Browning Symposium

The Honorable James R. Browning

The Browning Symposium series honors Judge James R. Browning of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Browning, who was reared in Belt, Montana, graduated from The University of Montana School of Law in 1941. He was a member of the first editorial board of the Montana Law Review and ultimately served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.

In September of 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Judge Browning to the Ninth Circuit. His forty year tenure on the Court is the longest of any federal judge in the country. Prior to joining the court, Judge Browning was Clerk of the United States Supreme Court.

Judge Browning served with distinction as Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit from 1976 to 1988. As Chief Judge, Judge Browning was credited with reorganizing and modernizing the administration of the Ninth Circuit. Thanks to his political savvy and remarkable leadership skills, Judge Browning was successful in keeping the Ninth Circuit intact despite persistent efforts to divide the circuit.

In 1991, Judge Browning received the coveted Edward J. Devitt Award for Distinguished Service to Justice, an award presented annually to a federal judge. In September of 2001, the State Bar of Montana bestowed on Judge Browning the Bar’s highest honor, the William J. Jameson Award. In 2005, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals building in San Francisco was renamed the James R. Browning United States Courthouse.

Registration Now Open

The Montana Law Review's Browning Symposium will be September 25, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mountain Time. The topic this biennium is consumer law in the 21st century. This year the symposium is presented in conjunction with the Blewett Consumer Law and Protection Program. Richard Cordray, the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and former Ohio attorney general, will give the keynote address.

The livestream will be available free to the public on the Blewett School of Law's YouTube channel, and moderators will take questions for the panels in the YouTube comments, but participants must register on Eventbrite for the live webinar. Participants who want to sign up for 5.5 CLE credits must pay a fee of $150 and must also register online on Eventbrite.


Richard CordrayThis year's keynote speaker, Richard Cordray, served for six years as the first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by a bipartisan vote of the Senate. During his tenure, the Bureau returned over $12 billion to 30 million Americans, handled 1.3 million consumer complaints that resolved many individual problems, and adopted new rules to safeguard the mortgage market that caused the financial crisis of 2008 and the deep recession that followed. He is the author of Watchdog, released in March 2020, about consumer protection and the role and importance of the CFPB.

Before joining the Consumer Bureau, Rich served as Ohio’s Attorney General, where he and his team recovered over $2 billion for Ohio’s retirees, investors, and business owners and took major steps to protect consumers from fraudulent foreclosures and financial predators. He also served as Ohio Treasurer, where he led the State’s banking, investment, debt, and financing activities. He previously taught at Ohio State’s law school and served as a state legislator and as Ohio’s first Solicitor General. Rich has argued seven cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including by special appointment of both the Clinton and Bush Justice Departments.

Rich graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College, Oxford University in England, and the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. He lives in Grove City, Ohio with his wife Peggy, a law professor at Capital University Law School, and twin children Danny and Holly.

Laura Coordes is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Her research focuses on bankruptcy and financial distress, and she teaches Contracts, Secured Transactions, and several bankruptcy courses. Professor Coordes is an active member of the American Bankruptcy Institute. She serves on the board of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal and is an Honorary Master of the Arizona Bankruptcy American Inn of Court.

Professor Coordes received her J.D. with honors from The University of Chicago Law School, where she was a Bradley Fellow and served on The University of Chicago Law Review.  She completed a legal fellowship at the Student Press Law Center after receiving her degree. Before coming to the College of Law, Professor Coordes practiced in the Business, Finance and Restructuring Department at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York. 

Craig Cowie teaches courses in consumer law and litigation, including Consumer Law, Civil Procedure, and Pretrial Litigation at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law. He also is the inaugural director of the Blewett Consumer Law & Protection Program. He serves on the board of the Montana Legal Services Association and acts as a faculty advisor for students in civil law clinics. Before moving to Montana, Craig was most recently an Assistant Litigation Deputy in the Office of Enforcement at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where he was responsible for approximately one-eighth of the Bureau’s enforcement docket. Prior to that, he was a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block LLP, and an attorney with the National Prison Project of the ACLU Foundation. Craig also clerked for the Honorable Sidney R. Thomas on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after graduating Order of the Coif from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). 

Meirav Furth-Matzkin is an Assistant Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, where she teaches contracts and consumer law. Her scholarship focuses on contracts and consumer protection and regulation, which she studies from the perspectives of social psychology and behavioral law and economics. Before joining UCLA, Furth-Matzkin was an Olin Law & Economics Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where she worked on unenforceable terms in consumer contracts, fine print fraud, and selective enforcement of contracts, using mixed empirical methods (including field and lab experiments).

In her scholarship, Furth-Matzkin examines the often surprising disparities between the contracts consumers sign or click through, the rules that are meant to govern them, and the ways in which sellers actually behave in their daily interactions with consumers. She received her B.A. and L.L.B. degrees (magna cum laude) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her LL.M. and S.J.D. at Harvard Law School, where she won the Dean’s Scholar Prize in Behavioral Economics, Law & Public Policy, the John M. Olin Prize for the best paper in Law & Economics, and the Fisher-Sanders Prize for the best paper in negotiations and dispute resolution. Before joining Harvard, she clerked for Justice Uzi Vogelman of the Supreme Court of Israel.

Furth-Matzkin’s publications have appeared in leading law reviews and peer-reviewed journals, including the Stanford Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review, and the Journal on Legal Analysis.

Kathryn Handick is a 1L at Gonzaga University School of Law. Having graduated in 2020 with an interdisciplinary B.A. in Science, Technology, and Society from the University of Puget Sound, her interests lie primarily in intellectual property law and healthcare law. While she looks forward to exploring what a legal education can contribute to her passion for ethics and technology, Kathryn is most excited by the prospect of making a career out of teaching at the graduate level; the faculty at Gonzaga Law are already an inspiration to her. For the time being, doing research in business law has been a great introduction into her law school experience and she looks forward to more opportunities to keep learning from professionals within a wide range of disciplines. 

John Heenan is a graduate of the University of Montana (honors) and University of Montana School of Law (high honors).

After graduating from college, John worked as a truck driver, a forklift operator and a teamster intern, helping him learn the value of hard work and an honest paycheck.

John began his legal practice by serving as a law clerk for Chief United States District Court Judge Richard F. Cebull.  He then worked in private practice, handling both civil and criminal cases.

In 2009, John tried the case of McCollough v. Johnson, Rodenburg & Lauinger, which resulted in one of the largest jury verdicts against a debt collector ever ($311,000). In 2014, John and his law partner Randy Bishop tried the case of King v. GEICO Insurance, which resulted in a jury verdict of $2,700,000. In 2015, John tried the case of Norman v. Deutsche Bank, which resulted in a jury verdict of $2,050,000, one of the largest jury verdicts in a wrongful foreclosure case. John has served as lead counsel or co-lead counsel on several successful consumer class actions, recovering over $50 million dollars on behalf of consumers in Montana and throughout the United States.

John has also written a laymen’s guide to personal injury law in Montana: Your Rights: The Ultimate guide To Victim’s Rights in Montana.

John is an AV rated lawyer, the highest skill and ethical rating an attorney can receive.  He is listed by peer-rated organizations as a “Super Lawyer” and among the best consumer protection lawyers in the country.

John is regularly invited to speak to lawyers about consumer protection law and class action lawsuits.  He is a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the Montana Trial Lawyers Association.

John lives with his wife and four children in Billings, Montana. He is proud to help people stand up for their rights against banks, insurance companies and powerful corporations.


Creola Johnson is the President’s Club Professor of Law, at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where she has been teaching since 1999.  She teaches Debtor-Creditor Rights, Consumer Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Law, Consumer Protection Seminar, Sales, and Secured Transactions.  Professor Johnson’s scholarship and advocacy is in the field of predatory consumer transactions, including payday loans and subprime mortgages.  She is the author of several articles, including the following three most recent ones: Relief for Student Loan Borrowers Victimized by “Relief” Companies Masquerading as Legitimate Help, U.C. Irvine L. Rev. (pending 2020); Prosecuting Creditors and Protecting Consumers: Cracking Down on Creditors that Extort via Debt Criminalization Practices, 80 Law & Contemp. Probs. 211 (2017) and Creditors’ Use of Consumer Debt Criminalization Practices and Their Financial Abuse of Women, 34.1 Columbia J. Gender & L. 5 (2016).

Nathalie Martin is the Frederick M. Hart Chair in Consumer and Clinical Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Her research focuses on consumer law and bankruptcy, as well as wellness and mindfulness. She typically organizes and teaches in the Contemplative Space, the official yoga and meditation room of the Association of American Law Schools.

She is the author of several books and quite a few law review articles, is a member of the American Law Institute and the American College of Bankruptcy, and is a former resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute. Her work has been cited by the New Mexico Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court. 

This fall she is teaching in UNM”s nationally- recognized clinical law program, where she and her students are handling many interesting consumer law cases.  


Jacob H. Rooksby was appointed Dean of Gonzaga University School of Law in June 2018. He also holds a joint appointment as a tenured Professor of Law and Professor of Leadership Studies. Prior to joining Gonzaga, Dean Rooksby was Associate Professor and Associate Dean at Duquesne University School of Law, where he taught Torts I and Torts II, among other courses. While on the faculty at Duquesne, Dean Rooksby was Of Counsel to the intellectual property (IP) practice group at Cohen & Grigsby, P.C. in Pittsburgh and served as an expert witness in IP litigation.

Dean Rooksby’s scholarship lies in two fields: IP law and higher education law. He published a book with Johns Hopkins University Press in 2016, The Branding of the American Mind: How Universities Capture, Manage, and Monetize Intellectual Property and Why It Matters. He also is co-author of the 6th edition of The Law of Higher Education, the leading treatise in the field.

Upon earning his J.D. from the University of Virginia, Dean Rooksby joined McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond, Virginia, practicing in the firm’s IP litigation group and as a member of its higher education practice team. In addition to his law degree, he also holds M.Ed. (Social Foundations of Education) and Ph.D. (Higher Education) degrees from the University of Virginia. Dean Rooksby earned his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in Hispanic Studies and Government from the College of William & Mary, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He completed post-graduate training in higher education leadership and management at Harvard University.

Mary Spector is Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Clinics at SMU Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas.  She received her B.A. from Simmons College and her J.D., cum laude, from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.  She teaches Consumer Law and is the director of SMU’s Civil/Consumer Clinic where she supervises students representing low-income clients in state and federal courts.  She has served as an expert to the Department of Justice and has provided testimony to the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and in public hearings and roundtables hosted by the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well to the Texas Legislature.  In 2009, she was named a Bellow Scholar by the American Association of Law Schools Clinical Section for her study of consumer debt collection litigation, Debts, Details and Defaults:  Exploring the Impact of Debt Collection Litigation on Consumers and the Courts, 6 Va. L. & Bus. Rev. 257 (2011).  In 2016, she published a follow-up to that project, written with Ann Baddour, entitled Collection Texas Style:  An Analysis of Consumer Collection Practices In and Out of the Courts, 67 Hast. L.J. 1427 (2016).  Professor Spector served as the 2019 Herbert Smith Freehills Visitor at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law where she worked with Dr. Jodi Gardner of St. John’s College on a project exploring the role of clinical legal education to promote access to justice in a time of austerity. During the summer of 2020 Professor Spector launched the SMU Dedman School of Law COVID-19 Legal Helpline, a collaborative community project supported by the United Way, among others, in which law students provided legal assistance to more than 250 members of the community on issues related to housing, employment and consumer protection.

Diane E. Thompson is the founder of Consumer Rights Regulatory Engagement and Advocacy Project, where she applies her experience as a former Acting and Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Regulations at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to transfer knowledge about effective regulatory advocacy on behalf of racial and economic justice across impacted communities and their advocates.  Thompson began her career as a legal services lawyer representing low-income homeowners and community groups in and around East St. Louis, Illinois, including serving as corporate counsel to the largest private nonprofit affordable housing provider in the East St. Louis metropolitan area. 

Before joining the CFPB as a managing counsel overseeing mortgage servicing and mortgage disclosure rulemakings, she worked for the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC).  While at NCLC, she was the co-author of the NCLC treatise Truth in Lending,  a contributing author to Mortgage Lending, co-author of NCLC’s report, At a Crossroads: Lessons from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), co-author of The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth: Fulfilling the Promise of Truth In Lending, 25 Yale J. Reg. 181 (2008), and the author of Foreclosing Modifications, 86 Wash. L. Rev. 755 (2011).

She received her B.A. magna cum laude from Cornell University and her J.D. cum laude from New York University.  Thompson is an Open Society Foundations Leadership in Government Fellow and Of Counsel with the National Consumer Law Center.

Professor Vladeck teaches federal courts, civil procedure, directs a civil litigation clinic, and teaches a practicum, along with MIT, that puts law students together with graduate computer science students to work together on technology policy.  He is also the faculty director of the law school’s Center on Privacy and Technology.  From 2009-2013, he served as the Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, where he supervised the Bureau’s lawyers, investigators, paralegals and support staff in carrying out the Bureau’s work to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive or fraudulent practices.  Before joining the Law Center faculty, Professor Vladeck spent over 25 years with Public Citizen Litigation Group, handling and supervising complex litigation and arguing several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and more than sixty cases before federal courts of appeal and state courts of law resort.  He is a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Senior Fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an elected Member of the American Law Institute, and a member of the board of the National Consumer Law Center.

Amy Widman is an assistant clinical professor at Rutgers Law School. Previously, she was an associate professor of law at Northern Illinois University College of Law and the Deputy Director at the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School. She has taught torts, administrative law, federal courts, legislation, policy advocacy and advanced writing seminars. Her scholarship explores access to justice issues and the importance of data in understanding how law applies. Her recent work examines how state and federal enforcers use their authority in the area of consumer protection.

Before attending law school, Kim worked seven summers in Glacier National Park, including four as a Bear Management Ranger.

Kim has been with what is now the firm of Morrison Sherwood Wilson & Deola since 1985, with a two-year hiatus during which he worked as a Consumer Law Fellow at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, and in a private consumer rights litigation practice in Boston.

Kim’s practice focuses on representing Montana consumers harmed or injured by unfair or illegal business or credit practices; representing Montana citizens concerned about protecting Montana’s environment and landscape, and their neighborhoods; and assuring that government is open and accountable to all citizens as required by law. Kim has an active litigation practice and has settled or tried hundreds of cases, the majority of them in the area of consumer rights. Kim has been counsel on several leading consumer rights cases in Montana. In Baird v. Norwest Bank, 255 Mont. 317, 843 P.2d 327 (1993), the Court first determined that the Montana Consumer Protection Act applied to banks in the lending and collection of loans. In Morrow v. Bank of America, 2014 MT 117, the Court found that banks are subject to liability in negligence for misstatements and fraud during the loan servicing and foreclosure process.

Kim regularly speaks at continuing education conferences on consumer rights and other issues.

When not practicing law (and sometimes while practicing law), Kim can be found exploring Montana’s wilder places.


All times are Mountain Standard Time.
Professor Craig Cowie will introduce our keynote speaker Richard Cordray.

Morrow v. Bank of America, and the Further Development of Consumer Law in Montana - John Heenan and Kim Wilson 

Consumer Attitudes Toward Privacy-Preserving COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps - Meirav Furth-Matzkin 

Unmasking the Consumer Privacy Ombudsmen - Laura N. Coordes

Debt Relief Scams - Creola Johnson


Lunch on your own.

The Erosion of Equity and the Attack on FTC Redress Authority - David Vladeck

Is the CFPB Still on the Beat? The CFPB’s (Non) Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic - Craig Cowie

Bad Apples or a Rotten Tree: Ameliorating the Double Pandemic of COVID-19 and Racial Economic Inequality - Nathalie Martin

Don't Let a Crisis Go to Waste: Pandemic-Created Opportunities for Lasting Reform - Mary Spector

COVID-19 and Corporate Social Responsibility - Jacob Rooksby and Kathryn Handick

Protecting Consumer Protection: Filling the Federal Enforcement Gap - Amy Widman

Pay Attention: Regulatory Advocacy, the CFPB, and Marginalized Communities - Diane Thompson

Continuing Legal Education

Application has been made for 5.5 CLE credits, including one ethics credit. The fee is $150. Register today on Eventbrite.

Support the Montana Law Review

The Montana Law Review is a student-run organization, and we would not be able to publish a biannual publication, host symposia regarding emerging changes in the law, and host national lecturers without the support of those in the Montana law community. Donate to the Browning Symposium here. Thank you for your support!