OUR BOARD

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Scott Harshbarger

Chairman & Co-Founder

Former National President of Common Cause and two-term Attorney General of Massachusetts

Scott has had a long and successful career as a public defender, civil rights attorney, Middlesex District Attorney and Massachusetts Attorney General. While Attorney General, Scott was elected President of the National Association of Attorneys General. He was recognized for being one of the first Attorney Generals to sue the tobacco manufacturers on behalf of children and public health, and for his pioneering use of Chapter 93A to promulgate handgun safety regulations. From 1999-2002, Scott served as President of Common Cause, the national government and corporate watchdog group.

Today, Scott serves as Senior Counsel at Casner & Edwards and continues to be involved in public policy reform. He has previously served as the head of Governor Romney’s Commission on Corrections Reform (2003-2005) and as a member of the SJC Court Management Advisory Board (CMAB). He was also chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Pension Reform, vice-chair of the Ethics Resource Center, and chair of the Advisory Board of the Rappaport Center for Lawand Public Policy at Boston College Law School, among other distinguished positions. Scott has authored numerous articles on corporate and nonprofit governance and routinely appears on television as a commentator and news analyst.

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Gershon M. (Gary) Ratner

Co-Founder

Founder & Executive Director, Citizens for Effective Schools; Former Associate General Counsel for Litigation, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

Gary’s career has been as a cutting-edge social justice law reform lawyer, advocate, author, and founder of advocacy organizations, and as a federal senior executive.

Before founding Citizens for Effective Schools, a national advocacy organization for school improvement, he was the Associate General Counsel for Litigation of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Deputy Executive Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Gary served as General Counsel and Director of Litigation at the National Veterans Legal Services Program and as Associate Director for Litigation of Greater Boston Legal Services. He was the lead founder of the D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and co-founded the Boston Bar Association’s Environment Committee.

Gary has published extensively. His article, "Why the No Child Left Behind Act Needs To be Restructured To Accomplish Its Goals and How To Do It" was featured in the University of the District of Columbia Law Review. His law review article, "A New Legal Duty for Urban Public Schools: Effective Education in Basic Skills," was featured in the New York Times, published in the Texas Law Review and has been widely recognized for its call to hold urban public schools legally accountable for effectively educating all students. His article “Inter-Neighborhood Denials of Equal Protection in the Provision of Municipal Services,” published by the Harvard Civil Rights–Civil Liberties Law Review, is considered the seminal law review article on environmental justice. He has previously been a contributor to Huff Post.

Among the honors he has received is the Presidential Rank Award recognizing development of “one of [the] finest law offices in the [federal] Government.” His work in Boston earned him recognition in a Boston Globe editorial, which described Gary as “one of Boston’s prized lawyers [who] had more impact on city and state government … over the past decade [than all but a] few people in or out of the legal community.”

Gary was a Graduate Research Student” at the London School of Economics, and is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School.

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Evan Falchuk

Healthcare and political entrepreneur

Evan Falchuk is an accomplished healthcare and political entrepreneur and attorney, whose passion is causing trouble - for good causes. In 2013, Evan founded the United Independent Party and in 2014 was its candidate for Massachusetts Governor. In 2015, he led the effort for a statewide ballot initiative to prevent the use of taxpayer money on the proposed Boston 2024 Olympic Games. In 2020, he was the Chair of the Board of “Yes on 2,” the statewide ballot campaign to improve our democracy by implementing ranked choice voting in Massachusetts.

From 1999-2013, Evan was the Vice-Chairman and President of Best Doctors, Inc., the pioneers of the expert medical opinion industry. Under his leadership, the company grew from a startup to more than $100 million in revenue. From 1994-1999, Falchuk was an attorney in Washington D.C. at Fried, Frank. Since 2016, Evan has been the CEO of VillagePlan, a fast-growing company that delivers expert help for families facing the challenges of caregiving. Evan also serves an advisor to startups and academic institutions.

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Nicholas Fels

Retired partner, Covington & Burling LLP

Raised in New York City, Nick graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College (Phi Beta Kappa), the University of California, Berkeley as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and finally from Harvard Law School in 1968. After serving as clerk for Judge John Minor Wisdom in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Nick worked as a legal-aid lawyer in Alhambra, California. He joined Covington & Burling in Washington D.C. as an associate in 1970 and became a partner in 1976.

Nick’s practice at Covington focused primarily on federal and state regulation of public utilities. He also worked pro bono on immigration cases, and served on the boards of several non-profits, including the DC Appleseed Center, the Bishop John T. Walker School, the DC Education Compact, and Citizens for Effective Schools.

Since retiring in 2007, Nick has worked on climate change issues with various environmental groups and as a senior fellow at Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

He and his wife Susan live in Washington D.C. Their daughter Sarah, her husband George, and their two children live in lower Manhattan. By way of diversions, Nick bicycled from Seattle to Washington, D.C. with an American Lung Association group in 2007, and has continued, for many years, an ongoing effort to master Chinese.

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Stanley J. Marcuss

Former Counsel to the U.S. Senate’s International Finance Subcommittee; retired partner, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Stan graduated summa cum laude and Valedictorian of his class at Trinity College in Connecticut in 1963. Before attending Harvard Law School in 1965, he completed a two year sojourn at Cambridge University as a Marshall Scholar. At Cambridge, he earned a masters degree in economics.

As a lawyer, Stan worked on international business transactions at Milbank Tweed and then Bryan Cave, where he retired as a partner in 2008. A prolific writer, he has published over a hundred articles on international trade, boycotts, bribery, export controls and economic sanctions. As a government official, he helped develop and implement regulations relating to these issues and was a member of the first U.S. delegation to China in the late 70s to open up trade with that country.

Urban issues have been a passion throughout Stan’s legal career. As a Senior Fellow at the Center for Business and Government at Harvard's Kennedy School in 2016-17, Stan spent his time working on urban renewal projects. He produced a Kennedy School Working Paper on urban development in Washington, D.C.

Stan is the immediate past president of The Singing Capital Chorus, a men's acapella chorus, and a current or past member of many boards including, the Studio Theater in Washington, The Intersector Project, a multisector public policy collaborative, the Potomac Boat Club, where he has medaled in numerous rowing regattas, the Cambridge University Alumni Association and Trinity College.You can hear about Stan’s career in his own words in this recent Trailblazer’s interview.

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James F. McHugh

Former Associate Justice, Massachusetts Appeals Court

Jim graduated from Brown University in 1965 and then spent two years on active duty in the United States Navy. After leaving active service, he graduated, magna cum laude, from Boston University School of Law in 1970 where he was the Editor in Chief of the Law Review. He then spent the following years as a law clerk to the Hon. George E. MacKinnon at the United States Court of Appeal for the District of Colombia Circuits. In 1971, he joined the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana and Gould where he remained, first as an Associate and then as a Partner, for fourteen years. In 1965, he was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court and in 2001 as an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court where he served until 2011. Along the way, he taught a course in the law of the First Amendment for ten years at Boston College Law School and in Advanced Torts for two years at Northeastern University Law School. Following his retirement from the Court, Jim spent 3½ years as one of the founding members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

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Thomas Mela

Retired Managing Attorney, Massachusetts Advocates for Children

Tom has lived in Massachusetts since 1961 when he arrived from New York City to attend college and then law school. Today, he and his wife reside on the North Shore. His children and grandchildren live elsewhere in Massachusetts.

For nine years, Tom served as Managing Attorney of the Massachusetts Advocates for Children. He retired in 2015, but continues to volunteer on issues of school discipline and special education. Previously, he worked at the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, enforcing Section 504, Title VI, and Title IX.

Earlier, Tom worked at the state agency, Massachusetts Office for Children, the Massachusetts Advocacy Center, and the Boston University Legal Aid Program. He commenced his legal career at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, where he specialized in employment discrimination litigation.

A graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Law School, Tom has taught education law at Boston College Law School and at Tufts University.

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John T. Montgomery

Former Managing Partner, Ropes & Gray

John Montgomery is a retired partner and former managing partner of Ropes & Gray. Prior to joining the firm in 1982, John served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He left the firm in 1990 to serve as First Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts and returned to Ropes & Gray in 1992.

John’s litigation practice has included a variety of complex matters, and he has tried cases and argued appeals in Maine, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. His experience includes two successful arguments in the United States Supreme Court. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and an Emeritus Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

He retired as a partner in 2013, but he continues to be active in pro bono and other public interest matters, including with Lawyers Defending American Democracy. John twice has been named a Lawyer of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, most recently in 2016 for his work in litigation against Backpage.com involving online sex trafficking of children. In the last several years, he has appeared in two films: I Am Jane Doe, a documentary concerning the early stages of the litigation against Backpage.com (available on Netflix) and Day Job: the Movie, a “mockumentary” spoof on the musical sideline of a friend and Ropes & Gray partner (available on Amazon.

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Cheryl Niro

Past President, Illinois State Bar Association; Former Partner, Quinlan & Carroll, Ltd.

Cheryl Niro is a skilled strategic advisor with expertise in negotiation, mediation, conflict resolution, and organizational planning. For many years, she served as the Senior Strategy Advisor to the Executive Director of the American Bar Association. In this role, Cheryl worked with the Executive Director and the ABA’s senior staff to facilitate long and short-term strategic planning and decision-making for the future of the association. She is also a past member of its Board of Governors.

Cheryl was the second woman President of the Illinois State Bar Association, started the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, and has been a practicing attorney across many fields of law. She has been a sole practitioner, practiced in a large firm, served as council for the government, worked for not-for-profit organizations and as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northern Illinois University's College of Law, and Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers (PIL).

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Lauren Stiller Rikleen

President, Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership

As President of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership, Lauren consults, speaks, trains, and provides expert witness services on such workplace culture topics as developing a diverse, respectful, and inclusive workplace culture, minimizing the impacts of unconscious bias, and strengthening multi-generational relationships.

Lauren is the author of 4 books, including The Shield of Silence: How Power Perpetuates a Culture of Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace.

As a former law firm equity partner, Lauren managed a diverse environmental law practice and was recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers, and in Massachusetts Super Lawyers.

Her numerous leadership roles within the American Bar Association, include membership of the Board of Governors and the ABA’s Journal Board of Editors. She currently is Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus and member of the Standing Committee on Publishing Oversight. She is a former president of the Boston Bar Association and a former trustee of Clark University.

The recipient of many awards, Lauren received the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, and was named by Public Media’s Next Avenue as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Aging. More information can be found at www.RikleenInstitute.com.

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Estelle H. Rogers

Retired Voting Rights Attorney

Until her retirement in 2015, Estelle H. Rogers was the Legislative Director of Project Vote, a national nonpartisan organization promoting civic engagement, improved election administration, and voting rights. Her work on voting issues began in the summer of 2004, when she was counsel to a nationwide voter registration drive encouraging poor and minority communities to participate in the 2004 election.

From August 2003, through July 2004, Estelle was the Advocacy Legal Specialist in Moscow, Russia, on behalf of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Rule of Law Initiative, directing a program to train Russian lawyers in public interest law. Before her time in Moscow, she held executive positions at several progressive advocacy organizations in Washington, DC.

Rogers served in the policy-making House of Delegates of the ABA for 27 years. She chairs the ABA’s Standing Committee on Election Law and has chaired the Standing Committee on Governmental Affairs and the Special Committee on Bioethics and the Law. She also co-chairs the Women’s Caucus.

Estelle has written and spoken extensively, particularly on voting rights, bioethics, and reproductive freedom, including numerous media interviews and presentations to conferences, law schools, universities, and legislative bodies.

In retirement, Rogers has relocated to Sonoma County, CA. She serves on the Boards of Directors of her local food bank, her county museum, and the political arm of Planned Parenthood in Northern California. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the University of Maryland Law School, she is the mother of two grown daughters.

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Emanuel L. Rouvelas

Washington, DC

Emanuel (Manny) Rouvelas is a partner in K&LGates, a global law firm and is consistently ranked as one of the country's top lawyers in both maritime law and government affairs. He has traveled globally to more than forty countries advising clients and working with US and foreign governments. In its thirtieth-year anniversary edition, Legal Times newspaper recognized him as “one of the greatest Washington lawyers of the past 30 years,” a “legal visionary,” who helped turn Washington, DC's legal and lobbying community into an international powerhouse.

Prior to entering private practice, Manny was counsel to the US Senate Committee on Commerce and had lead staff responsibility for the enactment of thirty-two public laws, including major maritime and foreign commerce legislation.

Manny has served as an advisor to two US presidential transitions, a bipartisan Congressional caucus, an executive branch reorganization, several senators and congressmen, and many political campaigns. He has twenty-years’ experience serving on the boards of directors of three US public companies and thirty-five years of service on the boards of directors or advisors of nonprofit charitable organizations, currently including The National Hellenic Society, Washington Monthly magazine, National Vote at Home Institute, and Lawyers Defending American Democracy.

He is a graduate of the University of Washington (BA, 1965), Harvard Law School (JD, 1968), and Harvard Business School (Advanced Management Program, 1996).

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Neal R. Sonnett

Managing Partner, Sonnett Law; Former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chief, Criminal Division, Southern District of Florida

Neal R. Sonnett is a nationally prominent lawyer who defends federal and state criminal and professional ethics cases. Prior to private practice, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the Criminal Division for the Southern District of Florida. Neal has been honored three times by the National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers In America” and has been profiled by that publication as one of the “Nation's Top Litigators” and one of the “Nation's Top White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers.”

Throughout his career, Neal has been a leader in the legal profession and the Bar. In the American Bar Association, he has served on the Board of Governors, as Chair of the Criminal Justice Section and the Section Of Civil Rights and Social Justice, and as a member of the House of Delegates for more than 30 years. He chaired the ABA Task Forces on Treatment of Enemy Combatants and on Domestic Surveillance in the Fight Against Terrorism, and he was the first ABA Observer in Guantanamo.

Neal has also served as President of numerous organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Judicature Society, and Florida Bar Foundation.

Among many Awards, Neal has received the highest service award from the ABA Criminal Justice Section, the ADL Jurisprudence Award for his “inspiring leadership in preserving liberty, counteracting bigotry and advancing the cause of human rights” and the Florida Bar Foundation Medal Of Honor, the highest award given to a lawyer by the legal profession in Florida.

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Walter H. White, Jr.

Vice President, Legal Compliance & Sustainability Belfika Holdings (PTY) Limited South Africa

Walter H. White, Jr is the vice president of legal compliance and sustainability of Belfika Holdings (PTY) Limited - a mining and commodities trading company in South Africa. Belfika develops sustainable natural resources and seeks to beneficiate them locally before exporting them into the global markets. In the late 1980’s Walter served as Commissioner of Securities for the State of Wisconsin. In that capacity he acted as an advisor to central banks, and financial regulatory agencies in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia on market, economic development and regulatory issues.

In the 1990’s he served on the Dean's Advisory Board on Finance and International Business at the University of Wisconsin, Graduate School of Business. Walter was appointed to the board of the Central Asian American Enterprise Fund by President Clinton and served as its chair. He has served as a non-executive director on the board of the Church Mutual Insurance Company from 1992 until 2018.

In 2018, Walter retired as a partner in the London office of McGuireWoods where he was the head of the firm’s emerging markets transactions practice.

In the North American Securities Administrators Association, Walter served as chair of the International Corporation Finance Committee; vice-chair of the Corporate Finance Section and on the SEC Task Force on the Canadian Multijurisdictional Disclosure System.

In the American Bar Association he has served on the Board of Governors, chaired the Center on Human Rights, the Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities and the Young Lawyers Division. He has published books and articles on multinational business activity and lectured in North America, Europe, Central Asia and Africa.

In the UK he has served on the Financial Markets Law Committee, Steering Committee advising the G20 on “Implementing G20 Commitments Consistently."

While earning his law degree from Berkeley Law, Walter was a judicial extern for the Honorable Robert F. Peckham of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Upon graduation from Amherst College, he was named a John Woodruff Simpson Fellow. He also studied at the Leningrad Pedagogical Institute, in (then) Leningrad USSR.

Walter has been admitted to practice in Wisconsin, Washington D.C. and the Qatar International Court; and has previously been registered as a foreign lawyer both in England and Wales and in the Russian Federation.

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Lucien Wulsin

Founder and retired Executive Director, Insure the Uninsured Project

Lucien Wulsin is the founder and retired Executive Director of Insure the Uninsured Project, a non-profit advocating for affordable coverage for all Californians (www.itup.org). He is the author of California at the Crossroads: Choices for Health Care Reform, a study on California’s options to redesign its health care system. He blogs at www.luciensbolg.com.

Lucien previously served as chief consultant to the Committee on MediCal Oversight of the California Assembly, where he worked closely with Assemblyman Burt Margolin on reforms in health coverage. Lucien worked as the lead Medicaid attorney and interim Director at the National Health Law Program, as a senior attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services, as a staff attorney with Boston Legal Assistance Project, and as a clinical associate at Harvard Law School.

Mr. Wulsin is a retired member of the bar in California and Massachusetts, attended the University of Virginia Law School, Trinity College, Ecole des Sciences Politiques and St George’s School. He has served on the boards of the LA Voice Pico, Los Angeles Health and Hospitals Commission, Center for Health Care Rights, Saint Joseph’s Center in Venice CA and Vision y Compromiso.

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