P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Mitra Ebadolahi, 2005

Senior Project Director, Economic Justice, Upturn

Mitra Ebadolahi is an immigrant from Iran

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a JD in Law at New York University (NYU)

Mitra Ebadolahi is the Senior Project Director for Economic Justice at Upturn, an organization that advances equity and justice in the design, governance, and use of technology. From 2011 to 2022, she was a litigator with the American Civil Liberties Union, first in New York and then in San Diego, where she co-created the Border Litigation Project to litigate civil rights abuses at the intersection of immigrants’ rights, racial profiling, and police practices. Between 2015 and 2020, she was also a Lecturer-in-Law at UCI School of Law, where she taught seminars on constitutional rights at the border and race & criminal justice, and lectured on immigration law and refugee & asylum law.

Mitra completed her legal studies at New York University School of Law, earning her JD, cum laude, in 2008. At NYU Law, Mitra was a Root-Tilden-Kern / Filomen D’Agostino Scholar and an Institute for International Law and Justice / Hugo Grotius Scholar, and served as the Senior Notes Editor of the New York University Law Review. After law school, Mitra clerked for Judge Margaret M. Morrow of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in downtown Los Angeles and for Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington. She subsequently received her LL.M. in International Legal Studies, also from NYU Law, in 2012; her thesis examined the human “collateral consequences” of post-September 11 counterterrorism law and policy, using the control order regime in the U.K. as a case study.

Mitra also holds a MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, received the department’s award for best dissertation, and graduated first in her class. She received a double BA in international development studies and history from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating summa cum laude with election to Phi Beta Kappa. While at UCLA, Mitra spent a semester abroad in Havana, Cuba.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Mitra was naturalized in 2000. Her parents also reside in Southern California.

  • LLM International Legal Studies | New York University (NYU) 2012
  • JD Law | New York University (NYU) 2008
  • MSc Politics of the World Economy | London School of Economics & Political Science 2004
  • BA International Development Studies | University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 2002
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award, 2016 (for ACLU's Border Litigation Project with co-awardee James Duff Lyall)
  • Nadine Strossen Fellowship, ACLU National Security Project, 2011-13
  • Hugo Grotius Scholarship (LL.M.), NYU Law, 2009-10
  • Institute for International Law & Justice Scholar, NYU Law, 2005-08
  • Root-Tilden-Kern Filomen D'Agostino Scholarship, NYU Law, 2005-08
  • Susan Strange Dissertation Prize, London School of Economics, 2004
  • U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Scholar (2003/04)
  • Outstanding Senior Award, UCLA, 2003
  • UC Regents' Scholar, UCLA
Work History
  • Upturn, Senior Project Director, Economic Justice | May 2022 - PRESENT
  • American Civil Liberties Union San Diego & Imperial Counties, Senior Staff Attorney | August 2018 - April 2022
  • American Civil Liberties Union, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney | April 2013 - July 2018
  • American Civil Liberties Union, Staff Attorney | September 2011 - April 2013
Related Articles

The Guardian: Mitra Ebadolahi Quoted On ACLU Lawsuit Against Texas Border Patrol Agent Who Sexually Assaulted Teen Sisters

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2016-2017 Edition: The New American

The New American features stories about Paul & Daisy Soros Fellows making an impact across sectors and across the country. Read about immigrants and children of immigrants and how they are giving back to the United States.

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