Our People

Betty L. Nordwind
Executive Director

Betty Nordwind has devoted her legal career to social justice issues. Betty has been on the forefront of efforts championing the rights of the poor, disabled persons and women. Graduating from the University of Colorado Law School in 1971, Betty immediately signed up for a service corps program at Metro Denver Legal Aid, handling everyday problems of indigent residents of Colorado. In the vanguard of the disability rights movement, Betty founded and lead Denver Legal Aid’s first mental health law unit providing legal representation to civilly committed indigent individuals. Betty also helped initiate a path breaking lawsuit on behalf of poor, chronically mentally ill persons. Hired to manage the Harriett Buhai Center of Family Law in 1987 as its Executive Director, Betty has overseen its growth from a fledging office of 4 persons and less than 35 volunteers to a strong community institution of over 20 staff members and 300 volunteers providing in excess of 28,000 hours of legal service to more than 1,000 very low income persons in Los Angeles a year. Under Betty’s tutelage, the Center has trained hundreds of lawyers and law students, filed several significant lawsuits, engaged in other advocacy directed to eliminating barriers to the courts and undertaken legislative efforts to change child support laws and practices in California and Los Angeles. Under Betty’s direction the Center opened doors to the promise of family law and donated volunteer assistance to low-income community college students and incarcerated mothers.

In 2014, Betty was honored by the State Bar of California with the prestigious Loren Miller Legal Services Award, a lifetime achievement award recognizing her long-term commitment to providing legal services to very low-income individuals and families. Betty’s crusade for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised precedes her accomplished legal career and began when she was just a teen.

To read more about Betty’s lifelong dedication to helping low-income individuals and families, disabled persons and women, please click here.

Heidi K. Slater
Deputy Director

Fred Emmer
Senior Supervising Attorney

Elizabeth Erickson
Senior Staff Attorney

Cheryl Segal
Senior Staff Attorney

Rebecca Fischer
Staff Attorney

Holly Leonard
Staff Attorney

Lisa Smith
Staff Attorney

Pablo Schlueter-Corey
Staff Attorney

Rehema Rhodes Williams
Staff Attorney/Pro Bono Manager

Isabel Tovar
Supervising Client Assistant

Elvira Castillo
Senior Client Assistant

Giselle Gerardo
Client Assistant

Noemi Hidalgo
Client Assistant

Anna Laura Jimenez
Client Assistant

Arlene Rubio Teutla
Client Assistant

Kris Breitenbach
Development Assistant

Taryn May
Volunteer Coordinator

Esther Castillo
Administrative Assistant

Kimberly A. Britts
Communications Assistant




Amos Buhai (President)
J Street

Amos is currently the Southwest Regional Director of J Street. He has served as a field organizer for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign in Wisconsin, worked as a Field/GOTV Director and Legislative Director for New York City Council Member Jessica Lappin, managed Steve Warnstadt’s successful 2006 campaign for the Iowa State Senate, and also served as a high-donor fundraiser and the New York State Director for DraftObama, a grassroots organization promoting an Obama presidential candidacy. Amos holds a B.A. in History from The George Washington University, and before joining J Street, worked as a consultant for the Personal Democracy Forum, an organization that studies how technology is changing politics, government, and civic engagement.

Candice Rogers (President-Elect)
Hahn & Hahn

Candice Rogers is a member of Hahn & Hahn’s litigation practice group. She practices primarily in the area of family law, including premarital agreements, postnuptial agreements, dissolution of marriage, property division, custody and support . She is a Certified Family Law Specialist, skilled in handling complex family law matters. Candice earned her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.

Heidi Tuffias (Secretary) (LACBA Liaison)

Law & Mediation Offices of Heidi Tuffias

William Scott Mowrey, Jr. (Treasurer)

William Scott Mowrey (Scott), a certified public accountant, is a founding partner of CMM, LLP which specializes in forensic accounting, litigation consulting and business valuation. Scott is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago. Scott is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

David P. Shebby (Immediate Past President) (LACBA, Family Law Section Liasion)
Jacobson Scully Shebby LLP

David is a Certified Family Law Specialist and is a founding partner of Jacobson Scully Shebby, LLP. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, and practices exclusively in the area of family law. David has extensive experience in both state and federal courts and has litigated scores of jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations to verdict. David currently serves as a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Family Law Executive Committee.


Kimberly R. Arnal
The Aguilera Law Group, APLC

Stephanie Barnett
Jaffe and Clemens

Stephanie M. Barnett is a Certified Family Law Specialist and partner at the family law firm of Jaffe and Clemens in Beverly Hills. She is a graduate of UCLA and of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.  Prior to joining Jaffe and Clemens, Stephanie was a research attorney for five family law judicial officers with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Central District. During law school, she was a summer intern at the Harriett Buhai Center and later served as a volunteer attorney.

Tamara Benefield (BWL Liaison)
Law Offices of Tamara Benefield

Tamara Shari Benefield is a Certified Family Law Specialist and owner of the Law Offices of Tamara Benefield, a Beverly Hills law firm specializing in all aspects of family law. She is a Public Interest Scholar of Loyola Law School and serves on the Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, Inc. Board. She is a member of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, Beverly Hills Bar Association and the Order of Distinguished Attorneys. She is the National Bar Association’s Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in California and recently named Top 40 Under 40 Advocates by the NBA for her achievements.

Andrew DeBlock

Andrew served as a Senior Advisor to California Assembly Speaker Emeritus and University of California Regent, John A. Pérez. In 2012, he served as Deputy Director of Convention Operations for the Obama Victory Fund at the Democratic National Convention and as a consultant on finance operations for the Presidential Inaugural Committee in Washington, DC. Andrew also has experience at the state and local level serving as the Senior Field Representative for Assemblymember Betsy Butler, the Political Associate on Wendy Greuel’s 2013 campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles and as the Campaign Manager for Betsy Butler’s 2014 campaign for the 26th State Senate District. Andrew is a graduate of Occidental College, the University of Southern California’s Masters of Public Administration program and the Coro Fellowship Program in Los Angeles where he completed consulting projects for the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

David Ettinger
Horvitz & Levy LLP

David Ettinger is a partner at the firm of Horvitz & Levy, which specializes in appellate law. David has worked on precedent-setting litigation for the Center to help its clients and other low income litigants gain access to the justice system. When the Los Angeles Superior Court created an obstacle to the Center’s clients’ cases by imposing a fee on mandatory child custody mediation, David successfully sued in the Court of Appeal to invalidate the fee. With David’s help, the Center took action when the Superior Court barred parents who could not afford lawyers from seeking to establish paternity and obtain child support. David aided the Center in filing amicus curiae briefs in establishing important precedents concerning the right to obtain custody orders under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act as well as litigation concerning the process for indigent persons to bring their cases without paying court fees and costs David is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and received his J.D. cum laude from Loyola Law School. David is a former president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Elisa Fernandez (LLBA Liaison)
U.S. Department of Justice

Katharine J. Galston
Law Offices of Katharine J. Galston

Katharine (Kate) Galston recently launched her own appellate practice, after practicing appellate litigation at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Los Angeles, with an emphasis on labor and employment. Kate has experience authoring appellate briefs and presenting oral argument in federal and state courts of appeal nationwide. Her appellate work has involved many substantive areas of law, including labor and employment, entertainment, trademark, copyright, complex commercial disputes, trusts, family law, and insurance. Kate received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her J.D. from NYU School of Law. After law school, Kate served as a law clerk to the Honorable Reena Raggi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers, serving on its Executive Board and Programs Committee and chairing the Council’s 2014 AJEI Summit Planning Committee.

Iran C. Hopkins
Ervin, Cohen & Jessup LLP

Kayla Horacek
Valensi Rose, PLC

Esther P. Kim
California Department of Justice

Louise Nixon
QDRO Counsel, Inc.

Louise Nixon is President of QDRO Counsel, Inc., a law corporation focused exclusively on the division of retirement benefits. Since 1994, Louise has specialized as an attorney in determining the community or marital interest in pension benefits earned through employment and in consulting and/or drafting appropriate orders for the division and disposition of those interests. Previously, Louise represented union multi-employer trust funds and was a legislative aid in Washington, D.C. and public relations director for a nonprofit agency. Louise is a graduate of the University of California at Davis and Whittier Law School. Louise provides substantial legal services for the Harriett Buhai Center’s clients in the area of her specialty, helping them preserve their rights to marital pensions often their only asset.

Jodi Bell Ticknor
Coldwell Banker

Jessica Uzcategui 
Sacks, Glazier, Franklin & Lodise, LLP

Jessica Uzcategui is an attorney specializing in trust and estate litigation. She is a magna cum laude graduate from Duke University with a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Jessica has served on committees for the American Bar Association and has been honored for her work aiding domestic violence victims by the LA County Bar Association. Jessica belongs to several professional groups including the Latina Lawyers Bar Association.

Scott Weston
Fox Rothschild LLP

Ex Officio

Also members of the Advisory Council                                                                                                                      

Yolande Adelson*
Blanche Bersch
Vera Brown-Curtis*
Valerie Cohen
Carolyn DeFrancesco
Mablean Ephriam, Co-founder
Deborah Ewing
Larry A. Ginsberg
Fahi Takesh Hallin
Nedra Jenkins
Joan Patsy Ostroy
Susan R. Stockel
Beverly A. Williams




Judith R. Forman, Chair
Leah M. Bishop
Judge Aviva Bobb, (Ret.)
Judy Bogen
Jeff Buhai
Bruce Clemens
Hon. Isabel R. Cohen, (Ret.)
Bruce Cooperman
Emily Shappell Edelman
Paula Kane
Tracy Farryl Katz
Robert Kaufman
Stephen A. Kolodny
Hon. Veronica Simmons McBeth
Joan Patsy Ostroy, Co-founder
Patricia Phillips
Hon. Robert Schnider, (Ret.)
Lance Spiegel
Sorrell Trope
Laura A. Wasser