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Leadership & Legal Team

Kelly Shackelford

President and CEO

Kelly Shackelford, Esq., is president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, the largest legal firm in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans.

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David Holmes

Chief Operating Officer

David Holmes is Chief Operating Officer for First Liberty Institute, where he oversees all program operations regarding finance, personnel, legal, and development.

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Hiram Sasser

General Counsel

Hiram Sasser, Esq., is General Counsel for First Liberty Institute, where he oversees Liberty Institute’s litigation efforts. Sasser’s practice focuses on First Amendment and other constitutional and civil rights issues.

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Michael Berry

Deputy General Counsel and Director of Military Affairs

Michael Berry, Esq., is Deputy General Counsel & Director of Military Affairs for First Liberty Institute and is an expert on religious liberty within the military.

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Matthew Kacsmaryk

Deputy General Counsel

Matthew Kacsmaryk, Esq., is Deputy General Counsel, where he oversees First Liberty Institute’s education initiatives and policy advisory team.

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Jeremy Dys

Deputy General Counsel

Jeremy Dys, Esq., is Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty Institute, where he focuses on religious liberty matters and the First Amendment.

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Ken Klukowski

Senior Counsel and Director of Strategic Affairs

Kenneth A. (“Ken”) Klukowski, Esq., is Senior Counsel & Director of Strategic Affairs for First Liberty Institute, specializing in cases involving the First Amendment and freedom of belief and expression.

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Roger Byron

Senior Counsel

Roger Byron, Esq., is Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. His practice focuses on religious liberty matters and the First Amendment.

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Chelsey Youman

Counsel

Chelsey Youman, Esq., is Counsel for First Liberty Institute, concentrating on religious liberty matters and First Amendment rights.

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Stephanie Taub

Counsel

Stephanie N. (Phillips) Taub, Esq., serves as Counsel with First Liberty Institute, focusing on litigation, appellate advocacy, and legal education.

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Keisha Russell

Associate Counsel

Keisha Russell is Associate Counsel with First Liberty Institute, concentrating on religious liberty matters and First Amendment rights. Russell attended Emory University School of Law, where she was heavily involved in Emory’s prestigious Center for the Study of Law and Religion. She served on the Emory Journal of Law &

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Lea Patterson

Judicial Fellow

Lea Patterson serves as a Judicial Fellow with First Liberty Institute, focusing on litigation. Before joining First Liberty, Patterson worked in St. Louis, Missouri as a law clerk to the Honorable Raymond W. Gruender in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Patterson received her law degree

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Lathan Watts

Director of Community Relations

Lathan Watts is Director of Community Relations for First Liberty Institute, responsible for all efforts to increase First Liberty Institute’s profile in local and national markets. His focus is on expanding public awareness of First Liberty’s mission, legal matters, and educational projects by coordinating communication with community leaders, influencers, policy

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Bill Bourland

Chief Marketing Officer

As Chief Marketing Officer for First Liberty Institute, Bill Bourland is responsible for leading the strategic marketing program, and working with the executive leadership to serve the interests and needs of First Liberty’s mission to clients, friends and partners. His role is to help find the best ways to tell

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Linda Thomas

Senior Director of Marketing

Linda Thomas is the Sr. Director of Marketing for First Liberty Institute, where she oversees strategic marketing, branding, market research, marketing communications, creative services, events, digital marketing, and social media programs.

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