The English Department will host two events relating to law and restorative justice on March 27th, 2024, inspired by the career path of 2018 UMBC English Alumna Breia Lassiter. She will return to UMBC to share her experiences with the university community.


12-1 pm. Library Gallery.   “From the Classroom to the Courtroom: 2018 UMBC English Alumna Breia Lassiter Tells Her Story.” Breia Lassiter (Juris Doctor, Michigan State University), Associate Attorney in the Employment Law practice group of Dinsmore & Shohl, a law firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, will discuss her personal history from her days as an English major at UMBC, through law school and work as a student clinician at Michigan State University, to taking the bar exam, passing it, and finally now working as an Associate Attorney at a law firm.   This talk will be of interest to all Alumni, and to Pre Law, English, and other CAHSS majors, in particular, who are considering career paths in public service.


4:00-5:30 pm. Library Gallery.  Panel, “Restorative Justice and the Rights of the Incarcerated.”   Our distinguished speakers will be


Breia Lassiter (Esq.), 2018 English Alumna, now working as an Associate Attorney for Dinsmore & Shohl. In her work as a law student clinician, Ms. Lassiter successfully advocated for the rights of an incarcerated man who was not receiving his religious meal accommodations from the prison. For months he could hardly eat anything that was served to him, and she was able to argue on his behalf as a student clinician at Michigan’s Sixth Circuit. The court published the opinion ruling in his favor. She will speak on her work in this specific case.


Walter Lomax, Executive Director, Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative.  Mr. Lomax was unjustly incarcerated in a Baltimore area prison for 39 years for crimes he didn’t commit.  Since his release in 2007 and exoneration in 2014,  he has used his voice to become a powerful, influential advocate for criminal justice reform in MD. He is the founder of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative. In 2021, The Walter Lomax Act (Senate Bill 14) was signed into law, overhauling how the state compensates people who are wrongfully convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated for crimes.


Natasha Dartigue (Esq.), Office of the Public Defender, Baltimore, MD. She was just appointed in 2022 as Maryland’s Public Defender and served in a related capacity in advocating for the rights of the incarcerated for more than twenty years.  She and her office have been associated with helping exonerate a number of individuals recently. Ms. Dartigue will speak about the work of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. On March 18, 1963, the United States Supreme Court guaranteed the right to counsel to indigent defendants in criminal cases in the landmark case, Gideon v. Wainwright.  On July 1, 1971, the Maryland Legislature created the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD). OPD opened its doors in 1972 and is an independent state agency.

Cosponsors: Alumni Association; the following departments: English, GWST, History, Political Science, American Studies, Center for Social Science Scholarship (CS3); and the Dresher Center for the Humanities