Tanya M. Acker, Esq.
A frequent guest on national and international television and radio broadcasts, Tanya Acker is an attorney and commentator. She has appeared on The Early Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, Headline News, The O’Reilly Factor, Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell, CNN Reports, Your World With Neil Cavuto, CNBC Reports, and Britain’s Sky News and GMTV, among others. She has also guest co-hosted CNBC’s Power Lunch, contributed both to CNN’s AC360.com and the Huffington Post, and been featured in a C Magazine profile on noteworthy California women in politics.
During her studies at Yale Law School, from where she graduated in 1995, Acker represented indigent women in family law cases, served as a teaching assistant in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure courses, and interned at the Office of White House Counsel, the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice, and the private law firms Irell & Manella and O’Melveny & Myers. After graduation, Acker worked at Williams & Connolly where she assisted President Clinton’s personal lawyers with press interviews, worked on the preparation of Congressional testimony for pending product liability legislation, and researched First Amendment issues. Acker then served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her duties during that appointment included advising and making recommendations to Judge Nelson and other Ninth Circuit judges about rulings on a broad variety of cases, and preparing Judge Nelson for oral argument on matters before the Court.
Acker was then awarded a Bristow Fellowship in the Office of the Solicitor General at the United States Department of Justice, where she drafted briefs on behalf of the Government before the United States Supreme Court. Acker also assisted the Solicitor General in his preparation for various oral arguments before the High Court, including the Clinton v. Jones case, where she participated with the Solicitor General and President Clinton’s personal attorneys in preparing for oral argument before the Supreme Court.
Acker subsequently worked as a litigator in the law firms of Latham & Watkins, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Fox & Spillane, where she worked both as a lead attorney and in a supporting role on a broad variety of cases, including state supreme court matters, corporate litigation involving public and private entities, and various constitutional cases. In the course of her practice, Acker received the ACLU’s First Amendment Award for her successful representation of the homeless in a case against the City of Santa Barbara. Acker also conducted a successful solo representation of a defendant entertainment firm in a breach of contract/wrongful termination jury trial. She also represented a high-profile talent agent in a dispute with his agency, negotiated his successful exit from the agency, and oversaw media efforts in that highly publicized case. Acker then worked on the 2004 Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign and subsequently served as the Deputy Campaign Manager for the mayoral campaign of Councilman Bernard C. Parks.
Acker has been featured speaker at conferences hosted by the University of Southern California and Harvard Law School, has moderated a forum on political issues hosted by Common Cause (a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization), and has addressed the Los Angeles Chapter of the English Speaking Union about American historical and political issues.
Acker received her B.A. degree at Howard University, where she graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was awarded a Luard Scholarship for study at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University, and served as the co-editor-in-chief of the Oxford University Women’s Magazine while at Oxford. At Yale Law School, she was awarded an Earl Warren Scholarship by the NAACP and a Coker Fellowship by the Yale faculty.
Acker serves on the boards of Public Counsel, the nation’s largest provider of free legal services, the Western Justice Center, which promotes alternative dispute resolution, and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. She also serves on the boards of EmeraChem LLC, a Tennessee-based manufacturer that is dedicated to the development of clean energy products and Hunt Investors LLC, which invests in clean technology companies and products.