Board Member Bios

James Wagstaffe
James M. Wagstaffe

Mr. Wagstaffe is a partner and co-founder of Wagstaffe, von Loewenfeldt Busch and Radwick, LLP in San Francisco, CA. His practice focuses on complex litigation, professional and governmental representation, will and trust disputes, legal ethics, and First Amendment matters. He has served as an instructor for the Center’s new judge orientation programs since 1990.  He is an adjunct professor in constitutional law and civil procedure at Hastings College of the Law and in Media Law at San Francisco State University.  He also has taught a course in practical speech communication at Stanford University for more than thirty-five years.

Rebecca Love Kourlis
Hon. Rebecca Love Kourlis (Retired)

Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis believes in the foundations of the American legal system and has dedicated her career, both in and out of the courts, to ensuring that the system provides justice for all. She served Colorado’s judiciary for nearly two decades, first as a trial court judge and then as a justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. In January 2006, she resigned from the Supreme Court to establish the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS), where she served as Executive Director through 2019. Her work at the helm of IAALS focused on creating a legal system that works for all people by being accessible, fair, reliable, efficient, and accountable. Her legal experience includes practice with a regional firm, a national firm, and a small practice in rural northwest Colorado where she worked in natural resources, water, public lands, oil and gas, and mineral law. She attended Stanford University and Stanford Law School.

Blake D. Morant
Blake D. Morant

Mr. Morant is the Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law, and served as Dean of the George Washington University Law School.  Prior to this position, he was a professor and Dean at the Wake Forest School of Law.  He has taught at American University, the University of Toledo, the University of Michigan, the University of Alabama, and Washington & Lee University. He also has been a visiting fellow at University College, Oxford.  He has served in numerous leadership positions in the American Association of Law Schools and the American Bar Association. Prior to becoming a legal academic, he served in the Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps, as a senior associate with a Washington, D.C., law firm, and as an Assistant General Counsel for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Peter Krause
Peter A. Kraus

Mr. Kraus is a founding and managing partner of Waters, Kraus & Paul. A native of Dallas, Texas, Peter earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University and his law degree from the University of Texas. He began his career as a commercial litigator in Washington, D.C., and has since focused his practice on toxic torts and pharmaceutical injury litigation. He is a member of the Dallas Bar Association, a board member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and was recently elected to the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice. Peter is active in the community as well, serving as chairman of the board of the Greenhill School and a board member of the Southwestern Medical Foundation.

Elizabeth Cabraser
Elizabeth J. Cabraser

Ms. Cabraser has fought to advance and preserve justice in hundreds of complex consumer fraud, securities, personal injury, employment, environmental, and antitrust cases across America, including multi-state tobacco, Vioxx, Breast Implants, Fen-Phen, Exxon Valdez, BP Gulf Oil Spill, Toyota sudden acceleration, the Bank of New York Mellon FX transaction overcharges, and historic Holocaust litigation for nearly four decades. She presently serves in court-appointed leadership positions in several of the nation's highest profile civil cases, including the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” and Fiat Chrysler Ecodiesel emissions MDLs, national opiates litigation, the GM ignition switch defect MDL, and the Takata defective airbag litigation. Ms. Cabraser also teaches complex, multidistrict, and class action litigation courses as a Lecturer at Berkeley Law and an Adjunct at Columbia Law School. She served on the Federal Civil Rules Advisory Committee from 2010-2017.

John White
John B. White

Mr. White is managing shareholder of Harrison White, P.C.  Mr. White’s legal career spans 40 years and has resulted in hundreds of jury trials with numerous verdicts and successful settlements, including a $327-million jury verdict against Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals in 2011. Mr. White was appointed by Governor Henry McMaster as Chairman of the Board of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank, and he has been named a Best Lawyer in America since 2007 and a South Carolina Super Lawyer for the past 10 years. He serves on the state’s chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the American Association for Justice, as well as in leadership positions on numerous boards and legal associations. After receiving a B.S. degree in biology at Wofford College in 1972, White served in the U.S. Army before entering the University of South Carolina School of Law. He received his law degree in 1975.