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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Chiraag Bains, 2005

Director of Legal Strategies, Demos

Chiraag Bains is an immigrant from Canada

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at Harvard University

Chiraag Bains is Director of Legal Strategies, out of its DC office. He was a senior fellow at Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Policy Program and a Leadership in Government fellow with the Open Society Foundations. He was a federal prosecutor and senior official at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division from 2010 to 2017. 

Chiraag was born in Ottawa, Canada, to parents of Indian descent; he became a naturalized citizen in 2000. His parents currently reside in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

At the Civil Rights Division, Chiraag served as senior counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, where he focused on criminal justice reform, including ensuring constitutional policing; reducing the use of solitary confinement; ending unlawful fine, fee, and bail practices; and combating the criminalization of homelessness. He co-authored the Justice Department's report on the unlawful practices of the Ferguson Police Department and Municipal Court. In addition, Chiraag manages the Division's oversight portfolio and helps review the Division's criminal, housing rights, and appellate litigation. Previously, he was a trial attorney in the Division's Criminal Section, where he prosecuted police misconduct, hate crimes, and interference with access to reproductive health clinics. Chiraag also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the sex offense and domestic violence unit of the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prior to joining DOJ, Chiraag clerked for Judge Karen Nelson Moore on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Nancy Gertner on the federal district court in Boston. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an Articles Editor on the Harvard Law Review; his M.Phil. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge on a Gates Cambridge Scholarship; and his B.A. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College, where he was a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Chiraag also completed the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in New York City.

  • JD Law | Harvard University 2008
  • MPhil Criminology | University of Cambridge 2004
  • BA History and Ethnicity | Yale University 2003
  • Trending Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in DC, 2016
  • Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service (DOJ’s highest award), 2015
Work History
  • Demos, Director of Legal Strategies | March 2018 - PRESENT
  • Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Policy Program, Senior Fellow | January 2017
  • Open Society Foundations, Leadership in Government Fellow | January 2017
  • Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General | January 2010 - December 2017
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