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Clifford Nellis, Executive Director
When Cliff returned to Illinois, he enrolled at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (“Trinity”) and received a Master of Divinity. It was at Trinity that Cliff met the wonderful people at Lawndale Community Church, as well as at the Christian Community Development Association. Through these relationships, Cliff was given a broader vision for what ministry to court-involved youth could look like. In 2009, Cliff Nellis put his degrees from The University of Chicago Law School and Trinity to use when he helped found the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, with the mission of providing integrated legal and social services to court-involved youth.
Today, Cliff lives in Lawndale with his wife Venessa and their three children.
Danae Kovac, Chief Operating Officer
Danae received her B.A. from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. Danae has over twelve years of non-profit experience, and prior to joining LCLC, she worked for five years in marketing and operations at the Women’s Business Development Center.
Andrew Brooks, Outreach Worker
Anthony Brown, Diversion Program Case Manager
Darrin Brown Jr, Outreach Worker
Shanika Brown, Outreach Worker
Stephanie Ciupka, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP
Maggie Connelly, MAC House Co-Director
Cathryn Crawford, Litigation Director
Cathryn brings over two decades of experience as a trial lawyer and criminal justice reform advocate. She has partnered with numerous state public defender offices and nonprofits, helping them supervise and train their staff attorneys, develop policy positions, and represent juvenile and capital punishment-eligible defendants in trials, appeals, and post-conviction proceedings.
Cathryn comes to LCLC after a decade of experience as a clinical professor at Northwestern University’s School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic where she supervised trial teams of lawyers and students representing youth in Chicago. In addition, she serves on the faculty of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Cathryn was also a program officer at the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation for two years, helping oversee Models for Change, a multi-state juvenile justice reform initiative.
Cliff experienced firsthand the wealth of experience and expertise that Cathryn brings in 2010 when she co-counseled LCLC’s first jury trial with him. After two years of pretrial litigation, Cathryn and Cliff secured a not guilty verdict for a 15 year old facing a minimum of 31 years in adult prison. The experience solidified much of the way that LCLC practices law today.
In 2012, LCLC honored Cathryn with its inaugural Partner in Justice award, and prior to joining the staff, she served on LCLC’s Advisory Board.
Anthony Davis, Case Manager
Angela Frazier, Office Manager
Maurice Harris, Outreach Supervisor
Maurice has earned credits at Taylor Business Institute and Chicago State University, and prior to LCLC, he worked as a security officer, custodial manager, and UPS package handler. A resident of North Lawndale, Maurice can relate to many of the experiences of LCLC youth and is skilled at developing rapport and building relationships with them.
Karen Jackson, MAC House Co-Director
Marquell Jones, MAC House Case Manager
Cristina Law, Attorney
Onie Riley, RJ Hub Project Manager
Henry Lovelady, Outreach Worker
Steve Madlock, Outreach Worker
Brian Ollie, Outreach Worker
Kim Rueter, Case Management Supervisor
Kim has been attending Lawndale Community Church since 2008 and has been volunteering as a consultant at the Firehouse Community Arts Center for the past year. Kim is thrilled to have the opportunity to become more involved in the North Lawndale community through her position with LCLC.
Heather Saunders, Case Manager
Heather was born and raised on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. She received her Masters and Bachelors of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. When Heather is not working with amazing young people, she can be found practicing or teaching yoga, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, or traveling the world!
Kilo Sims, Case Manager
Steven Space, Case Manager