Eight visting Wasserstein Fellows and one fellow-in-residence have been named at Harvard Law School. The program brings outstanding public interest attorneys from across the country to campus for one or two days to counsel and advise law students about public service. Wasserstein Fellows are selected based on the breadth and diversity of their public interest experiences, their ability to advise students, and the areas of expertise that interest current students.
The fellows, who on average have been out of law school for 13 years, speak with individual students and to classes regarding law career options. In addition, the fellows hold workshops, brown-bag lunches, and open meetings with interested student groups. The program was created in 1990 in honor of Morris Wasserstein through a generous gift from his family. The program is managed by the school’s Office of Public Interest Advising director Alexa Shabecoff and Wasserstein Program Coordinator Benna Kushlevsky.
The visiting fellows are as follows:
Mikkel Jordahl is the director of Coconino Legal Aid in Flagstaff, Ariz. His experiences include advocating for members of the Tucson Area Union of the Homeless and representing Central American asylum applicants through Casa de Proyecto Libertad. He previously served as a deputy public defender in Coconino County and as a staff attorney for Coconino Legal Aid.
Peggy Kuo is the legal officer for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. Kuo previously served as a trial attorney and acting deputy chief in the Criminal Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. She was also an associate professorial lecturer at George Washington University’s National Law Center.
Lenora Lapidus is the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey. Lapidus litigates individual and class actions that raise constitutional and civil rights issues. She previously worked as a fellow at the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, where she litigated abortion rights cases throughout the United States. She also served as the John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest and Constitutional Law at the law firm Crummy, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione. In addition to her work with the ACLU, Lapidus has taught as an adjunct professor at both Seton Hall University School of Law and Rutgers Law School and is a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Task Force on Gay and Lesbian Issues.
Patricia Mendoza has been the regional counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Chicago, Ill., since 1995. She previously worked at the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, and the ACLU of Illinois. Mendoza is also a member of Illinois Governor George Ryan’s Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes and serves as a facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League’s “A World of Difference” program.
Elena Paul is the executive director of Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, a nonprofit organization that provides pro bono legal and alternative dispute resolution services to low-income artists and nonprofit arts organizations throughout the Washington, D.C., area. She served as university counsel in the Office of the President at the University of Maryland for four years before taking her current position. Previously, she worked at Patton Boggs, LLP, and was an associate at Brian Cave.
Pierre Prosper is the special counsel and policy advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of War Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.
He is also the special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General-Criminal Division, in the U.S. Department of Justice. He previously served as a trial attorney for the United Nations Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Narcotics Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and as a trial deputy in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Kevin Ryan is director and general counsel of The Youth Advocacy Center at Covenant House in Newark, N.J., and Atlantic City, N.J. Ryan serves as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Emergency Food and Shelter Service, a trustee of the Garden State Coalition for Youth and Family Concerns and an adviser to the Office of Public Interest and Community Service at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.
Gail Suchman is the senior environmental counsel at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. She previously served as the assistant regional counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago, Ill., a senior attorney at the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and a special policy adviser to the Minnesota Department of Energy and Economic Development. She also spent 11 years as the assistant attorney general in the Toxics Litigation Unit of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Department of Law.
The fellow-in-residence Diane Rosenfeld spent the last year as the Berkman Center for Internet and Society’s fellow. She also worked at Harvard Law School as a consultant for the Heyman Federal Government Fellowship program, and as the senior policy analyst for Community Resources for Justice. She previously served as the Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Control Division of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and as the executive assistant to the Attorney General before moving to the United States Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Office, where she was the senior counsel.