All HLS students are permitted to meet one-on-one with Wasserstein Fellows. 1Ls are permitted to meet with Wasserstein Fellows even before the October 15th career advising start date.
If you miss your Wasserstein Fellow appointment without notifying OPIA at least 24 hours in advance to cancel or reschedule your appointment, you will be barred from signing up for future Wasserstein Fellow appointments.
All students are encouraged to take advantage of the unique opportunity presented by visiting Wasserstein Fellows to talk to an outstanding practicing public interest lawyer one-on-one.
Wasserstein Fellows are also available to serve as networking resources. If you’d like to contact a Fellow, email OPIA at email@example.com.
Robyn Mar – Deputy Executive Director, The Bronx Defenders
Robyn Mar (Robyn/They)
Deputy Executive Director, The Bronx Defenders
On Campus: September 18-20, 2023
Community Discussion: Holistic Advocacy and Representation: How to be an Abolitionist Public Defender
Robyn Mar is the Deputy Director/Chief Practice Officer at The Bronx Defenders. In that capacity, Robyn oversees the office’s direct service practice areas, including criminal defense, family defense, immigration, social work, and advocacy in housing, employment, and other civil matters. Before becoming Chief Practice Officer, Robyn served in a variety of roles in the Criminal Defense Practice, including as a staff attorney, practice supervisor, Director of Early Advocacy, Deputy Managing Director and interdisciplinary Training Team Leader. Robyn graduated from New York University School of Law and Columbia University. At NYU, Robyn participated in the Juvenile Defender Clinic, representing children accused of crimes in the Bronx, and the Capital Defender Clinic; served as an Executive Editor of the Review of Law & Social Change; and was a teaching assistant for the late Professor Derrick Bell.
Ask Me About: holistic defense (criminal, family, immigration, and housing defense); client-centered and direct service lawyering; systemic reform (policy, organizing, impact litigation) within public defender offices; translating clinics and internships into a fulfilling career path; sustainability and equity in public defense; being a queer/BIPOC parent and public defender.
Retu Singla – Partner, Julien, Mirer, Singla and Goldstein, A Working People’s Law Center
Retu Singla (She/Her)
Partner; Julien, Mirer, Singla and Goldstein, A Working People’s Law Center
On Campus: September 26-28, 2023
Community Discussion: The Rise of Labor and How to be a Movement Oriented General Counsel
Retu Singla has been a community activist for over 30 years and a movement lawyer for over 20 years. As a partner at Julien, Mirer, Singla & Goldstein PLLC., A Working People’s Law Center, she works to help change the conditions that lead to worker exploitation so as to strengthen the grassroots base of the labor and civil rights movements. She is currently first general counsel to the Amazon Labor Union and to Trader Joe’s United, as well as representing a number of tech workers in organizing campaigns. Her practice is based on anti-oppressive and democratic principles to create an environment that mirrors progressive change that is movement centered. She is a member of the Legal Network for Gender Equity & TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund, Fast Food Justice and Law for Black Lives. She has served as a Delegate of International Accompaniers by the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela to observe the expanded audit of the April 14, 2013, Special Election after the March 5, 2013 death of President Hugo Chavez and a Delegate to the 2008 International Conference of the Role of Unions and Labor Lawyers in Havana Cuba. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the New School for Social Research and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Los Angeles, Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.
Ask Me About: lawyering as a woman of color, movement lawyering, labor and employment law, trial advocacy, in-house and private practice, leading with courage, human rights, advocacy for working people, challenges of private practice in public service.
Mary Cromer – Deputy Director, Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, Inc.
Mary Cromer (She/Her)
Deputy Director, Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, Inc.
On Campus: October 2-4, 2023
Community Discussion: Big Impacts: Working for Small Nonprofits in Rural Settings
Mary Cromer is an environmental justice attorney working in Central Appalachia’s coalfield region. Mary represents individuals and community groups in Central Appalachia on a variety of environmental justice issues stemming from the region’s century of dependence on coal mining and other resource extraction. Mary represents clients suffering damage and pollution from nearby mining, clients whose property rights are infringed by mining companies, and communities whose water and sewer systems are failing after decades of disinvestment. The issues facing ACLC’s clients are systemic and far too common in Central Appalachia. ACLC’s policy team, of which Mary is a part, advocates for changes to address the legacy costs of coal mining in the region and ensure the region’s transition away from coal is just and equitable. Mary has worked at ACLC since 2008 and became Deputy Director in 2018. Prior to joining ACLC, Mary worked as an Associate Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center and clerked for the Honorable Glen Conrad of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia. She earned her JD magna cum laude from Washington & Lee University School of Law.
Ask Me About: making big impact in small nonprofits, post-graduate fellowships, finding opportunities in rural areas, career pathways in environmental justice, environmental justice as compared to environmental law, combining litigation and policy work, transitioning from large to small nonprofits.
Jennifer Sang – Partner, Berney & Sang
Jennifer Sang (She/Her)
Partner, Berney & Sang
On Campus: October 4-6, 2023
Community Discussion: A Tale of Two Cities: The Inequalities of Our Education System and Barriers Facing Low-Income Students
Jennifer is a partner at Berney & Sang, where she focuses her practice on education law. During her time with Berney & Sang, Jennifer has represented hundreds of families in special education cases and has achieved acclaim in the Philadelphia legal community. In 2015, The Legal Intelligencer named Jennifer a Lawyer on the Fast Track. And in 2017, the Philadelphia Magazine named her one of the best attorneys under the age of 40 in Pennsylvania practicing special education law. In 2019, Mayor Jim Kenney appointed Jennifer as one of five Fair Housing Commissioners in Philadelphia. As a Fair Housing Commissioner, she hears disputes between tenants and landlords.
Jennifer earned her Juris Doctor from Temple University Beasley School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from New York University. Prior to joining Berney & Sang, Jennifer served as a fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA where she participated in constitutional litigation.
Ask Me About: education law, doing public interest work in a private firm, impact litigation vs. direct representation, finding the job that’s the right fit, skill-building, work-life balance/integration, navigating family expectations with personal and professional goals, parenting while lawyering; imposter syndrome, being an Asian woman and a lawyer, becoming a leader in the workplace and legal community.
Caitriona Fitzgerald – Deputy Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Caitriona Fitzgerald (She/Her)
Deputy Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
On Campus: October 11-13, 2023
Community Discussion: Change the Rules: Using your Law Degree to Impact Policy
Caitriona Fitzgerald is Deputy Director at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Caitriona leads the development of EPIC’s policy agenda, providing expertise to advance strong privacy, open government, and algorithmic fairness and accountability laws at both the state and federal level. She has testified before Congress and state legislatures. Prior to joining EPIC, Caitriona served as Chief of Staff to Massachusetts State Senator Barry Finegold, where she focused on election law reforms. A member of the Massachusetts bar, Caitriona graduated from Northeastern University School of Law (J.D.) and the State University of New York at Geneseo (B.A., Computer Science).
Ask Me About: non-profits, state legislative work, policy advocacy, privacy law, tech policy, civil rights/civil liberties work, being a parent with a demanding career, the value of doing work you love, being a first-gen college grad/lawyer, and managing student loan debt.
Sonia Carson ’12 – Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Appellate Staff
Sonia Carson (She/Her)
Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice , Civil Division, Appellate Staff
On Campus: October 16-18, 2023
Community Discussion: Appellate Practice in the Public Interest
Sonia Carson is an attorney with the Civil Division Appellate Staff at the U.S. Department of Justice. She joined the Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honors Program in 2013, following clerkships for the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General and the Hon. Steven M. Colloton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Sonia’s docket includes the government’s most complex cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and the thirteen federal courts of appeals. She is the principal author of dozens of briefs on novel questions of national importance in administrative, constitutional, foreign relations, intellectual property, and national security law, among other areas, and she has presented 20+ oral arguments in five federal courts of appeals. Sonia is a member of the Partnership for Public Service AI Federal Leadership Program, the Heyman Fellowship Program, the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, and a volunteer fire department, where she is training to be an EMT. The National Law Journal named her a “DC Rising Star” in 2020. Sonia earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and her law degree from Harvard Law School. Sonia’s scholarship on cutting-edge law and technology issues has been cited more than two hundred times in publications around the world. Between high school and college, Sonia worked for five years in jobs ranging from manual labor to finance.
Ask Me About: appellate lawyering, law and technology, public service as a career employee, unconventional paths to professional success, overcoming financial and other obstacles, and how to have a big job and a big life.
Len Kamdang – Director of Litigation Strategy and Trials, Everytown for Gun Safety
Len Kamdang (He/His)
Director of Litigation Strategy and Trials, Everytown for Gun Safety
On Campus: October 18-20, 2023
Community Discussion: Making an Impact in Gun Violence Prevention Litigation: A Ghost Guns Case Story
Since joining Everytown in January 2020, Len has worked on a wide range of issues related to gun violence prevention. His litigation practice includes municipal defense, affirmative torts, and civil rights litigation. In Syracuse et al. v. ATF et al., Len is working on an Administrative Procedures Act case to force the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to use its regulatory authority to meaningfully address the growing national problem of ghost guns. In NAACP et al. et al. v. Ohio, Len is working to overturn Ohio’s Stand Your Ground law. He is also exploring other litigation solutions at the intersection of the Gun Violence Prevention and Civil Rights Movements to address racial and gender gun violence disparities in cities and unjustified police shootings. For over eleven years, Len served as an Assistant Federal Defender in the Eastern District of New York where he litigated a variety of cases including federal firearms offenses, organized crime, and national security cases. Prior to that, he worked as a Staff Attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. More recently, Len worked as a Senior Associate at the Civil Rights firm Neufeld Scheck & Brustin LLP where he litigated complex Civil Rights cases all over the country. Len clerked for the Honorable Lois Bloom in the Eastern District of New York and graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. He received his B.A. from Georgetown University.
Ask Me About: movement building, impact litigation vs. direct services litigation and how that’s a false dichotomy, transitioning from criminal to civil litigation, transitioning from public interest to private practice, transitioning from private practice to public interest, trial practice.
David Seligman ’10 – Executive Director, Towards Justice
David Seligman ’10 (He/His)
Executive Director, Towards Justice
On Campus: October 23-25, 2023
Schedule an advising appointment with David
Community Discussion: Lawyering to Fight Abuses of Corporate Power
David has been the Executive Director of Towards Justice since 2018 and previously was Litigation Counsel with the organization. At Towards Justice, David has litigated several class and collective actions to attack systemic injustices in the labor market. David also supports advocates, organizers, workers, and consumers seeking policy reforms at the state and local level on a range of economic justice issues including wage theft, non-compete requirements, whistleblower protections, and consumer protection laws. Prior to his work at Towards Justice, David was a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, working on forced arbitration and predatory auto lending. David clerked for Chief Judge Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts and Judges Robert D. Sack and Susan L. Carney of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. David is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School. David is on the board of directors of the People’s Parity Project and is the president of the board of Congregation Rodef Shalom, his synagogue in Denver.
Ask Me About: workers’ rights lawyering, consumer rights lawyering, class action lawyering, helping people fight corporate power, plaintiffs’ lawyering, non-profit legal organizations, clerking, fellowships (the good, the bad, and the ugly), my own challenges finding happiness in the law, especially as I navigated my early public interest career, the importance of making public interest work more equitable and sustainable.
Aileen Thomson – Managing Director, The Tea Leaf Center
Aileen Thomson (She/Her)
Managing Director, The Tea Leaf Center
On Campus: October 23-27, 2023
Community Discussion: “On the Ground” – Complexities and Approaches to Human Rights and Legal Work Abroad
Aileen is constantly inspired by the young activists and researchers she has encountered throughout her career. She loves being a sounding board for new ideas, pushing back against international dominance over local agendas, and asking tough questions. Her background is in human rights, international law, transitional justice and peace and conflict. She researched and wrote reports on displacement in/from Myanmar and protests and the right to peaceful assembly with Progressive Voice, a participatory rights-based research and advocacy organization working on Myanmar. She spent five years with the International Center for Transitional Justice in various positions including as Head of Office in Myanmar and Nepal. With ICTJ, she trained civil society organizations and conducted research on reconciliation, transitional justice and victims’ groups and civil society advocacy for and participation in transitional justice. Aileen worked for the Public International Law and Policy Group, researching and writing legal memoranda on international law, peace agreements and comparative constitutional law. She has also done research and trainings for small human rights and political organizations on the Thai-Myanmar border, and has substantial experience in monitoring and evaluation. Aileen is qualified to practice law in New York, and attended American University where she got her law degree (J.D.) and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the School for International Service.
Ask Me About: transitional justice, human rights and human rights defenders, training and facilitation, research, work/life balance and burnout, finding your role in human rights and legal work “on the ground,” starting your own enterprise, and resilience through community and finding joy.
Peri Lynne Johnson ’91 – Director and Legal Advisor, The International Atomic Energy Agency
Peri Lynne Johnson ’91 (She/Her)
Director and Legal Advisor, The International Atomic Energy Agency
On Campus: October 30 – November 3, 2023
Community Discussion: How to Navigate Legal Careers in the UN System
Ms Johnson is the Legal Advisor and Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Office of Legal Affairs since January 2011. Previously, Ms Johnson served nearly 20 years with the United Nations, first as an Associate Protection Officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), then as a Legal Officer with the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, and in her last capacity, before joining the IAEA, as Director of the Legal Office of the United Nations Development Programme in New York. Before joining the United Nations, Ms Johnson was a Legal Associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., in the litigation and international practice areas. Ms Johnson earned her B.A. from Cornell University in 1988, and her JD from Harvard Law School in 1991.
Ask Me About: legal careers in the United Nations and how to get hired, what a typical day looks like as a legal advisor in the UN System, issues of diversity and inclusion in the UN System, gender issues in the UN System, energy law, whether to work at a law firm.
Oramel Skinner ’10 – Executive Director, Alliance for Consumers
Oramel Skinner ’10
Executive Director, Alliance for Consumers
On Campus: November 1-3, 2023
Community Discussion: My Transition from Big Law to Public Interest and Lessons Learned Along the Way
O.H. Skinner is the Executive Director of Alliance for Consumers, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that consumer protection efforts, class action lawsuits, and attorney general enforcement actions benefit consumers and the rule of law, not just class action lawyers and government bureaucracy. Prior to starting Alliance for Consumers, O.H. spent almost five years serving Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in senior positions, including in consumer protection, as the head of special litigation, and as Arizona Solicitor General. O.H. is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School. Prior to joining the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, O.H. practiced at WilmerHale and Ropes & Gray in Boston, Massachusetts, and clerked for the Hon. J.L. Edmondson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ask Me About: transitioning from Big Law to government service; Supreme Court Practice; clerking; choosing the best Big Firm to help set you up for non-profit or public service; working outside of a major coastal legal market; differences between State and Federal service; being a conservative in the non-profit community.
Fátima Menéndez – Southwest Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
Fátima Menéndez (She/Her)
Southwest Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
On Campus: November 6-8, 2023
Stay tuned for Fatima’s community discussion!
Fátima Lucía Menéndez is the Southwest Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). She leads the Southwest regional team in its litigation and policy work to protect and advance Latino civil rights in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and other states. She is co-counsel in several civil rights impact litigation cases, including LUPE v. Abbott (a challenge to Senate Bill 1, a Texas anti-voter measure) and LULAC v. Abbott (Texas redistricting case). Before her current position, Fátima served as a legislative staff attorney at MALDEF for five years. She has testified before the Texas Legislature on education, political access, voting rights and immigrants’ rights issues in Texas. Fátima has also advocated before other governing bodies on Latino civil rights issues, and successfully helped block construction of a detention center for migrant children. Prior to joining MALDEF, she represented unaccompanied child immigrants as a senior staff attorney with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). She earned her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law, where she was honored as the 2020 Distinguished Young Alumna, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Mary’s University.
Ask Me About: diversity in the legal profession, first generation college and/or law school student, career pathways to civil rights litigation and policy work, non-profit work, transitioning from direct legal services to civil rights impact work, immigrants’ rights, collaboration among stakeholders, cultivating meaningful relationships, legislative and policy work, staff management, burnout.
Shaylyn Cochran ’11 – Counselor, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General
Shaylyn Cochran (She/Her)
Counselor in the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of the Attorney General
On Campus: January 29-31, 2024
Schedule an appointment with Shaylyn
Community Discussion: Doing Good While Doing Well: Jumpstarting Your Career in Civil Rights
Shaylyn Cochran is a Counselor in the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of the Attorney General where she advises on civil rights and criminal justice issues. Previously, she served as Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, where she served as the primary reviewer of the Employment Litigation and Immigrant & Employee Rights Sections, helped to review cases and matters from other Sections, coordinated the Division’s stakeholder engagement strategies, and served as a thought partner with senior DOJ leadership. Ms. Cochran joined the Justice Department in February 2021. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Cochran was a Partner in the Civil Rights & Employment Practice Group of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC where she litigated civil rights class actions and complex cases.
Ms. Cochran earned her B.S. and B.A. from Ohio and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she received the Dean’s Award for Community Leadership. While a law student, Ms. Cochran served as a litigation intern at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Disability Rights Section at the Civil Rights Division. For two years during law school, Ms. Cochran also was a student attorney at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she represented indigent clients on family law matters.
Hannah Fried ’08 – Executive Director, All Voting is Local
Hannah Fried ’08 (She/Her)
Executive Director, All Voting is Local
On Campus: January 31-February 2, 2024
Schedule an appointment with Hannah
Community Discussion: Taking Risks in a Profession That Discourages Risk
Prior to co-founding and leading All Voting is Local, Hannah served as the National Director and Deputy General Counsel for Voter Protection on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In 2012, Fried served as the Voter Protection Director for President Obama’s reelection effort in Florida, and from July 2009 to March 2012, she was the Deputy Director and Deputy Counsel for Voter Protection at the Democratic National Committee. Fried served with the Obama campaign’s voter protection team during the 2008 primaries and joined the advance staff for the general election in June 2008. Fried also has spent several years in federal government service, at the Department of Justice and at the Environmental Protection Agency. She is a graduate of Williams College (class of 2004) and of Harvard Law School (class of 2008). She is admitted to practice law in New York.
Ask Me About: voting rights careers, working on campaigns and in politics generally, being a female founder, fundraising, managing uncertainty/long periods of unemployment/nonlinear career trajectories, pop culture, working parent stuff.
Lisa Biersay – International Criminal Lawyer and Consultant
Lisa Biersay (She/Her)
International Criminal Lawyer and Consultant
On Campus: February 5-9, 2024
Schedule an appointment with Lisa
Community Discussion: Investigating and Prosecuting Atrocity Crimes – Mindful Accountability
Lisa Biersay is an Atrocity Crimes Prosecutor and Consultant, specializing in International Criminal Investigations and Law. Currently, she is engaged primarily as Senior Legal Advisor by Dignity – Danish Institute Against Torture regarding potential crimes against humanity committed in the aftermath of the 2020 election in Belarus. For over 13 years prior, she worked with the United Nations to prosecute a broad spectrum of serious crimes—including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes— committed in the former Yugoslavia (2007 to 2017) and Rwanda (2018 to 2021). Before her tenure with the United Nations, she worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Minnesota and as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Office of the Attorney General. She was a Law Clerk to The Honorable Ann D. Montgomery, US District Judge in the District of Minnesota. She received her B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University in New York, and her J.D. from the University of Texas in Austin School of Law. She is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher, trained and qualified by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2017.
Ask Me About: international criminal law, domestic and international prosecution (and transitioning between them), mindfulness-based stress reduction, empowering survivors, nonviolent communication, hiking in Tanzania and Nepal.