Our Team

Directors

Monica Vigues-Pitan

Monica was born and raised in Miami.  Her family instilled in her the value of service to give back for the opportunities that they were given upon arriving in this community.  She is passionate about ensuring that others have access to these same opportunities.  As an undergraduate at the University of Miami, she interned on Capitol Hill quickly grasping the impact that public policy and its implementation has on vulnerable communities and access to the opportunities her family described could be achieved through the law by providing access to justice.  While at University of Miami’s School of Law, she began her career at Legal Services’ Homeless Legal Advocacy Project providing legal assistance to remove legal barriers to economic opportunities.  She later went on to advocate for greater access to government’s safety net for families as well as healthcare access for children.  As Executive Director, Monica is dedicated to ensuring equal access to justice – which for many is equal access to housing, education and healthcare.

Executive Director

Monica Vigues-Pitan
Marcia K. Cypen

Marcia always knew she wanted to make a difference in the world, but was not sure how until she discovered Legal Services in 1974 after her first year of law school. She immediately knew that she had found her home. And through serendipity, it is also where she met her husband of almost 40 years--Steven Wisotsky. For nearly 45 years, Marcia has devoted her career to achieving equal justice for the poor in our community--first as a staff attorney, then as a managing attorney, and finally as Executive Director from 1983-2017.  In her new role as Executive Director Emeritus, Marcia focuses her energies on building the Legal Services Foundation endowment, managing key donor relationships, and providing advice and counsel to the new Legal Services leadership team on key strategic issues. Her goal is building the long term sustainability of Legal Services.  To Marcia, nothing else could be more personally or professionally rewarding than her career at Legal Services.

Executive Director Emeritus

Marcia K. Cypen
Margaret Z. Moores

A career Legal Services attorney and administrator, Margaret first forged her deep commitment to the law, justice and social activism as a student at the University of Wisconsin during the 1970s. After graduating from law school she practiced in Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin and South Florida, defending the rights of children, farm workers, tenants and the disabled as well as advocating for education equality.  

Deputy Director of Advocacy & Programs

Margaret Z. Moores
Vivian Chavez

Born and raised in Miami, Vivian always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. Her mother was a legal secretary at Legal Services of Greater Miami so she had been exposed to public interest work at a very young age.  Giving back to the community was something that Vivian observed growing up and was taught by her immigrant parents. While attending law school at Loyola University –New Orleans, Vivian took law and poverty, street law and was a student intern in the legal clinic handling various cases for  vulnerable clients. Her time at Loyola solidified her desire to be a public interest lawyer at a legal aid agency. For the past 20 years Vivian has been  at Legal Services.

Deputy Director of Operations

Vivian Chavez
Jeffrey Hearne

Jeff serves as the Director of Litigation where he oversees the firm's significant litigation and appeals, and provides a strategic focus to the firm's advocacy in all of its practice areas. Jeff found his calling during his first summer of law school when he helped defend evictions while clerking at the AIDS Legal Referral Project in San Francisco. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law in 2001, Jeff moved to Miami and immediately started working as a housing attorney at Legal Services. He is also the Director of the Tenants' Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law which is based at Legal Services. In 2015, he received the Housing Justice Award from the National Housing Law Project for his “successful and dynamic pursuit of housing justice for people most in need.”

Director of Litigation

Jeffery M. Hearne
Ilenia Sanchez-Bryson

Ilenia is the daughter of Cuban parents who came to Miami in the early 1980's as exiles. Her parents instilled in her the importance to help those less fortunate. While in law school Ilenia learned about Legal Services and volunteered for the Summer. She has been with Legal Services ever since. 
Ilenia is a mom of 2 amazing boys who inspire her every day to try and make our community better for everyone.  

Chief Information Officer

Ilenia Sanchez-Bryson

Advocacy Directors

Jocelyn Armand

Jocelyn is the advocacy director of the health and income unit. As an advocacy director Jocelyn leads her unit in developing strategies for the delivery of creative, effective advocacy in the areas of education, health, public benefits, immigration and tax. She works with unit staff attorneys on unit projects such as the LGBT Justice Project, Children’s Legal Services Project, Veteran’s Advocacy Project, Low Income Tax Clinic, Resident Re-Entry Project, Homeless Legal Advocacy Project, and the Ryan White Project. Jocelyn joined Legal Services as a staff attorney in 2007 immediately after earning her J.D. from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. 

Advocacy Director

Health and Income Maintenance

Jocelyn Armand
Jocelyn Armand

Jayme always knew that she had a passion to help people. From an early age she was taught that “strong people don’t put each other down, they lift each other up.” Jayme was raised by her single parent mom, a retired Air Force Veteran.  Her mom worked hard to provide Jayme a great education and she was determined to do something important with that gift.  Jayme received the Pro Bono Service Award when she graduated from Seton Hall College of Law. She enjoyed her work as a litigator in private practice, working in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Jayme made a conscious decision to follow her passion. She has dedicated her legal career to providing legal assistance to those who cannot afford it.

Advocacy Director

Pro Bono

Jayme Cassidy
Shahrzad Emami

Originally an Ohio native, by way of Nashville, Tennessee where Shahrzad earned her B.A. degree from Vanderbilt University, Shahrzad has been a Miami resident since 2003 and a member of the Legal Services team since 2007. Excited to marry her love for real estate and public interest law, Shahrzad is Legal Services’ Advocacy Director of Affordable Housing and Community Development. Shahrzad often comments that Affordable Housing Law is the most rewarding and complicated section of real estate law, but she wouldn’t be happy doing anything else! “My work is challenging, frustrating, and at the same time extremely rewarding.” Considered an expert in the Affordable Housing field, Shahrzad also now leads Florida Community Development Legal, a collaboration of several legal aid providers in Florida all providing representation on affordable housing, small business development, and other community development transactional legal matters. In her spare time, which is very little as a mom to an active toddler, Shahrzad is adjunct professor of Affordable Housing Law at the University of Miami Law School of Law.

Advocacy Director

Community Economic Development

Shahrzad Emami
Jose Fons

Born to Cuban-American exiles, Jose developed a sense of hard work and fairness from his parents early on.  In his last year of law school, Jose clerked at Legal Services of Greater Miami, where he found others willing to work hard to ensure fairness in the application of justice to low-income families.  Inspired by the staff and one attorney in particular, Robert Hornstein, Jose found his calling and joined the team full time after graduating in 1994.  Working to level the playing field for program clients, Jose has grown from law clerk to staff attorney to Advocacy Director, and has enjoyed providing guidance, mentoring, and instruction to law students and new attorneys to ensure the sense of fairness marches on.

Advocacy Director

Monroe County

Jose Fons
Carolina Lombardi

Born and raised in Miami Beach, Carolina’s parents were always volunteering their time or donating to those less fortunate, and it really made an impression on her. She gravitated toward public interest law because it seemed to her that she could follow their example and effectuate change with a law practice. Throughout her legal career, Carolina also volunteered at Lotus House, served as a Long Term Care Ombudsman, and volunteered at Switchboard of Miami as a suicide counselor.

Advocacy Director

Consumer

Carolina Lombardi
Sean Rowley

Sean went to law school knowing he wanted to work at a non-profit firm. While in college, Sean became active in fighting for a number of causes at his university. His work, which made him more passionate about social justice issues, caused him to work closely with civil liberties attorneys in his community. This experience steered him in the direction of public interest law.

Advocacy Director

Tenants' Rights

Sean Rowley

Senior Attorneys

Mary Ann David

Mary Ann was introduced to the nonprofit world relatively late in her career and she's never looked back.  After a short stint volunteering on a legal advice line here at Legal Services, Mary Ann was asked to put her CPA and legal skills to work temporarily managing our Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.  It was a perfect match! Now Mary Ann advocates on behalf of low income taxpayers, helps  resolve their disputes with the IRS, such as recovering their refunds, and educates them about their tax rights and responsibilities.

Senior Attorney

Health and Income Maintenance

Mary Ann David
Mandy Mills

After deciding to switch careers from finance to law, Mandy attended Florida International University College of Law where she became inspired by the work of Legal Services after participating in a community development clinic taught by a veteran attorney working for Legal Services.  Mandy has spent the more than 10 years of her legal career at Legal Services where she's helped the disabled, working poor and elderly defend against foreclosure, deed fraud, auto fraud, student loan collection, and debt collection, as well as helped clients obtain and maintain public benefits, all through administrative, state, federal and appellate advocacy. She’s also had the opportunity to serve as a member of the Florida Bar’s 11th Circuit Grievance Committee “J,” to serve as a director of the Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, to sit on the board of the HIV/AIDS Partnership board for Miami-Dade County, and to spearhead Legal Services’ Small Claims Court Clinic.

Senior Attorney

Consumer

Mandy Mills

Senior Staff Attorneys

Lissi Salazar

Lissie was born and raised in Miami and has a deep connection to its people and places.  She studied acting and worked as a drama teacher in the New York City Public Schools before going to law school at Duke University.  While there, she worked in various legal clinics providing free representation to low income individuals in cases involving healthcare and education.  She returned to Miami in 2004 and joined Legal Services where she has spent her entire legal career devoted to defending the rights of the most vulnerable in her community.  Although she has worked in many Legal Services  practice areas, Lissie is currently the Senior Staff Attorney of the Tenants’ Rights Unit and litigates extensively in county court to ensure that poor families, the elderly, and the disabled are not wrongfully evicted from their homes. 

Senior Staff Attorney

Tenants' Rights

Lissie Salazar

Attorneys

Maria Alvarez

In 2008, Maria began her legal career as a staff attorney in the organization’s Tenants' Rights Unit. During that time she represented individuals and families facing eviction from public housing and in risk of being terminated from subsidized housing programs. After leaving the organization in 2011, Maria returned in December 2017 after realizing her success and happiness were directly tied to helping those who truly needed and valued her services.

Attorney

Consumer

Maria Alvarez
Matthew Bayard

Originally from Virginia, Matt Bayard was first introduced to public interest law while interning one summer many years ago at Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After graduating law school, Matt was lucky enough to find a job in sunny Miami and has been working at Legal Services ever since. He is currently part of the Homeownership and Consumer Unit where he practices foreclosure defense, bankruptcy, and consumer rights litigation.  When not at work you might see Matt hanging out at the park with his family, walking his dog Ringo around Coconut Grove, or riding around town on his comfortably slow beach cruiser.

Attorney

Consumer

Matthew Bayard
Chiara Brandstaetter

Chiara began her legal career as a social justice fellow witnessing the effects of poverty and the extreme lack of resources and supportive services for those most in need. Firmly believing that safe, decent, and sanitary housing is one of the pillars of a safe and vibrant community, Chiara is dedicated to assist nonprofit organizations that provide much needed affordable housing and other community based services to low income residents of Miami-Dade County.

Attorney

Community Economic Development

Chiara Brandstaetter
Christopher Brochyus

Chris is a strong advocate for the underserved in Miami and has spent his entire legal career representing the disadvantaged. Inspired by his six years of indigent criminal defense as an Assistant Public Defender, Chris grew to love Miami and its people. As a ten year Miami resident, it was apparent that Miami has a housing crisis and he wanted to use his breadth of knowledge, passion and skills to better our community. Chris is passionate about civil rights, fair housing and representing individuals who are treated unfairly. He practices in a variety of fields related to Housing and is known for working tirelessly for his clients.

Attorney

Tenants' Rights

Christopher Brochyus
Nejla Calvo

Born in Bolivia to a Turkish mother and a Bolivian father, Nejla came to the United States at a young age. After growing up in Rhode Island, Nejla attended Middlebury College, where she was chosen by members of the faculty as a Student Advisory Board Member of the Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity. Due to her multicultural background, Nejla had dedicated herself to promoting diversity and racial and social justice. During law school, Nejla was selected as a Miami Public Interest Scholar and HOPE Public Interest Fellow, interned at Florida Justice Institute and the Community Justice Project, and served as the Articles & Comments Editor for the UM Law Race & Social Justice Law Review - all experiences which solidified her passion for civil rights and social justice. Following law school, Nejla was selected as an Equal Justice Works Fellow hosted by Legal Services of Greater Miami, where she helped residents in Miami and Monroe County mobile home parks protect their rights to affordable, safe, sanitary, and habitable housing. Nejla continues to work as a Staff Attorney at Legal Services, where she leads the Mobile Home Park Advocacy Project. 

Attorney

Tenants' Rights

Nejla Calvo
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Teiya, an Illinois native, grew up in a low-income neighborhood of color, and always knew she wanted to be a lawyer.  While attending law school at the University of Miami, Teiya joined Legal Services as a law clerk in the Tenants’ Rights Unit. In 2018, she continued her work with the Tenants’ Rights Unit as an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Florida Bar Foundation. Through this fellowship, Teiya is grateful to be fulfilling her dream of serving the community with which she identifies by using the law to serve the residents of Liberty City, a historically Black area of Miami.  

Fellow

Tenants' Rights

Teiya Campbell
Daniella Cimo

Daniela is a Miami native who developed a passion for law, government, and politics while living in DC. She obtained her bachelor of arts in Political Communication at the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. After DC, She returned to Miami for law school where she served as a research intern for Miami Law’s Historic Black Church Program. This opportunity allowed Daniela to work with local community organizations and ultimately inspired her desire to become a public interest attorney.   

Now Daniela advises nonprofit organizations and small business owners on corporate governance and transactional matters through the Florida Community Development Legal Project. She is dedicated to empowering underrepresented communities by proving access to legal representation and education.

Attorney

Community Economic Development

Daniela Cimo
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After earning her Bachelors in Social Work, Jackie spent a summer working as the Program Director at a camp in upstate New York for children in the foster care and shelter system before returning home to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to work at an emergency seasonal homeless shelter. Driven by this work, Jackie earned her M.S.W. from Washington University in St. Louis in December 2018 and J.D. from Harvard Law in May 2019. Thanks to a fellowship from the David A. Grossman Fund through Harvard Law, Jackie was able to join the Legal Services team to address the legal barriers to safe, sustainable housing for guests of Lotus House, a shelter serving homeless women and families. Jackie is the recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship through the Florida Bar Foundation which will allow her to build upon her initial project to work to develop a model where social service providers and attorneys work more collaboratively to better address the legal issues surrounding homelessness.  

Attorney

Health & Income Maintenance

Jackie Ebert
Anna-Bo Emmanuel

Anna-Bo Emmanuel's passion for serving the public welfare began with her work as a Family Services Counselor at the Florida Department of Children and Families. After law school, she served as a prosecutor for several years before joining the team here at Legal Services. Anna-Bo works in the Homeowner and Consumer Rights Unit, where she practices mortgage foreclosure defense, bankruptcy, and consumer law. She also works in the Community and Economic Development Unit where she provides small businesses and non-profit entities with a full range of transactional services and on affordable housing matters. Although her work has changed over the years, her reason for doing it has not. Anna-Bo's commitment is to removing barriers to justice and creating access to empowerment opportunities for her clients.

Attorney

Community Economic Development

Anna-Bo Emmanuel
Pamela Flores

Pamela Flores is a staff attorney at Legal Services primarily advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and the LGBT community. Previously, she assisted with the representation of non-profits developing or preserving affordable housing and community based facilities. Pamela's interest in public service began at a young age doing service work with her church. Through her volunteer work with low income communities, Pamela became aware of the systemic issues that plagued them. She learned that the law is a valuable tool in addressing these systemic issues and making meaningful changes in these communities. These experiences laid the foundation for her passion in public interest law. During law school, Pamela volunteered and worked for Legal Services as a clerk. This experience cemented her desire to become a public interest attorney. While she was in law school, Pamela earned awards from NSU Law and Legal Services for her dedication and commitment to public service. Pamela also volunteers as a Guardian at Litem for Florida's abused and neglected dependent children.

Attorney

Health & Income Maintenance

Pamela Flores
Miriam Haskell

Miriam began her professional career as a journalist, but soon realized she wanted to be in the business of actively helping members of her community, not just writing about them. As a public defender and a civil rights lawyer representing incarcerated youth, Miriam worked with people at various stages of the criminal justice system before coming to Legal Services. At Legal Services, she focuses on public benefits and special education. Her hope is that her current work helping our community members maintain their benefits, income and other much-needed services will keep people from ever entering the criminal justice system.

Attorney

Health & Income Maintenance

Miriam Haskell
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Erin’s work at the University of Miami School of Law Health Rights Clinic assisting veterans inspired her dedication to this important and vulnerable population.   During law school, she was selected to be an Equal Justice Works Americorps JD in the Health Rights Clinic and served as a staff editor on the Race and Social Justice Law Review.  Following law school, Erin was selected to be an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow hosted by the University of Miami School of Law in partnership with Operation Sacred Trust, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to serving homeless veterans.  At the conclusion of her fellowship, Erin continued with the University of Miami as a Lecturer and Staff Attorney in the Veterans Rights Project.  Erin joins Legal Services to lead the United Way Mission United Legal Advocacy Project and continue her work advocating for the civil legal needs of our veterans.

Attorney

United Way Mission United Legal Advocacy Project

Erin Hoover
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Liam first joined Legal Services as a volunteer during his first year studying at the University of Miami School of Law, and worked with Legal Services throughout law school. Following graduation, Liam practiced as an Legal Services Staff Attorney for several years before he transitioned to work in civil rights enforcement, joined another legal aid office, and eventually returned back to Legal Services . Outside of work, Liam has a gorgeous French canine best friend and a wonderful son to keep him busy. Liam loves South Florida nature, even during summer. If you need help IDing a bird or want to get mildly lost on a nature walk, talk to Liam.  

Attorney

Health & Income Maintenance

Liam McGivern
Guerby Noel

Guerby started with Legal Services during his budding law school days and never left. Not only is Guerby committed to public service, he is committed to the City of Miami. He is a product of Miami-Dade County and advocates for the rights of the low income community. Guerby is a member of the Tenants' Rights Unit, tackling issues such as housing discrimination, self help evictions, and subsidy terminations. Outside of being an attorney, Guerby is an avid runner. He now runs half marathons with the goal of running a full marathon in the future without huffing and puffing from the fatigue. In addition, Guerby is an amateur Nak Muay, participating in national and international tournaments and shows. Guerby also has a gentle side. He paints when he has time and takes lots of pictures with his Boston Terrier, Chief.

Attorney

Tenants' Rights

Guerby Noel
Daniel Rowinsky

Daniel’s work at the University of Maryland King Carey School of Law clinic assisting low-income immigrants with complex immigration proceedings made him appreciate the challenges underserved populations face when asserting their rights and the life-changing impact that being represented by counsel can make. Inspired by his experience in Maryland, Daniel joined Legal Services when he returned to Miami, his adopted hometown, in 2013 to make a difference in his community. Daniel currently works on several projects at Legal Services assisting vulnerable populations living in our community.  He heads the Lazarus Project, which helps chronically homeless individuals living on the streets of Miami resolve the legal issues that prevent them from accessing affordable housing. He also directs two reentry projects that help ex-offenders to remove the legal barriers that hinder them from obtaining or maintaining gainful employment.

Attorney

Health & Income Maintenance

Daniel Rowinsky Quintian
Rebecca Schram

Rebecca Parsons Schram has always been an advocate for change, with an eye towards representing the interests of  the less fortunate.  Before coming to Legal Services, she organized a living wage campaign in Virginia, secured access to family planning resources for an indigenous community in Panama, and worked with adolescents at a drug treatment program in Dallas, Texas.  Law school originally brought her to Miami, and, after living here for more than 10 years, she now considers it her home. Rebecca is now the Edie Laquer Foundation Endowed Attorney Chair for Women and Children's Rights at Legal Services. She is grateful to be able to represent her clients and strives to ensure justice for Miami-Dade and Monroe County's low income residents.  

Attorney

Tenants' Rights

Rebecca Schram
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Coming Soon

Attorney

Tenants' Rights

Kristen Tellis

Paralegals & Legal Specialists

Michaell Boursiquot

Michaelle was born in Haiti and raised in Venezuela lending her a unique perspective of the struggles and plight of the oppressed and less fortunate. She has always had an understanding of the plight of people who are oppressed, who feel weighed down by the anxiety of life, or who feel the burden of some distressing personal circumstances. Growing up, she watched her parents provide for a household of children in spite of all of the roadblocks they encountered. This had pushed Michaelle to offer her services to anyone who needs help or finds themselves in an unfortunate position. Due to her multicultural background, she speaks 3 languages which allows her to understand and better serve the clients. LSGMI has offered Michaelle the opportunity to help those in need and lighten their load. 

Paralegal

Tenants' Rights

Michaelle Boursiquot
Melissa Jantaworn

Melissa supports the Community Economic and Development Unit in their fight to assist affordable housing developers in Miami-Dade County. As a resident of Miami for over a decade, she has witnessed the turbulence of the real estate market and the affordable housing crisis effects on the low-income populace. She firmly believes that everyone should have safe and affordable living conditions and is committed to ensuring the growth and development of affordable housing for the community that she loves and calls home.

Legal Specialist

Community Economic Development

Melissa Jantaworn
Jackie Michel

Jackie is a Haitian woman, who came to the United States in the early 70's. She was facing a custody issue and was desperate for help. Jackie learned about Legal Services from a neighbor. She met with an attorney who assured her that they would find out where her children are and helped her obtain custody of them.This experience inspired Jackie to want to be a part of the Legal Services team.  She feels great helping others who are less fortunate than her.

Paralegal

Health & Income Maintenance

Jacqueline Michel
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As a native Colombian from Bogota, Sebastian worked with the  United Nations to reduce of level of poverty in Colombia.  Working with this program, he saw first hand how important and valuable it is to be able to help those most in need. Every day at Legal Services Sebastian is able to help clients address their pressing legal needs. He feels a great satisfaction in contributing to improving their lives. 

Paralegal

Health & Income Maintenance

Sebastian Rodriguez
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Jo Anna Virgile is a Haitian native and a loving and caring mother and wife. She has 3 beautiful children who inspire her each and every day. Due to her difficult childhood, she decided to find ways to help the less fortunate. She always wants to be a voice to the voiceless, an advocate for those who cannot afford it and becomes a representative to help those who are in dire need of help.

She studied Criminal Justice to better understand the criminal justice system and she started at Legal Services in February 2004. Working as a switchboard operator she fell in love helping the needy and developed a hunger to help others.  She truly believes that there is hope in every situation one may face. She speaks three languages and is very patient and attentive while helping those in dire need of assistance.    
 

Paralegal

Health & Income Maintenance

Jo Anna Virgile

Administration

Rochelle Hampton

Rochelle was born and raised in Miami and came to Legal Services more than 24 years ago looking for a job as a clerk.  After constantly seeing former neighbors and classmates from her childhood neighborhood in the lobby needing assistance, she soon realized that her job was just a small part of providing assistance to those who had nowhere else to turn. Her job here soon turned to a career, and she now supports Legal Services by monitoring grant reporting and compliance, and facilitating Legal Services' community outreach.  She is also the staff liaison for the Client Board and works with various committees of the Board. In her spare time you will find her spending time with her sons Jordan and Deion or running races, of which she has completed 5 half marathons.

Grants & Outreach Officer

Rochelle Hampton
Marcia Rabinowitz

Marcia is deeply concerned about the prevalence of injustice in our world - whether it is the suffering of a human being or animal. Working within the Legal Services environment gives her he opportunity to be a minuscule grain of sand in helping to make a difference for those lesser served. She feels honored to be able to participate in this organization and is proud of the admirable work that is done here.

Director of Special Events & Marketing

Marcia Rabinowitz
Claudia Welsh

Claudia has used her fundraising skills to reflect her passion for making a difference for those who have no voice.   From the time she was a student at George Washington University, her work has been dedicated to helping provide resources for the betterment of society, whether through science research, human services or providing equal access to justice for the most vulnerable in our community. Claudia considers it a privilege to work alongside the amazing staff at Legal Services.

Director of Development

Claudia Welsh
Karen Williams

Coming Soon

Senior Accountant

Karen Williams

4343 West Flagler Street, Suite 100 Miami, Florida 33134  | Miami-Dade (305) 576-0080  | Monroe (866) 686-2760

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