Jennifer Merrigan

Ms. Merrigan has been a capital defense attorney since graduating from law school in 2004. Her training and background are in capital mitigation, and she has been appointed and has consulted in state and federal habeas corpus, pre-authorization, and trial cases as a mitigation specialist and as counsel.

She is the former staff attorney and Acting Director of the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic, a non-profit law firm in Kansas City, Missouri. She is an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University Law School and teaches the death penalty clinic. She has presented at national conferences on mitigation, clemency, and mental health litigation in capital cases. She helped research and develop the Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Death Penalty Cases, 36 Hofstra L. Rev. 677 (Spring 2008). She received the 2010 Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s “Atticus Finch Award” for her advocacy and the 2011 Missouri State Fair Blue Ribbon for her fruit pie. Contact Ms. Merrigan at

John R. Mills

Mr. Mills has represented death-sentenced inmates from Arizona, California, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. He has worked extensivelyon state capital post-conviction cases, and he has served as counsel for persons at every stage of the criminal justice process, from state trial court to the United States Supreme Court.  He also represents persons sentenced to life without parole for juvenile convictions. He publishes scholarship on the Eighth Amendment and regularly comments on the application of the Eighth Amendment to juvenile justice.  He is an adjunct professor at UC Hastings College of Law where he teaches courses on capital punishment and criminal procedure.  

As a student at Cornell Law School, John received the Freeman Award for Civil Human Rights; as an undergraduate at Stetson University, he received the June Brooks Award for activism and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for leadership and scholarship. Mr. Mills works the savory side of the kitchen at Phillips Black.  Contact Mr. Mills at

Joseph J. Perkovich

Mr. Perkovich has concentrated his practice on capital post-conviction litigation in state and federal courts. He trained and previously practiced at global firms in New York, where his work also concerned complex commercial litigation, white collar defense and investigations, and business crisis management.

He co-founded and teaches the death penalty clinic at the Saint Louis University School of Law and is also a founder of the Capital Sentencing Institute, an independent research organization. Perkovich was a visiting research fellow of the British Institute of International & Comparative Law in 2011. Since 2008, he has contributed annually to a leading federal civil practice treatise. Prior to practicing in New York, he led research at the behest of the European Commission on telecommunications regulation and directed programming for a community-based organization in rural North Carolina dedicated to combating poverty and racial inequality. Contact Mr. Perkovich at


Genevie Gold

Ms. Gold is an associate attorney with Phillips Black in our San Francisco office. Prior to joining us, she was an associate at a private law firm in its business litigation practice.   As an associate, she worked on a variety of complex litigation matters, including multi-district and class action litigation.  She also maintained a large pro bono caseload, and led the preparation of two successful clemency petitions before the Department of Justice Office of the Pardon Attorney.

Ms. Gold graduated from Boston University School of Law in 2014.  During law school, she was a student attorney in the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, and note editor of the BU Public Interest Law Journal.  She also volunteered with the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri where she discovered her passion for capital defense while working across urban and rural Missouri.  Genevie received her bachelor’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies and Philosophy at Tufts University.  Ms. Gold’s hometown is Kansas City, KS, and despite her time on the coasts, she still calls herself a Midwesterner.  She is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. Contact Ms. Gold at

Kristin Swain

Ms. Swain is an associate attorney with Phillips Black and a 2015 graduate of the Saint Louis University School of Law. During her studies, she worked at the Washoe County Public Defender’s office in Reno, Nevada and was one of the first students in SLU Law’s death penalty clinical program, where she worked on Mr. Mark Christeson’s warrant litigation culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay entered just hours before his scheduled execution and, ultimately, a summary reversal of the federal court of appeals in January 2015. 

During her time at SLU Law, Swain was elected vice president of the Public Interest Law Group and treasurer of the Criminal Law Society. She also served as a co-chair for the PILG’s annual Fellowship Auction, which raises funds for students pursuing internships to provide free legal services for indigent clients. Swain is a Nevada native and a graduate of its flagship university. Contact Ms. Swain at

Scott Wallace

Mr. Wallace is an associate attorney with Phillips Black and a 2015 graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Law. Prior to law school, Scott worked at The Federal Defenders of New York in Brooklyn, Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Maine, and spent several years working in documentary film.

While at Berkeley, Scott was a clinical law student in the Death Penalty Clinic and the Clean Slate Re-Entry Legal Services Clinic, and he served as a director of two student-led legal service projects: the California Asylum Representation Clinic and the Workers’ Rights Disability Law Clinic. Scott was the runner-up for the Sax Prize for Clinical Advocacy and received academic awards for coursework in Criminal Procedure and Capital Punishment and the Constitution. He received his undergraduate degree with honors from Brown University and a masters degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Contact Mr. Wallace at

Joseph Welling

Mr. Welling is an associate attorney with Phillips Black in our St. Louis office. Before joining us, Joe clerked for the Honorable Laura Denvir Stith of the Supreme Court of Missouri upon graduation from the Saint Louis University School of Law in 2016.  He co-authored a fifty-state survey of the law of police use of force justification and, in addition to his student note published in the print edition, authored three other articles on the on-line companion to the SLU Law Journal. During law school, Joe interned in the Housing Division of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, was a judicial extern for Chief Judge Angela Quigless of the Missouri Court of Appeals-Eastern District, and volunteered for a pro bono attorney in a criminal defense case connected with the Ferguson protests. Joe is also an alumni of Phillips Black's death penalty clinical curriculum at SLU and will be co-teaching the faculty's doctrinal seminar on capital punishment beginning in Fall 2017. 

Before law school, he had an illustrious career as a professional juggler and, additionally, served as an interpreter for the Deaf, specializing in graduate and professional school interpretation. Joe earned a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, which he followed with graduate studies at the University of Chicago. Contact Mr. Welling at