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Kathy Purnell, J.D., Ph.D. is the Director and Managing Attorney of the Human/Civil Rights Law Center.  It was founded as a social enterprise to serve the public and enhance democracy through public legal training, low bono representation and strategic nonprofit partnerships to advance the public good.  She has over two decades of combined experience as a professor, attorney and nonprofit administrator.  She is also a certified professional coach; her philosophical coaching programs aim to help advocates to thrive and to build their capacity to engage, reimagine and transform our communities. 


She is a graduate of Harvard University (A.B.), Cornell University (Ph.D.) and the DePaul University College of Law (J.D.). Dr. Purnell is a licensed attorney in the State of Michigan (since 2008) and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (since 2009), where she served as the Diversity Chair of AILA’s Michigan chapter, and currently serves as its Pro Bono Chair. Her current legal practice is focused on civil and human rights in the areas of immigration, housing and educational access in primary and secondary schools. She has also used her advanced training in political philosophy, law, and ethics to teach students at seven different universities including Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, and DePaul University, has led “Resilience Retreats” at GilChrist Retreat Center of the Fetzer Institute, and is a past member of both the Kalamazoo Truth Racial Healing and Transformation’s (TRHT) Law Design Team and its Racial Healing Circle Practitioner Cohort. She is a certified affiliate of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, where she trained in philosophical counseling techniques.  She is also a certified life coach. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Western Michigan University Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, the Michigan Transformation Collective and serves on the Board of Trustees for Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Her American Immigration Lawyers Association profile may be accessed here.

Her State Bar of Michigan profile may be accessed here.

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