Dani Isaacsohn is the founder and CEO of a mission driven startup, Bridgeable, that aims to catalyze civic engagement by organizing real conversations between local decision makers and the communities that they serve. Prior to starting Bridgeable, Isaacsohn graduated from Yale Law School and was the Deputy Get Out the Vote Director for the Hillary Clinton campaign in Virginia. He has an extensive background in political campaigning, organizing, and government, spending time in the Office of the White House Counsel during the Obama administration, the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection, and the New York based law firm Debevoise and Plimpton.
Isaacsohn was the Policy Director for a U.S. Senate primary campaign in 2015, and has provided policy-development support for political campaigns ranging from the local to the presidential level, primarily focusing on domestic issues, including immigration reform, education, income inequality, criminal justice, and urban planning. After working as a field organizer on the Obama reelection campaign in Ohio, Isaacsohn helped launch Battleground Texas in early 2013, and lead political outreach as Deputy Political Director and Deputy Campaigns Director in 2014. His geographic focus was in South Texas, primarily working in the Rio Grande Valley and Gulf Coast regions. In those communities Isaacsohn worked to recruit and train local candidates, develop a Latino leadership program to build a pipeline of future candidates and campaign operatives, and drive local investment into grassroots, volunteer driven campaigns.
Isaacsohn is proudest of the work he has done as a mentor and tutor; building close, multi-year relationships with two phenomenal young men from underserved backgrounds over the past few years, and he can’t wait to see what they achieve. Isaacsohn received a B.S. in International Relations from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 2011, and a MPhil in Politics from Cambridge University in 2012.
Michelle Mendez is a Training and Legal Support Senior Attorney and the manager of the new Defending Vulnerable Populations Project. Before managing this project, Mendez oversaw CLINIC's role in the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas, which focuses on providing legal assistance to detained mothers and children. Prior to joining CLINIC, she served as senior managing attorney in the Immigration Legal Services Program at Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington where she began as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by DLA Piper. While at Catholic Charities, Mendez co-taught the Immigration Litigation Clinic at Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law from 2013 to 2016.
Mendez received her juris doctor from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond. She also holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University, and a professional certificate in peace and conflict resolution through the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Mendez was the 2015 American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award. The award recognized her leadership on Maryland Chapter 96 (2014)—the “special immigrant juvenile status law.” She also was recognized as a 2014 Very Important Professional in Maryland by The Daily Record, and recently updated and edited American Immigration Lawyers Association’s “Representing Clients in Immigration Court” (4th Ed). Mendez is a native Spanish speaker, originally from Medellín, Colombia, and also speaks French.
Elora Mukherjee is a Visiting Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School and an Associate Clinical Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Mukherjee is director of the Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, which provides high-quality legal representation to both immigrant children and adults. She previously served as a clinical teaching fellow and lecturer in law, and was an instructor in the Law School’s Mass Incarceration Clinic with Professor Brett Dignam. Mukherjee also advises students participating in a Law School partnership with Kids in Need of Defense, a nonprofit that provides legal representation to unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings.
Mukherjee was a staff attorney at the ACLU Racial Justice Program. In that capacity, her work included serving as lead counsel in a suit that successfully reformed Nebraska’s ballot access laws; serving as lead counsel in a class action suit challenging racial profiling and abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws in east Texas; organizing a multi-faceted litigation and advocacy campaign in Michigan to challenge debtors’ prisons; and challenging Michigan’s failure to provide adequate indigent defense services. From 2006 to 2007, Mukherjee served as the Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow at the ACLU Racial Justice Program, working on all aspects of investigating, litigating, and settling suits for immigrant children detained under prison-like conditions at the T. Don Hutto detention center in Texas, among other matters.
Mukherjee is a founder and director of the Refugee Reunification Project, which provides grants to help refugee families purchase plane tickets to safety in the United States; a founding board member of the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center; and a director of Warm Heart, a community-based, development organization serving rural northern Thailand. She previously served on the board of directors of the Fair Housing Justice Center.
From 2007 to 2010, Mukherjee was an associate at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, where she litigated a broad range of civil rights cases, including dozens of cases involving police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, and housing and employment discrimination. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Jan E. DuBois in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2006.
Lia Parada is the Legislative Manager at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Parada's legislative advocacy focuses on expansion of access to reproductive healthcare services to immigrants, youth, service members, veterans and their family members and is a liaison to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Congress.
Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, Parada was the Deputy Campaign Manager for Legislation and Policy at the Alliance for Citizenship. In this role, Parada was the chief legislative advocate for the national coalition to pass comprehensive immigration reform, leading to President Obama’s executive actions on Deferred Actions for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded DACA.
Previously, Parada served as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. In this role, she advised the Congressman on immigration and was his primary liaison to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She also played a key role in passing the DREAM Act in the House in 2010. Her policy portfolio also included Telecommunications, Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Appropriations. Prior to joining the office of Congressman Becerra, Lia worked for Congressman Jim Moran (VA-08). As Legislative Assistant to Congressman Moran, Parada served as the lead on immigration, Latino outreach, and Spanish language press. In addition she oversaw appropriations requests for the Financial Services Subcommittee and immigration portions of the Homeland Security Subcommittee.
Parada is a native of Northern Virginia. She graduated from George Mason University and is the proud daughter of Salvadoran immigrants.
Michael J. Wishnie is the Deputy Dean for Experiential Education, William O. Douglas Clinical Professor of Law, and Director of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School. Wishnie's teaching, scholarship, and law practice have focused on immigration, labor and employment, habeas corpus, civil rights, government transparency, and veterans law. For years, Wishnie and his students have represented low-wage workers, immigrants, and veterans in federal, state, and administrative litigation. He and his students have also represented unions, churches, veterans’ groups, and grassroots organizations in a range of legislative, media, and community education matters.
Wishnie's recent publications include Asking for Directions: The Case for Federal Courts To Use Certification Across Borders, 125 Yale L.J. F. 156 (2015) (with Oona A. Hathaway); Forty Years of First-Year Students Representing Clients at Yale, in E. Capulong, M. Millemann, S. Rankin & N. Ruan, eds., THE NEW 1L: FIRST-YEAR LAWYERING WITH CLIENTS (Carolina Press: 2015); Immigration Law and the Proportionality Requirement, 2 U.C. IRV. L. REV. 415 (2012); and Proportionality: The Struggle for Balance in U.S. Immigration Policy, 72 U.PITT. L. REV. 431 (2011).
From 1998-2006, Wishnie taught at New York University School of Law. Previously, he worked at the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project as a Skadden Fellow; in the Brooklyn Neighborhood Office of The Legal Aid Society; as a law clerk to Judge H. Lee Sarokin of the District Court of New Jersey and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; and as a clerk for Justice Harry A. Blackmun, retired, working in the chambers of Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before earning his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1993, Wishnie spent two years teaching in the People’s Republic of China.