Patricia Siemen, OP, Esq., MPA, MA

Director Emeritus

Patricia Siemen is a Dominican Sister from Adrian, Michigan, and an attorney.  She currently serves as the honored Director Emeritus of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and as the Prioress (President) of the Adrian Dominican Congregation in Adrian, Michigan.

Previous positions Sister Pat has held include director of the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College, engaging students and staff in programs and workshops in Earth Literacy; staff attorney for the Voting Section of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; and legal services attorney for migrant farm workers in South Florida. 

Sister Pat has also served in community organizing with the African-American community in rural Tennessee, in parish ministry with the Latino community and elementary education.  She served on the Adrian Dominican Sisters Congregational leadership team from 1988-98.

Sister Pat holds a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law, Boston; a Master in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin; and a Master in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University, Oakland, California.  Her B.A. is in History and Political Science from Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan.  

Sister Pat is a member of the Michigan and Florida Bars.

Judith Koons, Esq.

With a law degree from the University of Florida and a degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, Judy serves as a Professor at Barry University School of Law. She embraced Earth Jurisprudence in 2003 during a faculty workshop presented by Sr. Pat. Since then, Judy has assisted in the development of Earth Jurisprudence, both organizationally and academically.

Judy participated in the early days of organizing the Center for Earth Jurisprudence and served as the co-chair of the governing committee for the Center. On the academic front, she published the first law review article on Earth Jurisprudence, The Moral Value of Nature, in Pace Environmental Law Review, and has published three additional articles on Earth Jurisprudence, listed below. 

Judy teaches Earth Jurisprudence and Environmental Justice as well as Professional Responsibility, Torts, Remedies, Florida Constitutional Law, International Legal Ethics, Jurisprudence, and Feminist Jurisprudence. Her publications include: Earth Jurisprudence: The Moral Value of Nature, 25 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 263 (2008); At the Tipping Point: Defining an Earth Jurisprudence for Social and Ecological Justice, 58 Loy. L. Rev. 349-90(2012); Earth Jurisprudence and the Story of Oil: Intergenerational Justice for the Post-Petroleum Period, 46 U.S.F.  L. Rev. 93-138 (2011);What is Earth Jurisprudence?: Key Principles to Transform Law for the Health of the Planet, 18 Penn State Envtl. L. Rev. 47 (2009), excerpts reprinted in Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Peter Burdon ed., 2011).

Leticia M. Diaz, Ph.D., J.D.

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Leticia M. Diaz is one of the founding faculty members of Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law and was appointed Dean in 2007. She is the first Cuban-American female to hold the position of Dean at an ABA-accredited law school in the United States.

During her tenure, the law school has emerged as a leader in environmental law. In addition to participating in the first Earth Jurisprudence Colloquium entitled Defining the Law and Claiming the Promise in 2007, Diaz was an integral part of bringing the Center for Earth Jurisprudence to Barry Law in 2010 by representing the law school on the governing committee. She also served on the original board of advisors.

Under her leadership, Diaz also helped institute multiple Earth law components at the law school, including: the Environmental and Earth Law Clinic, the Environmental and Earth Law Certificate Program, the Environmental and Earth Law Journal, multiple student organizations,  and the Environmental Responsibility Committee.  

Before joining Barry’s faculty, Diaz practiced law in the areas of personal injury, toxic torts, and workplace chemical exposure. Diaz earned her Juris Doctor degree at Rutgers Law School in New Jersey in 1994. Prior to entering law school, she earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Rutgers University. She spent two years as a postdoctoral research chemist at Hoffman-LaRoche in New Jersey, where she primarily worked on the synthesis of anti-HIV compounds. Among other subjects, Diaz has taught Environmental Law and Environmental Justice, something she is very passionate about.

Her relevant publications include: An Examination of the Evolution of Crime at Sea and the Emergence of the Many Legal Regimes in Their Wake North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2009; The Necessity of Preventing Unilateral Responses to Water Scarcity - The Next Major Threat against Mankind this Century Cardozo Journal of International and Comparative Law (JICL), Vol. 9, No. 1, 2001; and
Environmental Damage and the Destruction of Life - Problems that Add a New Balancing Dimension to International Port Access vs. Efficient Trade under International Law Barry Law Review, Vol. 10, 2008.

Clay Henderson, Esq.

Clay Henderson fell in love with the St. Johns River and Florida’s springs as a freshman at Stetson in the 1970s, and over a long career as an environmental lawyer has been a zealous defender of Florida’s special places. Now, as the Executive Director of Stetson Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, he continues to be one of Florida’s leading voices in environmental policy.

He sponsored or co-authored most of the natural resource protection provisions in the Florida Constitution, including Amendment  - the largest voter-approved conservation funding initiative in our nation’s history - and the creation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He led development of nationally-recognized land conservation programs, including Volusia Forever (1986 and 2000), Florida Communities Trust (1990), Preservation 2000 (1991) and Florida Forever (1999), and has negotiated more than 300,000 acres of lands now part of national and state parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.

He was elected to two terms and served as Chair of the Volusia County Council. His work at the Institute focuses on land and water conservation and restoration research and policy development. Stetson has recognized his body of work with a Distinguished Alumni Award, and the George and Mary Hood Award for his commitment to Stetson University’s core values.

Jane Durocher, Esq.

A lawyer and Florida native, Jane’s interest lies in combining the humanities, the sciences, and the value of direct experience to encourage appreciation and protection of the natural world. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, and a law degree at Barry University School of Law, Orlando, Florida, graduating as the valedictorian in May, 2008. A member of the Florida Bar, she served the Center for Earth Jurisprudence for eight years in various capacities, including Interim Director during Sister Patricia Siemen’s sabbatical.

Jane currently teaches Earth Jurisprudence and Environmental Ethics as an adjunct faculty member at the Barry Law School. Her interests include conservation issues affecting Florida waters and wildlife, particularly black bears.

She is one of a handful of people who have kayaked the entire 310 miles of the St. Johns River, and the only woman to complete the journey by through-paddle, from the headwaters near Vero Beach to the Atlantic Ocean at Mayport, east of Jacksonville, Florida.

Lucinda Merritt

Lucinda Faulkner Merritt is a writer, publicist and water advocate who grew up swimming in Florida's waters, where she developed a deep love of our freshwater springs. She has an academic background in anthropology (B.A., University of South Florida) and public administration (M.P.A., California State University-East Bay). Her professional experience includes work as a grant writer/manager for UC Berkeley, the Florida Park Service and Florida's Eden, and as a communications specialist for Santa Fe College. She serves as secretary of the Ichetucknee Alliance  in North Florida, where she organizes the popular "Water Voices" free public educational programs. She also serves on the steering committee of the Floridians' Clean Water Declaration Campaign, a statewide effort, and writes press releases for the Fine Arts Department and Office for Advancement at Santa Fe College.