August 16, 2023
By Cassandra Pilla
If/When/How’s Quick Question series highlights the work of our Reproductive Justice Fellows, introducing our network to the incredible advocates who are dedicating their lives to the movement to lawyer for reproductive justice. We’re so proud of the work they’re doing at placement organizations across the country.
Cassandra graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in international development from the University of Ottawa.
As part of her undergraduate work, she interned for organizations providing services to individuals living with HIV in Botswana and South Africa. After working for an international children’s rights organization, Cassandra completed her Masters in gender, development, and globalization at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2015. She then worked for Plan International as a project officer and later as a gender equality advisor. Cassandra contributed to and led human rights advocacy, mostly focused on reproductive health rights, as part of projects in several countries, including Senegal, Ghana, and Haiti.
Given her exposure to human rights challenges through her professional postings, Cassandra chose to attend law school to further enhance her human rights advocacy skills. As a law student, Cassandra was an Executive Articles editor of the CUNY Law Review. As a student in the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic, Cassandra worked on criminal conviction vacatur for survivors of trafficking with The Legal Aid Society’s Exploitation Intervention Project. Cassandra was a legal intern at Her Justice, where she assisted survivors of gender-based violence seeking immigration relief. Cassandra also interned for the Centre for Reproductive Rights’ human rights team and contributed to their advocacy on maternal health and assisted reproduction.
Cassandra is committed to and passionate about reproductive justice. As an If/When/How Reproductive Justice Fellow, Cassandra is most excited to begin her legal career contributing to reproductive justice advocacy.
We asked Cassandra Pilla to tell us a little about herself as she prepares to begin her Reproductive Justice Fellowship year at Elephant Circle this fall.
If/When/How: Who are you?
Cassandra Pilla: My name is Cassandra Pilla. I use she/her pronouns.
If/When/How: Where are you from?
CP: I grew up in Montreal, Canada, and I have lived in Ottawa, Toronto, London, and most recently New York, where I attended law school.
If/When/How: Where are you going?
CP: I am going to help build a future where ALL people have the freedom to make decisions about their reproductive lives, and the support they need to make their visions for their lives a reality.
If/When/How: What are you most excited about going into the RJFP?
CP: Being a reproductive justice fellow is a huge honor. When I applied to law school, my goal was to become a lawyer to be a more effective reproductive justice advocate. My post-law school dream has never waivered, and I am most excited to be able to contribute to the reproductive justice movement as a new lawyer. I am really looking forward to working with Elephant Circle to advance birth justice, an issue I am deeply passionate about. Finally, as reproductive rights in the U.S. are increasingly under attack, I am very proud to be part of a movement fighting for all people’s fundamental human rights.
If/When/How: When you are not lawyering, what do you get up to?
CP: When I am not lawyering, I enjoy spending time with my dog, Scarlett. I love to read, particularly historical and literary fiction. I also enjoy practicing pilates, baking, traveling, and spending time in nature.