Remote advisers are Columbia Law School graduates and affiliates who are experts in their geographic and substantive fields. They provide students and graduates with guidance on those areas. If you are not certain when to reach out to a remote adviser or which remote adviser to contact, please consult with a PI/PS Office adviser.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Washington, DC
Practice Area: Civil rights advocacy, litigation, and policy

Lisa Bornstein '98 is now the COO and General Counsel at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Previously she was the vice president of strategy and policy at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she provided policy expertise, organizational leadership, and internal management to the organization to leverage the organization’s voice on federal, state, and local policy matters. 

Lisa also served as the legal director and senior legal advisor at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Leadership Conference Education Fund. In that capacity, she coordinated coalition efforts on legislative advocacy in response to Supreme Court cases, issues around civil procedure, and legal matters affecting civil rights litigants, voting rights, LGBT issues, hate crimes, and employment matters. She coordinated and supervised all aspects of the organization’s participation in amicus curiae briefs at the Supreme Court and in appellate courts across the country. Additionally, she coordinated outreach and external relations on pro bono matters for the Leadership Conference and served as liaison to the Department of Justice.

Previously, Lisa was a senior associate at Mehri & Skalet, a plaintiffs’ side, complex class action law firm, handling class action employment discrimination cases. She has also worked as a trial attorney at the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, labor counsel for Senator Edward Kennedy on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and law clerk for the Honorable Stanley Marcus on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Lisa holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.Phil. in political science, as well as a law degree, from Columbia University. Prior to entering law school, she was a founding member of Teach For America.

Lisa served as a commissioner on the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights from 2015 through 2017. She also serves as the Restaurant Chair for Taste of the Nation, a culinary event to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.

Lisa is a member of the New York State, District of Columbia, and Supreme Court Bars.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Practice Area: International human rights, intergovernmental organizations, environmental advocacy

Nyaguthii Chege '99 is the executive director of the Green Belt Movement. Nyaguthii has extensive experience and a wealth of knowledge in sustainable development, public sector governance, and human resource development in the nonprofit and higher education sectors and at international financial institutions.
Nyaguthii worked for the Green Belt Movement previously, working with its founder, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai, as the organization’s internal liaison officer. Most recently, she served as the PI/PS Office director of human rights and international law and lecturer in law at Columbia Law School. Previously, she worked at Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen, China, as a staff attorney at the International Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, as a consultant at the World Bank in Washington, DC, and as a legal associate with Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett, a Wall Street law firm.

Nyaguthii received a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a joint degree in international and public affairs from the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. She earned a B.A. in government from Dartmouth College.

Contact: [email protected] 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Practice Area: Local government, policy advocacy, racial justice

Candice Cho '12 recently transitioned to Los Angeles and a role as managing director of policy and counsel at the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council with Stop AAPI Hate. Prior to that, Candice was deputy chief of staff of the New York City Law Department. She previously served as an assistant corporation counsel in the Legal Counsel Division of the Law Department and the office's first corporation counsel clerk (now fellow). Cho recently served as chief of staff and special counsel to the 2018 New York City Charter Revision Commission, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The commission, after an extensive public engagement process, proposed three ballot questions on campaign finance, civic engagement, and community boards, all of which were approved by New York City voters in November 2018. 

As deputy chief of staff at the New York City Law Department, Cho supported the corporation counsel and executive staff on all aspects of their work, including developing the City's position in litigation, counseling the Mayor's Office and City officials and agencies on legal issues related to policy initiatives (particularly in immigration and criminal justice), and managing an office of nearly 2000 support professionals and attorneys. In addition, she drafted, reviewed, and negotiated state and local legislation, and represented the City in trial and appellate litigation.  

As a law student, Cho externed at Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, spent a semester interning with the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC, and served as a summer associate at Foley & Lardner in San Francisco.

Candice is available by appointment only. Email her directly to set up an appointment. Please email your resume to her before your meeting. 

Contact: [email protected].
Location: Seattle, WA
Practice Area: Women's rights, poverty law

Judge Janet Chung '94 was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One in March 2022. Since 2017, Judge Chung had worked as the advocacy director at Columbia Legal Services. She was previously legal and legislative counsel at Legal Voice.

Her work focused on expanding economic justice for women and combating gender discrimination in the workplace and in schools. Judge Chung's legislative work included bills to ensure gender equity in community athletics programs, protect and expand Washington’s family leave insurance program, and secure women’s access to unemployment insurance. Her cases addressed issues including gender stereotyping of workers with family caregiving responsibilities, sexual harassment of tenants by their landlords, gender equity in school athletics, and adverse treatment of domestic violence and sexual assault victims in the workplace and on campuses.

Prior to her work at Legal Voice, she practiced employment law and business litigation at private firms in Washington, DC and Seattle and served as a law clerk to a federal judge. She has also taught legal writing, research, and advocacy at Seattle University School of Law and served as a Georgetown women’s law and public policy fellow at the National Partnership for Women and Families, where she worked on litigation and policy development involving family leave laws and civil rights. Janet is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Stone Scholar and editor-in-chief of the Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: New Orleans, LA/ Boston, MA
Practice Area: Immigration law and policy, clinical teaching

Laila Hlass '06 is an experienced clinical professor whose teaching and scholarship focus on law, policy and practices that affect access to justice within the immigration law regime for particularly vulnerable communities, as well as emerging pedagogy and practices in experiential learning. She regularly speaks about migration, refugees and immigrant children and has written op-eds for the Boston Globe and appeared on NBC News online. Before joining Tulane Law School in 2017, she taught at Boston University School of Law as a clinical associate professor, at Georgetown University Law Center as a clinical teaching fellow and at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law as a staff attorney and Equal Justice Works fellow in the Immigration Clinic. While at Loyola, she also directed the Office of Law Skills and Experiential Learning on an interim basis. She serves on the board of the Clinical Legal Education Association. While in law school, she co-founded the Student Hurricane Network, which recruited and placed more than 5,500 law students in pro bono assignments in regions affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Practice Area: Civil rights, advocacy, racial justice, employment discrimination

Laboni Hoq '01 currently has a public interest law practice focused on labor and employment. Previously, she was the Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, where she led the organization’s Impact Litigation Unit, which brings lawsuits that seek to enforce and expand civil and human rights for marginalized and disadvantaged communities. Prior to joining Advancing Justice, Ms. Hoq practiced at civil rights law firms in greater Los Angeles. Prior to that, Ms. Hoq practiced corporate litigation at Sidley Austin LLP in Los Angeles. Ms. Hoq received a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Political Economy, an M.Phil. from Cambridge University in Development Studies, and J.D. from Columbia Law School. After law school, Ms. Hoq was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to clerk on the South African Constitutional Court and carry out research on the land rights of South Africa’s indigenous communities. In 2012 she was recognized by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association with its Best Lawyers Under 40 Award.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Practice Area: Immigration law

Mayra Joachin ’15 is a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles, where she began working as a Social Justice Fellow after graduation. Mayra focuses on advancing the rights of low-income immigrants through administrative advocacy, impact litigation, direct work with affected individuals, and technical assistance. Her main areas of work involve immigration enforcement issues, including advocating for policies that protect immigrants’ access to health care facilities, work sites, schools, and courthouses. As a law student, Mayra was the president of the Latino/a Law Student Association, an extern with the Bronx Defenders and the U.S. Court of Appeals, and summered with Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP and the Public Law Center. She was also a student in the Prisoners' Rights Advocacy Clinic and an editor on the Columbia Law Review. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science, Spanish, and Latin American studies from University of California, Los Angeles.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Portland, OR
Practice Area: Housing, poverty law, policy and local government

Ed Johnson '93 is the Director of Litigation at the Oregon Law Center. Following law school, he worked as a litigation associate in the New York City offices of Kaye Scholer, LLP for three years. Since 1996 he has been a legal aid lawyer in Portland, Oregon. For five years, Ed was a staff attorney at Legal Aid Services of Oregon with a caseload made up primarily of housing and domestic violence cases. Starting in 2002 he has had a statewide position as the housing and homeless rights litigation support attorney in the State Support Unit of the Oregon Law Center. His practice focuses on fair housing, subsidized housing, housing preservation, and homeless rights litigation.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Washington, DC (formerly TX)
Practice Area: Employment justice, workers rights, immigrant rights

Shana Khader '11 is of counsel at Tycko & Zavereei LLP. Before joining the firm, she was a Staff Attorney at the Equal Justice Center, a Texas-based nonprofit that represents low-income working people and immigrants in employment matters including unpaid wages, sexual harassment, and workplace discrimination. Shana has also served as the Director of the Employment and Legal Services Program at Workers Defense Project, a Texas community-based organization empowering low-income working people and immigrants to effect policy change. Shana worked at the New York Legal Assistance Group, defending low-income individuals against lawsuits and aggressive debt collection tactics by predatory lenders. She also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Debra C. Freeman, magistrate judge, in the Southern District of New York.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Boston, MA
Practice Area: Environment, municipal government, private public interest law firms

David Lyons '14 works as an associate at Rich May in  the firm’s Energy and Real Estate practice groups.  He represents electric and gas public utilities and municipal aggregators in the Commonwealth on energy efficiency initiatives and other energy-related matters.  David advises energy companies before the Department of Public Utilities and the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council.  David’s real estate practice includes permitting and litigation under local land use laws and state and federal environmental laws. David was formerly an associate at Anderson Krieger where he litigated complex matters and offered environmental and land use counseling to clients, including municipal governments, and public utilities. David also has experience litigating and settling a wide variety of employment law matters, including wage-and-hour class actions, single-plaintiff claims, and OSHA enforcement proceedings.

Before joining Anderson & Kreiger, David worked in the San Francisco office of a large international law firm. During law school, David interned with the Boston office of the Environmental Protection Agency and a judge on the Southern District of New York. David previously worked as a legislative aide to a member of Congress.

David graduated with a B.A. from Yale. In 2016, he was recognized as an Outstanding Volunteer by the Bar Association of San Francisco, Justice & Diversity Committee.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: NJ
Practice Area: Government

Elizabeth Mackay '04 is in-house counsel for the (Hurricane) Sandy Recovery Division at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Her primary responsibility is to see that the Division is in compliance with Federal laws and regulations as they apply to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grants – Disaster Recovery. She oversees the Contracts and Appeals Units and the Office of Compliance and Monitoring. Before joining Community Affairs, she worked at the Department of Treasury supervising the procurement of Professional and General Services Contracts for State entities.

Elizabeth also held the position of Senior Policy Advisor in the Department of State, with specific responsibility for the Red Tape Review Commission and Small Business Advocacy in the Business Action Center. She was part of the Red Tape transition team and helped Lieutenant Governor Guadagno to craft her position as the first Lieutenant Governor in New Jersey. Prior to that, Elizabeth worked as a Deputy Director at the Division of Consumer Affairs, as the Deputy Bureau Chief at the Bureau of Securities, and as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.

Before entering public service, Elizabeth enjoyed a lengthy investment career. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and was named as one of the Top 50 Women in the Money Business by Money Magazine. She left Bear, Stearns in July 2001 as a Senior Managing Director/ Chief Investment Strategist for a second career in law. Elizabeth graduated from the Columbia University School of Law, honored as the Student with the Greatest Potential for Distinguished Trial Advocacy. She is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Chicago, IL
Practice Area: Government

Hon. Kerrie Maloney Laytin '97 clerked for Judge Robert P. Patterson Jr., on the SDNY, and then clerked for then-Chief Judge Caroline Dineen King on the 5th Circuit. She then worked in Washington D.C. for the Department of Justice in the Civil Division, Federal Programs branch, representing government agencies and defending the constitutionality of statutes. After moving to Chicago, she worked for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago for two years representing low-income clients with legal problems in areas such as housing law, family law, domestic violence, employment, public benefits, bankruptcy, and foreclosure. She then joined the City of Chicago Law Department's Appeals Division, where she represents the City in all appeals to state and federal appellate courts, including the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Her office’s cases fall into every area of municipal law, including employment, labor, torts, zoning, section 1983 litigation, municipal prosecutions, aviation, and code and licensing enforcement. In 2019, she became a Circuit Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County. From 2019-2021 she served as a Circuit Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County. She now serves as the Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

Contact: Tory Messina for this email address
Location: Washington, DC
Practice Area: Racial justice, civil rights, advocacy

Andrea McChristian '12 is now the Research Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Prior to this role, Andrea was the Law & Policy Director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice ("NJISJ"). At NJISJ, she led the implementation of the strategic vision and the direction of the law and policy program and oversaw the programmatic function of the Institute’s three pillars of social justice: democracy & Justice, economic justice, and criminal justice reform. Prior to becoming Law & Policy Director, Andrea served as the Director of the Criminal Justice Reform initiative and was the primary author of Bring Our Children Home: Ain't I A Child, which forms the basis of the 150 Years is Enough campaign. Andrea's writing on juvenile justice and racial justice has been published in the Star Ledger, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, and NJ Spotlight. 

Previously, Andrea served as a litigation associate at the New York office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, where she worked on complex commercial litigation and pro bono cases. Andrea then clerked for Chief Judge Petrese B. Tucker of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Before law school, Andrea joined Teach for America, teaching Head Start for two years in the Las Vegas Valley. At Columbia Law School, she participated in the Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration Clinic, interned in Auckland, New Zealand as part of the law school's Human Rights Internship Program, and interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Andrea is a 2008 graduate of Yale University, graduating with distinction in the major of political science. She graduated from the Law School in 2013 and is a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Washington, DC and other US locations
Practice Area: Clean energy, environmental law

Michael Panfil '11 is a member of Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) Climate and Air, Clean Energy team, where he engages in federal litigation, regulatory, and policy efforts across the country to advocate for an environmentally friendly and economically efficient electricity sector. Michael’s work focuses on reducing emissions throughout the United States by advocating for the deployment of smarter technology, improved market operations, and sustainable practices.

Among other things, Michael focuses on cases before and involving federal agencies, and has represented EDF in the Supreme Court case FERC v. EPSA, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit case Allco v. Klee, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit case EPSA v. Star. Michael additionally represents EDF before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in regional power market matters before Independent System Operators. Michael has previously worked on state regulatory cases and actions in California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. He is admitted to the New York State Bar and previously served as a member of the New York City Bar Association Environmental Law Committee.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: New York, NY
Practice Area: Criminal defense

Seann graduated from Tulane Law School in 2002, where he was a member of the Tulane Law Criminal Justice Clinic and worked at the Louisiana Appellate Project, The St. Thomas Community Law Center and The Public Defender Service for Washington, DC. For two consecutive years, Seann was the recipient of Tulane University’s Outstanding Leadership and Service Award. Following law school, Seann was an E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he represented clients in D.C. Superior Court, as well as supervised third year law students in the Criminal Justice Clinic. In 2006, he was awarded an LLM in Trial Advocacy from The Georgetown Law Center. Seann joined The Bronx Defenders as a staff attorney, and became the Supervising Attorney responsible for training and supervising new attorneys in their first year of practice. Seann trained and supervised the first interdisciplinary Training Team at The Bronx Defenders, made up of Criminal Defense, Family Defense and Civil Defense attorneys, as well as social workers, parent advocates and investigators. He created an interdisciplinary training for all new lawyers focused on teaching new lawyers and advocates, regardless of discipline, how to recognize and address the issues affecting clients in the various systems impacting them. As Deputy Director, Seann has focused on the interdisciplinary representation of clients and works with The Center for Holistic Defense, a Department of Justice funded endeavor at The Bronx Defenders, in assisting defender offices across the nation to become more holistic in their representation of indigent clients.

Seann is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Wasserstein Fellowship at Harvard Law School. Seann also holds a M.S.W. from the University of Michigan. While earning his M.S.W., Seann worked at The W.J. Maxey Training School for Boys, a maximum-security facility for juvenile offenders and was named Social Work Student of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. Seann received his B.A. from Georgetown University in 1995, having majored in Government and minored in Religious Studies. He was inducted into honor societies for both his major and minor.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Bogota, Colombia
Practice Area: Health, international human rights

Rebecca Schleifer graduated from University of California, Berkeley Law School in 1993. She is a globally respected advocate, researcher and scholar working in the field of health and human rights. Over the last ten years, her work at Human Rights Watch helped define the contours of this emerging field, particularly with regard to establishing core research methods, identifying and helping to set the scope of applicable standards, and opening up new sites for action and policy change in national and international settings.

Her expertise encompasses human rights aspects of drug control policies, disability, and HIV and AIDS, with particular attention to girls and women, sex workers, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender men and women, people who use drugs, and other marginalized high risk groups. She has worked in collaboration with members of these communities in Eastern Europe, South Africa, SE Asia, the Caribbean and North and South American settings to research, write and publicize reports on these issues.

Rebecca has also taught at the university level in the US (Barnard/Columbia University) and Colombia (University of Los Andes Faculty of Law), and written articles on law, health and human rights. Her most recent publications cover the right to health in prison; the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution in the U.S.; and compulsory drug detention in China and South East Asia.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: New York, NY
Practice Area: Health, international human rights

Payal Shah '06 is a human rights lawyer with over 15 years of experience designing and implementing international, regional, and national legal advocacy strategies to strengthen human rights norms and remove legal barriers relating to gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights. Most recently, Payal has worked as an independent human rights consultant with several UN agencies, regional and international non-governmental organizations, and universities. She is also a fellow with the University of Toronto Faculty of Law’s International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program. 

Prior to these roles, Payal directed the Asia Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. In 2018, Payal served as a practitioner-in-residence at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute. She has published extensively on sexual and reproductive rights in Asia and globally, including on maternal morbidity and mortality, safe abortion, adolescents' rights, infertility, and contraceptive information and services. Payal is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was named a Jack Kent and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and earned a certificate in comparative and international law.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Washington, DC/ San Francisco Bay Area
Practice Area: Criminal law

Ned Smock '01 is an Assistant Federal Public Defender (AFD) in Baltimore, MD. Before that, he was an AFD both in Oakland, CA and the Eastern District of California. After law school, he clerked for a District Court judge in San Francisco, then was a public defender at the Legal Aid Society in Manhattan for three years. During law school, Ned interned at the ACLU and spent summers at the Center for Constitutional Rights in Mississippi and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Between college and law school, Ned worked as an investigator on death penalty appeals at the California Appellate Project in San Francisco.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: New York, NY
Practice Area: International human rights, public international law

Daniel Stewart '08 is the founder of Independent International Legal Advocates (IILA), a nonprofit working with small and developing countries to enhance their capabilities in vital areas of public international law. Daniel spent several years at the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. He has worked at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the European Court of Human Rights, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Supreme Court of Israel, and the International Court of Justice, and he taught international human rights law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is a graduate of Harvard and Columbia Universities.

Contact: [email protected]
[email protected]
Location:  Abuja, Nigeria
Practice Area: Human rights, governance and rule of law, global health, ethics, employment and appropriations law

Cassandre C. Théano graduated from Georgetown Law in 2009. She is a diplomat with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director for Human Rights and Public International Law at Columbia's PI/PS Office. Cassandre began her career as a law clerk followed by a number of years in private practice before engaging in strategic litigation and advocacy on various human rights issues. She has taught at Columbia Law School and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. 

Previously, Cassandre was the Associate Legal Officer for Inclusion and Equality at the Open Society Foundations (The Justice Initiative), where she led the litigation and advocacy work related to the restoration of citizenship rights for Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, Black Mauritanians in Mauritania, and various ethnic minorities in Cȏte d’Ivoire and Kenya. She was also instrumental on Temporary Protected Status advocacy and other related immigration policies affecting black migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

She was also a Human Rights Legal consultant for MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization and for Netflix on the docuseries Rotten which explores human rights abuses in the food supply chain.

Cassandre grew up in Haiti and moved to the U.S. at 16. She earned her undergraduate degree in International Relations and French Literature and her Master’s degree in French Society, Politics and Culture from New York University. She holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, with a concentration on International Human Rights Law and a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. At Georgetown Law, she participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic, where she successfully advocated including protections for women’s land and property rights in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution. She was also the Senior Articles Editor of the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law.  She is fluent in French, Haitian Creole, and Spanish.