Meet the SJI Team

Click on the profile of any staff member below for more information, including bios and instructions on how to make an advising appointment.

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Our Staff

Erica Smock has been the Dean for Social Justice Initiatives and Public Service Lawyering at Columbia Law School since 2017. 

Prior to joining Columbia, Dean Smock had a distinguished public interest career focused primarily on women’s rights advocacy. Most recently, she served as the Senior Director for Judicial Strategy & Lawyers Network at the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York City, where she led strategic campaigns around the Center’s domestic litigation, including the successful Supreme Court abortion case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (2016).

After graduating from Columbia in 1995, Dean Smock clerked for the Hon. Anita B. Brody, U.S. District Court, E.D. PA, and Hon. Leonard I. Garth, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. After spending one year as an associate at O’Melveny & Myers (where she engaged in pro bono work on women’s rights and domestic violence), she worked as a staff attorney at Legal Aid Services of Oregon and as Regional Staff Attorney at the Northwest Women's Law Center (now Legal Voice) in Seattle. Dean Smock then became Legislative Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she directed the national state legislative program and engaged in advocacy on reproductive rights issues. After working at SJI for a number of years, she returned to the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2014 to its newly formed Judicial Strategy team.

In addition, Dean Smock has spent time as a short-term volunteer attorney focusing on human rights and women's rights in Kenya and South Africa, and with the Pascua Yaqui tribe in Arizona. She has served as a consultant to the Laura and John Arnold Foundation on access to justice issues.  Currently she serves as Vice Chair of the ABA's Rights of Women Committee in the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section; and on the Center for Reproductive Rights Lawyers Network Advisory Committee. 

Dean Smock graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree with Honors in Political Science.

Dean Smock's 2018-2019 Year in Review

Dean Smock's 2017-2018 Year in Review

"A New Leader at Social Justice Initiatives"

For advising appointments, please contact Dean Smock directly:
[email protected]

Madeleine Kurtz joined Social Justice Initiatives in January 2011, from a career as a public interest lawyer, clinical law professor, and director of law school public interest programs. Madeleine began her career as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society in New York City. She was a clinical professor and supervising attorney in the Family Defense Clinic at NYU School of Law, and a consultant to Volunteers of Legal Services, a non-profit organization in New York City that develops and administers pro bono programs. Prior to joining SJI, Madeleine was at Seton Hall Law School, where she was the director of public interest programs and student advising, developed pro bono projects, and administered the Externship program. Prior to that, at Rutgers Law School in Newark, she was Director of Pro Bono and Public Interest Programs. She has served on a number of boards and advisory committees, and has participated in training programs for legal services and volunteer lawyers on subjects involving child welfare, family court, foster care, and women in prison. Madeleine was a law student at Columbia, where she graduated a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and received the Jane Marks Murphy Prize for exceptional interest and proficiency in advocacy in clinical offerings. She earned a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Office: Big Warren 806
(212) 854-8360
[email protected]

To make an appointment with Maddie, please do so via Symplicity.

Area of counseling expertise: Grad advising

Tory Messina is an attorney with over seven years of experience counseling law students and alumni on how to achieve their public interest and government career goals. Prior to joining SJI, Tory worked at Lawyers Alliance for New York as the Pro Bono Manager, helping to connect attorneys with opportunities to assist nonprofits with transactional pro bono legal work. Tory previously worked at University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she is an alumnae, as the Associate Director of Public Interest and Government Counseling, helping students and alumni with a broad range of career interests including civil legal services; impact and advocacy organizations; local, state and federal government; public defenders; and alternatives to traditional practice. She also has expertise in LRAP and private civil rights law firms.

Prior to her work at University of Pennsylvania Law School, Tory coordinated New York and national pro bono and legal services projects at Pro Bono Net. Tory also has worked at a private law firm and managed a small business. She graduated from Brown University with a degree in history. She is admitted to practice in New York.

To make an appointment with Tory, please do so via Symplicity or via email.

[email protected]

Office: William and June Warren Hall 807b

Nadine F. Mompremier is the Assistant Director of Pro Bono and Summer Programs, where she oversees the administration of Columbia's Pro Bono program and summer funding programs, including Guaranteed Summer Funding (GSF), and works closely with students who are engaged with these programs.

Prior to joining Columbia Law School, Nadine was a Law Coach at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), where she counseled and advised SEO Fellows on navigating and excelling in their corporate law internships and first year of law school and provided guidance on professional development, networking, and drafting legal memoranda. Nadine started her legal career as an Associate at the law firms of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Ropes & Gray, where she engaged extensively in pro bono work including matters related to various legal clinics, voter and election protection, and visa, residency, and asylum applications, while specializing in executive compensation and employee benefits, a practice that consisted of advising private equity clients in all benefits, compensation, and employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions, including structuring management equity arrangements and negotiating employment agreements, deferred compensation, and other incentive arrangements. 

Nadine graduated cum laude from the Howard University School of Law, where she served as the Executive Solicitations & Submissions Editor of the Howard Law Journal, and earned her undergraduate degree in Law & Business from Temple University, where she served as student body president.

Office: William June Warren 804
[email protected]

Devi Patel is the Assistant Director of the Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program at Social Justice Initiatives (SJI). Prior to joining SJI, Devi was the Pro Bono Programs Manager at Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT), where she created and led LIFT's state-wide pro bono program. Devi also managed the legal internship and fellowship programs, and cultivated partnerships with law schools, public interest organizations, and the private bar.

Devi began her legal career as a staff attorney at Sanctuary for Families' Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services and a Poverty Justice Solutions Fellow through the Center for Court Innovation. She represented domestic violence and human trafficking survivors in court proceedings and administrative forums, and also provided legal advice to hundreds of New Yorkers as part of the NYC Family Justice Centers’ legal services.

Devi earned her J.D. from New York Law School, where she was a Carbonell Fellow in Law & Policy. Upon graduation, Devi was awarded the Alexander D. Forger Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession. A native North Carolinian, Devi earned her Bachelor's Degree in Women's and Gender Studies from North Carolina State University. Devi serves on the New York City Bar’s Diversity Pipeline Initiatives Committee and is admitted to practice in New York.

Rachel Salem Pauley is the Director of Government Programs at Social Justice Initiatives. As Director, she develops programming designed to expose students to a vast array of career opportunities in federal, state, and local government. She also oversees the DC Externship, which places students in federal agencies for a semester, and teaches the Externship’s experiential learning component. In addition, she co-teaches the Externship on Government Anti-Corruption Agencies. Advising students and graduates is also a part of Rachel’s job. She has counseled hundreds of students and alumni on government and professional development career opportunities.

As an attorney, Rachel has extensive experience in the public sector. Most recently, she served as the Director of Training and Special Investigative Counsel for the New York State Inspector General, where she also ran the internship program. Prior to her employment at the Inspector General, Rachel was the Confidential Assistant for Legal Matters for the New York State Attorney General and a member of the Public Integrity Bureau. She also clerked for two New York State judges. Rachel began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Domestic Violence Bureau of the Kings County District Attorney’s office. Rachel serves on the New York City Bar’s Criminal Law Committee.

Rachel, a native Washingtonian, graduated from Fordham University School of Law, where she was a Stein Scholar in Public Interest Law and Ethics and an Archibald R. Murray Public Service Awardee. She earned a joint bachelor’s-master’s degree from Columbia University, where she attended Barnard College and the School of International & Public Affairs. In 2009, she was named one of Columbia University’s 25 Most Influential Athletic Alumnae.

Office: Big Warren 805
(212) 854-7486
[email protected]

To make an appointment with Rachel, please do so via Symplicity.

[email protected]
Office: William and June Warren Hall 807a

Cassandre C. Théano joins Columbia from a career as an international human rights lawyer and advocate. 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.

Currently, she serves as the ABA Section of International Law Diversity and Inclusion Fellow and is an Adjunct Professor at 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), focusing on citizenship and equality. In that capacity, 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 regularly provides advice on strategy, policy, and funding to human rights and advocacy organizations.

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.

Office: William June Warren 807.1
[email protected]

Office: Big Warren 800
(212) 854-3535
[email protected]

Office: Big Warren 800.1
(212) 851-1931
[email protected]

Office: Big Warren 800
(212) 854-3318
[email protected]

Office: Big Warren 800
(212) 854-6158
[email protected]

Haley Harvis is an attorney who has worked in diverse practice areas in big firm, small firm, and non-profit environments. Most recently, in the spring of 2018, Haley was a volunteer attorney at Sanctuary for Families, working on Family Court proceedings with the Courtroom Advocacy Project. Before that she was of counsel to Harvis & Fett, a boutique civil rights firm, where she worked on Section 1983 litigation prosecuting false arrest, malicious prosecution, and police brutality cases. Haley began her legal career as an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell in the litigation department, where she represented multinational corporations in complex regulatory and internal investigations. She also spent time teaching at Poly Prep Lower School in Brooklyn. Haley graduated from Brooklyn Law School cum laude and served as a Notes & Comments editor of the Brooklyn Law Review. She earned a B.A. in child development with a minor in English from Tufts University. While at Tufts, Haley was awarded a University College of Citizenship and Public Service grant.

Please contact Haley to make a counseling appointment. Please e-mail your resume to Haley before your appointment.

Kiran Singh is an attorney with experience working both for the government and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining Social Justice Initiatives, Kiran was Assistant General Counsel at Success Academy Charter Schools, a non-profit organization that runs charter schools in New York City. For five years, Kiran served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. She was a trial attorney responsible for prosecuting hundreds of criminal cases involving domestic violence, weapons, narcotics, assault, robbery, and fraud. At the DA’s Office, she was a member of the Domestic Violence Unit, Hate Crimes Unit, Public Assistance Fraud Unit, and Identity Theft Unit. Kiran received a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She graduated from Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude with a degree in political science. While at Brown, she was awarded the CV Starr Institute Award for Leadership in Public Service.

[email protected]

To make an appointment with Kiran, please do so via Symplicity or via email.

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

Lisa Bornstein '98 is a current Vice President of Strategy & Policy at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Lisa provides policy expertise, organizational leadership, and internal management to the organization and works closely with the Lawyers’ Committee’s policy team to help identify strategies for leveraging the organization’s voice on federal, state, and local policy matters, and works across the organization to help identify strategic opportunities to engage in advocacy and public education.

Lisa previously 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 D.C. 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]

Nyaguthii Chege has experience working in the public and private sectors in the United States and abroad. Most recently she was a career advisor for international, human rights at SJI. Prior to that she was the Director of Career Services at Peking University School of Transnational Law in China. Before that she worked in Washington, DC, first as a staff attorney in the International Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council and then at The World Bank as a consultant advising governments on public sector governance and reform. Nyaguthii graduated from Columbia Law School and received a joint degree in International & Public Affairs from SIPA. She earned a B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College.

Candice Cho '12 
[email protected]   

Candice Cho was most recently the 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 NYC voters in November 2018. 

As Deputy Chief of Staff, Cho supports 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 has drafted, reviewed, and negotiated state and local legislation, and represented the City in trial and appellate litigation.  

As a law student, Cho also 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, D.C., 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

Janet Chung is Advocacy Director at Columbia Legal Services. She was previously Legal & Legislative Counsel at Legal Voice.

Ms. Chung focuses her work on expanding economic justice for women and combating gender discrimination in the workplace and in schools. Ms. Chung’s legislative work includes bills to ensure gender equity in community athletics programs, to protect and expand Washington’s family leave insurance program, and to secure women’s access to unemployment insurance. Her current cases address 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, Ms. Chung 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 & 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. Ms. Chung 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: Berkeley, CA
Practice Area: Housing law

Sharon Djemal will be the Director of the Consumer Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center effective August 22, 2014. Currently, she is a Supervising Attorney and Clinical Instructor in EBCLC’s Housing Practice, where she supervises attorneys and law students in housing litigation (including unlawful detainers, affirmative lawsuits, and administrative proceedings), teaches Berkeley law students civil litigation, research and writing, interviewing skills, negotiations, and ethics, and manages her own active caseload. Prior to her work at EBCLC, Sharon was a Soros Fellow at the Urban Justice Center’s Homelessness Outreach and Prevention Project, where she represented public housing tenants being evicted from their homes based on criminal allegations. Sharon is currently a member of the California State Bar’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Service and serves as a Pro Tem Judge in Contra Costa County. Supervising Attorney & Clinical Instructor, East Bay Community Law Center; J.D., Columbia University School of Law (1998); B.A., Political Science and History, Macalester College (1991).

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

Laila Hlass 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

Laboni Hoq 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

Ed Johnson, a 1993 graduate of Columbia Law School, 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: Dallas, TX
Practice Area: Employment justice/ workers rights

Shana Khader is 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. Prior to joining the EJC, Shana 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.

Before moving to Texas in 2015, 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 Anderson & Kreiger in Boston, where he litigates complex matters and offers environmental and land use counseling to clients, including municipal governments, and public utilities. He assists with environmental due diligence for real estate and corporate transactions and helps secure permits and approvals for industrial facilities and brownfields developers. 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 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. In 2004, 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

After graduating from Columbia Law School in 1997, Kerrie Maloney Laytin 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.

Contact: [email protected]
Location: Newark, NJ
Practice Area: Racial justice, civil rights, advocacy

Andrea McChristian '13 is associate counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. Andrea is 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.

Before joining the Institute, 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: Voting rights

Myrna Perez is Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she works on a variety of voting rights related issues, including efforts to restore the vote to people with felony convictions. Prior to joining the Center, she was the Civil Rights Fellow at Relman & Associates, a civil rights law firm in Washington, D.C. Following law school, she clerked for the Honorable Anita B. Brody of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and for the Honorable Julio M. Fuentes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to law school, she was a policy analyst for the United States General Accounting Office and covered a range of issues including housing and health care.

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, JD/MPH, 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.

Ms. Schleifer 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: Washington, DC/ San Francisco Bay Area
Practice Area: Criminal law

Ned Smock 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. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 2001. 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.