Rini Fonseca-Sabune is a part of our extended career counseling team at Penn Law specializing in public interest law. Rini previously served as a Skadden Fellow with the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project where she partnered with community-based organizations to bring affirmative litigation against landlords harassing low-income rent regulated tenants, and as a Karpatkin Fellow at the ACLU Racial Justice Program, where she litigated school-to-prison pipeline cases in state and federal courts nationwide. Rini also served as New York City’s first Chief Democracy Officer where she launched the DemocracyNYC Initiative, creating opportunities for civic engagement throughout New York City. Rini served as a law clerk for Judge Harold Baer, Jr. in the Southern District of New York, and for Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. on the Third Circuit. She currently runs a boutique consulting firm where she supports organizational development work on race, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.
Rini received her JD from Harvard Law School, where she received the Soros Fellowship for New Americans and the William J. Stuntz Award for Justice, Human Dignity and Compassion. In law school, Rini served as a student attorney in the post-foreclosure eviction defense clinic, the criminal defense clinic and the education law clinic. She served as a research assistant to Professor Lani Guinier, a teaching assistant in civil procedure and a teaching fellow for an undergraduate constitutional law course. Prior to law school, Rini worked as a high school teacher in Brooklyn and a teacher and community health program coordinator in Uganda and Rwanda. Rini received her BA from Harvard College and her Masters in Teaching from Fordham University.