Rekha Nair L’12
Rekha is currently an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Arizona. At Penn, Rekha found her passion at the intersection of criminal and immigration law and advocacy. She participated in both the Translation Legal Clinic and the Public Defender Clinic as well as in a variety of pro bono projects including the Custody & Support Assistance Clinic, the Penn Law Immigrant Rights Project, Youth Courts, and Prisoner’s Legal Education Program. She was also on the board of the Journal of Law & Social Change and the Latin American Law Students Association.
After graduation, Rekha clerked for the Honorable Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom in the Eastern District of New York. In 2014, Rekha was awarded the Toll Postgraduate Fellowship to work with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project to provide free legal services to immigrant victims of crime detained in immigration custody in Arizona. After her fellowship, Rekha stayed on as a staff attorney and later became managing attorney of the adult detention team. At the Florence Project, Rekha continued working at the intersection of criminal and immigration law, helping her clients demonstrate that their criminal convictions did not render them inadmissible/removable or otherwise bar them from immigration relief. As a federal public defender, Rekha leverages her knowledge of immigration law to help defend against illegal re-entry charges and to provide her clients with advice about the collateral immigration consequences of their criminal convictions. Rekha is also currently on the board of Trans Queer Pueblo, an autonomous LGBTQ+ migrant community of color, and on the board of The Collective, Phoenix, the Teach for America alumni community of color.