Joseph Richardson

Attorney Joseph Richardson is on a mission is to empower students to become leaders whose actions move from legally required to ethically desired.  


▪Diversity & Inclusion ▪Ethics ▪Fraternity & Sorority Life ▪Hazing ▪Leadership ▪Values ▪Legal & Justice Issues ▪Multicultural Issues ▪Motivation & ▪Inspiration ▪Risk Management ▪Sexual Violence Prevention ▪Student Government & Programming Boards


▪DEI vs. Justice: How We ALL Win
▪Sprains, Strains, and Fractures: Greeks and the Law
▪Creating Safe Spaces for Difficult Conversations
▪The Ethical Leader
▪Life as a Courtroom

Joseph’s Bio

Joseph Richardson, Esq. is a law firm partner, law school faculty member, and powerful speaker and commentator. He frequently contributes his legal insight to the media, including as a regular guest on the Law and Crime TV network. All his life, Mr. Richardson has been a leader and bridgebuilder, brokering difficult conversations with diverse people for the benefit of the community. To this day, Joe’s background informs his work. He runs the Racial and Economic justice department of a national Plaintiff’s law firm.

Joe’s plans of becoming a lawyer were confirmed after watching the TV Show “Matlock” in 10th grade. After graduating high school in 1989, Joseph Richardson studied Political Science at the University of Redlands where he became a member of Chi Sigma Chi Fraternity and served as president of the Interfraternity Council. While in college, he was voted Student Body President and, as the president, Joseph created Greek Council, which was an organization that advanced self-governance in the Greek community. Among other things, it empowered Greeks to organize and directly fund their own programming to benefit the campus community.

Drawing influence from his comic idol, late-night talk show host Arsenio Hall, Joe performed his first stand-up comedy routine as a freshman in college. Joe regularly performed comedy on campus, hosted talent shows, and introduced convocation speakers. The L.A. Uprisings erupted during the last days of his presidency, and he used the goodwill gained during his time on campus to facilitate understanding and progress leading to concrete change on campus. In 1992, Joe worked in Congress in Washington, D.C., and authored a column with commentary on legal and political issues for his college newspaper. Joe graduated in 1993 and later graduated from Northwestern Law School, where he built bridges through involvement in student government and in the community.

As an alum, Joseph Richardson served the University in many ways involving campus leadership and concern for people and communities of color. He became a member of the Alumni Board of Directors, acted as an advisor and patron to his Fraternity, and served as a member of the University-wide Council on Inclusiveness & Community. Joseph has held leadership positions in every school he attended from junior high school through law school, and he currently serves his local government as a member of the Planning Commission. Joseph uses his legal and leadership experience to inform about laws and processes, to empower student leaders to go above and beyond in group involvement, and build bridges between their schools and the broader community with inclusiveness and equity in mind.

Joe’s Blogs

The following are past entries Joe has written for the CAMPUSPEAK Speaker’s Voice Blog

Black Lives Matter

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion



Promotional Materials

To help you promote your event with Joseph, CAMPUSPEAK has created promotional templates you can use. In this folder, you will find resources for social media, a promotional poster for printing, and press photos you can use for your event.
Link to Promotional Materials

Logistical Materials

In-Person Event AV Needs (PDF)
Speaking Introduction (PDF)
Discussion Questions (PDF)

Joe’s presentation “DEI vs. Justice: How we ALL win” struck the right balance of challenging our students to think about their role in social justice efforts without being too heavy-handed. His engaging style, entertaining storytelling, and enlightening content allowed all our students to find a connection point to his presentation.

Tess Barker

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Indiana University Kokomo

Joe Richardson’s keynote, “Life as a Courtroom,” allowed us to open a dialogue with our incoming students during our orientation. He gave our students skills to approach adjusting to a new community, addressed the specific challenges of a very small campus community, and challenged students with thoughts on how to best communicate within a new community of unique individuals. The tools Joe has given us will help our semester get off to a positive start and help students build a stronger community while our campus is their home.

Deb Gould

Interim Director of Student Affairs, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University

See What People Have to Say!

Joe’s keynote “Love, Leadership, and Legal Responsibility” was a unique, engaging way of allowing our students to think about their ethical responsibilities both on and off-campus. He was able to involve the whole audience with relatable situations and comedy. Our students indicated this was the most memorable moment of the day. We were thankful to have him on our campus!

Mikala Harvey – Assistant Director of Leadership & Community Development, UNC Charlotte

Joe was a pleasure to work with. He connected with our students in a way that previous presenters have not. He used humor in a special way to make connections with students and maintain their attention while providing useful information that all students in Greek Life and athletics should know. His experience as a lawyer helped our students understand the the severity of hazing and its effects overall.

Hugo Morales – Assistant Director of Student Involvement, Leadership and Multicultural Programming
St. Joseph’s College

Joe’s keynote ‘What Leaders Do’ was an engaging and relatable piece that addressed the common misconceptions of what constitutes a leader and brought new perspectives to our Greek community. We loved having him on our campus!

Danielle Massis – Greek Council Vice President – University of San Francisco

Joe’s talk was the perfect mix of a serious down to earth message, along with a very funny and engaging delivery.

John Larsen – Allied Injury Management

Mr. Richardson gave an excellent presentation to our Greek Life students and athletes. He provided very serious and important information to an audience of approximately 200 students in a very impactful way using humor and by engaging the audience. He is an excellent communicator and we are very fortunate that he spoke at St. Joseph’s College.

Rose Mary Howell – Vice President for Student Life, St. Joseph’s College


Sprains, Strains, and Fractures: Greeks and the Law

Using his background in law, Joseph Richardson shares recent cases and legal situations involving conduct on college campuses and by college students. By sharing these real-life examples, Joseph explains to fraternity and sorority life members the ramifications of the law for campuses in general, the legal relationship between colleges/universities and chapters and, most importantly, that fraternity and sorority members are not necessarily able to hide behind a university to escape liability in negligent actions.

This keynote includes talking about “groupthink” mentality that is often the cause of crimes such as DUI, hazing practices, and sexual assault. Joseph presents how group mentality often leads to the minimization of inappropriate and even illegal activity that makes problems more likely to occur. From a distance, we minimize or “skirting the law” or “towing the line,” like a “sprain,” however, the minimization is what leads to unnecessary risk taking, and it turns out to be a full-blown “fracture.” Sprains, Strains, and Fractures: Greeks and the Law, highlights legal trends as it pertains to college liability issues to give a vision of where the law is going. It is a real “wake-up call” that still manages to be engaging, interesting, and most importantly, empowering.

**Sprains, Strains, and Fractures: Greeks and the Law can also be adapted to address Athletes and/or general student body populations.**

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • the current state of the law related to the conduct of fraternities and sororities on college campuses through case studies and recent legal decisions,
  • the differences and intersection between legal standards that originate off campus and conduct standards that originate on campus and the importance of both, and
  • how to identify the “groupthink” mentality that often makes fraternity and sorority life members more likely to minimize questionable activity.
DEI vs. Justice: How We ALL Win

It is time to go to court. “On trial” are pressing issues of societal concern, including racial unrest, economic and environmental injustice. Joseph Richardson, his personal experiences as a lawyer, community member, and African American man takes the stand to testify and provide clarity on a pressing conversation: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion vs. Justice.

In this presentation, Joseph Richardson will use common sense definitions and concepts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and how they differ yet work together. Joe talks about his upbringing in South-Central Los Angeles, from difficult moments in childhood to personal tragedy to being the first black student body president on a majority white campus and current law partner and television commentator. Joe will discuss how students can embrace other perspectives and use ethical responsibility in their own lives. Through this innovative talk that uses courtroom analogies, Joe provides evidence that equips students toward creating justice on their campuses, in their communities, and in their world.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • How diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice differ yet work together
  • How campus participants’ unique positioning qualifies them for “jury service in the courts” of DEI and justice and makes lasting change possible;
  • Steps that campus participants can use to create safe spaces for difficult conversations in the “issues jury”;
  • How ethics will encourage participants to embrace other perspectives and desire honest dialogue toward DEI and justice goals.
Creating Safe Spaces for Difficult Conversations

You understand diversity. You know you want your group to be more inclusive on the march toward equity. So how do you start to create safe spaces for your members when there has been an increase in polarization, insecurities when discussing differences, and fear? This takes difficult conversations.

In this presentation, designed for those who understand and believe in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals and want to go further, Joe will give you the tools to break down these issues in a practical way. The presentation will underscore the need for an “all hands on deck” approach where all stakeholders contribute toward solutions and validate different perspectives that strengthen and fortify the path to equity. Joe will demonstrate how students, fueled by proper self-image, embrace of other perspectives and desire for honest dialogue, can use ethical responsibility to create a safe space where difficult conversations can occur. An innovative talk that uses stories and analogies to make larger points, and models a potentially difficult conversation, Joe equips students and confirms their standing as catalysts in moving us toward justice on our campuses, in our communities and in our world.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • How to identify the most pressing conversations in your group or campus to undertake, and the elements that make a college campus a potential “safe space” for difficult conversations;
  • How the unique positioning of college stakeholders qualifies them for participation in conversation creation and execution;
  • How to pinpoint the ethical ramifications of the identified conversation;
  • How ethics will encourage participants to embrace other perspectives and desire honest dialogue toward justice goals.
Life as a Courtroom

While courtroom dramas may be quite unrealistic in ways, there are some distinct similarities between the courtroom and “real life.” These similarities may not be apparent at first, but upon recognizing them, students will gain a greater understanding of themselves and the larger world. In this keynote, Joseph Richardson acts as a guide through this allegory and lends his insight to help frame various parallels within it. Joe uses examples and analogies from the courtroom to teach larger life lessons. He speaks non-judgmentally and engagingly, keeping audience’s attention throughout. Joe’s lessons will help those in campus communities effectively communicate and work together toward common goals. He includes such nuggets of insight as “hearsay doesn’t count,” “a moral compass is mandatory,” and “passion makes for a better result.” This keynote is a great choice for any community.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • the parallels between a courtroom and everyday life,
  • how to responsibly serve on campus as “judge,” “jury,” or “spectator,”
  • how to communicate effectively through listening as well as talking, and
  • how a thoughtful process in participation and leadership yields results.
The Ethical Leader

In this keynote, Joseph offers students a fresh perspective on the essence of what it means to be an ethical leader. He identifies practical considerations that every leader should take into account when working toward their goals and objectives. Joseph emphasizes how important it is for leaders to conduct themselves with certain standards regardless of position, designation, or distinction and how they are characterized by their passion for participating and willingness to act. The Ethical Leader will help students identify positive leadership traits that will allow them to easily recognize effective leaders and mentors in their communities whom they can emulate and draw insight from, as well as the leadership qualities they need to nurture within themselves.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how the standard definition of a leader differs from the primary essence of a leader,
  • how effective listening facilitates effective leadership,
  • how to identify common principles and values with others to build relationships and effective collaboration toward community goals and objectives; and
  • how to set an example by taking responsibility when necessary without resorting to blame or fear.