Prior to becoming CLADC's Executive Director, Whitney was an international development professional working in the areas of program monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning. She grew up in Georgia and received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia. Later she obtained a Master of Public Policy degree from The George Washington University and has lived and worked in Washington, D.C. since 2010. Whitney is an active member of Restoration Church, and is passionate about seeing God transform the city through ministries like CLADC. She also enjoys spending time outside, hosting events, reading, and travel.
Sheily Virella, Pro Bono Manager
While born in Puerto Rico, Sheily has traveled and lived in several countries. Before joining CLADC she worked as Federal Criminal Defense Legal Assistant for a small law firm in Puerto Rico and as an accountant at Public Housing Project, and spent several years volunteering with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia. Sheily obtained her BA from the University of Puerto Rico, her Juris Doctorate from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, and an LL.M. from Temple University in Japan. She has also studied abroad in Europe and China. She is passionate about serving others and creating opportunities for access to legal services. She has volunteered with DC Central Kitchen, Atlas Performing Arts Center, among other international and legal organizations. As a Christian, she is honored to work in advancing CLADC’s mission.
Julia Williams, Program Coordinator
Julia Williams moved to the DC Metro Area with her husband in 2019. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and received a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University in 2008. In 2013, she graduated with a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law. Previously she worked for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation as the program coordinator for the Safe and Stable Families Project and as an instructional assistant in the North Carolina Public Schools. Although Julia does not currently practice law, she is passionate about helping people access legal services and is excited to be working to advance CLADC’s mission. In her free time, Julia enjoys reading, exploring DC, and traveling. She and her husband attend Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda.
Jeremy McClain, Ministry Advisor
Jeremy was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from Howard University in 2007. In 2009, while working as an engineer, he began to search for ways to serve under-resourced and at-risk communities and joined the staff of Daybreak Ministries. He left engineering to work full-time with Daybreak and after seven years with Daybreak Ministries, the Lord called Jeremy to plant Mercy of Christ Fellowship Church to serve the Lincoln Heights and Deanwood areas of Washington, D.C. Jeremy is married to his wonderful wife, Tiffany, and the Lord has blessed them with four wonderful children.
Gabrielle Husband, Housing Law Advisor
Gabrielle A. Best Husband grew up in the twin-island state of Trinidad and Tobago. She began her career as a consultant with an international IT firm and after more than a decade, Gabrielle enrolled at The American University Washington College of Law to further her desire to contribute to and serve her community. After graduation, Gabrielle worked as a judicial law clerk and then began practicing family law. This combined her desire to litigate with her passion to counsel and serve her clients through times of personal trials. More recently, Gabrielle has practiced in other areas of civil litigation, specifically real estate law, with experience negotiating resolutions and litigating landlord/tenants matters in Washington, DC and Virginia. As CLADC’s Housing Law Advisor, Gabrielle is eager to use this experience to serve Washington, DC’s low-income residents and support other attorneys and law students as they do likewise. Gabrielle is a member of The Bridge DC, a Christian church committed to loving God, loving others, and making a difference. In her spare time, Gabrielle enjoys reading, gardening, and running.
Kathlyn Scott, Probate Advisor
Kathlyn is in private practice in Washington, D.C. and represents clients in probate matters, domestic and international transactions, contract development, drafting, and negotiations, insurance matters, and various civil litigation matters. Before private practice Kathlyn worked as in house counsel for Fortune 100 corporations and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. Government agency currently known as the United States International Development Finance Corporation. As part of her commitment to the community and underserved populations, Kathlyn volunteers her time in the probate practice area, and provides reduced fee legal counsel to individuals, non-profit corporations and charitable organizations, and small businesses with advisory, commercial, transactional, regulatory or litigation needs. Kathlyn was born and raised in Michigan, and has lived in several states in the U.S. , has travelled extensively for professional matters and personal interest. Kathlyn obtained her undergraduate degree from Howard University, her Juris Doctorate from the Howard University School of Law, and studied abroad in Paris, France. Kathlyn feels that it is an honor to serve with the Christian Legal Aid of DC family and encourages members of the D.C. community who may have one or 2 hours to join us in fellowship and serving.
Matthew DeGioia, Social Security Benefits Advisor
Matthew DeGioia grew up in Queens, New York before moving to Washington, D.C. to attend The George Washington University. After graduating from college, Matthew began working at a national Social Security firm as a legal writer and case manager, managing the case development of hundreds of Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases. He then enrolled in The George Washington University Law School and is a recent J.D. graduate. Matthew has seven years of experience assisting on disability benefits claims. In addition to SSD and SSI cases, he also has experience working on FERS disability retirement claims for federal employees, ERISA short-term disability and long-term disability insurance claims, and disability retirement claims through the State of Maryland. Matthew currently works at a small firm in Silver Spring, MD that specializes in disability benefits law, family law, collections, and other areas of civil litigation. He also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate through CASA for Children of D.C., which provides support for children who have open abuse and neglect cases in DC Family Court. In addition to his legal pursuits, Matthew is enrolled at Reformed Theological Seminary, pursuing an M.A. in Religion, and serves on staff at The Well Community Church in Silver Spring, Maryland as a Pastoral Resident and Family Ministry Coordinator.
Robert Rose, Expungement Advisor
Rob is originally from northern New Jersey, where he grew up and attended Ramapo College of New Jersey. From college, he went to Regent Law School in Virginia Beach. After graduating from Regent in 2010, Rob practiced primarily general civil litigation and personal injury law in the Hampton Roads area before joining CLADC in 2015. From 2013-17, he served on the board of directors for Jim White Community Fitness Foundation, a nonprofit that provides fitness and nutrition services to homeless and other underprivileged people in Hampton Roads. He is a member of Christ Our Shepherd Church in SE DC. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing basketball, and going for long runs.
Karen Wu, Board Chair
Karen I. Wu is a partner at Perlman & Perlman, LLP, a law firm serving the philanthropic and social enterprise sector. Karen advises nonprofit organizations on corporate governance, federal tax law compliance, fundraising regulation, contract negotiations, and intellectual property matters. She also counsels for-profit businesses on corporate philanthropy and social impact initiatives. From 2009-17, Karen served on the Board of Directors of Open Hands Legal Services, a Christian legal aid ministry serving low income New Yorkers. Karen and her family attend Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Virginia.
Hannah Akintoye, Board Member
Attorney Hannah Akintoye, is the managing attorney of Hannah Akintoye Law, PLLC, a leading Washington, DC law firm focused on criminal defense, and criminal record-sealing representation. Attorney Akintoye is an experienced trial attorney having handled hundreds of trial matters with dozens litigated to a verdict. She enjoys educating her community on their legal rights and is an advocate for fair treatment of those involved in the criminal justice system.
Abraham George, Board Member
Abraham (Abey) George has spent the past 25 years Seeking to draw the Church into the work of bringing justice and freedom. Beginning his ministry as a Pastor and later Seminarian in India, and most recently serving International Justice Mission for 10 years as the Global Director for Church Partnerships, he has travelled the world building relationships, mentoring leaders, and influencing communities. He is the co-author of God of Justice (Inter Varsity Press). He holds a Mater of Theology (Historical Theology) and a Master of Divinity. He and his wife and their two children live near Annapolis, MD, where he enjoys reading, car detailing, and finding new coffee shops in his spare time.
Julie Meawad, Board Member
Julie Meawad is an attorney for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veterans' Appeals, serving our nation's veterans. She has been a volunteer with CLADC since 2014 and has served as a clinic director for two years before joining the board. Previously, she has served on the board of Coptic Orphans, a charitable organization that serves fatherless children in Egypt. She attends St. Timothy and St. Athanasious Coptic Orthodox Church in Arlington, Virginia, where she is involved in several ministries.
Jonathan Ng, Board Member
Jonathan currently works as an attorney at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Previously, he was the first in-house counsel and global legal director for Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a global NGO that supports leading social entrepreneurs around the world. He started his legal career in New York at White & Case LLP working several years in its project finance practice group. While in NYC, he attended Redeemer Presbyterian Church and volunteered with Brooklyn Jubilee and was part of the original group of legal volunteers for Open Hands Christian Legal Services. Jonathan graduated from Notre Dame Law School and the University of Kansas. He and his wife, Lauren, attend Grace Presbyterian Church of Washington DC (Grace DC Downtown).