Susan B. Shulman

Executive Director

Susan has spent her career in public interest law, law firms and the business world. Most recently, Susan was General Counsel and Director of Operations for Metrist Partners. Prior to joining Metrist Partners, Susan was the Pro Bono Initiative Director at the Public Interest Law Initiative. In that role, Susan worked with lawyers at law firms and corporations to facilitate increased participation in pro bono legal work and to focus greater attention on the unmet legal needs of low-income individuals. Susan consulted with over 70 law firms and corporations on launching and reinvigorating their pro bono programs. She also succeeded in tapping previously untapped resources for pro bono work, including transactional attorneys and attorneys at corporations, and fostered the first pro bono partnerships between law firms and corporate legal departments in Chicago. Her efforts resulted in a 16% increase in pro bono work by law firm attorneys, and a 156% increase in pro bono work by attorneys at corporations.

Susan received her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and is a graduate of Brandeis University with a B.A. in Economics.

Richard Hillsberg

General Counsel

Richard Hillsberg is Of Counsel at Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit and concentrates his practice in commercial litigation, mechanics lien foreclosures, bankruptcy, and insolvency solutions. Prior to settling in the Chicagoland area, Richard served as an Army Judge Advocate officer at 5th Army Headquarters, where among other duties he was a Military Judge and the 5th Army Legal Assistance Officer (1967-1971). Richard has been a partner with the law firm of Zissman and Hillsberg (1977-1983), a partner with the law firm of Tishler and Wald (1983-1995), and a principal of Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit (1995-2009). He also served as an interim trustee in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois (1980-1986). Richard earned a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University Law School. Richard has received an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell; their highest peer rating for ethical standards and professional ability. He served for over five years on the Highland Park Lake Front Commission, including two years as its Chairman.

Nareen Kim

Director of Housing Law Practice

Nareen Kim has more than two decades of legal experience. She has extensive experience in all areas of housing law including private and subsidized eviction defense, housing choice voucher terminations, reasonable accommodations, conditions issues, and foreclosures. Throughout her career, Nareen has been a zealous advocate for those who are in need of justice but may not have access to it. Most recently, she was a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services where she represented low-income tenants who were being unlawfully evicted or at risk of losing their subsidies. Nareen also worked as a staff attorney at Legal Aid Chicago representing indigent clients in family law, housing, employment and consumer issues. Prior to her work in civil legal services, she was a criminal defense attorney at the Lake County Public Defender’s Office and the Evanston Community Defender Office.

She received her J.D. from Northwestern University and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lia Kim-Yi

Director of Immigration Law Practice

Lia Hyunji Kim-Yi is an attorney who has practiced immigration and nationality litigation for almost 10 years at the Law Offices of Cheng, Cho and Yee in Chicago, Illinois. She has successfully represented clients before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Northern District Court of Illinois. In addition, Lia has argued before a panel at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She is an active member of the Korean American Bar Association, serving as President, and previously as Secretary from 2010 to 2012 and Treasurer from 2014 to 2016. Also, Lia is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and regularly volunteers at the HANA Center Pro Bono Legal Clinic.

Lia received her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School and her B.S. in Political Science from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ilana Forbes

Director of  Operations

Ilana Forbes is an accomplished attorney and mediator with experience in the legal community and not-for-profit sector. She brings a unique blend of legal expertise and operational acumen to the role of Operations Director. She was most recently a Senior Attorney with NSLAC before transitioning into management where she leverages her legal expertise to ensure the smooth functioning of the legal aid clinic.  

Throughout her career, Ilana has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advocating for those in need of access to justice. Ilana was a volunteer mediator for self-represented litigants and a certified arbitrator in the 19th Judicial Circuit. Ilana is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and the Lake County Bar Association. She is active in the Barrington community, serving as a volunteer in various local organizations. 

Ilana received her J.D. and Certificate in Family Law from DePaul University College of Law, a B.A. in Public Policy and Psychology from Duke University, and she earned a Certificate in Mediation Skills and a Certificate in Divorce Mediation from Northwestern University School of Professional Studies. 

Greg Davenport

Director of Development

Greg Davenport has spent his entire career in the nonprofit sector. His range of experiences include childcare, entrepreneurship education, and programs for individuals with diverse abilities. The common thread connecting his professional experiences are mission statements focused on building communities and creating opportunities for all. Most recently, Greg served the last seven years as executive director for the Gateway Region YMCA, supporting the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. Greg, his wife Jamie (Kaplan), and three children, are eager to relocate close to family in the North Shore.

Greg received an M.S. in Nonprofit Management from Fontbonne University, and a B.S.B.A. in Accounting from Rockhurst University.


Alyssa Knobel

Director of Communications and Government Relations

Alyssa is a seasoned marketing and communications professional. She began her career in advertising at McCann-Erickson New York and also worked at BBDO Chicago, before making the move to brand management and business development. For more than a decade she has guided client marketing, public relations, and strategic planning efforts and led various political campaigns. An active member of her local and greater community she serves on a broad range of civic and philanthropic boards and committees and began her work with the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic in 2015 as a volunteer. Elected to the Highland Park City Council in 2013 and reelected in 2017, she also served as the chair of the City of Highland Park Business and Economic Development Commission. The Highland Park Community Foundation honored Alyssa in 2018 with the Jack Blane Community Service Award. Jewish Council Youth Services (JCYS) named Alyssa as a Director for Life in May 2014.

Alyssa holds a BS in Communication from Boston University.

Esmeralda Aguilar

Practice Assistant, Immigration Law Practice

Esmeralda is a bilingual professional working with the Immigration Law Practice conducting legal research to support legal proceedings, communicating with clients, obtaining documents, and assisting with administrative and paralegal support work.

As the daughter of immigrants, Esmeralda is passionate about advocacy and social services. A first-generation college student, Esmeralda was inspired to devote her career to creating a better tomorrow for immigrants. She is the former President of Latinos Unidos and has been involved with civic engagement with particular attention to engaging minority college students.

Esmeralda holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She minored in Public Policy Studies and holds a certificate in Social Justice.

Bob Badesch

Staff Attorney, Domestic Violence Law Practice  

Bob Badesch has a passion for making access to justice a reality for all people and is most fulfilled helping underserved communities and those in need. He put his expertise to work at NSLAC as a faithful volunteer with the Domestic Violence Law Practice in the early years of the organization and joined NSLAC as a staff member in 2022.  

Bob has been a practicing attorney for more than 45 years. He was a Founding Member and Senior Partner at Badesch Ambramovitch for 15 years. Prior to founding his namesake firm, Bob honed his experience as a practicing attorney at other law offices, including the Cook County Public Defender, and was an Adjunct Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law.  

Bob has been named as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois Family Law, or one of the Top 5% divorce lawyers in the state. He received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Esteban Carbajal

Supervising Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

As the son of Mexican immigrants, Esteban Carbajal has long been passionate about immigrant rights.  As a bilingual attorney, he prioritizes serving the needs of the immigrant community with tenacity, skill, and compassion.

Esteban launched his career as an undergraduate student volunteering as a citizenship instructor where he helped prepare naturalization applicants for their citizenship interviews.  Shortly after becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree, he joined NSLAC as a volunteer and quickly became a Department of Justice partially accredited representative, then eventually a full-time staff member.  In July 2019, he became a DOJ fully accredited representative, making him 1 of 17 in Illinois that could represent clients in immigration proceedings.  In 2021, Esteban reached his goal of graduating law school, passing the bar exam, and being sworn in as a licensed attorney.

Esteban holds a B.A. in International Studies from Loyola University Chicago and earned his Juris Doctor degree with honors from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law.

Kadir Castellanos

Intake Specialist

Kadir is a bilingual Intake Specialist with extensive experience reaching out to community members, cultivating meaningful relationships, and supporting and promoting programs and services to help those in need.  

As an immigrant from Belize, Kadir knows how difficult relocation can be. He approaches his work with compassion and dedication as he works to help individuals and families live independently and without fear. He has always been interested in learning and finding ways to create connections between people from diverse backgrounds. Kadir is a former Willenborg Fellow. Through the fellowship, Kadir and the faculty assisted in creating a Religion and World Politics class while also working to establish relationships between the university and local religious leaders.  

Kadir Received his B.A. from Dominican University in International Relations with minors in Philosophy and Interfaith, making him the first to obtain this minor at the university. He will be starting law school to further his education and pursue his legal aspirations. 

Liz Chavez

Senior Practice Assistant, Domestic Violence Law Practice 

Liz Chavez works with the Domestic Violence Law Practice conducting legal research to support legal proceedings, communicating with clients, obtaining documents, and assisting with administrative and paralegal support work.

As the daughter of immigrants, Liz deeply understands the struggle that her parents and so many others like them face while navigating the U.S. immigration system. A first-generation college student, Liz was inspired to devote her career to giving back to those less fortunate than herself, particularly to those within the Latino community. Liz has worked in the non-profit sector for almost a decade and was a volunteer with Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants. Before joining NSLAC, Liz was the Manager of the Primary Education and Community Programs at Family Service of Lake County’s Nuestro Center where ran successful programs for the Highwood and Highland Park community.

Liz holds a B.A. in Latin American and Latino Studies from DePaul University. Liz hopes to attend Law School soon and become an immigration law attorney.

Charlotte Coats

Senior Staff Attorney, Domestic Violence Law Practice

Charlotte Coats is a senior staff attorney with a deep interest in advocating for the most vulnerable and underrepresented in our society. Before joining NSLAC, Charlotte was a Domestic Violence Team Legal Intern at the Legal Aid Society in Chicago. Her experience as an intern at the Legal Aid Society and at Legal Aid Chicago, Citizen Advocacy Center, and Prairie State Legal Services provided her with a broad range of experience and background in public interest law. As a JD candidate, Charlotte gained a 711 license to render legal services in the State of Illinois and represented survivors of domestic violence in family law issues. As a law student, she was an active member of the DePaul Center for Public Interest Law and served in several leadership positions.

Charlotte Received her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and her B.A. in English-Literature from Illinois Wesleyan University.

Belany Contreras

Staff Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Belany was born in Mexico and was one of the first in her family to come to the U.S. She has always been passionate about helping the community and individuals in need. Her own immigrant experience inspired her to study law to become an immigration lawyer. She has worked as an intern and volunteer at multiple non-profit organizations including the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic and Instituto del Progreso Latino. During law school, Belany worked as a student attorney at the Community Enterprise and Solidarity Economy Clinic. While working there, she worked with immigrant entrepreneurs.

Belany received her J.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Law. She received her B.A. from Lake Forest College, where she majored in Latin American Studies and double-minored in Social Justice and Legal Studies.

Alicia De La Cruz

Immigration Outreach Coordinator

Alicia De La Cruz is a Mexican Immigrant with degrees in Marketing and Accounting. After working in the private sector for many years, Alicia transitioned to non-profit service, working for 12 years at Open Communities where she found her passion helping others and organizing tenants, homeowners and immigrant leaders to ensure they play an active role in the development decisions that affect them. Alicia has been an active volunteer with the Latino Leadership Project, the Highland Park-based social service agency Family Network and the Art Center of Highland Park. She is also a board member of the Community Advisory Committee for Highland Park Hospital. Alicia is the founder and coordinator of Working Together, a grassroots organization that supports the Latino families of Highwood and Highland Park with educational, cultural and recreational activities. In 2016, Alicia received the Highland Park Humanitarian Award, an award presented to outstanding Highland Park individuals who have rendered significant personal service to the community.

Rachel Doherty

DOJ Accredited Representative

Rachel Doherty works directly with the Immigration Law Practice conducting legal research to support legal proceedings, communicating with clients, obtaining documents, and assisting with administrative and paralegal support work.

In addition to Rachel's work with NSLAC, she was recognized by Jewish United Fund Chicago as a 36 Under 36 honoree. She is a volunteer on the Immigration Justice campaign of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. She also has work experience in the education and legal sectors.

Rachel holds a BS in Political Science from Northwestern University.

Timothy Dorr

Staff Attorney, Domestic Violence Law Practice

Timothy Dorr is a seasoned attorney with a mix of public sector and private law firm practice. For nearly a decade he has focused his work on divorce, family law, trust and estates law, and personal bankruptcy. Tim was a sole proprietor before joining the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic and Of Council at a private law firm. He believes in the importance of access to justice and has provided pro-bono advice and representation at the Willow Creek Care Center Legal Aid. While in law school, Tim volunteered with the Wisconsin University School of Law Innocence Project and the Unemployment Appeals Clinics while simultaneously interning at the Wisconsin Supreme Court. His efforts were recognized with the prestigious University of Wisconsin School of Law Bruce F. Beilfuss Memorial Award for outstanding service to the Law School.

Tim received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin School of Law - Madison and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Tim is a resident of Highland Park and is a volunteer at his child’s elementary school chess club.

Diana Gomez

Staff Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Diana is an experienced immigration attorney with nearly a decade working with immigrant populations throughout Illinois. Diana’s interest in immigration began with her family’s story. Diana’s parents immigrated from Guerrero, Mexico. As a Highwood native, Diana is passionate about giving back to the community that raised her.  

Diana has experience with the Midwest Immigrant Defenders Alliance (MIDA), representing detained immigrants in bond proceedings. Before attending law school, Diana served as a DOJ Accredited Representative, processing family-based affirmative applications as well as U-visas and VAWAs. During law school, Diana assisted with asylum cases with the C-K Law Group. She also served as the Vice President of the Immigration Law Society and volunteered with the CARA Pro-Bono Project in Dilley, Texas three times, earning her the Outstanding Public Service Award. 

Diana received her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Aimee Gutierrez

Administrative Assistant 

Aimee Gutierrez is an administrative assistant with a passion for legal advocacy. Aimee first joined North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic as a 2021 intern and upon graduating from college, returned to NSLAC as a first-time bilingual (Spanish) AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Member. During her VISTA service, Aimee supported the attorneys and staff with education and outreach projects related to domestic violence legal aid. Her interest in legal advocacy first sparked during her sophomore year of college. This discovery inspired Aimee to pursue a career in Victim/Witness Advocacy. 

Aimee’s time as a VISTA member has strengthened her passion for the nonprofit sector and helped her transition her skills to support NSLAC as an administrative assistant. Aimee continues to passionately and devotedly advocate for accessible and free legal services.  

Aimee is a first-generation graduate from National Louis University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Criminal Justice Administration and a minor in Human Services.  She hopes to soon attend Graduate School, where she will pursue a degree in Social Work. 


Jean Hahn

Staff Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Jean Hahn is a Staff Attorney with a passion for helping the most vulnerable immigrants seek immigration relief. Jean first started as a volunteer with the immigration practice in 2015 and joined NSLAC as a Staff Attorney in 2021. Jean focuses on VAWA/U visas, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and Asylum cases. Prior to joining NSLAC, Jean was an employee benefit and compensation attorney, most recently in the Chicago office of Winston & Strawn. She is active in her community, serving as a member of the Board of Education for New Trier Township High School District 203.

Jean received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Shams Hamidi 

Practice Assistant, Immigration Law Practice

Shams is a multilingual professional who immigrated to the United States after serving as an interpreter for the US Army and International forces in Afghanistan, where he provided critical support and communication services in a complex and challenging environment. As a Practice Assistant with the Immigration Law Practice, he applies his diverse background and skills to use to help others navigate the complex and often overwhelming process of immigration law. 

Prior to joining NSLAC, Shams worked for a nonprofit organization, providing support and services to individuals in need. Prior to working for the US Army, Shams founded a logistics and supply business that served the US army and the affiliated companies that supported the US mission in Afghanistan. He managed his business, traveling back and forth to Afghanistan to maintain relationships and continue his commitment to his clients and partners. However, with the fall of the government in Kabul to the hands of terrorist groups, it became unsafe to continue operations in the region.

Jack Hanson

Development Associate

Jack Hanson comes to NSLAC with deep ties to Lake County and suburban Cook County and experience working with and for non-profits. He is a former legal service grant writer and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).

Jack was a Stevenson Center fellow for Applied Community and Economic Development at Illinois State University, focusing on research in housing affordability and labor economics. He prioritizes making connections with people in the community professionally and personally by playing clarinet in several community bands.

Jack holds an M.A. in Applied Economics from Illinois State University and a B.A. in Economics and Russian History from St. Olaf College.

Shanthi Hu

Law Clerk, Domestic Violence Law Practice

Shanthi began as a volunteer at the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic before becoming a law clerk in the Domestic Violence Law Practice.  While attending law school, she was a member of the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families and interned at several non-profit organizations including the Brooklyn Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project where she assisted low-income individuals in obtaining uncontested divorces and guardianships; G.E.M.S. where she advocated for the rights of survivors of sex-trafficking; and Sheltering Arms where she assisted on cases involving child neglect and abuse.  Following law school, she worked at the Department of Justice in the criminal and civil division before moving back to the Chicagoland area where she worked at a law firm dedicated to the practice of family law and estate planning.

Shanthi graduated with Honors from the University of Iowa where she received her B.A. in Spanish and International Studies.  She earned her Juris Doctor degree from New York Law School.

Allison Keller

Community Navigator and Outreach Coordinator, Housing Law Practice

Allison Keller is a bi-lingual professional known for making a significant impact on the Chicagoland community through her work in the areas of housing and healthcare advocacy. She brings empathy and dedication to the well-being of those she serves. 

 Before joining NSLAC, Allison worked as a Housing Case Manager and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA working in legal aid. In an effort to support positive change in the lives of vulnerable individuals, she took on housing-related work. She was driven by a profound interest in the intricate relationship between housing and health, recognizing the pivotal role it plays in overall well-being. Allison has experience working closely with clients in rapid rehousing and transitional housing, guiding them on the path to secure housing after enduring homelessness or fleeing domestic violence.  

 Allison earned a Master of Public Health with distinction in Social Epidemiology from DePaul University and a BS/BA in Molecular & Cellular Biology, and Medicine, Science, & the Humanities from Johns Hopkins University. 


Michelle Knipmeyer

Senior Social Worker, Domestic Violence Law Practice

Michelle is a licensed social worker (LSW) with nearly a decade of experience working with children, adults, families, and groups. She is multilingual and has worked in a variety of settings with diverse clients, including both long-term and brief interventions.

A dedicated professional with strong organizational skills and advocacy skills, she has worked to enhance human well-being for individuals and families who are vulnerable and in need. Michelle worked in a variety of roles for University Settlement Society of New York, a social service institution that provides educational and social services to immigrants and low-income families. She was recognized by University Settlement’s Early Head Start Program with the 2019 Strengthening Our Social Fabric Award.

Michelle’s training is extensive and includes: Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI), Mandated Reporter, Mental Health First Aid, CPR/First Aid, Home Visiting Rating Scale Training for Supervisors and Staff (HOVRS), TraumaSmart, Supervisory Essentials for the Internally Promoted New Manager, and Bias, Equity and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. Michelle received her Master’s in Social Work with Distinction from DePaul University and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Abby Lambert

AmeriCorps Vista, Outreach Coordinator 

Abby Lambert is a first-time AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Member and Outreach Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Law Practice. She supports the attorneys and staff with education and outreach projects surrounding domestic violence legal aid. 

A visit to a local courthouse in high school sparked Abby’s interest in law and a passion for advocacy. She has served as a long-time volunteer with RefugeeOne and has extensive experience working with children and young adults. She was an advocate for victims and survivors of sexual abuse at Indiana University. 

Abby is the recipient of the Bill Selke Heart of Justice Award in recognition for outstanding effort in service and leadership in the field of Criminal Justice and is a 2023 Founder Scholar. She holds a BA in Criminal Justice and Political Science from Indiana University. Upon completion of the AmeriCorps Vista program, Abby hopes to attend law school. 

Ximena Laredes

Communications and Development Associate

Ximena is a bilingual Communication and Development Associate with a passion for education and advocacy. Working closely with the Director of Communications and Government Relations and the Director of Development, Ximena is dedicated to making NSLAC's services accessible and available to those who need them most. She assists in the production of marketing materials, emails, and website updates. Ximena first joined NSLAC as a full-year intern before being promoted to Communications and Development Associate. 

As a daughter of immigrants, Ximena understands first-hand the struggles that immigrants face in the US. Through her work, Ximena is deeply committed to fostering inclusivity and providing support to underserved communities. Her experiences have ignited a profound sense of empathy and determination, driving her to advocate for equal opportunities and social justice.

Ximena is a student at National Louis University, working towards a BA in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. She looks forward to graduating this upcoming summer.

Anastasia Lobodiuk 

Immigration Practice Assistant

Anastasia is a multilingual professional with a passion for documentation, legal advocacy, and supporting vulnerable people, particularly immigrants. She combines her personal journey as an immigrant from Ukraine with her unique professional knowledge to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those she serves. 

With experience in non-profit and private business in finance, law, business operations, and human resources in the United States and abroad, Anastasia has a comprehensive understanding of economic principles and their real-world applications. Her journey of adaptation and resilience enriches her ability to provide support to those in need. 

Anastasia received a B.E. from Kharkiv National University of Urban Economy and a B.E. from Kharkiv National Automobile and Road Technical College. 


Cinthia Manzanarez

Intake Specialist

Cinthia Manzanarez is a bilingual Intake Specialist with experience in administrative work, housing assistance and four years of service in the U.S Army. With her diverse background, Cinthia enjoys any opportunity that allows her to expand her skills and gain new experiences, as well as challenge her personal viewpoints. Cinthia is passionate about social justice, immigration, and the opportunity to impact people’s lives in a positive way. As a daughter of immigrant parents, she is aware of the barriers that can become present when trying to obtain aid and desires to educate other individuals on the services that are available for all.   

Cinthia received her B.A. in Social Work from Olivet Nazarene University and is currently working on obtaining her Paralegal Certificate at Harper Community College.  

Marina Maric

DOJ Partially Accredited Representative 

As our urban areas continue to expand and the presence of immigrants grows outside of the Chicago city limits, Marina Maric, a suburban native, believes strongly in NSLAC's work, which extends access to pro bono legal services to suburban immigrant communities.

Prior to joining NSLAC, Marina’s experience in the nonprofit sector includes volunteer work with Quebec’s Regional Program for the Settlement and Integration of Asylum Seekers in Montreal, as well as an internship with the Centro de Los Derechos del Migrante in Mexico City – a nonprofit denouncing labor abuses suffered by migrant guest workers in the US. She also has prior experience working as a paralegal in a private immigration law firm in Chicago. While at NSLAC, Marina completed her Colibrí Fellowship for DOJ accreditation, helping her further her ability to advocate for the rights and needs of immigrant communities.

Marina earned her BA in International Development Studies and Latin American & Caribbean Studies from McGill University in Montréal, Canada. 

Nicole Minnis

Pro Bono Manager

Nicole is an attorney dedicated to serving the community through nonprofit work, with extensive experience supporting the immigrant community. As the pro bono coordinator, Nicole manages and provides support to pro bono attorneys seeking to donate their time toward NSLAC practice areas.

Prior to joining NSLAC, Nicole supported the immigration legal services programs of community-based organizations, including the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic. She provided substantive immigration law, practice, and ethics training, technical legal assistance, guidance in the Department of Justice recognition and accreditation process, and provided general mentorship for organizations and individual staff members. Nicole has experience with a range of immigration cases, including naturalization, adjustment of status, U visas, and DACA. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Nicole received her J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law, an M.A. in Psychology from Valparaiso University Graduate School, and a B.A. in Legal Studies and Psychology at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is currently enrolled as a part-time student at DePaul College of Law, working towards her L.L.M. in International Human Rights and Criminal Justice.

Barbara Olvera

Operations Coordinator

Barbara Olvera is an operations coordinator with nearly a decade of experience providing organized and efficient administrative support to program directors in the public and not-for-profit sector. Barbara works closely with the Director of Operations, maintaining and coordinating NSLAC’s financial obligations and ensuring efficient everyday operations. As the daughter of immigrant parents, Barbara deeply understands the needs of this community. She prioritizes helping people change their lives professionally and personally. 

During Barbara’s free time, she enjoys volunteering in the community, providing translation services, distributing food at the local food pantry, planting trees for Zion District 6, donating and reading books to children. Barbara’s passion for helping others first sparked working as an Assistant Center at Community Action Partnership of Lake County – Head Start Program.  

Barbara attended the College of Lake County and the University of Illinois-Springfield. She plans to complete her BA in Sociology.  She resides in Lake County with her pup Ginger.  

Rebeca Rosario

Immigration Resources Coordinator

Rebeca Rosario is a bilingual Immigration Resources Coordinator with over 18 years of experience in serving victims of crimes in the civil and criminal justice systems. She embodies dedication, compassion, and empathy to assist people in  a wide-ranging area of needs, including immigration Rebeca, was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and understands the challenges that immigrants might face when immigrating to the United States. 

 Rebeca has provided direct services to clients and their families through crisis intervention, short-term counseling, safety plans, court advocacy, case management, referrals, and linkages to different community service agencies. Her relationships with partner organizations in suburban Cook County and Lake County run deep.  As an active member of various professional associations, Rebeca seeks out opportunities to enhance or provide social services for victims of crimes. She is or has been a member of the Association of Police Social Services (APSS), Northwest Suburban Alliance on Domestic Violence (NWSADV), Safe from the Start, among others. Since 2009, Rebeca has been nationally certified through NOVA (National Organization of Victim Assistance) as an Advanced Advocate with specializations in Domestic Violence and Child Abuse. 

Rebeca holds a BA in Business Administration from the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 


Shannah Sacco

Law Clerk, Domestic Violence Law Practices

Shannah Sacco is an accomplished and dedicated legal professional, whose unwavering commitment to justice and advocacy has been a guiding force throughout her extensive education and career. With a diverse background encompassing family law, immigration, disability law and advocacy, corporate M&A, probate law, personal injury, workers compensation, and labor and employment law, she brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Domestic Violence Law Practice team. 

Before joining NSLAC, Shannah worked at the Binational Institute for Human Development where she reviewed applications for asylum and for withholding of removal. She was an intern with the Borgen Project whose focus was on relieving global poverty levels internationally, which led to her leading as a regional director. Shannah was a policy and legal extern with the National Council on Disability (“NCD”) where she worked with NCD’s legal counsel. She has also worked with the Illinois Innocence Project to assist in exoneration cases. Shannah has experience at private law firms and working on political campaigns. 

Shannah was published in 2023 in both the Illinois State Bar Association and Decalogue Society on discrimination in healthcare. She earned her J.D. from the University of Illinois, at Chicago, School of Law and a B.A. from Ithaca College, double majoring in Politics and Philosophy.  


Uzma A. Sattar

Staff Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Uzma is a first-generation, Pakistani-American, multilingual attorney who is passionate about social justice and equity. She has legal experience in both the private and public sectors working for notable Chicago law firms and Cook County.  

 As the daughter of immigrants, Uzma uses empathy, compassion, and diligence to meet the needs of the immigrant community. She is active in her community and beyond. Uzma volunteers as a service coordinator for domestic violence survivors in the South Asian and Muslim communities, helping them navigate legal issues and obtain social services.  

 Uzma took a hiatus from law to raise her children and pursue other interests. Uzma co-founded and ran a Montessori-inspired education program for children aged three to eleven. She was a World Languages Instructor for Maine Township High School and was active with student groups and the Building Equity and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support teams. Uzma was an advocate for students’ needs based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, and ability and spearheaded efforts to create a more inclusive environment and give marginalized students and families a voice.  

 Uzma received her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School. She graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University with a BA in Hispanic Studies and Secondary Education. 

Bessie Simmons

Social Worker, Housing Law Practice

Bessie Simmons is a compassionate housing social worker with a commitment to improving the lives of individuals and families with over ten years of experience working in the social service field. Her unwavering dedication is evident in her extensive experience in housing case management, client advocacy, mental health/crisis counseling, and her deep understanding of sexual assault and domestic violence related matters.   

Bessie works to ensure that every individual is seamlessly connected to the essential community resources required to get their basic needs met. She has a  passion for advocating for affordable, habitable, and safe housing for all, regardless of their circumstances. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with the chronic homeless population. Her tireless efforts have been geared towards swiftly securing housing for children, families, and domestic violence survivors to prevent them from enduring the harsh realities of living in uninhabitable locations.  

Bessie received her M.A. in Community Counseling from Argosy University and obtained her B.A in Criminal Justice from Westwood College. 

Nicholas Staus

Practice Assistant, Pro Bono

Nick supports the Domestic Violence, Housing, and Immigration Law Practices. He serves as a liaison supporting pro bono attorneys seeking to donate their time toward the mission of NSLAC.   

As a community organizer for a fair housing not-for-profit, Nick gained hands-on experience working directly with community leaders to advocate for better housing conditions for low-income tenants. His work ignited an enduring passion and admiration for non-profit advocacy.   

Nick holds a B.A. in International Political Affairs from Missouri Southern State University with a minor in Political Science. He hopes to attend law school to become a housing law attorney.   


Lizzy Temkin

Staff Attorney, Housing Law Practice 

Lizzy Temkin is a multi-lingual Staff Attorney with a passion for public interest advocacy. She has experience in diverse areas of the law, including immigrant justice, voting rights, prisoners’ rights, criminal law, and youth justice.

As a longtime advocate for immigrant and underserved communities, Lizzy has sought out personal and professional opportunities that focus on achieving social justice through a racial-justice lens.

Lizzy served as a law clerk for a Superior Court Judge in Anchorage, Alaska, and was a legal intern for the Alaska Public Defender Agency. After residing out of state for several years, Lizzy returned to IL to bring her legal skills and experience to the communities where she was raised.

She received her J.D from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor with a Dean’s Scholarship and received her B.A. in Human Rights and Social Justice, French, and Spanish from New York University.

Skye Terebey

Staff Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Skye Terebey is a Staff Attorney with a devotion to community advocacy. She is passionate about ensuring that everyone, regardless of economic circumstances or immigration status, receives meaningful access to justice. Skye began her career at NSLAC as a law graduate, joining the Immigration Law Practice as an NYU Public Interest Law Fellow.  

During law school, Skye was a member of the NYU Advanced Reproductive Justice clinic, where she provided pre-litigation research and assessment to reproductive justice partner organizations challenging regressive sexual education laws. She interned at Church World Service and Lutheran Social Services of NY, where she worked on a range of immigration cases, including asylum, naturalization, adjustment of status, and DACA. Skye was involved in multiple student organizations, including the International Refugee Assistance Project, where she helped represent an Afghan interpreter and his family in their SIV application, and the Courtroom Advocacy Project, which helped domestic violence survivors file for temporary restraining orders. Prior to attending law school, Skye was an AmeriCorps VISTA at Literacy Source, an adult basic education nonprofit providing free ESOL and citizenship classes to the community. 

Skye received her J.D. from NYU School of Law and her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington. 

Jenny Terrell

Senior Staff Attorney, Housing Law Practice

Jenny Terrell is a Senior Staff Attorney with a passion for community-based work that advances racial justice. She most recently served as a Skadden Fellow and later Program Counsel at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights as part of the Voting Rights Project, where she focused on ensuring racial equity in Illinois and Indiana voting practices. Before her fellowship, Jenny served as a staff law clerk in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Jenny has worked in several community-based non-profits providing direct services in Washington D.C. and Chicago. Born and raised in Chicago, her first foray into community-based movements was as a high schooler organizing with the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, now Communities United.

Jenny graduated summa cum laude from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and received her B.A. in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.

Ian Turnipseed

Pro Bono Coordinator 

Ian is an experienced attorney dedicated to serving the community and building relationships with individuals and organizations with the ability to provide access to justice to those in need. He has worked for a decade in nonprofit housing law and is adept at managing pro bono projects and providing outreach and support to new volunteer attorneys.

Prior to joining NSLAC, Ian worked on a full scope housing matters, including eviction defense, foreclosure, Housing Choice Voucher terminations, reverse mortgages, security deposits, conditions issues, lease disputes, and illegal lockouts. These cases intersected with other areas of civil law, including domestic relations, immigration, and probate. Ian’s not-for-profit legal career began as a student intern with the Cook County Public Defender’s Felony Trial Division.  Prior to law school, he worked in alumni relations and development at the University of Chicago. He is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and the Public Interest Law Institute.

Ian received his J.D. from the DePaul University College of Law and his B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University.   

Alexander Vayser

Staff Attorney – Immigration Law Practice 

Alexander Vayser is a bilingual immigration attorney with a passion for helping refugees and asylum seekers. Alexander came to the U.S. as a child refugee from the Former Soviet Union and is personally familiar with the struggles faced by immigrants.  

 With a unique professional background, Alexander applies his knowledge and experience in finance, law, business operations, and human resources to his work in not-for-profit law.  Alexander is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Chicago Bar Association (CBA). He prioritizes continuing education opportunities to further improve his legal skills. 

Alexander received his J.D. from The University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 


Ken Willer

Supervising Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Kenneth Willer is a bilingual attorney with experience in immigration law at the Law Offices of Treumann, Goba & Podbelsek, P.C. in Deerfield, Illinois. He has successfully represented clients in both employment-based and family-based immigration cases. A Glenview native and resident of Niles, he deeply understands the communities served by NSLAC. Willer is an active member of the Chicago Bar Association.

Kenneth received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and his B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Irma Wilson

Senior Staff Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Irma Wilson is a bilingual attorney with a passion and interest in immigration law and human rights.  Prior to joining NSLAC, Irma was a staff attorney at Prairie State Legal Services in their immigration project. While at Prairie State, Irma helped victims of domestic violence apply for immigration relief, including U-Visas and VAWAs.

While in law school, Irma was part of the Valparaiso Law School Immigration Clinic, where she handled an SIJS case and asylum case. Irma was a Public Interest Law Initiative Intern at the National Immigrant Justice Center, where she successfully represented a person in removal proceedings. Irma was involved in various student organizations during law school, including serving as President of the Latino Law Student Association and as the Special Events Coordinator for the Student Bar Association. Prior to law school, Irma was a Dream SF Fellow where she worked at Pangea Legal Services, where she assisted attorneys in filling out forms and researched country conditions for asylum cases.

Irma received her J.D. from Valparaiso University Law School and her B.A. in History from San Francisco State University.


Special Thanks

A Special Thanks to Karla Livney and Causeography for providing our Staff photos.