Gupta Wessler looks for people with exceptional writing ability, the capacity to think rigorously and creatively about the law, strong advocacy instincts, collaborative spirit, and a genuine passion for public interest work. All of our full-time lawyers have served as judicial law clerks and bring a mix of top-flight litigation experience from public interest organizations, law firms, academia, and government service.
Each year, we hire new lawyers through our fellowship program and law students through our summer program. We also regularly hire talented college grads as legal assistants. We view the training and mentoring of aspiring public interest lawyers as an essential part of our firm’s mission and are proud of our alumni, who have gone on to clerkships and careers in public interest law, legal academia, and all levels of government. We’re always interested in hearing from people who share an enthusiasm for our work and who are interested in joining us.
We welcome and encourage applications from candidates of all backgrounds and graduates of all schools–including members of traditionally unrepresented groups, first-generation college graduates, and non-traditional candidates.
Gupta Wessler Fellowship in Appellate Litigation
Gupta Wessler LLP specializes in Supreme Court, appellate, and complex litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and public interest clients. Our cases span a wide range of issues, including consumers’ and workers’ rights, class actions, access to the courts, civil rights, and constitutional and administrative law. We are the go-to appellate advocates for trial lawyers nationwide.
Each year, our firm seeks out at least one new attorney with exceptional writing ability, the capacity to think creatively about the law, strong advocacy instincts, and a genuine passion for public interest work. Judicial clerkship experience and experience in both public interest and appellate litigation are preferred.
The fellowship is ideally suited for a current or recent judicial law clerk interested in embarking on a career as a public interest litigator. Fellows are fully integrated into all aspects of the firm’s work and receive significant responsibility for cutting-edge appellate, constitutional, and complex litigation. They are expected to hit the ground running by researching and drafting briefs under close supervision and mentorship by the firm’s attorneys. Fellows may also play a critical role in monitoring developments in the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts, and in analyzing potential new cases for the firm.
How to apply: The fellowship will be based in Washington, D.C. or San Francisco. Applicants should email a cover letter, resume, transcript, list of three references, and multiple writing samples (please review the guidance below) to email@example.com. Please indicate any location preference in your cover letter. We are committed to considering applicants from all schools and backgrounds, and we actively seek applications from women and underrepresented groups. We are no longer accepting applications for 2024-2025 fellowship.
Guidance on writing samples: Writing samples are the most important part of the application process, and we encourage candidates to submit multiple samples. We prefer whole documents to excerpts. To facilitate blind review, each sample should be submitted as a separate PDF file, omitting the applicant’s identifying information (such as the applicant’s name, judge, and law school). We prefer writing samples that reflect a candidate’s most challenging and ambitious work so far, not cookie-cutter assignments. Scholarly papers are welcome but we would also like to see at least one in-depth advocacy piece or legal memorandum, such as a bench memo (if chambers policy permits, and redacted as necessary). Samples that have been edited or commented upon by others are perfectly fine so long as that fact is noted. We also like to see non-legal writing (or legal writing aimed at a general lay audience) that reveals a candidate’s interests and writing ability.
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Steffi Ostrowski rejoined the firm in fall of 2023 after completing clerkships with Judge Michelle Friedland on the Ninth Circuit and Judge Vince Chhabria on the Northern District of California. After her fellowship, Steffi will clerk on the U.S. Supreme Court for Justices Stephen Breyer and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Steffi previously worked with Gupta Wessler as a summer associate in 2020 and spent her previous summer working on consumer-protection cases at the New Economy Project in New York and the Consumer Financial Protection Unit of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. In law school, she was a student in the Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic, an editor of the Yale Law Journal, and co-president of the Law and Political Economy Student Group. Before law school, Steffi worked at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center. She was previously a software engineer at Facebook, where she worked on projects to promote women’s safety and built software to detect impersonation.
Varshini Parthasarathy rejoined the firm in the fall of 2023 as a fellow ahead of her clerkships with Judge Jennifer Sung on the Ninth Circuit and Judge John Kronstadt on the Central District of California. Varshini previously worked with Gupta Wessler as a summer associate in 2022. In addition to Gupta Wessler, she has worked during law school for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and in the environmental protection and civil rights clinics. She studied environmental engineering as an undergraduate and previously worked at the New York Green Bank, the Columbia Water Center, and the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Mez Belo-Osagie joined the firm as a fellow in the summer of 2023. Among other things, Mez has worked on criminal-justice impact litigation at Civil Rights Corps, the MacArthur Justice Center’s Supreme Court and Appellate Program, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services. In law school, she was the Supreme Court Co-Chair of the Harvard Law Review, represented indigent defendants as a student-attorney, and, with the Lloyd Gaines Memorial Team, won the Ames Moot Court Competition. Before law school, she worked at a counterinsurgency-focused think tank and at the Legal Defense and Assistance Project, challenging torture in Nigerian prisons. During college, she co-founded the Yale Young African Scholars Program and won the James Gordon Bennett Prize for her senior thesis on the Boko Haram insurgency. Mez is currently pursuing a PhD in political science at Stanford as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, and plans to combine empirical research and impact litigation to limit the reach, influence, and punitiveness of the carceral state.
Alisa Tiwari is now an associate at Gupta Wessler and originally joined the firm as a 2022-2023 fellow following her clerkships with Judge Michelle Friedland on the Ninth Circuit and Judge Vince Chhabria on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. During law school, Alisa she worked on affirmative litigation with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where she designed an APA lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s rescission of civil-rights guidance documents; on pro bono Supreme Court and appellate litigation with Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells; and on criminal law reform litigation at the ACLU’s National Office. In addition, she published a Note in the Yale Law Journal detailing a way to hold police departments accountable for disproportionate racial effects. Before law school, she prepared policy analyses for Vanita Gupta, then-head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, and served on the Division’s team investigating the Baltimore Police Department. She also worked in Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to investigate civil rights violations in a large state prison.
Jessica Garland is now an associate at Gupta Wessler and originally joined the firm as a 2021-2022 fellow following her clerkships with Judge David Barron of the First Circuit and Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York. She has also accepted a clerkship with Justice Elena Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court. As a law student, Jessie worked on ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claims with the Ethics Bureau, litigated prisoner and immigrant cases in the Second Circuit with the Appellate Litigation Project, and interned for the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York. Before law school Jessie was a Henry Fellow at Cambridge University in England, where she received an M.Phil in Criminology.
Joyce Dela Peña joined the firm as a 2021-2022 fellow after her clerkships with Judge Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit, Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and Judge Corinne Beckwith of the D.C. Court of Appeals. Joyce is a 2018 graduate of Georgetown Law and joined the Federal Trade Commission following her fellowship. Before clerking, she was a student in Brian Wolfman’s Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic and interned at Public Justice; Relman, Dane & Colfax; the Special Litigation unit of the D.C. Public Defender Service; Equal Justice Under Law; Bronx Defenders; and the Prison Law Office.
Linnet Davis-Stermitz is now an associate at Gupta Wessler and originally joined the firm as a 2020-2021 fellow following judicial clerkships with Judge Michelle Friedland of the Ninth Circuit and Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York. Before law school, Linnet spent two years as a paralegal at Relman & Colfax PLLC, where she helped litigate fair housing, fair lending, and disability rights cases, including conducting interviews for what would become the first federal jury verdict holding a bank accountable for reverse-redlining practices. Linnet pursued these interests to the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a Rubenstein Scholar, a Comments Editor for the University of Chicago Law Review, and the head of a student group devoted to Chicago land-use issues. She also worked at a variety of public interest organizations, including Legal Aid Chicago’s Housing Practice Group and the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic, where she managed a first-of-its-kind six-judge evidentiary hearing in the clinic’s pathbreaking selective enforcement litigation and presented oral argument on behalf of a clinic client.
Lark Turner is currently an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission and was the 2019-2020 fellow at Gupta Wessler between her clerkships with Chief Judge Gregory of the Fourth Circuit and Judge Catharine F. Easterly of the D.C. Court of Appeals. During law school, following a career in newspaper journalism, Lark worked at the Appellate Division of the Public Defender Service of D.C., the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project, the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, and as a research assistant to Professor Laurence Tribe.
Alexandria Twinem is currently an Assistant Solicitor General of New York, where she handles a wide range of appellate litigation in state and federal court. She previously worked as a staff attorney at Civil Rights Corps, where she handled criminal-justice-reform litigation. She joined Gupta Wessler as the 2018-2019 fellow following her clerkships with Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit and Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York. During law school, Alex was the Managing Editor of the Stanford Law Review, a student in the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and a law clerk at the Southern Center for Human Rights, Goldstein & Russell, and the public-interest firm of Neufeld Scheck & Brustin.
Daniel Wilf-Townsend was the firm’s 2017-2018 fellow and continued to practice with firm full time from 2018-2020, when he left to pursue a Bigelow Fellowship at the University of Chicago Law School. Danny is now an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown, where he focuses on civil procedure, federal courts, and consumer protection. He joined the firm following clerkships with Judge Marsha Berzon of the Ninth Circuit and Judge Jeffrey Meyer of the District of Connecticut. He was previously a summer associate at Gupta Wessler and also worked at the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the D.C. Public Defender Service. His writing has been published by the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, Slate, and the American Prospect.
Matthew Spurlock joined the firm as the 2016-2017 fellow following a legal fellowship at the national ACLU and judicial clerkships on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Connecticut Supreme Court. Following his fellowship, Matt joined the Massachusetts Public Defender Division, where he now briefs and argues appeals as part of the statewide Appeals Unit.
Neil K. Sawhney completed his fellowship in 2015-2016 between his clerkships with Justice Goodwin Liu of the Supreme Court of California and Judge Marsha Berzon of the Ninth Circuit. In the fall of 2017, Neil moved to New Orleans, where he worked on impact and appellate litigation in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Economic Justice Project before rejoining the firm’s new San Francisco office as an associate. He is now the Director of Appellate Advocacy at ACLU of Northern California.
Legal Assistants/Office Managers
2024 Opening for a Legal Assistant in Public Interest Appellate Litigation Gupta Wessler LLP – Washington, DC or San Francisco
Gupta Wessler LLP is a small, one-of-a-kind public interest law firm: We specialize in Supreme Court, appellate, and complex litigation on behalf of plaintiffs and public interest clients. Our cases span a wide range of issues, including consumers’ and workers’ rights, class actions, access to the courts, civil rights, and constitutional and administrative law. We are the go-to appellate advocates for trial lawyers nationwide. The firm has offices in Washington, DC; San Francisco, California; and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, the firm’s lawyers serve as instructors in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic at Harvard Law School.
The position: Gupta Wessler seeks to hire one or more legal assistant/office managers to start as soon as possible. Legal assistants at Gupta Wessler handle a very broad range of administrative and substantive responsibilities for our small but busy law firm and are usually the first point of contact for new clients and cases. One of our former legal assistants has described this job as “an apprenticeship in high-stakes public-interest appellate advocacy.” Although many of the firm’s prior legal assistants have gone on to law school, we’re also interested in considering experienced career paralegals.
Responsibilities include drafting, editing, formatting, and filing legal documents; special research and writing projects relating to cases; tracking court deadlines and ensuring that projects are on track; scheduling and arranging meetings, speaking appearances, moot courts, and travel; administrative tasks, including invoicing, client billing, payment tracking, time-keeping, and tracking telephone calls and emails for the firm’s lawyers; updating our website; planning office events; and office upkeep.
We’re looking for a bright and energetic college graduate—preferably with at least some post-college experience, an interest in the work we do, and strong organizational, interpersonal, and communications skills. Previous paralegal experience in a litigation setting is preferred but not required. You should care about good writing and enjoy editing. You will need to have extraordinary attention to detail, be a quick learner able to regularly familiarize yourself with new cases and rules of different court systems, be creative and flexible in triaging and prioritizing among multiple assignments, and be able to effectively solve problems while remaining calm in deadline-driven situations. You will need to be comfortable with fast-paced work and possess the ability to complete projects independently. This position will be based in either our main office in Washington, DC, or our satellite office in San Francisco. Staff are expected to work from the office every day. A commitment of at least two years is expected.
To apply: Please do not apply over Linkedin. We are only accepting applications sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send a cover letter with an available start date, a resume, at least one writing sample, and three references to email@example.com. The writing sample can be anything that exhibits your general writing and analytic ability: a work assignment, college research paper, or an essay or article on any topic. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed immediately. No telephone inquiries, please.
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Abigail Roston is a legal assistant and office manager at the firm. Before joining Gupta Wessler, Abigail spent a year at the University of Oxford, where she received her MSc in Criminal Justice with merit. Abigail is a Truman Scholar and was awarded the Findlay Fellowship, Northwestern’s largest fellowship for graduate study abroad. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University with degrees in legal studies and history as well as a minor in data science. She received both individual and interdisciplinary honors for her senior thesis on Supreme Court law clerk tributes. At Northwestern, Abigail served as the President of Planned Parenthood Generation Action and as a Board Member for Northwestern’s Prison Education Program. She also worked as a research partner to Professor Leslie Harris, investigating the history of crime in New Orleans. Abigail is from a small town outside of Glacier National Park in Montana.
Mahek Ahmad is 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. She is a first-generation college graduate and grew up in Los Angeles, California.
Abbe Murphy is 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 D.C. and as an intern for the post-presidential Office of Barack and Michelle Obama, where she worked alongside top communications staff in the execution of major speaking events such as former President Obama’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.
Rana Thabata was a legal assistant and office manager at the firm and is now a student at the University of Michigan Law School. Rana is both a Truman Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar, a first-generation college graduate, and a first-generation Palestinian-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 magna cum laude from Loyola University New Orleans with degrees in political science and economics and was recognized as the outstanding graduate in both programs. Before joining Gupta Wessler, she 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. Rana is the daughter of two Palestinian immigrants and grew up in New Orleans.
Sara Evall was a legal assistant at the firm and is now a law student at Stanford Law School. 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 now serving as Legislative Director 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 recent graduate of 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 now an associate at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. Nabila 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 completed clerkships with Judge Pamela Harris on the Fourth Circuit and Judge Christopher Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before joining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as litigation counsel in the Legal Division. 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.
Summer Associates/Law Students
Each year, the firm selects two or three highly qualified law students (or recent pre-clerkship graduates) to spend the summer working on Supreme Court, appellate, and complex litigation. We seek students with exceptional writing ability, the capacity to think rigorously and creatively about the law, and a real passion for advocacy in the public interest. We generally hire 2Ls (or 3Ls seeking a position between law school graduation and the start of a judicial clerkship).
Summer associates at Gupta Wessler are given an unparalleled opportunity to take responsibility for intellectually challenging legal research and writing projects that directly contribute to public-interest advocacy at the highest levels. They work on briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts on issues of first impression, analyze cutting-edge law and policy issues, and work with lawyers on a range of substantive matters. We vow never to occupy our students with the busywork assignments typical of large firms. We strive to ensure that each student leaves the firm with high-quality writing samples for use in applications for judicial clerkships, public interest fellowships, and other competitive positions. Students all participate in the firms’ weekly meetings, at which we debate which new cases to take on and discuss difficult strategic issues. To the extent possible during the summer, we try to expose students to a range of other activities, such as moot courts, strategy sessions, client meetings, and oral arguments.
We are not currently accepting applications for 2024 summer associates.
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Caroline Lester is a rising third-year law student who is set to clerk for Judge Richard Clifton on the Ninth Circuit. She is an editor of the California Law Review, a Dean’s Fellow, and a Fellow in the Berkeley Human Rights Center. Before Gupta Wessler, Caroline worked at the Regional Public Defenders for Capital Cases in Texas, the Alameda County Public Defenders in California, and her law school’s Death Penalty Clinic. Before law school, she was a freelance journalist. Her writing has been featured in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and The Atlantic, and her audio pieces have been featured on The New Yorker Radio Hour, PRI’s The World, and the BBC World Service. Her journalism won a duPont and NAACP Image Award and was nominated for a Peabody and a National Magazine Award in Reporting.
Emma Findlen LeBlanc is a rising third-year law student who is set to clerk for Judge Marsha Berzon on the Ninth Circuit and Judge Casey Pitts on the Northern District of California. She is an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal, executive notes editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review, and co-president of the Yale Animal Law Society. In addition to Gupta Wessler, she has worked during law school at Planned Parenthood and in both the reproductive rights and justice clinic and the climate, animal, food, and environmental law clinic. Before law school, she completed her doctorate in anthropology at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, worked as a researcher at the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, and made documentary films. Her reporting from Syria and Iraq has appeared in publications including GQ, Slate, the New York Times, and Le Monde.
Matt Buck is a rising third-year law student and is set to clerk Judge Richard Clifton on the Ninth Circuit and Judge Casey Pitts on the Northern District of California. In law school, he is a Student Editor for the LPE Blog, was co-chair of the Law & Political Economy Student Group, and is an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Before law school, Matt worked on antimonopoly law and policy at the American Economic Liberties Project and the Open Markets Institute and was a paralegal at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. His writing on antitrust and corporate power has appeared in The American Prospect, The New York Times, the LPEBlog, and the Washington Monthly.
Ann Sarnak is a rising third-year law student who is set to clerk for Judge Marsha Berzon on the Ninth Circuit and Judge Christopher Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In addition to Gupta Wessler, Ann worked during law school at SEIU Local 1199 NE, Communities Resist, and in the housing and civil rights clinics. Before law school, she worked on policy research at the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and completed a master’s degree in comparative social policy at Oxford.
Fred Wang is a rising third-year law student who is set to clerk for Judge Bradley Garcia on the D.C. Circuit and Judge Vince Chhabria on the Northern District of California. Fred worked with Gupta Wessler both as a summer student and as a student in the Harvard Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. He has also worked at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and the Office of Senator Elizabeth Warren. He also serves as digital director of and contributor to OnLabor and Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Varshini Parthasarathy is a rising third-year law student who is set to clerk for Judge Jennifer Sung of the Ninth Circuit and Judge John Kronstadt on the Central District of California. In addition to Gupta Wessler, she has worked during law school for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and in the environmental protection and civil rights clinics. She studied environmental engineering as an undergraduate and previously worked at the New York Green Bank, the Columbia Water Center, and the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Shariful Khan is a 2022 law graduate who is currently a Skadden Fellow at Public Justice. After his fellowship, he will clerk for Judges Robert E. Bacharach of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York. Before coming to Gupta Wessler, Shariful worked at the Civil Rights Bureau of the New York Office of the Attorney-General, Wilkinson Stekloff, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and New York Legal Assistance Group’s Special Litigation Unit. In law school, he litigated disability and racial justice issues in the Veterans Legal Services Clinic and ran an access-to-law school pipeline for low income adults. Shariful is a first-generation college graduate.
Cara Meyer is a 2022 law graduate who is clerking for Judge Scott M. Matheson on the Tenth Circuit. Before coming to Gupta Wessler, she spent her previous summer working on workers’ rights, consumer protection, and impact litigation with the complex and affirmative litigation branch of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. In law school, she was a student director of the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project clinic and Managing Editor of a journal. Prior to law school, she spent two years as a civil rights paralegal at Relman Colfax in Washington, D.C.
Sam Weinstock is a 2022 law graduate who is serving as a fellow at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Legal Division for the next two years, followed by a clerkship for Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York. Before working at Gupta Wessler, Sam spent a summer in the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. In law school, he was an executive editor of the Law Review and a research assistant and teaching fellow for Professor Vicki Jackson. Before law school, he worked as an economic policy aide to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Ana Builes was a Blume Public Interest Scholar at Georgetown and is currently clerking for Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on the Northern District of California and previously clerked for Judge Easterly on the D.C. Court of Appeals. Before working at Gupta Wessler, Ana worked with various impact and appellate litigation groups, including the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and Georgetown’s Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic. As a proud immigrant from Colombia, Ana has spent the rest of her time in law school working directly with immigrants on both sides of the border. Prior to law school, Ana worked with coffee farmers around the globe, was a legislative assistant for a member of Congress, and an investigator at the Public Defender Service of D.C.
Diana Li is clerking for Judge Sri Srinivasan on the D.C. Circuit and will clerk for Justice Elena Kagan on the U.S. Supreme Court. She previously spent a year at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and clerked for Judge Paul Oetken on the Southern District of New York. Before working at Gupta Wessler, she spent her previous summer working on cases about government benefits, consumer debt, and immigration in the Special Litigation Unit of the New York Legal Assistance Group. She was a student in the Stanford Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, an editor of the Stanford Law Review, and won best overall team in moot court. Before law school, she worked on refugee aid at the International Rescue Committee and taught debate to female inmates at Rikers Island. In college, Diana won the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s Team of the Year award.
Steffi Ostrowski is completing clerkships with Judge Michelle Friedland on the Ninth Circuit and Judge Vince Chhabria on the Northern District of California and will return to Gupta Wessler as a fellow in 2023. Before her summer at Gupta Wessler, Steffi spent her previous summer working on consumer-protection cases at the New Economy Project in New York and the Consumer Financial Protection Unit of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. In law school, she was a student in the Mortgage Foreclosure Clinic, an editor of the Yale Law Journal, and co-president of the Law and Political Economy Student Group. Before law school, Steffi worked at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center. She was previously a software engineer at Facebook, where she led projects to promote women’s safety and built software to detect impersonation.
Omari Allen is a graduate of Howard University School of Law who is currently a showrunner’s assistant at NBCUniversal. In addition to Gupta Wessler, he was also a summer intern at the Natural Resources Defense Council and an extern for Judge Marsha Berzon of the Ninth Circuit, an organizer at the Brady Campaign & Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and a member of the scheduling and advance team in the Obama White House.
Ela Leshem was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, where she completed her doctorate in philosophy, and is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. She clerked for Judge David Barron on the First Circuit and is currently working for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Before spending the summer at Gupta Wessler, Ela worked in Public Counsel’s homelessness-prevention and foster-care projects and for Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court and Senator Whitehouse on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rajiv Narayan completed a clerkship with Justice Leondra Kruger on the California Supreme Court and a Justice Catalyst-Public Rights Project Fellowship at the Community Lawyering and Civil Rights Unit of the Oakland City Attorney’s Office. He is currently a Social Justice and Impact Litigation Fellow at the Santa Clara Office of County Counsel. Before law school, Rajiv worked in the fields of media and public health policy, including a stint as Special Assistant to the New York City Commissioner of Health, and spent last summer at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office. He was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and also holds a masters’ degree in medical anthropology from Oxford.
Bill Powellis currently Counsel at Georgetown’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and was previously a Bristow Fellow in the Office of the Solicitor General. He completed clerkships with Judge Sri Srinivasan on the D.C. Circuit and Judge Randolph Moss on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. After graduating from law school, he spent one year as the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Legal Fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Before law school, Bill spent several years as a reporter and an editor at newspapers and at magazines. In law school, he co-directed the Capital Assistance Project.
Emily Villano clerked for Judge Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit and then completed a fellowship at Public Justice. During law school, she was a student in the Workers & Immigrants Rights Clinic, where she has worked on challenges to the Trump Administration’s termination of the DACA program, and previously worked for the National Day Laborers Organizing Network.
Michael Morse is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studies voting rights, election administration, and the criminal justice system. He previously clerked for Judge Myron Thompson on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and Judge Marsha Berzon on the Ninth Circuit, completed a Ph.D. in government, and was a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. Michael has worked at the Southern Center for Human Rights and The New Yorker magazine, where he was a research assistant to Ryan Lizza and Jane Mayer.
Nicola (Nika) Cohen was a Bristow Fellow at the Office of the Solicitor General, was previously a Phillips Fellow in that office, and currently devotes her practice to full-time pro bono work related to the criminal legal system. Nika litigates death penalty, post-conviction and prison conditions cases on behalf of indigent clients across the U.S. She clerked for Judge John Owens of the Ninth Circuit and Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York and has also worked at the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Center for Appellate Litigation, the Legal Aid Society, and on death row cases as a law student.
Matteo Godi recently completed clerkships with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Judge Guido Calabresi of the Second Circuit. Matteo is an associate in the Supreme Court and appellate practice at Paul Weiss and is a Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School, where he co-teaches a new course on “Torts and Regulation.” During law school, he worked at NAACP LDF, Equal Justice Under Law, and the D.C. Public Defender Service. Matteo grew up in a small town in northern Italy and is the first in his family to attend college; he is co-authoring the first casebook on Italian constitutional law.
Michael Zuckerman completed clerkships with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Karen Nelson Moore on the Sixth Circuit. He is currently Deputy Solicitor General of New Jersey and was previously a Skadden Fellow and Litigation Counsel at the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, where he focused on helping people who have beeninvolved in the criminal-justice system overcome barriers to employment, housing, and other aspects of a flourishing life. He was also a Visiting Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. During law school, Mike was the President of the Harvard Law Review, published his journalism on the legal system and other topics, and was a research assistant to David Gergen. Read about Mike in the Washington Posthere.
Brian Highsmith is a Ph.D. student in government and social policy at Harvard and a senior researcher at Yale Law School’s Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law and was previously a Skadden Fellow at the National Consumer Law Center, where his litigation and advocacy focused on the collection of criminal-justice debt. He has also previously worked on economic policy as a fellow with Senator Cory Booker, on consumer litigation at South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and New York Legal Assistance Group and, before law school, as a staffer focused on antipoverty policy in the National Economic Council of the Obama White House.
Lina Khan is the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. She was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 69 to 28. Before that, she was an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, counsel to the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee, legal advisor to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and Legal Director of Open Markets Institute. Lina’s pioneering scholarship on antitrust reform has been profiled in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and the Washington Post, among other places.
Jaclyn (Jax) Harris is an attorney in the Neighborhood Law Corps of the Oakland City Attorney’s Office. The Neighborhood Law Corps is a special unit focusing on difficult issues facing neighborhoods—such as human trafficking, substandard housing, and public safety. Jax was previously a a Yale Public Interest Fellow with the City Attorney’s Community Lawyering & Civil Rights Unit, where her fellowship focused on institutional development of the unit as well as housing litigation and policy. During law school, she worked at NAACP LDF, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and Public Counsel.
Rachel F. Homer is the Chief of Staff of the Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Education. She was previously counsel at Protect Democracy, where she focused on litigation and policy advocacy to support and expand voting rights and curb abuses of power and, before that, served on the civil appellate staff of the U.S. Department of Justice. Rachel clerked for Judge Diane Wood on the Seventh Circuit and Judge John Bates on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and previously worked at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the Democratic National Committee, and in various posts in the Obama administration.
Daniel Wilf-Townsend spent his 2L summer with the firm rejoined us in 2017 as a fellow, and then continued to practice with the firm full-time through 2020, when he left for academia–first to pursue a Bigelow Fellowship at the University of Chicago Law School, and next to start a tenure-track professorship at Georgetown Law, where he focuses on civil procedure, federal courts, and consumer protection law. Danny joined the firm as a fellow following clerkships with Judge Marsha Berzon of the Ninth Circuit and Judge Jeffrey Meyer of the District of Connecticut. He had previously worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, the D.C. Public Defender Service and the California Supreme Court. His writing has been published by the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, Slate, and the American Prospect.
Randall Smith clerked for Judge Christopher Droney of the Second Circuit and for Justice Barbara Lenk of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and is currently an Attorney-Adviser at the Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State.
Tara Stearns, the firm’s first summer associate, clerked for Chief Judge Roger Gregory on the Fourth Circuit, spent a previous summer at Altshuler Berzon, and is now an appellate litigator focused on workers’ rights in the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, based in San Francisco.
The firm also occasionally works with law students during the academic year. Our first such student was Bradley Girard, who is a now a staff attorney at Americans United for Separation of Church and State and was previously a fellow in Brian Wolfman’s Appellate Immersion Clinic at Georgetown Law. Bradley previously clerked for Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey on the Sixth Circuit and Neil Kravitz of the D.C. Superior Court and was a litigation fellow for two years at Americans United.
We also worked during the school year with Shelby Leighton, who completed the Supreme Court Assistance Project fellowship at Public Citizen Litigation Group, served as a fellow at Cohen Milstein, and clerked for Judge Kermit Lipez on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in her home state of Maine. Shelby is now a staff attorney at Public Justice, where she has co-counseled litigation with Gupta Wessler.
Past Summer Associate Experiences
“I would highly recommend spending a summer working with the lawyers at Gupta Wessler. Their promise not to give their summer associates busywork is a real one—I had two main assignments over the course of the summer, both of which were challenging and engaging. During the first half of the summer, I helped draft sections of a brief in the Second Circuit for a fascinating, long-running international environmental dispute. After that, I drafted a brief in opposition to cert in the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Article III standing. Along the way, I also got to weigh in on briefs in the firm’s other matters as they were being written and filed. Throughout these assignments, the lawyers at Gupta Wessler were dedicated to helping me improve, not only in my understanding of the subject matter but also in my understanding of the craft of legal writing. They also integrated me into conversations about the firm’s work on new and ongoing cases, and discussions about the public interest litigation community more broadly. It was an excellent summer—the kind of work and environment that make you excited to one day be a lawyer.” – Danny Wilf-Townsend
“Over the course of the summer, I worked on a number of interesting projects—a Ninth Circuit brief on whether federal transportation law preempts California’s wage and hour protections; a Second Circuit brief on the scope of individual employer liability under the Fair Labor Standards Act; and a successful Supreme Court cert petition on novel constitutional issues raised by a restrictive state freedom of information law. I also helped advise a public health organization on the potential for federal preemption of local initiatives. Every project gave me the unique opportunity to work on difficult, cutting edge legal issues that could have a significant impact on worker’s rights, consumer protection, and individual liberties. I enjoyed working closely with the firm’s attorneys on every aspect of the cases, and learned a lot about how to analyze complex legal issues, how to structure a piece of writing, and how to approach the strategic decisions that go into every stage of public interest litigation.” – Tara Stearns
“I contributed to a case throughout its evolution, from preparing portions of an early memorandum conceptualizing First Amendment and vagueness challenges to the law, to participating in strategy sessions with trial counsel, to drafting a brief in support of a motion for a preliminary injunction against New York’s anti-surcharge law. I had never before had the opportunity to watch the development of a case from the initial brainstorming to oral arguments. The experience provided insights into the theoretical and practical questions involved in public interest litigation. I also gained experience with appellate litigation by drafting the opening brief in an appeal before the Fourth Circuit involving the interpretation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I enjoyed the challenge of drafting the brief for this case from scratch, and learned from seeing how my draft was edited and revised by experienced appellate advocates. The firm’s small size gave me a unique opportunity to learn from experienced lawyers and to cultivate my legal research and writing skills. Because of my experience with the firm, I felt better prepared as I began my clerkship, and know it will help me as I apply for post-clerkship employment.” – Randall Smith
Full-Time or Part-Time Attorneys
We’re always interested in hearing from talented people who share an enthusiasm for the sort of work we do and are interested in the possibility of joining our firm, either on a full time or an “of counsel” basis. Interested attorneys should send us a resume and writing samples. We’re particularly interested in hearing from lawyers capable of taking on significant responsibility for cutting-edge appellate and complex litigation matters: lawyers with judicial clerkship experience, exceptional writing talent, a proven capacity to think creatively and strategically about the law, and a demonstrated passion for advocacy in the public interest.
We’re proud to have worked with some amazingly talented lawyers over the years:
Neil K. Sawhney, a former associate and fellow at the firm, is now the Director of Appellate Advocacy at ACLU of Northern California. He completed his fellowship in 2015-2016 between his clerkships with Justice Goodwin Liu of the Supreme Court of California and Judge Marsha Berzon of the Ninth Circuit. In the fall of 2017, Neil moved to New Orleans, where he worked on impact and appellate litigation in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Economic Justice Project before rejoining the firm’s new San Francisco office as an associate.
Daniel Wilf-Townsend, a former summer associate, fellow, and full-time lawyer with the firm, is now an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown Law, where he ocuses on civil procedure, federal courts, and consumer protection law. Danny clerked for Judge Marsha Berzon of the Ninth Circuit and Judge Jeffrey Meyer of the District of Connecticut. He previously worked at the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the D.C. Public Defender Service. His writing has been published by the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, Slate, and the American Prospect.
Rachel Bloomekatz, a former principal of the firm, is now a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Before becoming a judge, her practice drew on her extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, as well as insights gained from her clerkships with Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and Judge Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Joshua Matz, former of counsel to the firm, served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee for the first and second Senate impeachment trials of President Trump and is now a partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink. Joshua has published two books with Larry Tribe: Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution and To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment. He clerked for Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York, Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit, and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Urja Mittal is an attorney on the Civil Appellate staff of the U.S. Department of Justice. She worked at the firm following clerkships with Justice Leondra Kruger of the Supreme Court of California and Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California and a legal fellowship with the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., where she worked on voting rights and campaign finance reform litigation. In law school, she served as an Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal, constitutional litigation teaching assistant to Judges Guido Calabresi and John Walker, Coker Fellow in contract law, and research assistant to Professor Judith Resnik.
Peter Conti-Brown is a financial historian, a legal scholar, and the Class of 1965 Associate Professor of Financial Regulation at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Peter worked with Gupta Wessler from 2013 through 2016, where he focused on appellate litigation and policy consulting. He joined the firm following his judicial clerkships with Judge Stephen Williams of the D.C. Circuit and Judge Gerard Lynch of the Second Circuit. He is the author of The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve and is currently at work on two books: a history of bank supervision from the Civil War to Donald Trump and a political and institutional history of the Federal Reserve. He received his law degree from Stanford and his PhD in history from Princeton.
Brian Wolfman is Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law, where he runs the Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic. Brian served as Of Counsel to Gupta Wessler from the firm’s founding through March 2016. During that time, he was also a faculty member in Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, co-director of Georgetown’s Institute for Public Representation, and a Lecturer at Harvard Law School, where he teaches a workshop on appellate advocacy. Brian previously spent nearly 20 years at Public Citizen Litigation Group, the last five years as its Director. He has argued five cases before the Supreme Court and dozens of cases before lower courts nationwide, and is a nationally recognized expert on class actions and access to the civil justice system.
Consulting Attorneys or Co-Counsel
We’re always interested in hearing from like-minded law professors, lawyers, non-profit organizations, governments, foundations, businesses, and others who would like to collaborate, co-counsel, or consult with us, either formally or informally, on litigation or policy projects. In fact, the vast majority of of our work is pursued through partnerships and collaborations with people outside our firm.
Gupta Wessler is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. Gupta Wessler encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Gupta Wessler will make every effort to ensure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.