Arthur Chaykin, Executive Director
Arthur Chaykin’s interest in improving our criminal justice system started when he began as an intern for a lawyer in New York when he was just 14 years old. Since then, Arthur has practiced with several major law firms, acted as in-house counsel for both large and medium-sized corporations, run his own legal practice and worked as a “line” businessperson in the fields of marketing, strategy, planning, and new product development. Arthur is a trained mediator and arbitrator with extensive experience bringing diverse views and cultures together to achieve common goals.
Arthur has a long history of active engagement in law reform and non-profit initiatives. He served for over five years as a Board Member and President of Prairie State Legal Services, an organization dedicated to providing legal services to the indigent. He was previously Vice-President of the Board for Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, KS and has served on the Executive Advisory Boards of the University of Kansas International Center for Business Ethics and also KU’s Center for International Business Education and Research. Arthur currently serves as an Executive Board Member of Cristo Rey High School of Kansas City, an urban high school focused on providing a college preparatory education for economically disadvantaged students through integration of a unique internship component.
Arthur graduated from Brandeis University and Boston College Law School. He was formerly a law professor and taught constitutional law, litigation courses and dispute resolution at several law schools including University of Miami Law School; Northern Illinois University College of Law; University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Washburn Law School.
Laura O'Sullivan, Legal Director
Laura O'Sullivan received her accounting and business administration degrees from the University of Kansas. She entered Billiken territory, earning her Juris Doctor from St. Louis University School of Law. In August 2011, Professor O'Sullivan joined the Midwest Innocence Project and the University of Missouri as a clinical professor teaching the Wrongful Convictions course, a pre-requisite to participation in the Midwest Innocence Project Clinic. Working under the legal direction of Professor O'Sullivan, the staff at the Midwest Innocence Project and UMKC students help identify, investigate, and fight for the freedom of innocence people wrongfully convicted.
Prior to joining MIP, Laura worked on criminal, family and civil cases for Fredman & Fredman, P.C., a boutique law firm in St. Louis. As a partner in Hughes & O'Sullivan, P.C., she continued to represent individuals fighting for justice in state and federal courts. While working with the Missouri State Public Defender, she gained extensive trial, appellate, post-conviction, and management experience culminating in her role as training director for the system.
She attended Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyers College in 1998, as well as the TLC Death Penalty College in 2010. Professor O'Sullivan served on the faculty of training programs in Missouri, Kentucky and Louisiana, and now proudly serves on the faculty of the Trial Lawyers College, training lawyers from all over the country.
Nadia Pflaum, Investigator
Nadia Pflaum joined the staff of the Midwest Innocence Project in April 2011. She graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Chicago in 2003 with a B.A. in Sociology. She worked as a staff writer for The Pitch, a Kansas City alt-weekly newspaper, from September 2003 until Aprill 2011. Legal issues were often explored in her investigations, garnering honors that include the National Council on Crime and Delinquency's 2004 PASS Award and the Society of Professional Journalists 2009 Sigma Delta Chi award.
Ms. Pflaum is the board secretary for Arts in Prison, a non-profit organization that works to reduce criminal recidivism by providing art classes for prison inmates. She is an active board member with the Heartland Women's Leadership Council.
Pat Doak, Legal Administrative Assistant
Pat Doak has been involved with the Midwest Innocence Project for six years. She is the longest-serving current member of MIP. Ms. Doak provides legal secretarial and administrative support, and she is the backbone of the Project.
Ms. Doak is also a thirty-year employee of the Stinson Morrison Hecker L.L.P law firm. Stinson Morrison Hecker L.L.P. has graciously donated Ms. Doak's skills to MIP on a part-time basis.