Claudia Gwilliam serves as DCVLP's Managing Director. Ms. Gwilliam has been part of DCVLP volunteer attorney teams in divorce, custody and immigration cases. She has worked most recently using her Spanish language skills in a variety of subject matters including drafting and translating international business contracts in Mexico City; translating applications for international higher education accreditations for a business school and an engineering program; and coordinating housing assignments at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. Ms. Gwilliam earned a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School, and a B.A. in Spanish Literature from Cornell University.
Program & Outreach Manager
Ashley Badgley serves as DCVLP's Program and Outreach Manager. Ms. Badgley started out at DCVLP in January 2012 as a legal intern and joined the organization in May 2012 at her new position. She received her Bachelor's Degree with honors from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 where she studied Health, Science and Environmental Journalism. She worked for several news outlets in and near Chicago, and served as a Reporting Fellow at the Illinois Statehouse, where she covered state politics. In 2010, she moved to D.C. to pursue her Master's Degree, and in May 2012, she received her MA in Women's Studies from The George Washington University. Her primary area of study was women's public health.
Karen Cargill Bates
Karen Bates will guide DCVLP’s efforts to ensure that the necessary financial resources are available for its programs, pursuing grants from local and national foundations, corporations, law firms, and other prospective funders. Ms. Bates is an attorney who handled pro bono adoption, immigration, housing and disability cases while at Hogan Lovells. She later advocated on behalf of disadvantaged District families in her position as Federal Affairs Advisor to Mayor Adrian Fenty, where she secured funding from the Obama Administration and Congress for programs to improve local education options, and provide permanent housing for homeless families and worked to improve services for victims of domestic violence. Since leaving the Fenty Administration, she has consulted to numerous local non-profits on both fundraising and policy issues. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University and her B.A. in English Literature from Boston University.
Erin Sweeny Larkin
Custody and Divorce Managing Attorney
Ellen C. Opdyke serves as DCVLP's Supervising Attorney. Most recently, Ms. Opdyke served as the Managing Attorney for the Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI), part of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA). While at SALI, Ms. Opdyke provided representation throughout the state of Maryland to adult and child survivors of sexual assault in protective and peace order proceedings, family law cases, criminal proceedings as the victim's attorney, immigration petitions, employment complaints, and other civil matters ariding from sexual assault. Ms. Opdyke earned a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Women's Studies from Georgia State University. She recieved her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law.
Virginia Kling is a Supervising Attorney with DCVLP's Domestic Violence practice, working with volunteers in both civil protection order and divorce and custody cases. Prior to being a Supervising Attorney, Ms. Kling had volunteered for DCVLP for over four years in all areas of DCVLP's practice, including Guardian ad Litem, CPOs, custody and divorce, and foster parent representation. She also has her own practice as a sole practitioner in D.C. and Maryland, representing clients in adoption, guardianship, divorce, custody, and child abuse and neglect matters. She is a member of the Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN) Attorney Panel of the D.C. Family Court. Previously, Ms. Kling was a partner at Baach Robinson and Lewis, where she counseled clients regarding insurance coverage issues. Ms. Kling clerked for the Honorable James A. Belson on the D.C. Court of Appeals. She received her J.D. magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. cum laude from Williams College. She has also done coursework towards a Master's Degree in Social Work at University of Maryland. Ms. Kling was the 2009 recipient of the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project 2009 Pro Bono Award.
Emily Petrino is a supervising attorney in DCVLP's domestic violence practice. Most recently, Emily was a law clerk for Magistrate Judges Mary Grace Rook and Janet Albert in the Abuse and Neglect Branch and Mental Health Commission of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Emily was a Staff Attorney Fellow at DCVLP, representing domestic violence survivors in Civil Protection Order, divorce and custody cases. She also served as a Guardian Ad Litem in many high conflict custody cases. Emily received her B.S. cum laude in psychology from Tulane University. She was the Tulane University recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award. She received her JD cum laude from American University College of Law. She is licensed to practice in DC and New York.
Guardian ad Litem Managing Attorney
Marla Spindel is a founder of the DCVLP, previously served on the Board as Vice President and Secretary, and currently serves as its Guardian Ad Litem Project Coordinator. Ms. Spindel practices family and child abuse and neglect law in the District of Columbia. She is a member of the Counsel for Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN) Attorney Panel with the DC Family Court. Prior to her involvement with the DCVLP, she was in private practice for 15 years in Washington, DC, where she represented clients in complex health care transactional, regulatory and litigation matters. During her tenure in private practice, Ms. Spindel also handled pro bono cases as a Guardian Ad Litem. She has served on the boards of directors of the Washington School of Psychiatry and the Cornell Club of Washington. Ms. Spindel earned a J.D. with honors from the George Washington University Law School and a B.A. in Government from Cornell University.
GAL Deputy Managing Attorney
Sara Tennen serves as DCVLP's Deputy Managing Attorney for the Guardian ad Litem Practice. Ms. Tennen started her legal career as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix, Arizona, where she specialized in prosecuting sex crimes against children. For the past five years, Ms. Tennen has practiced as a family law attorney in private practice, first in Arizona, and more recently in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Ms. Tennen earned a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a B.A. in Psychology and Women's Studies, with Honors, from the University of Rochester. In addition to her legal background, Ms. Tennen has a M.S.W. from Case Western Reserve University and is a trained mediator, having completed the 40 Hour Mediation Training along with the advanced trainings necessary to mediate divorce and custody matters.
DV Client Advocate
Kate Margolis has been working with Domestic Violence Survivors for the past eleven years. For ten of those years, she volunteered and worked at a shelter in Morris County, New Jersey. Ms. Margolis has experience in hotline counseling, teen dating violence, crisis response to police precincts/hospitals and court advocacy for victims getting Civil Protection Orders. Spring of 2012, she started as the first Client Advocate for DCVLP. In 2006, Ms. Margolis was the proud recipient of a Points of Light award for her work in domestic violence.