Pro Bono Scholar Profiles

Amanda Butler-Jones is an associate in our investment management practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2012 Amanda partnered with Appleseed in Washington D.C. During her time at Appleseed Amanda advocated for immigration policy reform by highlighting the systemic and structural issues within the immigration court system. Amanda met with government officials, legislative representatives, and coalition groups to share the findings of Reimagining the Immigration Court Assembly Link: Transformative Change for the Immigration Justice System, a report co-authored by Appleseed and Akin Gump. Amanda also assisted with examination of remittance transparency and disclosure issues. Amanda graduated cum laude from Howard University School of Law in 2014. While at Howard Amanda was editor-in-chief of the Human Rights and Globalization Law Review, a publication dedicated to enhancing dialogue on global issues of social justice. She also served as President of her class and was a member of the Charles Hamilton Houston Moot Court team, where she earned awards for best brief, best oralist, and best overall while competing.

Annie Banks is an associate in our litigation practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2014, Annie interned with Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, where she was a member of the impact litigation team and worked on a variety of tenants’ rights issues. She graduated from UCLA Law School in 2016 with a specialization in Public Interest Law and Policy and as a member of the Order of the Coif. In law school, she participated in several El Centro Legal Clinics, and served as the Chief Managing Editor of the UCLA Law Review. In her first year with Akin Gump, Annie plans to further develop her pro bono practice by continuing to work on U Visa and asylum petitions.

Nafisa Bringe is an associate in our corporate practice. As a 2014 Pro Bono Scholar, Nafisa interned with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (“TRLA”) in Austin, Texas. During her time at TRLA Nafisa helped survivors of domestic violence obtain protective orders, file for divorce, and gain favorable parental rights. Prior to law school, Nafisa was a 2009 Teach For America Corps Member in Dallas, Texas, where she taught second grade and was a member of the school’s leadership team. Nafisa graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 2016. While at Texas Law Nafisa was an Associate Editor for the Texas Law Review and an Executive Editor for the American Journal of Criminal Law. She also served as President of Youth Court, an organization that works to eradicate the School-to-Prison Pipeline by implementing restorative justice programs in local middle schools. During her first year with Akin Gump, Nafisa has continued to work on pro bono matters by providing legal assistance to the KIPP Foundation.

Melissa Chastang is an associate in our litigation practice. She first came to Akin Gump as a 2012 Pro Bono Scholar when she interned with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. In Johannesburg, Melissa contributed to litigation efforts throughout southern Africa to support disability rights, investigate state-sponsored torture, prosecute gross corruption, and enforce international criminal law. She graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2014, where she participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic. Now an associate in the Washington, D.C. office, she remains engaged in pro bono practice through her involvement with the firm’s emerging anti-trafficking initiative and by assisting clients on immigration-related issues.

John Patrick Clayton is an associate in our corporate and securities practice. John’s pro bono and prior professional experience has focused on reforms to improve the educational opportunities for low-income students. Before law school, John was a 2008 Teach For America Corps Member in Charlotte, NC, where he taught Special Education at Northridge Middle School. As a Pro Bono Scholar, John worked alongside the General Counsel of the KIPP Foundation, which provides various resources to the network of KIPP public charter schools. He graduated from The University of Michigan Law School in 2013, where he served as Executive Articles Editor of the Michigan Journal of Law Reform and President of the Law School Classical Music Society. After spending his second summer at Akin Gump, John returned as an associate in the firm’s Dallas office, where his practice focuses on various matters related to corporate and securities laws. He continues to work on education-related pro bono issues.

Lauren Connell is an associate in our corporate transactional practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2012, Lauren interned with Her Justice in New York, NY, helping immigrant women who were domestic violence survivors gain legal immigration status in the United States. Throughout law school, Lauren continued to work with immigrants by helping immigrant crime victims get lawful status through the U visa application process. Lauren graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2014 and joined Akin Gump as an associate in the fall. Instead of starting in the corporate group in New York, however, Lauren has launched her Akin Gump career in San Antonio, Texas, where she is working full-time representing Central American refugee women and children who are detained in Karnes City, Texas as part of the Karnes City Immigrant Family Pro Bono Project. She will work exclusively on this pro bono project until the end of 2014, and will start in the NY office in January 2015.

David Fitzgerald is an associate (application for admission to the District of Columbia Bar pending) in our litigation practice. He first came to Akin Gump as a Pro Bono Scholar in 2013 when he partnered with the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP). During his time at the NVLSP, David contributed to securing special compensation benefits for disabled combat veterans. David enjoyed extensive client interaction while gaining considerable substantive litigation experience. He graduated with honors from The University of North Carolina School of Law in 2015, where he was inducted into the Davis Society for founding a students’ advocacy group that contributed more than 400 hours of pro bono services to indigent veterans. While at UNC, David was also a member of the Broun National Trial Team, Journal of Law & Technology, and clerked for the North Carolina Pattern Jury Instruction Committee. David returned as an associate to our Washington, D.C. office after clerking with the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. David maintains a diverse pro bono practice and serves as a member of the Pro Bono Committee.

Julia Furlong is an associate in our financial restructuring practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2013, Julia interned with the Legal Affairs Team at Teach For America (“TFA”) in New York City.  The Legal Affairs Team provides legal and strategic advice to the dozens of TFA regions nationwide as well as the organization’s national functional teams on a wide range of substantive areas, including education law, employment law and nonprofit law.  Before law school, Julia was a TFA corps member and taught elementary school for four years with Achievement First public charter schools in New Haven and Brooklyn.  Julia holds a JD from The University of Texas School of Law.  While in law school, she participated in the Civil Rights Clinic, the Immigration Clinic and the International Human Rights Clinic.  Julia also was a 2014-15 Human Rights Scholar with the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.  Now an associate at the firm’s office in Washington, D.C., Julia continues to maintain a diverse pro bono practice and serves as a member of the Pro Bono Committee.

Kallie Gallagher is an associate in our litigation practice. Prior to attending law school, Kallie was a Teach For America corps member in Edinburg, Texas. She had an opportunity to return to the Texas Rio Grande Valley as a Pro Bono Scholar in 2013 to work for ProBAR, an organization dedicated to providing legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas by the United States government. Kallie graduated with honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 2015. While in law school, Kallie participated in the Pro Bono in January trip, an annual service trip to the Valley that provides legal services to low-income residents. She looks forward to continuing her commitment to immigration and education-related pro bono work during her time at Akin Gump.

Daniel Graver is an associate in our health practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2011, he worked with the National Center for Medical–Legal Partnerships helping Walmart set up the first corporate-sponsored Medical–Legal partnership in the U.S. with the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where Walmart now provides free legal services to underprivileged, sick kids. Daniel holds a JD from The University of Texas School of Law, an MPP from Georgetown University, and a BA from The University of Arizona. Before attending law school, Daniel served as a Legislative Assistant in Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ D.C. office, where his portfolio spanned healthcare, business, taxes, and appropriations. He also has three cycles of statewide and federal campaign experience, managing teams in Arizona and California. While at UT, Daniel participated in the Domestic Violence clinic, was a 1L section mentor, and served on the Texas Law Fellowships board, which raised about $130,000 to fund public interest summer fellowships. Since joining the firm, Daniel's pro bono matters has included continued work with the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships and a pro bono landlord-tenant matter, as well as serving as a member of the Pro Bono Committee.

Eric Haitz is an associate in our financial restructuring practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2014, Eric worked with the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), which advocates for military veterans and active duty personnel. Eric’s work with NVLSP included securing debt relief for combat veterans saddled with debt because of inadvertent drafter’s errors in defense department legislation. In his second summer with Akin Gump, Eric was involved in pro bono projects serving undocumented immigrants seeking asylum in the United States and assisted in representing a local non-profit arts company in a contract dispute with a vendor. Eric graduated The University of Virginia School of Law in 2016. During law school, Eric volunteered with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, an organization dedicated to providing free civil legal assistance to low-income Texans, and Eric was a member of the Innocence Project Clinic, UVA’s advocacy clinic for wrongfully convicted Virginia prisoners.

Abby Kohlman is an associate in our litigation practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2011, Abby interned with the Orleans Public Defender in New Orleans, Louisiana, helping interview clients, prepare for trial, and draft Fourth Amendment motions. Abby has also interned and clerked with the Charleston, South Carolina Public Defenders and the Public Defender Service of Washington, D.C. Abby graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2013, where she participated in the Juvenile Justice Clinic in D.C. Superior Court. In her first year with Akin Gump, Abby continues to work on pro bono matters, including representing a tenant in Landlord Tenant Court.

Paulette Miniter is an associate in our litigation practice. Paulette’s pro bono experience has focused on the protection of human and civil rights. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2014, Paulette worked at Human Rights Initiative in Dallas, helping provide legal services to refugees and immigrants fleeing violence and oppression. During her two summers at Akin, Paulette also worked on First Amendment issues and appellate issues involving the intersection of administrative and immigration law. Before law school, Paulette was a journalist in New York and Washington, D.C. She graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Virginia School of Law and was an editor of the Virginia Journal of International Law. She will clerk for Judge Catharina Haynes, on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, during the 2017-18 term.

Brad Powell is an associate in our international trade group. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2013, Brad worked at Human Rights First where he supported advocacy efforts to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force and to develop human rights commitments throughout U.S. foreign policy initiatives. He also supported ongoing litigation against two former foreign officials for crimes against humanity. Brad graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2015 where he served on the Appellate Advocacy Division of the Barristers’ Council and won Best Oralist in the 2015 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition as well as Best Brief in the previous year’s competition. Brad interned with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser during law school as well as Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Prior to law school, he earned a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School and served in AmeriCorps for two years with Citizen Schools. Brad’s pro bono practice continues to focus on the intersections of foreign policy, armed conflict, and human rights.

Daniella Roseman is an associate in our litigation practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2013, Daniella interned with Her Justice, working with survivors of domestic violence seeking legal immigration status, divorce from their abusers, and custody of their children. In her second summer at Akin Gump, Daniella worked with Her Justice again, helping a survivor of domestic violence prepare a VAWA self-petition. She graduated cum laude from The University of Michigan Law School in 2015. Since joining the New York office, Daniella continues to develop her pro bono practice, advising immigration clients seeking legal status, participating in the firm’s anti-trafficking efforts through Sanctuary for Families, and as part of an Akin Gump team advising a client seeking resentencing through the Juvenile Law Center’s Juvenile Life Without Parole project in Pennsylvania.

Josh Sekoski is an associate in our labor and employment practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2010, Josh interned with the Tahirih Justice Center in Falls Church, Virginia, helping immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence. He partnered again with Tahirih as a summer associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, helping a client self-petition for legal permanent resident status in the United States under the Violence Against Women Act. Josh graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2012, where he participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. Josh has an active and diverse pro bono practice that includes litigating a family law matter, contributing to a suit by an association of D.C. taxicab drivers against the District of Columbia and counseling clients on employment law issues.

Jung Hwa Song is an associate in our international trade practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar, Jung Hwa interned at the Tahirih Justice Center in Baltimore, where she helped immigrant women file U Visa petitions based on their experiences with gender-based violence. Her experience prior to Akin Gump was focused on international policymaking. Jung Hwa began her career working on track-two diplomatic efforts at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and continued to help U.S.-based entities pursue business relationships and investments in China, Russia and other emerging markets as a consultant at Diligence LLC. She previously wrote, produced, and managed all digital news content for ABC News’ flagship broadcast “World News with Charles Gibson” and also served as the Asia Pacific Editor for Foreign Policy Digest. Prior to law school, Jung Hwa received a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, where she pursued field research on Chinese policy vis-a-vis North Korean migrants and refugees. She also earned a MA in international economics and law from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and she received a JD at Georgetown University Law Center, where she participated in the trade policy clinic at the Harrison Institute for Public Law.

Libbie Walker is an associate in our investment management practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2013, Libbie interned with Her Justice in New York, NY, helping women who are domestic violence survivors obtain divorces from their abusive spouses and gain legal immigration status in the United States. The following year, she partnered again with Her Justice as a summer associate in the firm’s New York office. Libbie received her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 2015, where she was a Global Law Scholar and a member of Barristers’ Council Alternative Dispute Resolution Division. In her first year with Akin Gump, Libbie plans on continuing to develop her pro bono practice by representing disabled veterans in partnership with Veterans Legal Advocacy Group.

Lech Wilkiewicz is an associate in our corporate practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2011, Lech interned at Human Rights Initiative (HRI) in Dallas, Texas. Lech’s work at HRI included helping a client prepare a claim for asylum and helping a client petition for legal permanent resident status under the Violence Against Women Act. In his second summer at Akin Gump, in 2012, Lech helped an indigent client file a petition for divorce. Lech also assisted in preparing a U Visa petition, which provides temporary immigration benefits to aliens who are victims of a crime. Lech graduated with honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 2013. In law school he participated in the Immigration Clinic, in which he tried a case and won asylum for his client. In his first year with Akin Gump, Lech has been involved in pro bono matters related to immigration and improving educational systems throughout the United States.

Lauren York is an associate in our litigation practice. As a Pro Bono Scholar in 2013, Lauren worked with General Counsel of the KIPP Foundation, which provides support, various resources, and legal advice to the national network of KIPP public charter schools. Before law school, Lauren was a Teach For America corps member in Dallas, Texas, where she taught 11th grade English at L. G. Pinkston High School. Lauren graduated with honors from The University of Texas School of Law in 2015. During law school, Lauren was the Curriculum Coordinator for Street Law, an organization dedicated to teaching Austin-area middle and high school students basic legal concepts, the Director of Assault & Flattery, UT Law’s musical theater satire, and an associate editor of the Review of Litigation. During her first year with Akin Gump, Lauren has been involved in pro bono projects serving various Texas-based organizations in women’s healthcare and the arts.