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STAFF

Jennifer Bailey, Esq., Asylum Attorney/Pro Bono Coordinator

Melissa Brennan, Esq., Staff Attorney

Julia Brown, Esq., Advocacy & Outreach Attorney

Kate Chesney, Esq., Staff Attorney

Treva deMaynadier, Legal Program Assistant

Alice Kopij, Esq., Lewiston Staff Attorney
Philip Mantis, Esq., Legal Director
Loretta Prescott,
Development Director
Susan Roche, Esq.,
Executive Director

Rachel Schwarz, Legal Support Associate

Laura Simocko, Grant Writer
Christina Starr,
Clinic Supervisor / DOJ Accredited Representative

Nadine Twagirayezu, Paralegal



Staff Biographies

Julia Brown, Esq., Advocacy & Outreach Attorney

Julia joined ILAP in December 2017 as the Advocacy and Outreach Attorney. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors in 2007 and earned her law degree from the New York University School of Law in 2011. Before moving to Maine, Julia represented indigent death-sentenced Georgia prisoners in habeas corpus proceedings challenging their capital convictions and death sentences.

Melissa Brennan, Esq., Staff Attorney

Melissa joined ILAP as a Staff Attorney in July of 2018 after many years of practicing immigration law in New York City. She previously served as Supervising Attorney for Immigrants’ Rights at the Urban Justice Center and as Deputy Director of the Anti-Trafficking Initiative at Sanctuary for Families.  She has also worked as a legal fellow to the United Nations in Thailand, where she conducted field work to investigate labor trafficking among migrant workers in Southeast Asia. Melissa has deep experience representing foreign-born survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence and has written and lectured extensively on the topics. Melissa holds a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School. She is proficient in Spanish.


Kate Chesney, Esq., Staff Attorney
Kate joined ILAP’s staff in January 2015 as a Staff Attorney. She received her Bachelor of Arts from James Madison University in 2008 where she majored in Spanish and Political Science and minored in French and Latin American Studies. Kate received her Juris Doctor from Roger Williams University School of Law in 2013. Her passion for immigration law was discovered during her time as a student attorney at the Roger Williams University School of Law Immigration Clinic where she was able to help low income individuals file for humanitarian forms of immigration relief. Prior to coming to ILAP, Kate worked at the Law Office of Katherine James-Bowers in Newport, RI, where she was able to further her experience in immigration law. Kate is proficient in Spanish.

Treva deMaynadier, Legal Program Associate

Treva joined ILAP in June of 2017. She recently graduated from Oberlin College where she studied Anthropology and Political Science. She first became interested in immigration after studying in Guatemala, where she engaged in many conversations with community members about the factors that caused people to immigrate to the United States. Treva spent the summer of 2015 conducting an ethnographic survey of the Maine Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker population in Presque Isle and Milbridge, Maine. The following summer she worked for the Immigration Legal Assistance department at Ascentria Care Alliance in Worcester, Massachusetts where she provided forms assistance to clients. She is fluent in Spanish.

 

Alice Kopij, Esq., Lewiston Staff Attorney

Alice joined ILAP as a Staff Attorney in the Lewiston office in April 2018.  Prior to that, she was an associate at the immigration law firm of Landis, Arn, & Jaynes, P.A.  Alice has also served as a law clerk for the Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, at the Boston Immigration Court and as a law clerk to the Hon. Margot Botsford of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.  Before she became an attorney, Alice was a social worker and manager of social service programs for several years, primarily working in the area of refugee resettlement.  She holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law. 

 

Philip Mantis, Esq., Legal Director
Philip Mantis joined ILAP in February 2014 as the Asylum Coordinator Attorney. He attained his undergraduate degree from Boston University, his Master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and his Juris Doctor from New England School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2010. Prior to joining ILAP, Philip worked in private practice in Massachusetts where he specialized in immigration law, with a focus on affirmative and defensive asylum claims.

 

Loretta Prescott, Development Director               
Loretta has been with ILAP since 2013, directing fundraising and marketing operations. She has 17 years’ experience in nonprofit fundraising and development in Maine and New Hampshire, including membership, social service, small business development and behavioral health organizations. Before that, she was a Radio Broadcaster for as many years in Portland, Boston, and Washington, DC. Her heart is in social justice work, having grown up in a family where her mother and her mother’s family were all immigrants to the US. Loretta holds a BA from the University of Maine at Orono in Broadcasting and Journalism, and spends her down time playing hand percussion, including djembe and conga, ukulele and learning bass. You can find her during the summer full moons on York Beach with a group of drummers celebrating Maine’s long days of the warm season.

Susan Roche, Esq., Executive Director                 
Sue joined ILAP as a Staff Attorney in August 2000 and has acted as Interim Executive Director in addition to overseeing the legal department since May 2013. In November 2013, ILAP's Board of Directors appointed Sue as Executive Director! Her passion and commitment to ILAP's work and clients, combined with her natural and proven leadership skills, will ensure ILAP's continued growth and successful future. Sue graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 2000. She is an expert on family based immigration, remedies for noncitizen domestic violence and crime victims, and removal defense, and has been an invited presenter at regional and national conferences of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Sue is admitted to the Maine Bar and is fluent in Spanish.

 

Rachel Schwarz, Legal Support Associate

Rachel joined the ILAP Staff in August 2018 as full time Jesuit Volunteer. She graduated from Fordham University with a double major in International Studies and Humanitarian Studies in 2017. As a student, Rachel spent time studying abroad in Central America, which piqued her interest in Latin American history. After graduation, Rachel was placed with JVC International in Managua, Nicaragua, where she worked at Pajarito Azul, a home for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. Her placement came to an abrupt end when she was evacuated in May of 2018. Rachel is eager to learn more about immigration law and the experiences of immigrants in the U.S. She is proficient in Spanish.

 

Laura Simocko, Grant Writer

Laura joined ILAP as a part-time Grant Writer in February 2018, enhancing the capacity of the organization’s fundraising and communications efforts. Laura’s previous experience includes five years as Development Director of a Latino youth organization in Boston and direct service roles in refugee resettlement and international development. She began her fundraising career as ILAP’s Office & Development Associate in 2011! Laura holds a B.A. in Peace & Conflict Studies from Colgate University and an M.Phil. in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict from Trinity College Dublin.

 

Christina Starr, Clinic Supervisor / BIA Accredited Representative
Christina joined ILAP's staff in November 2012 as Legal Program Associate. In July 2013, she became ILAP’s Clinic Paralegal managing the application assistance component of ILAP’s Immigration Clinic. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono where she majored in Spanish and minored in International Affairs. Prior to coming to ILAP, Christina worked as a Paralegal at Pine Tree Legal Assistance where she provided outreach in Spanish to migrant farmworkers. Christina is passionate about leveraging her bilingual skill to help promote equality, justice and education. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in Arabic.

Nadine Twagirayezu, Paralegal
Nadine Joined ILAP’s staff in March 2016 as a part time Legal Program Assistant while working for Auto Europe as a Reservations Agent. She became ILAP's Asylum Paralegal in December 2016. Since 2012, Nadine has spent much of her spare time in different volunteer positions. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Greater Portland Health. She also volunteered for Learning Works for two years as an assistant to the Director of ELP (English Language Program) and with Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) where she was the interpreters’ coordinator. Nadine is fluent in French, Kirundi, Kinyarwanda and is conversational in Swahili.


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