This week, Democracy Forward Foundation welcomed seasoned litigators Sunu Chandy and Carrie Flaxman as Senior Advisors, deepening its bench of battle-tested legal talent as it continues to expand the scope and reach of its work. “Sunu and Carrie are highly regarded litigators and advisors who have been on the frontlines of some of the most significant legal fights of our time. We could not be more honored that Sunu and Carrie are joining our team at this generationally-defining moment for American democracy,” said Skye Perryman, President and CEO of Democracy Forward.
Sunu Chandy joins Democracy Forward from her post as Legal Director at the National Women’s Law Center where, for six years, she oversaw a broad portfolio of the Center’s work with a particular focus on litigation and LGBTQ+ Rights. Chandy previously served as the Deputy Director for the Civil Rights Division with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she led civil rights enforcement including protections against sex discrimination under the Affordable Care Act. Earlier in her career, she was the General Counsel of the DC Office of Human Rights Commission, and she served as a federal litigator with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for 15 years. At Democracy Forward, Chandy will work to expand the organization’s impact through advising on legal, regulatory, and policy strategies and creating connections between and among communities with a stake in our democracy, including by supporting work to counter attacks on racial equity. “I first worked with the team at Democracy Forward as a client and co-counsel during the Trump administration where Democracy Forward’s expertise and strategy were instrumental to successfully challenging unlawful and harmful governmental actions. Having seen firsthand what a difference Democracy Forward has made in the lives of people and communities across the country, I’m honored to now be joining the organization as it continues to expand its critical work,” Chandy said. Chandy is a graduate of Northeastern Law School, Earlham College, and also obtained her MFA in Poetry at Queens College, City University of New York. She is also a board member of Transgender Law Center, and was named one of the 2021 Queer Women of Washington.
Carrie Flaxman joins Democracy Forward after nearly two decades as a litigator and legal advisor for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) where she most recently was PPFA’s Senior Director of Public Policy, Litigation, and Law. Over the course of her career, Flaxman has served as lead counsel in a number of trial and appellate matters at the state and federal levels, winning victories that maintained and improved access to reproductive health care services against difficult odds. Flaxman began her legal career as a clerk for Judge Edward R. Becker of the US Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit, held positions at two national law firms where she handled complex litigation matters, and then joined PPFA. She later served as a consulting attorney for reproductive rights organizations before rejoining PPFA’s national office. At Democracy Forward, Flaxman will support the organization in crafting legal strategies to advance the rights of all people and to stop attempts by state and local governmental actors to undermine our democratic values. “Today, people in the United States have fewer rights than they did just a few years ago because of an extremist legal movement that is seeking to use the courts to reverse hard-won progress. The harms of this extremism are felt in communities across the country, and I could not be more excited to join Democracy Forward’s work to disrupt harmful, anti-democratic activity and build for a better future.” Flaxman is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was executive editor of the Yale Law Journal, and Princeton University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude.
Chandy and Flaxman join Democracy Forward as the organization continues to deepen its bench of legal talent in order to take on rising threats to people and democracy throughout the country. In addition to Chandy and Flaxman, Democracy Forward recently welcomed litigators Ananda Burra, Aleshadye Getachew, and Kaitlyn Golden as Senior Counsel. It also welcomed lawyers Sterling Moore (Senior Legal Fellow), Emma Leibowitz (Legal Fellow), and Hannah Finnie (Senior Writer). The organization plans to announce additional hires later this fall.
“Since our founding, Democracy Forward’s strength has derived from the dedication, experience, and talent of our staff and from the clients we have the honor of representing who make up the diverse fabric of life in America. We are grateful to be deepening our bench of talent at this pivotal moment in American democracy and are ready for the important fights ahead,” continued Perryman.