Our Team

Staff

Jennifer Bailey, Esq., Asylum Program Director
Jennifer joined ILAP as a Staff Attorney in 2007 and has since been promoted to the roles of Supervising Attorney, Asylum Attorney/Pro Bono Coordinator and now Asylum Program Director. Prior to joining (and re-joining) ILAP, she worked at the UMaine Law Refugee & Human Rights Clinic and a Senior Policy Associate for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. Jennifer has a wealth of expertise in asylum law and policy, particularly in the Americas, having conducted in-depth investigations of human rights violations in Colombia and the U.S. with Human Rights Watch, been a legal intern with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Costa Rica, and worked as a paralegal on political asylum cases for Central American detainees with the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR). Jennifer received her law degree from New York University and her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. She is fluent in Spanish.

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 fluent in Spanish.

Julia Brown, Esq., Advocacy & Outreach Attorney
Julia joined ILAP in December 2017 as the Advocacy & Outreach Attorney. Before moving to Maine, she was as a Staff Attorney at the Georgia Appellate Practice & Educational Resource Center, where she represented indigent death-sentenced clients in all aspects of Georgia state post-conviction, federal habeas corpus and clemency proceedings to challenge their capital convictions and death sentences. Julia has also defended Social Security program-related cases in federal district courts, clerked with the Montana Supreme Court and interned with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors and earned her law degree from the New York University School of Law.

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, DOJ Accredited Representative, Immigration Forms Paralegal
Treva joined ILAP in June of 2017 and became a DOJ Accredited Representative in 2019. She is a graduate of 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 proficient in Spanish.

Michelle Gentry, Esq., Asylum Program Attorney
Prior to joining ILAP, Michelle worked as an Asylum Officer for the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Division of USCIS, where she adjudicated numerous asylum cases and made credible and reasonable fear determinations.  She has also worked as an attorney at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, where she focused on representing asylum seekers and immigrant victims of crime and abuse.  In addition, she has worked as a mediator for the Eighth Judicial District Court, a volunteer attorney on child abuse cases, and a legal intern both for the District Attorney’s Office and for the Honorable Lloyd D. George, Senior District Judge for the US District Court of Nevada.  Prior to working in the legal field, Michelle worked in Spanish-language radio and television.  Michelle has a BA in Anthropology with Minors in English, Spanish, and French and a JD with a concentration in International Law. She has lived, studied, and interned abroad in Spain, France, and Germany and speaks Spanish, French, and a smattering of German. 

Felix Hagenimana, Esq., Asylum Outreach Attorney
Felix joined ILAP in July 2019 as a part-time asylum outreach attorney. Felix survived the genocide in Rwanda, a traumatic experience that shaped his worldview and his career choices. Before coming to the United States, he worked as a linguist, a Bible translator and a consultant for the British Broadcasting Corporation. He is the author of Fundamentals of Kinyarwanda, a language textbook. When he moved to the United States in 2011, Felix completed a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Western Governors University in Utah before studying law at Maine Law. While in law school, Felix completed an internship with ILAP in 2016 and the ACLU of Maine. Felix also worked as a student attorney in the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. Felix is fluent in French, Kirundi and Kinyarwanda.

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, and he was promoted to Legal Director in 2016. Philip 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.

Danny Muller, Operations Coordinator
Danny Muller joined ILAP’s staff in 2018 after working for many years providing logistical and IT support for a public health partnership in northern Haiti.  Concurrently, he coordinated humanitarian aid efforts and program support for the Middle East Children’s Alliance in refugee camps throughout the region.  Previously, he staffed a number of disarmament campaigns, including  at Voices in the Wilderness, the Cluster Munition Coalition and Peace Action.  He has seen firsthand how economic and military violence contributes to global migration, and has volunteered extensively to assist others throughout the resettlement process.  

Susan Roche, Esq., Executive Director
Sue has been with ILAP since August of 2000. She started as ILAP’s first Staff Attorney before becoming Legal Director, and was named the organization’s Executive Director in 2013.  Sue earned her BA from the University of New Hampshire, where she studied Business Administration, International Affairs and French. Prior to earning her JD from Northeastern University, she worked in publishing and spent a year teaching English in Costa Rica. Sue is an expert on issues related to family-based immigration and remedies for noncitizen domestic violence and crime survivors, and has been a presenter at regional and national conferences of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is the author of “Maneuvering Immigration Pitfalls in Family Court: What Family Law Attorneys Should Know in Cases with Noncitizen Parties,” which is published in The Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Sue is admitted to the Maine Bar and is proficient in Spanish.

Laura Simocko, Development Director
Laura joined ILAP as a part-time Grant Writer in February 2018 and was promoted to Development Director in October 2018. Her previous experience includes five years as Director of Development for 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, DOJ Accredited Representative, Intake Supervisor
Christina joined ILAP's staff in November 2012 and became a DOJ Accredited Representative in 2016. She previously worked as a paralegal at Pine Tree Legal Assistance where she conducted statewide outreach to Maine Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker populations, as well as provided legal support to the Farmworker and Employment Law Units. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono where she majored in Spanish and minored in International Affairs. Christina discovered her passion for social justice and immigration law while working with victims of domestic and gang-related violence in Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. She is fluent in Spanish, and is passionate about leveraging her bilingual skill to promote equal justice and education.

Barbara Taylor, Esq., Rural Maine Project Attorney
Barbara became ILAP’s Rural Maine Project Attorney (a contract, grant-funded position) in fall 2018, after serving as both Staff Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney from 2006 to 2017. As a law student, she was an ILAP Intake Volunteer and a Maine Association of Public Interest Lawyers Fellow.  Barbara clerked with the Maine Superior Court of Cumberland and York Counties before joining ILAP.  She holds a Masters in Community Education from Columbia Teachers College and a J.D. from the University of Maine School Law. She has worked as an immigration law consultant to Maine’s court-appointed criminal defense bar since 2016.

Nadine Twagirayezu, Asylum Program 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, including serving 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.

 

Board of directors

ILAP is proud to have a volunteer board of community members and legal professionals. Many of ILAP’s former and current board members bring connections to the communities we serve. ILAP’s Board is actively involved in the organization’s management philosophy, fundraising and policy work.

Leslie Silverstein, Esq., President
Maine Immigration Attorneys


Gloria Aponte Clarke, Vice President
Maine Community Foundation


Amy Donahoe Bruning
, Treasurer
Consultant


Alicia Curtis, Esq., Secretary
Berman & Simmons

Eben Albert-Knopp, Esq., Bernstein Shur
Tom Douglas, Esq., Douglas, McDaniel & Campo
Ken Farber, Esq., Avangrid
Lindsay Kay, Maine Medical Center
Anne Kemper, Retired
Rebecca Klotzle, Esq., Curtis Thaxter
Peter Landis, Esq., Landis, Arn & Jaynes
Robyn March, Esq., Law Office of Robyn G. March
Diane Mutagoma, CIEE
Priya Natarajan, Portland Public Schools
Adele Ngoy
, Women United Around the World
Shafaat Qazi, Abbott
Blanca Santiago, Portland Public Schools
Lisa Scali, Ocean's Balance
Ronald Stegall, Retired
Caroline Teschke, M.D., Retired