Renee Chenault Fattah Joins PLSE As Deputy Director

Renee Chenault Fattah Joins PLSE As Deputy Director

June 12, 2021– Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) announced today that lawyer, award-winning television news anchor and filmmaker Renee Chenault Fattah has joined the staff as Deputy Director, with the intention that she become Executive Director in September. Chenault Fattah joins PLSE from the SeniorLAW Center, where she has been serving as director of Pro Bono Action for Community Impact in Pennsylvania.

“Renee is known to virtually everyone in the Delaware Valley,” said Ryan Allen Hancock, one of PLSE’s founders and Chair of its Board of Directors. “When she speaks, she connects with everyone instantly, personally, and with credibility.  Nothing could be more important to our clients and our organization these days, as we strive to make society as a whole understand just how damning criminal records are for individuals and their families, for generations, and how we all can come together in giving second chances to those who have earned them.”  

Formed in 2011, PLSE provides free legal advice and representation to low-income Philadelphia residents whose criminal records are holding them back from achieving their potentials. PLSE does this by seeking expungements in criminal court and pardons from the Governor; educating elected and community leaders; empowering and organizing under-resourced communities; and leading legislative, administrative and systemic reform.  PLSE files more expungement petitions in court than any other organization in the country and, since 2018, has been leading the effort to reform Pennsylvania’s pardon system, which is now among the best and most productive in the country.

Following graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Chenault Fattah worked at Hughes Hubbard & Reed in New York City, then clerked for Judge Damon Keith on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, before turning to journalism and earning her Masters from the University of Missouri. In 2009, she was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame. An active member of the community, she speaks at local schools, church congregations and civic organizations about health disparities, law and ethics, and the importance of education. In addition to other volunteer activities, she currently serves as a member of the Penn Towne Chapter of The Links, a trustee of Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the advisory council to The Hastings Center, a bioethics research center and, until recently, a trustee of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.    

“Having served on PLSE’s Board for two years and had the opportunity to work closely with its staff on several projects, I am greatly honored and excited to join them and make its work my full-time commitment,” said Chenault Fattah. “PLSE has a wide variety of constituencies and stakeholders – from small neighborhood organizations to large international foundations and everything in between – as well as thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters who are eager to do their part in bringing social and racial justice to our criminal justice system. The timing is perfect for me to use my decades of experience in law, journalism and community engagement to impact our state criminal justice system and help our society re-envision the clearing of criminal record histories as the restorative and transformative pathway to our shared future that it can be.”

Tobey Oxholm, who has been serving as Executive Director since January 2018, will continue on with PLSE in September as Director of the Pardon Project. 

More Information:  

Ryan Allen Hancock, Board Chair,

Tobey Oxholm, Executive Director,,