, civil litigation, estate planning, and business transactional matters. He also represents clients in recreational and medical marijuana licensing assistance. His practice is devoted almost entirely to recreational and medical marijuana businesses, with a focus on OLCC recreational marijuana compliance.


Aaron Pelley

Panelist

Attorney, 7 Point Law
Seattle, Washington

Aaron Pelley has played an active role in cannabis law for over a decade. He helped build the foundation for legal protections in medical cannabis law andPelley is a leading advocate for the cannabis business. His passion for this new realm of practice led to the launch of 7 Point Law, the formation of a boutique law firm unsurpassed in cannabis law. He's not afraid of a challenge.

In addition to representing cannabis clients and their business interests, Pelley has earned a reputation for effective high profile litigation. His representative cases convey his ability to handle a diversity of complex legal matters. He has also been invited to speak at legal education seminars and cannabis conferences throughout the United States. Pelley earned his undergrad and JD degrees at Willamette University. He has been repeatedly named a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers and a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers.


Jan Pierce

Panelist

Clinical Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School
Portland, Oregon

Jan Pierce, clinical professor of law, joined the faculty of Lewis & Clark Law School in May 2000, after 27 years as an attorney with the Chief Counsel's Jan PierceOffice of the Internal Revenue Service. He supervises the law school's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. During his first eight years with the IRS, Pierce handled hundreds of federal tax controversies as a docket attorney. For his last 19 years with the IRS, he supervised government attorneys working on both civil and criminal matters relating to federal taxes. At one time, he supervised the criminal tax work done by IRS attorneys in the four-state area of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii.

Pierce is a former adjunct professor at the law school. He received his undergraduate degree and his law degree (with honors) from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. After graduating from law school, he spent two years as a law clerk to a federal district judge in Topeka. he is a member of the bars of Oregon, Kansas, and the US Tax Court.


Stephen M. Johnson

Panelist

Professor of Law, Mercer University Law School
Macon, Georgia

Stephen M. Johnson is a professor of law at Mercer University Law School in Macon, Georgia and served as the associate dean for academic affairs from Stephen Johnson2002-12. While teaching at Mercer, he has also taught or visited at Notre Dame Law School, the University of London, Strathclyde University, the University of Tokyo and Waseda University in Tokyo.

Johnson received his JD from Villanova University School of Law and an LLM in Environmental Law from the George Washington University Law School. Prior to teaching, he served as an attorney for the Bureau of Regulatory Counsel in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (now DEP) and as a trial attorney for the US Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Defense Section, where he worked on environmental litigation.

Johnson specializes in environmental law, but has also taught torts, statutory law, administrative law, and dispute resolution.


Elissa Bookbinder

Panelist

Attorney
Portland, Oregon

Elissa Bookbinder is a graduate of Willamette Law (May 2016), magna cum laude. Before law school, Bookbinder obtained a bachelor's degree in Elissa Bookbindercriminology and psychology, with a minor in history, from Ohio University and an MS in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati. While in law school, she clerked with the Oregon Department of Justice and the US Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon. 

Bookbinder served as an officer in the Willamette chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and worked as a citation editor for the Willamette University Journal of International Law and Dispute Resolution. As a student in the Human Rights and Refugee Clinic, she worked on immigration cases with other students, as well as conducting research on potential civil remedies against different forms of human trafficking. She currently works as an attorney in Portland, Oregon. She has been in practice for just over a year, but loves how the law is something that can change and adapt and there is always something new to learn.


Paul Diller

Panelist

Professor of Law and Director of the Certificate Program in Law & Government, Willamette University College of Law
Portland, Oregon

Paul Diller is a professor of law at Willamette University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 2005. Diller also directs the College of Law's Paul DillerCertificate Program in Law and Government. Diller's professional work focuses on the legal structures that constrain or empower local and state policymaking. Recent scholarship examines how local lawmaking can help remedy the urban disadvantage in representation at the federal and state levels. On behalf of several municipal organizations, Diller authored an amicus curiae brief in Gill v. Whitford, a Supreme Court case challenging the gerrymandering of the Wisconsin state legislature.

Diller received his undergraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, and his JD, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School. Before teaching, he was a clerk for Chief Judge Edward Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and then a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. Diller's scholarship has appeared in several leading law reviews, including those of Stanford, the University of Chicago, Georgetown, and Washington University.


Maria Cobarrubias

Panelist

Attorney, Maria Cobarrubias Immigration Law Firm
Salem, Oregon

Maria Cobarrubias is the daughter of once-undocumented immigrants who left Mexico in the late 1970s looking for a better life. They legalized in the Maria Cobarrubias1980s through the Special Agricultural Workers Program under the Amnesty legislation. Cobarrubias recalls the importance of becoming legal residents for her parents and knew one day she would work with the immigrant community.

Motivated by the loss of her father and growing up in a very poor agricultural community to a single parent of eight, Cobarrubias earned a double Bachelors of Arts from Oregon State University in 2003 in speech communications and ethnic studies. While at OSU, she was a campus leader on many forefronts. In 2002, a university attorney convinced Cobarrubias to explore law as a career telling Cobarrubias “you have the spark of a lawyer.” The idea of being a lawyer and working with her community motivated her to pack up and move to Costa Mesa, California in 2003 where she attended Whittier College, School of Law. She earned her JD in May 2007.

Cobarrubias practiced insurance defense litigation for a little over three years. Determined to learn immigration law, Cobarrubias shadowed an immigration lawyer every Saturday for a year and then left civil litigation to work as an immigration attorney in June 2011. In November 2015, she opened a new chapter in her life by moving back to Oregon to start her own firm. She is ecstatic to work with the immigrant community that she vowed to help as a young child. Cobarrubias specializes in family based immigration, U visas, waivers, consular processing, and removal defense. She handles several pro bono cases and volunteers her time with many nonprofit organizations to pay it forward to the underrepresented immigrant community.

Cobarrubias is licensed to practice before all courts in the State of California, as well as in the United States District Court, Central District of California. Cobarrubias is currently serving at the New Members Division chair of the Oregon chapter of the American Immigration Lawyer Association. She has also served as a board member for the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association from 2013-14 and as the secretary for the board in 2015.