Weil Innovator


International Advocacy & Litigation Fellow – Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (Washington, D.C.)

Harvard Law School

Gabrielle Battle-Bess serves as an International Advocacy & Litigation Fellow at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights where she works to identify, research, and strategize human rights and advocacy cases.

Gabrielle Battle graduated with distinction from Duke University, where she majored in public policy. She is passionate about utilizing law as an instrument to advance the rights of marginalized communities both domestically and abroad, with a focus on serving girls of color. She has explored this interest by working for The Gathering for Justice, Abrams for Governor Campaign, and Dream.org. Additionally, she served as a research assistant for the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa and founded the Just-Us Initiative, a community created to support Black girls. Gabrielle was admitted to Harvard Law School through the Junior Deferral Program.

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Waging Justice for Women Fellow – Clooney Foundation for Justice (Global)

University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Tori Bianco serves as the Waging Justice for Women Fellow at Clooney Foundation for Justice where she contributes to the research and development of their gender justice fellowship program that tackles women-for-women legal aid.

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Tori graduated from New York University (NYU) magna cum lade, where she was a Presidential Honors Scholar and double majored in International Relations and
Spanish. While at NYU, Tori played for the Varsity Women’s Soccer Team. Back home in Nebraska, Tori volunteers for Launch Leadership, a non-profit that fosters students’ leadership skills. After graduating from NYU, Tori moved to Spain to teach English. Following the Weil Legal Innovators Program, Tori will pursue her J.D. at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, where she plans to further her passion and knowledge of international human rights law.

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Equitable Justice Legal Fellow – National Urban League (New York, NY)

Yale Law School

Jamal Burns serves as the Equitable Justice Legal Fellow at National Urban League where he assists with legal and policy research across various policy issues, from civic engagement to criminal justice reform.

Jamal studied History and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University. After completing his undergraduate studies, he attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, where he read for two master’s degrees in Educational Technology and Higher Education. Beyond his academic achievements, Jamal is a committed social advocate interested in creativity and justice. As such, he has written and performed slam poetry, has led teach-ins discussing the effects of routine police violence, and has been an instructor in a variety of educational settings. Following the Weil Legal Innovators Program, Jamal will pursue his J.D. at Yale Law School.

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Compass Investors Fellow – Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (New York, NY)

Stanford Law School

Kavya Chaturvedi serves as a Compass Investors Fellow at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights where she explores innovative ways to engage the private equity community on their social impact mechanisms.

Kavya graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public and International Affairs. As an undergraduate student, Kavya served as a class officer in the undergraduate student government, interned with business & human rights focused organizations, and wrote her senior thesis on legislation to address the risks of modern slavery in corporate supply chains. Since graduation from Princeton, Kavya has worked at Goldman Sachs as a Legal Analyst, learning about the intersection of the law and financial markets. Following the Weil Legal Innovators program, Kavya will pursue her J.D. at Stanford Law School.

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Advocacy Associate – United Way of New York City (New York, NY)

Yale Law School

Salma Elsayed serves as an Advocacy Associate at United Way of New York City where she advances policy agendas aimed at closing opportunity gaps and enabling economic mobility.

A native of Queens, New York, Salma Elsayed holds a B.A. magna cum laude in Social Studies with a focus on Education, Housing, and Urban Inequality from Harvard College. While at Harvard, Salma was deeply involved in housing justice work, and served as a Director of the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, the first student-run homeless shelter in the country. Her senior thesis compared two cities with different homelessness models, New York City and Houston, in their ability to support K-12 homeless students. Following the Weil Legal Innovators Program, Salma will pursue her J.D. at Yale Law School.

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Research & Communications Analyst – Earthwatch Institute (Boston, MA)

University of Michigan School of Law

Brendan Hyatt serves as a Research & Communications Analyst at Earthwatch Institute where he works to advance the science and communication efforts by generating reports and collecting data on their impact.

Brendan Hyatt received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with honors from Grinnell College. At Grinnell, Brendan conducted research on extremism, social media, climate planning, and disability justice. Since graduating, he has continued to work on these topics, presenting his work to government agencies, nonprofits, and academic conferences. He has worked for the Stimson Center, the Environmental Law Institute, and Human Trafficking Search. Brendan aspires to advocate for environmental equity through a disability perspective. He will attend the University of Michigan Law School after participating in the Weil Legal Innovators Program.

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TIME’s UP Legal Defense Fund, Program Associate – National Women’s Law Center (Washington, D.C.)

Harvard Law School

Jennifer Lee serves as the TIME’s UP Legal Defense Fund Program Associate at the National Women’s Law Center where she works to identify and assist in cases of workplace sex discrimination, especially through the coordination of attorneys in their Legal Network for Gender Equity.

Jennifer is a graduate of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, where she studied public policy. Throughout college, Jennifer served as co-chair of the Pace Civic Leadership Council, co-president of the Asian American Students Association, and president of the Disability Collective. She is also the founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operating at the intersection of disability and racial justice. Jennifer has previously interned at the Center for American Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren. Following her tenure as a Weil Legal Innovator, Jennifer will continue her studies at Harvard Law School.

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Case Management & Litigation Assistant – American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas (Houston, TX)

Yale Law School

Sam Maldonado serves as the Case Management & Litigation Assistant at the ACLU of Texas where she works to build and implement a new case management system for the organization, as well as provide litigation assistance.

A Texas native, Sam graduated from MIT where she majored in Electrical Engineer and Computer Science along with Political Science. As an undergraduate, Sam worked as a research assistant
and interned with various entities including GQR Research, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and the World Wildlife Fund. She was awarded the Undergraduate Achievement Award by the Political Science department and was inducted into Eta Kappa Nu and Phi Beta Kappa upon graduation. In the long term, Sam plans on returning to Texas to advocate for marginalized communities and will attend Yale Law School following the Weil Legal Innovators Program.

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Exoneration Innovator – Innocence Project (New York, NY)

Harvard Law School

Ava Pacchiana serves as the Exoneration Innovator at Innocence Project where she assists in legal cases in an effort to free wrongfully convicted people.

Ava Pacchiana graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Human & Organizational Development. While at Vanderbilt, Ava interned at the ACLU, the Tennessee General Assembly, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Ava also served as the Vice President of Vanderbilt Prison Project where she co-led a local clemency campaign, organized a community-based Court Watch program, and planned weekly dinners to bring together previously incarcerated individuals and Vanderbilt students. After graduation, Ava moved to Warsaw, Poland where she served as the lead grant writer at a Polish NGO opening schools for displaced Ukrainian children. Following the WLI program, Ava will attend Harvard Law School where she plans to pursue a career in public defense and capital cases.

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Office of General Counsel Legal Fellow – National Urban League (New York, NY)

New York University School of Law

Sam Shapiro serves as the Office of General Counsel Legal Fellow where he provides supports on various legal and policy areas, from nonprofit grant and contact management to programs related to health equity and housing.

Sam Shapiro received his Bachelors of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, where he studied International Politics and Theology. At Georgetown, he held leadership positions in the Office of Campus Ministry and served as a research assistant in the Georgetown Center for Security Studies. Outside of school, he completed internships at national nonprofits focused on conservation and civic engagement. After graduating, Sam spent two years working in the Appeals Division of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, focusing on federal and state civil litigation in which the DA’s Office was involved.