Our Team

Directors

Sara Tennen, Esq., MSW, 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.

Aida Vindell, Esq., Co-Legal Director

Aida Vindell is DCVLP’s Co-Legal Director, overseeing our Domestic Violence Program. She is a native Spanish speaker and a licensed attorney in the District and Maryland. Before joining DCVLP in 2019, Aida was a Senior Attorney at Children’s Law Center where she represented children in abuse and neglect proceedings and represented plaintiffs in custody matters. Before that she was a Staff Attorney at Ayuda, where she represented domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in protection order, 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.

Richard Kelley, Esq., Co-Legal Director

Richard Kelley is DCVLP’s Co-Legal Director, overseeing our Child Advocacy and Immigration 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.

Rebecca Simpson, Esq., Director of Grants and Foundational Giving

Rebecca Simpson is responsible for all aspects of the grant and foundational giving process. She has primary responsibility for researching, cultivating, and applying for private foundation and government grants. From 2019-2021, Rebecca served as DCVLP’s Legal Director, overseeing the entire legal team, and from 2017-2019 as a Supervising Attorney and Managing Attorney in the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Practices. Prior to that, Rebecca was a volunteer with DCVLP and received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2016. Before joining DCVLP, 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.

Sara Jamison, Director of Volunteer Engagement and Strategic Partnerships

Sara Jamison oversees DCVLP’s volunteer engagement and strategic partnerships, serving as the initial point of contact for new volunteer lawyers, law firms, and community partners. Sara actively works with the Executive Director to organize and coordinate programs designed to enrich volunteer experience at DCVLP. Sara also partners with the Development team in implementing DCVLP’s comprehensive fundraising program. Her background is in educational advancement, having most recently served as the Annual Giving Manager at Connelly School of the Holy Child. Sara has a B.A. in Mass Communication and Spanish (Cum Laude) from the University of Delaware; an M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature (Honors) from the University of Delaware; and is working toward a Nonprofit Management and Leadership Graduate Certificate from the University of Maryland.

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.

Program Attorneys

Jennie Berman, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Ms. Berman is a Supervising Attorney handling protection order and immigration cases. She joined DCVLP in 2018 as the Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellow. 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., Supervising Attorney: Policy & Appellate Advocacy

Ms. Carter is a Supervising Attorney in DCVLP’s Domestic Violence and Policy and Appellate Advocacy practice areas. In this role she represents survivors of domestic violence in Civil Protection Order and appellate cases and advocates for policies and laws that benefit DCVLP clients. Ms. Carter joined DCVLP in 2019 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP. As part of her fellowship, Ms. Carter staffed DCVLP’s Domestic Violence Protection Order Clinic at D.C. Superior Court. Prior to joining DCVLP she served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Maribeth Raffinan, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Division at the DC Superior Court. Ms. Carter received her J.D. from George Washington University Law School and her B.A. from Transylvania University.

Elaine Holmes, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Elaine Holmes is a Supervising Attorney handling protection order and family law cases on behalf of survivors of domestic violence. She joined DCVLP in 2021. Prior to joining the staff, Ms. Holmes was a staff attorney at the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, where she handled a full caseload of protective order, family law and employment cases. Prior to that, Ms. Holmes was an associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP and the New York office of Duane Morris LLP. While in private practice, she also worked on pro bono cases assisting domestic violence survivors. Ms. Holmes earned her J.D. from New York University of Law and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Elaine speaks basic Spanish and is working towards proficiency.

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.

Dana K. Rubin, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Dana Rubin is a Supervising Attorney in our Child Advocacy and Immigration programs. She serves as a court-appointed Guardian ad litem for children in complex custody cases in D.C. Superior Court. She also represents young people seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, asylum seekers and other related immigration matters. Prior to joining DCVLP in 2021, Dana was a Guardian ad litem for children in abuse and neglect cases in D.C. and an Assistant Attorney General in the Child Protection Section of the D.C. Office of the Attorney General. She received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law and her B.A. from Brandeis University.

Norah Sloss, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Norah Sloss is a Supervising Attorney in our Domestic Violence program, representing domestic violence survivors in civil protection order and family law cases. Prior to joining DCVLP in 2021, Norah was an associate at The Law Office of Rebekah Sullivan, where she represented clients in various family law matters in Washington, DC and Maryland. Previously, Norah was the Staff Attorney for the Domestic Violence Legal Wellness Program of Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County. Norah began working with survivors of domestic violence on civil protective order and family law cases in D.C. Superior Court, as a student attorney with the Families and the Law Clinic at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. Norah received her JD from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law with a concentration in family law and she received her B.S. from Loyola University New Orleans.

Lauren Snow, Esq., MSW, Supervising Attorney/Manager of Advocacy Services

Lauren Snow is a Supervising Attorney in our Child Advocacy and Domestic Violence Programs, representing domestic violence survivors in civil protection order and family law cases and serving as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem for at-risk children in complex custody cases. Lauren is also the Manager of Advocacy Services, working closely with DCVLP’s Client Advocates to provide holistic non-legal support to clients, including safety planning, crisis intervention, and referrals to community resources to ensure each client’s long-term safety and well-being. Lauren began her career in the education field, first as a teacher and later as a case manager for early childhood special education. During law school, Lauren was a student attorney 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.

Robyn Swanson, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Ms. Swanson joined DCVLP in 2020 as the Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellow. In 2021, she transitioned to the position of Supervising Attorney. Ms. Swanson represents at-risk children as a court-appointed Guardian ad litem in DC Superior Court. Prior to joining the staff, Ms. Swanson was a volunteer with DCVLP.

Madison Glennie, Esq., Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored By DLA Piper LLP (US) and Verizon Foundation

Ms. Glennie joined DCVLP in 2021 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by DLA Piper LLP (US) and Verizon Foundation. Ms. Glennie’s fellowship created a medical-legal partnership that serves gender-based violence survivors. The project is co-located at Children’s National Primary Care in Columbia Heights and AIDS Healthcare Foundation. During law school, Ms. Glennie represented domestic violence survivors as a student attorney with the Georgetown Law Domestic Violence Clinic. She also assisted refugee survivors of gender-based violence at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Malaysia. With the National Women’s Law Center and Legal Voice, Ms. Glennie aided in ongoing cases and researched reproductive justice law and policy. Ms. Glennie graduated with her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2021. Prior to law school, Ms. Glennie worked with survivors of human trafficking, and she received her B.A. from Drake University.

Stephanie Bergman, Esq., Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellow

Stephanie Bergman joined DCVLP as a Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellow in March 2021. Stephanie was a DVCLP volunteer representing at-risk children as a court-appointed guardian ad litem from 2017-2021. She previously practiced as a litigation associate at Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C., and Connolly Epstein Chicco Foxman Engelmyer and Ewing in Phildadelphia, Pa., and as a staff attorney at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Stephanie earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Lehigh University.

Amy Coles, Esq., Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellow

Amy Coles joined DCVLP in 2021 as a Roxana Cannon Arsht Law Fellow. Prior to joining the staff, Ms. Coles was a volunteer with DCVLP. Before that, Ms. Coles practiced law as a securities attorney. After law school, Ms. Coles clerked for the Honorable Deborah S. Byrnes, on the Court of Special Appeals in Maryland. She received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore Law School and her B.A. from Loyola University

Nikki Cary, Esq., Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP Law Fellow

Nikki Cary joined DCVLP in January 2021 as a Law Fellow, sponsored by Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. As part of her fellowship, Ms. Cary staffs DCVLP’s Immigration Clinic and serves as a Guardian ad litem in DC Superior Court. During law school, Ms. Cary served as a child advocate for unaccompanied immigrant children in the Young Center Clinic at the University of Chicago and as a Summer Law Clerk at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Nikki received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School and her B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Programmatic Staff

Laura Taylor, Victim & Community Outreach 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.  

Emmalyn Brown, Domestic Violence Program Coordinator

Emmalyn coordinates DCVLP’s Domestic Violence practice and the weekly Domestic Violence Resource Clinic. She provides support to case assignment; volunteer recruitment, outreach and retention; and serves as a point person for volunteer attorneys. Emmalyn also provides some direct case support, administrative support and monitors practice progress and case trends. Before working at DCVLP, Emmalyn served as a volunteer coordinator and community engagement AmeriCorps VISTA for a youth racial education nonprofit and a girl facing youth program, respectively. Emmalyn also has experience working for national nonprofits, NGOs and legislatures. She also previously served as a volunteer victim advocate. Emmalyn received her B.A. from the University of Iowa, majoring in English & Creative Writing, with minors in French and Social Justice. She also holds a certificate in Human Rights through the Iowa College of Law and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration.

Gargie Nagarkar, Compliance Coordinator

Ms. Nagarkar is fluent in English, French, and Marathi, and speaks basic Spanish. She manages our client and case data to create grant reports and to ensure grant compliance. She oversees our intern program, provides legal assistance to our attorneys, and assists with grant writing, grant tracking, event planning and outreach. She is also DCVLP’s point of contact for the Victim Legal Network of DC (VLNDC). Prior to DCVLP, Ms. Nagarkar was a Legal Assistant with Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center in Charlottesville, Va. She received a B.S. in Sociology with Honors, Summa Cum Laude, from Virginia Tech in 2018.

Social Services

Destiny Bullock, Client Advocate

Destiny assists clients with non-legal needs including crisis intervention, on-going emotional support, safety planning, referrals to partner organizations, and advocacy. Destiny previously worked as an Allies for Success Case Manager at the Latin American Youth Center and prior to that as a Residential Care Coordinator at Fair Girls. Destiny received her B.A. from Delaware State University. Destiny enjoys her career in service to others and lives up to the definition of her name through her work. Knowing that each client that she comes in contact with is unique, Destiny is well versed in trauma-informed care and has great relationships with those that she comes in contact with.

Joy Castro-Wehr, Client Advocate

Joy assists clients with their non-legal needs by discussing long and short-term safety plans and by accompanying them as they navigate the support-service networks of Washington, D.C. She also offers crisis response intervention and emotional support to clients. Prior to joining DCVLP, Joy worked as a digital mobilizing fellow, advocating for racial, environmental and gender justice at a DC-based non-profit. Joy graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in Sociology and Religious Studies and a minor in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies. At Oberlin, she was a peer educator in sexual harm prevention on college campuses and has learned how to be a more informed advocate for consent, communication and empowerment – particularly for young people, through a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout college and beyond. Joy is passionate about helping to facilitate frank conversations that create more justice and empowerment in the relationships people have in their lives. Joy speaks basic Spanish.

Arianna Rivera, Client Advocate

Arianna provides non-legal support to survivors of intimate partner violence as well as immigrant clients impacted by gender-based violence. As a Client Advocate, she assists clients with crisis response, safety planning, and navigating resources in the District. Arianna began her career working with survivors of intimate partner violence in California where she managed an emergency domestic violence shelter. Additional experience has included supervising a court advocacy program, creating and facilitating trainings for other service providers, and providing direct services to survivors of intimate partner violence. Arianna graduated with a B.A in Criminology and Justice Studies with a focus on Race and Ethnic Studies from California State University San Marcos. Arianna approaches her work with a trauma-informed lens and a social justice and equity framework. Arianna is fluent in Spanish.

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