Erikson Albrecht joined Bet Tzedek in 2006. He became directing attorney for the Kinship Care, Caregiver, and the Self-Help Conservatorship Clinic teams in June, 2017.
Erikson received his A.B. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and his J.D. from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. His career began on the Southside of Chicago, working with disadvantaged youth and helping create an innovative small public school in one of the most underserved communities of the city. Upon relocating to California, he served as a defense attorney and Deputy Public Defender at Biggam, Christensen & Minsloff in Santa Cruz County. He began working at Bet Tzedek as the Kinship Attorney, focusing on the legal issues of children in Southern California who live with nonparent caregivers. He also led Bet Tzedek’s Immigrant Child Advocacy Project, representing undocumented youth, training and mentoring attorneys throughout California regarding SIJS matters and probate legal guardianships, and providing educational outreach to the community regarding immigration enforcement and its impact on families.
Johanna joined Bet Tzedek in the fall of 2015 and became directing attorney for Community Outreach and Advocacy in June, 2018. Prior to joining Bet Tzedek, Johanna worked in Los Angeles for a mission-driven, San Francisco-based tech start-up addressing systemic injustices in communities that have historically been denied access to affordable, nutritious food. Johanna began her legal career as a staff attorney with the Criminal Defense Division of the Legal Aid Society of New York, representing indigent clients in criminal court. During law school, she interned with the Hon. Charles P. Sifton, at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and represented clients on Louisiana’s death row in appeals to the United States Supreme Court.
Director, Institutional Giving
April Caires has over ten years of experience securing and managing grants for Los Angeles area nonprofit organizations. She joined Bet Tzedek as a Grants Officer in 2016 and was promoted to Director of Institutional Giving in May 2018. April has a MA in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and was an instructor in the undergraduate writing program. She also has a MA in Communications, with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Public Affairs, from Texas A & M University.
Cynthia Chagolla joins Bet Tzedek as a directing attorney for the Homeless Prevention Project. Previously, she worked at Bay Area Legal Aid in San Francisco and Oakland focusing on public benefits. At California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. she worked on a wide range of poverty and racial justice issues ranging from education to landlord tenant issues. In 2012, she completed a fellowship at Georgia Legal Services, Farmworker Division in Atlanta. While in law school Cynthia interned at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is admitted to practice law in California and New York.
Cynthia is a board member of the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations, Inc. She is also a dedicated runner and training for her next big race.
Dana Hadl joins Bet Tzedek as the directing attorney for the Employment Rights Project team. Most recently, Dana was counsel with Seyfarth Shaw LLP, where her practice focused on employment discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment litigation.
Dana received her J.D. from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles in 2001. While in law school, Dana held an externship with Judge Joan Dempsey Klein, Presiding Justice of Division Three of California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.
A native Los Angeleno, Dana is the grand-daughter of Holocaust survivors. Dana is an active member of Valley Beth Shalom, where she serves on the Homelessness Task Force Advocacy Team, which worked closely with community organizers to pass both Measure HHH and Measure H.
She resides in Sherman Oaks, with her husband, Dan, and their two spirited daughters, Lilah and Ari.
Bertha S. Hayden joined Bet Tzedek Legal Services in 2006 and specializes in elder law. In 2009, she launched an innovative pilot program, Family Matters, in Los Angeles County to educate and provide direct legal services to families with special education students on limited conservatorships (adult guardianship) and supported decision making options. Bertha has received the Award of Merit from Legal Aid Association of California and the Jack H. Skirball award for the Family Matters Project. Prior to joining Bet Tzedek, Ms.Hayden clerked with Legal Aid of Los Angeles, The Federal Public Defender’s Office of San Jose, and the City Attorney’s Office of Santa Monica.
Lisa Liberatore joins Bet Tzedek as Directing Attorney, Elder Justice program. After practicing law for over 30 years, first as a litigator followed by 21 years at the Walt Disney Company in a combined in-house/executive position, Lisa recently earned her MSW degree to enable her to more powerfully engage in transformative social justice work, with a particular focus on empowerment of vulnerable individuals and communities. Lisa currently serves on the Policy Action Team of the Los Angeles Aging and Advocacy Coalition, an advocacy body that addresses the needs of vulnerable older adults.
Karen McAulay has been a CPA for over thirty years. Earlier in her career, she worked in public account at Grant Thornton, LLP. Karen’s background is primarily in banking and she was the CFO and Controller of various banks in the Los Angeles area.
Karen is a native to Los Angeles and graduated from Cal State Los Angeles. Karen resides in Pasadena with her husband Peter and has two grown children: Scott and Laura.
Jenna Miara joins Bet Tzedek as directing attorney for the Impact Litigation and Policy team. Jenna’s career has been dedicated to public interest law and social justice. Most recently, Jenna was an attorney at Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, where her practice focused on constitutional, environmental, and employment law.
Prior to relocating to Los Angeles with her family, Jenna was a partner at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd in Chicago, where she represented plaintiffs in complex employment and civil rights litigation. Before that, she was a senior attorney at LAF, the largest legal aid organization in Chicago, where she handled housing, employment, public benefits, and family law matters.
Jenna received her J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School, and graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College of Columbia University. After law school, Jenna clerked for the Honorable Robert W. Gettleman at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Jenna is admitted to practice before the courts of California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
Mentru Nagbe joins Bet Tzedek as the database manager. Mentru has served with several nonprofit organizations domestically and abroad with a focus on international development, education, and social justice. Most recently, Mentru was the manager of data and analytics at Philadelphia VIP, where he helped manager VIP’s case management system and several online and offline core function cloud platforms.
Mentru is a former AmeriCorps City Year and Augustinian Volunteer, and he remains passionate about educational equality, policy, and bridging the achievement gap in under-resourced communities.
Mentru received his B.S in Civil Engineering from Villanova University and M.P.A with a focus on program evaluation and data analysis from Middlebury College.
Director, Pro Bono Programs
Alisa Shudofsky joins Bet Tzedek as Director of Pro Bono Programs. Most recently, she served as the Chief Compliance Officer and Ombudsperson for NBCUniversal, where she built and led its global compliance organization. Throughout her legal career, Alisa has been an active pro bono and community volunteer, advocating for the homeless, providing legal counseling to under-served individuals, and working with a local food pantry and social services provider. She is on the board of the Media Policy Center, a non-profit that creates multimedia content to spotlight current issues and activate social change.
Alisa received her J.D. from Columbia University Law School, where she was an Editor of the Law Review, and her B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Eugene H. Nickerson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She is admitted to practice in New York and various federal courts.