Julie Wimmer (J.D. ’11) – myPadilla
myPadilla aims to improve access to justice and protect the constitutional rights of immigrants in the criminal justice system in Texas. Leveraging technology to scale remote access to immigration expertise, myPadilla will reduce the inequitable outcomes of the criminal justice system by ensuring that immigrants receive advice regarding the immigration consequences of contact with the criminal justice system, as required by the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky.
Prior to launching myPadilla, Julie Wimmer worked as an immigration attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid in Austin, Texas, first as a Skadden Fellow and later as a staff attorney. Her practice there involved representing detained and non-detained indigent clients in removal proceedings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and Board of Immigration Appeals in applications for asylum, withholding of removal, Convention Against Torture protection, cancellation of removal, and other benefits. She also represented clients in affirmative applications with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services for acquired citizenship, VAWA, U and T nonimmigrant status, DACA, registry, naturalization, and other matters. She also conducted federal civil litigation on employment and passport matters, from discovery to trial. Before joining TRLA, Julie clerked for the Honorable Judge George P. Kazen, Senior District Judge for the Southern District of Texas, in Laredo, Texas. Before becoming an attorney, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Caazapa, Paraguay. She graduated from the University of Texas-Austin with a B.A. in 2005.
Samuel Weiss (J.D. ’14) – Rights Behind Bars
Rights Behind Bars represents incarcerated people in civil rights lawsuits concerning their conditions of confinement and seeks to advance law reform governing conditions of confinement. RBB tracks and intervenes in pro se litigation, serving as appellate counsel to incarcerated pro se plaintiffs, as well as advancing law reform through open government work and affirmative litigation.
Before beginning RBB, Sam litigated prison conditions cases across the country at the ACLU’s National Prison Project. He then joined the Jackson, Mississippi office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, where he continued his civil rights practice against private prisons in Mississippi. He then served as a law clerk for Judge Jacqueline Nguyen of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California. In 2017, he joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where he was Counsel and a Jerry Shestack Justice Fellow. At the Lawyers’ Committee, he practiced across a wide range of civil rights issue areas, including advocating in federal court for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses abused in prisons or immigration detention centers.
Sam has a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He is the author of “Into the Breach: The Case for Robust Noncapital Proportionality Review Under State Constitutions,” in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review; the co-author (with Emma Kaufman) of “The Limits of Punishment,” a chapter in Palgrave Macmillan’s Extraordinary Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration and Solitary Confinement; and the co-author (with Donald Kinder) of “Schuette and Antibalkanization” in the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal.