Home / Our Staff

Our Staff


Laura Brown, Executive Director

Contact Laura at lbrown@firstshift.org

Laura Brown has been working directly with workers for well over a decade. Most recently, she supervised the Workers’ Rights Clinic of the Employment Justice Center (EJC) from 2008-2014, a free legal clinic where workers receive advice and pro se assistance regarding work-related legal issues, including wage theft, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, discrimination, and leave issues. She was also the chief editor of the EJC’s Workers’ Rights Manual.

Read More
Prior to that, Laura worked as an associate at the law firm of Woodley & McGillivary, a Washington D.C.-based law firm specializing in federal wage and hour cases and union representation, and as a staff attorney/business agent with UNITE HERE Local 25, the hotel and restaurant employees’ union in D.C. Laura has also worked as a staff attorney at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities in Washington D.C.

Laura was a presenter at the annual conference of the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers’ Association from 2011-2015. She was also a panelist at the 2010 Fall Seminar of National Employment Lawyers’ Association.

Laura is a graduate of the Santa Clara University School of Law, where she was the recipient of a public interest scholarship. As a student, Laura both volunteered and clerked at the Workers’ Rights Clinics of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center in San Francisco.

Laura is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia, Maryland and California (inactive); she is also the mother of two children.


Emily Chong, Staff Attorney

Contact Emily at echong@firstshift.org

Emily Chong joined First Shift in 2021 as a Staff Attorney focusing on pregnancy discrimination and accommodation, as well as the Immigrant Mothers Outreach Project. She was previously an Equal Justice Works Fellow, and then staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services Program, focusing on housing discrimination and working with DC residents to overcome obstacles to accessing housing. Emily earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. from Vanderbilt University. At Georgetown Law, she served as the Executive Editor of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy and President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association; she pursued her passion for public interest and civil rights law through internships at nonprofits and federal agencies, such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Community Legal Services’ Employment Unit, and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

Nikola Nable-Juris, Staff Attorney 

Contact Nikola at nnablejuris@firstshift.org

Nikola Nable-Juris joined First Shift in 2020 as a Staff Attorney focusing on advocacy and education work about D.C.’s Paid Family Leave program. She has centered her career on furthering gender and reproductive justice, including working with pregnant and parenting youth in Juneau, Alaska, at domestic violence shelters in both Alaska and Virginia, and most recently completed the Georgetown’s Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship with the Initiative on Gender Justice and Opportunity. She worked with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth from 2014 to 2019, leading legislative campaigns across the country to ban life-without-parole sentences for children under 18. She earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland and her B.A. from the University of Virginia and clerked for federal magistrate judges in D.C. and Maryland. As someone who, in the first decade of her legal career, had three children, recovered from brain surgery, and accompanied her grandfather through hospice during his last week of life, she intimately understands the importance of paid family leave.

Cassandra Cohen, Intake and Outreach Coordinator (AVODAH Corps Member)

Contact Cassandra at ccohen@firstshift.org

Cassie will be joining the First Shift team as the Avodah Corps member for 2020-2021. She graduated this past May from Emory University where she studied Psychology and Sociology. She has always been interested in working in social justice and specifically in women’s health & women’s rights. Over the past few years, she has worked as a youth educator as well as volunteering with Jewish Women’s International (JWI) to lead workshops about “safe smart dating” and abusive relationships on college campuses. This year she will be creating and presenting “Know Your Rights” Presentations, conducting client intake interviews, launching the client story telling project among other responsibilities. 

Translate »