Sameer Ahmed is a clinical instructor at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. He also serves on the board of Project Citizenship, a nonprofit agency which provides high-quality free legal services to immigrants all over Massachusetts. Sameer was previously an assistant teaching professor at Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to that, he served as a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, where he specialized in immigrants’ rights litigation and policy advocacy. During that time, Sameer served on the board of the Orange County Justice Fund and the City of Santa Ana’s Sanctuary Policy Advisory Group. Sameer has also served as a senior litigation associate at WilmerHale and as a Skadden Fellow at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). He has taught as an adjunct professor in the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and at the University of Maine School of Law. He clerked for Judge Kermit V. Lipez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Judge Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He received a J.D. from Yale Law School, a Master’s Degree in Legal Research from Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Stanford University.
Deborah Anker is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Founder of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She has taught law students at Harvard for thirty years. Author of a leading treatise, Law of Asylum in the United States, Anker has co-drafted ground-breaking gender asylum guidelines and amicus curiae briefs. Professor Anker is one of the most widely known asylum scholars and practitioners in the United States; she is cited frequently by international and domestic courts and tribunals, including the United States Supreme Court. In 2011, she was chosen to be a fellow of the prestigious American Bar Foundation. Professor Anker is a pioneer in the development of clinical legal education in the immigration field, training students in direct representation of refugees and creating a foundation for clinics at law schools around the country.
Sabi Ardalan is the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Director, as well as a Clinical Professor of Law at HLS. Sabi supervises and trains law students working on applications for asylum and other humanitarian protections, as well as appellate litigation and policy advocacy. She has authored amicus briefs submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals, as well as to the federal district courts and circuit courts of appeal on cutting edge issues in U.S. asylum law. She teaches courses on immigration and refugee law and advocacy and on trauma, refugees, and the law. Sabi previously clerked for the Honorable Michael A. Chagares of Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Raymond J. Dearie, Chief District Judge for the Eastern District of New York. She also worked as the Equal Justice America Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda and as a litigation associate at Dewey Ballantine LLP. She holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in History and International Studies from Yale College.
Liala Buoniconti is the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program’s Social Worker. Liala brings to the legal team an interdisciplinary voice from the fields of refugee resettlement and immigrant mental health. She gained much of her clinical expertise while working for over a decade as an outpatient mental health clinician at the MGH Chelsea Community Health Center, where she specialized in the treatment of prenatal and postpartum women dealing with mood disorders and trauma. At HIRC, Liala supervises the social work intern program, and regularly trains law students on the areas of trauma-sensitive interviewing, mental health, and secondary trauma. Liala is bilingual in Spanish and has participated in multiple research projects aimed at adapting evidence-based treatments for Spanish speaking clients. She is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Mind-Body Medicine, Problem-Solving Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and the Incredible Years Parenting Curriculum. Liala also volunteers for Physicians for Human Rights and the MGH Asylum Clinic.
Jason Corral is a Staff Attorney at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. Jason represents DACAmented and undocumented individuals of the Harvard community. He received his J.D. from Northeastern Law School in 2004 and has been admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Before working at HIRC Jason served as a member of the immigration team at Greater Boston Legal Services; served as the KIND (Kids In Need of Defense) fellow in Boston, and acted as the supervising attorney at Catholic Charities of Boston. Jason has received acknowledgements from the Fundacion Ritmo Guanaco for his work with immigrant children and The National Immigration Project for his work in the immigrant community of New England following the Michael Bianco Factory raids. In addition to helping immigrants understand the legal pathways to citizenship, Jason is experienced in helping immigrants who face hardships such as fear of persecution, minors that arrive without parents, LGBT issues and victims of violence (for an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Mary Hewey is a part-time Administrative Assistant at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program and the Harvard Representation Initiative. She previously worked as an organizer and communications director for Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a statewide workers’ rights coalition. She has lived in Guatemala, where she became proficient in Spanish, and has spent time in Mexico and Nicaragua. When she's not working at the Program, Mary spends her time working on films with her partner. Their most recent work is a feature length documentary called Jack & Yaya.
Sophie is a faculty assistant for Deborah Anker. She is a recent graduate of McGill University (Montreal, QC) where she majored in Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience. While in undergrad, Sophie worked as a research assistant at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, studying the underlying mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders in children. While she enjoyed conducting research, she was always passionate about forensics and the legal field. Upon graduating, she worked as a Trial Advocacy Workshop Coordinator at HLS and found herself fascinated by criminal law.
Nancy Kelly is Co-Managing Director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at Greater Boston Legal Services and Senior Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She previously worked as a Harvard Law School Human Rights Program fellow and also as an adjunct professor of immigration and asylum law at Northeastern University School of Law. At the Human Rights Program, Ms. Kelly initiated the nationally and internationally prominent Women Refugees Project, a centerpiece of the Clinic’s work. Among other honors, Ms. Kelly received the 2000 John G. Brooks Award of the Boston Bar Association for her work with refugee women and children, and for her teaching at the Clinic.
Mariam Liberles is a staff attorney at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. Prior to joining HIRC, Mariam worked for nine years at Catholic Charities of Boston as a supervising attorney (2014-2020) and a staff attorney (2011-2014). At Catholic Charities, Mariam represented clients in a wide range of immigration matters, including family-based and humanitarian cases. She also previously served as a volunteer attorney in the Immigration Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services and worked as an immigration attorney at the International Institute of Boston. Mariam received her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from Seattle University School of Law. Mariam is originally from Yerevan, Armenia and speaks Armenian, Russian, Spanish, and basic French.
Nilce Maldonado is a Certified Paralegal at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program. She was previously an immigration paralegal at Becker & Associates, P.A. in Boca Raton, FL, where she was responsible for family-based petitions, three- and ten-year bar waivers, deportation removal, and citizenship cases. Fluent in Spanish, her native tongue, Nilce is a Certified Legal Interpreter member of the New England Translators Association (NETA), and has appeared before the US. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and legal clinics as an interpreter and translator. She has over eight years of experience working and volunteering with diverse groups of people, including vulnerable women and children, through the efforts of domestic and global organizations. Nilce has lived in India, where she worked with human rights agencies that focus on anti-human trafficking, education, and protection in the developing world. She received her B.A. from Florida Atlantic University.
Phil Torrey is the Managing Attorney of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, and a Lecturer on Law. At HLS, he supervises the Crimmigration Clinic and he teaches a course concerning the intersection of criminal law and immigration law. The Crimmigration Clinic provides advice to criminal defense attorneys around the country concerning the immigration consequences of criminal charges, as well as state and federal appellate litigation, and policy advocacy. His research focuses on the crime-based grounds of removal and immigration detention, including the private prison industry, and the immigration system’s mandatory detention regime. Prior to joining HLS, Torrey worked as an attorney in the Immigration Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services and as a litigation associate at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and his J.D. with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
John Willshire Carrera
John Willshire Carrera is a Co-Managing Director of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program at Greater Boston Legal Services, as well as Lecturer on Law and Senior Clinical Instructor at HLS. He is a nationally known researcher and practitioner with numerous high-profile immigration and asylum litigation victories to his credit. In 1987, he directed the Ford Foundation national research and organizing project on implementation of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court decision that established the right of all immigrant students to a public education in the United States. He has received the Dow-Gardner-Landrum Award for outstanding commitment to legal services to the poor and the annual legal services attorney award from the Massachusetts Bar Association, among others.
Cindy Zapata is a Clinical Instructor in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, and a Lecturer on Law. She supervises and trains students in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and in the Crimmigration Clinic. She coordinates various community outreach efforts, including Know-Your-Rights presentations and Advice and Counsel sessions in the greater Boston area. As the supervising attorney for the HLS Immigration Project, a student-practice organization at HLS focused on immigration-related efforts and advocacy, she supervises students on various projects including removal defense, community outreach, and immigration applications. She was previously a litigation associate at Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP. She holds a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from Queens College – CUNY.