Deirdre von Dornum, Assistant Dean for Public Service
BA University of California, Los Angeles
MA (Classics), Princeton University
JD Columbia Law School
Deirdre von Dornum joined NYU School of Law from the Federal Defenders of New York, where she served from 2002 to 2013, first as an Assistant Federal Defender in the Southern and Eastern Districts, and from 2011-2013, as the Deputy Attorney-in-Charge for the Eastern District of New York. At Federal Defenders, Deirdre advocated for indigent clients charged with federal crimes, and handled a wide range of cases from investigation to appeal. She supervised numerous attorneys in trials, hearings, motion practice, sentencing litigation, and client counseling, as well as investigators and social workers in litigation and client support. Deirdre has also co-taught the yearlong Federal Defender Clinic at NYU Law, and taught as a guest lecturer at Columbia Law School in evidence, criminal procedure, and sentencing.
Prior to joining Federal Defenders, Deirdre was a litigation associate at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr in New York, where she specialized in white collar criminal defense and securities litigation. She also did extensive pro bono work during that time, including assisting the Capital Defenders of New York in LaValle v. New York and representing immigrants in proceedings in Immigration Court and before the Second Circuit.
Deirdre earned a BA in Classics from the University of California at Los Angeles, a MA from Princeton University, where she was a doctoral candidate in Classics, and a JD from Columbia Law School, where she was a Review and Essay Editor for the Columbia Law Review. After graduating, she clerked for Judge Anita B. Brody of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court.
Lauren Burke ’09, Practitioner-in-Residence
BA magna cum laude, Connecticut College
JD NYU School of Law
Since graduating from NYU School of Law in 2009, Lauren Burke has dedicated her career to empowering immigrants and children, focusing on survivors of trauma. Fluent in Mandarin, she received a Skadden Fellowship to work with Chinese teenage victims of labor trafficking, brought to the United States under severe debt bondage. In 2011, Lauren was asked to develop and oversee the New York Asian Women’s Center in-house immigration law practice for survivors of human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence and in 2012 she became an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School to teach the immigrant youth clinic. At the same time, Lauren partnered with three of her former clients to found Atlas: DIY, Developing Immigrant Youth—an incubator of community, education, and empowerment for undocumented immigrants and their allies and, in July of 2013, they opened their doors full time. Lauren is a 2013 Forbes 30 under 30 recipient and 20 Millennials on a Mission, a Huffington Post “new abolitionist,” New Leaders Council 40 Under 40, and NYU's Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year. In 2014, she won an Echoing Green Global Fellowship in Civil & Human Rights. Lauren's work has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR’s All Things Considered, she has written publications for law journals and foreign governments, and her work was the inspiration behind the documentary “Walking Merchandise.” Lauren is particularly thrilled to return "home" to NYU to counsel students on their public interest careers and ensure they find the job of their dreams using the law to change lives. Lauren enjoys career counseling and is the author of the PSJD blog “The Ten Biggest Mistakes You Can Make While Interviewing at Public Interest Law Career Fairs.”
Heidi Gilchrist, Associate Director
BA cum laude, Yale University
JD Columbia Law School
Heidi Gilchrist is the Associate Director of Academic Careers Program and Government Service. She also teaches legal writing. She was previously a managing editor at Wordsworth Publishing. She was an analyst for the federal government and served on the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City. She was an associate at Cleary Gottlieb. Heidi served as a law clerk to the Honorable Judge Patterson in the Southern District of New York and was a Fulbright Scholar in Damascus, Syria.
David Glasgow LLM ’14, Fellow
BA University of Melbourne Faculty of Arts
LLB University of Melbourne Law School
LLM NYU School of Law
David Glasgow is our first PILC Fellow. He will be responsible for coordinating our outreach and student guidance regarding the new 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission to the New York State bar; administering the International Development Fellowship; counseling public-interest oriented LLM students; and running the PILC Auction. David is an Australian-qualified lawyer and an attorney admitted in New York State. Prior to joining PILC, he completed the Traditional LLM program at NYU School of Law with a focus on public interest law, which included an internship at Immigration Equality through the LGBT Rights Clinic. David previously practiced employment, labor relations and discrimination law in Australia and clerked for a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia. While practicing law, David maintained a substantial pro bono caseload, particularly through the Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic. He also served on the management committee of the nonprofit organization Lawyers for Animals.
Sarah Hudson-Plush, Career Counselor
BA University of Michigan
JD Cardozo School of Law
Sarah Hudson-Plush joined PILC, where she specializes in non-profit domestic organizations and post-graduate fellowships, as a part-time counselor in February 2012. After law school, Sarah was a Skadden Fellow at the Center for Family Representation, where she completed a project focused on the educational rights of indigent parents, including teen parents, involved in all stages of the child protective system. After completing her fellowship, Sarah remained at CFR, where she represented parents in neglect and abuse proceedings in Manhattan Family Court. Immediately prior to joining PILC, Sarah worked for a short time as a staff attorney at Advocates for Children of New York, where she represented families in special education matters and supported impact litigation work. Between college and law school, Sarah was a public school teacher, first as a Teach for America corps member in Newark, NJ, and then at a charter school in Hoboken, NJ.
Rachel Peckerman ’04, Associate Director
BA magna cum laude, University of Pennsylvania
JD NYU School of Law
Rachel Peckerman joined the Public Interest Law Center in March 2010. She specializes in domestic non-profit and criminal justice counseling and organizes the annual Legal Career Fair. After law school Rachel spent several years working as a public defender, first at New York County Defender Services, and then at the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn. As a public defender, Rachel represented hundreds of indigent clients accused of misdemeanors and felonies. Rachel acted as lead counsel in jury trials, as well as at school suspension, sex offender registration, parole revocation, and housing hearings. Rachel has served as a career consultant at New York Law School, where she specialized in working with public interest students. She is a Trial Skills teacher for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. She completed the professional course in culinary arts at the French Culinary Institute, and is currently completing an MSW at Silver School of Social Work.
Sara Rakita ’98, Associate Director
BA magna cum laude, American University
MIA Columbia University
JD cum laude, NYU School of Law
As associate director of PILC, Sara Rakita specializes in international public interest law and also administers the summer public interest grants. Sara has worked extensively on human rights and the rule of law, primarily in Africa. Before joining PILC, she served as a long-term consultant to the Ford Foundation, where she was responsible for piloting and setting up TrustAfrica, a new African grant-making foundation that is now based in Senegal. After graduating from law school, Sara was the first NYU Fellow at Human Rights Watch and worked there four more years, including two years as the organization’s representative in Rwanda. Sara has also consulted for Amnesty International, Global Rights, USAID, and the Austrian development agency. While a student at NYU, Sara was awarded the ILC Fellowship to summer at the United Nations International Law Commission in Geneva. She has published numerous articles, reports, and chapters on issues related to human rights and Africa. Sara is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of Spanish and Russian.
Linda Wayner, Executive Director, Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights
BA, MA Baylor University
JD University of Michigan Law School
Linda Wayner is the executive director for the Bickel & Brewer Latino Institute for Human Rights. Before joining NYU, Linda was general counsel for Mayor Bloomberg’s Office for International Affairs in New York City where she was responsible for all legal affairs involving New York City’s role as host to the United Nations Headquarters and 192 foreign government offices. Prior to joining the Office of the Mayor, Linda was an attorney at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, where she focused on international arbitration, and the representation of foreign companies in domestic securities cases and investigations. She served as counsel to the organized Latino, African-American, Native American, and Asian-American students at the University of Michigan Law School during the Grutter v. Bollinger affirmative action lawsuit before the Supreme Court. Linda has also volunteered as pro bono counsel on behalf of political asylum applicants from Cameroon, Colombia, Liberia, Tibet, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan in 2001 and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in International Politics from Baylor University.
Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Programs Director
Podell Distinguished Administor
BA cum laude, Loyola University Chicago
MPA NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (Expected May 2015)
Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle joined the Public Interest Law Center as its department administrator in August 2011. Before that, he served as a conflict resolution associate and outreach coordinator at the Center for Conflict Resolution at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles for several years, where he conducted bilingual mediations and telephone conciliations for indigent mono-lingual Spanish-speakers. At PILC, he works closely with the assistant dean for public service administering the events and programs for PILC as well as coordinating the Root-Tilden-Kern Program. He is currently an MPA candidate in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy at the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
John Lee, Administrative Assistant
John Lee joined PILC as administrative assistant in January 2014. He assists with administration of PILC’s various programs, as well as managing digital information and student communication. Prior to that, he spent many years working in higher education at Columbia University and as the assistant office manager at the Federal Defenders of New York.