LEADERSHIP TEAMMary Bauer, Executive Director
Mary became Executive Director in January 2014. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position, Mary served as Director of Advocacy, where she mentored new and mid-level attorneys in litigation strategy, organized state-level advocacy efforts, and coordinated the programmatic work to ensure service of the greatest need and adherence to the organization’s mission. Prior to that, Bauer was legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Ala. 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.Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, Community Educator/Organizer, Immigrant Advocacy Program
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.”Lisa Bennett, Senior Attorney, JustChildren Program
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.Brenda Castañeda, Economic Justice Program Legal Director
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. In January of 2015, Brenda became the first Legal Director of the Economic Justice Program.Angela Ciolfi, Director of Litigation and Advocacy
Angela joined LAJC in 2004 as a Powell Fellow in the JustChildren Program after clerking for U.S. District Judge Reginald C. Lindsay. She served as JustChildren Legal Director from 2010 to 2017 when she became the Director of Litigation and Advocacy. Angela was the recipient of 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. She is a graduate of The College of William and Mary and University of Virginia School of Law.
Rachael Deane, JustChildren Legal Director
Rachael joined the JustChildren program in 2016 and became its Legal Director in 2017. Her work has focused on shaping JustChildren’s litigation and policy efforts to end the school-to-prison pipeline and to reform Virginia’s public school funding system through the Alliance for Virginia’s Students. Prior to joining JustChildren, Rachael worked for a national civil rights organization, where she developed systemic investigations and impact litigation aimed at eliminating residential segregation and concentrated poverty. In 2012, she received a “Top 40 Under 40” award from the Virginia Housing Coalition for her work as a fair housing advocate. Rachael earned her B.A. from the University of Mary Washington and her law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law, where she participated in the Education Rights Clinic. Rachael interned with LAJC’s JustChildren and Economic Justice programs during law school.
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’s restaurant 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.Sylvia Jones, Managing Attorney of the Richmond Office, Civil Advocacy Program
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.Simon Y. Sandoval-Moshenberg, Legal Director, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Simon joined the Immigrant Advocacy Program in 2011, and became its Legal Director in 2015. Simon specializes in consumer, housing, civil rights, immigration, and employment litigation in federal and state court. Simon is also LAJC’s Team Leader for consumer law. He was awarded the 2016 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award from the Virginia State Bar, and 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 Munson prize for excellence in clinical practice.Tim Wallace, Director of Development
Tim joined Legal Aid Justice Center’s development team in January 2014 as Director of Foundation Relations and became Director of Development in June 2016. Prior to joining LAJC, he served as the Director of Development for Cabrini Green Legal Aid, an organization that serves Chicagoans suffering collateral consequences from the war on drugs. After 10 years of harsh Midwestern winters, Tim is thrilled to be back in sunny Charlottesville with his family. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Virginia in 2004.
CHARLOTTESVILLEMary Frances Charlton, Attorney, Public Benefits and Affordable Care Act Coordinator, Civil Advocacy Program
Mary Frances joined LAJC in 2013 and coordinates LAJC’s Affordable Care Act and public benefits programs. She also co-supervises the Health and Employment Law Clinics LAJC runs in conjunction with the University of Virginia School of Law. She received her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law.Tanishka Cruz, Attorney, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Tanishka Cruz joined the Immigrant Advocacy Program in 2015 and now coordinates LAJC’s Special Immigrant Juvenile project. She earned her B.A. from Temple University and her law degree from Drexel University School of Law.Emily C. Dreyfus, Community Education and Outreach Director, JustChildren Program
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.Doug Ford, Clinic Director, Pro Bono Immigration Project
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.Libby Fulcher, Administrative Assistant
Libby joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in 2014. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Libby lived in Tampa, Fla., for 24 years before moving to Virginia in 2013. Libby has a bachelor’s degree in business management and more than 20 years of financial, investment, business administration and management experience. She has also served as liaison and interpreter for the international training of credit union executives.Rachel McFarland, Attorney, Civil Advocacy Program
Rachel joined Legal Aid in 2015 as a Georgetown Partner Fellow. She originally began as a part of the Immigrant Advocacy Program, but now focuses on housing law in the Economic Justice Program. She received her B.A. from the University of Richmond and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she received a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. During law school, Rachel was a summer intern in the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Falls Church office.Liz Moore, Outreach Coordinator/Paralegal, Civil Advocacy Program
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.Mario Salas, Attorney, JustChildren Program
Mario joined the JustChildren team in 2014. He focuses on special education law and advocacy on behalf of students with disabilities who are nearing the end of school. After Mario earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2003, he worked at a non-profit day school serving students with autism. In 2014, Mario received his law degree from UVA and the Powell Fellowship in Legal Services. The law school recognized his contributions to community service by awarding him the Herbert Kramer/Herbert Bangel Community Service Award.Kyna Thomas, Accountant
Kyna joined Legal Aid in May 2015. She moved to Charlottesville in December 2014 from the Virginia Beach area, where she had lived for 16 years working as an accounting manager for a property management and development company. Kyna has more than 35 years of accounting experience and is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a B.S. in finance.Abigail Turner, Of Counsel
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.Amy Walters, Clinic Supervisor and Attorney
Amy joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in the summer of 2014 to supervise University of Virginia School of Law clinic students in the health law clinic and the child advocacy clinic. She previously worked at Maryland Disability Law Center, where she joined the staff as a Skadden Fellow after clerking for U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Bradford Stillman. She received her B.A. and law degrees at the University of Virginia, where she received the Claire Corcoran Award for Public Service.Henry Young, Kennedy Fellow, Civil Advocacy Program
Henry joined Legal Aid in 2016 as a Kennedy Fellow and focuses on housing law in the Economic Justice Program. He received his B.A. from Elon University and his law degree from the University of Virginia.
FALLS CHURCHKarina Arango, Administrative Assistant
Karina joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in 2016. She previously lived and worked in Peru trial monitoring for human rights cases. She has a dual bachelor’s degree in international development and political theory and law from George Mason University where she also received her paralegal certificate in 2011.Arnoldo Borja, Community Organizer, Immigrant Advocacy Program
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.Krupskaya Elliot, Community Organizer, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Krupskaya joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in January of 2015. She previously worked for Catholic Charities where she managed a complex Citizenship and Instruction grant from USCIS. Krupskaya has BA from Universidad Centroamerica, in Nicaragua and a master’s degree in International Studies with a specialization in Latin American Studies from Ohio University Athens. She has lived in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Colombia.Sophia Gregg, Attorney, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Sophia joined Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program in 2016. Previously, she was a law clerk at the juvenile divisions of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. During law school, Sophia was a Pro Bono Scholar of New York State and dedicated herself to public interest law and advocacy for indigent individuals and their families. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her law degree from Syracuse University College of Law.Nicholas Marritz, Attorney, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Nick comes to Legal Aid after serving as a litigation attorney with Farmworker Justice in Washington, D.C., and now coordinates LAJC’s Unaccompanied Child Refugee project. A dedicated advocate for low-wage immigrant workers and their families, Nick serves Virginia’s most vulnerable communities in the areas of employment, housing, and consumer law. He holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from the University of Washington, where he was a William H. Gates Public Service Law Scholar.Nady Peralta, Legal Fellow, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Nady joined LAJC’s Immigrant Advocacy Program as a Fellow in September 2016. Throughout law school, Nady demonstrated her commitment to public interest law as an intern for LAJC and for Legal Services of Northern Virginia. She received her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of New Mexico, and her law degree from George Mason University School of LawClaudia Quevedo, Community Organizer, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Following six years as a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, and four years working for domestic and global nonprofits, Claudia joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in 2012 as an administrative assistant. Claudia now works as a community organizer in our Northern Virginia office. She graduated with honors from the University of Maryland in 1999 with a B.S. in electrical engineering.Becky Wolozin, Equal Justice Works Fellow, JustChildren Program
Becky joined the JustChildren Program at Legal Aid in 2015 as an Equal Justice Works fellow, sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, her master’s degree in education policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her law degree from Harvard Law School.
RICHMOND AND PETERSBURGGloria Crook, Legal Assistant
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.Mary DeVries, ACA In-Person Assister/Attorney
Mary joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in 2014. Prior to joining LAJC, Mary worked for 14 years at a legal aid program in Missouri, primarily representing low-income, elderly and disabled tenants living in federally subsidized housing. Mary received her B.A. and J.D. degrees from St. Louis University.Gladys D. Garcia, Paralegal/ACA In-person Assister
Gladys joined the LAJC in November, 2014. Born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Gladys moved to Virginia in 1999 after graduating from college. Gladys has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in computer science (Interamerican University of Puerto Rico), and a master’s degree in Operations Research (Florida Institute of Technology/Fort Lee). In October 2010, she became a trained Interpreter for Health and Community Settings. Gladys obtained a Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in Sept. 2015.Pat Levy-Lavelle, Attorney, Civil Advocacy Program
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.Tonya Osinkosky, Community Organizer, Immigrant Advocacy Program
Tonya joined the Legal Aid Justice Center in the fall of 2014. She worked in education and health advocacy with immigrant communities in the Shenandoah Valley for 19 years through the Migrant Education Program, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, and Sentara RMH Medical Center. Tonya has lived in Bolivia and Guatemala, and she received her B.A. from Eastern Mennonite University.Kim Rolla, Housing Team Coordinator/Attorney, Civil Advocacy Program
Kim joined Legal Aid as the Lewis F. Powell fellow in 2013. Kim originally focused on housing law, providing both individual legal representation and legal support to tenant organizations. In her role as Housing Team Coordinator, Kim witnessed the brutality with which racism and poverty continue to shape the contours of our neighborhoods and impact lives within them. She was also privileged to witness the strength of organized communities and the power of naming and attacking at the root the systems that harm our clients. In 2017, Kim transitioned to the Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program, where she now develops campaigns to combat the criminalization of the poor, people of color, and far too many Virginians. She earned her B.A. from the College of William and Mary and her law degree from the University of Virginia, where she received the Herbert Kramer/Herbert Bangel Community Service Award.
Marcel Slag, Senior Attorney, Civil Advocacy Program
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.Valerie Slater, Attorney/RISE for Youth Coalition Coordinator, JustChildren Program
Valerie joined Legal Aid’s JustChildren Program in 2016 as a juvenile justice attorney and coordinator for the RISE for Youth Coalition. Previously, Valerie worked at Virginia’s protection and advocacy agency representing juvenile justice involved youth and youth with disabilities with issues related to special education, transition, conditions of confinement, and access to services. Valerie earned her B.A. from Colorado State University and her law degree from the University of Richmond.Phil Storey, Attorney, Immigrant Advocacy Program
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.