Amanda Beltz
Director, Matrimonial & Family Law

Amanda previously served as a Supervising Attorney in the Matrimonial & Family Law Unit and the Domestic Violence Appellate Representation. She has represented clients in matrimonial, custody, visitation, family offense cases and immigration matters including U visas, Battered Spouse Waivers, and Violence Against Women Act Self-Petitions (VAWA). Amanda joined NYLAG as a Skadden Fellow advising victims of domestic violence from Africa and the Middle East. As a law student, she participated in the Domestic Violence Clinical Center, helping to draft a brief to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concerning US efforts to address violence against women through VAWA. She graduated cum laude from St. John’s University School of Law and received her B.A. from Fordham University. Earlier Amanda was a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.

Shani Adess
Senior Supervising Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law & Project Director, Project RISE

Shani is a senior supervising attorney with NYLAG’s Matrimonial & Family Law Unit and Project Director of FLU’s Project RISE, representing survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and unaccompanied minors in family law and immigration matters. Shani previously worked with Safe Horizon Immigration Law Project, representing survivors of trauma, abuse, and violence in immigration proceedings, and has previously worked with refugees in the Southern Africa region. Shani has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations from Emory University and a JD from Georgetown University Law School in 2009.

Noora Barakat
Staff Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law and Immigrant Protection

Noora represents immigrant survivors of domestic violence in family and immigration law matters. Prior to joining NYLAG, Noora was a family law attorney at the Urban Justice Center’s Domestic Violence Project. Noora has held a variety of domestic and international public interest positions throughout her career, including in Jordan where she advocated on behalf of refugees. Noora received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her B.A. magna cum laude from Tufts University. Noora is fluent in Arabic.

Hayat Bearat
Staff Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law

Hayat is a staff attorney in the Matrimonial and Family Law Unit at NYLAG. Hayat represents survivors of domestic violence in Family and Supreme Court in cases involving divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, visitation and family offenses. Hayat works closely with clients from Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) immigrant communities to help clients understand and navigate the legal system while remaining sensitive to cultural differences and issues. Prior to joining NYLAG, Hayat was a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society where she represented tenants in their housing court proceedings in the Bronx. Hayat received her J.D. from New England Law | Boston in 2014 where she was on the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court and did research at the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights on violence against women and girls in the MENA region and focusing specifically on early and forced marriages.

Heather Betz
Senior Supervising Attorney & Project Director, LGBTQ Law

Heather Betz is Supervising Attorney and Project Director for NYLAG’s LGBTQ Law Project. Prior to joining NYLAG she served as Project Director of the DREAMER Pro Bono Project at Cornell Law School, where she oversaw the work of a team of volunteer attorneys and law students representing undocumented young people applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which provides temporary relief to immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as young children. Earlier, she was Senior Staff Attorney at the HIV Law Project and Director/Echoing Green Fellow at the Lesbian and Gay Refugee Advocacy Project. Heather received her law degree from the City University of New York School of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina.

Ione Curva
Staff Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law

Ione represents survivors of domestic violence in family offense, immigration, matrimonial, custody, visitation, and support proceedings.  Prior to joining NYLAG, Ione was a Staff Attorney at the Urban Justice Center – Domestic Violence Project, where she represented domestic violence survivors in family and immigration cases.  Earlier, she worked as a Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, defending judges, prosecutors and other States entities in civil rights, employment discrimination, and tort actions.  Ione graduated from Dartmouth College in 2007, with a double major in Psychology and Spanish modified with Women’s and Gender Studies.  She graduated cum laude from Rutgers School of Law – Newark in 2012.  Ione is admitted to practice in both New York and New Jersey.

Alexandra DeFrancesco
Paralegal, Matrimonial & Family Law

Alexandra conducts in person and telephone intakes, aids in case research, prepares and drafts litigation documents, interviews clients, and assists with individual uncontested divorce cases. Prior to joining NYLAG, Alexandra worked as a development intern at Project Sunshine, a nonprofit organization providing free recreational and educational programming to hospitalized children and caregivers. Alexandra graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in International Relations.

Victoria Goodlof
Staff Attorney, Matrimonial and Family Law

Victoria is a Staff Attorney in NYLAG’s Matrimonial and Family Law Unit where she represents domestic violence victims in family offense, immigration, matrimonial, custody, visitation, and support proceedings.  Prior to joining NYLAG, Victoria was a staff attorney at Northeast New Jersey Legal Services.  She worked on the Domestic Violence Representation Project where she represented domestic violence victims in restraining order, custody, visitation, and support proceedings, as well as conducted extensive outreach to hospitals, police, and community organizations to train them about civil protections for victims of domestic violence.  Victoria graduated from New York Law School in 2012 where she was an associate of the Diane Abbey Law Center for Children and Families.  Victoria is admitted to practice law in both New Jersey and New York.

Mark M. Hager
Supervising Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law

Mark is a Supervising Attorney in the Matrimonial & Family Law Unit. He has represented clients in matrimonial, custody, visitation, support, family offense cases and immigration matters including U-Visas, Battered Spouse Waivers, and VAWA Self-Petitions. Previously, Mark was Senior Staff Attorney and LGBTQ Initiative Coordinator at the Urban Justice Center’s Domestic Violence Project. Prior to working with the Urban Justice Center, Mark was an associate attorney at Freiberg, Peck, & Kang, LLP litigating insurance and bodily injury claims. Mark received his J.D. from University of Detroit Mercy, School of Law in 2008 where he received a public interest fellowship and worked for the Wayne County District Attorney. Mark graduated from SUNY University at Albany in 2005, cum laude with a B.A. in English and a minor in Classics.

Whitney Hood
Staff Attorney, Immigrant Protection and Matrimonial & Family Law

Whitney represents immigrant survivors of domestic violence in family law and immigration matters. Prior to joining NYLAG, Whitney was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Sanctuary for Families. In her career, Whitney has worked at several legal services and human rights organizations focused on women’s rights and gender-based violence and advocated for improved responses to sexual violence on college campuses, for access to reproductive health in Latin America, and investigated sexual violence against indigenous women in Papua New Guinea. Whitney graduated a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar from Columbia Law School.

Micah Horwitz
Staff Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law

Micah represents survivors of domestic violence in family offense, immigration, matrimonial, custody, visitation, and support proceedings. Prior to joining NYLAG, Micah was a tax associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell and a pro bono attorney at the Urban Justice Center’s Domestic Violence Project. Micah graduated from Barnard College, the Moscow Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), and Columbia Law School. At Columbia Law School, she served as a Managing Editor of the Columbia Law Review, volunteered in the Brooklyn Human Trafficking Intervention Court, and was named a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. Micah is admitted to practice in New York State. She is fluent in Russian.

Lana Kleiman
Staff Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law

Lana is a staff attorney in NYLAG’s Matrimonial & Family Law Unit and Coordinator of Project Eden, which works with the Orthodox Jewish community to raise awareness of domestic violence. She represents victims of domestic violence in family offense, matrimonial, custody, visitation, support, and immigration cases. Prior to joining the Family Law Unit, she was NYLAG’s Pro Bono Manager and supervised pro bono attorneys on immigration cases. Prior to joining NYLAG, Lana was a litigation associate at DLA Piper, LLP. She was also a deferred associate at NYLAG in the Immigration Protection Unit where she represented clients in immigration cases including deportation, asylum and status for survivors of domestic violence. Lana graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 2009.

Edith E Lerner
Paralegal, Matrimonial & Family Law

Edith Lerner is a paralegal in the Matrimonial and Family Law Unit, where she conducts intakes with clients seeking legal assistance in a variety of matters including but not limited to divorce, custody, child support, family offense, and immigration issues. In addition to conducting intake, Edith provides support for attorneys, assists in grant management and reporting, and drafts immigration applications for victims of domestic violence. Prior to joining NYLAG, Edith interned at Brooklyn Defender Services as an investigative intern. Edith graduated from Barnard College in May 2016, with a degree in Spanish and Latin American Cultures and a minor in psychology. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Puja Paul
Paralegal, Matrimonial & Family Law

Lilliana Shvartsmann
AVODAH Fellow, Matrimonial & Family Law

Sarah Temmer
Avodah Fellow, Matrimonial & Family Law

Tuozhi Lorna Zhen
Coordinating Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law

Lorna is a coordinating attorney in the Matrimonial and Family Law Unit at NYLAG. Lorna represents survivors of domestic violence in Family and Supreme Court in cases involving divorce, child custody, child and spousal support, visitation and family offenses, as well as collateral issues such as immigration and victim’s compensation. Lorna works closely with clients from Asian immigrant communities and supporting organizations to help clients understand and navigate the legal system while remaining sensitive to cultural differences and issues. Prior to joining NYLAG, Lorna was an agency attorney with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), representing ACS in child abuse and neglect cases in Bronx Family Court. Lorna received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 2010 where she received the Family Law Award and worked as a student attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, representing survivors of domestic violence in divorce proceedings. Lorna graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 2007, where she double majored in History and Economics, with a minor in Art History.