Legal Nonprofit We The Action Announces New Advisory Council Of Leading Legal Voices
Chaired by former White House Counsel Dana Remus and including seven other prominent lawyers from nonprofit, academic and private sectors, the Council will help steer We The Action’s efforts to advance gender and racial justice, strengthen democracy and more.
Washington, D.C. — Today, legal nonprofit We The Action announced a new advisory council of eight prominent lawyers from across the nonprofit, academic and private sectors to help shape the work of the nonprofit’s community of more than 45,000 volunteer lawyers and 550 nonprofit organizations.
A part of the Civic Nation ecosystem, We The Action is the nation’s leading network mobilizing lawyers to advance access to justice through pro bono work. By connecting lawyers from across the country with nonprofit organizations working on the most pressing issues facing the nation, the We The Action community is strengthening democracy, defending immigrant communities, advancing gender equity and racial justice and more. Since its launch in 2017, We The Action’s lawyers have donated more than 275,000 hours in free legal services worth more than $115 million.
“Addressing the access to justice gap is one the most important tasks we face to ensure our democracy delivers for all,” said Dana Remus, former Assistant to the President and White House Counsel and Chair of the new We The Action Advisory Council. “That’s why I’m excited to be leading We The Action’s Advisory Council. We The Action has already effectively mobilized tens of thousands of lawyers from across the country, proving that when a community of lawyers works together, they can build a more just and equitable nation.”
We The Action’s new Advisory Council will include:
- Advisory Council Chair Dana Remus — Partner, Covington & Burling LLP
- Ilona Cohen — Chief Legal & Policy Officer, HackerOne
- Josh Hsu — Partner, Jenner & Block LLP
- Astri Kimball Van Dyke — Director, Google
- Jonathan Kravis — Partner, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
- Professor Spencer Overton — Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law, George Washington University
- Robert Rivkin — Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, United Airlines
- Professor Cristina Rodriguez — Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law, Yale Law School
“We The Action was founded on the fundamental belief that lawyers have the power to be an engine for change and a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, fight for justice and defend our values,” said Anna Chu, Executive Director of We The Action. “With the visionary leadership of these accomplished lawyers from across the legal profession, We The Action is poised to continue our work towards a future where everyone — regardless of their race, income, ZIP code or any other factor — can get the legal support they need.”
This new council launches as We The Action focuses on expanding the hands-on support that its community of volunteer lawyers has already provided to nonprofits and individuals nationwide. For instance:
- A strong democracy requires that everyone has the ability to make their voice heard at every level of government. That’s why 3,500 volunteer lawyers donated more than 45,000 hours to 36 organizations to make the 2022 midterm elections safe, secure, and accessible for every voter.
- Reproductive freedom has been under attack both in the courts and in statehouses nationwide, and lawyers play a critical role in defending this human right. In the days following the Supreme Court’s devastating decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, 220 lawyers volunteered to help abortion providers expand or modify services, track abortion-related bills, serve as legal observers at protests and more.
- The American immigration system is nearly impossible to navigate for our immigrant neighbors who live in fear of deportation — or worse. That’s why We The Action partnered with a coalition led by the law firm Akin Gump to mobilize 150 lawyers who donated more than 3,000 hours to help nearly 3,000 migrants prepare for interviews with the government.
- In 2022, 4.6 million people were denied the right to vote due to a previous felony conviction. Since 2020, 500 We The Action volunteers have volunteered with the Nobel Prize-nominated Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to research more than 15,000 cases for Floridians with previous felony convictions and help them navigate the labyrinth of red tape and fees to regain their voting rights.
- Systemic racism permeates every level of the American legal system and We The Action lawyers are committed to breaking down barriers that disproportionately harm communities of color wherever they exist. One We The Action volunteer lawyer donated hundreds of hours to help a DC-based nonprofit successfully challenge the “Clean Hands Law,” an unfair fines and fees policy that exacerbated racial inequalities in a city where the median net worth of a white household is 81 times higher than the median net worth of a Black household.
“Every day, I’m awestruck by the impact that We The Action and its community of 45,000 volunteer lawyers and 550 nonprofit partners make on the most pressing issues facing the nation,” said Kyle Lierman, CEO of Civic Nation. “With the leadership of this new Advisory Council, We The Action and Civic Nation will continue building a more inclusive, equitable America.”
This new advisory council will focus on strengthening We The Action’s community of volunteer lawyers; deepening We The Action’s work on key priority issues like democracy and voting rights, gender and reproductive equity, racial justice, and immigration; and expanding into new issue areas to support underrepresented communities with free legal support.
Remarks from the We The Action Advisory Council:
Ilona Cohen: “One of the most rewarding parts of being a lawyer is the opportunity to work on behalf of mission-driven organizations making the world a better place. We The Action makes it easy for any lawyer to find opportunities that fit their schedule and interest to use their legal skills to further whatever mission they care about. Lawyers have the power to be a force for good in the country, and I’m excited to play a role in helping make that reality.”
Astri Kimball Van Dyke: “Although our country has made progress on many issues the past few decades, gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence continues to be a threat to women’s economic stability, health, and overall well-being. But rather than empowering women, too often the legal system discourages them from speaking up. That’s why it’s so critical that lawyers support women and ensure their rights are protected. Alongside We The Action, I’m committed to advocating for survivors of gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence nationwide.”
Jonathan Kravis: “As a longtime federal prosecutor, I’ve seen the law help lift up underrepresented communities, but I’ve also seen the legal system fall short in upholding justice. I know firsthand that lawyers have the power to defend our values and build a more just and equitable nation. Together, we can help close the justice gap and help support underrepresented communities nationwide.”
Josh Hsu: “The legal system is too often stacked against marginalized and vulnerable communities in this country. That’s why it’s all the more important that we have a community of dedicated volunteer lawyers to ensure that everyone has a voice and an advocate to help them navigate the system. We the Action’s commitment towards social justice and its intentionality towards protecting the rights of every American is precisely what we need at this moment.”
Professor Spencer Overton: “Preserving our democracy and defending the right to vote is bigger than any one election. It requires year round vigilance and dedication. We The Action understands that, and I’m excited to help steer their work to ensure voters can make their voice heard at every level of government.”
Robert Rivkin: “I’ve worked in both government and the private sector, so I’ve seen the difference lawyers can make when advocating for communities that are usually overlooked by the judicial system. We have a moral obligation to close the access to justice gap, and We The Action’s community of lawyers are on the front lines of that effort. I can’t wait to get to work and help expand opportunities for every American to be represented at every level of government.”
Professor Cristina Rodriguez: “The American immigration system is indecipherable for many immigrants seeking to enter the United States — and borderline impossible to navigate without legal representation. Every year, We The Action volunteer lawyers donate thousands of hours to help immigrants at every step of their journey. With the help of this community of 45,000 volunteer lawyers, we can help ensure every immigrant has the legal support they need.”