Alex R. Gulotta, Executive Director
Alex came to Legal Aid in 1994, and has been the force behind the growth of the Legal Aid Justice Center and its innovative approaches to the problems of our neighbors who live in poverty. Alex is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1999 Virginia State Bar Legal Aid Award, the 2003 National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Charles Dorsey Award, a 2004 resolution of commendation from the Virginia General Assembly, and was named a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation in 2005. Alex received his B.A. and his law degrees from Marquette University.
Mary Bauer, Director of Advocacy
As Director of Advocacy, Mary mentors new and mid-level attorneys in litigation strategy, organizes state-level advocacy efforts to protect the interests and well-being of low-income Virginians, and coordinates the programmatic work of the Legal Aid Justice Center to ensure service of the greatest need and adherence to the organization’s mission. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990.
Kathleen Caldwell, Managing Attorney of the Charlottesville Office, Civil Advocacy Program/Elder Law Initiative
Kathleen, a Legal Aid lawyer for over a decade, returned in 2006 after ten years in private practice to focus on consumer law and elder law issues within the Civil Advocacy Program. Kathleen received her B.A. from the Mary Washington College, her J.D. from Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary, and an LL.M. in Mental Health Law from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Brenda Castañeda, Attorney, Civil Advocacy Program
Brenda was a summer intern with the Legal Aid Justice Center during law school and in 2007 came to Legal Aid from Blue Ridge Legal Services. She is a graduate of Yale University and received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Angela is a long-time member of the JustChildren team. Her work for the program earned her the Oliver White Hill Award from the Virginia State Bar in 2003 and the Child Advocacy Award from the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division in 2010. Angela joined the staff as a Powell Fellow in 2004 after clerking for U.S. District Judge Reginald C. Lindsay. She is a graduate of The College of William and Mary and University of Virginia School of Law.
John’s 26 years of experience as a small business owner informs his practice of consumer and housing law at Legal Aid, where he helps to direct clinical programs at UVa’s School of Law. John earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia, and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Chicago.
Claire has over 20 years of experience with Legal Aid, and served for four years as Director of the Community Mediation Center. She directs our growing Elder Law Initiative, and is a co-founder of the Community Partnership for Improved Long-term Care. Claire is a graduate of Randolph Macon Women’s College and the University of Virginia School of Law.
Emily joined JustChildren in 2000, bringing 20 years of experience directing programs and implementing many successful community organizing campaigns with local non-profit organizations. Emily is a graduate of the College of William and Mary.
Kate joined the JustChildren Program in Charlottesville in 2008, coming from a two-year stint as the Pro-Bono Fellow with the Richmond Office of Hunton & Williams. She received her B.A. and law degrees at the University of Virginia. Kate’s initial focus is juvenile justice issues.
Dan Epstein, Financial and Administrative Manager
Prior to joining our Charlottesville office, Dan worked as a vice president at Cardagin, and as CEO/co-founder at orderTopia—both Charlottesville-based technology startups. Dan is also one of the founders of Eppie’srestaurant in downtown Charlottesville and helped managed it during its early years. Dan earned his B.S. degree from the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.
Doug directs the Pro Bono Immigration Project clinic with UVa Law School. Doug came to Legal Aid after serving as Senior Research Associate and Deputy Director of Bosnia Projects for Physicians for Human Rights. He received his A.B. degree from Bowdoin College and his law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.
Tim earned his B.A. and his law degrees at the University of Virginia, where he received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Public Service. He began representing migrant farmworkers with the Legal Aid Justice Center on a fellowship from the law firm Skadden Arps in 1999, and in 2001 he established Legal Aid’s Northern Virginia office to work with the region’s day laborers and other low-wage immigrant workers. In June 2009, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy awarded Tim with the first David Carliner Public Interest Award, a national award given in recognition of fearless, uncompromising, and creative advocacy on behalf of marginalized people.
Laurel joined our development team in 2009 to help identify, research, write and administer our portfolio of proposals to foundation, corporate and government sources for annual operating funds, as well as ongoing and planned projects. Previously a transactional attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, Laurel uses her research, analytical and writing skills to foster relationships with funders who share our program’s interests and goals. Laurel received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her law degree from New York University School of Law.
Katie joined the Legal Aid team in 2010 as our Financial and Administrative Manager. She has extensive experience in accounting and payroll management and has been invaluable in streamlining these processes here at Legal Aid. She is currently completing a business degree in accounting and management.
Carolyn, who joined Legal Aid as part of the JustChildren Program, now lends her talents as a member of the Civil Advocacy Program team, specializing in employment issues. Prior to joining Legal Aid, she worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and in private practice. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and the Northeastern School of Law.
Susan joined Legal Aid in 2006 after launching an environmental non-profit in her native Pennsylvania, the Allegheny Defense Project, and leading the National Forest Protection Alliance. She is a graduate of Clarion University in Pennsylvania.
In 2006, Liz celebrated her 20th anniversary as a paralegal at Legal Aid, where she lends her remarkable people skills to the tasks of contacting clients, assessing their needs, providing representation in administrative hearings, and getting them the full range of help they need. Liz is a graduate of James Madison University, where she received a B.S. in social work.
Wes became a member of our development team in fall 2011. Prior to joining Legal Aid, Wes spent seven years at the University of Virginia, most recently at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. Prior to that, he worked at Getty Images in Seattle. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his M.A. from the University of Virginia.
Tina is the administrative assistant in Charlottesville, where she uses her extensive experience to coordinate our largest office. Prior to joining the Legal Aid Justice Center, Tina worked as the executive secretary for the South America President of the Sara Lee Corporation in Mexico and as the secretary of the Epidemiology and Social Research Center for the Mexican Institute of Psychiatry.
Crystal joined the JustChildren staff in 2010 as the Lewis F. Powell Fellow. Crystal provides individual legal representation to children and families in the areas of special education, student discipline, and school enrollment. Prior to law school, Crystal taught fourth grade for three years through the Teach For America program. She received her B.A. and her J.D. from the University of Virginia.
Erin came to Legal Aid from a clerkship with Federal Judge Norman K. Moon. Erin’s experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia, as well as her volunteer work in Honduras and Mexico, give her a unique perspective into our work with immigrant workers. She received her B.A. and her law degree from the University of Virginia, and is the recipient of a Skadden Fellowship.
Abigail joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in 2006 as an attorney with the JustChildren Program, and became litigation director in 2008. Her 30-year legal career has focused on civil rights and redressing poverty. She is a graduate of Auburn University and the George Washington University School of Law.
Edgar came to the Legal Aid Justice Center in 2007 from a legal internship at the Center for Justice and International Law in Washington D.C. He is a recent graduate of the LLM Program in International Law at Temple University and was a practicing attorney in Peru. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Law from the University of Ancash in Peru “Santiago Antunez de Mayolo.”
Pamela came to VJC in 2006, bringing her skills and experience work as an Executive Assistant at the Carlos Rosario School in Washington DC and five years in the office of the General Counsel at the DC Dept. of Corrections.
Arnoldo brings a multitude of skills to his work with Latino day laborers. He worked for five years as an outreach coordinator with Neighbors’ Consejo in Washington, and was Professor at the Institute of Agricultural Technology in Guerrero, Mexico, where he also received his degree in Agricultural Engineering.
Dan Choi’s fluency in both Korean and Spanish is key in working with the Latino day laborer population, where he plays a special role as liaison between Spanish-speaking workers and the Korean business community in the Northern Virginia area. Dan is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton, has his J.D. from New York Law School, and is the recipient of an Equal Justice Works fellowship.
Ivy came aboard after ten years of practicing federal complex litigation for the D.C. Prisoners’ Project with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. Ivy is a graduate of Northern Michigan University and American University’s Washington College of Law. She learned Spanish as an exchange student in Costa Rica and has traveled extensively in Central and South America.
Camilo came to the Legal Aid Justice Center as a Community Organizer following his work with residents of homeless shelters in both Fairfax and Arlington counties. Previously, he worked as a private security guard, and as a Special Police Officer with the Washington National Cathedral.
Simon joined the Immigrant Advocacy Program in 2011, where he specializes in consumer, housing, and employment litigation in federal and state court. Simon is LAJC’s Team Leader for consumer law, and was awarded the 2013 LASSY award from the Virginia Poverty Law Center for greatest achievement in consumer law. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School, where he was awarded the C. LaRue Munson prize for excellence in clinical practice.
In 2006, Delphine celebrated her 30th anniversary at the Petersburg office of Legal Aid, where she is an integral part of the legal team. Delphine received her B.S. with honors in business education from Virginia State University.
Nicole is the Equal Justice America Fellow working with JustChildren in Petersburg. She became interested in children’s issues before law school, when she taught seventh grade in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she worked for children through clinics and summer internships.
Sylvia joined the Legal Aid Justice Center to address the needs of children and parents in negotiating the educational system in the greater Petersburg area. She has served as an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Sylvia received her B.A. from Eastern Kentucky University and her law degree from the University of Kentucky.
Marcel Slag has worked at Legal Aid (and its sister program Central Virginia Legal Aid Society) for more than seventeen years. His practice focuses in the areas of housing and consumer law, and he runs the Housing Unit, a pro bono project that engages dozens of private attorneys each year in representing low-income tenants in the greater Richmond area. After earning his law degree in the Netherlands, he earned a master’s degree in comparative law at George Washington University.
Lisa Bennett has advocated on behalf of low-income persons since 1989. Her current work in the JustChildren program focuses on education and special education rights of juveniles by providing individual representation to court-involved youth in the City of Richmond’s schools, by training parents and other professionals, and by advocating for positive policy and legislative changes. Lisa obtained her law degree from the University of Richmond.
Gloria joined Legal Aid in 2006 as our administrative assistant and intake specialist, a job she had handled at Central Virginia Legal Aid. Gloria has a background in Richmond’s financial services industry, where she developed efforts to expand services to the region’s Spanish-speaking community.
Since coming to Legal Aid in 2005, Pat’s work has focused primarily on workers’ rights, individual representation of low-income tenants, advocacy on local public housing policy issues, and the rights of homeless citizens of Richmond. Pat graduated from Carleton College and received his law degree from the University of Virginia.
After two summers as an intern and participation in several clinics, Phil joined Legal Aid in 2009 on a Powell Fellowship from the University of Virginia to defend immigrants’ rights in the Commonwealth. Phil earned a B.A. from Brigham Young University, an M.A. from Southern Methodist University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.
Jeree Thomas, Skadden Fellow, JustChildren Program
Jeree joined the JustChildren Program in the fall of 2011 as a Skadden Fellow. She represents incarcerated youth on issues involving their education and other services. Jeree received her B.A. from the College of William & Mary, where she was awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. She received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where she was inducted into the Raven Society and was the recipient of the James C. Slaughter Award.