Lecturer in Law
Neil Makhija is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Executive Director of Indian American Impact, the nation’s leading South Asian civic organization.
In 2021, Mr. Makhija was one of 13 Asian American civil rights leaders invited to the White House to advise President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on voting rights and immigration. He was named by City & State PA as one of the “40 under 40” most influential people in Pennsylvania politics alongside some of the state’s highest-ranking government leaders.
Mr. Makhija has spent over a decade in national politics and is frequently called upon expert on issues of voting rights, immigration, and Pennsylvania. His opinions and commentary have been featured in Time, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, CNN, The Intercept, Foreign Policy, POLITICO, and other media outlets across the country.
In 2016, Mr. Makhija was the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 122nd House District, where he outperformed the national Democratic ticket by 14 points in the general election. During his candidacy, Mr. Makhija won the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court case, In Re: Makhija (2016), which protected the rights of students and recent graduates to run for office in their home state under the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Mr. Makhija earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School on the Horace Lentz Scholarship, which was endowed by a 19th century Pennsylvanian. While at Harvard, he founded the HLS Homelessness Coalition and was a Senior Policy Editor on the Harvard Law & Policy Review. He received his B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where he studied neuroscience and served as co-president of his class and 2009 commencement speaker.
As the son of Indian immigrants who made Pennsylvania home, Mr. Makhija is passionate about enfranchising underrepresented communities and engaging new citizens in state and local politics. In law practice, he has represented essential workers in fair pay litigation, the City of Philadelphia against manufacturers of opioid painkillers, and children in the first class action against e-cigarette manufacturers for unlawful marketing. He currently serves as President of the South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia.