Local Human Rights Lawyering Project Advisory Board (.pdf)

Catherine Albisa is Executive Director of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). Ms. Albisa is a constitutional and human rights lawyer with a background on the right to health. Ms. Albisa also has significant experience working in partnership with community organizers in the use of human rights standards to strengthen advocacy in the United States. She co-founded NESRI along with Sharda Sekaran and Liz Sullivan in order to build legitimacy for human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, in the United States. She is committed to a community-centered and participatory human rights approach that is locally anchored, but universal and global in its vision. Ms. Albisa clerked for the Honorable Mitchell Cohen in the District of New Jersey. She received a BA from the University of Miami and is a graduate of Columbia Law School.

Colin Bailey is the Executive Director at Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. He was formerly a staff attorney with Legal Services of Northern California, an LSC-funded, legal aid organization. Colin received his JD from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, where he participated in the Program in Public Interest Law & Policy and the Critical Race Studies concentration, while studying human rights and international law. Colin regularly trains advocates around the country on the tools of race-conscious community lawyering, a subject on which he has published. Colin has worked for what was then called the World Health Organization's Office of Health and Human Rights and currently represents homeless clients before the United Nations. For the past nearly five years, Colin has served as lead counsel on a complex, community-lead, multi-forum, environmental justice campaign, which includes the preparation of a racial impact statement. Colin lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and daughter.

Susan Bennett is Director of the Community and Economic Development Law Clinic and Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law. She holds expertise in community economic development; nonprofit organizations; law, poverty, and the homeless; legal services for the poor; pro bono legal services; public interest law; federal housing law and programs. Ms. Bennett is also a member of the ABA's Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, she serves as vice chair of the Advisory Committee of the D.C. Bar’s Community Development Project, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Interpreter Bank Project of the District of Columbia’s Access to Justice Commission.  She received an A.B. and M.A. from Yale University and is a graduate of Columbia Law School.

Johanna Bond is an Associate Professor of Law at Washington and Lee School of Law. Ms. Bond’s teaching and scholarship focuses on international human rights law and gender and the law. Before Washington and Lee, Ms. Bond was an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Wyoming and before that a Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center for several years. She also served as the Executive Director of the Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program, a non-profit organization housed at Georgetown. Ms. Bond’s human rights experience includes substantial travel and collaboration with non-governmental organizations around the world, including attending the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Before beginning her teaching career, Ms. Bond was a law clerk for the Honorable Ann D. Montgomery, United States District Court, District of Minnesota from 1997 – 1998. Ms. Bond holds a B.A. from Colorado College, a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and an LL.M from Georgetown University Law Center.

Pamela M. Brown is the Director of the Bi-National Family Violence Project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., an LSC-funded law firm serving low-income clients along the Texas-Mexico border. Pam focuses her practice on assisting survivors of family violence in international family law and child abduction cases. As a recognized expert in the field of international child abduction, Pam provides technical assistance to legal aid attorneys across the United States and has conducted numerous trainings throughout the United States and Mexico. Pam also served as an observer delegate to the Special Commission on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction at The Hague, Netherlands, in October 2006, June 2011 and January 2012. She has received numerous awards of merit from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for her work in recovering abducted children and has reunited over 50 children with their mothers. In 2010, Pam was recognized for her work with the Impact Award from the Poverty Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Pam received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1986. She is licensed to practice law in California and Texas.

Olga Byrne is a 2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright-Schuman Scholar in Europe, studying policy trends toward separated, immigrant children and states’ adherence to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. From 2006-2011, Ms. Byrne worked on two national programs at the Vera Institute of Justice designed to improve access to legal services for immigrants in removal proceedings and played a key role in developing a pilot project to provide direct legal representation (or government-appointed counsel) to detained unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings. She also provided ongoing technical assistance and training to legal service providers, as well as ongoing recommendations to government, for example, by participating in a working group to develop draft regulations for the U.S. Asylum Office on issues pertaining to children. Also at the Vera Institute, Ms. Byrne managed a pilot guardianship project designed to advocate for the best interests of vulnerable, unaccompanied children in accordance with international law and federal anti-trafficking law. Prior to that, Ms. Byrne worked in legal services, representing victims of domestic violence and trafficking victims at University Settlement Society, as well as a commercial litigator at the law firm of Thelen, Reid & Priest. Ms. Byrne graduated cum laude from Fordham University School of Law, completing a portion of her legal studies in French at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and graduated cum laude from Cornell University.

Kevin M. Cremin is the Director of Litigation for Disability and Aging Rights for MFY Legal Services, Inc. (MFY). He supervises MFY’s Adult Home Advocacy Project and coordinates MFY’s affirmative advocacy and litigation involving the rights of people who are elderly or have disabilities. Mr. Cremin has litigated numerous cases in federal, state, and local courts, including, with co-counsel, Disability Advocates, Inc. v. Paterson, which resulted in a finding that New York State discriminated against approximately 4,300 individuals with disabilities. In 2006, Mr. Cremin received a fellowship to conduct a study to determine whether law and public policy should be reformed to facilitate better community-based services for individuals with psychiatric disabilities in India. He has also worked for the West Side SRO Law Project and Legal Services NYC. After clerking for a federal district court judge and a federal appellate court judge, he was a Trial Attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. Mr. Cremin is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. He has published numerous articles on the rights of individuals with disabilities, and he is an adjunct at Cardozo Law School and Columbia Law School.

Timothy M. Curry is the Managing Attorney at the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC), where he focuses on training and support of juvenile defense attorneys around the country. Prior to joining NJDC, Mr. Curry worked as the Supervising Attorney in the Criminal Division of D.C. Law Students in Court, where he represented indigent adults and juveniles charged with crimes inWashington, DCandsupervised the clinical practice ofstudents from the George Washington and Catholic University law schools. Mr. Curry has also worked as an E. Barrett Prettyman Post-Graduate Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center, where he maintained a defense practice and supervised student clinical work in thejuvenile court. Prior to that, Mr. Curry clerked for the Honorable John Ramsey Johnson, Associate Judge at D.C Superior Court. Mr. Curry has alsovolunteered with various criminal defense and human rights organizations, both domestically and internationally, such as the D.C. Public Defender Service, DITSWHANELO – the Botswana Centre for Human Rights, and the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Prior to earning his law degree, Mr. Curry worked with various humanitarian relief and refugee organizations in West Africa and as a television and magazine journalist. Mr. Curry holds an LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center, a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, and a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University.

Martha F. Davis is Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law.  Ms. Davis teaches Women’s Rights Lawyering, Constitutional Law and Professional Responsibility. She is also a faculty director for the law school’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy.  Ms. Davis has written widely on women’s rights, poverty and human rights. In addition to her numerous articles, she recently co-edited Bringing Human Rights Home, a three-volume work chronicling the US human rights movement. In 2008, Bringing Human Rights Home was named one of the “best books in the field of human rights” by the US Human Rights Network; an abridged version was published in 2009 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Ms. Davis’s book, Brutal Need: Lawyers and the Welfare Rights Movement, received the Reginald Heber Smith Award for distinguished scholarship on the subject of equal access to justice, and was also honored by the American Bar Association in its annual Silver Gavel competition. Recently, she filed an amicus brief arguing for the relevance of international law in a domestic force feeding case.  Prior to joining the law faculty in 2002, Ms. Davis was vice president and legal director for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. As a women’s rights practitioner, she was counsel in a number of cases before the US Supreme Court, including Nguyen v. INS, a challenge to sex-based citizenship laws that Professor Davis argued before the court. Professor Davis has also served as a fellow at the Bunting Institute, as the first Kate Stoneman Visiting Professor of Law and Democracy at Albany Law School and as a Soros Reproductive Rights Fellow.During 2008-2009, Ms. Davis was a visiting fellow at the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, and a non-resident fellow of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  Ms. Davis chairs the board of directors of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and serves on the editorial board of the Harvard School of Public Health’s publication Health and Human Rights. She is also an appointed member of the Massachusetts State Advisory Committee of the US Commission on Civil Rights.  Ms. Davis holds an A.B. from Harvard University, an M.A. from Oxford University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.

Davida Finger is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law where she teaches the Community Justice section of the Law Clinic. She has also taught the Law & Poverty course and Social Justice Lawyering seminar. She joined Loyola in 2006 to work with what was formerly the Katrina clinic.In collaboration with community organizations, Professor Finger has worked extensively on disaster-related litigation and policy matters focusing on government accountability in rebuilding. She also works on civil rights and human rights litigation and advocacy. Professor Finger received Loyola University College of Law's 2010 Gills Long service award and the 2010 Loyola University Faculty Senate service award. She was the 2011-12 chair of the Association of American Law Schools poverty law section.

Lynsay Gott is Senior Associate with WMR Immigration Law Group.  Ms. Gott received her J.D. from University of Cincinnati College of the Law, and was the recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship upon graduation in 2007.  Her fellowship project, carried out at Human Rights USA, involved working to close the loopholes in U.S. law that limited the availability of asylum protections for trafficked persons and mandated the return of some to the countries of origin where they were originally victimized.  She remained with Human Rights USA upon completion of the fellowship, eventually becoming the Acting Executive Director, and her work expanded to pursuing civil remedies for survivors of human rights abuses.  She joined WMR Immigration Law Group in 2012 and currently helps clients receive humanitarian protection such as asylum, as well as other forms of immigration relief.  Ms. Gott is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars.

Amber Harding is a staff attorney and founder and director of the David M Booth Disability Rights Initiative at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.  Ms. Harding joined the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless in 2003 as a Steptoe & Johnson Equal Justice Works Fellow after receiving a law degree from Georgetown University and a degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona. Through direct legal representation and policy advocacy, Ms. Harding advocates for the rights of District of Columbia residents with disabilities to equal access to emergency shelter and housing.  Her work focuses on improving the disability-rights compliance of DC, particularly the DC-funded emergency shelter system; developing, improving, and monitoring subsidized housing resources (including permanent supportive housing); enforcing the right to shelter in severe weather; improving access to the courts for persons with disabilities; and fighting zoning discrimination and “NIMBYism” that prevent the siting of affordable housing and supportive services across the city.  In 2007, she received the Citizen Advocate award from the DC Center for Independent Living. In 2011, her work on improving the accessibility of emergency shelters was cited as a “particularly noteworthy” example of a successful reform campaign by the Shriver Center’s Federal Practice Manual for Legal Aid Attorneys.

Hadar Harris is the Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. Ms. Harris is an international human rights attorney and specializes in issues of civil and political rights, gender equality, and domestic implementation of international norms. She has worked extensively in assessing and reviewing national compliance with international human rights treaties, working both with NGOs and governmental bodies and advising on implementation of recommendations.  She has assisted in developing shadow reports, government reports or trained government and civil society representatives on a variety of treaties in various parts of the world including Botswana, Israel, Lao PDR, Macedonia, Armenia, Kosovo, and the United States. She created the Center’s Human Rights in the US program ten years ago and has worked closely with NGO partners to train and empower activists to integrate human rights into their advocacy in the US. Previously, she lived and worked in Jerusalem where she was the Director of Program and Resource Development for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). She also formerly served as the Executive Director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a bipartisan legislative service organization of the United States House of Representatives (now the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission). Ms. Harris has her B.A. in Political Science from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and her J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Matt Hill is a staff Attorney at Public Justice Center (PJC).  Mr. Hill’s primary focus is spearheading the PJC’s new initiative to enforce recently enacted state and federal laws that protect tenants when the landlord enters foreclosure. In 2008-2009, he was the Francis D. Murnaghan Appellate Advocacy Fellow at the PJC.  Before PJC, Mr. Hill clerked for the Honorable Deborah S. Eyler on the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. While in law school, Matt interned at the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, working on various aspects of Maryland development law, HUD regulations, and fair housing law. As a member of his law school’s Community and Economic Development Clinic, he represented a tenants’ organization seeking to purchase and transform their building into a cooperative.  Before law school, Mr. Hill taught eighth grade at Mother Seton Academy, a school for "at risk" youth in Baltimore City. Prior to teaching, he interned at the Homeless Persons Representation Project promoting the rights of day laborers and working to kill repressive panhandling legislation in Baltimore City. Mr. Hill graduated summa cum laude from Loyola College in Maryland and summa cum laude from American University Washington College of Law.

Sarah Hymowitz is a staff attorney at Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ). For the past six years, Ms. Hymowitz has been an advocate in LSNJ’s Worker’s Legal Rights Project, where she represents low-income clients in a variety of employment-related cases. Ms. Hymowitz’s primary focus is unemployment and wage and hour cases, but she has represented clients in matters ranging from employment discrimination to human trafficking. She practices in state court, federal court, and administrative courts. Ms. Hymowitz graduated from Douglass College, Rutgers University and American University Washington College of Law, where she received an award for her work in the International Human Rights Clinic and was an editor-in-chief of the Human Rights Brief.

Maha Jweied is a Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative, where she coordinates the international component of the office’s mission of exchanging information with foreign ministries of justice and judicial systems on respective efforts to improve access to justice. In addition to organizing a convening on International Perspectives on Indigent Defense and co-authoring the report of that meeting, with colleagues from the National Institute of Justice, she recently served as the U.S. Government representative at the International Legal Aid Group’s bi-annual conference. She also coordinated efforts between the Legal Services Corporation and the U.S. Department of State to issue guidance to LSC-grantees clarifying that they can represent foreign indigent parents in Hague Abduction Convention cases. Prior to joining the Department, she was a senior attorney-advisor at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and spent time at Mizan Law Group for Human Rights, a Jordanian human rights NGO. Ms. Jweied served as a law clerk to Judge Shahabuddeen of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She received a BA from The George Washington University in Middle Eastern Studies, JD from Columbia Law School, and LLM in Public International Law from the London School of Economics.

Risa E. Kaufman is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Institute and a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia Law School. At HRI, Ms. Kaufman works to advance international human rights norms and strategies in the United States by developing legal theories and advocacy strategies using international human rights standards and mechanisms to address economic justice in the United States; directing the Institute’s treaty implementation initiative; coordinating the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers’ Network; developing human rights training programs for practicing attorneys; and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Institute. Ms. Kaufman also serves on the steering committee of the Human Rights at Home Campaign, which seeks to build a stronger federal and local infrastructure for human rights monitoring and enforcement in the United States. Ms. Kaufman has extensive experience in public interest litigation, advocacy and legal education with a special focus on women’s rights, poverty law, and access to justice. Prior to joining HRI, she engaged in impact litigation, policy initiatives, direct services, and public education focusing on welfare, housing rights, racial profiling, domestic violence, access to legal services, rights of incarcerated persons, and voting rights. She served as associate counsel for the Community Service Society of New York, as a Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at the law firm of Gibbons, P.C., and as a Skadden Fellow at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum). Ms. Kaufman has taught at Fordham Law School, Seton Hall Law School and New York University School of Law, where, immediately prior to joining Columbia, she was an acting assistant professor in the Lawyering Program. Ms.Kaufman holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Snow Scholar, and clerked for Judge Ira DeMent in the U.S. District Court in Montgomery, Alabama. She holds a B.A. from Tulane University.

Sarah Paoletti directs the Transnational Legal Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, which focuses on international human rights and immigration law. Students enrolled in the clinic engage in direct legal representation of individual and organizational clients in a myriad of cases and projects that require them to grapple with international and comparative legal norms in settings that cut across cultures, borders, languages, and legal systems. Before coming to Penn Law, Paoletti taught in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University Washington College of Law, where she also taught a seminar on the labor and employment rights of immigrant workers. Her areas of specialty include international human rights, migrant and immigrant rights, asylum law, and labor and employment. She has presented on the rights of migrant workers before the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and also works closely with advocates seeking application of international human rights norms in the United States.  Ms. Paoletti holds a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law and a B.A. from Yale University.

Wendy Pollack is the founder and Director of the Women's Law and Policy Project (WLPP) at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. The WLPP draws on the experiences of women and girls and brings those experiences to the forefront in the Shriver Center's analysis of poverty and the development of solutions to end poverty permanently. Wendy works extensively on public benefits and work supports, workforce and economic development, education, employment, family law, violence against women and girls, gender equity in schools, and other issues affecting low-income women and girls, on the local, state, and federal level. She is the editor of WomanView, a newsletter on developments in legal issues affecting low-income women and girls. Wendy was awarded the 2011 Kutak-Dodds Prize from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association which honors the accomplishments ofattorneys who, through the practice of law, are contributing in a significant way to the enhancement of human dignity and quality of life of those persons unable to afford legal representation.

Jayesh Rathod is an Assistant Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law. His areas of expertise and scholarly interests include immigrants’ rights, labor and employment, occupational safety and health, and the intersection of law and organizing. Prior to joining the faculty, he was a Staff Attorney at CASA of Maryland, representing low-wage immigrant workers on employment law and immigration matters, and participating in worker education, organizing, and advocacy efforts. He also practiced in the litigation section at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering LLP, and was law clerk to the Honorable Louis F. Oberdorfer, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Over the course of his career, Mr. Rathod has worked with numerous non-governmental organizations to advance the civil and human rights of communities in the United States and abroad.  Mr. Rathod holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and an A.B from Harvard University.

Alice Riener is the Director of Housing Services at NO/AIDS Task Force in New Orleans, where she works to provide supportive housing services to low-income disabled people to ensure that they remain housed, and direct housing assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS. Prior to her current position, Ms. Riener spent three years working as a staff attorney in the housing law unit at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS). While at SLLS, she represented low income clients in eviction court and administrative hearings involving housing assistance. She also participated in various advocacy initiatives with the local housing authority, HUD, and FEMA. During law school, Ms. Riener clerked at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica and participated in the Fall 2005 Committee Against Torture meetings in Geneva as a research assistant. She also interned at the Observatory for Indigenous Rights in Temuco, Chile, and worked as a research assistant for the Public International Law and Policy Group focusing on Kosovo. Ms. Rienerholds a B.A. from Columbia University and she is a 2007 graduate of American University Washington College of Law.

Eric Tars is Director of Human Rights and Children’s Rights Programs at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. In his human rights capacity, he works with homelessness and housing advocacy organizations to train and strategically utilize human rights as a component of their work. In his youth rights capacity, he works to protect homeless students' rights to education and advocates for homeless youth and families through trainings, litigation, and policy advocacy at the national and local levels. Before coming to the Law Center, Mr. Tars was a Fellow with Global Rights' U.S. Racial Discrimination Program and consulted with Columbia University Law School's Human Rights Institute and the US Human Rights Network. Mr. Tars’ work has spanned the country and the globe. He coordinated the involvement of hundreds of organizations in the hearings of the U.S. before the UN Committee Against Torture and Human Rightsin 2006. Mr. Tars has conducted numerous trainings on integrating human rights strategies into domestic advocacy, and he currently serves as the chair of the US Human Rights Network's training committee. Mr. Tars received his J.D. as a Global Law Scholar at the Georgetown University Law Center, and during that time served as a research assistant to Prof. Mari Matsuda, as a legal assistant at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and as law clerk at Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, a law firm specializing in non-profit law. He received his B.A. in political science from Haverford College and studied international human rights in Vienna at the Institute for European Studies and at the University of Vienna.

Stephanie Troyer is a Supervising Attorney in the Family Law and Domestic Violence Unit at the Legal Aid Society of DC, where she represents litigants in custody, child support, divorce, and civil protection order cases. With partner organization Bread for the City, Ms. Troyer designed and oversees a court-based community legal services office in the Paternity and Support Branch of the DC Superior Court to provide same-day representation to litigants. In addition to litigation work, Ms. Troyer is active in law reform efforts, most recently relating to the processes for the appointment of guardians ad litem and child support enforcement. While she has spent most of her legal career as a poverty law attorney, Ms. Troyer also served as the Legislative Counsel for the National Abortion Federation. Prior to joining Legal Aid, Ms. Troyer was an Assistant Public Defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before law school, she was a domestic and international policy assistant at the Center for Reproductive Rights. Ms. Troyer received an A.B. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Nathalie Walker is Co-Director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (AEHR).  AEHR is a nonprofit, public interest law firm whose mission is to provide legal services, community organizing support, public education, and campaigns focused on defending and advancing the human right to a healthy environment, and advocating for the human rights of internally displaced Gulf Coast hurricane survivors.  Since 1991, Ms. Walker has provided legal counsel and advocacy support that have helped community organizations win important environmental justice victories. In 2003, Ms. Walker, along with Monique Harden, co-founded AEHR. Ms. Walker has authored and co-authored numerous reports and papers on environmental justice and human rights issues. Her advocacy work has been featured in television and print news, as well as books, magazines, and documentaries.  Ms. Walker is a graduate of Tulane University Law School (1981), and received an M.A. (1973) and B.A. (1972) from the University of Michigan.

R. Michael Waller is a staff attorney and litigator with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Enforcement. Before joining the FTC, he worked for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., providing legal representation to indigent and low income clients in housing, domestic violence, employment, and consumer protection cases. In addition, he practiced in the financial institutions group at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr LLP. Mr. Waller graduated from the University of the South (Sewanee); the Maxwell School for Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University; Vanderbilt Divinity School, Vanderbilt University; and he is a 2005 graduate of American University Washington College of Law.