Leading Nonprofit Aiming to Increase Voter Registration and Turnout Chooses Big Law Litigator for First Legal Hire
Vote.org, a nonprofit organization that builds and deploys innovative technology to simplify political engagement, increase voter turnout, and strengthen American democracy, today announced the appointment of experienced litigator Sarah Jackel as General Counsel. She comes to Vote.org from Steptoe & Johnson, an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers.
During Jackel’s 12 years in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City she represented companies and organizations in all facets of trial and appellate court litigation. A dogged advocate with a passion for effecting systemic change through litigation, she maintained an active pro bono caseload throughout that time, taking on cases involving the rights of individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, race discrimination, wrongful conviction, and other civil rights issues.
“We are very fortunate that Sarah has decided to leave Big Law behind to join Vote.org as our first legal department hire as we embark on critically important new initiatives that will pave the way for millions more citizens to exercise their right to vote,” said Debra Cleaver, Vote.org’s Founder and CEO. “Sarah’s deep litigation experience and track record of successfully tackling novel legal issues make her exceptionally qualified to lead Vote.org’s legal strategy. She will be a vital part of our team as we continue our work to ensure that everyone, regardless of background, can participate freely and fairly in the democratic process.”
As General Counsel, Jackel will be responsible for providing legal guidance to the organization’s senior management and board of directors. She will oversee all of Vote.org’s legal operations including corporate governance and compliance, contracts, and litigation. Vote.org has developed technology that will enable any American citizen to register to vote online via a paperless registration system, and Jackel is charged with navigating the legal hurdles presently in place that prevent this technology from being readily deployed.
“Being able to use my legal skills to further Vote.org’s goal of preserving our democracy is exactly why I went to law school. There is nothing more fundamental to representative democracy than a healthy and accessible electoral process, and I’m thrilled to have this incredible opportunity to join such a passionate and innovative team in their work to break down barriers in our current system and make voting as convenient as it should be,” said Jackel.
Jackel holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a James Kent Scholar, and a B.A. from Pomona College. Following law school she clerked for the Honorable Robert W. Sweet on the US District Court of the Southern District of New York.