Staff

Management

Sara Tennen, Esq., Executive Director

Sara Tennen oversees the entire programmatic, operations, and development functions of DCVLP, ensuring ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, and communications. She leads strategic outreach to law firms and community partners, and works with our Director of Development to oversee fundraising efforts. She started her legal career as a prosecutor with Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Arizona, where she prosecuted sex crimes against children. Sara later practiced family law in Arizona, Maryland, and the District. Sara has served as a court appointed guardian ad litem on behalf of numerous children in DC Superior Court. Ms. Tennen serves on the Superior Court Domestic Relations Branch Subcommittee and was a member of the Best Practices in Child Testimony Task Force, alongside other legal services providers and Superior Court Judges. She has extensive litigation experience questioning experts, dealing with foundational issues in trial, and interviewing children, both inside and outside the courtroom. Ms. Tennen, a trained mediator and forensic interviewer, earned a law degree and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from the University of Rochester.

Jackie Love-Baker, Esq., Director of Development

Jackie Love-Baker, a licensed attorney in California and the District of Columbia, is DCVLP’s Director of Development. She manages grants and reporting, communications and donor-related needs. She also oversees the annual report, annual appeal campaign, website and social media accounts. She is part of the team managing DCVLP’s annual benefit which raises one-third of DCVLP’s annual budget. Previously, she served for 13 years as the Director of the Legal Advocacy Program for Domestic Violence Victims at the YWCA of San Diego County where she worked on behalf of domestic violence victims and was responsible for writing and managing over $2 million in federal and private grants. Ms. Love-Baker is also a USPTO patent lawyer and has assisted local non-profits with their grant writing efforts. Ms. Love-Baker graduated from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in biology and received her J.D. From the University of San Diego.

Rebecca Simpson, Esq., Legal Director

Rebecca Simpson oversees DCVLP’s legal team, including the Child Advocacy and Domestic Violence practices. She leads volunteer recruiting and training in both programs and manages our client referral and case assignment processes. She also supervises volunteer attorneys serving as court-appointed guardians ad litem and representing domestic violence survivors in custody and divorce matters. Previously she served as a volunteer with DCVLP and received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2016. Prior to joining us Rebecca practiced as a court-appointed guardian ad litem for children in Fairfax County, Virginia, where she also served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children. She spent eight years working in private practice, including at a small real estate firm in Virginia and at Arnold & Porter (now Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholler, LLP.) Rebecca began her career as a judicial clerk on the Supreme Court of Minnesota; she earned a J.D. from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. from the University of Delaware.

Brian Yourish, Director of Operations

Brian oversees DCVLP’s administration, finances, and human resources. He also plays a role in grants management and event planning. Previously, Brian was Constitutional Accountability Center’s Office Manager, where he was responsible for daily office operations, including office management, technology support, human resources, and vendor relations. Prior to joining CAC, Brian was the Office Manager at The Constitution Project. Brian also worked as the Legal Assistant with the American Immigration Council’s Legal Action Center in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Brian was the Climate Change Program Administrator at the Vancouver, Canada-based David Suzuki Foundation. Brian received his B.A. in English from the University of Maryland.

Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Attorneys

Cindy Kim, Esq., Managing Attorney

Cindy Kim joined DCVLP in 2018 and represents victims as co-counsel with volunteers in civil protection order cases, regularly supervises the Domestic Violence Resource Clinic, trains new volunteer lawyers to handle protection order cases and staff DCVLP’s walk-in clinics, and represents DCVLP at monthly meetings with local domestic violence legal service providers.  Recently, Ms. Kim participated in the Steering Committee to Develop Best Practices for Supervision of Domestic & Sexual Violence Attorneys, coordinated by the ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence. Previously, for nearly seven years, Ms. Kim worked at DC’s Office of the Attorney General, helping domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking victims obtain and enforce protection orders.  A large part of her practice involved prosecuting violations of those orders, holding offenders accountable for their actions and helping victims navigate the criminal justice system.  Recently, at Montgomery County, Maryland’s Immigrant Resource Center, Ms. Kim worked with community stakeholders and partners to assess needs in local immigrant communities, created programs to meet those needs, and empowered volunteers to staff the programs.  From 2016-2018, Ms. Kim served on the Board of Directors for the Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project, serving as President of the Board for the latter half.  In addition, for the last two years, on a pro bono basis, Ms. Kim has represented a pair of siblings obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, representing them to USCIS as well as before the immigration courts.   Earlier in her career, Ms. Kim worked as a Staff Attorney at the ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, helping to create trainings and resources for Legal Assistance to Victims grantees, and also practiced immigration law. She earned her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and B.A. from University of Maryland, College Park, and speaks Korean and some French.

Victoria Lynch-Draper, Esq., Managing Attorney

Victoria Lynch-Draper supervises volunteer attorneys in DCVLP’s Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Programs and oversees our Family Legal Clinics. She was a litigation associate for five years at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, where she dedicated significant time to the pro bono representation of indigent clients in custody and other family law matters in DC and Maryland courts. In 2015, Victoria was awarded Pillsbury’s Mid-Level Pro Bono Fellowship, through which she spent a year as a Staff Attorney with Children’s Law Center, serving as a guardian ad litem and representing third-party caregivers in contested custody proceedings with multi-jurisdictional issues in DC Superior Court. Prior to joining Pillsbury, Victoria served as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Child Protection Section of the DC Office of the Attorney General, prosecuting child abuse and neglect proceedings. She received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies and Philosophy from the University of Virginia.

Linda Kauskay, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Linda Kauskay supervises volunteers handling family law (custody and divorce) cases on behalf of domestic violence victims. She is a former mediator of family cases for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. Ms. Kauskay received her J.D. from Georgetown University and spent her early career at Steptoe & Johnson LLC. She is admitted to practice in both the District of Columbia and Maryland, and is performance-certified as a mediator by the Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution.

Jen Stillerman, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Jen Stillerman supervises volunteer attorneys in DCVLP’s Child Advocacy Program (CAP).  Her work focuses on supporting DCVLP’s teen clients and providing specialized training to their volunteer attorneys through DCVLP’s Teens At Risk: Growing, Engaging & Thriving (TARGET) initiative.  Previously, Ms. Stillerman spent nearly five years as a volunteer attorney with DCVLP, and received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2018.  She is a former Associate General Counsel at the George Washington University and associate in the Education Group at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells).  Ms. Stillerman served as a law clerk to the Hon. Leonard B. Sand of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and received her B.A. from Middlebury College.

Richard Kelley, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Richard Kelley supervises volunteer attorneys in DCVLP’s Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Programs. Prior to joining DCVLP, he was a litigation associate DLA Piper LLP, where he dedicated significant time to the pro bono representation of indigent clients, including as a Guardian ad Litem in D.C. Superior Court and as an advocate on behalf of asylum seekers. Prior to joining DLA Piper, Richard was a senior attorney at the DC Affordable Law Firm, where he represented survivors of domestic violence, at-risk children, and asylum seekers. He also has spent time working for juvenile justice reform in Maryland through the National Juvenile Defender Center. In his volunteer time, Richard works with Center Global on behalf of LGBTQ asylum seekers and Whitman Walker through their name-change clinic. He received his J.D. and LL.M in International Business and Economic Law and LL.M in Civil Justice from Georgetown University Law Center and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University.

Aida Vindell, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Aida Vindell is a Supervising Attorney in our Domestic Violence Program. Before joining DCVLP, Aida was a Senior Attorney in the Guardian ad litem Project at the Children’s Law Center where she represented children in abuse and neglect proceedings. While at CLC, Aida also volunteered to take cases from the Families First Project at CLC where she represented plaintiffs in custody matters and served as a GAL in custody matters. Prior to CLC, Aida was a Staff Attorney at Ayuda where she represented DV and Sexual Assault survivors in CPO, custody and divorce proceedings. Aida earned her Bachelor of Public Administration from Florida International University and her J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia- David A. Clarke School of Law.

Lauren Snow, Esq., Staff Attorney

As a Staff Attorney, Lauren represents domestic violence survivors in civil protection order and family law cases and serves as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem for children in high-conflict custody cases. Before attending law school, Lauren worked in education, first as an early childhood teacher and later as a case manager for early childhood special education. Throughout law school, Lauren participated in the Child Advocacy Law Clinic, serving as a Guardian ad Litem for children in abuse and neglect cases. Lauren earned her J.D. and M.S.W. from the University of Michigan and her B.A. from Georgetown University.

Jennie Berman, Esq., Arsht Law Fellow

Ms. Berman joined DCVLP in 2018 as the Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellow. She represents clients in civil protection order and family law cases and at-risk children as a court-appointed Guardian ad litem in DC Superior Court. Prior to joining the staff, Ms. Berman was a volunteer with DCVLP. Ms. Berman previously practiced as a litigation associate in the New York office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. While at Morgan Lewis, she also worked on pro bono cases assisting domestic violence survivors. Ms. Berman earned her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law and her B.A. from Wellesley College. She is proficient in Spanish.

Ashley Carter, Esq., Equal Justice Works Fellow

Ashley Carter joined DCVLP in 2019 as an an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP. As part of her fellowship, Ashley will staff DCVLP’s new Domestic Violence Protection Order Clinic housed at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Prior to graduating from law school, Ashley represented survivors of domestic violence as a student attorney in the Family Justice Litigation Clinic and as a legal intern with Legal Aid Chicago. She also represented clients as a student attorney in the Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Services Clinic. Following graduation, Ashley served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Maribeth Raffinan, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Division at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Ashley received her J.D. from George Washington University Law School and her B.A. from Transylvania University.

Support Staff

Suzy Ziaii, Domestic Violence Program Manager

Ms. Ziaii works in our Domestic Violence Program, matching volunteer attorneys with cases and providing them with case management support. Additionally, she oversees the administration of DCVLP’s Domestic Violence Resource Clinic, assists with Victim Legal Network intakes, and other legal team needs. She has completed the Domestic Violence Advocate Core Competency Training (DVACT) from the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, providing her with Advocate Privilege. Previously, Ms. Ziaii worked as a labor-side litigation paralegal and as a digital fundraising strategist for congressional campaigns. She received her B.A. from the College of William & Mary, where she double majored in Government and Hispanic Studies. Ms. Ziaii speaks Polish and Spanish.

Lauren Leavell, Paralegal & Data Manager

Ms. Leavell assists our attorneys with trial preparation and other litigation support needs. She manages DCVLP’s client and legal database, is the point administrative person for the Child Advocacy Program and manages the internship program. Ms. Leavell received her B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, majoring in International Politics and International Security. She began her career in D.C. as an intern for former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates at the Department of Justice, fueling her passion for the law. After college, she traveled extensively to various countries doing missions and service trips for marginalized communities. She aims to merge these two areas of interest together towards her career.

Laura Taylor, Development & Communications Manager

Ms. Taylor works closely with the Director of Development and the Executive Director to write grant applications and reports, manage the donor database, and design outreach and communication materials. She previously worked at a variety of nonprofit organizations, including shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness and her hometown’s historical society. Ms. Taylor received her B.A. from The George Washington University, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy.  

Jennifer Watkins, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

Ms. Watkins coordinates strategic outreach efforts to volunteers, clients, and the community. She leads victim outreach initiatives and community partner collaboration, including providing support for our newest Family Legal Clinic at The Commons at Stanton Square in Anacostia. Additionally, she coordinates volunteer recruitment, training, and retention. Previously, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a volunteer-run free health clinic, and as a development intern for an international health and human rights nonprofit. Ms. Watkins received her B.A. from University of Georgia, where she double majored in International Affairs and Sociology, and minored in Russian.

Sania Ali, Legal Program/Grants Compliance Assistant

Ms. Ali liaises between the Development Team and the Legal Team to conduct data entry and ensure grant compliance. She provides additional support to the Director of Development, the Grants and Development Manager, and the Domestic Violence Program. She previously worked at Wake’s Women Center and interned at a variety of nonprofits working towards gender equity. Ms. Ali received her B.A. from Wake Forest University, where she doubled majored in Sociology and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and minored in Religion.

Social Services

Lorraine Holmes, Client Advocate

Ms. Holmes assists clients with non-legal needs including crisis intervention, on-going emotional support, safety planning, referrals to partner organizations and advocacy. Ms. Holmes started her career as an intern with a DC domestic violence organization while earning a B.A. from American University, and has been doing direct-service work with various organizations ever since. She has extensive experience providing support to survivors of power-based violence and brings a trauma-informed and strength-based approach to her work.

Kate Margolis, Client Advocate

Kate Margolis has worked as an advocate for domestic violence survivors for 15 years. After spending 11 years in Morris Count NJ at Jersey Battered Women’s Shelter as a court advocate, she moved to DC and started the new position of client advocate for DCVLP where she worked for 4 years. She is thrilled to be back in a part-time position to help with establishing the new Family Legal Clinic at The Commons at Stanton Square in Anacostia.

Since I came into the clinic and went to court with my lawyer, everything is CALM. I can now focus on being a student and a mother to my children. Thank you for bringing this FEELING OF RELIEF into my life.

— DCVLP client and survivor of domestic violence