Staff

Adam 2015Adam Murray
Executive Director
Bio

An expert on both housing and homelessness, Adam Murray has developed and promoted innovative public policies that reduce homelessness and lead to safe, healthy and affordable housing. Recognized nationally as a leader in homelessness issues, Adam has led ICLC in developing effective programs, including groundbreaking programs that meet the legal needs of homeless veterans in Los Angeles. In his six years as ICLC’s Executive Director, Adam has guided Inner City Law Center’s transformation from an organization of five attorneys operating with a $1.4 million budget to an organization of 40 staff, including 20 attorneys, with a $3.4 million budget.

Prior to joining ICLC, Adam was a litigator with the international law firm Howrey LLP. In 2001, he worked pro bono on the momentous Rosales slum housing case in which ICLC secured $1.9 million for 59 parents and children. Adam sits on the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Committee on Economy and Efficiency and the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Southern California. He previously served as president of the boards of the Housing Rights Center of Southern California and the Immigration Center for Women and Children, and has taught economics and political science at East Los Angeles College. Adam is also a former board member of the Fair Housing Council of the San Gabriel Valley and the Center for Progressive Leadership. In 2009, the Los Angeles Daily Journal named Adam one of the top 20 attorneys in California under the age of 40.

Adam received a B.A. In International Relations from Pomona College, an M.A. In Economics from Claremont Graduate University, and a J.D. from University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. Adam and his wife Aman Thind live in South Pasadena. They enjoy playing soccer and spending time with their two young children.

Juliet Arganaraz
Director of Finance and Administration
Bio

Juliet joined ICLC as Director of Finance and Administration in October 2013. Juliet has over 14 years of legal services experience, working in all levels of personnel, including as support staff, advocate, and administrator. Prior to joining ICLC, Juliet worked with the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice as the Director of Administration. Juliet has effectively managed government contracts, private grants, financial audits, human resources, office operations and supervision of support staff and volunteers. Juliet enthusiastically believes in the cause of legal services and views her role in finance and administration as a support system that makes the direct services model possible. Her dedication to social justice issues stems from the parallels between ICLC’s clients and her own experience growing up in Southeast Los Angeles.

Maria 2015Maria Badillo
Paralegal
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

Maria Badillo joined the Shriver Homelessness Prevention Team in 2013 as a paralegal where she assists clients defend against unlawful detainers. Ms. Badillo previously worked as a Coordinator at the Disability Rights Legal Center with its Cancer Legal Resource Center program. She understands the great importance of equal access to the justice system, which often means access to services and benefits that meaningfully improve quality of life. Ms. Badillo will complete her law degree from Loyola Law School in 2015 and obtained her B.A. from UCLA in International Development Studies.

Harry Batt
Director of Development
Bio

Harry joined ICLC as Director of Development in February 2010. Prior to joining ICLC, Harry worked for ten years at Public Counsel, the largest pro bono law office in the nation. Harry trained at the Midwest Academy, where he received a degree in community organizing. Harry previously owned, operated, managed and consulted for restaurants throughout the world and has contributed to the success of a diverse portfolio of brands, as well as national theme restaurants. He studied politics at Hebrew University and Brandeis University, and holds a B.S. in Information Systems from University of Phoenix.

Javier Beltran
Director of Homelessness Prevention
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

Javier joined ICLC in April 2008, as a Staff Attorney litigating habitability lawsuits and unlawful detainer cases. In October 2009, Javier became the Director of the Homeless Prevention Project at ICLC. He currently oversees ICLC’s Shriver Housing Project. Prior to working at ICLC, he practiced civil litigation for an Orange County law firm and immigration law for a Sherman Oaks law firm. Before becoming an attorney, Javier worked as a school teacher in Los Angeles. Javier was born and raised in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pico-Union and his close connection to the challenges and concerns of this community motivates his public interest work. He is a former board member and president of the Pico-Union Neighborhood Council. Javier received a B.A. in History from California State University Los Angeles and a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law.

Jake 2015James H. (“Jake”) Broderick
Of Counsel (Volunteer)
Housing Litigation
Bio

Before retiring from private firm practice in 2013, Jake Broderick spent 34 years as a trial and appellate lawyer with the global law firm now known as Squire Patton Boggs, including ten years as the managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles Office.  At Squire he specialized in complex business litigation involving the representation of foreign based clients in U.S. Litigation.  At the appellate level he is admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court where he argued and prevailed on behalf of the Petitioner in Rosales v. Depuy Ace Medical, Co. (2000) 22 Cal. 4th 279 and before the United States Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Sixth Circuit and the Ninth Circuit,  and has been on briefs t0 each of these federal appellate courts and presented oral arguments in the Ninth and DC Circuits.  He has also admitted to practice before the  federal district courts in the Central, Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of California and District of Arizona and been the lead lawyer on cases in each of those districts, as well as in the Southern District of Florida and the Delaware Court of Chancery.

In private practice, Jake regularly maintained a substantial pro bono case load that included trying a Civil Rico case to a $1 million verdict for predatory lending that was upheld by the Ninth Circuit and successfully representing a California inmate serving 117 years to life in  a successful habeas corpus proceeding for a new trial and has been recognized by the State Bar of California with several awards for his pro bono work while in private practice.   As  a member of the Pro Bono Practice section of the California Bar since retirement, through his work with ICLC, Jake has sought to link his litigation experience and skills to the advancement of the causes of the underrepresented poor in our society to whom the legal system affords the least protections in areas of basic human working with retirement.  Since April 2013, he has been Of Counsel to ICLC, advising on overall litigation strategy issues, assisting in the preparation, drafting and editing of motions and briefs for the ICLC’s Housing Litigation and Veterans Projects  and handling court appearances of behalf of the litigation team in major ongoing housing litigation matters.  That experience has only confirmed long sense that ICLC is the place in Los Angeles where some of the most concentrated and thoughtful work on the legal  issues attendant to acute poverty in American society is being done by a committed and dedicated staff.

Jake graduated magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College in East Asian Studies in 1974.  His legal education includes a two years at Boston University School of Law,  from which he obtained his J.D. (1979, while taking his third year at Harvard Law School (1978-1979)  and a year and half (1979-1981)  as  a research fellow with the Law Faculty at Sophia University in Tokyo focusing on Japanese competition law under the auspices of a Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship.  He is AV rated by Martindale Hubble, was voted a Super Lawyer in Southern California for the years 2003-2013 and in listed in the Best Lawyers in America for the years 2007-2013.

Gloria Contreras
Screener / Receptionist
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

Gloria is a Screener and Receptionist at ICLC and has been with the organization since 2006. Gloria appreciates learning from clients as well as helping them. Prior to joining ICLC, Gloria served as Office Clerk at Elco Lighting. Gloria has a variety of artistic skills including painting, decorating, dancing, cosmetology, and hairstyling. She also enjoys outdoor activities like camping, swimming, and bicycling.

Francisco Covarrubias
Director of Tenant Organizing
Healthy Homes
Bio

Francisco began working with ICLC as a Tenant Organizer in 2011. As an organizer, he informs tenants about city programs, healthy homes practices, and legal resources. Prior to joining ICLC, Francisco organized with Unite Here Local 11’s Organizing Beyond Barriers summer program. Francisco also worked as a field representative for Assemblyman Mike Gatto where he gained valuable experience in government casework and constituent outreach. Francisco graduated from Pomona College in 2010. Francisco is a native Angelino and enjoys exploring the many wonders of the city.

Lucy 2015Lucy Garcia
Paralegal
Housing Litigation
Bio

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Kate 2015Kate Glaspey
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

Kate Glaspey started working with Inner City Law Center in 2014. Before becoming an attorney, Kate worked as a volunteer with a variety of organizations and realized her passion for homelessness prevention in Los Angeles. Kate attended Southwestern Law School to further her impact in her community and during her time there worked for a number of public interest organizations including Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Disability Rights Legal Center, and Center for Civic Mediation. After she received her B.A. at the College of Santa Fe in vocal performance, she sang professionally with a Brazilian band, lived for extended periods of time in Brazil, Italy, and Austria, and dedicated herself to community work. Kate is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian and enjoys using her languages to serve diverse populations.

Jon Killoran
Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Homeless Veterans
Bio

A 2013 graduate of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Jon joined ICLC as an Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow working with the Homeless Veterans Project. Jon started a medical legal partnership with the West Los Angeles Veteran’s Hospital and works with veterans who are patients in the VA’s homeless primary care clinic. During law school, Jon clerked at the Northwest Justice Project where he helped low-income residents access state healthcare benefits. Jon also externed at Mental Health Advocacy Services and the Disability Rights Legal Center. Prior to law school, Jon was a Jesuit Volunteer working as a case manager and operations supervisor at a homeless shelter in Spokane, Washington.

 Lorraine Lopez
Supervising Attorney
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

Lorraine joined ICLC in October 2009. For the past two years Lorraine has been a Staff Attorney in the Homelessness Prevention Project representing individuals and families who are at risk of losing their housing. Lorraine participates in several tenants’ rights clinics including the Koreatown Tenants Defense Network. Prior to joining ICLC, Lorraine worked for two years at Eviction Defense Network (EDN). Prior to EDN, Lorraine was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago where she provided representation and community outreach programs for participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Lorraine received her J.D. from Tulane University Law School in 2005, and her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2001.

Yvette Lopez
Senior Paralegal
Housing Litigation
Bio

South Central Los Angeles exposed Yvette Lopez to inequality and injustice at an early age. The experience of marginalization resulting from one’s socioeconomics, race, and gender redefined her objective and desire to make a difference. Seeking an education, Ms. Lopez received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, a Master’s Degree in Legal Studies, and an American Bar Association Paralegal Certificate from University of La Verne. Having worked with various law firms such as Shernoff Bidart Echeverria Bentley LLP, Fernandez and Lauby LLP, Mansell and Mansell LLP, and Alder Law PC, allowed Ms. Lopez to be mentored by some of the greatest attorneys in the country. With an extensive legal background in Employment Law, Probate Law, Civil Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Personal Injury, Bad Faith Law and Entertainment Law, Ms. Lopez has become an asset to Inner City Law Center since joining the organization in 2013. Ms. Lopez will continue to pursue her legal education while donating her time to the charitable causes close to heart.

Kara Mahoney
Staff Attorney
Homeless Veterans
Bio

Kara joined ICLC in September 2012 as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow for the Homeless Veterans Project. Kara is a 2012 graduate of USC Gould School of Law and earned an A.B. from Georgetown University. During law school Kara clerked in the probate department of the Los Angeles Superior Court for the Honorable Michael Levanas, and at ICLC, where her determination to advocate on behalf of underrepresented veterans grew, and was a fellow in the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics, researching the pervasive nature of psychotropic medications in the armed forces. Kara also worked in USC Law’s Immigration Clinic where she represented clients seeking asylum and other forms of relief after escaping persecution in their home countries.

Wanda Martin
Development Associate / Grants Manager
Bio

Wanda joined ICLC as Development Associate/Grants Manager in October 2012. Before coming to ICLC, Wanda was a faculty member at the University of New Mexico, where she taught proposal writing, administered writing programs, and created the Teachers’ Institute, a professional development program for K-12 teachers. She is the co-author, with Valerie Thomas, of Proposals for Action, a proposal-writing textbook scheduled for publication with Oxford University Press in 2014. Wanda earned her BA in Theatre at Indiana University and her MA and Ph.D in English at the University of Louisville. Since 1989, she has been involved with alternative dispute resolution, mediating conflicts in workplaces and small claims courts, facilitating contentious meetings on public issues, and coaching novice mediators in training.

Colleen 2015Colleen Mullen
Loyola Law School Post-Grad Fellow
Housing Litigation
Bio

Having externed with ICLC as a law student, Colleen happily returned to ICLC as a Loyola Legal Fellow in September 2014. Colleen primarily works in the housing litigation unit to preserve decent, affordable housing for low-income communities throughout Los Angeles. Colleen is a 2014 graduate of Loyola Law School, which she attended as a Public Interest Scholar. While in law school, Colleen worked for Public Counsel to provide legal advice to pro per litigants in federal court, externed for Hon. Gary Klausner in United States District Court, Central Division, and worked at Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman on international human rights cases. Before attending law school, Colleen worked as a Graduate Fellow for the JusticeCorps program, providing access to justice to underrepresented and underserved communities.

Ami 2015Ami Nguyen
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

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CristinaCristina Olvera
Office Manager
Bio

After a brief period of volunteering in January 2014, Cristina became ICLC’s Office Manager. Cristina is responsible for the daily operations at ICLC, such as technical support, maintaining budgets and as well as a direct liaison to the Director of Finance and Administration. Cristina’s passion for this type of work started with her BA in Chicano Latino Studies, where she had the opportunity to study abroad in Latin America. Ever since, she dedicated her life to helping those in need, whether it’s her work with the Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, UNHCR or ICLC.
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Ashley Parris
Supervising Attorney
Housing Litigation
Bio

Ashley’s passion for fighting for those who have been wronged brought her to ICLC in September 2011. Prior to joining ICLC, Ashley spent six years as a trial attorney at the R. Rex Parris Law Firm, litigating catastrophic injury cases, with a specialty in pain syndromes. Ashley was recognized in 2011 as one of the Daily Journal’s Rising Stars. Ashley is a member of The Consumer Attorneys of California and Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, and a Past President of the Antelope Valley Bar Association. Ashley is the youngest-ever graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College. She frequently lectures and teaches on the study of facial expressions and detecting deception. She attended Pepperdine University School of Law, where she was a member of the school’s trial team. During law school, Ashley worked for California Court of Appeals Justice Margaret Grignon, and in 2004, she worked in newly-elected Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Office of Legislative Affairs. Ashley grew up in Lancaster, California, on the north end of Los Angeles County. Ashley is proud to be part of ICLC’s signature slum housing department where she can use her skills, experience and tenacity to stop negligent landlords in our city.

Sonia Pflaster
Senior Staff Attorney
Housing Litigation
Bio

Sonia joined ICLC in 2010 as a Staff Attorney in an eviction defense project where she quickly discovered the value of representing tenants against abusive landlords. The daughter of two plaintiffs attorneys, Sonia is driven by a fierce passion to serve the mistreated. A native of Santa Monica, Sonia attended UC Davis, where she graduated with highest honors in 2005. Sonia worked at RAND before heading to Harvard Law School in 2006. At Harvard, Sonia was selected as an Equal Justice Works fellow in 2007, summered at Morrison and Foerster, and volunteered for Public Counsel and the Los Angeles Public Defenders Office. During her second and third year at Harvard, Sonia served as a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, a 30-hour-a week, two-year clinical program where she represented battered women in divorce and custody proceedings. Following graduation, Sonia obtained trial training as an attorney-trainee at the Federal Defenders of San Diego. Sonia enjoys empowering tenants and holding negligent and malicious landlords liable.

Dianne Prado
Senior Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

Dianne joined ICLC in August 2012 to work with the Homelessness Prevention Project where she litigates on behalf of individuals and low-income families who are at risk of losing their housing. Before joining ICLC, Dianne was a staff attorney at the Eviction Defense Network (EDN) where she protected the housing rights of the low income communities. Prior to EDN she worked for the Law Office of Elena I. Popp which specializes in eviction defense. Dianne is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and participates in several tenant’s rights clinics including the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Dianne holds a B.A. in Criminology, Law, & Society from UC Irvine and a J.D. from Western State University College of Law.

Eric 2015!Eric Quizhpi
Tenant Organizer
Healthy Homes
Bio

Eric joined ICLC as a Tenant Organizer in June 2014. He works with tenants living at properties with severe habitability issues, informing them about healthy homes practices, their legal resources, and the Rent Escrow Account Program. Prior to working at ICLC, Eric interned at the Coalition for Economic Survival, where he first gained exposure to housing advocacy and tenant outreach. He continued his activism work by collaborating with doctors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center; at Cedars, he helped translate cognitive therapy workbooks from English into Spanish for Los Angeles’ disenfranchised, Spanish-speaking, HIV-positive community. Eric is originally from Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Occidental College in May 2014 with a degree in History and a minor in Politics.

Vidhya 2015Vidhya Ragunathan
Pro Bono Coordinator
Bio

Vidhya joined ICLC as its Pro Bono Coordinator in January 2014. Prior to joining ICLC, she practiced complex commercial litigation for over five years at the law firms of Crowell & Moring LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Vidhya handled a variety of matters relating to antitrust, real estate, contracts, environmental law, and insurance. Vidhya also maintained an active pro book practice, representing a variety of clients on issues such as immigration, guardianship, and housing law. Vidhya is active in the legal community, currently serving on the board of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC), and was previously a president of SABA-SC’s Public Interest Foundation. She also serves on the board of the South Asian Network, one of the country’s largest organizations dedicated to serving the needs of the South Asian-American community. Vidhya received degrees in Political Science and Psychology from UCLA and her J.D. from UCLA. 

Ami 2015Fely Soto
Tenant Organizer
Healthy Homes
Bio

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Jose 2015Jose Luis Surio
Tenant Organizer
Healthy Homes
Bio

Jose Luis Surio joined ICLC in 2014 as a Tenant Organizer. He educates tenants about healthy housing through the Rent Escrow Account Program. As someone who grew up in similar conditions, Jose Luis can connect with our clients through those firsthand experiences. Jose is a mentor for Youth Mentoring Connections where he mentors high school students and volunteers. These experiences have empowered Jose Luis educate others about how to live in safer housing and protect their rights as tenants.

Waldo Tapia
AmeriCorps Legal Fellow
Homeless Veterans
Bio

Waldo joined ICLC in September 2013 as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow for the Homeless Veterans Project. Prior to joining ICLC, Waldo worked as a Graduate Research Fellow for Professor David Jung at the Public Law Research Institute, part of UC Hastings’ Center for State and Local Government Law. Waldo earned his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. During law school Waldo externed at the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center under the Honorable Kathleen Kelly, was a law clerk at the Equal Rights Advocates, and interned at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. He also worked at the Hastings Workers’ Rights Clinic where he was able to provide legal assistance to low-income workers. Waldo’s interest in working with the veteran community stems from his previous internship at the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Services, his work as an Honor Guard at the Riverside National Cemetery, and from his military service in both the California Army National Guard and the United States Army.

Erin 2015Erin E. Thompson
Special Projects Manager & Board Liaison
Bio

Erin works closely with Executive Director, Adam Murray, and the Board of Directors and Advisors to coordinate logistics for special initiatives. Erin has a Juris Doctorate from The John Marshall Law School and a B.S. in Arts, Entertainment and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago. Erin is an experienced Operations Manager, Business Developer, Administrator, Leadership Coach and Small Business Consultant. She is also founder of a nonprofit organization called The S Word Project.

Melissa Tyner
Director of Homeless Veterans Project
Bio

Melissa joined ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project in 2009. As a Senior Staff Attorney, Melissa advocates for the rights of homeless veterans to receive the benefits and care they are promised and wrongfully denied. Melissa started the first legal clinic aimed at serving female veterans and is a recognized expert in the legal issues involving the Department of Veterans Affairs that female veterans face. Melissa’s work has been featured on National Public Radio, BBC, and several other media outlets. Prior to joining ICLC, Melissa worked at Disability Rights California and assisted people whose disability benefits had been wrongfully terminated. Prior to joining Disability Rights California, Melissa was a law clerk at Public Counsel where she advocated for children with disabilities in foster care whose health benefits were being reduced.

Gil 2015Gilberto Vera
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

Gilberto Vera started working at Inner City Law Center in 2014. He mainly works in the Shriver Project defending Unlawful Detainer for low-income clients throughout Los Angeles. Gilberto graduated from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles in 2013 and obtained BA in Political Science from University of California Berkeley. While in law school, Gilberto worked for Public Council’s Immigration Rights Projects assisting victims of violent crimes obtain U-Visas and worked at Homeboy Industries assisting clients expunge their criminal records and fight against the pull of recidivism.

Estephanie 2015Estephanie Villalpando
Supervising Paralegal
Housing Litigation
Bio

Estephanie joined ICLC in July 2010 as a Paralegal for a short-term eviction defense project. When the project ended, Estephanie became a Tenant Organizer. She is currently a Paralegal in the litigation department, assisting with complex habitability litigation. Prior to joining ICLC, Estephanie volunteered at the Santa Monica Self Help Center, where she helped pro per litigants with a variety of legal matters, including eviction defense. She also volunteered for the Coalition for Economic Survival in its West Hollywood tenants’ rights clinic. Estephanie received a B.A. in political science with a minor in education from UCLA. Estephanie plans to attend law school and pursue a public interest legal career.

Rebecca Watson
Supervising Attorney
Homelessness Prevention, Public Benefits
Bio

Rebecca Watson joined ICLC in May 2013 as a Staff Attorney and represents clients in maintaining their housing and public benefits. Prior to joining ICLC, Rebecca worked at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County for two years where she staffed a Medical Legal Partnership helping patients at a health clinic resolve their legal problems. Rebecca is a 2011 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law which she attended as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar. During law school, Rebecca clerked at the Western Center on Law and Poverty and at the Northwest Justice Project. Rebecca spent three years with Witness for Peace in Mexico and Cuba where she taught U.S. citizens about the negative impacts of U.S. foreign policy in the region and has spent time as a volunteer in Guatemala. Rebecca is a proud graduate of Macalester College where she studied Anthropology and History.

Staff photos courtesy of Gabor Ekecs