Supervising Attorney, Family Defense Practice
Zainab Akbar joined BDS’s Family Defense Practice in 2011. Prior to that, Zainab was a Legal fellow with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan where she worked on various First and Fourteenth Amendment issues as well as issues around the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
Zainab is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where she served as an Outside Articles Editor for Law and Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice, founded the Muslim Law Student Association and received the Mondale Hall Engagement Award and the Law School Public Service Program Award for her work with various public interest and social justice programs both on and off campus. During law school, Zainab interned with the ACLU Immigrants Rights Project, the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.
Before law school, Zainab worked as a legislative assistant in the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU, focusing on legislation concerning extraordinary rendition, torture and abusive interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, proposed constitutional amendments on marriage and flag desecration, establishment clause issues, and hate crimes legislation. She also worked as a program assistant at DC Vote where she worked with Washingtonians and local and national legislators to secure full voting rights in Congress for the residents of Washington DC. Zainab also worked to organize the Muslim-American vote in Michigan on several local and national electoral campaigns in 2002 and 2004.
Zainab earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in Political Theory from The London School of Economics and Political Science. Zainab was born in Brooklyn and raised in Saginaw, Michigan.