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Kristen Jackson

Interim President & CEO

Kristen Jackson is Public Counsel’s Interim President and CEO. She joined Public Counsel over 20 years ago as a Liman Fellow, advocating for the rights of immigrant children locally and nationally. Since then, she has served in several leadership roles within Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and Audrey Irmas Project for Women and Girls’ Rights, managing teams, leading litigation and policy efforts, and strengthening grant compliance and operations. In 2018, she served as the Acting Directing Attorney of the Immigrants’ Rights Project and launched new initiatives, including the team’s legal round tables, language justice trainings, and equity conversations. In 2022, she served as the Interim Directing Attorney of the Women and Girls’ Rights Project and guided the team to implement new systems, integrate social work into legal practice, and pave the way for continued funding. She became the Interim President and CEO in Noviembre 2023 and will serve in this position while the Board undertakes a search for a permanent leader to join the team in 2024.

Jackson is also a nationally recognized expert in asylum and children’s immigration issues, including special immigrant juvenile status and the intersection of immigration and juvenile justice. She has published widely and has reached thousands of judges, attorneys, and advocates through her many speaking engagements. She has litigated Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) issues in state and federal court, securing published opinions protecting and advancing children’s rights. Her other litigation efforts include a nationwide class action to establish a right to government-appointed counsel for children in removal proceedings, and another to protect children’s right to seek asylum before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She co-taught the Asylum Clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law for over a decade—mentoring a diverse group of law students and developing abiding relationships with her clients. In 2021 the American Bar Association recognized her for her decades of fearless advocacy.

Jackson is a proud graduate of Brown University, where she received her B.A. magna cum laude, and Yale Law School. She clerked for the late Honorable Raymond C. Fisher of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before joining Public Counsel in 2003.

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