Leadership & Staff
Equal Justice Works staff is a dedicated group working to mobilize the next generation of public interest lawyers. A close community with a passion for ensuring the equal representation of all, Equal Justice Works staff is proud to support the work of our Fellows, member law schools, host organizations, NAC members and Board of Directors. We thank host and event sponsors for their generosity and for making our work possible.
FELLOWSHIPS & ADVANCEMENT
David Simmons, Director of Fellowships & Advancement- BIO
Patricia Reilly, Associate Director of Fellowships & Advancement - BIO
Mizue Suito, Senior Manager, Fellowships & Advancement - BIO
Tammy Sun, Senior Manager, Fellowships & Advancement - BIO
Mia Sussman, Senior Manager, Pro Bono - BIO
Sterling Morriss, Manager, Fellowships & Advancement - BIO
Sarah Snik, Manager, Fellowships & Advancement
Lisa Webb, Fellowships & Advancement Specialist - BIO
Mai Brand, Fellowships & Advancement Specialist - BIO
Carolyn Schorr, Fellowships & Advancement Coordinator - BIO
Brendan Simmons, Fellowships & Advancement Coordinator
FEDERAL PROGRAMS & STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
Kerry O'Brien, Director of Federal Programs & Strategic Initiatives - BIO
Sheila Strain Clark, Senior Program Manager - BIO
Jamie R. Odle, Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives - BIO
Taí Merey Alex, Program Manager - BIO
Anna Cupito, Program Coordinator - BIO
Lynn Feldmann, Program Coordinator
Sarah Lilly, Program Coordinator
LAW SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT & ADVOCACY
Isaac Bowers, Associate Director for Law School Engagement & Advocacy - BIO
Radhika Singh Miller, Senior Program Manager - BIO
Lauren Fuchs, Program Manager - BIO
Kiera DeNoyer, Program Coordinator - BIO
COMMUNICATIONS & MARKETING
With nearly 30 years of experience in public interest law, David Stern has helped develop Equal Justice Works into the nation's leading organization in creating public interest law opportunities.
Originally joining the organization in 1992 to launch the now tremendously successful Equal Justice Works Fellowship program, David has served as Executive Director for the past 18 years, vastly expanding the size and impact of Equal Justice Works. David has continued to be an inspiration to each fellow who embarks on the journey of serving the underprivileged and continues to push the legal world to lend a hand to victims of an unjust legal system.
During his time at Union College ('82) and Georgetown Law ('85), David was drawn to public interest law. He clerked for two federal judges in Baltimore, MD, and then worked at a civil rights law firm where he learned first-hand the importance of equal justice. In 1990, David and his wife left their jobs and traveled around the world. Upon his return, he joined Equal Justice Works, then known as the National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL), to establish a postgraduate fellowship program.
Under his leadership, the organization has grown to include several diverse initiatives, including the Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps fellowship programs, which currently have more than 170 active fellows serving in 26 states as well as the District of Columbia; AmeriCorps JD, which allows hundreds of law students to experience the rewards of working in underserved communities; the Public Defender Corps, a partnership with Gideon's Promise to elevate the quality of the public defender system; and expanding Equal Justice Works' resources to include student debt relief advice, a guide to law schools and public interest programs, and tools to promote public interest law opportunities on campuses across the country.
During his tenure as executive director, the organization's budget has grown from roughly $1.5 million to $12 million, staff has quadrupled, and over 98 percent of ABA-accredited schools are now members of Equal Justice Works.
In 2006, David was honored by the Mississippi Center for Justice for bringing national attention to the legal needs of survivors of Hurricane Katrina and for creating Equal Justice Works’ Katrina Initiative, which deployed 19 lawyers to the Gulf Coast region to help the hundreds of thousands of people left without homes, jobs, or social services.
David was recognized as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal in its March 25, 2013 issue, by the White House in 2011 as a “Champion of Change” for his work fighting for equal justice for all, and as one of the "Greatest Washington Lawyers in the Past 30 Years” by Legal Times in 2008. He serves as the Co-Chair of the Pro Bono Task Force Subcommittee on Fellowships for the Legal Services Corporation.
JEANNE VAN VLANDREN
Jeanne Van Vlandren was appointed Chief Operating Officer for Equal Justice Works in October 2013. Jeanne’s career spans the fields of education, emergency management, energy, housing, human services, and labor in the government and nonprofit sectors.
Jeanne has more than 25 years of executive leadership experience. Most recently, she was an independent consultant on strategic management, leadership development, and program implementation for government sector clients and nonprofit organizations, including the National Community Action Foundation and the Partnership for Public Service. Previously, she served as the vice president at the Council for Excellence in Government.
She also has extensive public sector experience and has served in a number of senior-level positions in the federal government, including Senior Advisor and Acting General Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, General Manager for Students in the Office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education, and Director of the Office of State and Community Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to joining the federal government, Jeanne served as the State of Vermont’s Commissioner of Labor & Industry, Chair of the State Emergency Response Commission, and Deputy Secretary of the State Agency of Human Services.
Jeanne’s public service efforts extend into the community as well. Her philanthropic activities have included serving as a board member of the Vermont Community Foundation and the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area. She currently sits on the board of Economic Opportunity Studies, Inc.
Claire Cusella joined Equal Justice Works in August 2014. She served as the Scheduler and Political Assistant to Maryland State Senator Jim Rosapepe where she managed his daily and long-term schedule and international travel. She also worked as Sen. Rosapepe’s Finance Director for both his campaign and the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council, where he serves as Vice-Chairman. Additionally, Claire previously worked as a field organizer for the 2012 campaign of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25) and as an intern for U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s Rochester, NY office. Claire has a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from State University of New Yorkat Geneseo.
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David Simmons returned to Equal Justice Works as Director of Fellowships and Advancement in November 2010. He previously worked as a development director at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the American Constitution Society. Prior to these positions, David worked at Equal Justice Works from 1998 to 2007 as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Development. During this period, the organization’s annual budget grew from $2.5 million to $9.2 million. David has nearly 25 years of experience raising funds for political candidates and for various nonprofits in Washington, D.C. David is originally from Iowa, where he earned his B.A. in History from Briar Cliff University and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University.
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Patricia Reilly is the Associate Director of Fellowships and Advancement for Equal Justice Works. She practiced communications law at Kirkland & Ellis and Wiley, Rein & Fielding, both in Washington, D.C., for many years. Subsequently she directed the fundraising and communications operations of Norwood School in Bethesda, Maryland, where she also served as a trustee and Board Chair. While practicing law, Reilly served as an officer of the Federal Communications Bar Association, chaired the ABA’s Forum on Communications Law, and was a member of the ABA House of Delegates. Reilly's previous public interest experience includes working as a summer intern for DNA-Legal Services on the Navajo Reservation in Window Rock, Arizona. She received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
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Mizue Suito joined the Equal Justice Works team in May 2011 as Senior Manager of Donor Relations to help build and expand the strong network Equal Justice Works has established over 25 years, as well as grow the organization's national fundraising campaign. She has more than 17 years of resource development and strategic planning experience, having managed diverse fundraising and cultivation program portfolios at national nonprofit organizations such as National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the National Women's Law Center, and Conservation International. Mizue received her J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law and holds a B.A. in Government Studies from Clark University. Originally from Japan, she is fluent in both English and Japanese.
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Tammy Sun joined Equal Justice Works as Senior Manager of Fellowships and Advancement in August 2013. Tammy was an Equal Justice Works Fellow from 1999 to 2001, developing a juvenile justice project at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta to address the abusive confinement of children in prisons and detention centers in the South. After her fellowship, Tammy practiced as a public defender in Oregon and Washington D.C. Tammy was a litigation associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell prior to her fellowship, and later clerked for a federal district court judge in Boston. More recently, she taught criminal law and procedure at Catholic University School of Law and University of Baltimore School of Law. Tammy received a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
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Mia Sussman is the Senior Manager of Pro Bono at Equal Justice Works. She joined Equal Justice Works in March 2011. She previously worked as a litigation associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP from 2007-2011, where her practice focused on antitrust litigation. She also helped manage the firm's pro bono program, assisting Holocaust survivors in applying for reparations from Germany. Mia's previous public interest experience includes serving as Program Assistant at the International Senior Lawyers Project and as a summer intern at the Human Rights Law Network in Delhi, India. She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Tufts University and earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as an articles editor for the Michigan Journal of International Law. Mia serves on the Washington Lawyers' Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and on the Anti-Defamation League's Young Professionals Division Board. She also volunteers with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Small Business Legal Clinics.
Sterling Morriss graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2011, where her passion for nonprofit management and fundraising was forged through volunteer work with an annual fundraising event benefiting the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. While in law school, she spent three semesters as a law clerk at the Department of Commerce's Office of General Counsel researching the constitutionality of Decennial Census methods and crafting departmental policy on the effect of green technology on comparative international economies. Prior to law school, Sterling held various positions with other foundations and nonprofits, primarily with a focus on the arts. She graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a Degree in Art History in her native city of Dallas, Texas in 2007.
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Lisa Webb is a Specialist within the Fellowships & Advancement unit, primarily focusing on the Annual Dinner fundraising and logistics. She also works on the year-end fundraising appeal, donor relations, grant writing/reports, and prospect research. Lisa came to Equal Justice Works in 2012 after working in several different event planning and fundraising positions with political campaigns, the U.S. Courts, and CARE USA. She is originally from Missouri and has a B.S in Clothing & Textiles Science with minors in Marketing and Sales from Missouri State University.
Mai Kathryn Brand is currently a Fellowships and Advancement Coordinator at Equal Justice Works. She began as an intern for the organization in the summer of 2011 and eventually returned as an Operations Coordinator. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, Mai was the Community Service Coordinator for Loyola University Maryland for two years, acting as the liaison between the university and nonprofits in Baltimore. Her work focused on community development, establishing and strengthening partnerships with nonprofits and connecting students and staff to service opportunities. Mai is a recipient of the Cura Personalis Award for her leadership, service, and academic achievement. She holds a B.A. in Global Studies and Business from Loyola University Maryland.
Carolyn Schorr joined Equal Justice Works as a Fellowships and Advancement Coordinator in July 2014. She previously interned for Human Rights First and worked with their Refugee Representation team on opening a new office in Houston to assist asylum seekers. Her background in development and social justice is what inspired her career in the non-profit sector. She attended George Mason University, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in International Studies.
Kerry O'Brien is Director of Federal Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Equal Justice Works, overseeing the AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship, AmeriCorps JD, and Public Defender Corps programs, and developing new federally-funded initiatives. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, she was the Director of Services for CASA de Maryland, the state's largest immigrant service and advocacy organization, where she oversaw legal, health, education, employment, and social services programming in seven sites throughout Maryland.
Kerry began her legal career as the Crowell & Moring Equal Justice Works Fellow at Bread for the City, where she started Washington, D.C.’s first low-wage workers' rights practice. Following her fellowship, Kerry co-founded the D.C. Employment Justice Center, a workers' rights organization. Kerry has also been a Campaign Coordinator at Service Employees International Union and a Rule of Law Liaison with the American Bar Association in Yerevan, Armenia. She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.
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Sheila Strain Clark joined Equal Justice Works as a Senior Manager in the Federal Programs and Strategic Initiatives Unit in May 2014. Sheila most recently served at the DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) as the Program Manager of the DC YouthLink Initiative. In that role, she managed over $6,000,000 in city funds for a nationally awarded juvenile justice program focused on improving public safety and increasing positive outcomes for court-involved youth. Prior to DYRS, she held various leadership positions at non-profit organizations across the District of Columbia, including as Division Director with the United Planning Organization, Executive Director with the Northwest Church Family Network, and Assistant Director with the North Capitol Collaborative. Sheila has worked closely with service-learning programs, starting with an early career internship at the Corporation for National and Community Service in the Learn and Serve America Program. She has also coordinated an AmeriCorps funded “pilot” program at the George Washington University. Sheila holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Howard University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland at College Park. She is a licensed social worker in the District of Columbia and an active member of many professional organizations.
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Jamie Odle is Senior Manager for Strategic Initiatives at Equal Justice Works, cultivating and securing opportunities for public support for the organization’s initiatives. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Access to Justice Foundation in Kentucky, where her work primarily focused on legislative and administrative advocacy efforts to increase funding for civil legal services. She comes to Equal Justice Works from the District of Columbia Primary Care Association, an organization promoting access to health care for low-income residents, where she managed the development program. Jamie has a B. M. from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.
TAI MEREY ALEX
Taí Merey Alex is a Program Manager in the Federal Programs and Strategic Initiatives Unit. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, she was the Project Manager of the Harlem Justice Corps at the Center for Court Innovation, an intensive service-learning and career development program for young adults with recent criminal justice involvement that centers on reducing recidivism and strengthening communities. Taí’s commitment to social justice began as an AmeriCorps member in East Harlem, where she assisted children with learning disabilities and facilitated an after-school program in the community. She has focused her career on the advancement of housing rights, economic empowerment, and racial equality through a variety of initiatives and programs. She graduated magna cum laude from Pace University with a B.A. in English, and holds a J.D. from CUNY School of Law, with a concentration on civil rights. Taí grew up in Puerto Rico and Vermont.
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Anna Cupito is a Program Coordinator in the Federal Programs and Strategic Initiative department at Equal Justice Works, where she is responsible for supporting the AmeriCorps Fellows and AmeriCorps JD members and the host sites they work with. She previously served as an AmeriCorps member with Arlington Works!, where she taught English as a Second Language and led parent engagement classes for Spanish-speaking parents in Arlington, VA. A native of the Greater Cincinnati area, she graduated from American University with a B.A. in International Studies.
Isaac Bowers is Associate Director for Law School Engagement & Advocacy, overseeing the Student Debt, Student Engagement, and Law School Relations programs. He was previously responsible for the organization's educational debt relief initiatives. In that capacity, he wrote a weekly blog for U.S. News; conducted monthly webinars for a wide range of audiences; advised employers, law schools and professional organizations; and worked with Congress and the Department of Education on Federal legislation and regulations. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, he was a Fellow at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP in San Francisco, where he represented citizen groups and local agencies in environmental litigation and land use and planning issues. Isaac received his J.D. from New York University School of Law.
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RADHIKA SINGH MILLER
Radhika Singh Miller is Senior Program Manager of Law School Engagement & Advocacy, focusing on Equal Justice Works' student engagement and law student pro bono initiatives. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, Radhika was a staff attorney at the Partnership for Civil Justice in Washington, D.C., focusing on constitutional and civil rights litigation and advocacy. She brings years of organizing experience to Equal Justice Works and is also an expert on educational debt relief, having served on student loans committees in the Department of Education's negotiated rulemaking focusing on debt relief initiatives. Radhika received her J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and her B.A. from American University.
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Lauren Fuchs is the Program Manager for Law School Engagement & Advocacy at Equal Justice Works where she focuses her time on managing the planning and implementation of the annual Conference and Career Fair and working closely with the law school members. She was previously a Client & Practice Development Assistant at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP in Washington, D.C. and served as a press intern for the Office of U.S. Senator John Kerry. Lauren earned her M.A. in Political Science from American University and holds a B.A. in Communications-Public Relations from Salisbury University.
Kiera DeNoyer is currently the Law School Engagement & Advocacy Program Coordinator at Equal Justice Works. She started as a Fellowships Coordinator for the organization in 2012. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA Community Outreach Coordinator at the Troy Family YMCA in New York. In that role, she established and fostered an advisory board with collaborative partnerships between a wide-range of community members, community leaders, and external stakeholder organizations. Kiera was also actively engaged in the American Graduate Program, a community-wide effort to address the high school dropout crisis. From 2010-2011, Kiera also served as a Team Leader with AmeriCorps NCCC in Denver, Colorado. While with AmeriCorps NCCC, she led a team of service projects in Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Nazareth College of Rochester.
As the Communications Manager at Equal Justice Works, Elle helps develop and execute the organization’s marketing and communications programs and expands public relations and media outreach activities for the organization. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, Elle served as the Director of External Relations at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, where she oversaw media outreach and engagement, social media strategy and the development of communications materials. Before transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Elle was a Senior Account Executive at Ogilvy Washington, where she worked on CDC’s Screen for Life colorectal cancer awareness campaign, a materials redesign project for CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, and for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for an international campaign that sought to influence African governments to eliminate taxes and tariffs on essential malaria commodities. A guest contributor to the Washington Times and Charleston’s Post and Courier, Elle received her Master’s in Communications from Johns Hopkins University.
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As the Manager of Events and Special Projects at Equal Justice Works, Scott helps execute the organization’s portfolio of events including the annual Leadership Development Training, Conference and Career Fair, and Annual Dinner. Prior to joining the team, Scott served as the Senior Event Manager at Vanguard Communications in Washington, D.C., where he gathered 13 years of experience in producing social cause-related events including health fairs and trainings, large-scale conferences, awards programs, business meetings, press conferences, and entertainment showcases for clients such as the National Council for Behavioral Health, the American Psychological Association, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Scott received his event planning certification from the George Washington University, with extensive training and experience in Graphic Design. He is currently attending the University of Maryland University College, majoring in Communications.
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Tonia Bui is a Communications Specialist at Equal Justice Works. She handles press relations with traditional and new media outlets to support the organization’s program marketing and outreach efforts. She also develops and executes the organization’s social media and Fellow Friday blog. Prior to joining the team, Tonia served as an outreach coordinator at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Member Outreach Assistant to Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-34), and also led voter outreach efforts for Congressional and local races in the states of Washington and Virginia. She received her Master’s in Public Policy from American University, and holds a B.A. in Mass Communications and Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
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Tinna Jackson joined Equal Justice Works as Operations Manager in July 2013. Tinna has twenty years of experience managing administrative and personnel matters in complex government relations environments. She previously held executive administrator positions at the Entertainment Software Association and Aegis Defense Services. Prior to these positions, Tinna worked in the U.S. Senate for over a decade as a Director of Administration & Executive Assistant, where she managed day-to-day operations and later served as Deputy Chief of Staff, responsible for managing staff across four offices with a focus on strategic management and professional development. She also has experience in political fundraising, having served as the D.C. PAC coordinator for U.S. Senator John Ensign’s 2006 re-election campaign. Tinna holds a B.S. from National-Louis University and is a Washington, D.C. native.
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Yazmin Alfonso joined Equal Justice Works as the Operations Specialist in July 2014. She recently worked for the Cochran Firm as a Mass Tort and Intake Specialist. Additionally, Yazmin previously served on the staff of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (FL) as a Press Assistant as part of her graduate certificate program in Political Communication at American University. Prior to the Hill, she was the Founder and President of the Student Ambassadors for Service Learning group at the University of Cincinnati, connecting the University with community partners and working with local non-profits. Yazmin holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Cincinnati and currently working towards her M.S. in Global Communication.
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Brandon Basso joined Equal Justice Works as an Operations Assistant in March 2014. He is responsible for handling general administrative matters for the Operations team and provides support to the Law School Engagement & Advocacy unit. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, Brandon served as Executive Assistant to the CEO & Vice President in the Government Affairs Office of Reed Elsevier Inc. In this role, he handled scheduling and international travel, edited lobbying contracts, and performed extensive research in support of client development efforts. In addition, he previously interned with The Twenty-First Century Group, a bipartisan boutique lobbying firm, and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-03). Brandon is originally from Connecticut and received his B.A. in Government from Georgetown University.
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