Christine M. Leonard Named Director of Vera's Washington DC Office

NEW YORK—The Vera Institute of Justice has named Christine M. Leonard as director of its Washington DC Office. Leonard, an attorney, most recently served as the associate director of legislative affairs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for the Obama administration. In that capacity, she developed and implemented strategies to advance key legislative priorities with relevant congressional committees. She also led and oversaw all communications with members of Congress, as well as hearing participation and confirmation of agency nominees.

Previously, she served as senior counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, working on a range of criminal justice issues, including legislation relating to juvenile justice, sentencing reform, prison conditions, and national security. She also advised the Senator on these and other matters within the jurisdiction of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Prior to her work in the U.S. Senate, Leonard served as a counsel to former Congressman William D. Delahunt, working on matters pending before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. She has also worked in the Boston office of Holland & Knight LLP. Earlier in her career, she served on the staff of Congressman James P. McGovern during his first term in Congress.

“Vera has helped jurisdictions around the country and around the world with its blend of research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance,” says Leonard. “I’m eager to see that leaders in Washington are better informed about Vera’s work and expertise so we can work together to achieve improved policies across the nation."
“Christine Leonard’s extensive experience in both the executive and the legislative branches of the federal government, coupled with her expertise in justice policy, makes her uniquely qualified to head the Washington DC Office,” said Michael Jacobson, director and president of the Vera Institute of Justice. “We are delighted that she has joined us.” 

Leonard holds a BA in international studies from Boston College and a JD from the college’s Law School.