In many ways, young people are the brains behind the law in Philadelphia, whether it’s in the office, the courtroom or City Hall. They’re ADAs, defenders, litigators and advocates who do everything from prosecuting misdemeanor cases to owning their own firms.
Welcome to this month’s edition of Who’s Next, a Billy Penn feature presented by the Knight Foundation that works to highlight some of the city’s most dynamic young people. These lawyers were nominated by their peers for their outstanding work in the legal community here in Philadelphia.
In the last year, Billy Penn has highlighted more than 200 of the city’s up-and-coming leaders through the Who’s Next feature, from teachers to artists to musicians to chefs. Now, meet these young people who are the next great attorneys in Philadelphia, in alphabetical order:
1. Mark J. Burgmann
Title: Assistant District Attorney
Who’s Next because: Since November 2015, Burgmann, a Northeast Philly native, has served as an assistant district attorney for the Northwest “zone” in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Burgmann handles motions and trials at the misdemeanor level and preliminary hearings at the felony level. He’s a former special education and English teacher at South Philadelphia High School and he taught from 2009 to 2012. During his time at Temple Law, he interned at Philadelphia Legal Assistance in the Consumer Housing Unit as well as the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project, the DA’s office and First Judicial District’s Office for Civil Filings. He was also executive editor of the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal and Director of Advocacy for the School Discipline Advocacy Service. The person who nominated Burgmann said this: “His knowledge of both the best and worst young people are capable of informs his advocacy in the courtroom trying misdemeanor cases as a young prosecutor [and] I am confident that Mark will effect change from the inside.”
2. Lisa S. Campbell
Title: Assistant Chief, Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia
Who’s Next because: Campbell helps supervise attorneys, social workers, investigators and staff in the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association. The office helps to give representation to children accused of crimes. She trains and supervises attorneys in addition to handling her own cases. On top of that, she trains and talks about the collateral consequences of a juvenile record to members of the community and works on numerous expungement clinics. The person who nominated Campbell said this: “She works tirelessly for little pay and recognition, yet she is always right there in the trenches beside the lawyers she supervises.” Prior to working at the Defender Association, she was a clerk in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Find her on Twitter at @lscampbell1.
3. Melanie S. Carter
Title: Associate, Blank Rome LLP
Who’s Next because: Carter works in commercial litigation, serving the needs of clients both large and small, but she’s most proud of her pro bono work, her largest matter of which concerned a client serving a life sentence. She serves on the board of directors for the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, which works to ensure that all children have resources needed for a quality public education, to improve school climate and to dismantle the “school-to-prison pipeline.” She also serves on the executive committee of the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association and has served on the cabinet of the executive committee. She’s been named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by the Legal Intelligencer and has been recognized for her pro bono work. Carter attended law school at Temple, where she was the executive articles and symposium editor for the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.
4. Jenna Collins
Title: Legal Aid Attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania
Who’s Next because: Collins is the housing attorney at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania where she represents low-income Pennsylvanians with HIV/AIDS in housing court and housing-related issues. Most of her work is keeping Philadelphians in safe, habitable housing, which includes working on relevant policy issues at the state, local and federal level. Prior to working at the AIDS Law Project, Collins worked as a legal fellow at Community Legal Services and was a visiting professor in the Community Lawyering Clinic at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. She is also chair of the Advisory Board of the Birds on a Wire Dance Company. One of the people who nominated Collins said this: “She handles very tough situations on a daily basis with grace and dignity… and is extremely committed to representing the underserved community in Philadelphia.”
5. Alexander F. DeSantis
Title: Deputy Inspector General, City of Philadelphia
Who’s Next because: As a deputy inspector general, DeSantis conducts and supervises internal investigations for the City of Philadelphia and leads a team of lawyers and investigators who work to root out fraud, corruption and misconduct by city employees, individuals, companies and non-profits that receive city money. He developed a contract compliance unit that works to ensure a level playing field for potential city vendors. He and his team have also enforced the city’s anti-discrimination policies regarding city contracts and developed city-wide training initiatives for city employees who deal with vendors to ensure that they follow the city’s policies. He’s also crafted policy recommendations for city departments in helping to ensure they run as efficiently and transparently as possible. A graduate of Harvard School of Law, DeSantis formerly worked for the Teach for America program and New York city government.
6. Miriam Enriquez
Title: Director, Office of Immigrant Affairs, City of Philadelphia
Who’s Next because: Mayor Jim Kenney named Enriquez to her post as the Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs in January. She leads the office to implement programs and policies that help immigrants integrate and become a part of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life. An example is Language Access Philly, a program launched in May that works to ensure all city departments can communicate with limited English proficient populations to make sure all residents have access to city services regardless of language barriers. Prior to her post in the mayor’s office, Enriquez worked as Director of Legislation and Policy for former City Councilman Dennis M. O’Brien and, before that, was an assistant district attorney for seven years. While working on City Council, she drafted and helped pass legislation that regulates immigration assistance services. Find her on Twitter at @MEnriquezPHL.
7. Franz Español
Title: Associate at Fox Rothschild LLP
Who’s Next because: As an associate at Fox Rothschild, Español works with a diverse range of clients in labor and employment matters, including hiring practices, employee compensation, reductions in force and employment litigation. He volunteers for the Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline Program sponsored by the National Association for Law Placement, the goal of which is to provide information about the legal profession to diverse high school students. He’s also involved with the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania and the Young Lawyers Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He was named a 2016 “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers and was named to the First Judicial District’s “Pro Bono Roll of Honor” in both 2014 and 2015. Prior to Fox Rothschild, Español worked at the ACLU of Nevada and at an international law firm in Los Angeles.
8. Lauren A. Fine
Title: Co-founder and co-director, Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project
Who’s Next because: Founded by Fine and her partner, the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project uses direct service and policy advocacy to transform the experiences of kids prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. In Pennsylvania, children as young as 10 can be prosecuted as adults, so YSRP works in the courts system to have cases transferred to the juvenile justice system. Some days, Fine is in court supporting a client and family members, other days she’s at the jails and in the community visiting clients and their supporters, and other times she’s working on reports for submissions to judges or grant applications to enable YSRP to keep doing the work it does. In 2014, YSRP received funding through the Open Society Foundations Black Male Achievement Fellowship, powered by Echoing Green. Fine is also a volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Pennsylvania Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Youth and Covenant House Pennsylvania. She previously worked at the Juvenile Law Center. Find the organization on Twitter at @YSRPinPhilly.
9. Noah Goodman
Title: Incoming Associate at Ballard Spahr
Who’s Next because: A recent graduate of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, Goodman is an incoming associate at Ballard Spahr. During his second year of law school, he wrote his law review article on the evolution and decline of the labor market in Major League Baseball and later presented it at the 28th Annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture at the Baseball Hall of Fame. A former intern for the Honorable Gerald A. McHugh, Goodman hopes to represent professional athletes in the future. He previously coached a Little League baseball team at Taney Youth Baseball Association and is a recent alum of the Jewish Heritage Program. The person who nominated Goodman called him “one of the brightest young minds in sports law in the country.” Find him on Twitter at @Noah_Goodman5.
10. Frank Iannuzzi
Title: Legislative Director to Councilman Derek S. Green
Who’s Next because: As the legislative director to Councilman Green, Iannuzzi is responsible for advising the councilman while developing and implementing his legislative initiatives, representing or accompanying him both within Council and to outside groups, engaging in policy discussions, general and legal research and writing, scheduling committee hearings including coordinating witnesses and testimony and a long list of other responsibilities. Iannuzzi formerly worked in the office of Councilwoman Marian Tasco and is a graduate of Temple’s Beasley School of Law. He was nominated by Green, who said he’s “Extremely motivated, well-connected, and instrumental in carrying out my legislative program, including the orchestration of hearings on topics including Public Banking, Social Impact Bonds, School District infrastructure, and the Commonwealth’s new Medical Marijuana Act.”
11. Samar Jha
Title: Graduate Public Policy Fellow, City Council of Philadelphia
Who’s Next because: Jha works as a graduate public policy fellow in Philadelphia City Council where he works on policy issues for city leaders. His research in City Council has included real estate taxes, job creation, diversion and expungement programs, and affordable day care. After graduating in 2008 from the prestigious Nalsar University of Law in India, he went on to work for two of the largest law firms in India. He then went on to Penn Law, where he worked as a Law Student Counselor at the Detkin Intellectual Property and Technology Legal Clinic at the Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies. Jha is also involved with the local New Leaders Council, a progressive organization preparing young people to lead in their communities.
12. Eli H. Klein
Title: Litigation associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius
Who’s Next because: Klein focuses on commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense and class action defense in his role at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He’s been recognized by the firm for outstanding pro bono representation and represented an inmate through the PA Innocence Project. In August, he’s beginning a federal judge clerkship for the Honorable R. Barclay Surrick of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He sits on boards at a handful of organizations, including Graduate! Philadelphia, Young Friends of Rittenhouse Row, Young Friends of Philly Fights Cancer, the Renaissance Group of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Bar Association and Young Friends of the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project. He’s also involved in a number of non-profit and political activities and, in law school, he organized the Inaugural Penn Law Sports Law Symposium, presented by the Heisman Trust. Find him on Twitter at @EliHKlein.
13. Jillian Lenson
Title: Presidential Management Fellow at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Who’s Next because: As a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lenson’s serving in an administrative role with the Regional Civil Rights Office to enforce the Fair Housing Act. She works on cases of systemic or widespread housing discrimination throughout the region and formerly was a litigator with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Office in Washington, D.C. She’s won settlements in cases against both the City of Scranton and the City of Hazleton. In addition, she’s a fellow with the New Leaders Council and works with The Welcoming Committee, an LGBTQ community-building organization. A graduate of Boston College Law School, Lenson won the Dean’s Award for Diversity and, in 2014, won first place in The LGBT Bar’s Michael Greenberg student writing competition. Find her on Twitter at @jlenson7.
14. Gregory Creed Littman
Title: Partner at Freundlich & Littman
Who’s Next because: Littman is a partner at a boutique civil litigation firm based in Center City, and his daily duties including court appearances, client meetings, drafting motions and briefs and managing employees. One of the people who nominated Littman wrote he’s an “ambitious lawyer who has both a high level of integrity as well as an ‘all in’ attitude with working for his clients.” Prior to opening his own firm, Littman worked in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. He’s also involved with Mission Kids Center for Child Advocacy, the Thomas Woods Foundation and Free Legal Services events. He was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and was named a top ten attorney by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys.
15. Aarthi Manohar
Title: Associate at Martin Law
Who’s Next because: At Martin Law, Manohar represents people applying for SSD and SSI (Social Security disability benefits) at hearings in front of administrative law judges. Additionally, and separately, she works on federal civil cases brought under ERISA, which is a federal law protecting employee long term disability benefits. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs, Manohar has also worked for a solo practitioner in King of Prussia and, during law school, worked at an employment law firm as a summer associate and at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania. In addition to her day job, Manohar is the chair of the ACLU’s Young Leaders Outreach Team and is the youngest member of the ACLU’s Philadelphia chapter board. She volunteers with the Philadelphia courts MENTOR program and will take a pro bono case with Philadelphia VIP. Manohar also received the Dorothy Day prize for pro bono service when she was in law school at Villanova.
16. Kevin V. Mincey
Title: Partner at Mincey Fitzpatrick LLC
Who’s Next because: Mincey is a civil rights, criminal defense and personal injury lawyer and, since opening his firm in 2005, has handled hundreds of cases in criminal and civil court. He serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, is the immediate past Special Advisor to the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and has been the Chair of the Diversity in the Profession Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association since 2012. Mincey and Fitzpatrick received the 2014 Pro Bono Award from the Philadelphia Bar Foundation and Mincey is a Past President of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, and a Past Chair of the Advisory Board of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia. Mincey previously worked in the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney.
17. Shabrei M. Parker
Title: Of Counsel, Mincey Fitzpatrick LLC
Who’s Next because: Parker works on family, civil and estate litigation and works with everyone from families who have to reroute their course after a divorce or death to new families going through adoption. She says working on a same-sex adoption case is among her proudest accomplishments. She is president of the Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia, an organization for black lawyers in the city, and is involved in both the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers for the past two years and was named to a top 10 under-40 list by the National Association of Family Lawyers. Prior to Mincey Fitzpatrick, Parker worked at Winston Law Firm and is a former judicial clerk for the Honorable Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd. Find her on Twitter at @shabreiP_ESQ.
18. Jason S. Weiss
Title: Associate at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller
Who’s Next because: Weiss represents victims and their families in civil litigation and, as a trial attorney, he takes an active role in high-profile civil claims. One of his main focuses now is on claims filed as a result of the Market Street Collapse. Prior to his current job, he worked in Camden County Superior Court and in U.S. Federal District Court. Weiss is a member of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice, and he was also named a 2016 “Rising Star” in medical malpractice by Super Lawyers. One of the people who nominated Weiss said this: “Jason is an outstanding young trial lawyer who is as passionate about his clients as he is about his results. He truly loves his job and the enthusiasm he brings to the office is contagious.”