Faculty & Staff
Aderson Francois is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Civil Rights clinic, and the Voting Rights Institute. Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty, Professor Francois directed the Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, where he also taught Constitutional Law, Federal Civil Rights, and Supreme Court Jurisprudence. His scholarly interests include voting rights, education law, and the history of slavery and Reconstruction. His practice experience encompasses federal trial and appellate litigation concerning equal protection in education, employment discrimination, voting rights, marriage equality, and the right to a fair criminal trial. Professor Francois received his J.D. from New York University School and clerked for the late Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In 2008, the Transition Team of President Barack Obama appointed Professor Francois Lead Agency Reviewer for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has provided pro bono death penalty representation to inmates before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, served as a Special Assistant in with the United States Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., and practiced commercial litigation in the New York Offices of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton &Garrison. He has testified before Congress on civil rights issues and drafted numerous briefs to the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of California, the Supreme Court of Iowa, and Maryland’s highest court. Before joining Howard’s faculty, Professor François was the Assistant Director of the Lawyering Program at New York University School of Law.
Zina Makar is a clinical teaching fellow in the Civil Rights Clinic. Before joining Georgetown Law, Makar taught at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she co-founded and co-directed the Pretrial Justice Clinic, a clinic that serves indigent persons wrongfully incarcerated prior to trial. During her time at Baltimore Law, Makar was recognized for her work and advocacy to advance bail reform in Maryland and was the 2017 recipient of the Baltimore City Bar Association’s Public Interest Attorney of the Year Award. Makar’s scholarly interests include criminal procedure, pretrial rights and plea bargaining.
Prior to teaching, Makar was an Open Society Institute Fellow from 2014 – 2016. During her fellowship Makar created the Pipeline to Habeas program, which the Baltimore City Office of the Public Defender now uses as a model to challenge the wrongful pretrial detention of indigent persons. Makar’s project focused on revitalizing the use of the writ of habeas corpus in the pretrial context to secure release for her clients. Makar’s program was used by the Office the Public Defender to obtain the pretrial release of 101 protestors arrested after the death of Freddie Gray.
Makar received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law and received her Bachelor of Science in Business and Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Marissa Hatton is a supervising attorney and clinical teaching fellow in the Civil Rights Clinic. Before joining the Clinic, Marissa was a staff attorney at Equal Justice Under Law, where she litigated class action impact cases challenging poverty discrimination, government abuse of civil punishment (including child support enforcement practices and discriminatory housing codes), exploitative private probation companies, and other criminal system reform issues across the country. Marissa’s litigation helped to end the Driver Responsibility Program in Texas, which overwhelmingly targeted impoverished communities, and her work helped to end Pennsylvania’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses as a collateral consequence of drug convictions, which targeted communities of color through stop-and-frisk policies — resulting in over one million individuals becoming eligible to reinstate their driver’s licenses. Marissa’s team won one of the largest federal class action cases challenging money bail in the United States, which enjoined San Francisco’s bail practices and declared the County’s money bail system unconstitutional.
Marissa received her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her J.D. from Georgetown Law, where she founded and served as co-president of the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) and was awarded the Dean’s Certificate for Outstanding Service to the law school community. She is barred in the District of Columbia and the Chickasaw Nation.
Maria Islam is the clinic office manager for the Civil Rights Clinic where she manages the day-to-day operations of the clinic. After receiving a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Law and Society from American University, she started working at Georgetown Law as a faculty assistant with faculty support. Maria has interned at the U.S. House of Representatives, Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, DC Volunteer Lawyer’s Project, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and various law firms.