2018 Conference Agenda


1:00 Welcome!

Maricarmen Garza, Esq. (LASA Director, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.[TRLA], Houston)

1:15 Opening Remarks by Keynote Speaker Vivian Huelgo, Esq. (American Bar Association, Washington, D.C.)

Vivian joined the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence as chief counsel in 2010. Under her leadership, the Commission has expanded its reach and solidified its mission to increase access to justice for victims of domestic and sexual violence by mobilizing the legal profession. Over the last several years, Vivian has established a broad, inclusive vision for the Commission’s work, sponsoring critical policy, increasing its online presence, doubling funding for training and technical assistance to lawyers nationally, and establishing the Task Force on Human Trafficking, while also celebrating the 20thanniversary of the Commission.

Vivian has worked at the intersection of law and gender-based violence for twenty years. She started her legal career as a prosecutor in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.  Vivian served as Director of Legal Services at Safe Horizon, Inc., the nation’s largest crime victims’ agency.  As community law project director at Sanctuary for Families, she managed staff attorneys and pro bono lawyers representing domestic violence and human trafficking victims from marginalized populations, including immigrant and LGBT communities.  Vivian led planning for a Family Justice Center at the Office of the Mayor, City of New York.  She has lectured for the U.S. Department of State, Coalition against Trafficking, and the ABA globally on Gender-Based Violence, Human Trafficking, and Access to Justice.

In 2015, Vivian was chosen as a selected fellow of Move to End Violence, a program of the NoVo Foundation and is a member of the BIDEN Foundation Violence Against Women Advisory Council.  She is also a recipient of the Flor de Maga Award for Women in the Legal Profession from the Puerto Rican Bar Association.  Vivian is a graduate of Fordham University School of Law, where she served as an adjunct associate professor of Law and received both the Andrew A. Rivera Alumni Achievement Award and the Louis J. Lefkowitz Public Service Award.   

Vivian was born in Brooklyn, raised in New York City and now resides in the Washington, D.C. area with her twins.

We look forward to her presence at our conference and can’t wait to kick off the three days of sharing and learning with our wonderful presenters and participants. 

1:45 Human Trafficking - presented by Stacie Jonas, Esq. (TRLA, Austin) & Adriana Rodriguez, Esq. (TRLA, San Antonio) (1.25 CLE/CEU)

About the Speakers:

Stacie Jonas is the managing attorney for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s (TRLA) Human Trafficking Team, which provides comprehensive legal services to survivors of labor and sex trafficking in Texas and six southern states. In addition to assisting survivors of trafficking on applications for immigration relief, she has represented dozens of trafficking survivors in civil lawsuits and administrative agency proceedings against their traffickers. Prior to joining TRLA’s Austin, Texas office, Ms. Jonas worked at Southern Migrant Legal Services (SMLS), a project of TRLA that serves migrant farmworkers in the South.  At SMLS, she litigated wage and hour, discrimination, trafficking, and other employment claims and represented victims of criminal workplace abuses on applications for immigration relief. Ms. Jonas is a graduate of the Yale Law School and holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Adriana Rodriguez is a public interest attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA).  As of October 2015, she serves as team manager of TRLA’s Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA). The LASSA Project, funded by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, is focused on providing civil legal services to survivors of sexual assault in 114 counties in northwest Texas and 68 counties in southwest Texas.   

Adriana started with TRLA in 2011 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow in Laredo, Texas.  Her two-year project to help undocumented survivors of domestic violence was sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.  Adriana's fellowship focused on providing access to family law and immigration law services to survivors of domestic violence in the Laredo area.

After her fellowship, Adriana continued to work on the project to empower undocumented survivors of violence in the Laredo area.  The project was sustained by the generosity of an anonymous donor.  During her time at TRLA, Adriana has twice served as Director of Pro Bono and Community Outreach for the Laredo Webb County Bar Association, the United Way of Laredo and Casa de Misericordia, the local women’s shelter.

Adriana is a graduate of the University Of Texas School Of Law.  Before law school, Ms. Rodriguez was a 2006 Teach for America Corps Member.  Adriana taught 9th grade English in Houston, Texas for two years.  She attended Rice University in Houston where she studied English and Hispanic Studies.  Adriana was born and raised in Laredo, Texas.ociation, the United Way of Laredo and Casa de Misericordia, the local women’s shelter.

3:00 BREAK

3:15 She Didn’t Say No?!: Using a Decision Case Study to Promote Multidisciplinary Dialogue and Address Conflicts in the Field - presented by Maggy McGiffert (University of Texas, Austin), Torie Camp (Consultant) & Amanda Lewis (Texas Assoc. Against Sexual Assault) (2.25 CLE/CEU)

About the facilitators:

Torie Camp is an independent consultant with more than 17 years of experience in the nonprofit and policy arenas. Torie has held positions as the Deputy Director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and the Executive Director of the Alaba

ma Coalition Against Rape. She has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is a licensed Texas law enforcement instructor and a gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Crime Victims’ Institute Advisory board.

Amanda Lewis is a Social Worker with over 9-years of experience in the anti-violence field. She received her MSSW from the University of Texas. Amanda is a Statewide Community Organizer with Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

Maggy McGiffert is a Project Manager and Researcher at the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at The University of Texas at Austin. Maggy has over 20 years of experience serving survivors of family violence and sexual assault in both staff leadership roles in various nonprofits and as a consultant developing policy changes, training curricula and advocacy tools. She has worked on criminal justice reform for both victims and defendants and on survivors’ rights in the areas of housing, economic justice, parenting, and in the child support and child protective systems. She has a Master's degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado and has taught at Austin Community College.




Optional but encouraged


7:00 Yoga Time!

Yoga by the pool with Krista DelGallo


9:00 Effective Advocacy in CPS Investigations & Suits - presented by Donna Bloom, Esq., Sarah Lehman & Stephanie Aguilar (Denton County Friends of the Family) (1.0 CLE/CEU)

9:00 ***ALTERNATIVE EXPERT WITNESS TRACK*** Providing Ethical Expert Testimony in Civil and Criminal Cases - presented by Margaret Bassett, LPC-S (Director, Expert Witness Program, Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, University of Texas, Austin) (6.25)

Margaret Bassett, LPC-S, is the Deputy Director and Director of Expert Witness Program at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at The University of Texas at Austin. She provides consultation and training on the use of expert witnesses in cases involving interpersonal crimes. She has worked in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault for more than 30 years in a variety of settings, most recently in the criminal justice system working with victims of intimate partner violence felony crimes. She testifies as an expert witness in criminal and civil court cases and is an adjunct professor at The University of Texas in Austin.  She received her Master’s degree from Northern Illinois University and is a licensed professional counselor. She served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. Her professional interests include violence against women; intimate partner violence; sexual assault; trauma; safety planning and risk assessment.

10:00 Title IX - presented by Elizabeth Tang, Esq. (National Women’s Law Center, Washington, DC) (1.0 CLE/CEU)

Elizabeth Tang, an Equal Justice Works fellow with the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) will be presenting on Title IX at this years conference. For the past 40 years, NWLC has been at the forefront of landmark advances that have improved the lives of women. NWLC works to promote equality and opportunity for women and families. They champion policies and laws that help women and girls achieve their potential at every stage of their lives. Recent accomplishments of NWLC range from protecting pregnant workers to raising the minimum wage in states across the country. Sharing this passion, Elizabeth Tang focuses on combating sexual harassment and violence in K-12 schools. Previously, Elizabeth worked at the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Senate, and Apne Aap Women’s Collective, an Indian nonprofit serving sex workers and their children. Elizabeth received a JD/MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Harvard College. We look forward to welcoming Elizabeth at our conference and to learn how to identify and vigorously advocate for Title IX protections on behalf of our clients.

11:00 BREAK


11:15 Economic Justice for Victims - presented by Carla Sanchez-Adams, Esq. (TRLA, Austin) & Krista DelGallo (Texas Council on Family Violence, Austin) (1.0)


Krista DelGallo (Texas Council on Family Violence, Austin)









Carla Sanchez-Adams, Esq. (TRLA, Austin)



2:00 Behind the Scenes Advocacy With an Eye Towards the 86th Legislative Session - presented by Christopher  Kaiser, Esq. (TAASA, Austin)  (0.5 CLE/CEU)

Christopher  Kaiser, Esq. (TAASA, Austin)

2:30 A View from the Bench

Hon. Lena Levario (TRLA, Dallas)  (1.0 CLE/CEU Ethics)

3:30 Essentials of Victim-Advocate Privilege - presented by Molly Voyles &  Alexandra Cantrell  (TCFV, Austin) & Sarah Worthington, Esq. ( TRLA, Austin) (1.0 CLE/CEU)

About the Speakers:

Alexandra Cantrell is a Policy Coordinator at the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV).  In her role, she provides technical assistance and training to family violence service providers across the state relating to policy issues, programmatic advocacy and data management.  Prior to joining TCFV, Alexandra worked at a domestic violence clinic during law school preparing protective order applications for survivors of family violence and elder abuse.  She briefly practiced law in both California and New York prior to working as an advocate at the National Domestic Violence Hotline and at a domestic violence program in rural Texas.






Molly Voyles is a Public Policy Manager at the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) and has worked at the coalition for eleven years. In her position at TCFV, she provides technical assistance and training across the state on family violence program policy issues with a focus on supporting survivor-centered services models. She also works on systemic efforts to examine the intersection of homelessness and domestic violence and currently serves on the Texas Interagency Council on Homelessness. Prior to joining TCFV, Ms. Voyles worked in a variety of roles within domestic violence programs with a primary focus on assisting survivors with accessing stable housing and working with children of survivors of domestic violence. She has worked with survivors in both rural and urban settings and has an understanding of the unique challenges, and solutions, available to these different communities. She attended Indiana University where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work.


Sarah is a Staff Attorney with the Texas Foster Youth Justice Project at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. She is also the Chair of the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable and a Field Instructor for the School of Social Work at UT. Sarah brings a unique perspective to the practice of law and community collaboration as both a licensed attorney and a Masters-level social worker. Although a self-described ambivert, she loves meeting new people, cultivating effective connections, and harnessing social energy for good. Sarah has worked in various settings as a social worker and attorney (sometimes performing both functions at once), most recently at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition where she advocated for effective and safe criminal justice policy reforms and coordinated the Smart-on-Crime Coalition during the 2015 Texas Legislative Session

4:30 BREAK


4:45 Breakout Sessions:  (1.0 CLE/CEU)

Family Law Primer Julia R. Rodriguez, Esq. (TRLA, San Antonio)

Immigration Nuts & Bolts Adriana Rodriguez, Esq. (TRLA, San Antonio) & Nubia Torres, Esq. (Catholic Charities, Dallas)

Adriana Rodriguez, Esq. (TRLA, San Antonio)











Nubia Torres, Esq. (Catholic Charities, Dallas)

Crime Victim’s Compensation Terry Secrest, LCSW (TRLA, Austin)






9:00 Talking to DV Survivors About Sexual Assault - presented by Laura Choi, Esq. (TRLA, Dallas) & Amy Jones (Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center)  (1.0 CLE/CEU Ethics)

Amy Jones is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, has worked extensively with survivors of interpersonal violence and conducts trainings nationally on issues related to interpersonal violence. She has acted as a Therapist, Advocate, Director of Clinical Services and interim Executive Director with the Turning Point Rape Crisis Center of Collin County; served as the Program Manager for the Salvation Army’s Domestic Violence Program and later in the role of Senior Director of Programs and Client Services at Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support in Dallas, Texas.  In her role at Genesis, Amy was responsible to direct and develop all programming and client services.  She recently joined the staff of DARCC (Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center) as CEO. 

9:00 ***ALTERNATIVE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TRACK*** You’ve Been Served: Responding to Criminal and Civil Subpoenas - presented by Maleaha Brown, Esq. (Attorney, TRLA, Corpus Christi) & Jessica Johnson, Esq. (Attorney, TRLA, Austin)  (1.25)

Jessica Johnson, Esq. (Attorney, TRLA, Austin)

10:00 Criminal Justice Advocacy  - presented by Erin Martinson, Esq. & Dana Nelson, Esq. (Texas Legal Services Center, Austin)

Erin Martinson, Esq. & Dana Nelson, Esq. (Texas Legal Services Center, Austin)

10:15 ***ALTERNATIVE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TRACK*** Legal Issues in Fundraising D’Ann Johnson, Esq. and Andrea March, Esq. (Texas C-Bar, Austin) (1.0)
11:00-15 BREAK (check-out)



Client Success Story, PAI Awards

12:15 Closing Speaker - Compassion Fatigue and FABULOUS Resiliency - presented by Barbara Rubel,  BS, MA (1.0 CLE/CEU Ethics)

Barbara Rubel brings insight and experience that couldn’t be more relevant to this year’s conference for advocates of survivors of sexual assault. She’s a nationally recognized leader and educator in her field – stress management that uses self-awareness of skills and strengths to improve the ability to handle job burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. She’s written for the Huffington Post, appeared on the “Today Show” and in “Fatal Mistakes,” an Emmy Award-winning documentary about the conviction of an inmate on death row for murdering his wife. She is also the co-author of the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime Training Curriculum, Compassion Fatigue which will be the focus of her presentation at our conference. She’s a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress, an American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress diplomate, and she holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in community health. We’ve welcomed Barbara to our conference before and we’re thrilled to have her with us at the 18th Annual Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse Cross-Training as our closing speaker. For more information on her diverse accomplishments check out her website www.griefworkcenter.com.


Thank you for helping us commemorate 18 years of enhanced advocacy for victims!