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

Debby Lin
Staff Attorney

Bobby Baseman
Staff Attorney

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
Gifts and Grants Manager

Taryn May
Volunteer Coordinator

Esther Castillo
Administrative Assistant

Kimberly A. Britts
Donor Relations and Communications Manager

Officers

Heidi S. Tuffias (President) (Los Angeles County Bar Association liaison)
Law & Mediation Offices of Heidi S. Tuffias, Inc.
Member since 2015

Heidi has been a Certified Family Law Specialist since 1995 and has her own dispute resolution practice, where she focuses on mediation, consulting to mediations, collaborative matters and prenuptial agreements. She is also an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and is pursuing her MFT license. Heidi speaks, teaches and writes frequently about family law, mediation, and using psychological theory and practice to contribute to the mediation process. She was honored by the Los Angeles Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for her outstanding volunteer contributions in 2008 and 2011. Heidi received a B.A. from University of California, Davis, a J.D. from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University.

Serine A. Tsuda (Vice President)
Salisbury, Lee & Tsuda, LLP
Member since 2018

Serine is a partner at the firm of Salisbury, Lee & Tsuda, LLP, which specializes in family law. Her practice has been devoted exclusively to family law since being admitted to the California bar. Her relationship with the Center began as a law student intern, and she is a member of the Center’s Alumni All-Stars as well as participating pro bono attorney. Serine received a B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Nicole Kardassakis (Secretary)
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP
Member since 2019

Nicole is an associate in the firm of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, where she is a member of the Labor & Employment Practice. She served as a judicial intern to Judge Judith Fabricant of the Superior Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, while she attended law school. In addition to her Board service, Nicole volunteers at the Center to aid clients. Nicole received a B.A. cum laude with distinction in all subjects from Cornell University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Jean Huang (Treasurer)
Bernstein Global Wealth Management
Member since 2017

Jean is a Financial Advisor in the Los Angeles office of Bernstein Global Wealth Management. She provides investment planning and management for high-net-worth individuals, families, foundations and endowments, and small to medium-sized businesses. Prior to joining the firm in 2011, Jean ran her own business development and media consulting business. Previously, she was a VP of Programming and Development for 20th Century Fox Television and a VP for Distraction Formats, a distribution and production company. Earlier, Jean was a VP of international sales and distribution at Lions Gate Entertainment. She is co-chair of Women in LAVA, the Los Angeles Venture Association. Jean received a B.A. cum laude from Harvard University.

Candice K. Rogers (Immediate Past President)
Hahn & Hahn LLP
Member since 2012

Candice is a Certified Family Law Specialist and a partner at the firm of Hahn & Hahn. A member of the firm’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 has been a mentor for Center volunteer attorneys for nearly a decade. Candice earned a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law.

 

Members

Amos Buhai
DeepElm
Member since 2014

Amos Buhai is Managing Partner at DeepElm, a political and government relations consulting firm. Prior to launching DeepElm, Amos was the VP of Government Relations at Endeavor, a global sports, entertainment and fashion company. He previously worked as Deputy National Political Director and Southwest Regional Director of J Street. Continuing in the activist tradition of his relative Harriett Buhai, Amos has substantial experience in managing political campaigns, fundraising, and legislative work.  Amos received a B.A. from The George Washington University.

Jean Cooper
Attorney
Member Since 2020

Jean is a corporate attorney with extensive experience representing both private and public companies in complex business transactions and securities matters. She has worked closely with boards of directors and advised on corporate governance requirements. She also holds a certificate in Personal Financial Planning from UCLA. Jean volunteers as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), representing foster children in Los Angeles County. Jean received a B.A. magna cum laude from Cornell University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

David Ettinger
Horvitz & Levy LLP
Member since 1997

David has been an appellate lawyer with Horvitz & Levy since 1982, where he is now of counsel. A recognized scholar in appellate justice, David served two terms on the Appellate Advisory Committee for the Judicial Council of California, to which he was appointed by Chief Justice Ronald George. 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. He also aided the Center in filing amicus curiae briefs in litigation concerning the process for indigent persons to bring their cases without paying court fees and costs. He has received the LA County Bar Association’s Pamela E. Dunn Appellate Justice Award and the Center’s Community Service Award. David is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and received a J.D. cum laude from Loyola Law School.

Elisa Fernandez (Latina Lawyers Bar Association liaison)
U.S. Department of Justice
Member since 2014

Elisa is an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Department of Justice, working in the Public Corruption & Civil Rights Section. Elisa received a J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law.

Jonathan Forgang
Alston & Bird LLP
Member since 2019

Jonathan is a Senior Associate with Alston & Bird LLP, an international law firm providing a full range of services. Prior to starting his legal practice, Jonathan was a co-founder and editor of Refinery29 Inc., a leading female-focused digital media company. Jonathon is a graduate of George Washington University and Fordham Law School, where he was an editor of the Fordham Law Review.

Louise Nixon
QDROCounsel
Member since 2008

Louise is a founder and CEO of QDROCounsel, a legal technology company for pension division. She is also founder and president of the law firm QDRO Benefits Law Group. Since 1994, Louise has specialized as an attorney in the division of retirement benefits and QDROs. A nationally recognized QDRO expert, she is a frequent national speaker on pension division and recurring family law court-appointed expert. Previously, she represented union multi-employer trust funds, was a legislative aide in Washington, D.C., and served as public relations director for a nonprofit agency. Through both her companies, Louise provides substantial legal services for the Center’s clients, helping them preserve their rights to marital pensions – often their only asset. She has been awarded the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year and Hall of Fame Award by the Center. Louise is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, and Whittier Law School.

JB Rizzo
Frankel Reichman & Rizzo, LLP
Member since 2019

JB is a partner with Frankel Reichman & Rizzo LLP, a boutique forensic accounting firm. A forensic CPA since 1998, JB focuses on family law analyses, business valuations, and accounting or economic damage issues in litigation support matters. He is also a financial mediator assisting marital dissolution clients and their attorneys. 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 expert (California §730) and has testified in Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura County Superior Courts, as well as in depositions for federal matters. He is President of the ACFLS Charitable Foundation, Inc., which raises funds to grant to organizations connected with the California family law system. JB is a graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

David P. Shebby
Shebby • Hirashima LLP
Member since 2012

David is a Certified Family Law Specialist and a founding partner of Shebby • Hirashima LLP, a boutique firm dedicated to family law litigation. David has more than two decades of trial experience in both state and federal courts and has litigated scores of jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations to verdict. He has published articles and lectured for the State Bar of California, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, the American Inns of Court, and other organizations. David is a member of Los Angeles Catholic Lawyers Association and a volunteer for Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles. David served as Board President from 2014 to 2016. In 2017, he was honored with the Center’s Hall of Fame award and he continues to volunteer his time as a pro bono attorney. David received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.

M. Lynda Sheridan (Los Angeles County Bar Association Family Law Section liaison)
Law Offices of M. Lynda Sheridan
Member since 2020

Lynda is a Certified Family Law Specialist with more than 20 years of experience in family law litigation, as well as related real estate and business matters. Her practice includes dissolution of marriage, high asset and routine asset division, complicated issues of reimbursements, tracing, business evaluations, real estate issues of value and equity, child custody and visitation litigation, and child and spousal support. Linda received a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law.

Elizabeth Stewart (Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles liaison)
AFRCT, LLP
Member since 2018

Elizabeth is of counsel in the firm of AFRCT, LLP. In the firm’s transactional department, she focuses on corporate acquisitions and dispositions, financing, real estate, corporate governance and business contracts. Elizabeth has extensive experience in a wide array of commercial transactions, counseling public and private businesses, government entities, non-profit organizations and individuals in all of their business needs. Prior to joining AFRCT, she practiced at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP and Shaw Pittman. Elizabeth received a B.A. from Columbia College and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School.

Cindy Wallace (Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles liaison)
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
Member since 2020

Scott Weston
Fox Rothschild LLP
Member since 2016

Scott is a partner at the firm of Fox Rothschild, where he is co-chair of the Family Law Practice Group and a Certified Family Law Specialist. He has more than 32 years of experience representing celebrities and high-net-worth clients in family law matters, including the enforcement of premarital agreements, child support and spousal support, custody, complex property division and business valuation. A prolific author and speaker on divorce and related subjects, he frequently appears on television and radio and in national publications. Before joining Fox Rothschild, Scott was a founding partner of Nachshin & Langlois (previously Nachshin & Weston). Scott received a B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from Loyola Law School.

 

 

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

 

*Deceased

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