Board of Directors

Mitch

Mitch – President

Mitch is the clinical faculty leader of the Neighborhood Law Project at the UW-Law School. After graduating from law school a semester early in December 2003, Mitch immediately founded Community Justice Inc. His practice has focused primarily on housing and employment law, as well as Guardian ad litem work. As a clinical faculty member his pedagogical focus centers on creating a challenging but balanced experiential learning environment for students. Mitch is the 2009-2010 Chair of the State Bar’s Public Interest Law Section Board and past Chair of its CLE committee.

Lissa Koop

Lissa Koop

Lissa is an attorney in the Madison office of Perkins Coie LLP, where she focuses her practice on patent litigation and political law counseling. Lissa also devotes substantial time to pro bono matters, particularly in the areas of campaign finance reform and election law. Lissa has been a member of the Community Justice Inc. Board of Directors since June 2007 and has served as Secretary of the Board since February 2008 and has held various positions on the Board, including Secretary and member of the Personnel and Fundraising Committees.

David Sparer

David Sparer – Treasurer

David R. Sparer has been an attorney in private practice in Dane County since 1979. He is currently a partner with the law firm Herrick & Kasdorf, LLP.

He has focused his practice upon representation of tenants in all types of housing matters. This has ranged from eviction defense, to security deposit claims, to claims seeking damages from the landlord for retaliatory eviction, to personal injury claims by tenants. His representation has also included asserting fair housing claims, for those suffering housing discrimination. He has been a cooperating attorney with the local Fair Housing Councils since 1985. Since that time he has been one of the more active attorneys in the representation of complainants in housing discrimination cases in south central Wisconsin. He received an award for his work from the MEOC in 1993. He was recognized by the Dane County Fair Housing Council as the Cooperating Attorney of the Year in 1991.

He has argued tenant cases before various circuit courts throughout southern Wisconsin and the Courts of Appeals and the State Supreme Court, including the somewhat recent tenant victories in Baierl vs. McTaggart, and Dawson vs. Goldammer.

He serves on numerous Boards and committees related to housing issues, and has been a presenter and trainer in programs regarding Fair Housing claims and Landlord Tenant claims. These trainings have included such programs as Legal Education seminars for new cooperating attorneys with the local Fair Housing Council, and training of staff at Access to Independence and related agencies regarding the rights of the disabled under the various fair housing acts. He has also been a trainer for many years for the Volunteer Lawyers Project for attorneys taking housing cases through our local Legal Services office, Legal Action of Wisconsin. He has given presentations as part of several seminars at the annual convention of the State Bar of Wisconsin as well.

Over the last ten years he has expanded this area of practice to include representation of both commercial landlords and tenants in all types of matters related to commercial landlord tenant relations, including lease negotiation and litigation.

His areas of practice also include a significant focus upon work for cooperatives of all types, from housing coops to grocery coops to farmer coops; helping non-profit organizations, including obtaining tax exempt status. He has worked with housing cooperatives all over the country helping them obtain tax exempt status. He has for several years presented workshops at NASCO’s annual convention for cooperatives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called the NASCO Institute.

In addition to these areas of practice he regularly represent buyers and sellers in residential real estate transactions. In relation to this subject area he has frquently represented property owners in litigation matters related to real estate transactions. (updated June 2008)

Erika Monroe-Kane

Erika Monroe-Kane helps non-profit organizations be stronger and more relevant to their community. Using her expertise in branding, communications, public relations, development and community engagement, Erika enjoys working with non-profits to improve life for local residents.

Prior to establishing Firecracker Consulting, LLC, Erika worked for United Way of Dane County, the National Center for Media Engagement and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Erika is a city girl who moved to Madison ten years ago from Chicago and proudly reps her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.

Erika is proud to serve on the Community Justice Inc Board and to help increase access to quality legal representation for low-income individuals and families seeking fairness and justice.

Dara Biederman

Dara Biederman is the Compliance Officer at the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), which manages the assets of the Wisconsin Retirement System, the State Investment Fund, and other trust funds. She holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Prior to joining SWIB, Dara was a personal financial planner for six years at a small private firm in Madison.  Prior to that position, she practiced law at a small public interest law firm in Madison where she spent most of her time representing prisoners.  Dara previously served on CJI’s Board of Directors from 2006 to 2009 and is thrilled to once again offer her time and energy to the organization

Amber Swenor

Amber Swenor is originally from the small north-central Wisconsin town of Bowler where she grew up with all things rural and is a 2007 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Political Science Degree. Her background includes serving as the 2003 WI Fairest of the Fairs, as a WI State FFA Officer, volunteering in Turkmenistan and living for a year in Kenya, opportunities that afforded her early experience in communications and exposure to both local and a global community.  Professionally she’s worked as an Independent Travel Consultant, Marketing/Promotional Coordinator for Team Enterprises, Legacy Marketing Partners and Trilogy Marketing coordinating numerous campaigns to educate and connect consumers with products and for the past year and a half as a Digital Sales Specialist and Account Executive at WKOW Channel 27.  She enjoys singing and writing music, coordinating the Shawano County Fairest of the Fair Program and being involved in community initiatives.

Dan O’Callaghan

Dan O’Callaghan is an attorney with the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.  As a member of the firm’s Land & Resources team, Dan’s practice focuses in the areas of commercial real estate and real estate development.  He also advises municipal governments on various aspects of planning and zoning law and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.  Dan is an active member of the Dane County Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee and believes strongly in its mission of ensuring that all members of our community, especially those with limited resources, have access to the legal system.

Photo of Nicholas E. Fairweather

Nicholas E. Fairweather

Nicholas E. Fairweather is an attorney and Shareholder in the Madison office of Hawks Quindel, S.C.. Nick has represented individuals, labor unions and small businesses before the state and federal courts of Wisconsin and administrative agencies throughout the state. His labor and employment practice focuses in the areas of employment discrimination, contracts, professional licensure, and public employee and public-sector union litigation. Nick has represented Wisconsin consumers in debt collection harassment, misrepresentation and housing lawsuits. He has served as Chair of the Board of a section of the State Bar of Wisconsin and on the Board of the Tenant Resource Center. He is an active member of the Wisconsin Lawyers Assistance Program and the Dane County Bar Association’s Small Claims Assistance Program.

truscenialyn

Truscenialyn Brooks

Truscenialyn Brooks is an associate with Perkins Coie in their Intellectual Property Litigation practice.  Ms. Brooks has litigated patents in a variety of areas, including pharmaceuticals and LED technology.  In addition to patent litigation, Ms. Brooks also devotes time to various pro bono matters involving the constitutional rights of prison inmates and enforcement of foreign judgments in U.S. courts. Ms. Brooks won the Western District of Wisconsin Bar Association Pro Bono Award, 2012.

allison markoski

Allison Markoski

Allison Markoski is a Special Education School Administration Consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), where she works on issues of special education compliance, policy, and monitoring. She holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and French from Ball State University and a law degree from Marquette University Law School.

Prior to joining DPI, Allison was a staff attorney for the Honorable Mel Flanagan in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court Civil and Probate Divisions.  Allison has been an alumni coach for Marquette Law School’s National Labor and Employment Moot Court Team for the past three years, as well. She spends her time enjoying all Madison has to offer, including rowing with the Mendota Rowing Club, skiing, cycling, hiking, yoga, meditation, knitting, cooking, and antiques.  Allison is honored to contribute her time and talents to further CJI’s mission of access to justice for all members of our community.