Brent Landau named Public Interest Law Center’s Executive Director

Brent Landau
Brent Landau

January 18, 2024 – The Board of Directors of the Public Interest Law Center proudly announces the appointment of Brent Landau as the organization’s next executive director, effective February 26, 2024. Currently serving as the global managing partner at Hausfeld, Landau brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the Law Center’s mission of advancing the civil, social, and economic rights of communities facing discrimination, inequality, and poverty in the Philadelphia region.

Landau’s impressive track record includes managing a firm of over 170 attorneys at Hausfeld and litigating numerous antitrust and human rights class actions. He has been named a “Titan of the Plaintiffs’ Bar” by Law360, a “Distinguished Leader” by the Legal Intelligencer, and an “Antitrust Trailblazer and Pioneer” by the National Law Journal. With over two decades as a plaintiffs’ attorney, Landau maintains an active pro bono practice, exemplified by his involvement in the Law Center’s recent case challenging nuisance auto-body shops in Southwest Philadelphia on behalf of homeowners.

A dedicated Philadelphian, Landau serves as a trustee of the Philadelphia Bar Foundation, treasurer of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, and an adjunct professor at Penn Carey Law School. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and his legal acumen and commitment have earned him recognition and trust within the city’s legal community.

“Brent is a truly brilliant attorney with a deep commitment to the Law Center’s mission, and a history of landmark victories working on behalf of people who have been denied fundamental rights,” said Law Center Board Chair Molly Flynn, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. “We have complete confidence in Brent’s leadership and are so excited for the future of the Law Center, as we continue to fight for strong public schools, our unencumbered right to vote, environmental justice and much more alongside Pennsylvanians who face discrimination and poverty.”

“I am deeply honored by the opportunity to lead the Law Center,” said Brent Landau. “This organization takes on the most entrenched injustices in Philadelphia and beyond, making a life-changing difference for its clients and for communities that face exploitation and neglect. I have been lucky to know the Law Center well as part of our city’s legal community, and it is a special place. I thank the board and staff for their confidence in me and look forward to working together in pursuit of justice.”

This leadership transition follows the departure of former executive director Brenda Marrero, who stepped down in August 2023. Since then, Mimi McKenzie has served as interim executive director and will continue in her role as legal director. McKenzie has led historic victories, including challenging partisan gerrymandering of congressional district maps.

Founded in 1969 as the Philadelphia affiliate of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Public Interest Law Center has a rich history of focusing on fundamental material resources denied to communities through disinvestment, racism, discrimination, and exploitation. The Law Center’s current focus includes preventing employment discrimination, establishing environmental justice, advancing public health, defending renters’ rights, ensuring quality public education, and protecting the right to vote.

Recent projects and accomplishments underline the Law Center’s impactful work, such as a historic decision declaring Pennsylvania’s public school funding system unconstitutional, challenging state firearm preemption laws, protecting voters from attempts to subvert the 2020 election and enforcing renters’ rights to affordable and safe housing.

“This is pivotal time in the history of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, and the Law Center, as always, is standing up for a more just future,” said Brent Landau. “I look forward to doing everything I can to assist the organization’s efforts to serve thousands of people who have been mistreated or ignored by state officials, landlords, or unjust policies. I can’t wait to join the fight for a constitutional public school funding system in Pennsylvania, a free and fair 2024 election, environmental justice for residents of Black and Latino neighborhoods that have faced decades of disinvestment, and much more.”

Landau has helped lead Hausfeld, a global plaintiffs’ law firm, for nearly all of its existence. Hausfeld is a leading claimant-side litigation law firm with offices in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., as well as in the U.K. and continental Europe. Hausfeld has won landmark trials, negotiated complex settlements, and recovered billions of dollars for clients and class members both in and out of court in the areas of Antitrust/Competition, Commercial and Financial Disputes, Environmental and Product Liability, Human Rights, and Technology and Data Breach. Frequently appointed by courts as lead counsel, Hausfeld lawyers are at the forefront of the legal profession in improving access to justice for both individuals and businesses.

“Hausfeld launched in 2008 with a visionary approach to resolving claims and expanding the boundaries of the law in pursuit of a more just world,” said Hausfeld Global Co-Chair Brian Ratner. “Since then, Brent has played a lead role in managing our firm skillfully and exceptionally to our present position of prominence in the global legal community. This contribution, together with his work to advance the causes of economic justice, social justice, environmental justice, and human rights, is an incredible legacy. The Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia is a truly amazing public interest organization that deserves an outstanding and inspirational leader, which it has found in its appointment of Brent as its executive director.  We are confident that he will bring to his new role the same extraordinary level of legal ability, dedication, and fairness that he has demonstrated at Hausfeld. He will be sorely missed, but we take great pride in his appointment and wish him all the best as he now embarks on this exciting new chapter.”

The board of directors selected Landau after a nationwide search guided by the search firm Lincoln Leadership.

“This has been a team effort, and we would like to thank every member of the succession committee, the board, the staff and our search firm for their support and wholehearted dedication to this process,” said Law Center Board Vice-Chair Mark Kasten, counsel at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. “We believe that Brent is more than ready to lead the Law Center through its next chapter.”