Wade McMullen is a human rights lawyer whose work focuses on ending systems of mass human caging in the United States and protecting civic space and activism around the world. He currently co-directs the International Advocacy & Litigation program at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and leads our efforts to address the epidemic of mass incarceration in the United States through strategic interventions and support for frontline advocates.
In 2017, Wade helped secure the release of Pedro Hernandez, a Bronx teenager unjustly caged on Rikers Island for over a year on unaffordable money bail, and in 2018 coordinated the Mass Bail Out action which freed over 100 people from wealth-based detention in New York over the course of just one month. His work has resulted in hundreds more being freed from pretrial incarceration across nearly a dozen states.
Wade established a docket that he now co-manages of over three-dozen impact litigation cases before human rights tribunals in Africa, in Latin America, and at the United Nations with a primary focus on protecting activists, journalists, and civil society organizations from state-sponsored violence and repression. In 2017, Wade helped secure the release of prominent humanitarian Aya Hijazi after years of arbitrary detention in Egypt, and has worked with human rights defenders in over two-dozen countries, including on the prevention of femicide in Guatemala, protecting the right to protest in Zimbabwe, restoring birthright nationality in the Dominican Republic, and repealing anti-LGBTI laws in Uganda.
His work has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Teen Vogue, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, African Arguments, Al Jazeera, Americas Quarterly, and Just Security Blog among other outlets.
Wade has served as the Supervising Attorney for the Civil and Human Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law (2019), and is a Lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law where he co-directed the International Human Rights Law Clinic from 2015-2018. Wade received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was an International Law and Human Rights Fellow, and he was the inaugural recipient of the Donald M. Wilson Fellowship at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.