Civil Justice Needs Federal Leadership
The United States needs federal leadership to ensure that it has a civil justice system that works for all Americans.
Maha Jweied is a senior fellow at American Progress. Her work focuses on access to justice and federal policymaking.
Jweied is an independent expert on access to justice working with a number of nonprofit and multilateral organizations leveraging insight gained after nearly 12 years in the executive branch. She serves on the board of directors of the International Legal Foundation, the board of directors of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the advisory council of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, and the advisory board of New Perimeter.
Until January 2018, she served as the acting director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice, the primary office in the executive branch focused on supporting indigent defense and civil legal aid for low-income and vulnerable communities, including tribal communities. In that role, she also served as the executive director of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable, an interagency effort that works to raise federal agencies’ awareness of how civil legal aid can help advance a wide range of federal objectives, including employment, family stability, housing, consumer protection, and public safety. Jweied also represented the U.S. government as its indigent defense and legal aid expert in bilateral settings and multilateral meetings and negotiations at the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Open Government Partnership, and the International Legal Aid Group.
Before joining the Office for Access to Justice, she was a senior attorney-advisor at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a litigation associate at Arent Fox LLP, and spent time at Mizan Law Group for Human Rights, a legal aid office in Amman, Jordan. She served as a law clerk to Judge Mohamed Shahabuddeen of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Jweied received her Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School, Master of Law from the London School of Economics, and Bachelor of Arts from the George Washington University.