Phone: (206) 398-4455
Bio: Jennifer Werdell joined ATJI as Associate Director in July 2011 after several years of managing public service and pro bono programs in Seattle, New York, and Cambridge, MA. Jennifer most recently served as a Fellowships Program Manager at the Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership. Prior to that Jennifer worked in the Seattle area for three years, managing national initiatives for NPower, a nonprofit technology assistance provider, and then helping to oversee Microsoft's corporate employee volunteer program.
Jennifer received her B.A. from Amherst College and her J.D. from New York University. After law school Jennifer clerked for U.S. Magistrate Debra Freeman in the Southern District of New York and then served as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and legal services attorney in New York City, addressing public benefits and economic justice issues through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and pro bono recruitment strategies. She also served as board member and Director of Advocacy for Project FAIR, a collaborative, volunteer-based project providing assistance to low-income and homeless individuals. Through Project FAIR she solidified her passion for helping students and professionals utilize their skills and talents to meet the needs of underserved and underrepresented individuals and communities.
Jennifer is the point person for:
Moderate Means Program Attorney
Phone: (206) 398-4356
Bio: Clay joined the ATJI staff in November 2010 and serves as the Moderate Means Program Attorney and as Adjunct Faculty teaching the Moderate Means Practicum. Prior to joining ATJI, Clay was an attorney with the Northwest Justice Project for thirteen years. During that time he was an advocate on the CLEAR legal hotline, represented low-income individuals in family law matters and eviction cases, managed the Northwest Justice Project's Contract Attorney Program, and was a CLEAR supervisor. Clay also has experience as a health care administrator, policy analyst, and mental health counselor.
Clay has an extensive history of community volunteer experience; he currently volunteers at legal clinics for Kitsap Legal Services, a non-profit volunteer lawyer program, and has served on their board for the last nine years, most recently as Board President. Clay received B.A. and B.S. degrees from Washington State University, and an M.P.A. and J.D. from the University of Washington.
Clay is the point person for the Moderate Means Program.
Interim Associate Director
Phone: (206) 398-4168
Bio: Suzanne Skinner has spent 30 years as counsel to public agencies, private companies, and non-profits. Her areas of expertise are in the rights of the homeless, general municipal law, and environmental law, including water law. She served for eight years as the Director of the Civil Division of Seattle's City Attorney's Office. While there, she settled the City's long-standing litigation against organized homeless encampments, allowing an encampment in city limits with notice to the community, and protections for the health and safety of the encampment community and the neighborhood. The consent decree became a model for encampment ordinances throughout Washington. Since then, Ms. Skinner has assisted several jurisdictions in adopting and defending encampment ordinances. She also was instrumental in crafting Seattle's diversion program for driving with license suspended cases-which allowed those convicted to avoid impoundment and retain their cars. She has spoken at continuing legal education programs and conferences about the intersection between municipal concerns and the rights of the visibly poor. It is her passion for this work that brings her to Seattle University Law School's Access to Justice Institute and the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project.
She also has an extensive background in environmental law and, most recently, served as the Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, where she, together with a coalition, brought impact litigation compelling the state to follow the Water Pollution Control Act in licensing dams. She also brought together a coalition of environmental groups to advocate for changes to the Columbia River Treaty to integrate ecosystem protection and Tribal treaty rights into management of the Columbia River. She has spoken frequently at conferences and continuing legal education programs about the Columbia River Treaty and water and environmental law generally.
Ms. Skinner also has served as an administrative law judge for Washington's Land Use and Environmental Hearings Office, counsel to an alternative energy developer, and as an Assistant United State Attorney in New York City.
Faculty Legal Program Assistant
Phone: (206) 398-4173
Bio: Liz joined the ATJI team in September 2015 and serves as the assistant for ATJI, the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, the Center for Indian Law and Policy, and Graduate Law Programs. Prior to joining ATJI, Liz was community news editor at the Idaho Falls Post Register newspaper, and previously worked in communications and marketing for Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Liz received her B.A. from the University of Mary Washington.