Michelle Parris

As a program director in Vera’s California Office, Michelle works with community and government to support Los Angeles County’s efforts to expand alternatives to incarceration, diversion, and community-based systems of care. Michelle started her legal career as a public defender at The Bronx Defenders, focused on holistic representation for clients with serious mental health conditions through an Equal Justice Works Fellowship. In 2013, Michelle joined Immigrant Defense Project in New York City where she advocated on behalf of people caught at the intersection of the criminal legal and immigration systems. There, she ran a legal hotline, supported campaigns, and developed trainings and resources for community members, advocates and lawyers. Michelle joined Vera in 2018 as a senior program associate in the National Qualified Representative Program (NQRP), providing support and technical assistance to government-funded counsel appointed to represent individuals deemed mentally incompetent to represent themselves in immigration proceedings. Michelle is a graduate of Princeton University and Stanford Law School.