Founding Legal Team Members Robin Thurston and Jeffrey Dubner Elevated to
Legal Director Roles

Nugent is the latest addition to the organization’s expansion of operations moving into 2024, positioning Democracy Forward to address growing threats to people and democracy

Washington, D.C. — Today, Democracy Forward announced that nationally-recognized litigator Victoria (“Tory”) Nugent has joined the organization as its inaugural Legal Director for States, continuing the organization’s expansion of its legal operations to address pressing threats to democracy and progress in the United States. The organization also announced that founding Legal Team members Robin Thurston and Jeff Dubner will serve in additional Legal Director roles. 

Nugent joins Democracy Forward from Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC where she was a partner and served as an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Consumer Protection and Public Client Practice Groups. With twenty-five years of experience in complex litigation, Nugent is widely known as a lawyer who designs and leads impactful legal strategies. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, a member of the board of Public Justice, and has served on the D.C. Bar’s ethics and rules committees for more than a decade. 

“Tory Nugent is the lawyer you want on your side in the toughest fights – and we are thrilled for her to be joining our team at Democracy Forward as we move into 2024 when the stakes for democracy will be higher than ever. Tory’s expertise is invaluable to our work as we continue to use the law to advance the interests of the American people across the country,” said Skye Perryman, President and CEO of Democracy Forward.

Nugent holds a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA from Wesleyan University. Earlier in her career, she served as Special Assistant to the President at Public Citizen. Nugent will supervise a range of matters and lead the organization’s portfolio of state-based work. 

“It is an incredible honor to have the opportunity to join the team at Democracy Forward. The work Democracy Forward does on behalf of our nation’s rich cross-section of people and communities is inspiring and I could not be more excited to contribute to and expand its impact,” said Nugent

Alongside Nugent, Democracy Forward’s founding team members Robin Thurston and Jeff Dubner will also serve in Legal Director roles, enabling the organization to continue to strengthen its presence and enhance its portfolio of work across a range of subject areas.  

Thurston has deep expertise in administrative law and process, having served at the Federal Programs Branch in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and at the Federal Trade Commission, prior to joining Democracy Forward as a founding team member in 2017. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Stanford University. Earlier in her legal career, Thurston clerked for Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Thurston has played a critical role in developing Democracy Forward’s portfolio of regulatory advocacy and will supervise matters before both courts and federal agencies with a particular focus on administrative law.  

Dubner is widely recognized as an impactful and innovative lawyer with a long track record of successful affirmative litigation against both private and public defendants. He has also been instrumental in launching Democracy Forward’s amicus support program as well as in bringing affirmative litigation challenging anti-democratic activity. Most recently, Dubner obtained a landmark verdict in Lewis v. Cain, a case challenging the constitutionality of the health care provided at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, one of the largest and most notorious maximum-security prisons in the country. Dubner was a member of Democracy Forward’s founding legal team and prior to that was an attorney at Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll where he focused on state and federal antitrust litigation. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard University and began his legal career as a clerk to Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge John G. Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Like Nugent and Thurston, Dubner will supervise a range of matters, with a particular focus on cutting-edge jurisprudential questions.

“Robin Thurston and Jeff Dubner were both architects of some of the early winning cases Democracy Forward brought against the Trump administration and they have continued to develop and lead impactful legal work in the time since Trump left office.  They are first-in-class lawyers who believe that the law is a powerful tool for building collective power and advancing democracy in this time. It is incredible to have them leading significant areas of our legal work at this pivotal moment for our country,” said Perryman.  

These transitions are the latest in Democracy Forward’s continued expansion, which is specifically focused on addressing the extremist legal movements in the courts and anti-democratic threats to communities across the country.  In September, Democracy Forward announced the addition of veteran litigators, Sunu Chandy and Carrie Flaxman and last month the organization announced the hiring of Jennifer Bramble and Cecilia Jacobsen to launch its first-ever People, Culture, and Operations Division. Recent additional hires include Senior Counsel Mark Samburg, former Senior Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Senior Engagement and Education Advisor Kelsey Speers, formerly the Research Director at American Oversight, and Legal Fellow Linda Heeyoung Park, who recently concluded a clerkship for Judge Neal E. Kravitz in the D.C. Superior Court. 

Democracy Forward’s legal team was previously led by Sean A. Lev, former General Counsel to the Federal Communications Commission and former Acting General Counsel at the US Department of Energy. Lev recently joined HWG LLC as a partner. 

“Our entire team at Democracy Forward is grateful for the leadership that Sean provided in a critical period of the organization’s growth and transition. Sean is a valued mentor and trusted advisor to many of us and we are thankful for his continued support of Democracy Forward,” said Perryman