Welcome Our New Staff!

In the past few months we have been joined by a number of fantastic new staff members! Meet the staff who have started with us since October 2021:

Hannah Flamm joined the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program as an immigration attorney in 2021. Previously, she was the Managing Attorney of The Door’s Legal Services Center’s Detained Minors Project in New York. She has been an immigration attorney since 2017. Hannah is a graduate of New York University School of Law, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Tufts University.

Shelsy joined the Legal Aid Justice Center as the Youth Justice Program Organizer in Northern Virginia in 2021. Shelsy is originally from Lima, Peru and has called the Northern Virginia area home since 2000. She has previously done outreach and community engagement internationally and state-wide in Virginia, working with the LGBTQ+ community, immigrant communities, and youth populations. She holds a degree from William & Mary in Public Policy with a concentration in Educational Policy and Equity.

Danielle Taylor is a global development strategist and human rights activist who helps organizations improve operations to maximize social impact. Danielle has led high-stakes international human rights initiatives with respected global development agencies including The Carter Center, the General Board of Global Ministries, and the Girls Gotta Run Foundation. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and media outlets including Nasdaq and Runners World UK, and she regularly serves as a guest lecturer on human rights and DEI at colleges and universities. She holds a Master of International Policy from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana State University. After a decade of international work, Danielle has made her home in Richmond, Virginia with her partner and son.

Whitney Taylor was born and raised in Dallas Texas, then moved to the Southwest Virginia area about seven years ago. She joined the LAJC Rent Relief Team in December after a long haul at Deval, hoping to help as many households as possible. She has her HUD certification. She would like to dive more into affordable housing, equality for all, and rent caps for her fellow Virginians.

Gabriela was born in New York and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. She graduated from Radford University in 2020 and received her B.S. in Criminal Justice and B.A. in Psychology. During undergrad she was involved in many activities such as American Criminal Justice Association, International Honors Society in Psychology, and the Latino Student Alliance. Being bilingual in both Spanish and English she has participated in several volunteer and work opportunities. Gabriela joined LAJC in December 2021 as a rent relief assister. Prior to working in LAJC, she spent a year working as a legal assistant in a general practice law office whose focus was on immigration.

Marissa joined Legal Aid Justice Center’s Virginia Justice Project for Farm and Immigrant Workers as a workers’ rights attorney in December 2021. She attended the University of Georgia, where she received a B.A. in Spanish and developed a passion for working with Spanish-speaking populations. Marissa graduated from W&L University School of Law in 2020, where she received the Clinical Legal Education Award for excellence in her work in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. During law school, Marissa was a summer intern with LAJC’s Immigrant Advocacy Program at the Charlottesville office. Prior to joining LAJC, Marissa worked in private practice as an immigration attorney in Charlottesville.

Ben Apt joined LAJC as a housing attorney in December 2021. He came to LAJC from the U.S. Department of Labor, where he had done in ERISA enforcement for 17 years. Before moving to Washington DC in 2001, Ben had been an ADA in the Appellate Division of the Suffolk County DA’s office in Boston. He had also worked with the then-Department of Public Welfare for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a liaison to homeless family shelters. He is a graduate of Amherst College, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University School of Law.

Yisel joined LAJC in December 2021 as the Immigrant Advocacy Program Paralegal. Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, she has lived in Northern Virginia since 2004. Prior to LAJC, she was the Immigration Paralegal for a private attorney for close to four years. She is driven by her love for people and keeping families together. She takes pride in providing the best support to her colleagues and best customer service to her clients.

Sophia Tan joins LAJC after completing a two-year fellowship with the Education Law Center to increase language access and improve equitable services for multilingual students and families in public schools. In 2019, she earned law and public policy degrees from the Duke University School of Law and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Prior to studying at Duke, Sophia worked in her hometown of Philadelphia as an office manager at a bilingual preschool and a grant writer in an education nonprofit serving educators through professional development to improve literacy outcomes for young students.  

Leanne Gale joined the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program as a Community-Based Immigration Attorney in 2022. Previously, she was a Yale Public Interest Fellow at Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition, where she represented individuals in immigration detention. She is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where she participated in the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic and served as a student director of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. Prior to law school, she worked as an organizer and organizing-trainer focusing primarily on reproductive rights, health, and justice. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

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