Linda S. Lin
Linda S. Lin is the founder of the Joint Minority Bar Judicial Internship Program (JMBJIP), which merged with the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program (Sotomayor Program) in 2015. Linda is currently SVP, General Counsel - Business Unit Support at QBE North America. Linda leads a team of attorneys supporting the business units leaders of QBE's Alternative Markets and Specialty & Commercial divisions. Prior to joining QBE, Linda served as Senior Complex Claims Director at Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) and Senior Counsel at Liberty International Underwriters (LIU). Linda previously worked in private practice at the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. She also served as law clerk to the Hon. Dora L. Irizarry, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. Linda received her B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Law with honors from Binghamton University and her Juris Doctorate cum laude from Brooklyn Law School, where she was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society.
Colleen Kelly Faherty
Law School Division
Colleen Kelly Faherty is an Assistant Attorney General in the litigation bureau for the State of New York Office of the Attorney General. Prior to joining the AG's Office, Colleen was a criminal defense attorney at the boutique defense firm, Fischetti & Malgieri LLP, handling white collar cases in the federal and state courts. She also served as law clerk to the Hon. Frederic Block, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. In 2012, Colleen was offered through the Joint Minority Bar Judicial Internship Program an internship placement with the Hon. Jack B. Weinstein, in the Eastern District of New York. She has remained actively involved with the JMBJIP and subsequently the Sotomayor Program, to support both organizations' goals of promoting diversity in the legal profession. Colleen received a dual bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame in the Program of Liberal Studies and Fine Arts, and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law, where she was Student Bar Association President and an executive member of the Dispute Resolution Society.
Celina Cabán Gandhi
Founder & Vice President, High School Division
Celina Cabán Gandhi is the Founder and Vice President of the High School Division of the Sotomayor Program. Ms. Cabán Gandhi is currently a staff attorney with Manhattan Legal Services. She was formerly an agency attorney with the Trial Division of the New York City Police Department, clerked with Honorable Denny Chin in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and clerked with Honorable Wendel E. Daniels, Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division in Ocean County, New Jersey. In 2008, Ms. Cabán Gandhi graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University majoring in Economic History and minoring in Latin American Studies. In 2014, she graduated from CUNY School of Law, where she participated in Moot Court and served as Special Events Editor for the Law Review. Ms. Cabán Gandhi was a 2012 Puerto Rican Bar Association Student Scholar, as well as a 2013 Ms. JD Fellow. She is also the recipient of the Puerto Rican Bar Association’s 2014 Flor de Maga Award. In February of 2019, Ms. Cabán Gandhi received the Ms. JD Women of Inspiration Award for her role as Founder of the SCS JIP.
Deputy Vice President, Law School Division
Jennifer Reinbold is a senior planner for the Legal Orientation Program (LOP) and Immigration Court Helpdesk (ICH) at the Center on Immigration and Justice. She joined Vera in August 2018 and provides technical assistance to the program sites in the form of site visits, on-site training programs, and conference calls. Prior to Vera, she was a Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney at Kids in Need of Defense’s New York office, and an Immigration Attorney at Catholic Charities in Washington D.C. Jennifer also served as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow, as we;; as an Office of Refugee Resettlement Fellow at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington (D.C.). Jennifer is a 2014 graduate of Vermont Law School and a 2009 graduate of Indiana University.
Deputy Vice President, High School Division
Yasmin Dwedar, a Muslim-American Attorney of Egyptian and Filipino descent, currently serves as the Supervising Attorney of the Crime Victim Treatment Center's Legal Services Program. Prior to this, Yasmin was the Senior Supervising Attorney at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission and clerked in both state and federal court before serving as the first Muslim Assistant District Attorney appointed to serve Kings county under District Attorney Ken Thompson. Yasmin serves on the New York Women’s Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion and Judiciary Committees. She also founded the Arab American Bar Association. In her spare time, she serves on various boards, including: the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program, Kinding Sindaw, and Community Board 10 in Brooklyn. Yasmin was recognized for her work in Crain’s New York Business Top 100 Women Lawyers in New York City for 2018. Her personal story of being barred from participating in student government as a Muslim-American high school student inspired her legal career and was featured in Moustafa Bayoumi’s classic book, “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America.”
Rena Malik is currently the Principal Law Clerk to the Honorable Alexander M. Tisch, Justice of the Supreme Court, New York County. She previously served as a Court Attorney for the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court in the Second Department, Law Clerk to the Honorable James E. d'Auguste, Justice of the Supreme Court, New York County, and as an Assistant Law Clerk to the Honorable Larry D. Martin, Justice of the Supreme Court, Kings County. Before working in the court system, Rena was a Litigation Associate at Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan, practicing in employment law, professional liability, and insurance coverage defense. She also served as an Associate Law Clerk to the Honorable Roger J. Miner in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2010, Rena graduated cum laude from New York Law School, where she served as a Notes & Comments Editor on the New York Law School Law Review. Before law school, Rena received her MA in International Relations from the University of Westminster (London, U.K.) and her BA from Binghamton University. She is a Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee for the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and serves as the Secretary and on the Board of Directors for The Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program, Inc. (SCS JIP). Rena is also a member of the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY), and the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association of New York.
Debra Lesser is the Executive Director of the Justice Resource Center, overseeing 28 different law-related programs for the school-age population. Ms. Lesser created the first Law and Justice Institute in the 1980’s which has been replicated nationally and internationally. She serves as an ex-officio member of the NYCLA’s Justice Center and NYCLA’s law-related education committee. Ms. Lesser received the NYSBA’s law-related education award in 1991.
Pamela K. Chen
Pamela K. Chen is a federal district judge in the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn. She was nominated to the federal bench in January 2013 by President Barack Obama, and sworn in on March 19, 2013. Before joining the bench, Judge Chen was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, except for a brief period in 2008, when she served as a Deputy Commissioner in the New York State Division of Human Rights. During her tenure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Judge Chen investigated and prosecuted cases involving terrorism, gang violence, drug trafficking, hate crimes, official misconduct, and human trafficking. Between 1991 and 1998, Judge Chen was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Judge Chen began her legal career at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Rahul Agarwal is the Executive Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He previously worked in private practice, as a litigation associate, at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP and at O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Rahul also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Esther Salas, U.S. District Judge (then Magistrate Judge) for the District of New Jersey, and the Honorable Jose L. Linares, U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey. He received his B.A. in Business Economics and International Relations from Brown University and his Juris Doctorate from Columbia University. Rahul also previously served as the President of the South Asian Bar Association of New York, and Vice-President of Community Outreach for the South Asian Bar Association of North America.
Judge Lois Bloom
Lois Bloom was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York on May 18, 2001. She was reappointed for her third term on the Brooklyn bench in May 2017. Before her appointment in the Eastern District, Magistrate Judge Bloom served as Senior Staff Attorney in the Pro Se Office of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for 13 years. Judge Bloom has spoken on Access to Justice, Federal Civil Practice, Employment Discrimination, Habeas Corpus and Civil Rights issues at numerous conferences. She also trained new Magistrate Judges as part of the Federal Judicial Center’s annual orientation for newly appointed judges for over a decade.
Ethan P. Fallon
Ethan P. Fallon is an Associate at Kellogg, Hubber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, PLLC. He previously served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York and for the Honorable Denny Chin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to pursuing a legal career, Mr. Fallon was an English and history teacher in East Palo Alto, California, serving as a Teach For America corps member. Mr. Fallon received a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a B.A. in philosophy from Penn State.
Russell M. Franklin
Russell M. Franklin is a Partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP. Russell Franklin counsels global private and publicly held companies in connection with structuring, and effecting, complex strategic transactions. This includes structuring and negotiating mergers and acquisitions (M&A), minority investments, and joint venture transactions for strategic and financial clients including private equity firms. His practice also includes general stock and asset transactions, and purchases and sales resulting from bankruptcy and out-of-court restructurings. Russell received his B.A, with distinction, from Cornell University with a double major in Economics and Government. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.
Dennis Hopkins is a partner in Perkins Coie’s Intellectual Property and Patent Litigation practices. He focuses his practice on all aspects of intellectual property law, with an emphasis on patent, copyright and trade secret litigation. Dennis has significant experience in all phases of IP litigation, including mediations, trials and appeals. In addition, his practice includes counseling clients on issues relating to litigation strategies and intellectual property management. He is also experienced in all aspects of brand and domain name protection. His IP experience also includes drafting and negotiating agreements and licenses, preparing written opinions of counsel, and providing general IP counseling to clients, including counseling on patent, copyright, trade secret, brand management and other trademark matters.
Rosevelie Márquez Morales
Rosevelie Márquez Morales is the East Coast Diversity Director at Sidley Austin LLP. She was formerly a partner and litigator at Harris Beach PLLC. Ms. Márquez Morales serves as General Counsel to the Hispanic National Bar Association, Co-Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Committee, Chair of DRI’s Diversity Committee and Chair of ASPIRA of New York, a youth development organization. Ms. Márquez Morales is Past President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the New York Women’s Foundation and Long Island American Heart Association. Ms. Márquez Morales is a frequent presenter and author on leadership and diversity in the legal profession and has received numerous recognitions for her work in these areas. She is a graduate of Fordham School of Law and Barnard College of Columbia University. She is the proud mother of Savannah Rose and Delilah Sage.