Our Dedicated, Caring Staff
Peter M. Ashmore
Director, Operations and Training
Peter M. Ashmore
- University of Missouri (B.A., Political Science, 1991)
- DePaul University College of Law (J.D., 1994)
Hired as a CVLS staff attorney upon graduation from law school, Peter had already interned, externed, and volunteered with us. His Director of Operations and Training designation reflects in-house duties which include directing CVLS’ IT and database needs, organizing staff and management meetings and administration of CVLS’ MCLE program. Peter still advises volunteers on an eclectic variety of cases, including tort defense, eviction, foreclosure, contracts, real estate, bankruptcy, probate, tax and public benefits. In addition, as director of CVLS’ Guardian Ad Litem for Adults Program, Peter trains, recruits and supervises volunteers who serve as GALs for disabled adults. Peter formally served as President of the Illinois Center for Law & Technology, now known as Illinois Legal Aid Online and on the Illinois State Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee. He currently sits on the Chicago Bar Association’s Probate, Elder Law, Mental Health and Consumer Law committees.
- Western Michigan University, Honors College (B.S., History, 1976)
- Loyola University College of Law (J.D., 1979)
Meg joined CVLS in 1982 to set up the Panel Referral Program, became Deputy Director in 1983 and was elevated to Executive Director in 2003 when her predecessor retired. Responsible for program management, and the coordination of bench, bar and law firm relations, Meg also writes extensively, including CVLS training materials and a bi-monthly column on pro bono for the Chicago Lawyer. While handling a caseload of contested or difficult family and guardian ad litem cases, she trains and supervises GAL volunteers. Meg is a program designer and speaker at ABA/NLADA Equal Justice and Illinois Legal Advocates Conferences. She also regularly speaks on child custody, client and pro bono issues for the ISBA, CBA, and IICLE. Meg was honored with the 2007 Illinois State Bar Association’s Board of Governors Award. In 2001 she received the notable Chicago Bar Foundation’s Thomas H. Morsch Public Service Award. Prior honors include the “Esther Rothstein Award” by the Lawyer’s Trust Fund of Illinois in 1999 and Loyola University School of Law's Public Service Award in 1994. Meg is an active member of ISBA's Legislation Committee, where she has helped to draft and lobby for guardianship and family law legislation. She chairs the ISBA’s LawPac Board. Former chair, she continues to serve on the CBA’s Pro Bono Week Committee. Past activities include chair of the Illinois State Bar Association's Delivery of Legal Services Committee, charter member of the Illinois Pro Bono Center's Board of Directors, speaker at the Midwest Region SPAN Conference on the Future of Legal Services, Board of Directors of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, two-term ISBA Assembly member, speaker for the American Institute for Prepaid Legal Services. Meg's husband, Art Simon, is an active CVLS volunteer.
Staff Attorney, Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN)
- The University of Michigan (B.A. Political Science; Communication Studies, 2011)
- Indiana University Maurer School of Law (J.D., 2015)
Marty first came to CVLS as a PILI Intern with the Access to Justice Program during the summer of 2014. Prior to law school, Marty served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Habitat for Humanity, where he saw firsthand how transformative homeownership can be to a family. At the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Marty was Senior Managing Editor of the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality, a Kenneth and Louise Yahne Fellow, a student intern at the IU Nonprofit Legal Clinic, and an advisor to first year students. Marty graduated in May 2015 with honors and was recognized by the Maurer faculty for his dedication to public service with the Terry and Judy Albright Public Interest Award. Marty began working as a Staff Attorney in the Cook County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program immediately after taking the bar exam. He is currently the primary Staff Attorney managing CVLS’ portion of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network, a statewide program designed to provide free legal advice and representation to low-income veterans, active duty military, and their dependents.
Marty is also heavily involved in the greater legal aid community. He is a member of the Countywide Tenants’ Advocates, the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, and the Legal Aid Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He also serves on the organizing committee for the Chicago chapter of IU Maurer’s Young Alumni Association, the Young Professionals Board of Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity, PILI’s Alumni Network Leadership Council, and the Executive Committee of First 10 Public Interest Network. Most recently, he was elected to serve a two-year term as the community representative for the Local School Council at Frederick Funston Elementary School. In his free time, Marty enjoys exploring Chicago on his 1978 Peugeot AO-8, attempting to brew tolerable beer, and travelling.
Eric S. Donahue
Eric S. Donahue
- Purdue University (B.A., School of Liberal Arts, 1996)
Eric joined CVLS in 2002 after working for law firms in Indiana. He is responsible for the management oversight of accounting, financial reporting and the financial internal control operations of the organization. This includes all day-to-day activities and coordinating any outsourced functions. Along with his accounting responsibilities, Eric manages various aspects of CVLS human resources including the 403(b) retirement plan. He also serves as staff liaison to the CVLS finance committee and CVLS junior board.
Jessica R. Engle
Jessica R. Engle
Child Representative Coordinator; Paralegal for Child Rep and GAL for Minors Programs
- Princeton University (B.A., History, 2019)
Katherine joined CVLS in August 2019 as the new Child Rep and GAL for Minors Program Coordinator through the Princeton University Project 55 Fellowship Program. She acts as the administrative support and paralegal for both programs and works closely with the volunteer attorneys. She performs client intakes, helps place cases with volunteers, and assists attorneys throughout the case process.
Intake and Receptionist
Jennifer screens clients for financial and case eligibility, books appointments for clinic and panel interviews and handles the walk-in clients sent directly from the courts. She also excels as the CVLS receptionist.
Panel Referral Program Coordinator
- Illinois State University (B.S., Criminal Justice Sciences 2001)
Kristen, CVLS' former intake worker and receptionist, does her best to get cases to our hundreds of panel attorney volunteers. Reaching out by phone and email, Kristen encourages volunteers to find the perfect case on CVLS' list of pro bono opportunities or offers them one selected just for them. In addition, Kristen supports panel volunteers and their clients, to provide them with the perfect pro bono experience.
Paralegal, IL-AFLAN Program
- Northwestern College (B.A., Theatre, 2008)
- Roosevelt University (M.A., Women’s and Gender Studies, 2010)
Sarah started at CVLS in February of 2014 as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Foreclosure Mediation Program. As cases become available, she contacts volunteer attorneys to ensure that the cases get placed in a timely manner, while providing any needed support for the volunteers, as well as the clients. She works closely with The John Marshall Law School’s Pro Bono Program to ensure 711 students are provided with mediation cases and have all the information and documents that are necessary. She acts as a liaison for volunteers by providing information about the program, CVLS, and upcoming Foreclosure Mediation Training. She provides administrative support for the program including gathering monthly Mediation statistics and creating reports.
Supervisor, Chancery Court Access to Justice Program and Foreclosure Mediation
- Northwestern College (B.A., Writing and Rhetoric; Theater and Speech, 2009)
- University of Iowa (J.D., 2012)
Matt first joined CVLS as a college intern in 2008. He then worked for CVLS as a PILI intern during the summer of 2011 and stayed on as a volunteer while he finished his third year of law school at DePaul. Graduating from law school in 2012 with highest service honors, Matt was recognized for volunteering the most pro bono hours in his graduating class. By the time he joined CVLS as a staff attorney in September, 2012, he already had a substantial CVLS caseload. Matt was honored in 2013 with the Chicago Bar Foundation's Chicago Sun-Times fellowship in recognition of his commitment to the public interest. When he isn't handling foreclosure, insurance, and administrative review cases, he loves to groove to classical music.
Kathy assists program staff and volunteer attorneys filing motions, scheduling appointments, scanning documents, contacting clients and performing any variety of administrative tasks. In addition, she creates and updates protocols and procedures for this ever-changing and growing program.
Deborah Filipovich Martin
Staff Attorney, Guardian ad Litem for Minors
- University of Southern California (B.S., Business Administration with a concentration in Management and Organization, 2012)
- Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 2015)
Debi first joined CVLS in 2014 as a summer intern with the GAL for Minors Program. After her internship ended, she continued her caseload throughout her third year of law school. During her time in law school, she was on the Northwestern Journal of Technology & Intellectual Propoerty as a Notes Editor. Also, she was awarded the 2014 Harold Washington Leadership Award. Graduating from law school in 2015 with service honors, Deborah was awarded with the Jay A. Pritzker Fellowship which allows her to continue her work with the GAL for Minors Program. By the time she joined CVLS as a fellow in September 2015, she already had a substantial CVLS caseload. When she isn't handling GAL cases, she loves coaching Northwestern University Mock Trial teams.
Phillip J. Mohr
Phillip J. Mohr
- University of Illinois, Champaign (B.A., Economics, 1987)
- De Paul University College of Law (J.D., 1991)
Formerly a CVLS volunteer, Phillip joined the staff in 1991, became the Family Law Director in 1996, and was named the Deputy Director in 2006. In addition to being Deputy Director, Phil continues to direct our Family Law Program. His own large caseload and the work of his American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers panel does much to meet our greatest need: representation of clients on contested family law matters. In addition to trial work, he has gained experience with appellate work as well, arguing, along with a CVLS volunteer, before the Illinois Supreme Court. As an experienced family law practitioner, Phil spends many hours tutoring young volunteers, both individually and through seminars, gradually guiding them from simple to complex cases. His talent with training has given him the responsibility of overseeing the summer student program. Phil is a regular speaker on family law and pro bono issues, recently speaking at NLADA Equal Justice Conference, statewide Legal Advocates Conferences, the ISBA mid-year meeting, and on the ISBA’s cable production. He is the former chair of the Chicago Bar Association's Legal Aid Committee. Phil was the chair of the subsection of the legal service’s consortium which has both created pro-se family law forms and materials and assisted with the creation of the Domestic Relations Division’s Self-Help Center. He also is the Legal Content Editor of the Family Law practice area of the Illinois Technology Center’s website and co-chair of the Clerk of the Circuit Court Pro Se Litigants Advisory Committee. Phil is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and a former ISBA Assembly and ISBA Family Law Section Council member. In 2004, Phil was selected by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company as one of the "40 Attorneys Under 40 in Illinois to Watch".
- DePaul University (B.A. in International Studies and Spanish, 2010)
- The John Marshall Law School (J.D., 2014)
Lisa first joined CVLS as a PILI Intern in the summer of 2013. After graduating law school, Lisa continued to volunteer for CVLS handling GAL cases. Since law school, Lisa has worked as an associate attorney with McNees & Associates, LLC where she gained experience in residential real estate law, probate law, guardianships, and estate administration. During law school, in addition to interning with CVLS, Lisa served as a staff editor of The John Marshall Law Review and interned for Judge Virginia M. Kendall of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Lisa is a member of the Illinois Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, and DuPage County Bar Association. She is active in the community outside of CVLS, serving as a board member of DuPage Legal Aid.
Director, Communications and Technology
- Arizona State University (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2005)
Before joining CVLS in July 2007, Matthew worked as a mechanical engineer for 6 years in Chicago and Phoenix. While toiling in the world of big business he developed a desire to give back to the community and found his way to CVLS. His creative instincts mixed with a solid background using computer systems for both design and management made him a perfect fit to be our Director of Communications and Technology.
His primary responsibilities include: event planning and execution for fundraising and social events including Race Judicata®, Vino & Van Gogh, and Law & Disorder; plan and support CVLS’ MCLE presentations; actively engage with Chicago’s legal marketing community to improve and develop relationships with existing and prospective donors and sponsors; development and management of all CVLS marketing materials including printed, electronic, social media and web; work closely with the executive director to target new sources of funding; serve as liaison to CVLS’ Junior Board of Directors; compose press releases and CVLS’ monthly newsletter; and act as CVLS’ official webmaster developing web content, design and features of cvls.org.
Rebekah Azar Rashidfarokhi
Director, Guardian ad Litem for Minors Program
Rebekah Azar Rashidfarokhi
- The University of Georgia (B.A., Spanish, 2003) (B.B.A., Marketing, 2003)
- The University of Georgia School of Law (J.D., 2007)
Since joining CVLS in 2007, Rebekah has handled cases in the areas of family law, guardianship, immigration, foreclosure litigation and foreclosure mediation. She has served as Director of the Guardian ad Litem for Minors Program since 2011, and is responsible for recruiting, training, and supervising more than 200 volunteer GALs every year. She also serves as a liaison between the Probate Court and DCFS. During law school, Rebekah worked at an immigration clinic at the US-Mexico border and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Colombia. She is fluent in Spanish and is an active immigrant rights advocate. Rebekah is a former member of the Junior Leadership Council of the National Immigrant Justice Center and former Director of the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association. She is currently Chair of the Legal Aid Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and a member of the Child Law Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association.
Staff Attorney, Child Rep
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.S., Psychology, 2011)
- University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D., 2015)
Rob first worked for CVLS in the Access to Justice Program in 2014 while finishing his third year of law school at the University of Chicago. During his time at Penn, Rob was a member of multiple pro bono organizations, including the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Housing Rights Project, and the Animal Law Project. As a law student, he represented adolescent clients in Philadelphia Family Court as part of Penn’s Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic. Rob was awarded a Penn Law Fellowship in September 2015 to return to CVLS as a staff attorney in the Child Rep program. Outside of work, Rob spends most of his time planning road trips and playing with his adorable dog, Vince.