Board of Directors
William Aceves, Vice Chair, is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at California Western School of Law. Professor Aceves frequently works on projects involving the domestic application of international law and has represented several human rights and civil liberties organizations as amicus curiae counsel in cases before the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has authored numerous publications on human rights and international law including The Anatomy of Torture, the Amnesty International USA Safe Haven report, and is coauthor of The Law of Consular Access. He serves on the National Boards for the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Law Students Association, and serves on the Executive Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association. He has also served on the National Board of Amnesty International USA and currently serves as the AIUSA Ombudsperson. Professor Aceves has appeared before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Migrants, and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also a member of the American Law Institute.
Farah Brelvi, Secretary, was a co-founding Board member of Muslim Advocates, the first national 501(c)3 organization of Muslim lawyers to advocate for equal protection on the basis of religion and the full integration of American Muslims into U.S. civil society. In addition to serving on the Board of Muslim Advocates, she has also served on the Board of Amnesty International USA and the Advisory Board of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. A Columbia Law School graduate, Ms. Brelvi was a Litigation Associate and a Senior Associate with Cravath, Swaine & Moore. She is currently a Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the ACLU Northern California.
Lokelani Devone is an attorney, specializing in complex corporate transactions. She recently retired from Visa Inc. where she was Associate General Counsel and Head of Global Intellectual Property. Prior to working for Visa, she held senior counsel positions at Levi's and DFS Group Limited. From 1988-1990, she served as District Representative to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Ms. Devone graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and received her law degree from the University of California, Davis. She has served on the board of numerous community organizations, including the SF AIDS Foundation, Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, PRBO Conservation Science, and the George R. Moscone Center for Public Service. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Grace Cathedral.
Mina Titi Liu is the Director of International Public Interest Initiatives at the Levin Center at Stanford Law School. She develops and implements programs that support students who are pursuing a career path in international public interest lawyering and serves as a resource for leading practitioners in the field, with a focus on transitional societies. Ms. Liu was the law and rights program officer for the Ford Foundation in Beijing, China and a State Department and USAID consultant. She has been extensively published in the US and in China on the relationship between litigation and social change. She was most recently the Executive Director of the Asian Law Caucus, the first organization in the country to promote, advance and represent the legal and civil rights of Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Prior to joining the Caucus, she was the Garvey Schubert Barer visiting professor in Asian Law at the University of Washington. Ms. Liu holds a juris doctorate from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
Pamela Merchant, President and Executive Director, joined CJA in October 2005 and has overseen a period of significant growth - both programmatically and financially for the organization. Under Ms. Merchant's leadership, CJA has grown from an organization devoted solely to human rights litigation using Alien Tort Statute and Torture Victim Protection Act litigation in the United States to one that also engages in human rights litigation in foreign jurisdictions, such as Spain and Cambodia. CJA now also files amicus briefs in human rights cases before multi-lateral jurisdictions like the Inter-American and European Courts of Human Rights. Among other initiatives, CJA has launched a Transitional Justice Program that has worked in 6 countries and a human rights training program for prosecutors. CJA crossed the one million dollar mark for recovery for its clients and, in its first case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, won a unanimous victory. (Samantar v. Yousuf). CJA is now litigating a novel licensing case against one of the architects of the harsh interrogation program at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay. CJA has grown from an organization representing 56 clients from 8 countries to one that currently represents 192 clients from 21 countries. In 2007, CJA won the prestigious Thomas J. Dodd prize in International Human Rights.
Ms. Merchant has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law on accountability for human rights abusers who have sought safe haven in the U.S. and submitted additional testimony to Congress on crimes against humanity and other human rights issues.
Ms. Merchant is an attorney with twenty five years of experience in the conduct and management of complex state and federal litigation including eight years as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, where she specialized in white collar prosecutions. She has served in leadership positions on 10 non profit boards and currently serves on the the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission board and the Advisory Council of the ABA Center for Human Rights. Ms. Merchant graduated with honors from Georgetown University and Boston College School of Law and is admitted to practice in California and Massachusetts.
James Mintz, founder and president of the James Mintz Group, has spent more than thirty years conducting investigations all over the world, primarily for law firms and general counsel. He helped pioneer the use of sophisticated resources by law firms in the 1970s as an in-house investigator at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Wald, Harkrader & Ross. Prior to founding the Mintz Group in 1994, he co-founded The Investigative Group, Inc. in 1984, serving as its president and co-owner for a decade. He is a founding member and director of the International Association of Independent Private Sector Inspectors General. Mr. Mintz was a journalist prior to becoming an investigator and is currently an adjunct professor in the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism in the Columbia University Journalism School. Mr. Mintz and his firm worked closely with CJA on Doe v. Constant, our case against a former Haitian death squad leader, as well as Doe v. Saravia, our case against one of the architects of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The firm is currently working with CJA on Ahmed v. Magan, our case against a former commander in the brutal Siad Barré regime.
Joey Neugart, Development Committee Chair, is the General Counsel of Singularity University, one of California's first benefit corporations focused on educating, inspiring, and empowering leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity's grand challenges. Mr. Neugart previously specialized in nonprofit and social enterprise law at the San Francisco boutique of Adler & Colvin, was an adjunct professor at USF, and practiced as a transactional attorney and a member of the Pro Bono Committee at the global law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP. While studying law, Mr. Neugart worked at the Political Asylum Project of Austin, spent a summer in Monterrey, Mexico as a Latin American Democracy Fellow, wrote his seminar paper on the Alien Tort Statute, and contributed to an ATS amicus brief as a member of the transnational workers rights clinic. Mr. Neugart previously served on the Advancement Committee for the San Francisco-based nonprofit Asylum Access, and is currently a member of Hispanics in Philanthropy and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. Mr. Neugart is admitted to the bar in the states of California and Texas and is a solicitor registered with the Law Society of England and Wales. Mr. Neugart graduated from Texas A&M University and received his law degree from the University of Texas.
Jane Rocamora, Audit Committee Chair, Senior Attorney and Clinical Supervisor at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic of Greater Boston Legal Services, has spent more than two decades litigating civil, criminal, immigration and human rights cases. She worked for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Development Program in Rwanda investigating genocide and massive human rights violations and collaborating in the efforts to rebuild a decimated judicial system. In 2000, Ms. Rocamora was appointed Acting Chief of the Judicial Support Section in Kosovo of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. She was a Co-Founder of the International Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, which originally focused on establishing criminal defense principles and practices at the international criminal tribunals. She previously worked with the Coalition on Women's Human Rights in Conflict Situations in Montreal, Canada, which focused on ensuring accountability for gender crimes within prosecutions at the international criminal tribunals.Beth Stephens, Litigation Committee Chair, is Professor at Rutgers University School of Law, Camden. She has written extensively on the enforcement of international human rights norms in domestic courts. She co-authored the leading book on Alien Tort Statute litigation, International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts (Martinus Nijhoff 2nd Ed. 2008). She spent six years working on legal system reform in Nicaragua and another six years as Staff Attorney responsible for the international human rights docket at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. She has served as counsel and legal consultant on many international human rights lawsuits.
Wilma B. Wallace, Chair, is Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Gap Inc., a publicly traded, San Francisco based retailer. Prior to joining Gap Inc. in 1994, Ms. Wallace practiced with the law firms of Folger & Levin and Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe where she focused on commercial, intellectual property, and employment litigation. Ms. Wallace now is a member of senior management at Gap Inc. handling a variety of legal and business related issues and serves as the Executive Sponsor of the company's award winning diversity and inclusion programs. Ms. Wallace recently served as Gap Inc.'s representative on the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights, an international organization of business leaders which promotes human rights. She is a Board Member of the Bar Association of San Francisco and is a frequent speaker on law department management and diversity, inclusion, and womens' leadership issues. Ms. Wallace is also a Governor appointee to the California Citizens Commission and a member of various professional and community African-American affinity and progressive organizations. Ms. Wallace received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law.