Meet the Staff

Lisa Foster, Director

Lisa Foster is the Director of the Access to Justice Initiative. Before joining the Department, she served for ten years as a California Superior Court Judge in San Diego where she presided over criminal, civil and family law departments. After serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Marianna R. Pfaelzer of the Central District of California, Foster began her legal career as a Staff Attorney at the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles and later joined the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. She also served as the Executive Director of California Common Cause and was Of Counsel to the law firm of Phillips & Cohen, representing whistleblowers under the federal and California False Claims Acts. Foster also taught courses on sex discrimination, federal courts and election law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. Foster received a B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University and J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Karen Lash, Senior Counsel

Karen A. Lash is a Senior Counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice. Before joining the Department, she was a consultant for law schools and nonprofits, including the Mississippi Center for Justice, American Constitution Society, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the law schools at UC Irvine and UC Berkeley. She has served as Equal Justice Works VP of Programs, University of Southern California Law School Associate Dean, Public Counsel's Child Care Law Project Director, Tuttle & Taylor associate, and clerk to US Ninth Circuit court of Appeals Judge Warren J. Ferguson. Lash co-chaired the California Access to Justice Commission, and has helped establish legal clinics in Moldova, Ukraine, Slovakia, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia and Macedonia. Lash has a B.A. from UCLA and a J.D. from USC Law School.

Maha Jweied,Senior Counsel

Maha Jweied is a Senior Counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice where she oversees the office's tribal justice and international work. Previously, she was a senior attorney-advisor at the US Commission on Civil Rights, a litigation associate at Arent Fox LLP, and spent time at Mizan Law Group for Human Rights, a legal aid office in Amman, Jordan. She served as a law clerk to Judge Shahabuddeen of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Jweied received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, LL.M. from the London School of Economics, and B.A. from The George Washington University.

Bob Bullock, Senior Counsel

Bob Bullock is a Senior Counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice where he works on a range of issues related to civil legal aid and criminal indigent defense. He worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for six years on budget and policy issues related to criminal justice, among other things. Bullock first joined the Federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Prior to that, he was a civil Legal Services attorney in North Carolina and California, specializing in housing and consumer protection law. He received his master's degree in public policy (M.P.P.) from UCLA, J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, and A.B. from Guilford College.

Michelle Engert, Senior Counsel (on detail)

Michelle Engert is a Senior Counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative on detail from the Defender Services Office, Administrative Office of the United States Courts in Washington, DC. Previously, she was an assistant federal public defender in the districts of Maryland and New Mexico, and an assistant state public defender in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Engert is also a scholar-in-residence at American University where she holds joint appointments in the departments of Justice, Law and Criminology and History. Previously, Engert was an assistant professor in the America Institute at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. Engert has a B.A. from the University of Texas and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

JENNI KATZMAN. SENIOR COUNSEL

Jenni Katzman is a Senior Counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice where she works on indigent defense-related matters and oversees the immigration component of the work of the office. Prior to joining the Department, she was the National Voter Protection Counsel for Obama for America. Previously, Katzman was a litigation associate at the law firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Katzman also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Brian M. Cogan of the Eastern District of New York. She received her J.D. from Cornell Law School and her B.A. from Duke University.

Andrew Stanner, Senior Counsel

Andrew Stanner is a Senior Counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice where he oversees indigent criminal defense issues.  Before joining the Department, he was a senior trial attorney and supervisor at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.  Prior to joining PDS, Stanner was an E. Barrett Prettyman fellow at Georgetown University Law Center.  He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Fortunato P. Benavides on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a B.A. and LL.M. from Georgetown University.

STEPHAN P. MATTHEWS, Office Manager

Stephan P. Matthews is the Office Manager for the Access to Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice.  Previously, he worked in the Department's Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison and Office of Legislative Affairs. Before joining the Department, he worked with several nonprofit and private industry organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. As part of his commitment to public service he volunteers for several community outreach organizations and has served on the campaign committees of several Maryland town council members. Mr.Matthews is currently enrolled in school and is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Legal Studies and he plans to attend law school.