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Advisors

Catherine Pattanayak ’04, Director and Interim Assistant Dean for Public Service
Judy Murciano, Associate Director and Director of Fellowships
Joan Ruttenberg ’82, Director, Heyman Fellowship Program
Rachel Pemstein, Assistant Director for Alumni Advising
Tina Fitanides, Attorney Advisor
Dan Ahearn, Attorney Advisor
Virginia (Ginny) Greiman, Attorney Advisor
Adejoké Babington-Ashaye, OPIA/Human Rights Program Wasserstein Fellow-in-Residence
Sabrineh Ardalan, Immigration Attorney Advisor, Assistant Clincial Professor of Law, Assistant Director of Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic

Administrative

Micah Nemiroff, Assistant Director for Programs and Recruitment
Linda Braden, Assistant Director, Communications and Systems Management
Tasha Griffiths, Fellowships and Operations Associate


Catherine
Catherine Pattanayak ’04, Esq., Director and Interim Assistant Dean for Public Service, joined OPIA in the spring of 2009 after practicing law in both the public and private sectors. Before joining OPIA, Catherine worked as a senior attorney with the NIH Branch of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the General Counsel. During her three year tenure at HHS, Catherine served as the lead Branch attorney for grants policy, compliance and enforcement issues and international legal issues, and received, among other performance awards, three NIH Director’s Awards, the highest award given by the NIH. Prior to her government service, Catherine worked as a health care associate in the Boston office of Ropes & Gray LLP. Catherine is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School (’04), where she served on the Board of Student Advisers, and a magna cum laude graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (’99). Between college and law school, Catherine worked as a Research Analyst with the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute in Washington, DC. Catherine was a 2014 recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence, received the Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Recognition Award from the Class of 2015, and received the 2018 HLS Student Government Teaching & Advising Award.

Areas of Expertise

  • Civil rights and civil liberties
  • Criminal justice reform
  • Criminal prosecution and defense
  • Department of Justice
  • Federal government
  • Environmental law
  • Health law
  • Nonprofits
  • State and local government
  • Women’s issues

Types of Advising 

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic
  • J.D. General Advising – International
  • LL.M. and International J.D.

Judy Murciano
Judith Murciano, Esq., is the Associate Director and Director of Fellowships in the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising at Harvard Law School.  She holds a faculty appointment and has advised students on fellowships, supervised dozens of public interest programs, including the Ford Public Interest Program, served as resident dean for thousands of Harvard University students, and wrote and edited public interest law publications over two decades. She has taught (Constitutional Law, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.) at Harvard and Princeton University and her Ph.D. dissertation on censorship was supported by fellowships at Cambridge and Oxford Universities. She has won numerous teaching awards and Faculty Innovation grants. Judith served as Legislative Director (testified on more than 2,000 pieces of civil liberties legislation) and Acting Executive Director of the NJ-ACLU, chaired the NJ Bar’s Juvenile Justice Comm., supervised the ACLU Farmworkers Project, and clerked for a NY Supreme Court Justice & worked in the Bronx criminal courts. She has written political essays for The New Yorker and The New York Times, as well as human rights articles for the International Herald Tribune and Radio Free Europe, while working for Amnesty International in Paris. A recipient of Dean’s Award for Excellence (2008) and Suzanne L. Richardson Staff Award (class of 2010) at HLS, Judith is a certified grant-writer, negotiator and mediator, as a well as a principal associate in an international consulting firm focused on the Middle East and Asia.  Most recently, she is working on issues involving cyber-trafficking and systemic justice.

Areas of Expertise

  • Fellowships

Types of Advising:

  • Fellowships
  • Post-Clerkship

Joan Ruttenberg ’82, Esq., Director of the Heyman Fellowship program, joined OPIA in the fall of 2004. Joan’s professional experience spans both academia and government law practice. For many years, Joan taught health law, political science, health economics and legal research and writing in a variety of academic settings: Boston University School of Law, the University of Chicago Law School, Northeastern University Law School, Brandeis University, Wellesley College, and the Graduate Program for Health Care Administration at Simmons College. Prior to teaching, she served as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, with responsibility for administrative litigation, rulemaking and legislative activities concerning health care and insurance. Before beginning law practice, Joan clerked for Judge Francis D. Murnaghan on the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Baltimore and was a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. Joan is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois (’78) and a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School (’82).

Areas of Expertise

  • Criminal prosecution
  • Cyberlaw
  • Department of Justice
  • Election law
  • Federal government
  • Health law
  • State and local government
  • U.S. Attorney careers

Types of Advising

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

Rachel Pemstein, Esq., has returned to Harvard Law School in 2017 as the Assistant Director for Alumni Advising after having been the Director of Bet Tzedek Legal Services of Jewish Family & Children’s.  A cum laude graduate of Barnard College (’90) and The University of Chicago Law School (’94), Rachel has worked in a variety of legal settings and has always participated in a variety of public interest efforts. In law school, Rachel served the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic and the Illinois Clemency Project for Battered Women. Upon graduation, Rachel launched her career at the Boston law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart where she practiced healthcare law. After, she worked with in-house counsel at the Massachusetts Medical Society. She then became a J.D. Advisor with the Harvard Law School Office of Career Services where she worked with students embarking on their own legal careers. Most recently, during her 11 years at JF & CS Bet Tzedek, Rachel directed the integration of legal services into the agency’s health and human services delivery model and oversaw growth of the program to serve the needs of its most vulnerable clients. Rachel is passionate about the legal rights of the underserved, especially domestic abuse and hunger issues among the low-income community.

Areas of Expertise 

  • Legal services
  • Nonprofits

Types of Advising

  • Alumni
  • Post-Clerkship
  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic (1Ls and 2Ls only)

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Tina Fitanides, Esq., Attorney Advisor, is currently a Policy Analyst with Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC) where she focuses on all stages of legislative and administrative advocacy campaigns related to autism and special education issues to help ensure children with disabilities have access to necessary services and supports. Prior to her time at MAC, Tina practiced as a Staff Attorney at Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts (now called Community Legal Aid) in Worcester, MA where she litigated family law and domestic violence cases. While there, she also participated the legislative committees of both the Family Law Task Force and the Governor’s Commission on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Tina also practiced at the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse in Alexandria, VA where she provided case and research assistance to Prosecutors and law makers nationwide on issues related to child abuse and neglect and domestic violence. Tina held several policy related positions while in law school at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and prior to law school served as a Legislative Aid at the Massachusetts State House.

Areas of Expertise

  • Children’s issues
  • Education issues
  • Legal services
  • Nonprofits
  • State and local government

Types of Advising

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic

Daniel Ahearn, Esq., Attorney Advisor, practices disability, special education, education, and children’s law. Dan provides representation in special education matters for children in state custody; provides consultation and training on legal issues for schools and parents; and serves as a mediator in special education disputes. Dan currently teaches a Children & Disability Law course at Suffolk University Law School, teaches in the First Year Program at Boston University School of Law and works in the education field at the Landmark School. He chairs the annual Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) seminars, Key Issues in Special Education and School Law Basics; is a contributing author to School Law (a MCLE publication), and has authored legal guides for parents for the Learning Disabilities Association. His background includes work as the Director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals; as Senior Attorney at the Disability Law Center, focused in the areas of special education and disability law; as Managing Attorney at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, where he provided counsel and representation for psychiatric facilities and programs, and as a law clerk to federal judge Robert J. Yock. He received his M.A. in Education from Tufts University and his law degree from Suffolk University Law School where he served as an editor on the Suffolk Law Review.

Areas of Expertise

  • Children’s issues
  • Disability law
  • Education issues
  • Health law

Types of Advising

  • J.D. General Advising – Domestic

Virginia (Ginny) Greiman, Esq., Attorney Advisor, has more than 20 years of experience in federal and state government public policy positions as an appointee of the U.S. Attorney General to the U.S. Department of Justice, as an international consultant to the U.S. Department of State in Eastern and Central Europe, as well as an Administrative Law Judge and General Counsel to several State agencies. Presently, she is the Deputy Director and Chief Legal Counsel, Executive Office of Economic Development, Department of Business and Technology for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Before this appointment, she served as Litigation Counsel and Director of Risk Management to the Central Artery/Tunnel Project. She has extensive teaching experience as an adjunct and visiting professor of International and Corporate Law at Georgetown University Law Center, Boston University School of Law, and as a faculty fellow to Oxford University in Comparative International Law. She also serves as a teaching assistant to the Trial Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School. Ginny has served on many boards including Women in World Trade, the Massachusetts Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance, and the British American Business Council of New England and she is a member of the Federalist Society. She has published extensively and lectures internationally. Ginny holds a B.S. Degree from Pennsylvania State University, M.Ed. from Boston University, J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and LL.M. from Boston University School of Law.

Areas of Expertise

  • Department of Justice
  • Domestic and international economic development
  • Federal government
  • State and local government
  • International government

Types of Advising

  • J.D. General Advising – International
  • LL.M./International J.D. General Advising
  • Conservative/Libertarian

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For Fall 2019 Semester Only

Adejoké Babington-Ashaye is a versatile international lawyer with extensive experience in public international law, international criminal law and the international settlement of disputes. She is actively engaged in the provision of technical support and training for national prosecution and investigation of international crimes through the Wayamo Foundation and UNODC. Currently Senior Counsel at the World Bank, Adejoké was an Associate Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice working with H.E. Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, and an Associate Investigator in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Her legal background includes: human rights policy research at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University; campaigning for the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa; and investigating human rights violations in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. Adejoké holds a LL.M. in Public International Law from the London School of Economics and is a qualified Attorney in the State of New York.

She is a Co-Chair of the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law and has held leadership positions within the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law. Her publications include International Criminal Investigations: Law and Practice (ed).

Areas of Expertise

  • Public international law
  • Intergovernmental organizations
  • International criminal law
  • International dispute settlement

Types of Advising

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


Micah Nemiroff, Assistant Director for Programs and Recruitment, 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.


Portrait of Linda Braden

Linda Braden, Assistant Director, Communications and Data Systems Management, joined OPIA as Program Coordinator and has grown in the breadth and depth of communications and data management advancements contributed to the office. She also serves as the President of Harvard Neighbors and has served on the HLS Emerging Leaders Advisory Board. Prior to OPIA, she worked at the University of Montana’s Office of International Programs, where she served as Media Information Specialist and before that, Study Abroad Coordinator. Linda graduated cum laude from Xavier University with a B.A. in International Affairs and graduated magna cum laude from Ohio University with an M.A. in International Studies and Latin American Studies, where she also worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Latin American Studies Program. She enjoys practicing yoga, gardening, traveling, cooking, biking, and hiking.


Head shot of Tasha Griffiths

Tasha Griffiths, Fellowships and Operations Associate joined OPIA from UC San Diego where she worked in the Graduate Division, coordinating program reviews and doctoral committee constitutions. Prior to UC San Diego, Tasha worked for various non-profit organizations, including as a Development Manager for YALLA, a small nonprofit providing refugee youth with the tools to succeed in the classroom. She received her B.A. in international relations, magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego. Tasha enjoys cycling, listening to podcasts, live music, and cooking.