Civil Rights Section

The Civil Rights Section seeks to create transformative change towards a world that:

  1. values African descendants’ (e.g., Black Americans, Afro-Latinxs/Caribbeans) humanity and all people's humanity;
  2. promotes belonging; and
  3. maximizes equity, opportunity, and well-being.

Co-Chair, Amanda Gayle

Amanda C. Gayle, Esq., is currently Executive Agency Counsel at the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board where she prosecutes civilian reported allegations of police misconduct. Prior to her time at the CCRB, Amanda was a public defender at Queens Law Associates (“QLA”). While at QLA, Amanda worked with vulnerable clients, focusing her practice on representing youth clients in misdemeanors and felonies. Ms. Gayle’s passion for working with children has been long-standing. An Association of Black Women Attorneys’ Ruth Whitehead Whaley Scholarship recipient and graduate of New York Law School (“NYLS”), Amanda directed Street Law, a mentoring program that educates local middle and high school students about the value of their Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights. While at NYLS, Amanda was also a Racial Justice Fellow where she conducted research and wrote about a range of issues including racial disparities in healthcare, education and the criminal justice system. Committed to pursuing racial and social justice for all, upon graduation, Amanda was awarded the Chief Justice Rose E. Bird Award for her motivation for pursuing public interest law.

In 2016, Amanda launched a motivational clothing line designed to encourage and inspire law students to achieve success on the Bar exam. The clothing line, Believe In You Tees, features the premier design, “I Will Pass the Bar”, an affirmation Amanda used herself to study her way to victory during her second time taking the Bar. Through the production of her line Amanda hopes to give all law students the confidence and motivation they’ll need to experience success.

An exceptional litigator, Amanda is impassioned by her desire to protect the rights of the accused, those who experience discrimination and have been mistreated by the ills of the criminal justice system. Amanda is a native New Yorker. During her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, loves yoga and the arts.


  • Metropolitan Black Bar Association, Co-Chair, Civil Rights Committee
  • New York City Bar, Civil Rights Committee, Police Reform Sub-Committee Member
  • Brooklyn NAACP, Criminal Justice Committee
  • Association of Black Women Attorneys, Member

Co-Chair, Jessica Clarke

Jessica Clarke is an attorney at Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, one of the nation’s premier civil rights firms. At ECBA, she represents clients in administrative, state, and federal proceedings involving claims of race, disability, and religious discrimination, among other injustices. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Clarke worked for five years as a Trial Attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in the Housing & Civil Enforcement Section. Before that, she clerked for the Hon. Solomon Oliver, Jr. of the Northern District of Ohio. She also worked as a summer associate with Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP and served as a judicial extern for the Hon. James L. Graham of the Southern District of Ohio. Ms. Clarke graduated with honors from The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law in 2008 and Northwestern University in 2005.


Secretary, Jennifer Gachiri

Jennifer Gachiri, a Harvard Law School graduate, is a federal prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  In that role, she has investigated and prosecuted numerous felony matters involving international money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act and sanctions violations, tax evasion, cybercrime, and public corruption.  She previously clerked for the former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the Honorable Richard W. Roberts, and for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  She also worked as a senior associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison LLP, where she assisted trial counsel for a Fortune 50 client in an $150M FINRA arbitration involving disputed securities claims. 

Ms. Gachiri is a Visiting Faculty Member at Harvard Law School, a Board Member of FedKids, and Secretary of the Civil Rights Committee of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association.  She earned her B.A., with honors, at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was awarded the Alice Paul Award for outstanding service to women in the Penn community.