The Winds of Change – Insights from AccessLex on Washington

Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Webinar Description: Some believe the election of Joe Biden signaled “the winds of change,” the event that effectuates large and important changes. During this Congress, lawmakers will be focused on a myriad of policy changes that may impact higher education. Learn about what is happening on Capitol Hill and with the Biden Administration that could impact graduate student aid, hear AccessLex’s outlook, and see how these policies can impact you and students. AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to helping talented, purpose-driven students find their path from aspiring lawyer to fulfilled professional.


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Matthew Kerns, J.D., Associate Dean of Admissions, Widener University Commonwealth Law School 

Matthew V. Kerns is associate dean of admissions at Widener Law Commonwealth in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Dean Kerns has served on various LSAC Committees and Workgroups and is currently an Executive Committee member for the Southwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors and is the vice chair/chair elect of the AALS Section on Admissions and Pre-Law Education.




Shawn McShay, MBA, Assistant Dean,Graduate Enrollment Management, Boston College Law School

Shawn McShay serves as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Enrollment Management at Boston College Law School. Previously, he was the Assistant Dean of Admissions at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. There, he managed the JD and LLM admissions operation, as well as the University’s multi-million dollar merit scholarship and endowment fund. In addition, Dean McShay has served as Senior Director of Enrollment at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, and Assistant Director of Admissions at Fordham University Law School.

Dean McShay holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He has held leadership positions in the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). He has also served on the planning committee for the Annual Meeting of Law School Diversity Professionals for which he is the current conference chair.



Nancy Conneely, Managing Director of Policy, AccessLex

As Managing Director of Policy, Nancy is responsible for advancing AccessLex’s legislative, regulatory and administrative policy goals that further access, affordability and the value of legal education. She generates policy analysis, develops policy positions, and oversees the organization’s #MakeTheCase advocacy campaign.

Prior to joining AccessLex, Nancy was the Manager of Federal and State Policy at the National Center on Time & Learning, where she advocated for more and better learning time for students attending low-income, low-performing public elementary and secondary schools. As the Director of Public Policy at Advance CTE, she developed a policy agenda for the organization and advocated for improving career and technical education.

Nancy holds a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Stonehill College in Easton, MA, and a J.D. and certificate in law and public policy from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in Washington, DC.



Teria M. Thorton, Manager of Education Services and Diversity Initiatives, AccessLex

Teria has over a decade of experience working in the higher education field. Her involvement includes positions in financial aid, training, and enrollment services. With her professional experience and being a former law student herself, Teria helps direct students to the best route for their desired financial destinations. She received her J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, a M.A. in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University, and her B.A. in Political Science from Fisk University. She also is an Accredited Financial Counselor and a Certified Diversity Professional.