August 23, 2011

Two instructors join law school’s faculty

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Two new instructors joined the Southern Illinois University School of Law this fall.

Twinette L. Johnson is an assistant professor of law and also directs the school’s Academic Success Program. 

Johnson comes to the law school from the St. Louis University School of Law, where she served in several capacities since August 2003.  During that time, she served as associate professor of legal writing and associate director of the bar preparation programs.  She also served as a faculty member in St. Louis University’s Summer Institute program, where she taught courses in legal skills and contracts.

She will be teaching an Agency and Partnership class during the spring 2012 semester.

Her previous experience includes a law clerkship with Judge W. Duane Benton at the Supreme Court of Missouri.  She also was an associate attorney with the New York-based Shearman & Sterling, LLP, representing corporations and financial institutions in investment grade and non-investment grade financings.

Johnson earned her law degree from Tulane University Law School in 1999, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from St. Louis University in 1996.  She is currently pursuing a doctorate in public policy with an emphasis on urban development and community development policy from St. Louis University.

Joanna Wells is a clinical assistant professor in the school’s Juvenile Justice Clinic.

Wells’ experience includes 16 years as a casework supervisor and caseworker with the Illinois Department of Public Aid, in addition to working in radio in Chicago and Miami.  Wells’ experience in private practice includes work in bankruptcy, commercial law, personal injury and family law. For six years, she also worked as a guardian ad litem for children in abuse cases in Williamson County. 

Wells earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1971, and a law degree from the SIU School of Law in 1998.

Along with the addition of Johnson and Wells, Valerie J. Munson, a visiting clinical assistant professor of law this past year, is now an assistant professor of law.

Prior to coming to the SIU School of Law, Munson was at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minn., where she was assistant director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy.  In addition, she taught courses including nonprofit organization law, and supervised upper-level student writing projects.

Munson’s career also includes 25 years legal experience in Philadelphia, with firms including Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, where she was founder and chair of the firm’s Religion and Law Practice Group.

Munson will be teaching Lawyering Skills. Her scholarship interests include religion and law, non-profit law, and lawyer formation.

Munson earned her law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in 1982, and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Augustana College in Rock Island in 1976.  She also holds a graduate diploma in 19th-Century literature from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne.

“As we start the academic year, I am very pleased to welcome our new faculty members to the SIU law community,” Dean Cynthia L. Fountaine said.  “Each of them has outstanding credentials.  Together, they bring with them more than 30 years of experience in private practice in law firms ranging in size from one to 900, as well as experience in the public sector and in legal education.  I look forward to the new energy and ideas they bring with them to SIU.”