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

Elizabeth Erickson
Director of Legal Services

Pablo Schlueter-Corey
Senior Staff Attorney

Cheryl Segal
Senior Staff Attorney

Carrie Holmes
Staff Attorney, Pro Bono Panel Manager

Rebecca Fischer
Staff Attorney

Holly Leonard
Staff Attorney

Lisa Smith
Staff Attorney

Nathan Goncalves
Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by Text to Give Program

Arlene Rubio Teutla
Supervising Client Assistant

Elvira Castillo
Senior Client Assistant

Noemi Hidalgo
Client Assistant

Jessica Langdon
Client Assistant

Maggie Resendez
Client Assistant

Michelle Solis
Client Assistant

Jenny Velasco
Client Assistant

Nancy Solorzano
Office Manager

Kris Breitenbach
Development Assistant

Taryn May
Volunteer Coordinator

Esther Castillo
Administrative Assistant

Kimberly A. Britts
Communications Assistant

Ricca Prasad
Project Assistant



Heidi Tuffias (President) (LACBA Liaison)
Law & Mediation Offices of Heidi Tuffias

Serine A. Tsuda (Vice President)
Salisbury, Lee & Tsuda, LLP.

Serine’s practice has been devoted exclusively to family law since she was admitted to the California State Bar in 2012. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, and received her juris doctorate degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. During law school, she was a member of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program, mediated active cases for Los Angeles Superior Court as a member of USC’s Mediation Clinic, and externed for the Honorable Mark Borenstein of Los Angeles Superior Court.

Nicole Kardassakis (Secretary)
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP

Nicole Kardassakis is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Labor & Employment Practice. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law, where she volunteers regularly. She also served as a judicial intern to Judge Judith Fabricant of the Superior Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts while she attended law school.

Jean Huang (Treasurer)
Bernstein Global Wealth Management

Jean is a Financial Advisor with Bernstein’s private client investment management team in Los Angeles. Her practice is focused on providing investment planning and management services to high net worth individuals, families, foundations and endowments. Plans are tailored for each client’s resources, tax circumstances, estate plan, and risk tolerance, with the goal being to maximize after-tax returns using an appropriate asset allocation. Prior to Bernstein, Jean ran her own business development and media consulting business. She was also the Vice President of Programming and Production at 20th Television, a division of FOX where she oversaw the development and production of first-run syndicated programming for the FOX Owned and Operated Stations Group, as well as for MyNetworkTV.

Candice K. Rogers (Immediate Past President)
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.



Stephanie Barnett
Barnett Law Group

Stephanie M. Barnett is a Certified Family Law Specialist and a founding partner of Shebby | Barnett LLP. She is a graduate of UCLA and of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.  Prior to founding Barnett Law Group, Stephanie was a partner at Jaffe and Clemens, and 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.

Amos Buhai

Amos Buhai is currently the VP of Government Relations at Endeavor. He previously served as 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, served as a high-donor fundraiser and the New York State Director for DraftObama, a grassroots organization promoting an Obama presidential candidacy, and also worked as a consultant for the Personal Democracy Forum, an organization that studies how technology is changing politics, government, and civic engagement. Amos holds a B.A. in History from The George Washington University.

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

Jonathan Forgang
Alston & Bird LLP

Louise Nixon
QDRO Benefits Law Group

Louise Nixon is President of QDRO Benefits Law Group, 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.

JB Rizzo
Frankel Reichman & Rizzo, LLP

JB has been a forensic CPA since 1998. JB has authored published articles and a book chapter on financial topics relating to California family law. He has served as the court’s neutral (§730) expert and has testified in Los Angeles and Ventura County Superior Courts, as well as in depositions for federal matters. JB is also the President of the ACFLS Charitable Foundation.

David P. Shebby (LACBA, Family Law Section Liaison)
Shebby • Hirashima LLP

David is a Certified Family Law Specialist and is a founding partner of Shebby • Hirashima 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.

M. Lynda Sheridan
Law Offices of M. Lynda Sheridan

Elizabeth Stewart (BWL Liaison)
Anglin, Flewelling, Rasmussen, Campbell & Trytten

Melissa Tyner (WLALA Liaison)
State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Scott Weston
Fox Rothschild LLP

An experienced practitioner for over 30 years, Scott Weston has handled a vast array of financial issues of high net worth individuals, including their pre-marital agreements and their claims and defenses for support, custody and complex property division, and business valuation.



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
Hon. Jessica A. Uzcategui
Beverly A. Williams



Advisory Council

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