One of Gupta Wessler’s former legal assistants has described this job as “an apprenticeship in high-stakes public-interest appellate advocacy.” Our legal assistants handle a very broad range of administrative and substantive responsibilities for a small but busy law firm focused on Supreme Court, appellate, and complex litigation. They’re often the first point of contact for new clients and cases and they oversee the final quality control over briefs filed in the nation’s highest courts. We’re proud that many of our legal assistants have gone on to pursue careers in public interest law.
Responsibilities include drafting, editing, formatting, and filing legal documents; research relating to cases; tracking court deadlines and ensuring that projects are on track; scheduling and arranging meetings, speaking appearances, moot courts, and travel; general administrative tasks, including keeping on top of telephone calls and emails for the firm’s lawyers; developing newsletters and other mailings; and other tasks as assigned.
Gupta Wessler PLLC is the only organization of its kind in the nation—a private public interest law firm specializing in high-profile Supreme Court, appellate, and constitutional litigation. Our cases cover a very broad range of issues, including workers’ and consumers’ rights, civil rights, class actions, access to the courts, and constitutional and administrative law. In these and other areas, we work closely with leading non-profit organizations, scholars, policy experts, local governments, and other law firms to help shape the law in ways that enhance justice and improve people’s lives.
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Mahek Ahmad is currently a legal assistant and office manager at the firm. Before joining Gupta Wessler, Mahek graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Georgetown University, with degrees in Government, Arabic, and Women & Gender Studies, and received the International Relations Award for most outstanding student in the Department of Government’s international relations program. Mahek wrote her undergraduate senior thesis about a Title VII case pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit en banc, Chambers v. District of Columbia, and participated in a seminar on Supreme Court litigation with Lisa Blatt and Paul Clement.
Rana Thabata is currently a legal assistant and office manager at the firm. Rana is both a Truman Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar, a first-generation college graduate, and a first-generation American. Before joining the firm, Rana spent a year on her Fulbright at University College London, where she analyzed U.K. and U.S. education policies. She graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with degrees in political science and economics and interned at the U.S. Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau’s The Collaboratory and as a human rights intern at the Venezuelan American Unit based in Bogota, Colombia.
Abbe Murphy is currently a legal assistant and office manager at the firm. Before joining the firm, she worked in public affairs and communications at a top-ten government-relations and communications firm in DC and as an intern for the personal office of Barack and Michelle Obama, where she worked alongside top communications staff in the execution of major speaking events such as the former president’s endorsement of Joe Biden, his eulogy for late Representative John Lewis, and his address at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Abbe graduated magna cum laude from American University with an interdisciplinary degree in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government.
Sara Evall was a legal assistant at the firm and is an incoming student at Stanford Law School in the fall of 2022. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Refugee and Migrant Studies. She received distinction for her honors thesis on refugee worker’s rights in Amman, Jordan. At Duke, she worked closely with the local refugee community and worked on queer-inclusive sexual health education and advocacy. After graduating and immediately before joining the firm, Sara worked as a Policy & Program Fellow with the American Constitution Society. She grew up in Los Angeles, California.
Abigail Cipparone was a legal assistant at the firm and is currently serving as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Kweisi Mfume in the U.S. House of Representatives. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 2019 with a B.A. in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. As an intern at the ACLU, she researched the Customs and Border Patrol’s implementation of the Muslim Ban and worked on Hamama v. Adduci, a suit (on which she later wrote her senior thesis) concerning the detention of Iraqi Chaldean Christian immigrants. Abigail was also part of a journalism team that traveled with Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jake Halpern to Lesbos, Greece, where she used her Arabic-language skills to interview refugees living in three camps for an article in The New Yorker. She grew up in Old Lyme, Connecticut.
Hilda M. Jordan was a legal assistant at the firm and graduated cum laude from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and African American Studies. She previously served as a research intern for the Harvard Law Review, interned at a small civil rights firm, and worked as a research partner to Professor Martha Minow, where she researched the role of forgiveness in the justice system for Professor Minow’s book When Should the Law Forgive? (2019). After graduating, Hilda was awarded the Michael C. Rockefeller fellowship to study in Panama.
Jared Milfred was a legal assistant with the firm through 2020 and is a third-year student at Stanford Law School. He completed an M.Phil in political theory as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and graduated from Yale in 2016 with a B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics, summa cum laude. Before joining Gupta Wessler, Jared worked on the campaign of Zephyr Teachout for New York Attorney General, volunteered for the Bronx Freedom Fund, and served as the Chairman of the City of New Haven’s public campaign financing program. After Gupta Wessler, he was a special litigation investigator at the Orleans Public Defenders and a summer legal intern at the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. He grew up in Portland, Oregon.
Nabila Abdallah was the firm’s legal assistant through the summer of 2019 and is a 2022 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was the co-founder of the Plaintiffs’ Law Association and Notes Editor of the California Law Review. During law school, she interned at Lieff Cabraser, the San Francisco City Attorneys’ Office, and the Consumer Protection Section of the California Department of Justice. Nabila grew up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and received her B.A. in Philosophy in 2014 from Stanford, where she wrote her honors thesis on the application of just war principles to non-state armed entities. She previously worked at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York, as a researcher for a radio show on philosophy, as an English teacher in France, and as a volunteer tutor at a drug rehab facility.
Stephanie Garlock was the firm’s legal assistant through the summer of 2017, graduated from Yale Law School in 2020, and is completing clerkships with Judge Pamela Harris on the Fourth Circuit and Judge Christopher Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. During law school, Steph completed summer internships at Public Citizen Litigation Group, the Alaska Legal Services Corporation, and the Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. Before joining Gupta Wessler, she was an Editorial Fellow at The Atlantic and a staff writer at Harvard Magazine. She received her B.A. in History, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Harvard, where she was an editor of the Harvard Crimson and wrote her senior honors thesis on school busing and integration in Montgomery County, Maryland, where she grew up.
Ian Engdahl, the firm’s first legal assistant, earned his law degree from Georgetown Law in 2018, and is now an associate at Hausfeld LLP, a leading class action plaintiffs’ firm. While in law school, Ian worked in the appellate clinic and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution. Before joining Gupta Wessler, Ian was a litigation paralegal and a court-appointed advocate for abused and neglected children, and had published his original research on a trio of little-known 19th century civil-rights cases in the Journal of Supreme Court History. Ian received his B.A. in Political Economy, cum laude, from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in small-town Maine.