Over the last year, we in the nonprofit sector, and specifically in legal services, have served as lifelines for our clients: providing access to justice, resources, and services to keep them housed, healthy, safe, and economically secure. Our commitment to our clients and our communities has never wavered. The pandemic and our nation’s racial reckoning have laid bare the systemic inequities that keep millions of Americans in poverty; hence we recommit ourselves to our mission — and that means evolving with the changing needs of our communities.
To that end, we are excited to announce several important new positions at LAFLA. Please join us in congratulating the following directors. In their crucial roles, they will continue to support LAFLA’s impactful, innovative work, and guide us toward greater victories on behalf of our client communities.
Nicole M. Perez
Director of Client Services and Compliance
“LAFLA staff are remarkable people who do good work and do it well. Yet at LAFLA, we’ve never been okay with leaving well enough alone. I am eager and grateful to work alongside our staff, board, clients, and community partners to advance LAFLA’s already high-quality legal services and to also reimagine innovative ways to connect with and serve our neighbors facing legal crises.”
As the Director of Client Services and Compliance, Nicole oversees our intake, outreach, community education, and self-help efforts, and monitors compliance with LAFLA’s and grantors’ high-quality standards and requirements. Previously, Nicole served as the Managing Attorney of our Veterans Justice Center. She first joined LAFLA in 2007 as a Skadden Fellow in homelessness and government benefits advocacy. Read Nicole’s bio.
Tyler Press Sutherland
Director of Racial Justice and Equity
“It’s the right time for LAFLA to double down on our longstanding commitment to racial justice. I’m excited to work with my colleagues and our community partners to tackle systemic inequality and improve the lives of our clients of color.”
As Director of Racial Justice and Equity, Tyler leads our racial justice policy work; supports staff in pursuing race equity-focused systemic change; and leads our Race Equity Initiative. Tyler joined LAFLA in 2013 and has served with our Veterans Justice Center and, most recently, our Economic Stability Workgroup where she represented clients in government benefits cases. Read Tyler’s bio.
Wilbert (Will) H. Watts
Director of Community and Economic Justice
“The events of 2020 forced our country to confront systemic racism permeating every facet of our society, ranging from the health care industry and criminal justice system to educational institutions, the housing sector, and the job market. I’m excited to work with our amazing advocates to ensure greater access to justice in every arena.”
As Director of Community and Economic Justice, Will oversees our legal services, advocacy, and policy work on behalf of our client communities, including veterans, immigrants, non-English speakers, domestic violence survivors, patients with LAFLA’s healthcare partners, and the formerly incarcerated or those with past contact with the criminal justice system. Most recently, Will had served as the Managing Attorney of our Housing and Communities Workgroup and South LA community office since 2019. Read Will’s bio.
Barbara J. Schultz
Director of Housing Justice
“Housing justice means a human right to safe, affordable housing for all Angelenos. It includes a right to counsel for renters facing displacement, investment in social housing solutions, and a right for unhoused people to live safely without harassment.”
As Director of Housing Justice, Barbara oversees our work on housing, houselessness, and community empowerment. She has been a key member of the Los Angeles Renters Right to Counsel Coalition, leading the effort for LAFLA by securing the first government contracts for Stay Housed LA. Barbara joined LAFLA in 1996, and most recently served as our Director of Litigation and Policy. Read Barbara’s bio.