Lena F. Masri, Esq. is National Litigation Director, General Counsel and Acting Civil Rights Director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. She focuses her practice in the area of high-impact and strategic civil rights litigation. She is the former Legal Director of CAIR-MI.
She is licensed to practice law in Michigan, New York, and Washington, D.C. She has been admitted to practice in the Michigan Supreme Court, the New York Court of Appeals, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University – Indianapolis, School of Law, where she focused her studies in International & Comparative Law and International Human Rights Law. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan.
In 2014, she was awarded the RARE Everyday Hero Award by Winning Futures for her “extraordinary commitment, integrity, selflessness and courage to changing lives and inspiring others.” She was honored by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 2013 and 2014 for her pro bono work on behalf of poor and indigent clients. She has also been recognized by several community organizations, including the Syrian American Medical Society, Syrian Expatriates, the American Muslim Diversity Association, among others, for her civil rights and humanitarian work and empowering the youth.
Prior to joining CAIR-MI, she worked in different areas pertaining to national security, and international human rights, including ethnic cleansing, genocide, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, use of child soldiers, money laundering, and sex trafficking.
In 2008, she principally authored and presented a shadow report on the United States to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She also spoke before the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, concerning U.S. violations related to arbitrary arrests and detentions, use of secret evidence in closed proceedings, secret detentions, refoulement, and proxy torture. She was awarded the Norman Lefstein Award of Excellence as a Gold Level Participant in the Pro Bono program at Indiana University – Indianapolis, School of Law and a Certificate of Recognition for United Nations Human Rights Reporting Initiative & Advocacy.
She has worked with the Center for Justice & Accountability; Akeel & Valentine, PLC; the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic; and the Oakland County Circuit Court.
She has lectured across the United States on issues related to human rights, civil rights, and Islam. She was featured in several documentaries and on major media outlets including CNN, HBO, FOX, CBS, Al Jazeera, the Associated Press, National Public Radio, WWJ Radio, Huffington Post, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News and HuffPost Live.
In addition to her work with CAIR, she manages her own law firm, Masri Law Office, PLLC, where she specializes in immigration and political asylum. She also serves as a volunteer attorney for the Family Law Assistance Project, the Legal Aid Defender Association and Lakeshore Legal Aid, representing poor and indigent clients and victims of domestic violence.
- Washington, D.C. (2011)
- New York (2011)
- Michigan (2009)
- United States Supreme Court (2015)
- Michigan Supreme Court (2009)
- District of Columbia, Court of Appeals (2011)
- New York Court of Appeals (2011)
- United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (2017)
- United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit (2010)
- United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (2017)
- United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit (2018)
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (2010)
- United States District Court, Western District of Michigan (2012)
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia (2014)
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2016)
- United States District Court for the District of New Mexico (2017)
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (2017)
- United States District Court for the District of Maryland (2017)