Board of Directors

Sarah Paoletti, Board President

Practice Professor and Director of Transnational Legal Clinic, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Sarah Paoletti is a Practice Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she founded and directs the Transnational Legal Clinic.  From 2003-2006, she was a Practitioner-in-Residence in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the Washington College of Law American University, where she also taught a seminar on the labor and employment rights of immigrant workers. Read More Her areas of expertise include international human rights, immigrant and migrant rights, asylum law, and labor and employment law.  She has written on and presented on the intersection of migration and international human rights, particularly as it relates to the labor rights of migrants in the U.S., before Committees of the United Nations, the Organization of American States and at different conferences.  She was a staff attorney at Friends of Farmworkers, Inc., a statewide legal services program serving migrant workers in Pennsylvania, where she was an Independence Foundation Public Interest Fellow, as well as a Skadden Fellow (1998-1999, 2000-2003), and currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors for that Organization.  She also serves as President of the Board of Directors of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (Center for Migrant Rights, based in Mexico City).  From 1999 to 2000, she was a law clerk for the Hon. Judge Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit.  She received her JD from the Washington College of Law American University (summa cum laude) in 1998, and her B.A. from Yale University in 1992.

Rick Mines, Board Vice-President

Retired Research Director, California Institute for Rural Studies

Rick Mines is an agricultural economist by training.  However, for the last 33 years he has focused most of his energy on survey research among Mexican farmworkers and other immigrants. His research, carried out in both the United States and Mexico, has been funded both by private foundations and government agencies. Read More  Over three decades, Mines’ surveys have probed the living conditions, migration patterns, social service delivery and working conditions of generations of Mexican immigrants.   He designed, implemented, and for many years managed the model farmworker survey of our period—the Department of Labor’s 20 year-old National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS).  The NAWS has enabled a more accurate public perception of the characteristics of the farmworker population.   Rick has always taken an active, hands-on role in all aspects of the surveys he conducted, including developing the questionnaires, training the interviewers, conducting many interviews himself, supervising the interview staff, cleaning and analyzing the data and writing up reports of the findings.

Rick served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay; he holds BAs in French and History from U.C. Berkeley, an MA in Latin American History from Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Agriculture and Resource Economics from U.C. Berkeley.   

Cynthia Rice, Board Treasurer

Director of Litigation Advocacy & Training, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc

Alejandro CaffarelliAlejandro Caffarelli

Founding Shareholder, Caffarelli & Siegel Ltd.

Alejandro Caffarelli is one of the founding shareholders of Caffarelli & Siegel Ltd., an employment law firm located in Chicago and San Francisco. He is also the past President of NELA-Illinois, the largest plaintiff employment lawyers’ group in Illinois. Read More Mr. Caffarelli, who is admitted to practice law before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the trial bar of the Northern District of Illinois, represents a predominately Hispanic clientele in a range of claims, including discrimination, retaliation, wages, medical leave, employment contracts, and class actions.

For the past several years, Mr. Caffarelli also has provided pro bono services and legal representation for indigent workers through many organizations, including Arise Chicago, formerly known as Interfaith Worker Justice. Mr. Caffarelli is frequently invited to speak about employment-law issues before lawyers’ groups, including the American Bar Association, National Employment Lawyers’ Association, and American Immigration Lawyers’ Association. Mr. Caffarelli received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with a double major of History and Spanish Literature, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as Note & Comment Editor of the Minnesota Law Review. He currently lives in Chicago with his wife and two children.

Elizabeth OconnorElizabeth O’Connor

Labor Strategist and Master’s Degree Candidate at FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericano de las Ciencias Sociales)

Elizabeth O’Connor has spent nearly 18 years working with labor and social movements in the US, Mexico and Central America.  Read More Most recently she has worked with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a union which represents 2.2 million workers, among which are 250,000 immigrants from Mexico.  She has spent the past 5 years in Mexico City, where she opened SEIU’s Mexico office and coordinated a campaign to improve working conditions for janitors and service sector workers in that city.  She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Government and Public Policy at the Facultad Latino Americano de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), in Mexico.

laurie burgessLaurie Burgess

Founder, Burgess Law Offices, P.C.

As a union, labor, and plaintiff side employment lawyer, Laurie has litigated cases before every labor board agency in Illinois and has successfully tried numerous jury cases in Federal and State Court in areas including ERISA, constitutional challenges to employment practices, the ADA, FMLA, and all areas of Title VII employment discrimation. A tireless advocate for worker centers and the labor movement, Laurie established her own firm, Burgess Law Offices, P.C. in Chicago in 2008. Read More Her firm represents public and private sector unions in traditional labor law matters and litigating civil rights cases on behalf of individuals and classes in federal and state court. Laurie currently serves Union Chair of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Subcommittee on Immigration and is an Executive Committee member of the NLG Labor and Employment Committee. She actively participates on the Developing Labor Law Alternative Dispute Resolution, Employee Rights & Responsibilities, and NLRB Practice and Procedure Subcommittees.  She has also served on the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Labor Lawyers Committee.

Laurie has taught courses on various labor issues at the University of Illinois, has taught trial practice and procedure at the National Labor College, and is a frequent speaker on labor and employment matters at venues around the country including her alma mater, Chicago-Kent College of Law.

linda singerLinda Singer

Partner, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC

Linda Singer brings extensive experience to the Board of Directors, as an accomplished litigator and public servant in Washington, D.C. A Partner at Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Linda heads the Public Client practice group and represents Attorney Generals in high profile consumer fraud litigation. Read More Previously, she was the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, where she focused on representing the interest of District residents on issues related to consumer protection, public safety, and the environment. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Appleseed Foundation, a national network of public interest law centers, and as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York City.