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.

Lauren Snow, Esq., MSW, Co-Legal Director

Lauren Snow is DCVLP’s Co-Legal Director, overseeing the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Practices. In addition, Lauren manages DCVLP’s team of wonderful client advocates who provide holistic non-legal support, including safety planning, crisis intervention, and community resource referrals 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 family 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. She is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Marcy Baskin, Director of Grants and Foundational Giving

Marcy Baskin is responsible for all aspects of the grant and foundational giving process. Marcy has primary responsibility for researching, cultivating, and applying for private foundation and government grants. Prior to DCVLP, Marcy was a Director at Elevate, a consulting firm that works with mission driven nonprofit organizations. At Elevate, Marcy developed and implemented comprehensive institution fundraising strategies and handled all aspects of foundational grant giving. Marcy has extensive experience in both private foundations and government grants. Before her position at Elevate, Marcy worked in a variety of grant roles at nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., and Charlottesville, Va. Marcy also has experience working in a school program for Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic as an ESOL teacher. Marcy is a longtime volunteer with Upwardly Global and Lutheran Social Services, two local organizations supporting refugee families.

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 holds 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

Daniela Huerta Garcia, Esq., Managing Attorney, Immigration Program

Daniela is the Managing Attorney for the Immigration Program. She joined DCVLP in 2022. Daniela was previously an antitrust associate in the Washington, DC office of White & Case LLP. While at White & Case, Daniela maintained an active pro bono practice, including counseling clients regarding asylum matters, drafting comments in opposition to proposed Department of Homeland Security rules, and advocating for the release of a Guantanamo detainee. During law school, she led and participated in various immigration clinics and worked at an immigration law firm, focusing on asylum and other forms of relief. Before starting her legal career, Daniela worked as a field representative for a Member of Congress, focusing on community building and advocating for constituents. Daniela earned her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law and two B.A.s from The University of Texas at Dallas. She is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. Daniela is a native Spanish speaker.

Jennie Berman, Esq., Managing Attorney

Ms. Berman is a Managing 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., Managing Attorney: Policy & Appellate Advocacy

Ms. Carter is a Managing 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.

Norah Sloss, Esq., Managing Attorney, Custody and Divorce

Norah Sloss is a Managing Attorney for custody and divorce 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.

Margie Clark, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Margie Clark is a Supervising Attorney in the Child Advocacy Program. She serves as a court-appointed Guardian ad litem for children in complex custody cases in DC Superior Court. Before joining DCVLP in 2022, Margie represented parents in child abuse and neglect proceedings in DC Superior Court as well as foster parents seeking guardianship or adoption of the children in their care. She was also a member of the Guardian ad litem panels in DC and Virginia, representing the best interests of children in abuse and neglect cases. She previously practiced as a litigation associate at Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, DC. Margie has a J.D. from Fordham University and a B.S. from Georgetown University. She is Vice President of the Board of Friends of DC Superior Court.

Vanessa Hernandez, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Vanessa Hernandez is a Supervising Attorney in our Domestic Violence Program. Prior to joining DCVLP, Vanessa worked for CAIR Coalition advocating for and representing detained immigrant children in their humanitarian cases. While at CAIR Coalition, Vanessa served minors from Central America by providing direct representation to them and by mentoring pro bono attorneys who volunteered to take their cases. Vanessa has previously worked with survivors of domestic violence at CAIR Coalition and during her internships with Ayuda and with the Domestic Violence Unit at DC Superior Court. Before starting her legal career, Vanessa worked for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as a Resources Analyst. Vanessa earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus; her Master’s degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus; and her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.

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.

Masooma Hussain, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Masooma Hussain is a supervising attorney in the Domestic Violence and Family Law Program at DCVLP. Prior to this position, Masooma served as a bilingual staff attorney at Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC), where she represented and advocated on behalf of victims of crimes, including sexual assault and domestic violence, and surviving family members of homicide victims. She also has experience with family law, having served as a judicial law clerk at the DC Superior Court’s Domestic Relations Branch and representing clients, pro bono, in divorce and custody cases at Aydua. In addition to her legal career, Masooma comes to DCVLP with experience in policy, having advocated for funding for early childhood programs such as universal pre-k and home-visitation – former campaigns of The Pew Charitable Trusts – and investigations, serving as the analyst-in-charge for investigations undertaken by the Office of the DC Auditor, including the evaluation of DC’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board, Metropolitan Police Department’s Investigation of First Amendment Activities, and the District of Columbia Public Schools’ school meals program. Masooma received her B.A. from New York University and J.D. from the Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America.

Clara Mora, Esq., Supervising Attorney

Clara Mora is a Supervising Attorney in DCVLP’s Domestic Violence Program. Prior to joining DCVLP, Clara provided low-bono legal representation to D.C. residents in family, probate, and immigration issues. In particular, she focused her practice on representing survivors of violence and LGBTQ+ individuals. Clara also has worked with organizations focused on employment and landlord-tenant law. Clara received her J.D. and L.L.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. She received her B.A. from the George Washington University.

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.

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.

Tara Branine, Esq., Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by Crowell & Moring Foundation

Tara joined DCVLP in 2022 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Crowell & Moring Foundation. Tara’s fellowship focuses on representing survivors who have suffered gun violence or were threatened by gun violence. Her representation focuses on Civil Protection Order and Extreme Risk Protection Order cases. Tara also provides representation in a limited number of family law cases where a child custody order or divorce decree would provide continued stability and violence prevention. Additionally, Tara provides know-your-rights presentations and work with the DCVLP’s community partners to educate the community about the availability of Extreme Risk Protection Orders. Tara graduated with her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 2022. Tara received her B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles. Tara is proficient in Spanish.

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.

Michaela Lovejoy, Esq., Immigration Staff Attorney

Michaela joined DCVLP in 2022 as an Immigration Staff Attorney. Prior to this role, Michaela was an Equal Justice Works Fellow and Staff Attorney that advocated for survivors of human trafficking and power-based violence seeking safety in the court and immigration systems through targeted outreach and community coordination, direct legal services, and pro bono mentorship. Michaela earned a J.D. from The George Washington University School of Law in 2020, and a B.A. from Tulane University in 2015.

Programmatic Staff

Emily Gallo, Domestic Violence Program Coordinator

Emily connects clients in DCVLP’s domestic violence practice with attorneys and coordinates our weekly community-based legal clinics. Prior to DCVLP, Emily worked at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (DCFPI), an organization dedicated to shaping racially-just tax, budget, and policy decisions in the District. Utilizing strategic communications, she raised visibility for the organization’s policy and advocacy goals. Emily is passionate about economic justice and ensuring legal services can be provided without financial barriers. Emily received her B.A in Political Science and Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Michaela Hinson, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

As the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Michaela is responsible for recruiting, welcoming, and onboarding new volunteers at DCVLP. Michaela works with the Director of Volunteer Engagement and Strategic Partnerships to support volunteers and enhance the volunteer experience. Michaela is a Master Licensed Social Worker (LMSW) and received her Master’s in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to joining DCVLP, Michaela was the coordinator of family programs at the National Alliance on Mental Illness NYC, working with volunteers to bring free educational programming to adolescents and families.

Gargie Nagarkar, Grants and Data Compliance Manager

Ms. Nagarkar is fluent in English, French, and Marathi. 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.

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.  

Social Services

Annabelle Lopane, Program Coordinator, Child Advocacy & Immigration Programs

Annabelle connects DCVLP’s child and immigration clients and their families in our Child Advocacy and Immigration Programs with social services throughout the DC area. She onboards new volunteers, assigns teams of attorneys to immigration and Guardian ad litem cases, and provides ongoing administrative support to the volunteer teams throughout their cases. Annabelle previously interned at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a nonprofit that provides legal and social services assistance for children that are unaccompanied. Annabelle worked on projects at KIND that bolstered the organization’s internal resource database and overall social services. Annabelle also worked as an advocate at DC SAFE, which is the only 24/7 crisis intervention agency in D.C. At DC SAFE, Annabelle learned the complexities of safety planning and the importance of being an empathetic and trauma informed advocate with domestic violence survivors. Annabelle studied marketing and entrepreneurship at Clemson University in South Carolina and is working towards a Master of Public Administration at Anderson University.

Hayes Parker-Kepchar, Client Advocate

Hayes supports clients with remaining non-legal needs after their cases have wrapped up. Hayes helps clients navigate housing and public benefits and connects them to other resources, such as food assistance and counseling. Prior to joining DCVLP, Hayes managed a team of case managers in a rapid re-housing program, where she developed a deep passion for affordable housing. Hayes started her work in interpersonal violence while attending The College of William & Mary, where she received her undergraduate degree in Sociology. While in school, Hayes provided peer support to students who had been affected by interpersonal violence and provided healthy relationships education to the student body at large. Hayes is dedicated to addressing the root causes of domestic violence, including patriarchy, income inequality, and racism, and particularly enjoys working with survivors in the LGBTQ+ community.

Maria Velez, Client Advocate

Maria provides non-legal support to survivors of intimate partner violence as well as immigrant clients impacted by gender-based violence. As a Client Advocate, Maria assists clients with crisis response, safety planning, and navigating resources in the District. Prior to DCVLP, Maria was a Family Liaison at Fairfax County Public Schools. In this role, Maria worked with school social workers, counselors, and administrators to assist families in accessing resources, services, and programs for their needs. From 2016-2022, Maria volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Fairfax County. Maria advocated for the best interests of abused and neglected children by identifying their needs, ensured that they received all required services, and worked towards the goal of their placement in a safe and permanent home by advocating for their best interests in Court. Maria is fluent in Spanish.

Julia Wiener, Client Advocate

Julia provides non legal support to survivors in divorce and custody processes. Prior to DCVLP, through various rape crisis centers and community programs, Julia supported survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence in prisons, hospitals, and the general community. Julia has managed medical advocacy programs in Boston and D.C. and developed a pilot rape crisis hotline in Mexico City. Julia began working with survivors while studying Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies at Harvard College. Julia believes that every survivor deserves the individualized resources needed to access safety and healing and is passionate about connecting survivors to those resources and keeping them safe and connected within their communities. Julia speaks Spanish.

Operations

Desiree Terriquez, Operations & HR Assistant

Desiree Terriquez joined DCVLP in 2022 as the Operations and Human Resources Assistant. Previously, Desiree worked as a financial analyst at the University of California, Irvine Office of Research and has assisted Operations, Financial, and HR managers throughout her undergraduate career. She has also held a leadership position for the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and graduated from the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce Creating a Path to Success program in 2020. Desiree earned a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine in 2020 and is currently working towards earning a M.A. in International Affairs Policy and Analysis from American University School of International Service.

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