OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM
Founder and Executive Director
Nora Cregan is the founder and Executive Director of The Access Project, Inc. She spearheads the design of programs that leverage technology and the pro bono commitment of the private bar to revolutionize delivery of legal services to underserved communities.
Prior to founding The Access Project, Nora was a litigation partner at Bingham McCutchen, where she represented Fortune-100 companies in large-scale antitrust, intellectual property, and commercial litigation. For several years, she also served as the firm’s global pro bono chair. After McCutchen Doyle’s merger with Bingham Dana, she led the effort to bring parity to the firm’s pro bono commitments around the world, making Bingham McCutchen a national pro bono leader and member of the American Lawyer’s A-List. Nora is a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and is currently a member of its Executive Committee. She has been involved in its Election Protection program since its inception.
Nora’s experience — as a litigator, law firm partner, pro bono committee chair, legal-services board member, and volunteer — makes her especially well equipped to design and implement programs that provide quality free legal services while also meeting the needs, and maximizing the reach, of law firm pro bono programs.
A native of Philadelphia but a longtime Bay Area resident, Nora graduated cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review, and magna cum laude from Middlebury College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She clerked for the Honorable Eugene A. Wright of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Director, Clean Slate Program
Michele Dillard is the Director of The Access Project’s Clean Slate program. She has day-to-day responsibility for managing our partnerships with legal services organizations, Workforce Development Boards, and partner community organizations. She also trains and mentors our extensive network of pro bono volunteers, whether they are participating in a one-day workshop or engaged in full-scope representation of a client.
Michele also directly represents clients, providing experience-grounded support to our pro bono partners. In a recent partnership with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, she represented California participants seeking clean slate relief pursuant to a class action settlement with the Census Bureau. The settlement redressed discriminatory hiring practices that disproportionately affected people of color.
Michele began her career in corporate litigation in Baltimore and San Francisco before returning to her longstanding interest in criminal justice. An active community volunteer, she assists homeless and indigent defendants in resolving outstanding fines and infractions through Marin Community Court. She has extensive experience working with a range of nonprofit organizations related to education, healthcare and animal welfare, both as a board member and in an advisory capacity.
Michele is as adept at addressing the legal, financial, and practical constraints that our legal services partners face as she is at training pro bono attorneys to interview and represent clients with compassion and respect. As we plan for expansion, Michele’s experience – with partners, volunteers, and clients – is a critical component of our program design.
Michele received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.
The Access Project is incorporated as a California non-profit public benefit corporation, is registered with the California Attorney General’s office as a charity and with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. The EIN is 81-4129048.
If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch!
THE ACCESS PROJECT, INC.