Ellen P. Chapnick
Dean for Social Justice Initiatives, Columbia Law School
Ellen P. Chapnick is the Dean for Social Justice Initiatives and a Lecturer-in-Law. As Dean, her responsibilities include development and implementation of projects that will further Columbia's excellence in preparing the public interest, government and human rights lawyers of the future. She also teaches the Externship on Pro Bono Practice and Design. Prior to Columbia, she was a federal litigator at Wolf Popper Ross Wolf & Jones, where, among other matters, she represented class plaintiffs in In re Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Litigation, for which she and her co-counsel shared TLPJ's 1995 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. She also had been a staff attorney at the Puerto Rican Institute for Civil Rights in San Juan and at various labor unions. Dean Chapnick’s recent pro bono work includes serving as: President of Legal Services for New York-Bronx; chair of the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities; and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Dean Chapnick has received the Association of American Law Schools' Father Robert F. Drinan award, Sanctuary for Families' Abely Pro Bono Achievement Award, Legal Aid Society of New York's award for outstanding pro bono publico service and the Pro Bono Students America award for best Law School public interest program. She is the author of several articles and the Access to the Courts chapter in the American Bar Association's The Law of Environmental Justice.
Frances Laviscount joined the National State Attorneys General Program as Program Coordinator in September of 2011.
Previously, Frances worked as a project management consultant and product marketing analyst at Pro Bono Net. She was also an equity analyst at US Trust, a wealth management firm in New York City.
Frances received her BA in Finance from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business.
Executive Director and Senior Counsel, National State Attorneys General Program
Lead Counsel, Charities Project
Cindy M. Lott serves as Executive Director and Senior Counsel to the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School, and within that Program also serves as the developer and lead counsel to the Charities Regulation and Oversight Project, as well as projects at the intersection of nonprofits and public health. The National State Attorneys General Program provides a nonpartisan resource to state attorneys general in fulfilling enforcement responsibilities and policy priorities, facilitates communication among attorneys general, and institutionalizes the dialogue between attorneys general, a spectrum of regulated communities and stakeholders, legal scholars, other academics and policy makers specializing in various related substantive areas of policy and enforcement.
Lott is a frequent speaker at national conferences in the areas of philanthropic and nonprofit state regulation, compliance, management and governance. She develops and moderates a series of national conferences on state regulation of the charitable sector and is engaged in research regarding regulatory capacity and enforcement at the state level. Lott is a Senior Visiting Fellow for 2014-2015 at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, working in conjunction with the Institute’s Tax Policy and Charities project. Since 2013, Lott has worked with major foundation leaders across the country on behalf of the Council on Foundations. Lott was selected as one of six members of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) and will serve 2015-2018. In 2015, Lott was asked to serve on the policy committee of Independent Sector and as the chair of the policy track for the 2015 ARNOVA conference (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action).
A Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School, Lott co-taught an advanced research seminar on state attorneys general and their role in state policymaking. She has taught at the graduate level at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs and was a visiting clinical professor at Indiana University School of Law, where she was the developer and director of the Nonprofit Legal Clinic. Lott’s consulting practice focuses on policy, legal and research strategy for national advocacy groups and non-profit organizations, particularly with respect to moving evidence-based research into the policy arena, strategic initiatives, state regulatory and compliance issues, non-profit management, and state policy issues.
Lott served as Chief Counsel to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston and was Deputy Counsel to the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. She has worked at large firms in several major cities in the areas of employment, business litigation and compliance. She also served as Chief Counsel for Advisory Services in the Indiana Attorney General's office, as well as Section Chief for Administrative and Regulatory Litigation in that office.
Lott is a 1993 graduate of the Yale Law School and clerked for the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Indiana and Massachusetts.
Faisal Sheikh joined the National State Attorneys General Program in November 2013 as a Staff Attorney. From 2011-2013, he served as an Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Office of the Attorney General’s Suffolk County Regional Office, defending the State and its agencies against suits in both state and federal courts.
Faisal previously worked for the City of Yonkers Corporation Counsel’s Office as an Assistant Corporation Counsel. He represented the City of Yonkers in various capacities, including as co-counsel to the city's Charter Revision Commission, and ensuring the city's compliance with local, state and federal environmental regulations.
Faisal also served as a volunteer attorney with South Brooklyn Legal Services, where he represented clients in matters pertaining to ERISA, long-term disability benefits and in administrative appeals.
Faisal graduated from Fordham University School of Law and was a recipient of the Archibald R. Murray Public Service Award. He received his B.A. from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is admitted to practice in the State of New York and the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Director, National State Attorneys General Program
Lecturer-in Law, Columbia Law School
James E. Tierney is the Program Director of the National State Attorneys General Program, at Columbia Law School, where he has also taught as a Lecturer-in-Law since the fall of 2000. In addition to his teaching at Columbia, Tierney is a Lecturer at Harvard Law School where he teaches a course on the role of state attorneys general. He has also taught at Boston College Law School, Northeastern Law School and the University of Maine School of Law.
Mr. Tierney served as the Attorney General of Maine from 1980 until 1990. During his ten years as Attorney General of Maine, Mr. Tierney played an active role in the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and has instructed newly elected state Attorneys General on the effective performance of their office for many years. Mr. Tierney has served as a Special Prosecutor in Florida, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Vermont and, on behalf of NAAG, has authored an analysis of the operations of state grand jury practice throughout the United States. He travels regularly to visit in offices of attorney general most recently in Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Illinois, California and Washington. He also regularly conducts ethics seminars for incumbent attorneys general and their staffs.
Tierney has served on the Board of both the American Judicature Society and was a member of the Board of Commentators of the Courtroom Television Network where he appeared regularly as a guest. In April of 2006, Professor Tierney was selected as the Public Interest Professor of the Year. This award, which is given to the faculty member or administrator who has most supported and inspired a significant portion of the public interest law student community, is selected by a vote of students.
Tierney is married to Maine author Elizabeth Strout. He has five children and eight grandchildren.