Staff

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.

AMurray_HeadshotAdam Murray
Executive Director

Bio
Adam Murray is 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 80+ staff and 400+ 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 eight years as Executive Director, Adam has guided ICLC’s transformation from a five-attorney law firm with a $1.4 million budget to a forty attorney law firm with a $10 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 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. He is a former member of the Los Angeles County Citizens’ Committee on Economy and Efficiency.

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 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.

Thomas Anderson  
Senior Staff Attorney
Benefits Advocacy

Bio
Thomas Anderson graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2013. After law school he worked in plaintiff side Personal Injury and discovered his passion for public interest while volunteering his time advocating for victims of domestic violence with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program. From 2015 to 2019, Thomas worked for Bay Area Legal Aid – with a focus on Economic Justice (public benefit advocacy) – in a Medical-Legal Partnership with Contra Costa Health Services. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his heartmate, Niko. He has been working with Inner City Law Center since August 2019 with a focus on Social Security and other public assistance programs.

Juliet Arganaraz
Director of Administration

Bio

Juliet Arganaraz joined ICLC as Director of Administration in October 2013. She 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 (LACLJ) 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.

Ingrid Arriaga
Directing 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.

Nell Bennett  
Office Manager

Bio
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.

Anthony Bonadies
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

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.

Michael Borr
Project Coordinator
Public Benefits

Bio

Michael joined Inner City Law Center in March of 2020 with the Benefits Advocacy Technical Team. Prior to ICLC, Michael worked with Volunteers of America Los Angeles serving Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable populations by assisting with the filing of disability benefits, finding temporary housing solutions and connecting participants to community programs and partners that provide services such as educational and employment opportunities. In addition, applying all he had learned while working at the Social Security Administration, Michael served as a subject matter expert on Social Security Administration programs and policies in his service planning area. Michael brings a wealth of mentor and leadership experience as a United States Army veteran where he spent nearly 14 years in leadership, instructor, assessment and mentor roles. Some of his most coveted achievements in the military were being selected as a Sniper, becoming a Sniper instructor and co-authoring of the short range marksmanship course that is still being used as a training tool across all U.S. Army installations around the world. In his spare time, he enjoys being active with his family, hiking and riding the trails above Pasadena.

Mary Boyd
Registered Legal Services Attorney
Homeless Veterans

Bio
Mary Boyd is a Senior 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

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.

Stephanie Caridad
Program Analyst

Bio
Stephanie joined ICLC in September 2019. Prior to her time with the project, she lived in Poland through a Fulbright scholarship where she taught English at the University of Gdańsk. She is back in her hometown of Los Angeles to continue her work in local nonprofits and social justice. Stephanie is a graduate of Williams College with a BA in English and Spanish.

Doug Carnahan
Managing Attorney

Bio
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).

Sarah Cayer 
Tenant Defense Fellow
Homelessness Prevention

Bio
Sarah joined ICLC as a Tenant Defense Fellow in May, 2020. During law school, Sarah represented tenants in the Boston Housing Court as a clinical student with the Harvard Housing Clinic, was part of the Harvard Tenant Advocacy Project, and served as an editor on the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She spent her 1L and 2L summers advocating for economic justice with the National Consumer Law Center, Health Law Advocates, and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Sarah has aa Bachelor’s Degree in Politics from Oberlin College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Stacy Celestin  
Director of Human Resources

Bio
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.

ICLC

Lisa Charles 
Special Projects Manager

Bio

Lisa 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.

Jaradie Chhun
Paralegal Trainee
Public Benefits

Bio
Jaradie is a Paralegal Trainee on ICLC’s Public Benefits team. Having graduated from U.C Irvine in 2017 with a B.A in Public Health Policy, she decided to pursue a career in public interest. Prior to ICLC, Jaradie worked at Lutheran Social Services and Help Me Help You as a Benefits Specialist assisting disabled, homeless individuals with applying for Social Security Benefits or CAPI Benefits at the initial claim level. Jaradie works with the Hearings Team at ICLC assisting those who were denied at the initial claim level with appealing their decision.

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.

Jake Crammer  
Legal Fellow  
Homeless Prevention

Bio

Jake Crammer started as a Legal Fellow in the Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project in August 2019. His project focuses on addressing the economic barriers to stable housing in Los Angeles, focusing especially on debt and consumer finance issues. Jake earned a JD from Notre Dame Law School in 2019, where he served as Managing Articles Editor for the Notre Dame Law Review. During law school, Jake interned with the Economic Justice Clinic, the Economic Justice Project at Southern Poverty Law Center, the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic in Chicago, and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

Juan Cuevas
Accounting Specialist

Bio

Prior to joining ICLC Juan worked as an associate at In N Out and served as a finance manager for a club known as CASSA. Juan attended California State University Fullerton and graduated with a Bachelors in Liberal Studies. He is the first in his family to graduate from a university and also the eldest of five children. In his spare time, he enjoys going to movies and spending time with his family.

Scott Davis
Tenant Defense Fellow
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

Scott joined ICLC as a Tenant Defense Fellow in May, 2020. During law school, Scott worked with New Yorkers experiencing homelessness as a member of REACH (Research, Education, and Advocacy to Combat Homelessness), served as a Research Assistant with the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, and was as an editor on the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. He spent his 1L summer with the Housing Unit of East Bay Community Law Center, and his 2L summer at the Western Center on Law and Poverty. Scott has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from UNC-Chapel Hill and a JD from NYU School of Law.

Erica De Santiago
Paralegal
Homeless Prevention

Bio

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 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.

Darius Dehghan
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio

Darius is a Staff Attorney working on Homelessness Prevention at ICLC. Prior to this, he was a legal fellow in the Complex Litigation Unit at Community Legal Aid SoCal, working on cases involving state affordable housing and public benefits law. Darius is a 2018 graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, where he was Symposium Editor for the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, & Justice. During law school, he interned with the Veterans Legal Institute and the International Human Rights Law Clinic at Berkeley.

Zoe Dolan
Senior Staff Attorney
Tenant Defense Project

Bio

Zoe Dolan is a graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law and has been practicing since 2006 – first in New York City for several years, and, more recently, here in Los Angeles. She has handled a variety of matters ranging from individual and small business representations to tech and crypto stuff to litigation and criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal court. Zoe’s outside interests include writing books, cycling, hiking and skydiving.

Lucy Fitzpatrick
Project Coordinator
Public Benefits

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.

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.  

Donella Green
Supervising Attorney
Homeless Prevention

Bio
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.

Andrea Gutierrez
Paralegal Trainee
Public Benefits

Bio
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.

Alexander (Sasha) Harnden
Public Policy Advocate

Bio
Sasha Harnden has joined Inner City Law Center as a Public Policy Advocate focused on issues related to housing and homelessness. Prior to joining ICLC, Sasha was a Housing Policy Advocate with the Western Center on Law & Poverty, drafting and lobbying for the passage of legislation related to housing supply and tenant protections, including AB 1482 and SB 329. Sasha began his legal career at LAFLA, providing direct services to tenants, technical assistance to community organizations and coalitions, and participating in impact litigation on housing, land use and environmental justice issues. Sasha was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended UC Santa Cruz as an undergrad and UC Davis for law school.

Amanda Hassid
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio
Amanda received a BA in Psychology from UCLA in 2012, and shortly after graduating, she experienced her first taste of public interest law by volunteering at Public Counsel’s Pro Per Guardianship Clinic at Stanley Mosk Courthouse. At the guardianship clinic, she assisted pro per litigants with filing applications for probate guardianship, and it was during this internship that she discovered that she wanted to pursue a career in public interest law. Amanda began her legal education at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 2013. During her first summer after law school, she was a law clerk for the Housing & Eviction Defense Unit at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles where she helped tenants with unlawful detainers and other housing issues. She joined Inner City Law Center as a staff attorney in September 2018. She initially represented low-income tenants facing evictions but now helps individuals secure SSI, SSDI and CAPI benefits.

Michele Helm
Paralegal
Public Benefits

Bio
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.

Amy Hernandez
Administrative Clerk
Housing Litigation

Bio
Prior to ICLC, Amy worked for Titan Offices as the Front Desk Receptionist and as a Family Law Paralegal for Neighborhood Legal Services. Amy attended Cal State University, Northridge and majored in Social Welfare/Justice. Amy enjoys spreading awareness throughout her community and will always make sure to remind herself/ others to feel the greatness in each day of life. Amy is excited to be part of Inner City Law Center where she can put all her passion and experience into action.

Jessica Hernandez
Paralegal
Homelessness Prevention

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. 

Kendra Hernandez
Staff Attorney 
Homeless Prevention

Bio
Kendra Hernandez is a staff attorney on ICLC’s preventing homelessness project. She previously worked on “Clean Slate” initiatives with folks returning from incarceration, aiding in removing and reducing barriers to success. She has also worked with the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated teens of Washington State. During school, Kendra interned in dependency court and with a prison law project. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Literature, and earned her J.D. at University of Washington School of Law.

Jennifer T. Hirsch
Chief Financial Officer

Bio
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.

Deborah Hoetger
Senior Staff Attorney
Housing Litigation

Bio
Deborah Hoetger joined Inner City Law Center in July 2019 as a Senior Staff Attorney in the slum housing litigation unit. A mid-westerner by birth but a Californian by choice, Deborah graduated magna cum laude from Indiana University School of Law. During law school, she volunteered with the Inmate Legal Services Clinic and served as research assistant to Professor Joseph Hoffman, a nationally recognized authority on the death penalty. Since law school, she successfully obtained political asylum for two refugees from Somalia and volunteers with LA Works. Prior to joining ICLC, Deborah represented aggrieved employees for more than a decade in discrimination, harassment, and whistleblower retaliation cases. Deborah is now proud to be part of the passionate team at ICLC.

Daniel Horta 
Office Manager

Bio
Daniel is one of the office managers at ICLC. He graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside. He is passionate about social justice and hopes his work will have a meaningful impact on the community. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and going to botanical gardens.

Hannah Ibañez
Staff Attorney
Homeless Prevention

Bio
Hannah Ibañez joined ICLC in 2020 as a staff attorney, licensed to practice law in Florida and California. Prior to joining ICLC, she was a Public Defender representing clients charged with misdemeanors, felonies, and capital/life felonies in the State of Florida. Having tried over 20 jury trials, including attempted murder, she rarely had the opportunity to help clients through the root issues that landed them in the system to begin with. Compounding with issues of modern policing and race politics, most of her clients struggled with a lack of stable housing and assistance, arguably the first step to lifting them out of their circumstances. Having dealt with the criminalization of homelessness, she was ready to take on the homelessness crisis itself. With her eyes set on California, she found ICLC at the heart of the American housing crisis, and jumped at the opportunity to work towards the elimination of homelessness “by any means necessary.” She is committed to social justice advocacy and a career in public service.

Emily Karsik
Paralegal
Homeless Veterans

Bio
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

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.

Charles Kohorst
Staff Attorney
Homeless Veterans

Bio
Prior to joining ICLC, Charles worked as an Appellate Case Briefer for the Daily Journal Corporation. In 2019, he graduated from Loyola Law School where he participated in several clinical experiences. Charles was a certified law student at the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy and a member of the International Human Rights Clinic. Charles is a Los Angeles Native and grew up in the East San Gabriel Valley.

Alex Kowalick-Allen
Project Coordinator
Public Benefits

Bio
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

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.

Abbey Lent
Equal Justice Works Fellow
Homeless Veterans

Bio
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.

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
Directing Attorney 
Homeless Veterans

Bio

Kara joined ICLC in 2012 and is the Directing Attorney of the Homeless Veterans Project. She supervises a legal team that represents veterans experiencing homelessness to get them access to stable income, healthcare, and housing. Kara specializes in advocating on behalf of survivors of military sexual violence and combat trauma, as well as veterans with complex mental health disabilities.

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. She 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.

Kara is a graduate of USC Gould School of Law and earned her A.B. from Georgetown University. She has also worked as a lecturer-in-law at UCLA School of Law, where she taught the course Introduction to the Lawyer-Client Relationship.

Mahdi Manji
Public Policy Advocate

 

Míchel Angela Martinez
Project Manager
Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness

Bio
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.

Laura McQuay
Staff Accountant

Bio
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.

Kim Miller
Directing Attorney
Housing Litigation 

Bio
Kim Miller is an experienced litigator and spent 37 years, prior to joining ICLC in August of 2018, generally representing plaintiffs in a variety of complex cases, including tort (include mass tort and complex matters) FELA, employment litigation, toxic tort, business litigation and other matters. She has prepared numerous cases for trial, including taking and defending depositions including experts. She participated as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury and bench trials, and has written and participated in numerous successful appeals. Kim is the Directing Attorney of housing litigation at ICLC and, with the rest of the team, represents clients faced with terrible and uninhabitable homes and those that are at risk for becoming homeless.

Derrick Moon
Paralegal
Homeless Veterans

Bio
Derrick Moon graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a B.A. in Philosophy in December 2016. During college, he worked as a Paralegal at Vogl Meredith Burke LLP.  He was also involved in a pre-law fraternity 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.

Sricharitha (Cherry) Mullaguru
Tenant Defense Fellow
Homelessness Prevention

Bio
Cherry received her BA from Pomona College in 2015 and graduated from Harvard Law School in May 2020. She went to law school to build skills that would be useful for communities fighting against poverty, disinvestment, and displacement. During law school, Cherry was part of Harvard Defenders, where she represented individuals in criminal hearings. She also spent two years representing tenants and post-foreclosure homeowners facing eviction at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Cherry led canvasses with Project No One Leaves, informing tenants of their rights and directing tenants to community-based organizations in Boston. She spent her law school summers interning with Greater Boston Legal Services and TakeRoot Justice in New York City.

Adalberto “Beto” Murillo
Paralegal
Housing Litigation

Bio
Beto grew up in Palm Springs, CA, and moved to San Diego, CA in 2002. Prior to joining the legal field in 2014, Beto was a licensed contractor and small business owner. While working as a contractor, he became interested in the legal field and changed careers. He earned a paralegal certificate in 2015, and has worked as a Family Law Paralegal, Fair Housing Advocate, and SSI/SSDI Advocate at a nonprofit law firm in San Diego, CA. On March 2020, he relocated to the Los Angeles area from San Diego. Beto enjoys mountain biking and salsa dancing.

Ian Musa
Chief Operating Officer

Bio
Ian Musa joined Inner City Law Center in February 2020 as Chief Operating Officer, with extensive experience directing large-scale, complex operations, programs, and projects from the ground up for corporations and U.S. government organizations. A certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, PMP, and U.S. Marine, he is known for his highly strategic and efficient approaches to improving internal processes across enterprises, with deep experience in Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Human Capital, Performance Management, Data & Analytics, and Strategic Planning business processes. Prior to joining ICLC, Ian served as the Vice President of Concourse Federal Group, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. In this position, he was responsible for overseeing the Company’s Management Consulting business line, providing comprehensive business solutions to government clients in the areas of Organizational Efficiency, Strategic Planning, Project Management, and Process Improvement. Ian Musa is a decorated Marine with eight years of service and several tours abroad. He was recognized in November 2018 as Los Angeles County’s Veteran of the Year for his distinguished service in the military and continued contributions to the Greater Los Angeles Veteran community. Ian has studied at the University of Virginia, University of California Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, and Harvard Business School. Ian was also a First Team Academic All-American athlete with the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA).

Nicole Nobre
Paralegal Trainee
Homeless Veterans

Bio
Nicole is a Paralegal Trainee for ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology. Prior to transferring, Nicole worked as an English tutor for her community college’s Writing and Reading Center. She later served as an Access to Justice intern for Bay Area Legal Aid, where she assisted survivors petitioning at Domestic Violence Restraining Order clinics. During her senior year, Nicole connected individuals experiencing homelessness to medical and social services as a caseworker and referrals committee member for the Mobile Clinic Project at UCLA. She has also previously worked with ICLC as an intern for the Public Benefits team. Nicole strongly believes in advocacy work that centers and uplifts directly impacted community members. She aims to eventually attend law school to become a social justice lawyer.

Angelica Peña
Director
Tenant Defense Project

Bio
Prior to joining ICLC, Angelica served as the Grant Systems Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA. There she managed the legal department’s grant administration, program evaluation, and wide network of community partners. Angelica also spent several years working at NALEO Educational Fund, where her work focused on the political and civic participation of the Latinx community. She holds a Masters in Public Affairs and Politics from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors in Political Science and Latin American Studies from UCLA.

Hector Peña
Paralegal Trainee
Homeless Prevention

Bio
Héctor Candelario Peña Ramírez received his Juris Doctorate from the People’s College of Law in Downtown Los Angeles.  Peña received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies from the University of California Los Angeles, UCLA in 2009.  From 2010 to 2011 he was the United Farm Workers Foundation Communications Fellow.  He served previously for the Cesar E. Chavez Center for Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCLA as Project Director of the Media Melee in MacArthur Park Project: A digital Recreation of the 2007 Immigration Rights March and Rally.

Prior to entering law school, he also served as a Project Coordinator at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, working on the Hate Speech in the Media Project under the guidance of Francisco Javier Iribarren, MSW, Psy.D.  As an undergraduate Peña also served as Co-Editor-in-Chief for La Gente de Aztlán, UCLA’s Chicana/o Student Newsmagazine. He is currently the Vice-President of the Board of Directors at the People’s College of Law and a proud member of the National Lawyers Guild.

His activism and work have ranged from helping to improve living conditions for farm working families to playing a fundamental role in helping to develop an integrative methodology to quantify hate speech in commercial talk radio for the CSRC’s Hate Speech in the Media Project.

Peña currently works for Inner City Law Center’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project which actively helps fight gentrification in working class neighborhoods in the city of Los Angeles.

Kym Pietsch
Director of Development

Bio
Kym Pietsch joined ICLC as Director of Development in March 2019. As a strategic and creative development professional with a passion for helping to end homelessness, she brings more than 25 years of fundraising experience to her role, Kym has managed teams of staff and volunteers to raise more than $56 million in philanthropic revenue, and has a long track record of helping non-profit organizations to grow and reach their fundraising potential. Kym led successful capital campaigns at Union Station Homeless Services, Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA, and Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children.

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
Senior 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
Director of Pro Bono

Bio
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 Ratajczak  
Executive Assistant & Board Liaison 

Bio
Monica is an Executive Assistant and Board Liaison 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.

Rob Reed
Directing Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

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.

Aldra Robinson
Grants Manager

Bio
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
Supervising Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio
Eve Rutzick joined ICLC in March 2018 as a senior staff attorney on the public benefits Technical Assistance team. Since January 2020, Eve has been the supervising attorney for the public benefits hearings team. Eve began her legal career at the Eviction Defense Network in Los Angeles helping low-income tenants fight eviction actions. She then worked at the Social Security Administration in the disability program as an attorney advisor and 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 that the law can be used as a tool to increase social justice.

Christine Schrottenbaum
Registered Legal Services Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio
Christine joined ICLC in April 2019, as a Registered Legal Services Attorney representing clients in public benefits cases. Prior to joining ICLC, she clerked for the Honorable Justice David Wiggins on the Iowa Supreme Court. She graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine School of Law in 2018, where she served as a Staff Editor for the UC Irvine Law Review and as a Lead Article Editor for the UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law. Christine earned her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Missouri, an M.A. in Journalism from Aarhus University, and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Hamburg.

During law school, Christine was a fellow for UC Irvine Law School’s Center on Globalization, Law, and Society, and her article exploring law and global warming was published in The Yearbook of Polar Law. Christine worked for UC Irvine Law’s International Justice Clinic, where she advocated for freedom of speech and human rights conditions, and UC Irvine Law’s International Human Rights Clinic, where she brought litigation against corporations who committed human rights abuses. She also volunteered at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County and graduated with Pro Bono Honors.

Sarah Siraj
Senior Paralegal
Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness

Bio

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.   

Jazmine Smalley
Eviction Pro Bono Coordinator
Pro Bono

Bio

Before joining ICLC, Jazmine Smalley represented corporate clients in a variety of complex civil litigation matters relating to state constitutional law, securities, bankruptcy, and SEC and DOJ investigations. Throughout her academic and professional careers, she has been deeply dedicated to representing the interests of marginalized communities. While in law school, she worked as a student advocate in the East Bay Community Law Clinic where she helped at-risk consumers successfully represent themselves in third-party debt collection suits. As part of her pro bono practice, she helped to secure asylum for refugees fleeing female genital mutilation. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she served as Academic Advisor to the Law Students of African Descent and was a Boalt Hall Dean’s Fellow.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Spelman College. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking and learning new languages.

Fely Soto
Senior 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
Senior Tenant Organizer
Healthy Homes

Bio

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

Deborah Tejeda
Administrative Clerk 
Homeless Prevention

Bio

Prior to joining ICLC, Deborah Tejeda worked as a Litigation Legal Secretary at Knight Law. In May 2019, she graduated from California State University Channel Islands with a Bachelors in Sociology and a double minor in Chicano Studies and Political Science. As a first generation Chicana, she has great interest in immigration policy and social justice issues, so she intends to attend law school to continue to serve those unrepresented groups. In her spare time, she either is volunteering, at the beach with her partner, or binge-watching Crime & Rom Coms on Netflix.

Erin 2015Erin E. Thompson
Special Projects Manager 
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 affiliate 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.

Hannah Tuber
Registered Legal Services Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio

Hannah joined Inner City Law Center’s public benefits team in September 2019 as a registered legal services attorney.  Hannah previously worked as an assistant regional counsel for Social Security Administration in the Office of the General Counsel in Chicago representing the federal government in federal district and circuit court as well as in arbitration.  During law school, Hannah clerked with the City of Chicago in their Administrative Hearings division appearing before administrative law judges in municipal court.  She then clerked in the Federal Civil Rights Litigation division litigating civil rights matters in federal district court.  Hannah graduated with a B.F.A. in Acting from DePaul University.  She then attended Chicago-Kent College of Law where she was a national moot court champion as well as vice president of the Moot Court Honor Society.  Hannah is grateful for the opportunity to use her legal education to assist people in attaining the life-changing benefits they need.

Katelyn Tully
Legal Fellow
Homeless Prevention

Bio
Katelyn Tully joined Inner City Law Center in September 2019, as a Loyola Law School Public Interest Fellow representing clients in housing, immigration and public benefits. Her fellowship project places a special focus on housing and employment discrimination against clients who are at risk of homelessness. While in law school, Katelyn interned with the Honorable Suzanne H. Segal at the United States District Court for the Central District of California; the civil rights and international human rights firm, Schonbrun Seplow Harris & Hoffman; and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Prior to law school, Katelyn worked in development at mothers2mothers, an international UN partner organization that helps prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS from mother to child, and lived and worked in Vietnam as a teacher. Katelyn received her B.A. in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley and earned her J.D. from Loyola Law School.

Deon Turner
Public Policy Advocate

Bio
Recently earning his Master’s in Education, Deon yearns to explore passions at the intersection of public policy and law. Given Deon’s dynamic educational and experiential trajectory, he seeks to employ a social and economic justice framework aimed at sparking civic engagement at the grassroots’ level. Thus, he has become well-versed in federal, state, county, and city policy analysis while assessing how program implementation affects our diverse communities and constituencies. He is thrilled to launch his career in public policy with Inner City Law Center in hopes of leveraging a platform to construct an authentic, inclusive, and collaborative Los Angeles community. In his spare time, Deon is enthusiastic about fitness – perpetually searching for different hiking or biking trails. He finds his spark and inspiration through nature. You can often find him enjoying a good read along the shorelines of Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach.

Sandra Vargas
Staff Attorney
Homelessness Prevention

Bio
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

Bio

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.

Emylou Vergel de Dios
Paralegal Trainee
Homeless Veterans

Bio

Emylou Vergel de Dios is a Paralegal Trainee on ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project team. She graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2019 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Public Policy. She has worked in various non-profit organization and local governmental spaces. She is constantly motivated by the idea of helping her community through advocacy and outreach work. Before coming to ICLC, Emylou worked at Volunteers of America, where she assisted the homeless, disabled, and elderly communities apply for benefits and get connected to resources. Emylou will continue her passion for helping her fellow community members through her position here at ICLC.

Erin Vites
Senior Paralegal

Homeless Prevention

Bio

Erin joined ICLC in July of 2019 as a Senior Paralegal for the Lawyers Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project. Erin graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA degree in Law and Society and earned her Paralegal Certificate from the UCLA Extension Program in 2005. Prior to ICLC, Erin worked as a Paralegal for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, the US Attorney’s Office working in a special unit facilitating hundreds of Petitions from incarcerated individuals seeking early release based on new guidelines form the Sentencing Commission, and as a Senior Paralegal doing litigation work for a Civil Rights Law Firm.

In her 9 year career, Erin has provided trial support to attorneys, as well as mitigation work for felony and death penalty cases. Working with the Public Defender’s Office opened Erin’s eyes to all the injustices that take place in our criminal justice system and how it deeply affects our marginalized communities. She knew that social justice was where her focus would remain thrilled to be a part of the ICLC team, where she can make a difference and work towards ending of homelessness.

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
Directing Attorney
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.

Andrew Webman
Staff Attorney
Homeless Prevention

Bio

Andrew has spent his entire legal career representing low-income clients. Prior to joining ICLC, Andrew practiced as an eviction defense attorney at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, as part of their Shriver unit. Before that, he was a legal aid attorney in Massachusetts, where he represented tenants facing eviction and homeowners facing wrongful foreclosure. Andrew received his law degree from Boston University in 2014.

Kaimi Wenger
Senior Staff Attorney
Homeless Prevention

Bio
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.

Roland Wiley
Screener/Receptionist

Bio
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.

Elizabeth Woods
Development Assistant 

Bio
Elizabeth joined Inner City Law Center in October of 2019 as the development assistant. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2017. Before graduating, Elizabeth interned at Amherst Community Connections, a nonprofit working to end homelessness, which guided her interest in working towards ending the housing crisis. Upon moving to Los Angeles, she worked in research at a grants management company, sparking her interest in grants and fundraising. She is excited to assist the development department at ICLC in gaining more funds, so that the organization can serve more individuals in need of assistance.

Larken Yackulic
Legal Fellow
Homeless Prevention

Bio
Larken Yackulic joined ICLC in September 2018 as a Skadden Fellow working with the Lawyer’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project and will continue this work as a Staff Attorney when her fellowship ends in September 2020. Larken is a 2018 graduate of the UCLA School of Law, which she was a member of the David J. Epstein Program for Public Interest Law and Policy. During law school, she observed the myriad collateral consequences of housing insecurity through internships with the Alaska Public Defender Agency, Homeboy Industries, and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles’ eviction defense unit.  These experiences inspired Larken’s fellowship project, which focuses on providing wraparound legal services to low-income tenants and people who are unhoused in Los Angeles. Prior to law school, Larken worked at Montana Legal Services in Missoula, Montana, taught English in Southern Spain, and spent five seasons exploring the mountains of Central Idaho as a Wilderness Ranger for the US Forest Service.

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.

Alex Young
Tenant Defense Fellow
Homelessness Prevention

Bio
Alex joined Inner City Law Center in May 2020 as a Tenant Defense Fellow. While in law school, Alex interned with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and with the Affirmative Litigation Team at Inner City. She was also a member of National Moot Court and the Criminal Defense Clinic at her law school. Prior to law school, Alex worked as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Los Angeles. Alex received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Helen Zapata
Paralegal Trainee
Public Benefits

Bio
A lifelong Angeleno, Helen graduated from UCLA where she received her BA in English with a minor in Civic Engagement. During her time at UCLA, she was able to apply her passion for protecting and advocating for marginalized communities through internships with various nonprofits such as CHIRLA and CollegeSpring. At CHIRLA, she supported a team of lawyers that provide crucial legal immigrant services. At CollegeSpring she tutored students from underserved schools, and mentored them through the college application process. Helen is excited to continue to serve and assist the vulnerable community members of Los Angeles and is committed to raising awareness of public issues and encouraging others to actively participate within their communities.  

Zane Zeidler
Staff Attorney
Public Benefits

Bio
Zane Zeidler is a staff attorney with ICLC’s public benefits hearings team. Prior to joining ICLC, Zane was a senior attorney with the Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, Inc. representing parents at Edelman Children’s Court. As a court appointed attorney, he fought to defend parents, keep families together, and help clients navigate a difficult system. Through pro bono opportunities during law school and clerking with the Orange County Public Defender, Zane learned the importance of individual advocacy on behalf of marginalized clients, which has continued to guide him through his legal career and to his current position with ICLC. After graduating from the University of California, Irvine School of Law in 2015, Zane clerked for the Los Angeles Public Defender, working at the Appellate branch and Compton Courthouse.

Staff photos courtesy of Gabor Ekecs