PAIR Staff

Anita P. Sharma, Esq., is the co-Executive Director and Director of the Asylum Program at the PAIR Project. Anita received her LL.M. in International Legal Studies from American University Law School, concentrating in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. She earned her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, graduating with distinction in the Intellectual Property and High Technology Law concentration. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, in English Literature from Suffolk University, where she is currently an adjunct professor of English. Anita serves as co-chair of the Liaison Committee on Asylum for the New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and is a steering committee member of the Boston Bar Association's (BBA) Delivery of Legal Services Section, chairing the Education subcommittee. From 2010-2012, she co-chaired the BBA's Immigration Section, of which she is currently a steering committee member. She was selected for the 2008-09 BBA Public Interest Leadership Program, during which time she formed a project to increase pro bono interest in detention work. Anita received the Unsung Heroine of Massachusetts Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women in 2009, and the BBA's John G. Brooks Public Service Award in 2006 for her outstanding representation of asylum-seekers and her mentorship to hundreds of pro bono attorneys who represent PAIR clients. Before coming to PAIR in 2002, Anita worked at WARLAW, a Delhi-based NGO that focuses on women’s rights in India. Anita is fluent in Hindi.

Contact:; (617) 742-9296 ext. 2

Antonio P. Castro Aranda is the co-Executive Director and Director of the Detention Program at PAIR. He received his law degree from the UNED Law School, University of Madrid, Spain; and his LLM from the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He is an Accredited Representative with the Board of Immigration Appeals. He manages PAIR’s pro bono detention attorneys from the private bar and from a collaboration with the Boston Immigration Court and the New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and he maintains partnerships with five area law schools. Antonio is also a volunteer mediator at the Roxbury District Court, through the Harvard Mediation Program of Harvard Law School. Previously, he worked at the International Institute of Boston as the Managing Paralegal of its Immigration Clinic and as a volunteer for its asylum program. He joined PAIR in 2007. Antonio is a native Spanish speaker. 

Contact:; (617) 742-9296 ext. 6

Sarah Ignatius, Esq., is a Senior Advisor at the PAIR Project. She served as Steering Committee Chair of the National Immigrant Bond Fund; and lectured on immigration law for ten years as an Adjunct at Boston College Law School. She co-authored the comprehensive resource Immigration Law and the Family (Thomson Reuters); and authored: “Restricting the Rights of Asylum-Seekers: The New Legislative and Administrative Proposals,” 7Harvard Human Rights Journal 225 (1994); “Haitian Asylum-Seekers” 7 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 119 (1993); “Asylum: Country-Wide Persecution”; 21 Immigration Newsletter 1, National Immigration Project (1993) and numerous other articles. In 1993, Sarah was the principal researcher and author of An Assessment of the Asylum Process of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (1993), a nationwide study of the Asylum Officer program,
conducted through Harvard Law School and funded by the Ford Foundation. Previously, she worked as Executive Director & Legal Director of Northwest Immigrants Rights Project in Seattle; associate at Wickwire, Goldmark & Schorr in Seattle; Staff Attorney at the Seattle-King County Public Defender; and Law Clerk for the Hon. William C. Pryor, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Washington, D.C. Sarah received her J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was Articles Editor for the Journal of Law and Policy in International Business; and her B.A., with Distinction & Honors in Anthropology, from Stanford University. She joined PAIR in 1993, and served as the PAIR Executive Director until 2015.

Contact:; (617) 742-9296 ext. 5

Amy Mercure is the Development Associate at the PAIR Project. She handles fundraising, grant writing, and all aspects of organizational management. She received her Masters in Library Science from Simmons College and her B.A. from Boston University. She has several years of Development experience as well as experience in administration. In her free time, she tutors literacy students, making a direct impact on their lives and future prospects. Prior to coming to PAIR, Amy worked at various non-profits in the greater Boston area. She joined PAIR in 2011.

Contact:; (617) 742-9296 ext. 8

Elena Noureddine, Esq., is the Detention Attorney at PAIR, where she specializes in Removal Defense and conducts regular “Know Your Rights” presentations at three major ICE detention centers that house hundreds of immigrants on any given day. She is also an expert in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the representation of minors, both before USCIS and the Immigration Court. Elena received her B.A. in Political Science and Criminology from the University of Florida and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. In law school, Elena participated in Boston University's Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, representing clients in USCIS interviews and before the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Elena focused on the representation of Juveniles facing deportation who, because of their age, are often
neglected for services and go unrepresented. She joined PAIR in 2014. Elena is a native Spanish speaker and also speaks Arabic and Italian.

Contact:; (617) 742-9296 ext. 4

Seth Purcell is the PAIR Asylum/Detention Attorney.  Seth graduated from Northeastern University School of Law and earned a Master's Degree in Sustainable International Development, from Brandeis University, as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Tufts University. Prior to law school, Seth spent several years living and working overseas, mainly in West and East Africa. He began as a volunteer for the Peace Corps in Niger and has since worked on development projects in places such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Uganda, South Sudan, and Fiji. These international experiences led Seth to focus on immigration law during his time in law school. He has served as a legal intern at the PAIR Project, as a law clerk at Joyce & Associates, and as a Program on Human Rights in the Global Economy Fellow at Physicians for Human Rights in Boston. Seth is conversant in French.

Contact:; (617) 742-9296 ext. 305

PAIR Fellows

Michael Diener, Esq., is the 2015 Access to Justice Fellow at the PAIR Project.  He is a retired partner of WilmerHale LLP, where he had a diverse intellectual property practice. He counseled clients in obtaining, protecting, investigating, and enforcing intellectual property rights. He has extensive experience in patent prosecution of US and foreign applications for electrical, computer and mechanical inventions, as well as design applications. Michael represented leading technology companies in numerous patent litigations in wireless technologies and standards, semiconductor processing, computer systems and water treatment. He actively worked on coordinating intellectual property strategies in Europe, Asia and Australia.  Michael received his J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law, J.D., and his Bachelors of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thomas Hannigan, Jr., Esq., was the 2013 Access to Justice Fellow at the PAIR Project and has continued on as a PAIR Fellow. He is a retired partner of Ropes & Gray, LLP, where he focused his litigation practice on representing religious organizations and nonprofits and on resolving environmental issues relating to hazardous waste, clean air, clean water and Superfund sites, and he advised a variety of non-profit and for profit clients on a wide range of issues. Tom was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer from 2004-2013. He is a member of the Boston Bar Association, a member of the National Diocesan Attorneys Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference.  Previously, he clerked for the Hon. Andrew A. Caffrey, U.S. District Court (D. MA); and for the Hon. George C. Edwards, U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Cir.). Tom received his J.D. cum laude from Boston College Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review; and his B.A. cum laude in Chemical Engineering from University of Notre Dame.

Martha Koster, Esq., was the 2012 Access to Justice Fellow at the PAIR Project and has continued on as a PAIR Fellow. She is a member in Mintz Levin’s Litigation Section, where she has concentrated her practice on environmental and insurance issues. Martha is a member of the Board of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC).  She is a former President and longtime Board member of Greater Boston Legal Services as well as a past Treasurer and two-term Council member of the Boston Bar Association. Martha has been an adjunct faculty member at New England School of Law.  Martha is one of the Mintz Levin attorneys who worked with the Mississippi Center for Justice and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to provide legal services for low income residents of Mississippi severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina, work for which the firm was awarded the 2011 Adams Pro Bono Publico Award and was honored by the Mississippi Center for Justice.  She received the 2008 Victor Garo Public Service Award from Boston University School of Law and is a past recipient of the Dow Landrum Gardner Award from Greater Boston Legal Services and the Mintz Levin Pro Bono Award.  Martha attended the University of Chicago Law School and received her J.D. cum laude from Boston University School of Law.  She received her A.B. with distinction from Smith College.  Martha also holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College.

Marianne Staniunas, Esq., has served as a volunteer attorney with the PAIR Project since 2004.  She received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2004.  She received her A.B. Cum Laude from Harvard College in 2000.  Marianne practiced corporate law at Mintz Levin and, subsequently, corporate immigration law at Ross Silverman LLP, before leaving full-time legal practice to pursue other interests.  Her work with PAIR has ranged from political asylum cases, to U-visas, to, most recently, Special Immigrant Juvenile cases.

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