We are proud of the diverse and talented people who work with us to achieve housing and justice for our clients and for those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County.
Adam Murray Executive Director
Adam Murray is the Executive Director of Inner City Law Center, a non-profit 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 70+ staff and 450+ 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.
In his ten 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 thirty-five-attorney law firm with an $9 million budget. In addition, over the past three years, pro bono attorneys from private firms donated over $35 million worth of free legal services to ICLC clients.
Adam has taught economics and political science at East Los Angeles College. He has served as president of the board of both the Housing Rights Center of Southern California and the Immigration Center for Women and Children. He is a former Commissioner with the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Committee on Economy and Efficiency and 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. 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 Administration
Juliet joined ICLC as Director of 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.
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 Directing Attorney Homeless Prevention
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
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.
Nell joined Inner City Law Center in May 2018 to help expand our organization’s recruiting efforts. She graduated from Missouri State University in 2013 with a B.S. in Hospitality and Restaurant Administration. Prior to joining ICLC, Nell managed restaurants and hotels, organizing teams of cooks, servers, bartenders, housekeepers, and guest service agents. She is passionate about protecting and uplifting marginalized communities, as well as facilitating safe workplace environments where each individual is treated with dignity and respect. Nell feels honored to be able to use her hospitality skills to make Inner City Law Center a warm and inviting environment for both clients and staff.
Melanie graduated with honors from Scripps College with a BA in Politics and a concentration in Public Policy. Having spent a year as a Legal Assistant at a pharmaceutical law firm working on multi-district litigations, she joined ICLC to focus on more client-based work. Her main roles at ICLC on the CBEST benefits team include tracking data, increasing efficient technology use, designing and implementing systems of organization, and assisting at partner agency trainings.
Anthony Bonadies Staff Attorney Homeless Veterans
Anthony joined ICLC in May 2018 as Staff Attorney for the Homeless Veterans Project. Anthony is also a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, having enlisted in the United States Army after graduating high school. Anthony then worked as an Emergency Medical Technician, providing emergency life support services in Los Angeles. Anthony earned his B.A. at UCLA and his J.D. at Southwestern Law School. Before joining ICLC, Anthony was a pro bono attorney for Public Counsel, where he provided legal services for low-income residents with the Consumer Law Project. Thereafter, he was a Legal Fellow for the Domestic Violence Advocacy Initiative at Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center, where he provided vital legal services to victims and survivors of domestic violence. Anthony also represented clients in stepparent adoption cases, and in terminating the parental rights of abusive parents.
Mary Boyd Registered Legal Services Attorney Homeless Veterans
Mary Boyd is a staff attorney in ICLC’s homeless veterans project. She formally served as an attorney with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington D.C. At the Board she drafted decisions for the Veterans Law Judges. While in law school Mary focused on public interest law; and she interned with the City of Springfield: Code Enforcement Division where she worked to help tenants stay in their homes and brought landlords to justice for unsafe housing conditions. Mary also interned with the Hampton Public Defenders Office, Juvenile Justice Division in Virginia, the International Human Rights Clinic of Massachusetts, and had the privilege of serving as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge Tina S. Page at the Superior Court of Hampden County in Springfield, Massachusetts. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with her B.S. in Print Journalism and History, and earned her J.D. at Western New England College School of Law.
Roberto Cabrales Director of Tenant Organizing Healthy Homes
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.
Doug Carnahan Managing Attorney
Before becoming a Managing Attorney, Doug Carnahan spent 29 years as a court commissioner, first with the South Bay Municipal Court (Torrance, LA County) and then with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. During his time on the bench, Doug handled calendars in general and limited civil, unlawful detainers, small claims, traffic, probate, and misdemeanor and felony criminal cases. He retired from the bench in 2013 and volunteered from 2014 to 2018 with Inner City before becoming the AffLit Team’s director in 2018.
Before his time on the bench, Doug was a senior associate with the firm of Schell & Delamer in Los Angeles, practicing insurance defense litigation in state and federal courts. Before that he was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at USC, and has continued to teach over the years at various paralegal, undergraduate, and law school programs in southern California, including the paralegal programs of UCLA and El Camino, the law schools of Whittier, Loyola, the University of West Los Angeles, and UCLA, and in the department of Politics at Pomona College. Early in his legal career he was a sole general practitioner and then a partner in a small firm in Marina del Rey and Woodland Hills.
Doug has a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law (1975), a B.S. in Engineering from UCLA (1968) and an MPW (Master of Professional Writing) from USC (2008). He has authored many legal columns and articles, and several books. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army (1971-73).
Anna Carrillo Human Resources Coordinator
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.
Director of Human Resources
Stacy Celestin joined ICLC as the Director of Human Resources in June 2019. She is responsible for addressing strategic HR initiatives at the intersection of human capital and business processes, while maximizing talent strategies, implementing strategic workforce planning, engaging talent, and developing employees to their fullest potential. Ms. Celestin has over 10 years of extensive experience in diversified HR and project management functions. Prior to ICLC, Ms. Celestin worked at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as the Chief of Staff in which she was responsible for the management of 10 programs, ranging from data analytics to congressional outreach efforts for the largest district in the nation. During her tenure at USCIS, she was recognized as the highest ranking African American on the west coast for this agency. Ms. Celestin’s federal government background also includes working with agencies such as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Acting Deputy Director for the Foreign Service Division; Department of the Navy (DON) as the Deputy, Human Capital Officer; and Health and Human Services (HHS) as a Senior Advisor/Lead HR Specialist. Throughout Ms. Celestin’s career she has received various meritorious awards and accolades regarding cost savings HR projects to streamlining organizational processes more efficiently and effectively.
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 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 Housing Litigation
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.
Christa joined ICLC as a staff attorney in June 2018. Prior to joining ICLC, she worked as an attorney at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance. There, she represented low income tenants facing eviction as part of GBLA’s Shriver Project, and assisted tenants with a variety of other housing matters. Christa received a B.A in History and a minor in French from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a J.D from the UCLA School of Law. While in law school, she interned and volunteered at various public interest organization including Bet Tzedek Legal Services, California Rural Legal Assistance, and the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation.
Ben Dickerson Staff Attorney Homeless Veterans
Ben joined ICLC in September 2018 as Staff Attorney for the Homeless Veterans Advocacy Project. Ben feels at home in the Veterans Project; as an OIF veteran, he deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2003, 2005, and 2007. After serving over a decade in the U.S. Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, Ben obtained a B.A. in Sociology (Law and Society focus) from the University of California San Diego. As an undergrad, he interned at the San Diego/Imperial County ACLU office, where he served as a legal observer for Black Lives Matter and researched the effects of racial profiling by the San Diego Police and Sherriff’s Departments. In law school Ben’s research focused on the constitutionality of police militarization, and racial disparities in the indictment and charging processes concerning incidents of police violence. Ben earned his J.D. from California Western School of Law, where he wrote and edited for the law review.
Sarah Evans Senior Paralegal
Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness
Sarah is a Senior Paralegal in Homelessness Prevention’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project. She started her social services career over two decades ago, working in a residential care program with individuals who were released from Northampton State Hospital (MA) upon its closure. Sarah later worked as an independent study teacher with teens in a dual diagnosis program, and then for a charter school to facilitate homeschooling for families throughout Los Angeles County. Prior to joining ICLC, Sarah worked at Public Counsel for 11 years, doing government benefits and other advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS, and for residents of Skid Row, in addition to running the Homeless Court. She is also a dedicated yogi, and has taught restorative yoga in Skid Row. Sarah is deeply committed to serving the most vulnerable and marginalized Angelenos through a holistic approach of heart and zeal.
Lucy Fitzpatrick Project Coordinator Public Benefits
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.
James Gilliam Directing Attorney Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness
James Gilliam joined ICLC as the Director of the Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project (PEHP) in February 2018. PEHP seeks to resolve the legal hurdles that prevent people from getting or keeping housing. Prior to joining ICLC, he spent 8 years as the Deputy Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California, and 6 years as an Associate and Pro Bono Coordinator at Paul Hastings. James graduated cum laude from Loyola Law School in 2003, where he was Chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation and where he founded a project that paired students with people seeking general relief benefits. Interestingly, the first pro bono matter James ever worked on as an Associate at Paul Hastings back in 2003 was an ICLC slum housing case, where he worked with more than 80 families who were living in deplorable conditions.
Tai Glenn Chief Counsel & Director of Legal Services
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 Gomez Senior Paralegal Housing Litigation
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.
Carlos Gonzalez Paralegal Housing Litigation
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.
Andrea Gutierrez joined Inner City Law Center in June 2018 as a Paralegal Trainee on their CBEST Hearings Team helping people who have been denied or are at risk of losing their benefits. Prior to joining Inner City Law Center, Andrea worked at BASTA, Inc. as a Community Affairs Coordinator for six years where she assisted low-income tenants facing eviction and asserting their tenants rights specializing in Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Andrea was born and raised in South LA which has inspired her to do more for her community in order to assist others and help people assert their rights.
Donella Green Law Clerk Homeless Prevention
Donella was born and raised in California’s Central Valley in Merced, California. She graduated from UCLA, where she earned degrees in Philosophy and African-American Studies. While at UCLA, she participated in the Law Fellows Program at the UCLA School of Law.
She graduated from Fordham Law School. While in law school, she interned at the Merced County Office of the Public Defender in Merced, California, and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, in Washington, D.C. She was also named a New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation Fellow and given the opportunity to work in the Feerick Center for Social Justice, where she worked in the Domestic Violence and Consumer Law Project, which focused on the intersection of domestic violence and consumer law issues affecting survivors of domestic violence. She also participated in the Community Economic Development Clinic where she learned how to counsel nonprofit start-up organizations in a social justice setting.
Prior to the Inner City Law Center, she worked as a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society, in the Criminal Defense Practice, in Brooklyn, New York. Donella is committed to social justice and honored to provide legal services to her clients.
Aisha Hardaway is a Registered Legal Services Attorney for the Homeless Veterans Project, and joined ICLC in September 2018. Aisha graduated from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia; and earned her B.A. from Kennesaw State University. While in law school, Aisha worked as a Student Attorney for the Barton Juvenile Defender Clinic, Legal Intern for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, and Judicial Extern at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Michele Helm Paralegal
Michele recently joined the ICLC team as a paralegal, having recently graduated from Los Angeles City College with her A.A. and Certificate in Paralegal Studies. Michele received her Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from Columbia University and comes from an English as a Second/Foreign Language teaching background. Albeit in a different role from teaching, Michele looks forward to continuing her social justice advocate work with her CBEST project team members.
Jessica Hernandez Paralegal
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
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.
Jennifer T. Hirsch Director of Finance
Jennifer T. Hirsch, CPA joined ICLC as the Director of Finance in April 2018. Prior to joining ICLC, Jennifer served as a finance, accounting and management consultant to over 25 not-for-profit organizations and the Director of Finance and Accounting at FilmLA. An active community volunteer, Jennifer has also held over 40 leadership roles in educational, youth sports, and health advocacy, religious and political organizations in her community. A native Californian, Jennifer received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis.
Jerry Jones Director of Public Policy
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
Emily joined ICLC in May 2017 as a member of the Homeless Veterans Project. She received her B.A. degree in Communications and a minor in Bible in May 2015 from The Master’s University. In June 2018, she graduated cum laude from College of the Canyons with a degree in Paralegal Studies, and was one of five students to be inducted into the school’s first-ever chapter of “Lambda Epsilon Chi” – the National Honor Society in Paralegal/Legal Studies. Emily is also an active member of NALA – the National Association of Legal Assistants. 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 Supervising Attorney Homeless Veterans
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.
Alex Kowalick-Allen Paralegal Trainee Public Benefits
Alex Kowalick-Allen joined the Public Benefits Team at ICLC in December 2018. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Political Science from Tufts University, where she was a Research Assistant with the Immigrant-Native Relations Project, completed the Writing Fellowship program, and was a student organizer with the Tufts janitors union. She also interned at a day labor center in Northern California, where she worked with undocumented day laborers to advance their dignity and rights as workers and members of the community. Alex is fluent in Spanish and has lived in Mexico, Spain, and Argentina. She is committed to creating social change both in her professional and in her personal life. She is also passionate about art, creative writing, psychology, and exploring the natural wonders of the world!
Jin Lee Senior Staff Attorney Public Benefits
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.
Abbey Lent Equal Justice Works Fellow Homeless Veterans
Abbey Lent joined ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project in September of 2018 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis, LLP and Raytheon. Her fellowship project is to develop a medical-legal partnership with the Center of Excellence clinic at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and join the primary care physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers on the team there to provide holistic care to the clinic’s homeless patients. During law school, Abbey served as the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles fellow with ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project, where she assisted women veterans in their claims for VA benefits and discharge upgrades. She was also a student attorney in the Michigan Innocence Clinic and interned at Legal Services of South Central Michigan. She earned both her B.A. in Psychology and her J.D. from the University of Michigan.
Neri Lozano Paralegal Public Benefits
Prior to joining ICLC’s Public Benefits Project, 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 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.
Kourtney Love Administrative Clerk Homeless Veterans
Kourtney studied Administration of Justice over at West Los Angeles College before transferring to Mount Saint Mary’s to study a B.A in Business Administration and Pre-Law. Kourtney comes to ICLC with a passion for helping others and several years of experience in the legal field. In her previous positons she has built successful teams and supervised the evidence department helping attorneys win at a successful rate. Kourtney is hoping to gain experience and utilize her skills on her new journey with ICLC!
Kara Mahoney Directing Attorney Homeless Veterans
Kara is the Directing Attorney 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.
Laura McQuay Staff Accountant
Laura joined ICLC in October 2018 as our Staff Accountant. Prior to joining ICLC, she served as the Associate Director of Accounting and Employee Services at San Francisco Conservation Corps, a nonprofit education and job training program supporting low income young adults. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. As an LA native, she came to ICLC with a passion for supporting change in her community through supporting vulnerable communities.
Míchel Angela Martinez Project Coordinator Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness
Míchel Angela Martinez joined ICLC in June 2018 as the Project Coordinator with our Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness Team. She is a longtime organizer and photographer born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. A first-generation college graduate, she has a Ph.D. in Politics and Photography from USC where she focused on the right to photograph and how to use images to fight police brutality. As a member of the National Lawyers Guild and National Police Accountability Project, she shows fellow organizers the “know your rights” ropes, and trains people in direct action and strategic campaign escalation. She comes to ICLC from USC where she taught courses in community organizing, international law, human rights, criminal justice, and constitutional law and policy, while also advocating on behalf of students experiencing racism and gender discrimination. Prior to that, she was a National Organizer for the National Lawyers Guild in New York, where she worked on issues as varied as prisons, poverty, war, environmental justice, capital punishment, torture, and workers’ rights. She puts her diversified toolbox to good use with a “by any means necessary” approach to social justice. A former collegiate triathlete, she now enjoys sports and the outdoors as a way to connect with friends, family, and her partner, a radical lawyer.
Derrick Moon Paralegal Homeless Veterans
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.
Jeanne Nishimoto Supervising Attorney
Preventing and Ending Homelessness
Jeanne L. Nishimoto joined Inner City Law Center in November 2018 as the Supervising Attorney of the Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project. Prior to joining ICLC, Jeanne worked at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, first as a staff attorney and later as the Pro Bono Training Manager. In her practice, she advocated on behalf of low-income clients and communities through direct representation, affirmative litigation, and policy work. She focused on issues relating to housing, government benefits, and civil rights. As the Pro Bono Training Manger, Jeanne oversaw the Pro Bono Training Institute, a statewide collaboration that provides trainings to legal services volunteers throughout California. She has presented at several state and national legal conferences on strategies to leverage technology and volunteers to close the Justice Gap. Jeanne earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School and her undergraduate degree from Amherst College.
Melody Osuna Staff Attorney Homeless Veterans
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
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 Quizhpi Paralegal Housing Litigation
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 Ragunathan Director of Pro Bono
Vidhya joined ICLC as its Pro Bono Coordinator in January 2015 and is currently its Director of Pro Bono. 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 and the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee. 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 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 Directing Attorney Homelessness Prevention
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.
Aldra Robinson Grants Manager
Aldra joined Inner City Law Center as Grants Manager in April 2018. She began her career in the nonprofit sector in 2001 through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, working with Habitat for Humanity. Throughout her career, Aldra has focused her work on helping veterans and people experiencing homelessness access the resources they need to achieve stability. She is honored to continue serving low-income people by supporting the work of ICLC’s attorneys and paralegals in their fight to protect vulnerable Angelenos.
Eve Rutzick Senior Staff Attorney Public Benefits
Eve Rutzick joined ICLC in March 2018 as a senior staff attorney on the public benefits team. Eve began her legal career at the Eviction Defense Network in Los Angeles helping low-income tenants fight eviction actions. Eve then worked at the Social Security Administration as an attorney advisor and as a supervising attorney. Eve received her B.A. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Washington and her J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where she was a member of the UCLA Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. During law school, Eve interned at the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law, Public Counsel, and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. She strongly believes in the power of the law as one of many tools to increase social justice.
Erica De Santiago
Paralegal Trainee Homeless Prevention
Erica joined ICLC in May 2018 as a paralegal trainee on the Homelessness Prevention team. Prior to joining ICLC, Erica was a legal assistant at the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, where she supported the Immigration and VOCA team. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Criminal Justice. During her senior year at CSULB, Erica became a JusticeCorps member and volunteered at the Norwalk Courthouse self-help center where she educated and helped self-represented litigants with family law and unlawful detainer cases. Erica is originally from East Los Angeles and she is very passionate about helping vulnerable individuals and advocating for their rights. Erica’s goal is to attend law school and hopes to someday open a non-profit to help people in her community.
Juan Sarinana Staff Attorney
Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness
Juan is a staff attorney in the Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project. He received his B.A in Government and graduated cum laude from California State University, Sacramento. He is a 2017 graduate of Penn State Dickinson Law.
Prior to joining ICLC, Juan worked at a boutique tax law firm. He joined ICLC in August of 2018 .
Ann Scott Document Specialist
Ann Scott joins ICLC as Document Specialist. Ann has over 20 years’ experience as a Consultant in the field of enterprise content management, including document management, information lifecycle management and related best practices. Ann has expertise in designing and implementing records management programs for electronic as well as physical records. This expertise has been gained by her involvement in a range of projects across various industries including legal, entertainment, finance and government agencies. She is a member of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) and Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM).
Fely Soto Senior Tenant Organizer Healthy Homes
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.
Greg 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 Luis Surio Tenant Organizer Healthy Homes
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 E. Thompson Special Projects Manager Homeful.LA
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 the founder of E3 Enterprises LLC and a nonprofit organization called The S Word Project.
Sandra joined ICLC as a staff attorney in January 2018. Prior to joining ICLC, she was as a law clerk at a small criminal defense firm where she primarily assisted low income clients facing criminal charges ranging from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies. Sandra received her B.A. in Spanish and a minor in French from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2015, and a J.D. from Southwestern Law School in 2018. While in law school, she participated in Southwestern’s Ninth Circuit Litigation Clinic where she represented an indigent client in deportation proceedings. She was also an extern at various public interest entities such as the Central American Resource Center, the Los Angeles Air Force Base, and the Inglewood District Attorney’s Office. She is committed to a career in public service and representing those who would otherwise not have access to legal services.
Ernesto Velazquez Tenant Organizer Healthy Homes
Ernesto Velazquez joined the Organizing team at ICLC in March 2018. He works on educating tenants through the Rent Escrow Account Program and focuses on tenant rights. Ernesto is a native of Los Angeles and his connection to this community makes the work he does all the more meaningful. He is passionate about social justice and helping the vulnerable members of our community. Prior to joining ICLC, Ernesto worked on low income energy consumption and education. He has a Bachelors degree in History from the University of California, Riverside, where he graduated in 2015.
Alissa de Vogel
Alissa de Vogel joined Inner City Law Center’s Public Benefits team in November 2018 as a Staff Attorney. Alissa is a graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law and earned her BA in History and Government from Skidmore College. During law school, Alissa interned and volunteered at various public interest organizations in San Francisco, including the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, Prisoner Legal Services, and the California Appellate Project. After a short stint representing tenants in unlawful detainers and other housing issues, she joined Bay Area Legal Aid where she specialized in helping disabled, low-income clients secure stable income through SSI and SSDI benefits. Alissa is excited to continue this work in her new home of Los Angeles.
Roland serves as one of our receptionists/call screeners for Inner City Law Center, while also creating various logos, presentations, and other assorted graphic designs for our organization. Before joining ICLC, he was an English and Performing Arts teacher at the high school and collegiate level for more than ten years, including prior experience in journalism as a reporter, editor, and graphic designer, as well as a broadcast engineer, producer, and voice actor for radio stations throughout Los Angeles. Roland earned his B.A. in Child Development from San José State University and is working towards his Master’s Degree in Education from Mount Saint Mary’s University.
Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness
Larken Yackulic is a Skadden Fellow at ICLC. Her project focuses on providing wraparound legal services to individuals who are both experiencing and at-risk of homelessness. Larken earned her JD from UCLA School of Law in 2018, where she was a member of the David J. Epstein Program for Public Interest Law and Policy. During law school, Larken interned with the Eviction Defense Unit at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the Alaska Public Defender Agency, and Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Larken decided to pursue a career in public interest law while working on behalf of low-income tenants at Montana Legal Services Association in Missoula, Montana. Prior to that, she worked as a Wilderness Ranger for the US Forest Service in Central Idaho.
Alex Wallace Major Gifts Officer
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.
Rebecca Watson Directing Attorney Public Benefits
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.
Kaimi Wenger Senior Staff Attorney
Kaimi Wenger joined ICLC in August 2018. He previously worked as a law professor and Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. He also taught as a visiting professor at University of San Diego and University of Nice, France. Kaimi has published and presented frequently on civil rights topics, including as an invited panelist at the Annual Legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Caucus in 2008, 2010 and 2014. He was also the Lead Faculty Organizer of the 2010 Women and Law Conference at Thomas Jefferson, which focused on “Women of Color and Intersectionality” and was held in conjunction with UCLA School of Law’s Fourth Annual Critical Race Studies Symposium. Prior to joining Thomas Jefferson in 2005, he clerked for Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York and practiced law with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP, in New York City. He is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law where he was an articles editor for the Columbia Law Review.
Lily Yan Senior 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. .