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Advisers

Catherine Pattanayak ’04, Assistant Dean for Public Service
Judy Murciano, Associate Director and Director of Fellowships
Jillian Tuck, Assistant Director for J.D. and LL.M. Advising
Elizabeth Shirey, Assistant Director for J.D. Advising
Joan Ruttenberg ’82, Assistant Director for Government Advising and Director, Heyman Fellowship Program
Rachel Pemstein, Assistant Director for Alumni Advising
Tina Fitanides, Seasonal Attorney Adviser
Virginia (Ginny) Greiman, Seasonal Attorney Adviser
Maria Cecilia (“Cecilia”) Ercole, Wasserstein Fellow in Residence

Administration

Micah Nemiroff, Assistant Director for Programs and Recruitment
Eden Miller, Fellowships Coordinator/Staff Assistant

Catherine Pattanayak

Catherine Pattanayak ’04, Esq.

Assistant Dean for Public Service

Catherine Pattanayak (she/her) joined OPIA in 2009 after a career in health law. She has prior legal experience in the private sector and in government, having served as an attorney with the National Institutes of Health Branch of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the General Counsel. Before law school, she worked on bioterrorism policy with a small think tank in Washington, D.C. She received her B.A. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was a member of the BSA. She cares deeply about listening to students and supporting them in their individual career journeys and is a recipient of the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Recognition Award from the Class of 2015 and the 2018 Student Government Teaching & Advising Award.

Ask me about: general career planning, imposter syndrome, following your own path at HLS, civil rights work, public defense, prosecution, carceral system reform, environmental law, government at all levels, health law, career transitions, and dual planning (between the public and private sectors).

In my free time, I enjoy: spending time with my 10-year-old, jigsaw puzzles, visiting old school amusement parks (and in particular, Claw machines), watching Survivor and a healthy amount of HGTV, live comedy shows, and listening to music (let me know what’s on your playlist!).

Types of Advising 

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic
  • Post-Clerkship
Judith Murciano

Judith Murciano

Associate Director and Director of Fellowships

Judy (she/her) holds a faculty position, advises on fellowships, and has served as a resident dean, supporting students’ diverse academic and career trajectories. Prior to joining OPIA as one of its original team members, Judy worked as Legislative and Acting Exec. Dir. of ACLU-NJ, chaired the Bar’s Juvenile Justice Comm., supervised the Farmworkers’ Rights Project, clerked in the Bronx criminal courts, and led the National Comm. on Capital Punishment. Always encouraging creative contributions to the public interest, Judy wrote for The New Yorker, The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and Radio Free Europe, while working for Amnesty International in Paris, and helping to free political prisoners in Africa, Russia, and Asia. She taught at Harvard and Princeton, and researched her Ph.D. dissertation on censorship supported by fellowships at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the Conway Prize, and Faculty Innovation grants. Judy also received the Dean’s Award for Excellence and the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Recognition Award at HLS, and is a certified grant-writer, negotiator, and mediator.

Ask me about: general career planning, fellowships/scholarships, non-profits, entrepreneurship, civil rights/civil liberties work, academia, international clerkships, human rights work, medical/legal partnerships, dual tracks (clerkship/fellowships), cyberlaw, immigrant, racial justice work and thinking-outside-the box.

In my free time I enjoy: time with my son and daughter, connecting with friends (near and far), playing the piano, reading foreign-language newspapers, tennis, and ghostwriting books and scripts for famous people.

Types of Advising:

  • Fellowships
  • Post-Clerkship
Jillian Tuck

Jillian Tuck, Esq.

Assistant Director for J.D. and LL.M. Advising

Jillian Tuck (she/her) joined OPIA in 2019 after a career in international human rights where she held both legal and non-legal roles. She has lived and worked in Guatemala, Southeast Asia, and the U.S., engaging in a diverse range of social change strategies, from grantmaking to policy advocacy to grassroots organizing. Insatiably curious and eager to engage in challenging conversations, Jillian is also a certified leadership coach and facilitator. She has a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law (where she has taught immigration and refugee law), a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and an Executive Coaching Certificate from the U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Ask me about: general career planning, movement lawyering, domestic and international nonprofits, doing public interest work as an international student, getting in right relationship with impacted communities, burnout, how to make law school feel relevant to your vision of a more just world.

In my free time, I enjoy: walks in the woods, reading fiction, dance parties, fighting the patriarchy.

Types of Advising:

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic
  • J.D. General Advising – International
  • LL.M./International J.D. General Advising
Elizabeth Shirey

Elizabeth Shirey, Esq.

Assistant Director for J.D. Advising

Elizabeth Shirey (she/her/hers) joined OPIA in 2020 after serving on active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps in central Virginia. She has prior legal practice experience in university in-house counsel and direct legal services settings in Los Angeles, and pre-law-school policy advocacy experience around the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth spent much of her time in law school dedicated to expanding clinical opportunities for law students to serve homeless veterans, and spent both summers in federal government. She holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a B.A. in Political Science and French from Wellesley College.

Ask me about: general career planning, working in government, military service, student loan considerations, and going against the tide to stay true to your own goals.

In my free time, I enjoy: running, watching Turner Classic Movies, and taking my lovable Labrador on outings.

Types of Advising

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic
Joan Ruttenberg

Joan Ruttenberg ’82, Esq.

Assistant Director for Government Advising and Director of the Heyman Fellowship

Joan Ruttenberg (she/her) has been with OPIA since 2004. Prior to that, she was a Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General, taught health law, health care economics and legal studies, and completed a clerkship on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and a teaching fellowship at the University of Chicago Law School. She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois, where she was active in women’s health care and rape crisis organizations, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1982. Having experienced an HLS with virtually no support for public interest-minded students, Joan is passionate about offering information, guidance, and full-throated encouragement for all HLS students now.

Ask me about: general career planning, government work of all kinds, the U.S. Department of Justice, careers in health law, federal background checks and security clearances, how to combine public and private sector work, and the importance of life outside the law.

In my free time, I enjoy: taking modern dance classes, watching dance of every sort, looking at birds through binoculars, hanging out in the Berkshires, and spending time with my three grown kids (none of whom is a lawyer.)

Types of Advising

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic
  • Government
  • Post-Clerkship
Rachel Pemstein

Rachel Pemstein, Esq.

Assistant Director for Alumni Advising

Rachel Pemstein (she/her/hers) joined OPIA in 2018 after having roles in a variety of practice settings including BigLaw (where she focused on healthcare work), a nonprofit, civil legal services and HLS’ own Office of Career Services. She graduated University of Chicago Law School, where she devoted much of her time to the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic and the Illinois Clemency Project for Battered Women, and received her B.A. in economics from Barnard College.

Ask me about: post-graduate career planning, transitioning from private sector to public interest work or across issue areas, incorporating pro bono work into your practice or volunteer efforts, holistic work environments, working a part-time schedule and general career advice.

In my free time, I enjoy: taking long walks, volunteering with my synagogue and community groups, gardening, any kind of beach time, Law & Order (sorry, not sorry), New England day trips, spending time with my husband and two grown sons, and traveling anywhere!

Types of Advising

  • Alumni
  • Post-Clerkship
Tina Fitanides

Tina Fitanides, Esq.

Seasonal Attorney Adviser

Tina Fitanides (she/her) has been a Seasonal Attorney Advisor with OPIA since 2018, advising students on a part time basis while also working as a Special Education Attorney/Advocate with a focus on helping low and moderate-income parents navigate the special education system. She worked in legal services for more than 15 years on special education, domestic violence, child protection and family/elder law issues. She has extensive experience in both direct client services and systemic advocacy work with her professional passion being policy advocacy. Tina held several policy related positions while in law school at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and prior to law school served as a Legislative Assistant for the Massachusetts State Senate.

Ask me about: general career planning, education issues (special education, school discipline, equity in education), children’s issues, legal services, policy formulation and advocacy, systemic advocacy, non-profits, state and local government, work life integration.

In my free time, I enjoy: relaxing with my family and friends, playing games and watching movies with my tween and teenage sons (when they indulge me), hikes near the ocean or in the woods, watching cheesy reality TV, listening to audiobooks, and traveling (on hold for the time being).

Types of Advising

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic
Virginia (Ginny) Greiman

Virginia (Ginny) Greiman, Esq.

Seasonal Attorney Adviser

Ginny Greiman (she/her) has held several positions with the federal government including international legal counsel to the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development, and the World Bank in Eastern and Central Europe, Africa, and Asia, leading programs on privatization, infrastructure development, and legal reform. She served as Deputy Chief Legal Counsel to Boston’s $14.7 billion-dollar Central Artery Tunnel Project, and as an Advisor to London’s Crossrail Project, India’s Smart Cities Projects and China’s One Belt One Road Projects. She also served as a teaching assistant to the Trial Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School and as an Associate Faculty to the Kennedy School of Government, Carr Center on Human Trafficking and is a member of the faculty at Boston University School of Law.

Ask me about: international law and development, government service including federal, state, and international opportunities, intergovernmental organizations, and conservative and libertarian public interest advising.

In my free time, I enjoy: international travel, research projects, and community service.

Types of Advising

  • J.D. General Advising – International
  • LL.M./International J.D. General Advising
  • Conservative/Libertarian
  • Government
Maria Cecilia Ercole

Maria Cecilia (“Cecilia”) Ercole

Wasserstein Fellow in Residence

María Cecilia (“Cecilia”) Ercole (She/Her/Hers) is an international human rights lawyer. Over the past 8 years, she has been a Human Rights Officer and an Analyst at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Beirut and La Paz. María Cecilia supported the work of the OHCHR Humanitarian Funds for Victims of Torture and Modern Slavery, the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture, the Individual Communications Procedures of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies, and the OHCHR Technical Mission in Bolivia, including human rights monitoring and reporting during presidential elections. Additionally, as Analyst of the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, María Cecilia conducted investigations and analysis of human rights and IHL violations and abuses occurring in the context of the armed conflict in Yemen. She currently supports the OHCHR Sri Lanka Accountability Project as Analyst with a focus on transitional justice efforts.

Before joining the UN, María Cecilia worked in the private sector in Buenos Aires on investment and commercial arbitration cases. She also worked for national Argentinian NGOs advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities, LGBTI and asylum-seekers. She also worked for the CCPR Centre and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in Geneva, and for the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) in Washington, D.C., representing victims before the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights. She earned her law degree from the Buenos Aires University and her LL.M diploma from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Ask Me About: career pathways to the United Nations, transitioning between private and public sector, non-profit work, general career planning, networking, skill building, say NO to ‘self-rejection,’ human rights project management, human rights and international humanitarian law fact-finding/investigative work, advocacy.

In my free time, I enjoy:acting (last December I played the ghost of Christmas Present in an adapted version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol), taking singing lessons, learning Arabic, travelling, engaging in everlasting conversations with friends back home, cooking new recipes, discovering hidden restaurants, coffee shops and food markets 

Types of Advising: 

  • J.D. General Advising – International 
  • LL.M./International J.D. General Advising 
Micah Nemiroff

Micah Nemiroff

Assistant Director for Programs and Recruitment

Micah Nemiroff (he/him) joined OPIA from Harvard Medical School where he worked in a curriculum support office. Prior to Harvard Medical School, Micah worked on campaigns in Southeastern Pennsylvania and as a government relations intern with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. He received his B.A. in history and political science from Syracuse University in Upstate New York. Micah is an avid hiker who enjoys getting out to the White Mountains at every opportunity. He also enjoys music, and has played drums for over 20 years. Micah was also a 2014 recipient of the Harvard Heroes award.

Ask me about: Collaborating, planning, communicating about events in and around HLS; assisting with any public interest recruiting activities you might want to hold on campus!

In my free time, I enjoy: seeing the world through the lens of my five-year-old daughter, exploring Mass Audubon and Trustees of the Reservation properties around Massachusetts, and all things related to music, including amateurish drumming.

Eden Miller

Fellowships Coordinator/Staff Assistant

Eden Miller (she/her) coordinates the administration of OPIA’s fellowships and manages OPIA’s office operations. Prior to joining the OPIA team, Eden attended Tufts University where she graduated magna cum laude with B.A.s in Philosophy and Film and Media Studies. While at Tufts, Eden was an actor, writer, and eventually the executive producer for The Institute Sketch Comedy. She worked as a tour guide and intern for Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions and served as a mobilization intern on a U.S. Senatorial campaign.

Ask me about: OPIA’s fellowship process from general questions on timelines and dates, to specific inquiries on submitting applications; whether you should get bangs (I promise I’ll be honest).

In my free time, I enjoy: running, jogging, walking, strolling, ambling, meandering, and making lists.