Staff

Consumer Justice
Development
Equitable Neighborhoods
Immigrants' Rights
Research & Policy
Technical Assistance & Capacity Building
Tenants' Rights & Housing Justice
Workers' Rights

Harvey Epstein, Director (2007-present)
Harvey has more than 20 years of experience working for social causes. Prior to CDP, Harvey was the Associate Director/Managing Attorney for Housing Conservation Coordinators (HCC), a community-based non-profit that works to preserve decent affordable housing. Before that, he was a staff housing attorney at the Community Law Offices for The Legal Aid Society and represented tenant associations in affirmative litigation, including rent strikes, and group actions seeking repairs. Harvey was instrumental in creating Legal Aid’s Community Economic Development Project to assist small businesses and non-profits with transactional legal matters like incorporation, applications for tax exemption, negotiating commercial leases and loan agreements. CUNY School of Law, J.D. (1994); Ithaca College, B.A. (1989). Email Harvey.

Wendy Baez, Executive Assistant (2016 to present)
Wendy has been part of the Urban Justice Center for a decade. Prior to joining CDP, Wendy was part of UJC’s Administrative team, where she served as an Office Manager. She has led the Urban Justice Center Union as a Co-Chair since 2015.

Consumer Justice

Nasoan Sheftel-Gomes, Supervising Attorney (2007 to present)
Nasoan’s work in the Consumer Justice practice involves collaborating with community partners to provide free legal clinics, teach community education workshops, participate in legislative campaigns and defend alleged debtors in state and federal court. Nasoan is also an active member of the NYC Bar Association’s Civil Court committee and she volunteers for CLARO in the Bronx as a legal expert for a brief advice legal project for low-income consumers held in the Bronx Civil Court. Prior to joining CDP, she was an associate at the elder law firm Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP. She obtained her J.D. from CUNY School of Law, her Master’s of Journalism from UC Berkeley and her B.A. from Clark University.

Katelyn Feliciano, Paralegal (2016-present)
Katelyn is a paralegal in CDP’s Consumer Justice practice area. Committed to social justice, Katelyn has volunteered as an ESOL instructor, tutored refugee youth, assisted low-income residents in acquiring jobs, participated in Jessup Correctional Institute Scholar’s program, and volunteered at an immigration law firm. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Loyola University Maryland with a B.A. in Political Science (2016). Katelyn is a Jersey girl at heart, but has a special affinity for Charm City and the home of the O’s.

Tedmund Wan, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Ted is a staff attorney in the Consumer Justice practice area. Prior to joining CDP, Ted was a law clerk for Chief Judge Aida Delgado-Colón at the United States District Court of Puerto Rico. He also worked for Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of the New York State Supreme Court. Ted was a Public Service Scholar at Hunter College, where he obtained his B.A. in political science (2007). He graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2011. Having lived in New York, South Bend, San Diego, London, Portland, DC, and San Juan over the last few years, Ted is happy to be anchored in Brooklyn with his wife Anna and their dog Sandy for the foreseeable future.

Development

April Herms, Chief Operating Officer (2005 to present)
April oversees CDP’s fundraising and development work, and provides technical assistance to CDP’s community partner groups. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit management from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, and a surprisingly useful bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Studies from Brown University. Prior to working at CDP, April worked on LGBT, HIV and immigrants’ rights issues at the Hispanic AIDS Forum and the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force (now called Immigration Equality). In civilian life, she is a technophile, foodie, video game geek, amateur vegetarian chef and avid reader in English and Spanish. Her favorite condiment is sriracha.

HaQuyen Pham, Director of Contract Management & Communication (2008 to present)
HaQuyen oversees government grants administration, coordinates event planning, and facilitates the implementation of CDP’s communication and social media strategies. Prior to her current position, HaQuyen worked as a paralegal in CDP’s Housing and Consumer Justice practice areas, and before that taught undergraduate courses in interviewing and public speaking at the University of Dayton. She graduated from Dayton with an M.A. in Communication and a B.A. summa cum laude in French and Journalism. Her off-duty interests include reading, cycling, grammar, and dance-offs.

Zahra Chevannes, Development Coordinator (2016 to present)
Zahra is a Development Coordinator at CDP. Before joining CDP, she served as a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in a small town in Northwestern China where she taught English at a teacher training college, developed a love of noodles, and began to study Chinese. Prior to leaving for the Peace Corps, Zahra worked in development at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She graduated from Cornell University in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology and Art History. Zahra spends a lot of time drinking tea and walking around NY.

Jackie Del Valle, Stabilizing NYC & Development Coordinator (2014 to present)
A long-time housing organizer, Jackie is the former Director of Organizing at Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), as well as at Housing Conservation Coordinators (HCC). Prior to working at HCC, she founded CASA (Community Action for Safe Apartments) at New Settlement while working as a tenant organizer in the Bronx. Jackie first worked with CDP when they represented her in an anti-SLAPP suit filed against her and two organizations to quell organizing efforts in a distressed multi-building portfolio. Jackie also chairs the board of the Metropolitan Council on Housing and graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology from Bard College. Her favorite colors are gold and turquoise.

Hillary Exter, Anti-Harassment Tenant Protection Program Coordinator (2016-present)
Hillary is the Coordinator of LEAP’s consortium of 14 legal service organizations providing housing legal services to low-income tenants in target neighborhoods in all five borough of NYC. Before joining CDP, she was a Director in Fordham Law School’s Public Interest Resource Center, working with the next generation of public interest and pro bono attorneys on their public service initiatives. She previously served for two decades as Senior Staff Attorney with the Community Development Program of Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. A and was house counsel to community-based organizations involved in the creation of affordable housing, childcare, quality public education and health care. SUNY Buffalo Law School, J.D, Queens College of CUNY. Hillary (also known as Scout) is a volunteer gardener in the therapeutic horticulture GreenHouse Program at Rikers Island, and a member of the National Lawyers Guild, the Empire Dragon Boat team and Guardians of Flushing Bay. She also enjoys being crafty.

Rajah Reid, Development Coordinator (2016 to present)
Rajah works to administer government contracts and apply for foundation grants. He is passionate about writing and spoken word as well as all things geek. In his free time, Rajah can typically be found huddled over a notebook, glued to a screen, or with his nose in a book. He graduated from Tufts University in 2015 with a B.A. in Sociology.

Kat Tovmenko, IOI and Development Coordinator (2016 to present)
Kat is responsible for administering government contracts. She is also the coordinator of the CILEC consortium, a collaborative of legal service providers and community organizing groups serving NYC’s low-income immigrant communities. Prior to joining UJC, Kat worked with South Florida-based non-profits serving immigrant communities and the homeless. She holds an M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Florida Atlantic University and a B.F.A./International Studies co-major from The University of Kansas. Kat enjoys reading, discovering music from different parts of the world, and learning new languages.

Morgan Turner, Development Coordinator (2016-present)
Morgan is a development coordinator in CDP’s wonderful Development department. In this role, she helps organize and administer contracts and grants. Coupled with being a museum nerd, she loves running, outdoor concerts, autumn and making funky cocktails. Morgan obtained her B.A in French literature at Georgia State University and her M.A. in International Affairs at the American University of Paris.

Equitable Neighborhoods

Missy Risser, Staff Attorney (2014 to present)
Missy is a staff attorney in the Equitable Neighborhoods and Capacity-Building practice areas, where she supports community-based groups and worker cooperatives through transactional legal assistance, public education, and policy development. Missy has also been an adjunct professor and legal fellow at CUNY Law School’s Community and Economic Development Clinic (CEDC), where she taught and supervised students, and provided legal support for community-based nonprofits and worker cooperatives, focusing on union cooperatives. Missy obtained her J.D. from CUNY School of Law, where she attended as a Public Interest Graduate Fellow; her M.Ed in Urban Education from Temple University; and her B.A. from Vassar College. Before she was a lawyer, Missy was a community-based adult literacy and ESOL educator. Email Missy.

Paula Z. Segal, Senior Staff Attorney (2017 to present)
Paula is the founding director of 596 Acres, Inc., NYC's community land access advocacy organization, which has helped create dozens of new community spaces to replace vacant lots. Paula has defended gardens and other community spaces from foreclosure and eviction and helped create new structures for community land access and control. Paula is an Ashoka Fellow recognized for building the field of community land access advocacy. She has been a Fellow at the Fordham Urban Law Center, Supervising Attorney in Fordham’s Community Economic Development Clinic, a law clerk working on civil rights cases at Rankin & Taylor, and a partner in her own practice representing community organizations on real property matters. She graduated from City University of New York (CUNY) Law School and Brown University. Before becoming a lawyer, she brought inclusive student-centered learning to English language learners and their teachers across CUNY community college campuses. Email Paula.

Adrien A. Weibgen, Staff Attorney (2014 to present)
Adrien was CDP’s first full-time land use attorney and is thrilled to now be part of an expanded Equitable Neighborhoods team. Adrien has over a decade of experience in racial justice advocacy, including through positions at the Racial Justice Program of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Social Inclusion. After Hurricane Sandy, Adrien co-founded the largest grassroots relief effort in Coney Island, which assisted thousands of elderly and disabled people trapped in high-rise buildings after the storm. A first-generation, queer/trans person of Filipinx, Fujianese and German descent, Adrien has been involved in numerous queer and POC community and art projects and served as the Co-Chair of the Urban Justice Center Union from 2015-2017. They hold a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. in History from Wesleyan University. Email Adrien.

Immigrants' Rights

Melissa Brennan, Supervising Attorney (2016 to present)
Melissa supervises CDP’s Immigrants’ Rights practice area. Melissa previously worked at Sanctuary for Families where she represented foreign-born victims of human trafficking and domestic violence on immigration matters and founded a pro bono program to assist immigrants in New York City’s Human Trafficking Intervention Courts. Melissa has also served as a Program Associate at the Center on Immigration and Justice at the Vera Institute, a consultant for the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, and a legal fellow and consultant with the United Nations Interagency Project on Human Trafficking. Melissa holds a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh (2001) and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School (2009).

Danielle Alvarado, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Danielle works with immigrant members of grassroots groups organizing across New York City, providing direct immigration representation in addition to strategic legal support for campaigns. Prior to joining CDP, Danielle worked on Long Island as an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow at the Central American Refugee Center. Before law school Danielle was deeply involved in anti-deportation and border militarization organizing in Arizona, which she credits for shaping her understanding of the role of lawyers in supporting movements led by frontline communities. Danielle received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and her B.A. in Politics from Whitman College. As a new New Yorker, Danielle spends her free time getting lost on the train and looking for good Mexican food.

Aline Gue, Paralegal (2016 to present)
Aline is a paralegal in the Immigrants’ Rights practice area. Before joining CDP, Aline was a coordinator for the Immigrant Justice Project at the City Bar Justice Center providing immigration legal services for survivors of violent crimes; a facilitator and coordinator of GenSex NYC (a volunteer-organized citywide anti-oppression gender and sexuality workshop); and an intern at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture working on access to benefits with asylees. Aline graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Dance (2012). Outside of trying to do all things intersectionality- and social justice-oriented, Aline can be found reading a book, taking a dance class, or enjoying the company of friends.

Sean Lai McMahon, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow and Staff Attorney (2014 to present)
Sean is an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow in the Immigrants’ Rights practice area, focusing on immigration representation in the context of worker organizing. His previous work with low-income immigrants includes community health outreach in immigrant communities in Oakland, CA, and employment assistance for resettled refugees at the International Rescue Committee. Sean received his J.D. from New York University School of Law and his B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Shanti Tharayil, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow and Staff Attorney (2017 to present)
Shanti's commitment to working with immigrant communities is inspired by her upbringing in the diverse San Francisco Bay Area. During law school, she worked closely with immigrant survivors of domestic violence as an intern with the Family Law Project and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. She worked as a fellow with the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, where she represented unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings and victims of domestic violence and crime. Prior to joining CDP, Shanti worked in the Sex Workers’ Project at the Urban Justice Center. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

Melanie Zuch, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Melanie is a staff attorney in the Immigrants’ Rights practice area. Prior to joining CDP, Melanie was a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at Covenant House New York, where she represented runaway and homeless youth in a range of civil legal issues, including collateral consequences of criminal proceedings, consumer and immigration matters. Prior to law school, Melanie worked on the development of an adolescent sexual health program in Cape Town, South Africa. Melanie received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. in Development Studies from Brown University.

Research & Policy

Alexa Kasdan, Director of Research and Policy (2008 to present)
During her time at CDP, Alexa has overseen the design, implementation, writing and release of over 60 participatory action research reports in partnership with grassroots organizations, has coordinated various citywide and national research projects and has developed various popular education tools and trainings. From 2006 until 2008 she was the Research and Policy coordinator at Community Voices Heard, where she designed and co-authored several reports about the welfare system and public housing. Alexa has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Email Alexa.

Zarin Ahmed, Research & Policy Associate (2015 to present)
Zarin joined CDP after several years at Chhaya CDC in various roles where she worked on issues around housing, economic development, and citizenship with South Asian New Yorkers. She graduated from Barnard College in 2012 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior. As a native New Yorker hailing from the best borough in the world, Queens, Zarin enjoys visiting museums, reading about space travel, and eating momos.

Erin Markman, Research & Policy Coordinator (2013 to present)
Erin is thrilled to bring her experience in research and policy analysis to the crucial and vibrant work of CDP. Prior to joining CDP, Erin was the Policy and Research Coordinator for the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center. She is dedicated to examining issues of oppression, discrimination, and exclusion in New York City and nationally, and to working with grassroots groups to impact systems, hold governments accountable, and create enduring change. Erin holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a Master of Social Work degree from Hunter College School of Social Work, where she focused on community organizing and political social work.

Tenants’ Rights & Housing Justice

Sadia Rahman, Supervising Attorney (2009 to present)
Sadia supervises the Tenants’ Rights & Housing Justice practice area. Before joining CDP, she was a staff attorney at the Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Project for over three years, where she litigated against abusive landlords on behalf of tenants living in substandard buildings along the 7 subway line in Queens. She graduated from Tulane University in 2001 and received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2005. Email Sadia.

Greg BaltzStaff Attorney (2017 to present)
Greg supports the organizing work of community-based tenants’ rights groups across New York City, providing group representation in housing cases as well as strategic support for campaigns. He previously represented immigrant workers organizing to challenge wage theft and discrimination as a Ford Foundation Fellow at Make the Road New York. As a law student, Greg defended members of City Life/Vida Urbana in eviction proceedings, collaborating closely with tenants and organizers in multi-faceted anti-displacement campaigns. Prior to law school, he lived in Annunciation House, a shelter on the U.S.-Mexico border that offers sanctuary to migrants and refugees. Greg is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.

Pilar DeJesus, Paralegal (2016 to present)
Pilar is a paralegal in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. Before joining CDP, she was a Benefits Advocate with the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project, advocating and representing individuals experiencing legal problems in accessing public benefits: cash assistance, SNAP (food stamps) and one-shot deals. At SNP, Pilar obtained over $50,000 in retroactive benefits for her clients. Pilar is a community activist who really enjoys getting involved and standing up for the community that raised her. She enjoys spending her time with her nephews and niece, educating them on the importance of organizing. Pilar plans to develop herself further by returning to school in the near future.

Rini Fonseca-Sabune, Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Rini is a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney in the Tenants’ Rights practice area where she represents tenants facing harassment; she also works with the Consumer Justice practice on this issue. Before joining CDP, Rini was a Karpatkin Fellow at the ACLU Racial Justice Program, and a law clerk in the Southern District of New York and the Third Circuit. Prior to law school, Rini worked as a social studies teacher at the Bushwick School for Social Justice, an investigator of police misconduct for the Civilian Complaint Review Board and as a teacher and community health program coordinator in Uganda and Rwanda. Rini is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.

Sherief Gaber, Staff Attorney (2016-present)
Sherief Gaber is a staff attorney in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. Prior to joining CDP, Sherief lived in Egypt, working with communities engaged in self-help urbanism and social justice in the wake of the 2011 revolution. Sherief is a co-founder of the Mosireen media collective, and a collective member emeritus at the Austin Yellow Bike Project. He graduated from the University of Texas with a J.D. and an M.S. in Community and Regional Planning, and received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis. In his spare time, Sherief drinks coffee.

Iliana Garcia, Paralegal (2016-present)
Iliana is a paralegal in CDP’s Tenants’ Rights practice area. Prior to joining CDP, Iliana worked in accounting and was also part of NYC’s Build it Back Program, where she managed cases of families affected by Hurricane Sandy. In her spare time, Iliana enjoys writing, baking and being outdoors. She graduated from Hunter College with a B.A in English Language Arts.

Rajiv Jaswa, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Rajiv is a staff attorney in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. Before joining CDP, he was a staff attorney with the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project, where he focused on serving public housing residents in the Bronx and Queens. He previously worked as an environmental and land use attorney with the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project. Rajiv received a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2011, and an A.B. in English from Brown University in 2005.

Michael Leonard, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Michael Leonard is a staff attorney in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. Prior to joining CDP, Michael worked at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, assisting communities to fight evictions and for basic service delivery in informal settlements. Michael was also attorney at a law clinic in the Bronx called Part of the Solution, where he represented low-income people in eviction proceedings and public benefits matters. He is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and has been involved in civil rights legal education, community organizing, and prisoners’ rights initiatives. CUNY School of Law, J.D. (2010); Fordham University, B.A. (2004).

Jane Li, Staff Attorney (2015 to present)
Jane is a staff attorney in CDP’s Tenants’ Rights practice area. Before joining CDP, Jane worked for the New York Legal Assistance Group’s Storm Response Unit, where she advocated on behalf of tenants and homeowners who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Jane received a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and a B.S. from Georgetown University. In her spare time, Jane enjoys cooking, reading, and being outdoors.

Margaret Lyford, Paralegal (2016 to present)
Margaret is a paralegal in CDP's Tenants’ Rights practice. Prior to joining CDP, she worked as an assistant teacher in remedial reading and writing classrooms with the CUNY Start program, as an Investigator at The Bronx Defenders, and as a client advocate for food stamp recipients at the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. Margaret completed an M.P.A at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School where she focused in urban policy, and she holds a B.A. in French and International Studies from Colby College.

Bianca MacPherson, Paralegal (2016 to present)
Bianca is a paralegal in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. After graduating from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a B.A. in Political Science, she worked as a Legislative Liaison and Community Liaison for several elected officials. In these positions, she found a great interest for helping tenants with tenant/landlord issues. In her spare time, Bianca loves to read books about history, politics, and social justice. She also enjoys going to see Broadway musicals with her fiancée. To date they have seen over 20 shows together.

Addrana Montgomery, Staff Attorney (2015 to present)
A native New Yorker, Addrana is a staff attorney on CDP's Tenants’ Rights team. She has championed local, NYC-wide, national, and global social justice movements, including in South Africa, where she served as one of the youngest overseas election monitors for that country’s first democratic election. During her clerkship at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, she worked on critical housing and land use cases which continue to inform her advocacy for affordable and decent housing for every New Yorker. Addrana received a B.A. in International Relations/African Studies at Boston University and her law degree at Howard University School of Law.

Keriann Pauls, Staff Attorney (2015 to present)
Keriann is a staff attorney in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. Before joining CDP, she was a staff attorney at Part of the Solution (POTS), representing low-income clients in Housing Court and Public Benefits proceedings. She earned her J.D. from the CUNY School of Law (2013) and her B.A. from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (2006). Before deciding to attend law school, Keriann spent a number of years as a line cook and is pretty savvy when it comes to cooking eggs. In addition to cooking, she enjoys going to the movies, camping, and listening to other peoples’ record collections.

Stephanie Rudolph, Senior Staff Attorney (2013 to present)
Stephanie is an attorney in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. Prior to joining CDP, Stephanie served as a Skadden Fellow at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, carrying out the “Healthy Homes” Project aimed at remediating indoor toxins such as mold, asbestos, and lead paint. During her two years as a Skadden Fellow at NYLPI, Stephanie co-counseled a number of large-scale group housing cases with CDP attorneys. Stephanie earned her B.A. from Haverford College and her J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Aya Tasaki, Poverty Justice Solutions Fellow (2016 to present)
Aya, a queer immigrant born and raised in Japan, is a Poverty Justice Solutions Fellow in the Tenants’ Rights practice area. As a student at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Aya dedicated her time to the Immigration Justice Clinic, where she worked on issues at the intersection of immigration and criminal law, and the Civil Rights Clinic, where she worked on prisoners' rights. Over the summers Aya worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at the New York Asian Women's Center, and was an Ella Baker/Gregory H. Finger Racial Justice Fellow in the Government Misconduct and Racial Justice docket at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Technical Assistance & Capacity Building

Gowri Krishna, Supervising Attorney (2015 to present)
Gowri supervises CDP’s Technical Assistance & Capacity-Building practice area, which supports community-based nonprofits and worker cooperatives in transactional and land use matters. Gowri rejoined the CDP staff in July 2015 after teaching and supervising law students for five years in Community Economic Development Clinics at Roger Williams University School of Law, Michigan Law School and Fordham Law School. She was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at CDP after receiving her J.D. from Fordham Law School in 2006. She obtained her A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2001.

Rodrigo BacusStaff Attorney (2016 to present)
Rodrigo is a legal worker for the people in the Technical Assistance & Capacity Building practice. Prior to CDP, Rodrigo did research with UNITE HERE on the lived experiences and workplace conditions of migrant workers in the hospitality industry. Rodrigo graduated from Fordham Law School and was a Stein Scholar and the Public Service Valedictorian. Rodrigo also spent time in Fordham Law as a Crowley Scholar, in the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice, to investigate the conditions of Burmese refugees in Thailand’s border. Rodrigo spends the rest of the time involved in and actively supporting the movements of directly impacted people.

Maggie Marron, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
As an attorney in the Technical Assistance & Capacity-Building practice, Maggie counsels worker cooperatives on transactional matters, and is pretty sure she knows what that sentence means. From what she hears, she provides legal assistance to small businesses that are owned and democratically operated by their workers. According to such sources as Maggie's conservative uncle, "that sounds new age-y." Nonetheless, Maggie earned her B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College in 2009, and her J.D. from NYU Law in 2015. Originally from beautiful New Jersey, she's lived in New York for ten years, has been an angry feminist for as long (thanks, Barnard!), and is a self-identified Crazy Dog Lady.

Missy Risser, Staff Attorney (2014 to present)
Missy is a staff attorney in both the Equitable Neighborhoods and the Technical Assistance & Capacity-Building practice areas. See her bio above!

Workers' Rights

Carmela Huang, Supervising Attorney (2008 to present)
Carmela is the supervising attorney of the Workers’ Rights practice area. Prior to joining CDP, she was a volunteer organizer for the Chinese Staff and Workers Association. She also clerked for United States Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom in the Eastern District of New York. Carmela obtained her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.A. summa cum laude from Columbia University.

Reena Arora, Senior Staff Attorney (2017 to present)
Reena is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Workers’ Rights Practice. Previously, Reena worked at Empire Justice Center establishing the Wage Justice Program in Westchester County for low wage immigrant workers and at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest pursuing civil rights claims for persons with disabilities. Reena was also the NYU Public Interest Fellow at the plaintiff-side employment law firm Outten & Golden LLP and an international human rights lawyer for the non-governmental organization MAP Foundation, defending the rights of Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. Reena received her J.D. from New York University School of Law and B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Adriana Cruz, Paralegal (2017 to present)
 
Laura Misumi, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Laura is a staff attorney in the Workers’ Rights practice area. Prior to joining CDP, she was the Home Care Law Fellow at SEIU in Washington, DC, supporting SEIU locals that represent home care workers and providing counsel to the Home Care Fight for $15 campaign. Laura obtained her J.D as a Public Interest Law Scholar from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and her B.A. with high distinction in Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean studies, with a minor in Asian/Pacific Islander studies from the University of Michigan. She loves food and cooking, and does Crossfit to facilitate the eating.

Tito Sinha, Senior Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
Tito is a staff attorney in the Workers’ Rights practice area. He has worked as a Senior Associate in civil rights firms litigating claims of wage and hour violations and employment discrimination. Tito’s experience has also included working at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and having his own law practice. He obtained his J.D. from City University of New York School of Law and his B.A. from Swarthmore College.

David Ureña, Staff Attorney (2016 to present)
David is a staff attorney in CDP’s Workers’ Rights practice area. Before joining CDP, David worked as a staff attorney in MFY Legal Services, Inc.’s Workplace Justice Project. David is a graduate of Fordham Law School, where he was a Stein Scholar, and obtained his B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.


For a list of former staff, please click here.