MEET THE TEAM
Jill Habig / Founder and President
Jill Habig is an attorney and political strategist with experience in political campaigns, policy advocacy, affirmative litigation, and public law. Before founding PRP, Jill was the Deputy Campaign Manager and Policy Director for Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate, and served as policy director for her transition team. Prior to joining the campaign, she served as Special Counsel to then-Attorney General Harris, advising the Attorney General on key legal issues and policy initiatives. Her work emphasized consumer fraud, health, education, human trafficking, and civil rights, including issues related to gender and LGBT rights. In 2015, she led the creation and launch of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Children’s Justice and managed its work, including civil rights investigations of school districts, child welfare departments, and juvenile justice systems. Jill was previously a Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and served on the Affirmative Litigation Task Force at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where she worked on the landmark trial challenging Proposition 8. She was a law clerk for Judge Dorothy Nelson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Edward Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Jill earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Georgetown University.
Joanna Pearl / Legal Director
Joanna Pearl is Public Rights Project’s Legal Director. Joanna is an experienced attorney with a background in policy, enforcement, and litigation in both government and the private sector.
Joanna was a founding member of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Enforcement, having served on the team tasked with creating the new federal agency in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. She went on to be Chief of Staff for the Enforcement Office at the CFPB for six years under three Enforcement Directors. Joanna also served as Acting Principal Deputy Enforcement Director in 2016. In these roles, she managed the development and execution of the CFPB’s enforcement strategy, investigations, and litigation. She advised on matters related to payday and short-term lending, mortgages, credit cards, credit reporting and furnishing, debt collection and debt relief, student lending, auto lending, deposit products, and payments processing and systems. During Joanna’s tenure, the CFPB obtained nearly 12 billion dollars in relief for more than 25 million consumers who were victims of illegal, predatory practices. Joanna also oversaw all operational aspects of the CFPB’s Enforcement Office, including recruitment, workforce planning, and budget creation and administration.
Before joining the CFPB, Joanna was an Associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Washington, DC, where she focused on commercial litigation and employment counseling and defense. Joanna began her career in state government, serving as Legislative Assistant and Chief of Staff to Representative Jay R. Kaufman in the Massachusetts State House of Representatives. She is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.
Ashley Nakai / Director of Special Projects
Ashley Nakai is a prospective law student with a background in policy and legal research, social media strategy, and communications.
In 2016 she served in the California Department of Justice as Press Aide to then-Attorney General Kamala Harris. Before joining as full time staff, in 2012 she was an Executive Intern on the Attorney General’s policy team, where she researched and contributed to a wide variety of policy and legal projects on topics including human trafficking, truancy and foreclosures.
Ashley has also worked on several political campaigns: as a Summer Organizing Fellow for Barack Obama's reelection campaign in 2012, as a Campaign Coordinator for Ambrosino, Muir, Hansen & Crounse during the 2014 midterms, and as a Policy Fellow for the Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate campaign in 2015. Ashley graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy with Interdisciplinary Honors in Ethics In Society.
Ben Chida / Co-Founder
Ben Chida is an attorney, policy advisor, and former teacher. He is currently an associate at Boies Schiller and Flexner. Before joining the firm, Ben served as a legal and policy advisor in the Office of the California Attorney General, Kamala D. Harris, where he spearheaded multiple initiatives related to children’s policy, technology, data, and privacy. He also clerked for Hon. Robert L. Wilkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Hon. David O. Carter of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Ben holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and served as a Teach for America fellow in New York.
Nicole Billington / Legal Intern
Nicole Billington is a second-year student at the Yale Law School where she is involved with the Yale Law and Policy Review, American Constitution Society, and Yale Law Students for Reproductive Justice. Prior to law school, Nicole served as a California Senate Fellow with the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development focusing on economic development policy. Nicole then spent a year in Washington, D.C. as the Legislative Director for the California Institute for Federal Policy Research. In that role, she analyzed federal policy for the California Congressional Delegation. Nicole is thrilled to work with the Public Rights Project to assist localities in public rights enforcement.
John Gonzalez / Legal Intern
John Gonzalez is a second-year student at Yale Law School and a legal intern. At law school, John has been part of the Education Adequacy Project Clinic and a teaching fellow. Before coming to law school, he taught 8th-grade math in New Orleans, where he was awarded the 2016 Achievement Network’s Teacher of the Year award. After teaching, he worked as a hearing representative at a workers’ compensation plaintiff’s firm. In college, John served as the student body president and gave a TEDxYale talk on music education. John earned his B.A. from Yale College and served as a Teach for America corps member in New Orleans.
Sung Choi / Legal Intern
Sung Choi is a second-year student at Berkeley Law School. Previously, Sung was a software engineer on the Hillary for America Tech Team. There, he focused on online voter registration and education. While at Nava Public Benefit Corporation, he contributed to a Medicare technology infrastructure project. Sung graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology. He subsequently conducted additional research on gender and sexuality as a Fulbright Scholar in Korea.
Abigail Zhong / Intern
Abigail Zhong is a Junior at UC Berkeley majoring in Economics and minoring in Public Policy. At Berkeley, Abigail works as a Student Coordinator for the Student Learning Center's Economics Program. She also interns at the Asian Pacific American Student Development Center, working to raise civic engagement in API communities and promote API mental health on campus. In her free time, Abigail volunteers with Friends of Orange County Detainees and Prison Literacy Project.
Nicole Miura / Intern
Nicole is a fourth year at the University of California at Berkeley majoring in both Media Studies and Peace & Conflict Studies. Nicole is passionate about social justice issues as reflected in her experience working at the International Rescue Committee in Oakland and the School of Social Welfare at Berkeley, as well as reflected in her studies. She hopes to continue her education and pursue her professional goals at law school.
Erin Morris / Intern
Erin Morris is a recent graduate from Pomona College with a B.A. in Politics. At Pomona, Erin co-created the first Women in Politics group on campus to increase female representation in and out of the classroom. Erin was also active leading outdoor trips and loves to hike and backpack. However, after witnessing the exclusionary nature of outdoor recreation for many women and people of color, she chose to write her senior thesis examining the idea of wilderness in American history and literature and exploring how to make outdoor recreation radically more accessible moving forward. Erin is considering applying to law school next year.
Heather Gerken: Dean, Yale Law School
Brian Nelson: General Counsel, LA2028 Olympic Committee; former General Counsel, California Department of Justice (DOJ); former U.S. DOJ attorney
Danielle Gray: Partner, O’Melveny & Myers; former Assistant to President Obama & Cabinet Secretary
Kelly Dermody: Partner, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP
Lenore Anderson: Founder & President, Alliance for Safety & Justice; former prosecutor
Jenny Montoya Tansey: Director of Safety & Justice, Code for America
Bram Elias: Clinical Professor & director of immigration practice, University of Iowa College of Law
Dennis Herrera: City Attorney, San Francisco
Karen Dunn: Partner, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP; former Associate Counsel to President Obama & federal prosecutor
David Vladeck: Professor, Georgetown Law; former Director, Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection
Travis LeBlanc: Partner, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP; former Enforcement Chief, Federal Communications Commission
Eli Savit: Senior Advisor and Counsel to the Mayor, City of Detroit
Kathleen Morris: Professor of local government law, Golden Gate University Law School; co-founder, Yale Law School/San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project
Peter Harvey: TPartner, Patterson Belknap Webb & Taylor LLP; former Attorney General, New Jersey; former federal prosecutor
Melissa Murray: Professor & former Interim Dean, Berkeley Law School; Visiting Professor, New York University School of Law
Christy Lopez: Professor, Georgetown Law; former Deputy Chief, U.S. DOJ Civil Rights Division
Julian Mortenson: Professor of constitutional law, University of Michigan Law School
Erin Bernstein: Senior Deputy City Attorney, City of Oakland
Stella Burch Elias: Professor of immigration law, University of Iowa College of Law
Program + Development Consultants
The Ambassadors Circle is a collective on a mission to inspire and equip our tribes to #DoMoreGood.
LT Hilton, Ambassador
Latanya (LT) Hilton has been a champion for social good and underserved communities for more than 15 years. Through her roles in fund development and executive leadership, she has raised over $20 million to support education and nonprofit organizations. She is a Founding Ambassador with The Ambassadors Circle, a collective on a mission to inspire and equip their tribes to #DoMoreGood, and the former Vice President of Development and Strategic Partnerships for the San Francisco-based Center for Youth Wellness. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from Santa Clara University.
J. Hilton, Ambassador
J. Hilton loves to build, whether as a social entrepreneur, community organizer or corporate citizen. Throughout his career, Hilton has led diverse teams for globally recognized brands such as Pandora and Yahoo. He currently works as a Founding Ambassador of The Ambassadors Circle and a Principal of Seven International. Hilton graduated from Santa Clara University where as a student he founded a community oriented media network that produced a culturally forward magazine and hosted innovative live experiences throughout the region.
FELLOWS IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS
The Fellows Program is a nine-month, full-time, graduate-level leadership training program that prepares early career professionals and recent graduates for effective and ethical leadership.
Oriya graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sustainable Environmental Design and a minor in City and Regional Planning. In addition to his studies, Oriya spent two years working in the Mayor’s Office in Oakland developing a bond measure to fund affordable housing and infrastructure in Oakland. Oriya plans to pursue degrees in planning and law to continue his work at the forefront of community development and urban sustainability.
Keara was born and raised in the Bay Area, earning a B.A. in French and a minor in Public Policy from UC Berkeley. Her interest in public service and policy began as an undergraduate when she volunteered as a teacher at San Quentin State Penitentiary. She went on to intern at a non-profit providing career and school readiness to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. Keara served most recently as Special Assistant to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and is passionate about harnessing the power of government to help individuals and communities thrive.
Lindsey Hogg grew up in Potterville, MI, and recently graduated from Yale University with a degree in Psychology. At Yale, they founded a tutoring organization for K-12 students in New Haven, an advocacy team combating campus sexual assault, and a confidential peer support group for LGBT-identifying Christians. Lindsey plans to return to their beloved home state of Michigan and work on sustainable, equitable redevelopment in Detroit.
Born and raised in Fresno, CA, Tim recently graduated from Fresno State with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. While in school, he served as Fresno State’s student-body President, founded a student organization to support local Syrian refugees, and wrote his senior thesis on the effectiveness of international human rights agreements.