The English-Speaking Union

Luard Morse Scholarships

Tanya Acker

Tanya Acker, attorney and civil litigator, serves as one of three judges on CBS Television Distribution's syndicated court show HOT BENCH.

Acker is an experienced civil litigator who has represented a wide array of clients, from major automobile manufacturers in high stakes product liability litigation to media companies in hotly contested trade secret disputes.

Acker is also an experienced television commentator, and has been a featured guest on "Good Morning America," "Entertainment Tonight," "Wendy Williams," "The Talk," "Inside Edition." "The O'Reilly Factor," "Larry King Live," " The Insider," "CNN Reports," "Anderson Cooper 360," , "Extra," "Your World With Neil Cavuto," CNBC Reports, Great Britain's "GMTV" and Sky News, and various other broadcasts. She also guest cohosted CNBC's "Power Lunch." Acker also contributes to the Huffington Post and has served as a Temporary Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court Temporary Judge Program.

Acker graduated from Yale Law School in 1995. While at Yale, she represented lowincome women in family law cases and served as a teaching assistant in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure courses. During law school, she worked at the Office of White House Counsel, the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice, and the private law firms Irell & Manella, O'Melveny & Myers, and Williams & Connolly. At Williams & Connolly, she assisted President Clinton's personal lawyers with press interviews, worked on the preparation of Congressional testimony for pending product liability legislation, and researched First Amendment issues.

After graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her duties during that appointment included advising and making recommendations to Ninth Circuit judges about rulings on a broad variety of cases, and preparing Judge Nelson for oral arguments on matters before the Court.

After her clerkship, the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice awarded Acker a Bristow Fellowship. While working as a Bristow Fellow, Acker drafted Supreme Court briefs and helped prepare the Solicitor General for oral argument before the High Court. Among the cases on which Acker worked was Clinton v. Jones, where she assisted both the Solicitor General and President Clinton's personal attorneys in preparing for oral argument.

In private practice, Acker's legal work spanned a broad variety of matters, from civil litigation involving public and private entities, to various constitutional cases, to the provision of business counseling and advice. She also maintained a commitment to pro bono work receiving the ACLU's First Amendment Award for her successful representation of the homeless in a case against the City of Santa Barbara. Acker later worked in the entertainment outreach for the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign in California and as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Los Angeles mayoral campaign of City Councilman Bernard C. Parks. After that, she worked as the General Counsel of a company that manufactured emissions control product.

Acker has been a featured speaker at conferences hosted by the University of Southern California and Harvard Law School, has moderated political forums hosted by Common Cause, and was the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Los Angeles Chapter of the English Speaking Union, where she spoke about historical trends in American international engagement.

Acker received her B.A. degree at Howard University in 1992, where she graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was awarded a Luard Scholarship for study at St. Anne's College at Oxford University, and served there as the co-editor-in-chief of the Oxford University Women's Magazine. At Yale Law School, she was awarded an Earl Warren Scholarship by the NAACP and a Coker Fellowship by the Yale faculty.

Acker serves on the boards of Public Counsel, the nation's largest provider of free legal services; the Western Justice Center, which promotes alternative dispute resolution; and the Western Los Angeles County Council of the Boy Scouts of America (the WLACC does not discriminate on any basis); and the Pacific Battleship Center, which operates the Battleship USS Iowa Museum.

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