The legal team behind Ella T. includes attorneys from Public Counsel, Morrison Foerster, and law professor Catherine Fisk.
Public Counsel is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Founded in 1970, Public Counsel strives to achieve three main goals: protect the legal rights of disadvantaged children; represent immigrants who have been the victims of torture, persecution, domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes; and foster economic justice by providing individuals and institutions in underserved communities with access to quality legal representation. Through a pro bono model that leverages the talents and dedication of thousands of attorney and law student volunteers, along with an in-house staff of more than 75 attorneys and social workers, Public Counsel annually assists more than 30,000 families, children, immigrants, veterans, and nonprofit organizations and addresses systemic poverty and civil rights issues through impact litigation and policy advocacy.
Mark Rosenbaum is the Director of Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. He is the lead litigator in Gary B. v. Snyder, the Detroit literacy case. He has argued four times before the United States Supreme Court, more than twenty-five times before the Ninth and Sixth Circuit federal Courts of Appeal, three times before the California Supreme Court, and before the United States Court of Military Appeals.
Kathryn Eidmann is the Robins Kaplan Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project, where she brings economic justice impact litigation with a focus on education equity. She has developed and led class action cases on behalf of low-income students, including a statewide challenge to lost learning time in high-poverty schools (Cruz v. California), and Compton Unified School District’s failure to accommodate students who are impacted by exposure to trauma (Peter P. v. CUSD). Prior to joining Public Counsel, Kathryn worked for the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and as a law clerk for Judge Thomas B. Griffith of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.
Alisa Hartz is a Staff Attorney in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. She has worked on economic justice impact litigation cases, including educational equity cases and an action against the City of Los Angeles for failing to connect mentally disabled homeless prisoners with essential services upon their release from jail, as well as acting as a lead attorney on a gender equality case defending the rights of a transgender child to access education (Brar v. Heritage Oak). Alisa served as a law clerk to the Hon. Dean D. Pregerson of the District Court for the Central District of California and the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College (B.A.), Brown University (PhD), and the UC Irvine School of Law (J.D.).
Elizabeth Hadaway is a Skadden Fellow in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. She has worked on economic justice impact litigation cases, including a criminal appeal challenging the imposition of mandatory court fees on indigent defendants without consideration of their inability to pay (People v. Dueñas), educational equity cases, and a case filed on behalf of a DREAMer challenging the arbitrary revocation of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) (Ramirez v. Department of Homeland Security). She also represents students in special education and school discipline matters. Elizabeth served as a law clerk to the Hon. Sandra Lynch of the United States Court of Appeal for the First Circuit. She is a graduate of Harvard College (B.A.) and Harvard Law School (J.D.). Prior to law school, she taught English for three years at a public high school.
Malhar Shah is a Harvard Public Interest Venture Fund Fellow in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. Malhar works on education equity cases, including a case on behalf of a transgender student whose school discriminated against her, as well as an immigration case filed on behalf of DREAMers and other plaintiffs challenging President Trump’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program (Garcia v. Trump). Prior to joining Public Counsel as an attorney, Malhar worked as a law school intern and assisted on education equity cases, including Gary B. v. Snyder, the Detroit literacy case, as well as a lawsuit against the Compton Unified School District for failing to accommodate students who are impacted by exposure to trauma (Peter P. v. CUSD). Malhar is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside (B.A.) and Harvard Law School (J.D.).
Aida Palma Carpio is an organizer/researcher in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. She has worked on educational equity cases, as well as economic justice issues, including a campaign to end county practices of assessing and collecting juvenile administrative fees in California. Prior to joining Public Counsel, she was an organizing fellow with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Centro de Información in Elgin, IL, developing a voter education and mobilization campaign to increase political representation of immigrant communities in the Chicago area. She also has experience as a student organizer developing engagement programming and increasing accessibility of resources for first-generation students of color and students from immigrant backgrounds in higher education. Aida is a graduate of Brown University (B.A.).
Will Lacker is an Organizer/Researcher in Public Counsel’s Opportunity Under Law project. He supports the legal team on impact litigation cases with a focus on education equity. Prior to joining Public Counsel, Will received a Fulbright-Garcia Robles grant to teach English in Aguascalientes, Mexico and previously taught at a Head Start preschool center for three years in Chicago, IL. Will is a graduate of Brown University (B.A.) and Dominican University (M.Sc. in Education).
Michael A. Jacobs co-founded and was a former co-chair of Morrison Foerster’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. He leads complex litigation trial teams to success in intellectual property and life sciences matters. Michael served as lead co-counsel in the landmark Williams v. California class action, which achieved a settlement in which the State undertook to address shocking conditions in California’s lowest-performing schools.
Erik J. Olson is a litigation partner who focuses on intellectual property, securities, and corporate governance disputes, with particular emphasis on clients in the biotechnology, medical device, telecommunications, and high-technology industries. Erik has served pro bono clients in cases challenging unconstitutional detention under the Fourth Amendment and advancing protections for foster children. He is the Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and former Chair of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California.
Roman A. Swoopes is a partner focused on patent and copyright litigation and counseling. Roman was a member of the team that worked on a federal civil rights suit against the foster care system in Clark County, Nevada, which secured a $2.075 million settlement for seven former foster youth who were injured while in custody, a landmark case that helped spark deep-seated reform in the foster care system in Las Vegas.
Catherine Fisk is the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at Berkeley Law School. Prior to this, she served as the Chancellor’s Professor of Law and a member of the founding faculty of the University of California, Irvine School of Law from 2008 to 2017.
Fathers & Families is a progressive, solutions orientated organization that works to address the varying needs of men, women, youth, their families and the community. By providing socially relevant and culturally relevant services, FFSJ develops local leadership while unifying the efforts of existing groups. Its mission is to promote the cultural, spiritual, economic, and social renewal of the most vulnerable families in Stockton and the greater San Joaquin Valley. Fathers & Families engages in programming, advocacy, and direct services designed to enhance literacy education and encourage positive youth development, and has devoted significant resources towards ameliorating the failure of the State to provide access to literacy.
CADRE is a community-based, membership organization in South Los Angeles founded in 2001. CADRE is led by African American and Latino parents and caregivers whose children attend local schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Its mission is to solidify and advance parent leadership to ensure that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live, seeking to effect policy change and mobilize political will through new parent participation models that preserve and expand the right to education for all South LA children and youth. CADRE works for grassroots system change by supporting South LA parents as the leaders in stopping the school pushout crisis in schools serving low-income neighborhoods of color in LAUSD. CADRE seeks to ensure that parents are welcomed as collaborators and as essential partners in their children’s literacy development, understanding that low literacy is the earliest warning sign of school pushout.