Team

 

Leadership

Jennifer Bennett, Esq.

Jennifer Bennett, Esq.

Board of Directors

Public Justice

Jennifer Bennett is a Staff Attorney at Public Justice, a national public interest law firm dedicated to combatting social and economic injustice through high-impact litigation.  Jennifer litigates precedent-setting appeals challenging predatory corporate conduct and government abuses.  Her practice involves a wide range of issues, including civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer protection, court secrecy, and forced arbitration.  Jennifer has briefed and argued cases in state and federal appellate courts across the country.  Her recent work includes a First Circuit victory on behalf of truck drivers fighting forced arbitration, a Fifth Circuit victory on behalf of a father killed by Texas jailers, and a Ninth Circuit victory challenging corporations’ ability to seal court records that might reveal misconduct or even dangerous product defects that could threaten public safety.  Jennifer earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. summa cum laude from Yale University.  She clerked for the Honorable Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and the Honorable Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Benjamin Elga, Esq.

Benjamin Elga, Esq.

Executive Director

 

Benjamin Elga is the founding Executive Director of the Justice Catalyst, where he works on a wide array of projects, with a focus on impact litigation and innovation in legal practice. Previously, Ben worked to bring antitrust and consumer class actions at Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, including litigation that resulted in the recall of thousands of defective cars and the return unfairly depressed wages to nurses. Before attending Harvard Law, he was an agriculture volunteer with the Peace Corps in Senegal and worked on several state-wide political races. He is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

Jacob Lipton, Esq.

Jacob Lipton, Esq.

Board of Directors

Systemic Justice Project at Harvard Law

Jacob Lipton is the Program Director of the Systemic Justice Project, a policy innovation collaboration at Harvard Law School devoted to working with students to identify injustice, design solutions, promote awareness, and advocate reforms to policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public.Jacob has presented on legal education and systemic justice at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Institute, the National Workshop for Bankruptcy Judges, the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching Annual Conference, and the Law and Boundaries Annual International Conference. Jacob graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was co-Editor in Chief of Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left and Vice President of Harvard Law School Students for Sustainable Investment, and the captain of the Harvard Law School soccer team. Before law school he read Classics at King’s College London and spent two years in Freetown as the Special Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Government of Sierra Leone. He is currently working with Jon Hanson on a research project that attempts to reimagine law, the legal profession, and legal education in ways that would help them better achieve systemic justice.

Sarah O'Brien, Esq.

Sarah O'Brien, Esq.

Board of Directors

Orleans Public Defenders

Sarah O’Brien is a Staff Attorney at Orleans Public Defenders in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to representing poor people accused of crimes at the trial court level, Sarah works in the Special Litigation Division developing strategies and litigation to fight mass incarceration and protect the rights of the criminally accused by effecting changes in Louisiana’s criminal justice system and criminal law jurisprudence. Sarah has worked on projects aimed at securing constitutional protections for mentally ill and intellectually disabled people accused of crimes, bringing constitutional challenges to Louisiana’s racially motivated law permitting non-unanimous jury verdicts, increasing state public defense funding through litigation and legislative advocacy, developing educational resources to assist public defenders in maintaining up-to-date knowledge of changes in state and federal criminal case law, and addressing systemic prosecutorial misconduct. Sarah earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law and her B.A. in philosophy from Yale University.

Fellows

Liza Weisberg

Liza Weisberg

2017 - 2018 Fellow

As a Catalyst Fellow at the ACLU of New JerseyLiza Weisberg will focus on challenging abuses of civil asset forfeiture laws through direct representation, impact litigation, and policy advocacy. Liza graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in May 2017. During law school, she was the Executive Director of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau,a student-run legal services organization that represents low-income clients in housing, family, wage and hour, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and government benefits cases. She also represented low-income defendants in criminal show-cause hearings as a student attorney with Harvard Defenders and served as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. During her law school summers, Liza worked at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and at the civil rights law firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady.

Marissa Roy

Marissa Roy

2017 - 2018 Fellow

Marissa Roy grew up in Los Angeles. In college at USC, she spent over 200 hours volunteering in the LA community, making an impact at a local level. She carried these experiences with her to Yale Law School, where she worked with the City of San Francisco to use local government litigation to protect at-risk residents. After graduating from YLS, Marissa will join the LA City Attorney as a Catalyst Fellow to continue fighting on behalf of LA community members. For her fellowship project, she will create an impact litigation partnership between the LA City Attorney’s Office and UCLA to bring fresh ideas for impact litigation to the office.

Peter Steffensen

Peter Steffensen

2017 - 2018 Fellow

As a 2017 Catalyst Fellow, Peter is excited to return to his adoptive home state of Texas, where he will be joining the Texas Civil Rights Project. At TCRP, Peter is examining the use of algorithmic risk assessment tools within the state’s criminal justice system.  His inquiry focuses on the extent to which these tools implicate due process, institutional bias, and government transparency. During law school, Peter was a member of the Technology Law & Policy Clinic, a legal intern with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, and an editor of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change. He received his B.A. from Rice University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Tavi Unger

2017 - 2018 Fellow

Tavi Unger spends her fellowship year in the Labor Bureau of the Office of the New York State Attorney General. Her project focuses on surveying and identifying instances of employee misclassification across New York State. She further assists the Bureau in other general activities, such as research and litigation. A graduate of Yale Law School and Swarthmore College, she has also worked extensively on voting rights and election law.

            Sample Partner Organizations