Amanda is a lawyer and also the Director of the Kirsch Institute, CCIJ’s educational division. She was formerly CCIJ’s Managing Director. In 2016, Amanda successfully spearheaded the international campaign #FREEHOMA to release the Canadian-Iranian political prisoner, Professor Homa Hoodfar, from Evin prison in Iran. That same year, she also founded Women’s Charters and Declarations, an online database of women’s legal advocacy tools from across the world. She co-founded Inter Gentes: the McGill Journal of International Law and Legal Pluralism, and sat as the Multimedia Chair from 2014-2016. She was also the Director of the Innocence McGill legal clinic, where she worked alongside a dedicated team of volunteers on wrongful conviction files. Amanda has previously worked at large and medium-sized law firms, with international human rights organisations, and has volunteered and worked pro bono with many community organisations. She has also served as an editor for several Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) publications.
Amanda earned her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA in European Studies, where she focused on minority cultures. She completed her Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, subsequently publishing her master’s research on refugee discourse in Australia. She obtained a double law degree in common law and civil law from McGill University.
Matt Eisenbrandt, Special Advisor
Matt Eisenbrandt has over 15 years of experience in the field of international justice, and is one of Canada’s leading experts on universal jurisdiction prosecutions and corporate accountability for human rights violations. Matt is currently Director of Transnational Investigations at Camp Fiorante Matthews Mogerman LLP with a particular focus on the law firm’s business and human rights cases, which include the lawsuits against Nevsun Resources and Tahoe Resources where CCIJ is also on the legal team. Matt is also a Special Advisor to CCIJ, where he spent nine years overseeing the organization’s casework on behalf of survivors seeking justice for serious human rights violations. He previously served as the Legal Director for the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA), a U.S.-based group that holds human rights abusers accountable through legal cases, particularly under the Alien Tort Statute. He was CJA’s lead counsel in jury trials against military commanders from El Salvador and Haiti, and a member of the trial team in a lawsuit against a Salvadoran man for his role in the death-squad murder of beloved archbishop Oscar Romero.
Matt is the author of Assassination of a Saint, a book about CJA’s investigation of Romero’s killers. Matt has a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and B.A. degrees in Latin American Studies and History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Isabelle is a Project Coordinator at CCIJ.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Ottawa and her double degree in civil law and common law at McGill University. She also holds a professional certificate in Disaster and Humanitarian Response from the McGill Humanitarian Studies Initiative. Prior to working at CCIJ, she was involved in immigration and refugee law work, both as the Coordinator of the Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law where she worked alongside the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and at Solidarity Across Borders where she provided assistance to asylum seekers.
As the Project Coordinator of the Community Engagement in International Justice project, Isabelle coordinates the implementation of the project, which includes new multimedia that showcases CCIJ’s clients and their access to justice efforts. She is also responsible for coordinating CCIJ’s digital outreach and organising legal education workshops with affected communities as part of this project.
CCIJ hosts an articling student – a recent law graduate undertaking a mandatory 10-month paid placement before formally joining the profession. Through a Public Interest Articling Fellowship, the Law Foundation of Ontario has funded five years of articling positions at CCIJ (2013 to 2018).
Leah Gardner earned a law degree in both Common Law and Civil Law from McGill University in 2016. As part of her studies, she also completed the Intensive Semester in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments at Osgoode Hall Law School. Before studying law, she worked as the Public Education Coordinator at a social justice non-profit in Montreal. Here, she led programs on topics like the Canadian extractive industry, international trade, and economic, social and cultural rights. As a human rights accompanier in Colombia, Leah worked with communities impacted by transnational mining. She later returned to Colombia, and also Panama, to complete two legal internships focused on mining law and corporate accountability. She currently sits on the board of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP) legal clinic.
Leah holds a B.A. in International Development Studies from McGill University, and has experience working in both immigration and indigenous law in Canada.
CCIJ hires interns from time to time. Interns complement the work of CCIJ’s core team through part-time and volunteer support with casework, client support, project evaluation, accounting, web and database development, and communications. They are mentored by members of the CCIJ team while gaining valuable professional experience.
Integral to the CCIJ team are the resourceful, professional volunteers across Canada who dedicate time and expertise in furthering the cause of international justice.