James Copland

James Copland is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and director of Legal Policy. In those roles, he develops and communicates novel, sound ideas on how to improve America’s civil- and criminal-justice systems. He has testified before Congress as well as state and municipal legislatures; and has authored many policy briefs, book chapters, articles and opinion pieces in a variety of publications, including the Harvard Business Law Review and Yale Journal on Regulation, the Wall Street Journal, National Law Journal, and USA Today. Copland speaks regularly on civil- and criminal-justice issues; has made hundreds of media appearances in such outlets as PBS, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox Business, Bloomberg, C-Span, and NPR; and is frequently cited in news articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, and Forbes. In 2011 and 2012, he was named to the National Association of Corporate Directors “Directorship 100” list, which designates the individuals most influential over U.S. corporate governance.

Prior to joining the Institute, Copland was a management consultant with McKinsey and Company in New York. Earlier, he was a law clerk for Ralph K. Winter on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Copland has been a director of two privately held manufacturing companies since 1997 and has served on many public and nonprofit boards. He holds a J.D. and an M.B.A. from Yale, where he was an Olin Fellow in Law and Economics; an M.Sc. in the politics of the world economy from the London School of Economics; and a B.A. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar.

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is the President & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy, where his work focuses on transparency, government reform and accountability. He has written several papers on those subjects, testified before local and statewide panels and authored various op-eds. His numerous interviews have been featured in print, radio and broadcast media throughout the state. Since its launch in July 2008, Hoefer has been the principal on the Center’s government transparency project, SeeThroughNY.net.

Before joining the Center, Tim worked in communications and public affairs with the New York State Senate and Assembly. He also has worked as a consultant for, and on, political campaigns, at the local, state and federal levels.

He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Saratoga Center for the Family.

Born and raised in Saratoga, he is a native New Yorker. Tim has a bachelor’s degree in government & politics from George Mason University and earned his master’s degree in public policy from New England College.

Debi Ghate

Debi Ghate is currently Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Philanthropy Roundtable. Ms. Ghate previously served as Senior Director, Grant Strategy at The Snider Foundation. Trained as a lawyer in Ontario, Canada, Ms. Ghate practiced in civil litigation before moving to California to join the Ayn Rand Institute. At the Institute, she oversaw the education and policy programs before serving on leadership teams at two Foundations. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband, and is very passionate about protecting individual rights.

Hon. Robert S. Smith

The Honorable Robert S. Smith (Ret.) is head of Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP’s appellate practice, and focuses on trials and appeals. Judge Smith joined Friedman Kaplan following his retirement as Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, where he served for more than a decade. During his time on the bench, he wrote scores of opinions and became well known for his judicial scholarship, insight, and intellectual rigor.

Prior to his time on the Court of Appeals, Judge Smith practiced law in New York City, and was a partner with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for over 25 years. He has argued dozens of appeals before the federal and New York appellate courts, and two appeals before the United States Supreme Court. His trial experience in complex commercial cases is also extensive.

Since joining Friedman Kaplan, Judge Smith has been active primarily in appeals, trial-level commercial litigation, expert witness testimony, and alternative dispute resolution.