Our Team | First Liberty

Our Team

At First Liberty Institute, it’s our mission to be first in the fight  when it comes to defending and restoring religious liberty for all Americans.

The cornerstone of our success starts with our best-in-class team of lawyers and legal experts. Our seasoned team of constitutional litigators specializes in a variety of law practice fields, including First Amendment law, religious freedom law, military law and corporate law.

For over two decades, First Liberty attorneys have remained on the frontlines of some of our nation’s most vital religious freedom cases at all judicial levels. Currently, our attorneys are working on a number of precedent-setting cases headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

About Kelly Shackelford, Esq.

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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About David Holmes

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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About Hiram Sasser

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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About Benjamin Bull

Benjamin Bull

Executive Director of Advocacy, Washington D.C.

Benjamin Bull is widely recognized as one of the top religious freedom attorneys in the country, as well as internationally. He served previously as Chief Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) where he launched and led its trial and appellate advocacy work.

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About Andrew D. Graham, Esq.

Andrew D. Graham

Executive Director for Policy and Education & Senior Fellow

Andrew D. Graham, Esq., leads First Liberty Institute’s policy and education initiatives. He is also responsible for building coalitions with allied organizations and individuals across the country.

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About Michael Berry

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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About Matthew Kacsmaryk, Esq.

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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About Jeremy Dys

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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About Ken Klukowski

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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About Roger Byron, Esq.

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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About Stephanie N. Taub

Stephanie Taub

Senior Counsel

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

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About Chelsey Youman, Esq.

Chelsey Youman


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

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About Keisha Russell, Esq.

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, Esq.

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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About Lathan Watts

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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About Linda Thomas

Linda Thomas

Senior Director of Market Research

Linda Thomas is the Sr. Director of Market Research for First Liberty Institute, where she oversees market intelligence and First Liberty’s work with foundations. She leads the effort to use data and market insight to improve strategic decision making.

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First Liberty Logo - Restoring Religious Liberty for All Americans

To The American Legion:

As a grateful citizen, I support your effort to honor those who have fallen in battle and to keep the Bladensburg WWI Veterans Memorial standing as a visible reminder of valor, sacrifice, endurance, and devotion.

Veterans memorials like the one in Bladensburg, MD are symbols reminding us of the sacrifice of our service members and the cost of war. Tearing down the Bladensburg Memorial would erase the memory of the 49 fallen heroes of Prince George’s County—like they never even existed.

We cannot allow the Bladensburg Memorial to be bulldozed.

Please know that you have my support and backing in your petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.