Attorneys

Staff Attorney
lbailey [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Leslie A. Bailey represents consumers who have been cheated, advocates for the public’s right of access to court records, and litigates complex public interest appeals in federal and state courts throughout the country.  As a leading expert on the enforceability of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, she has represented plaintiffs and amici in numerous arbitration-related appeals. She argued FIA Card Services v. Weaver, a landmark decision in which the Louisiana Supreme Court held that a debt collector cannot enforce an arbitration award against a consumer without proving the consumer agreed to arbitration.  Leslie was also the primary author of Public Justice’s amicus briefs in AT&T v. Concepcion and American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, in which we urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that the Federal Arbitration Act does not require enforcement of a class action ban where enforcement would prevent the plaintiff from effectively vindicating her rights.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.  

Cartwright-Baron Attorney
sbelton [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Sarah Belton joined the Public Justice Oakland office in June 2013 as the first Cartwright-Baron Attorney. She was previously an Equal Justice Works fellow and a staff attorney at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco, California, where she managed an active caseload representing minors in a variety of civil legal proceedings. Sarah also served as a law clerk to Federal District Judge Algenon L. Marbley of Columbus, Ohio.  

Budd-Kazan Attorney
jbennett [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Jennifer Bennett is the Budd-Kazan Attorney at Public Justice. Before joining Public Justice, Jennifer clerked for Judge Marsha Berzon on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Jesse Furman on the Southern District of New York, and Judge Vince Chhabria on the Northern District of California. She was also a Dean’s Fellow at Yale Law School.

Executive Director
pbland [at] publicjustice [dot] net, Ext. 223

F. Paul Bland, Jr., Executive Director, has been a senior attorney at Public Justice since 1997. As Executive Director, Paul manages and leads a staff of nearly 30 attorneys and other staff, guiding the organization’s litigation docket and other advocacy.

As staff and senior attorney, he was responsible for developing, handling, and helping Public Justice's cooperating attorneys litigate a diverse docket of public interest cases. Paul has argued and won more than 30 cases that led to reported decisions for consumers, employees or whistleblowers in six of the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the high courts of nine different states. Paul's Twitter handle is @FPBland.

Senior Attorney
lbrueckner [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Leslie A. Brueckner is a senior attorney at Public Justice. She received her A.B. degree summa cum laude from U.C. Berkeley in 1983, where she was awarded the University Medal for the Most Distinguished Graduating Senior. Leslie is also a 1987 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. In December 1993, she joined Public Justice (then Trial Lawyers for Public Justice), where her areas of practice include Title IX, federal preemption, combating court secrecy, and objecting to illegal or unfair class action settlements. 

Chairman
abryant [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Arthur H. Bryant, Chairman of Public Justice, has won major victories and established new precedents in several areas of the law, including constitutional law, toxic torts, civil rights, consumer protection, and mass torts. The National Law Journal has twice named him one of the 100 Most Influential Attorneys in America.

Food Safety & Health Attorney
jculpepper [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Jessica Culpepper is the Food Safety & Health Attorney at Public Justice in the national headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Before joining Public Justice, Jessica was a Barker Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Humane Society of the United States in the Farm Animal Welfare Division where she worked primarily on fighting pollution from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and advocating for federal and state policy reform to advance sustainable food systems and the humane treatment of animals. Jessica also defended constitutional challenges to state laws protecting the treatment of dogs in puppy mills and preventing the practice of cockfighting. 

Staff Attorney
kgilbride [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Karla Gilbride joined Public Justice in October 2014 as a staff attorney. She previously spent three years as an associate at Mehri & Skalet PLLC, where she worked on wage and hour, and employment discrimination cases, as well as consumer class actions and cases brought under the Fair Housing Act. 

Director, Environmental Enforcement Project
jhecker [at] publicjustice [dot] net, Ext. 225

Jim Hecker, Environmental Enforcement Project Director at Public Justice, received an undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Illinois, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Jim received his J.D., magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law. He earned distinctions as a member of the Order of the Coif, and as editor of the Law Forum. During law school he interned with the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C.

Thornton-Robb Attorney
ghopkins [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Gabriel Hopkins joined the Public Justice DC Office in September 2014 as the Thornton-Robb Attorney. Before joining Public Justice he spent a year clerking on the New York State Court of Appeals for the Honorable Susan P. Read.

Senior Attorney
akimmel [at] publicjustice [dot] net, Ext. 229

Adele P. Kimmel is a senior attorney at the D.C. headquarters of Public Justice. Since joining Public Justice in 1994, she has served as counsel in a wide variety of precedent-setting cases, with a particular emphasis on civil rights issues. Adele's areas of practice include bullying cases on behalf of students, constitutional and tort cases on behalf of immigrant detainees and prisoners, sex discrimination class actions on behalf of women intercollegiate athletes, retaliation cases on behalf of intercollegiate coaches, and employment discrimination cases.

Managing Attorney
vni [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Victoria W. Ni, Managing Attorney, is based in the Oakland, CA office of Public Justice. Since she joined the firm in 2000, Vicky has worked on a variety of cases brought to protect consumers’ and victims’ rights, rights of the disabled, free speech, and equal opportunity for women in athletics and in the workplace.

Staff Attorney
lnicholls [at] publicjustice [dot] net, Ext. 249

Leah Nicholls joined Public Justice's D.C. office in September 2012 as the Kazan-Budd Attorney. She was previously senior staff attorney for civil rights and general public interest at the Georgetown University Law Center's Institute for Public Representation. Leah had also been a teaching fellow and adjunct law professor at the Law Center.

Staff Attorney, Environmental Enforcement Project
rwebster [at] publicjustice [dot] net

Richard Webster is a staff attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Project at Public Justice. He had been the Legal Director of the Eastern Environmental Law center, formerly the Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic, since 2005. Before that, Richard was an attorney with the environmental group at Arnold & Porter in New York.

Staff Attorney
mwessler [at] publicjustice [dot] net

 

Matt Wessler is a staff attorney at Public Justice. He concentrates on litigating precedent-setting cases involving significant issues affecting the public interest. He has briefed and argued high profile cases at all levels of both state and federal court and his practice encompasses a broad range of areas, including employee and consumer rights, the environment, and tort law.