Joseph Richardson

Attorney Joseph Richardson’s mission is to empower students on college campuses to embrace their legal and ethical duties.

Topics

▪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

Keynotes

▪What Does Race & Economic Justice Look Like?
▪Sprains, Strains, and Fractures: Greeks and the Law
▪The Ethical Leader
▪Life as a Courtroom

Attorney Joseph Richardson’s mission is to empower students on college campuses to embrace their legal and ethical duties.

Joe’s first experience speaking publicly was at his 6th grade commencement, sparking a lifelong love of sharing his knowledge and helping others achieve personal and professional happiness.

Joe provides insight on the intersection between the law and social issues, encouraging campuses to broaden their view of humanitarianism, and ultimately embrace responsible social activism. Using examples from the law and from his life to demonstrate larger principles, Joe inspires audiences to fulfill their duty as groundbreaking citizens in leadership and integrity.

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 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 for the benefit of 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 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

Ethics

Leadership

“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 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

“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 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

Keynotes

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.
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.
What Does Race & Economic Justice Look Like?

In this keynote, Joe uses personal experiences as a lawyer, community member, and African-American man to define the concept of “justice.” Joe talks about his upbringing in South-Central Los Angeles, from difficult moments in childhood to personal tragedy, to being a historic student body president on a majority white campus and currently law partner and television commentator focusing on justice issues. Analyzing the law, and its application in recent cases and issues in the news, (including COVID-19, incidents of police brutality, racial unrest, economic and other inequities), Joe provides perspective on what it means to become a more fair and just society and shows how college students are uniquely positioned to move society toward future equity and lasting change. Joe emphasizes that, in an irony, fairness and justice cannot be achieved without balance; i.e., different perspectives being encouraged, embraced and valued, and not drowned out. That balance begins with creating safe spaces for people and groups to have difficult conversations. Joe contrasts legal responsibility with ethical responsibility and shares things that society can do to make the one better affect the other. Participants will leave this presentation with a new understanding of our challenges, as well as an appreciation of the opportunities those challenges provide to use both passion and experience to better society around them.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • the definition of justice (from word “just”), including what justice is and is not;
  • how embracing and encouraging different perspectives leads to justice;
  • how campus participants’ unique positioning is a key ingredient to make lasting change possible
  • to identify many fronts on the quest for justice in their community and understand their role on those fronts.
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, Joe 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.