Staff

Adam 2015Adam Murray
Executive Director

Bio

Adam Murray is the Executive Director of Inner City Law Center, a nonprofit law firm serving the most vulnerable individuals and families in Los Angeles County. Founded on the fundamental principle that every person should always be treated with dignity and respect, ICLC’s 40+ staff and 350+ volunteers provide legal representation and advocacy to thousands of homeless and working poor clients, focused on combating slum housing, preventing homelessness, and aiding homeless veterans.

An expert on both housing and homelessness, Adam has developed and promoted innovative approaches and policies that reduce homelessness and lead to safe, healthy and affordable housing. 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 has led Inner City Law Centers efforts to develop effective programs, including groundbreaking programs that meet the legal needs of homeless veterans in Los Angeles. In his nine years as ICLC’s Executive Director, Adam has guided Inner City Law Center’s transformation from a five-attorney law firm with a $1.4 million budget to a twenty-three attorney law firm with a $4.5 million budget. In addition, pro bono attorneys from private firms donated over $14 million worth of free legal services to ICLC clients last year.

Adam sits on the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Committee on Economy and Efficiency. 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, the ACLU of Southern California, and the Center for Progressive Leadership.

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 the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. In 2009, the Los Angeles Daily Journal named Adam one of the top 20 attorneys in California under the age of 40. Adam was a Stanton Fellow with the Durfee Foundation in 2014 and 2015. When not working, Adam enjoys playing soccer with his wife and 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.

CoralCoral Arias
Senior Staff Attorney
Homeless Prevention

Bio

Coral joined Inner City Law Center in March 2015, as a Staff Attorney representing clients in housing and public benefits cases.  Prior to joining ICLC, Coral practiced in several areas of immigration law, focusing on complex deportation defense cases and appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

During law school, Coral interned at Bet Tzedek Legal Services (Los Angeles), Immigration Center for Women and Children (San Francisco), and East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (Berkeley).  During her second year of law school, Coral was a clinical student for the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, Refugee and Human Rights Clinics.

Coral concentrated in History and Political Economy and Development while at Brown University, and earned her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law.  Coral is a proud ambassador of her alma mater as a member of the Brown Alumni Association Interviewing Program.


Ingrid Arriaga
Senior Staff Attorney
Homeless Prevention

Bio

Ingrid joined Inner City Law Center in June 2017, as a Senior Attorney representing clients in housing and public benefits cases. Prior to joining ICLC, Ingrid was a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles in their Eviction Defense Center where she provided legal representation to hundreds of low-income tenants facing eviction. Ingrid started her career as a fellow at the Public Law Center in Orange County where she provided assistance to low-income tenants and victims of domestic violence in family law matters. Ingrid received a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Political Science, from Cal State Long Beach, and a J.D. from Whittier Law School.

Ariana Barlas
Staff Attorney
Homeless Veterans

Bio
Ariana Barlas is a staff attorney in ICLC’s homeless veterans project. While in law school, Ariana was part of Street Law, where she had the opportunity to teach at an alternative school for first-time felons.  They discussed constitutional rights, current events, and any other legal issues the students wanted to learn about. Ariana also interned at various non-profit organizations including Catholic Charities Legal Services, Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.’s Housing Unit, and the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Unit in NYC. In addition, she had the privilege of interning with the Honorable Judge Carroll Kelley at the Domestic Violence Court in Miami, Florida. She graduated from the University of South Florida with her B.A. in Political Science and History, and earned her J.D. at the University of Miami School of Law.

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 the University of Phoenix.

Roberto

Roberto Cabrales
Director of Tenant Organizing
Healthy Homes

Bio
Roberto Cabrales joined the Organizing team at ICLC as the Director of Tenant Organizing in January 2016.  He has been organizing on environmental justice issues in Southeast LA County for over 13 years with Communities for a Better Environment.  He now leads the organizing team in the Healthy Homes project ensuring habitability concerns are addressed for low-income tenants and the remediation of lead-based paint in older homes through HUD programs in the City of Los Angeles.  He is currently working on his B.A. in Environmental Analysis and Chicano Studies at Pitzer College.  He is passionate about art, music, theater, craft-making,  human rights, aromatherapy, and raising awareness on pet adoption.  Roberto was recently appointed to the Health and Education Commission for the City of Huntington Park in August of 2015 where he works to improve the quality of life for all Huntington Park residents.

annaAnna Carrillo
Human Resources Coordinator

Bio

Anna Carrillo joined Inner City Law Center as Administrative Coordinator in September 2016. She supports the Director of Finance and Administration with the finance and Human Resource functions of the organization. Prior to ICLC, Anna was the Office Manager at Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law and Office Administrator at the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. She has experience in office operations, AP/AR, payroll, employee benefits and grant management. Anna holds a BA in Art History with Administrative Studies from the University of California, Riverside and a Human Resources Management certificate from Cal State Long Beach.  She plans on obtaining her Master’s in Public Administration.

ICLC

Lisa Charles 
Program Assistant

Bio

Lisa joined ICLC in May 2016 as the first Program Assistant. She works closely with the Chief Counsel, Tai Glenn, to facilitate the strategic expansion of the non-profit law firm. Lisa utilizes her diverse administrative experience in the academic and corporate sectors to strengthen the organizational platform, provide programmatic support and enhance intra-office systems and procedures.

Lisa feels particularly at home at ICLC because she is able to continue working on reducing social disparities, an area in which she has amassed over a decade of community outreach volunteer experience. This interest started during her undergraduate years at the City College of New York, where she organized projects such as providing food and clothing to the homeless, teaching computer and interviewing skills to non-native English speakers and developing community vegetable gardens.

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 and dancing.

Hannah Courtney                                                                                 Staff Attorney                                                                                            Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness Program

Bio

Hannah Courtney joined Inner City Law Center in March 2018 as a Staff Attorney. Hannah is a 2015 graduate of Loyola Law School and earned her B.A. in History at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining ICLC, she was a staff attorney and Vista for Affordable Housing Preservation Project fellow at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she advocated on behalf of low-income tenants to preserve affordable housing and prevent displacement in San Francisco, CA. During law school, she clerked with Public Counsel and volunteered on various local political campaigns in Los Angeles County. She also participated in the Scott Moot Court Team, Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent, and served as a board member and chair of C.A.R.E.S for the Public Interest Law Foundation.

Lucy Fitzpatrick
Project Coordinator

Bio

Lucy Fitzpatrick is the Project Coordinator for the CBEST program, for which ICLC provides technical assistance and training to partner agencies that are working towards enrolling eligible homeless individuals in federal disability benefits. She has many years of experience in this area, having done benefits advocacy work at Public Counsel, HALSA, and the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee. In addition to practicing law, Lucy has been a classroom teacher at all levels from preschool through high school, and has had the opportunity to teach in California, Wisconsin, Mexico, and Cameroon.

UntitledAlex Flores
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

A 2014 graduate of Loyola Law School, Alex Flores began working at Inner City Law Center in 2015 with the Shriver Project Homelessness Prevention team.  As part of the Shriver Team Alex defends low-income tenants in Unlawful Detainers in order to keep tenants in the City of Los Angeles housed.  Before attending law school, Alex worked as a legal secretary at Disability Rights California.  While in Law School, Alex externed for several legal non-profits included Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and CARECEN in the areas of employment law and immigration, respectively.  Alex also externed for the Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall, U.S. Federal District Senior Judge for the Central District.  While in Law School, Alex participated in the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Moot Court team, and served as Co-Chair of the National Lawyers Guild chapter at Loyola, Managing Editor for Loyola of the Los Angeles Public Interest Law Journal, and Vice-President and Grad Co-Chair of La Raza de Loyola.  As an Angeleno born and raised, Alex has seen the undeniable housing crisis our City is the midst of and plans to continue making sure that those among us who need the most help continue to get the representation they deserve.


Jennifer GJennifer Ganata

Senior Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

Jennifer Ganata joined ICLC in May of 2015.  Prior to starting at ICLC, Jennifer had been a staff attorney at the Eviction Defense Network (EDN).  Jennifer was born and raised in Los Angeles to immigrant parents.  She has witnessed the different changes that have occurred in the city and as a result she has dedicated her work to ensuring that those who are marginalized in the city have a voice.  Due to the current aggressive displacement in the city Jennifer has been extremely concerned with the effects of gentrification particularly in the pockets of low-income communities around downtown Los Angeles.  Jennifer has a BA in Ethnic Studies and a minor in Urban Studies and Planning from University of California, San Diego (UCSD).  Jennifer received a JD from City University of New York (CUNY), where she was trained through the Adult Defender Clinical program and an LL.M from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a focus on Critical Race Studies.  Before practicing law in California, Jennifer had spent several years working as a youth community organizer in South East Los Angeles and the South Bay around environmental justice issues.

Roberto Garcia
Staff Attorney
Housing Litigation

Bio
Roberto García is a staff attorney in ICLC’s housing litigation department.  A native of Northeast Los Angeles and the proud son of immigrant parents from Durango, México, he is an active member of the National Lawyers Guild.  Prior to joining ICLC, he was trial counsel with BASTA, Inc., where he represented low-income tenants facing eviction from intake, all the way to jury trial.  He is impassioned by how he can contribute to the creation of a more humane and just world.  Before becoming a lawyer, he worked for César E. Chávez and Dolores Huerta’s United Farm Workers of America, where he advocated and lobbied on behalf of California’s farm workers to improve their working conditions and living communities.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and holds a Juris Doctor from the only cooperative, student and community-run, progressive law school in the world, People’s College of Law.

Kate 2015Kate Glaspey
Staff Attorney
Public Benefits

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.

pic

Tai Glenn
Chief Counsel & Director of Legal Services

Bio

Tai joined the ICLC leadership team in September 2015. She has been an influential advocate for the rights of poor and low-income individuals for over 20 years. Tai initiated and oversaw the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles’ highly regarded Housing Improvement Project from 2000 to 2008, during which time the project successfully litigated groundbreaking cases including the first case asserting a tenant’s right to return after being paid emergency relocation benefits by the City of Los Angeles and Cruz v Superior Court, in partnership with Western Center on Law and Poverty, which expanded low-income Californians’ right to access the courts and was the first California decision regarding fee waivers in almost 20 years. She was appointed to the City of Los Angeles Rent Adjustment Commission by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2013 and was the 2011 recipient of Loyola Law School’s Public Interest Award. Prior to joining ICLC, Tai served as the Executive Director of Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center.


Rebecca G.Rebecca Gomez

Senior Paralegal
Housing Litigation

Bio

Rebecca Gomez joined Inner City Law Center in November 2015 as the Senior Paralegal on the Litigation team. Rebecca has 20 years of experience working in the legal field. Her experience covers the areas of civil, white collar criminal litigation, workers’ compensation and post-judgment recovery.  While working for Bird Marella Law Firm, Rebecca gained exposure to housing litigation, sparking an interest in the non-profit sector.  During the time she attended UCLA, Rebecca was a volunteer at Latinas Guiding Latinas, a non -profit organization designed to provide K-12 students from East Los Angeles and El Monte area with additional resources to develop their prospect for higher education.  Rebecca was born and raised in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. She is honored to be part of an amazing and passionate team at ICLC, a team that combats slum lords and is gives tenant’s a voice to improve their quality of housing.  

carlosCarlos Gonzalez
Paralegal
Housing Litigation

Bio

Carlos joined ICLC in August 2016 as paralegal with the Housing Litigation team.  He attended Cal State LA, majoring in Communications.  Prior to joining ICLC, Carlos worked in real estate and property management, most recently as a graphic designer for the last 4 years.  Pursuing an interest in the legal field and public service, he was part of the Pasadena Courthouse Self-Help Resource Center, educating litigants about court document preparation and court filing procedure.  As paralegal for ICLC, Carlos looks forward to joining in the fight against slum housing and helping protect the rights of disadvantaged families.

Jessica Hernandez
Document Specialist

Bio

Jessica joined Inner City Law Center in February 2017 as a Document Specialist. Having graduated from Cal State LA in 2016, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Pursuing an interest in the legal field, Jessica interned in the Arraignment Court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center for over a year assisting the District Attorney with administrative duties. As a Document Specialist, Jessica is responsible for certified mailings, attorney service requests, and creating and closing cases on Time Matters. Jessica also works closely with the Project Assistant, Lisa Charles, and Chief Counsel, Tai Glenn, to ensure the accuracy of data collection for each of the teams. Inspired by the work and passion of our attorneys, Jessica hopes to attend law school in the future and practice public interest law.

Colleen Higgins Carlson
Supervising Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio
Colleen Higgins Carlson joined Inner City Law Center’s Public Benefits team in January 2018 as a Supervising Attorney. Colleen is a 2008 graduate of Chapman University School of Law and earned her BA in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During law school, Colleen externed for the Alona Cortese Elder Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, assisting low income and senior residents of Orange County with issues related to access to healthcare, housing and public benefits. Colleen continued at LASOC in their Health Consumer Action Center following graduation until starting at a private firm where she represented clients in their applications for disability benefits before the Social Security Administration, Appeals Council and Federal District Court.

Alexei Hong
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention
Bio

Alexei Hong is a Los Angeles native committed to using her skills and capacities to empower communities and prevent displacement through her position as an attorney with the Homelessness Prevention Project at ICLC.With a background in union organizing, social work, and activism, Alexei has had the privilege to work and learn from a wide spectrum of communities struggling for social change.  After earning her B.A. in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz, Alexei went on to travel the United States, parts of Europe, Brazil, and Mexico. She has lived in Pittsburgh, PA,  where she worked on the issues around incarceration, and Brooklyn, NY, conducting street outreach to people experiencing homelessness. She came back to her hometown and worked with the Los Angeles Chapter of Food Not Bombs, fighting against hunger in Downtown Los Angeles.  She went on to earn her J.D. in Southwestern’s accelerated SCALE program.  After representing tenants through the Eviction Defense Network, Alexei is excited to continue to fight for tenants rights at her position at ICLC. Alexei is a proud member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.


JerryJerry Jones
Director of Public Policy

Bio

Jerry Jones joined the Inner City Law Center as Director of Public Policy in July 2015. He is the former Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. Jerry also served on the senior staff of the Center for Community Change in various roles over a 10-year period, as well as National Director of Project Vote and Executive Director of an anti-hunger organization in Connecticut. He has extensive experience on policy issues related to housing, hunger, and poverty, including testifying at Congressional hearings and authoring numerous studies and reports. Jerry coordinates the Provider Alliance to End Homelessness, a coalition of 57 organizations in Los Angeles providing services and housing to people experiencing homelessness. He is the Board President of Housing Works, an organization serving chronically homeless individuals, and a steering committee member of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Youth Homelessness. 

 

Emily Karsik
Paralegal
Homeless Veterans

Bio

Emily joined ICLC in May 2017 as a member of the Homeless Veterans Project. She graduated from The Master’s University in 2015 with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Bible. She plans on graduating with a degree in Paralegal Studies degree in June 2018, and is also working towards receiving her Paralegal Certificate in the near future. During her time at The Master’s University, Emily began volunteering with the Union Rescue Mission – a homeless shelter on Skid Row in downtown L.A – which is where she first learned of LA’s homelessness problem. Since her first visit to the Mission in 2013, Emily has been inspired by the stories of bravery, hope and resilience that she encounters in working with the people that the Mission serves. Additionally, she has spent two years volunteering with Awana Lifeline’s program “Returning Hearts,” which works to reconcile incarcerated parents with their children. She is very grateful that her passion for the law and her strong desire to help others experiencing homelessness have found a place here at ICLC.

Jon Killoran
Senior Staff Attorney
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.

Kevin King
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

Kevin joined Inner City Law Center in January 2018 as a Staff Attorney in the Homelessness Prevention for Families program. Prior to joining ICLC, he was a Neighborhood Law Corps Attorney at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office where he focused on affirmative litigation in tenant rights. As part of a small unit, he spearheaded litigation of Oakland’s recently enacted Tenant Protection Ordinance. He collaborated with local non-profits to target Oakland’s most egregious tenant rights abusers and curb the abuse of housing loopholes.

From 2014 to 2016, Kevin was a Lawyers for America fellow at the First District Court of Appeal where he represented indigent defendants in criminal appeals. During law school at UC Hastings College of the Law, Kevin held clerkships at the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office and ACLU in the Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Department. He also served as Staff Editor of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal and Co-Vice President of the Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation. Kevin earned his bachelor’s degree in History from UC Santa Barbara.

Kevin’s commitment to social justice stems from his upbringing in San Bernardino. He is dedicated to combating the issues that plagued his family and friends growing up.

Andrea Leal
Paralegal
Homelessness Prevention

Bio
Andrea joined ICLC in August 2017 as a paralegal with the Homelessness Prevention for Families team. Andrea graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Yale University in 2016. Prior to joining ICLC, she worked as a program coordinator for the Salvadoran American Leadership and Education Fund, conducting outreach and advocacy for citizenship education and services. Serving the Pico Union and Westlake areas of Los Angeles has pushed Andrea to expand her focus to the numerous issues that disenfranchised communities are confronted with such as informal labor markets, domestic violence, access to healthcare and housing. Working with the attorneys at ICLC has profoundly solidified her goals of attending law school and continuing to serve these communities in the future.

Jin Lee
Senior Staff Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio
Jin Lee joined Inner City Law Center’s Public Benefits team in September 2017 as a Senior Staff Attorney. A long time resident of Los Angeles, she graduated from Scripps College and Southwestern Law School. Throughout law school, she clerked with the California Women’s Law Center and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles where she worked with victims of domestic violence. Prior to joining Inner City Law Center, she was with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles for over seven years where she specialized in CalWORKs, GAIN, CalFresh, CAPI, General Relief, and Social Security benefits.  In addition to providing direct legal services to clients in these benefit areas, she has worked extensively on policy advocacy to address systemic problems and barriers faced by benefit recipients. As a public benefits advocate, she believes strongly in decreasing the stigma associated with receiving benefits and in increasing access to benefits for the most vulnerable.


Neri Lozano

Paralegal
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

Prior to joining ICLC’s Homelessness Prevention Program, Neri worked as community organizer, legal advocate and At-Risk Youth Mentor in California’s  Central Valley. In Fresno and Bakersfield, Neri worked to combat issues like homelessness, victims’ rights, and community empowerment. Growing up in Echo Park Neri to witnessed firsthand many of the socio-economic inequalities that plagued Los Angeles. It was the very idea of leveling off those inequalities that led Neri to pursue a career in public service. Neri mentions that without a doubt, what he enjoys most about his jobs is the relationships he is able to form with members of the community. Day in and day out he meets hard working families; not very different from his own. Yet, he knows that there is much more to do. He knows that his success is inextricably linked with the success of his community.

Neri graduated from the University of California, Fresno with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in African-American & Indian Studies.


Alex LopezAlejandro ‘Alex’ Lopez

Senior Paralegal
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

Alex served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves for seven years and received an Honorable Discharge in May 2001. He considers his time in the military as one of the most impactful and valuable times in his life. He was presented with ample opportunities to help those in need and gained a deeper admiration for ideals of justice and fairness. With the G.I. Bill, Alex obtained a paralegal certificate in 1998.  For the following 15 years, Alex gained extensive experience in criminal defense, general liability, insurance defense, and construction defect.

In 2015, Alex carried his experience and passion for justice to Inner City Law Center. Alex grew up in a low-income immigrant family in Northeast Los Angeles and empathizes with clients’ struggles. He cares deeply about the community and is constantly inspired by his clients’ strength and resilience against adversity. He wholeheartedly believes every individual deserves to have their rights protected. 

Kara Mahoney
Acting Director of Homeless Veterans Project
Homeless Veterans

Bio

Kara is the Acting Director of the Homeless Veterans Project at Inner City Law Center where she represents veterans experiencing chronic homelessness. She specializes in working with survivors of military sexual violence and veterans with complex mental health disabilities to stabilize their income, healthcare, and housing. She joined ICLC in 2012 as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. Kara is a graduate of USC Gould School of Law and earned her A.B. from Georgetown University. Kara is also a lecturer-in-law at UCLA School of Law, where she teaches the course Introduction to the Lawyer-Client Relationship.

During law school, Kara was a fellow in the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics, and her article exploring the pervasive nature of psychotropic medications in the military was published in the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice. 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.

Vivianne Mbaku
Senior Staff Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio
Vivianne Mbaku joined Inner City Law Center as a Staff Attorney in May of 2017. Vivianne is a 2012 graduate of the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law and earned a B.A. in Politics and Latin American Studies from Scripps College.  During law school Vivianne was president of the Minority Law Caucus. After graduation, Vivianne was a Staff Attorney for the Utah State Courts Self Help Center and practiced consumer and public benefits law with Utah Legal Services. Vivianne was also a member of the Utah State Bar Modest Means Committee which aimed to make affordable legal representation more widely available.  Prior to joining ICLC, Vivianne completed an appellate clerkship with the Honorable Senior Justice Petra Jimenez-Maes of the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Jardine Monteil  
Staff Accountant

Bio

Jardine Monteil has over 14 years of financial management experience; in particular in the non-profit sector. She is knowledgeable of compliance with legal and grant recipient regulations in coordinating an organizations’ fiscal and operational activities. Being a key contact for audits and annual Form 990 Tax Filings, Jardine works closely with government auditing officials, independent auditors and outside CPAs. This enhanced Jardine’s skill to evaluate and analyze the fiscal standing of an organization. Prior to the introduction of Subpart F of the Uniform Guidance, Jardine has direct experience with dealing with Circular A-133. She also has managed the financial aspect of community development block grants and sub-recipient grants and therefore have taken part in Los Angeles County audits on top of independent and federal audits. She has extensive knowledge of tracking multiple grants: federal and restrictive corporate and foundation grants. Jardine’s true calling lies with her heart for non-profit organizations with missions that she believes in.

Derrick Moon
Paralegal
Homeless Veterans

Bio
Derrick Moon graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A. in Philosophy in December 2016. During his time at Berkeley, I also worked as a Paralegal at Vogl Meredith Burke LLP.  He was involved in a pre-law fraternity at Berkeley, where he hosted Free Legal Clinics for disenfranchised groups of people, providing them with opportunities to talk to attorneys about potential legal matters. Working at ICLC cemented his interest in public interest law, and he hopes to go to law school in the near future and expand on the valuable experiences gained here.

brandonBrandon Morris
Office Manager
Bio

Brandon joined ICLC in September 2016 as the Office Manager. He brings with him over 13 years of experience in office management. He is responsible for any and everything office related. He also assists with IT related issues and with accounting and payroll. Prior to joining ICLC, he worked at Bet Tzedek Legal Services for 5 years as the Office Services Coordinator.

ICLC

Melody Osuna
Staff Attorney
Homeless Veterans

Bio

Melody  joined ICLC in April of 2016 as Staff Attorney for the Rapid Re-housing for Single Adults and Veterans Collaborative (RRAV). Melody began her legal career as a Loyola Law School Fellow at the YWCA of Glendale providing direct legal services to victims of domestic violence in family law and immigration matters. She also assisted victims with temporary restraining orders at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Domestic Violence Clinic in the Long Beach Courthouse. In addition, she represented a victim of human trafficking in obtaining non-immigrant status as a pro bono attorney for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery. During law school, Melody externed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the Disability Rights Legal Center, and Rainbow Services. Prior to law school, Melody volunteered with the Alliance for Children’s Rights advocating for proper benefits for children in the foster care system.  Melody holds a B.A. from California State University, Fullerton, and a J.D. from Loyola Law School. 

Amanda Powell
Staff Attorney
Homeless Veterans

Bio

 Amanda is a 2017 graduate of the University of Miami School of Law in Miami, Florida, and joined ICLC as a Staff Attorney working with the Homeless Veterans Project. During law school, Amanda served as a HOPE Fellow with The Door Legal Services in New York, an agency that addresses a wide range of legal, education, and health needs for New York City youth. She also served as a HOPE Summer Public Interest Fellow with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., where she focused on housing and veterans’ issues. She was a law clerk with the Florida Justice Institute, working on prisoners’ rights issues. Prior to law school, Amanda worked as a victim advocate and a therapist for children with autism. She earned a B.A. in Speech Pathology and a B.A. in Psychology from Northern Arizona University.

 


Eric 2015!Eric Quizhpi

Paralegal
Housing Litigation

Bio

Eric joined Inner City Law Center as a Tenant Organizer in June 2014. He became a certified Paralegal and joined the Affirmative Litigation unit in August 2015. Prior to working at ICLC, Eric interned with the Coalition for Economic Survival, where he first gained exposure to tenants’ rights and other housing issues. He later collaborated with psychologists at Cedars Sinai Medical Center on a project that helped the disenfranchised and Spanish-speaking, HIV-positive community in Los Angeles. Eric is originally from Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Occidental College in 2014 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Political Science.

Vidhya 2015Vidhya Ragunathan
Pro Bono Coordinator

Bio

Vidhya joined ICLC as its Pro Bono Coordinator in January 2015. 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 bono 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 Women Lawyer’s Association of Los Angeles. She was a member of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC), a president of SABA-SC’s Public Interest Foundation, a board member of the South Asian Network, and a member of the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. Vidhya received degrees in Political Science and Psychology from UCLA and her J.D. from UCLA.


Monica Ratajczak  

Executive Assistant & Program Coordinator

Bio
Monica is an Executive Assistant and Program Coordinator at Inner City Law Center and assists with a variety of projects. She provides support to ICLC’s Executive Director, coordinates communication efforts and assists with the development of new program Homeful.LA. Prior to joining ICLC, she served as the Administrative Coordinator for 3 years at the Network for Social Work Management, an international membership organization dedicated to strengthening leadership in health and human services. During her tenure at NSWM, she helped increase membership by 8,000 members, launched 4 new programs and planned 3 national conferences with record breaking attendance numbers. She also served as a Fundraiser for USA for UNHCR- The UN Refugee Agency and advocated for refugees. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Global Studies, as well as a Technology Management Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She plans to attend law school and practice immigration law in the future.

Rob Reed                                                                            Director of Homelessness Prevention Program

Bio
Rob Reed joined ICLC as Director of Homelessness Prevention in January 2017.  As an attorney, Rob has exclusively represented tenants for almost the entirety of his legal career.  While living in Chicago, a leaky roof and a bookclub including several public interest attorney members inspired him to become a people’s lawyer.  Moving to Los Angeles after graduating law school, Rob began his education in housing law in 2004 by volunteering with the Coalition for Economic Survival’s bi-weekly West Hollywood Tenants’ Rights Clinic.  Soon thereafter, he began working at the Eviction Defense Network (EDN), where he represented thousands of families in eviction cases and later served as EDN’s co-executive director.  In 2011, Rob joined Public Counsel’s new Shriver Eviction Defense Unit in order to help ensure the success of California’s groundbreaking civil Gideon pilot project. At Public Counsel, he litigated hundreds more eviction cases and served as a mentor to many of the Shriver attorneys across partner organizations.  Rob received his JD from the University of Illinois College of Law and BS in Chemical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

 

Tiffany Sorensen

Senior Staff Attorney

Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness

Bio
Tiffany Sorensen joined Inner City Law Center in January 2018, as a Senior Staff Attorney representing families struggling with homelessness. Prior to joining Inner City Law Center, Tiffany was an attorney at BASTA, Inc., where she represented low-income tenants facing eviction from intake through jury trial. Tiffany received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School.

 

fely

Fely Soto
Tenant Organizer
Healthy Homes

Bio

Fely joined ICLC as a Tenant Organizer in April 2011. Fely educates tenants about habitability issues through the Rent Escrow Account Program to promote safe and healthy housing. She comes to ICLC with three years of tenant organizing experience with the Coalition for Economic Survival. Prior to CES, Fely owned, operated and managed a catering and restaurant business in Lynwood, CA. Her success as an entrepreneur allowed her to contribute to her community in a personal manner by providing work experience and culinary knowledge to underprivileged teens.

gregGreg Spiegel
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Bio

Greg joined Inner City Law Center as Director of Strategic Initiatives in March of 2016.  Greg recently returned to ICLC from a year and a half as Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Homelessness Policy Director.  Prior to the Mayor’s office, Greg spent six years as Director of Public Policy and Communications at Inner City Law Center. Prior to ICLC, Greg spent eight years as a housing attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty. From 1996 to 2000, Greg was an attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles working on redevelopment, transportation, affordable housing and nonprofit corporation issues.  Greg received his law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and his B.A. from UCLA.


Jose 2015Jose Luis Surio

Outreach Representative
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.

Erin 2015Erin E. Thompson
Special Projects Manager & Board Liaison
Homeful.LA

Bio

Erin works closely with Executive Director, Adam Murray, and the Board of Directors and Advisors to coordinate logistics for special initiatives. She manages ICLC’s affiliat website www.Homeful.LA and the team it takes to make people in Los Angeles aware of how they can volunteer, advocate, or donate towards ending homelessness. 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.

Catherine Wagner Calderaro
Staff Attorney
Housing Litigation

Bio
Catherine Wagner Calderaro joined ICLC as a Staff Attorney in March of 2017. Before coming to ICLC, Catherine was a fellow and then a staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, conducting impact litigation and other advocacy on matters related to policing and national security including due process, racial bias, gang injunctions, Fourth Amendment issues, civilian oversight and surveillance. She previously worked with a number of civil and human rights organizations including the Texas Civil Rights Project, the UN Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia, the Save Darfur Coalition and Oxfam International, and with Amman Imman, an organization working to develop infrastructure in West Africa. Catherine graduated from the University of Texas School of Law, where she was a Human Rights Scholar, and holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University.

Alex Wallace
Major Gifts Officer

Bio
Alex joined Inner City Law Center in August 2017, as a Major Gifts Officer. She has over 8 years in the nonprofit sector and has served as the Senior Director of Major Gifts for United Way of Central Oklahoma, and an Area Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Central/Western Oklahoma. She has created and implemented planned giving programs; grew donor affinity groups; recruited, engaged, and managed corporate and individual donors; planned and executed fundraising events as well as implemented marketing plans. Alex is a proud graduate of Langston University, and she looks forward to continued growth and success.

 


RebeccaRebecca Watson
Director of Public Benefits Project
Homelessness Prevention, Public Benefits

Bio

Rebecca Watson initially joined ICLC in May 2013 as a Staff Attorney and spent four years representing clients in housing and public benefits-related cases. She is now the Directing Attorney of Public Benefits Advocacy. 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.


ICLC

Aimee Williams
Senior Staff Attorney
Housing Litigation

Bio
Aimee Williams joined Inner City Law Center in 2016 as a Staff Attorney on the Housing Litigation team.  Prior to joining ICLC, Aimee was a supervising attorney at Eviction Defense Network, where she advocated on behalf of tenants living in gentrifying communities to protect rent-controlled housing and prevent displacement.  Aimee gained admission to the California Bar in 2013, but is also admitted to practice law in her home state of Queensland, Australia.  Prior to moving to Los Angeles she worked in the field of criminal law, as an appeals clerk and staff attorney for the Queensland Office of Director of Public Prosecutions and also volunteered assisting refugees recently arrived to Australia.  Aimee is a graduate of Griffith Law School, Australia and holds a B.A in International Relations from Griffith University, with a semester spent at Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po).

 

Lily Yan

Staff Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio
Lily Yan joined Inner City Law Center in March of 2018. As an Arizonan by birth but a Californian by choice, Lily graduated from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law with pro bono distinction and a certificate in Indian Law. Since relocating to the Golden State, Lily has provided legal services to seniors in California’s Central Valley, including assistance in estate planning, as well as consumer, elder abuse, and foreclosure litigation. Before joining ICLC, she defended low-income tenants in eviction cases in San Diego through the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act.  Lily is now proud to be part of a passionate team dedicated to helping those who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes secure crucial benefits they deserve. .

Staff photos courtesy of Gabor Ekecs