Speaker Bios

March 19

Denise Lieberman

Senior Attorney, Voter Protection Program | Advancement Project

www.deniselieberman.com | www.advancementproject.org

Denise Lieberman is Senior Attorney with Advancement Project, a leading national voter protection organization based in Washington DC that works to eliminate barriers to voting. A seasoned constitutional and civil rights lawyer, Lieberman works on the ground in Missouri, where she coordinates the Missouri voter protection coalition, in addition to leading voter protection initiatives nationwide. Denise has litigated challenges to restrictive voting laws in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina. She has emerged as a nationwide expert on voting laws, authoring a seminal report on Photo ID laws, preparing testimony for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and presenting testimony to legislatures in many states. Advancement Project submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in Shelby v Holder, and Denise has been part of a nationwide effort to reassert the protections of Voting Rights Act after the Shelby decision.  She is currently leading a legal team in a Voting Rights Act lawsuit on behalf of the North Carolina NAACP challenging the nation’s first restrictive new voting law passed after Shelby. 

Before joining Advancement Project in 2006, Denise spent nearly a decade as the Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.

Denise is also an adjunct professor at Washington University in St. Louis, where she teaches courses on constitutional law, civil rights and voting rights.

March 26

Marty Perron
Partner | The Perron Law Firm, P.C.

Marty Perron has been a trial attorney for more than 30 years. Before starting his own firm, Mr. Perron was a partner in the law firm of Carr, Korein, Tillery. He concentrates his practice in the area of medical malpractice and other bodily injury cases, having secured a number of verdicts and settlements in excess of one million dollars. He has also represented plaintiffs in pharmaceutical products liability and consumer fraud class action cases in California, Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts federal courts.
Mr. Perron has addressed a number of groups, including associations of medical professionals concerning medical malpractice and a group of manufacturers concerning their potential liability due to customers' and employees' exposure to dangerous chemicals. Mr. Perron received his Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1976 and his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri at St. Louis (B.A., 1973, magna cum laude).
Mr. Perron is licensed to practice law in both Missouri and Illinois, and is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Illinois and Missouri Trial Lawyers Associations, and the American Bar Association. He is also an active participant in professional organizations which focus on specific issues, including: medical malpractice; injuries caused by harmful pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, such as insecticides; and, cases involving seat belt failure, vehicle rollover, and recreational vehicles and various watercraft. Mr. Perron is a member of the Board of Governors of the Missouri Association of Trial Lawyers and is the attorney of record for heavy truck litigation with Safetyforum.com. He is a trained and certified mediator for Midwest Litigation Services. Mr. Perron is also a Distinguised Fellow of the St. Louis Bar Foundation.

Marty Perron and his wife Maria continue to represent individuals who have been seriously injured by medical negligence, dangerous vehicles and other defective products. One of the clients in a "crashworthiness" case, a young woman now confined to a wheelchair, was featured on a nationwide TV broadcast drawing attention to the dangers associated with careless mobile phone use. The client, a recent high school graduate, was "T-Boned" by a driver who ran a red light because he was dialing a number on his phone. The devastating injuries she suffered when his pickup hit her passenger car still might have been avoided if the car had a better restraint system and stronger crash protection in the driver's door.

Maria Perron

Partner | The Perron Law Firm, P.C.


Maria Perron has been a trial attorney for 30 years. She has represented clients injured as a result of defective products, medical negligence and catastrophic accidents. Ms. Perron currently concentrates on employment litigation, including Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII, wrongful discharge and employee benefits.

Before joining her husband in their current practice, Ms. Perron was an associate with the firm of Carr, Korein, Tillery. Ms. Perron was an adjunct professor at Webster University and Maryville University where she taught graduate and undergraduate legal studies.

Ms. Perron served as Vice President of the Women Lawyers' Association and is a former board member of the Junior League of St. Louis. She was appointed to serve on the State Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board, the Citizens Advisory Council on Corrections and the Missouri Task Force on Professionalism. Ms. Perron served on the board of the Children’s Advocacy Center and is a prior guardian ad litem for the St. Louis County Juvenile Court. She is a member of the American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers' Association, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, The Missouri Bar, The Illinois Bar and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and is active in Mentor St. Louis. Ms. Perron is the recipient of the 2013 C. Wm. McCalpin Pro Bono Award.


William M. Lawson

Shareholder | Ogletree Deakins


Mr. Lawson represents management interests in all aspects of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on litigating employment claims in federal and state courts across the country under Title VII, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the various state counterparts to these federal laws. In addition, he litigates disputes resulting from claims based on restrictive covenants, confidentiality agreements, disclosure of trade secrets and unfair competition.

His practice is also devoted to traditional labor law with an emphasis on union avoidance and representation of management in the arbitration of grievances brought under collective bargaining agreements.

Mr. Lawson also has extensive experience investigating and responding on behalf of management to employee claims before administrative agencies and advises clients on employment-related matters such as personnel policies, reductions in force, affirmative action, daily human resource issues, employment contracts, restrictive covenants, severance agreements and employee handbooks.

April 2

Elizabeth Pendo

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law | Saint Louis University

School of Law


Elizabeth Pendo is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at Saint Louis University School of Law. She has a secondary appointment as Professor of Health Management and Policy at Saint Louis University School of Public Health, and is a member of the Center for Health Law Studies and the William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law at the School of Law. She teaches courses in Disability Law, Bioethics and Civil Procedure and has lectured on bioethics, health law and disability issues at SLU’s Department of Medicine, Department of Health Care Ethics and the College of Education and Public Service.

Elizabeth is a nationally recognized expert in disability law and health care law.  Her scholarship focuses on the difference disability makes in places in our society such as the health care system and the workplace, with a particular interest in legal and social meanings of disability and their relationship to classifications based on gender, race and genetic information.  She published a series of articles exposing inaccessible medical equipment as a barrier to care, including Reducing Disparities through Health Care Reform:  Disability and Accessible Medical Equipment, 4 Utah L. Rev. 1057 (2010) and Disability, Equipment Barriers and Women’s Health:  Using the ADA to Provide Meaningful Access,  2 St. Louis Univ. J. Health L. & Pol’y 15 (2008).   Other projects include civil rights and health care reform approaches to health disparities for people with disabilities; models of disability and their impact on health care; public right-of-way and accessibility issues in the City of Saint Louis; and genetic testing in the workplace, and its intersections with classifications based on gender, race, class and disability. 

Elizabeth has published with a number of law journals and peer-reviewed journals across the country, including, U.C. Davis Law Review, Utah Law Review, Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, The Journal of Legal Medicine, and The Harvard Women’s Law Journal.  She frequently submits testimony and comment to federal agencies and legislatures on issues relating to her work.

Additionally, she is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and the recipient of the YWCA Leadership Award, and the Women’s Justice Legal Scholar Award awarded to women faculty members or administrators who fulfill the ideals of the legal profession through their own work with the justice system, through their research or scholarship, or through teaching and inspiring others. She is also the first recipient of the University Student Government Association Faculty Excellence Award for Diversity and Social Justice.

 April 9
 Grant Doty

 Staff Attorney | American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri


Grant R. Doty has been a staff attorney at the ACLU-MO since 2010. During this period, he has helped represent plaintiffs in a wide range of civil liberties cases involving the First Amendment (free speech, assembly, association), Fourth Amendment search and seizure, Eighth Amendment, Equal Protection, Due Process, excessive force, Freedom of Information/Sunshine Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and other matters.

Prior to the ACLU-MO, Grant served a 20-year career in the United States Army as a combat engineer and then strategist, retiring in 2008. While serving in Washington, D.C., (with a short break in Iraq) he attended night law school in anticipation of his second career.

Grant holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center, a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is licensed to practice law in the states of Missouri and Illinois; the Federal District Courts for Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois; the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals; the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces; and the Supreme Court of the United States. 

April 16

Robert M. Clayton III 

Chief Judge | Missouri Court of Appeals

Eastern District of Missouri


Judge Clayton was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in July 2011. Born in Hannibal, Missouri, he is a graduate of Hannibal Public Schools, Southern Methodist University, Bachelor of Arts- History (1991), and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (J.D. 1994).  He practiced law in Hannibal, 1994-2003; he served in the Missouri House of Representative, 1994-2002; and he served on the Missouri Public Service Commission, 2003-2011, acting as Chair, 2009-2011.

He is a member of the Missouri Bar; 10th Judicial Circuit Bar; The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis; Lawyers Association of St. Louis; Women Lawyers’ Association of St. Louis, Federal Communications Bar Association; American Bar Association-Section of Public Utility, Communications and Transportation Law; and the St. Louis County Bar Association.

He is also a Board Member of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Foundation and a Board Member of the Affordable Community Education.  He also serves as Treasurer of Trinity Episcopal Church. He is a past recipient of the UMKC Law Foundation Decade Awards, the President’s Award – Missouri Bar Association 2001 and 2005, and President’s Award – YLS, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. 


Philip Heagney
Presiding Judge | 22nd Circuit Court


Judge Heagney assumed his post as circuit judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit in 1996. He was retained in office by the voting public in 1998, 2004 and 2010. Prior to his service as a judge, he was a St. Louis City police officer from 1970-73 and worked in private law practice for a small general practice firm in St. Louis from 1976-1996. He is a member of The Missouri Bar and the Lawyers Association of St. Louis.

He has been honored with the Purcell Professionalism Award from the Missouri Bar Foundation (2005), Generosity of Joseph Award from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (2007), and the Champion of Justice Award from Project COPE (2005).

He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970, and a graduate of the Harvard Law School with a J.D. degree in 1976.

He married Barbara Lynn Prosser on October 12, 1991. They have two children, Nathaniel Owen and Samuel Joseph.

He is a member of the court’s Public Education Committee, which works with high school students educating them on how the courts work. He is an active member of St. Cronan’s Catholic Church, is involved in the St. Margaret of Scotland Basketball Program, and volunteers with St. Margaret of Scotland Boy Scout Troop #110. He also is a member of the Gibson Heights Neighborhood Association.

April 23 

Reuben A. Shelton

Senior Counsel | Monsanto Company


Reuben A. Shelton is Senior Counsel for Monsanto Company where he handles antitrust/ intellectual property litigation, international business litigation, and global policy matters. He also serves as General Counsel of the Monsanto Citizenship Fund, the company’s political action committee. 

Before Monsanto, he was Special Chief Counsel in the Office for the Missouri Attorney General where he was Co-lead lawyer in the lawsuit against the tobacco industry. That lawsuit resulted in a $6.7 billion settlement for Missouri, the largest in the state’s history. Mr. Shelton also worked for Ameren Union Electric Company for 14 years as head of the Tort Litigation Department. Prior to Ameren, he worked as a trial attorney for Husch Eppenberger Donohue Elson and Cornfeld and was a law clerk for the Honorable Clyde S. Cahill in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

Mr. Shelton has served in many civic and professional organizations.  He is Past President of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL), and the St. Louis Bar Foundation and is the first African American ever elected to those positions. He is Past President of the Mound City Bar Association, and Past Regional Director of the National Bar Association. He has served as a Missouri Bar delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates and as a member of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. 

Mr. Shelton has served on the governing boards of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the NAACP, the Missouri Lottery Commission, the Bi-State Development Agency, Children’s Hospital, St. Louis University Board of Regents, the University City School Board and was President of the Lincoln University Board of Curators. He was also Chair of the Community Advisory Committee of the Missouri Foundation for Health and is Past-President of the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Board of Directors. 

He currently serves as President-Elect of The Missouri Bar Board of Governors and Vice Chairman of  the Missouri Development Finance Board.

Mr. Shelton has received many awards. In April 2010, he received the Distinguished Lawyer Award from the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. He was named one of Ten Outstanding St. Louisans by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, received the Legal Services Equal Access to Justice Award, received the Dollars and Sense Magazine Business and Professional Award and the St. Louis Sentinel “Yes I Can” award. Additionally, he was inducted into the BAMSL Gallery of Legal Pioneers and received the Legal Legends Award from the St. Louis Argus Newspaper. In October 2008 and again in 2009, he was recognized as one of Missouri’s Best Corporate In House Lawyers by Missouri Lawyers Weekly and named by the NAACP as one of the 100 most inspiring St. Louisans.

Mr. Shelton earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kansas where he was captain of the basketball team and became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, a Juris Doctorate degree from St. Louis University, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University.