Nkechi Taifa is the advocacy director for criminal justice at the Open Society Foundations. Her areas of expertise include federal sentencing reform, executive clemency, law enforcement accountability, and re-entry. Taifa also convenes the Justice Roundtable, a Washington-based advocacy coalition that advances criminal justice reforms.
Taifa is the founding director of the Equal Justice Program at Howard University Law School and was adjunct professor at both Howard Law and American University Washington College of Law. She was legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, serving as principal spokesperson for its Washington Office on criminal justice and civil rights issues. Taifa also served as public policy counsel for the Women’s Legal Defense Fund and as staff attorney for the National Prison Project.
As a private practitioner, she represented indigent adults and juveniles, and practiced employment discrimination law. Taifa has served on the boards of numerous public interest organizations, and as an appointed commissioner and chair of the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights. She has written and spoken extensively on issues of justice reform, receiving numerous awards for her social justice accomplishments.
Taifa received her JD from George Washington University Law School and graduated magna cum laude from Howard University.