Anisa AliBishop McNamaraClass of 2023Learn more about Anisa here.Interned with Harden & Pinckney PLLC on a life-changing case.Collaborated with top law professors and experts to prepare an expert witness for trial.Advocated for my client to Capitol Hill congressmen, senators, and congressional officials.
Read more about Anisa's achievements here.In the future, Anisa would like to study psychology in Los Angeles on a Pre-law track. She is interested in studying the science behind emotions and the statistics for communities who do not have the same accessibility to resources for physiological care.As a rising senior at Bishop McNamara High School, Anisa is a very involved student as she is active in many clubs such as Astrology club, Black Cultural Alliance, and The W.A.A.E. She also helps backstage for the various showings of Bishop McNamara’s African Dance Sankofa Productions. Anisa is very proud of being able to be an active member in her school community while still maintaining her grades to be a honor roll student.Anisa Ali is excited to be attending the Advanced Law and Trial Internship this summer. She is excited to be given the opportunity to help those who are believed to be falsely accused, as this has remained a rising issue.

My Congressional AdvocacyRead my proposal here.On Capitol Hill, we highlighted an issue within the criminal legal system to congressional representatives and advocated for possible solutions to the harrowing issues present throughout the system. My team and I worked to ensure we had facts, statistics, and compelling stories to share with our representatives. After our meeting, we followed up with our representatives to call for further action.Throughout the internship, I developed skills to effectively advocate on behalf of my client to congressional officials. To prepare for my meetings, I developed informative briefing materials with my team, which focused on improving the criminal legal system.
My Congressional AdvocacyLearn more about my proposal here.During our meetings, I spoke confidently about the alarming issues our client is facing in incarceration and the issues that affect those in similar situations to our client. Meeting with multiple members of congress allowed us to demonstrate the importance of the issues facing our client and those in similar situations. Being able to meet with a congressional staff member was a unique opportunity for our team to broaden our perspective and learn how much we can accomplish together.I had the opportunity to work with advocacy experts such as Professor Peter Loge of George Washington University, Sharra Greer of the Children’s Law Center of Washington DC, and Capitol Hill Interns to perfect my congressional advocacy presentation. We practiced our presentation multiple times to ensure that we were prepared to speak with members of Congress.

Expert Witness PreparationHow We Prepared Our WitnessAt the end of the internship, I had the opportunity to prepare the expert witness and my client for the upcoming trial by conducting my direct and cross-examination with my peers.I questioned the witness about different facts of the case and the mitigating factors that could influence the outcome of the trial.This is important because now the witness is able to go to the trial with an idea of the questions that will be asked and the best answers that she can provide.The Basics of Witness PreparationI worked with a mitigation expert and my client to prepare them both for their testimony at trial this upcoming year.I learned about direct and cross-examinations from Judge Adam Hunter and worked closely with the lead attorneys to revise and strengthen my questions. I was able to work with my peers to develop strong lines of questioning about different facets of the case to give a realistic examination.

My Legal ResearchAs part of preparing for the trial, I sifted through legal documents and exhibits. By conducting legal research, I identified discrepancies and supporting details to help me craft lines of questioning.Brandi Harden and Heather Pinckney of Harden & Pinckney PLLC walked me through what these documents mean and their significance in the trial process.Throughout the internship, I learned about different aspects of being a lawyer. I learned that writing is a significant part of the legal profession. As a legal intern, I read multiple case files such as arrest warrants, affidavits, grand jury testimonies, and discovery documents.

Internship Highlights

National Reentry

Judge Adam Hunter

Legal Experts

Brandi Harden

Heather Pinckney

As part of preparing for the trial, I sifted through legal documents and exhibits. By conducting legal research, I identified discrepancies and supporting details to help me craft lines of questioning.

Courtney exposed our team to the idea of the school-to-prison pipeline and the ‘War on Drugs’ that targets Black men, women, and children, to a greater extent than others in our society. He also revealed the obstacles that returning citizens face post-incarceration.

Courtney's vision is to reinvest in safe and healthy communities, create more living-wage jobs, establish permanent housing, and develop economic self-sufficiency for returning citizens.

He brought with him recently released returning citizens who spoke out about their criminal history and their life before, during, and after prison.

Judge Adam Hunter is an Administrative Law Judge, adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law, and a member Board of Directors of Rising for Justice.

Judge Hunter explained the intricacies of witness preparation during the trial process.

Judge Hunter worked to help me develop lines of questioning for direct and cross-examination while ensuring all questions were properly worded.

He also shared his experiences in the legal field in the District of Columbia and shared advice about becoming a lawyer and a judge.

Professor Michael J. Cedrone

Professor Michael J. Cedrone

Sharra Greer

Molly Gill

Professor Michael J. Cedrone’s teaching and scholarship are rooted in the belief that professional identity is formed when law students must reason, act, and reflect as lawyers do. He is currently the chairperson of Legal writing at Georgetown University Law Center.

Sharra Greer is the first policy director of the Children’s Law Center, representing clients in hopes of transforming the criminal legal system to better serve and protect DC’s vulnerable children.

Sharra Greer

Molly Gill is the Vice President of Policy for FAMM, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a nonprofit sentencing reform organization in Washington, D.C. She is a celebrated writer, being published in The Washington Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, and many other publications.

Molly Gill

Brandi Harden is currently the Managing Partner at Harden & Pinckney, PLLC, a boutique law firm in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Harden is also an adjunct professor at Howard University School of Law, where she coaches the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Team. Ms. Harden also serves as an Adjunct Professor at American University-Washington College of Law (WCL) teaching Evidentiary Foundations and Objections.

Ms. Harden has served as a trial attorney and a supervising attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS). Ms. Harden also served as Chair of the Criminal Practice Institute, faculty for Summer Series training, served as a member of the PDS Forensic Practice Group, and led Felony Division-Trial Practice Groups. Ms. Harden has also worked for The Southern Center for Human Rights, The United States Department of Labor, and The United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division–Computer and Finance Section.

Heather Pinckney is currently a partner at Harden & Pinckney, PLLC and the Director of the Public Defenders Service in Washington DC.

Before entering into private practice, Ms. Pinckney served as a deputy chief of the Trial Division for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (hereinafter PDS). As a deputy trial chief, Heather Pinckney assisted in the management and day-to-day operations of the trial division and supervised over 60 attorneys litigating criminal cases in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Prior to becoming deputy trial chief, Ms. Pinckney served for 8 years as a staff attorney at PDS. She also served for 4 years as the chair of the DC Public Defender Service Hiring Committee.

Ms. Pinckney has also worked for the Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and TransAfrica.

Ms. Pinckney has acted as a visiting instructor with the Georgia Honors Program and with the Southern Public Defender Training Center. She has also served as a guest lecturer at Howard University School of Law, American University School of Law, the David A. Clarke School of Law (UDC), and the Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop.