Mitchell McDowell - Founder
Mitchell McDowell is the founding member of Unite the People. His vision for the organization is to advance social justice in the United States through organizing in the community service sector and promoting affordable legal services for all. Mitchell has 25 years of experience as the owner of a bail assistance organization, where he helped reunite hundreds of families and restore the presumption of innocence for the accused, and has also managed several community service organizations before founding UTP. Mitch also served in the United States military reserves. He and UTP are currently involved in moving forward a California sentencing reform initiative - The People’s Fair Sentencing & Public Safety Act - as well as helping close the justice gap by connecting Californians with affordable legal services and representation.
Thomas Loversky (CA Bar #140128) - President & Supervising Attorney
Thomas Loversky is the President of Unite the People. He has been practicing Criminal Defense in California since 1989. Since then, he has represented hundreds of clients in an aggressive, passionate, and compassionate way. His mission is to take a genuine interest in his clients, understand their objectives, and meet and even surpass their expectations. Tom regularly puts three to four or more thousand miles a month on his car going to see clients, visiting jails, going to crime scenes, and making court appearances.
Erin Brinkman (CA Bar #289967) - Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorney
Erin Brinkman is a fourth-generation Angeleno who has been passionate about criminal law and social justice issues for as long as she can recall. Erin attended Harvard University, where she graduated with an BA in Government (magma cum laude) and a Special Citation in Spanish. Erin went on to graduate from The University of North Carolina School of Law. While there, she served more than 300 pro bono hours working with the California Innocence Project, the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, and the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. She also interned for the local District Attorney’s office, externed for the North Carolina Department of Justice (Criminal Appeals Division), and served as a Guardian ad Litem. She also has experience on Unruh Act class action discrimination cases. Erin brings her passion for criminal justice and 10 years of criminal law experience to Unite the People.
Natalie Webb (NY Bar #5013222) - Criminal Defense & Civil Rights Attorney
Natalie grew up in Los Angeles and has dedicated her career to public interest law. Prior to joining Unite the People she worked on federal habeas corpus and national class-action immigration cases. Natalie also worked as a nonprofit lawyer in New York representing low and no-income tenants in eviction prevention proceedings, in South Africa advocating for social and economic rights in the informal settlements, in London on international extraordinary rendition and police brutality cases, in Ethiopia researching laws to prevent gender-based violence, and in Mexico assisting Central American immigrants applying for asylum. She is a board member of Housing Rights Initiative, has been published in a wide variety of journals, and has spoken on social justice panels at Duke University and the University of Southern California. Natalie believes the law is one of many tools in the fight for social justice and is dedicated to using it to empower disadvantaged communities.
Jehan “J” Carter, Esq. (DC Bar #1018067) - Post-Conviction Attorney
J. Carter, Esq. is an attorney, author, creative entrepreneur and the #AskCarterLaw television news personality that analyzes trending news hot topics from a legal perspective! Carter is a graduate of New York Law School and the University of Virginia and currently sits on the DC Superior Court Probate panel. With her solo practice, The Carter Law Group, she has over 5 years experience in areas of family law, entertainment, business and estate law. Her public interest and non-profit work includes: Legal Aid, Becky’s Fund, The Congressional Award for Youth, Make A Wish Foundation, DC Central Kitchen and Martha’s Table. Carter has also worked in house for Classic Media (now Dream Works) and Universal Music Group. Lastly, Carter is a former professor at the University District of Columbia and former clerk of New York Supreme Court Judge Deborah James.
Mia Jin (CA Bar #323416) - Immigration Attorney
Mia Jin graduated from University of Southern California, Gould School of Law in 2011. She is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, California, and P.R. China. Mia has been an immigration attorney since 2012, and is specialized in Family-Based Immigration, Citizenship, Asylum, VAWA, Removal Defense, etc. Since 2017, Mia has devoted herself in public interest law serving the disadvantaged community. She volunteered at the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Immigration Project; Neighborhood Legal Services - Shriver Housing Project; and Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic. She represents immigration detainees in their bond hearings, and immigrants in removal proceedings to seek immigration relief.
Mojgan Khoshvaght Gigasari (CA Bar #325530) - Post-Conviction, Immigration & Family Attorney
Mojgan received her Bachelor of Laws and Master of International Law from Iran. She is a graduate of the University of San Diego school of law (USD), receiving a Master of Comparative Law (LLM). As an immigration attorney, Mojgan represents clients in removal proceedings, USCIS, and asylum office. She also helps immigrant visa applicants who are subject to the travel ban by preparing travel ban waivers. Prior to passing the CA bar exam, Mojgan was a post-bar law clerk at an immigration law firm in San Diego where she mainly worked on family-based immigrant cases, I-601 and I-601A waiver applications, representing clients at USCIS interviews, naturalization applications, writing appeals/motion to re-opens, etc. She was also a Judicial Extern at the United States District Court for the Southern District of California for Honorable Judge John A. Houston where she worked on the variety of civil and criminal cases including drafting order denying/granting motion to dismiss, order denying/granting motion to vacate, set aside, or correct sentence, order denying/granting defendant’s ex parte motion to strike, etc. While studying at USD, she worked in the school’s Immigration Legal Clinic where she met with and assisted clients in filing immigration applications including, I-485, U visas, VAWA, N-400, etc.
Jeanilou G.T. Maschhoff (CA Bar #270562) - Of Counsel
Jeanilou G.T. Maschhoff is a highly rated attorney with over 20 years of comprehensive business operations, finance and development experience. Passionate about social justice and assisting underrepresented populations, Jeanilou spent the first 4 years of her legal career working in the non-profit sector. She continues to assist non-profit organizations in many capacities and actively looks to partner businesses with charitable causes to develop a synergistic effect that benefits not only the organizations involved but our society as a whole.
Kathryn Alday - Grants & Donor Development
Kathryn received her Bachelor's of Science in Health Education with an emphasis in Community-Based Public Health from San Francisco State University in 2015. Since attaining her Bachelor’s Degree, she has worked in various non-profit organizations providing services for under-served communities – primarily for individuals living with a mental, physical, and/or learning impairment as well as those who have been previously incarcerated. Kathryn specializes in, but not limited to, providing quality case management, mental health support services, grant writing and fundraising, vocational and job readiness training, collaborating with community, academic and government stakeholders, and instructing workshops for diverse audiences.
Dr. Kristyl JL Smith - Marketing Strategy Consultant
Dr. Smith joined UTP as a marketing strategy consultant in October of 2019. She possess a Doctorate of Psychology in Organizational Management and Consulting and has over 6 years of non-profit marketing experience. As the previous Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, San Diego Chapter, Dr. Smith knows first hand the struggles that can impact small nonprofits. She is now utilizing her experience and education to provide social media and email marketing campaigns to help UTP increase revenue and their digitial footprint. The end goal of these campaigns is to attract more donations that can cover the costs of legal fee’s for the many families that come to UTP for help.
Sonia Torres - Office Manager & Legal Assistant
Born and raised in the Northside of Chicago, Sonia Torres has had her personal experience with social injustice. She has witnessed discrimination towards family and friends and wanted to do something about it. With over 20 years of assistance in the legal field, Sonia brings her love for justice to the UTP team. She is excited to join an organization that shares her passion for bringing families back together and having a part in justice prevailing. Sonia oversees our Long Beach law office, managing day-to-day operations and serving as the first point of contact for new legal clients.
Jonathan Avraham - Paralegal
Jonathan received his BA in Political Science from UCSB and a Juris Doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. He has over five years of experience working civil and criminal litigation in California. Jonathan enjoys helping people in any way he can, especially in his capacity as a legal professional. He started his legal career by helping families in Southern California regain their family home after being wrongfully foreclosed on by banks. Furthermore, over the course of his legal career, Jonathan helped many clients dismiss their criminal cases and expunge their records.
Amy Chattopadhyay - Paralegal
Drawing on her experience in civil litigation and immigration law, Amitabho "Amy" Chattopadhyay joined Unite the People as Case Management Director and paralegal in 2018. An immigrant herself, she assists with both criminal and immigration services. She is also committed to ending mass incarceration in the United States.
Bilal Khan - Paralegal
Bilal Khan is a paralegal with over 15 years of experience in the legal services field. He chose a career in law with the main goal of helping marginalized communities connect with professional legal services. He is a strong advocate for minority communities and fighting for justice for the under-served.
Rollin Matthews - Legal Assistant
Rollin Mathews is a formerly incarcerated person who studied law during his 20 years incarcerated. While in prison, Rollin focused on educating himself as well as others on post-conviction law, and his tireless work helped win the release of 20 other incarcerated people as well as himself. Since his release, Rollin has been furthering his education in law, and is currently working on his paralegal certification under the supervision of our president, Tom Loversky. Rollin currently assists Unite the People with post-conviction legal consultations, putting his two decades of experience to work for the people.
Olivia McDowell - Administrative Assistant
Olivia has always had a fascination with the justice system and its affects on both incarcerated people and their communities. Some of her main interests include activism that helps improve the quality of people's lives as well as rehabilitation. Her goal through her work with our organization is to show positive changes in released men and women's lives and the changes our system as a whole needs to endure to become a better version of itself. Olivia is currently pursuing a minor in American politics at Humboldt State University.
Elizabeth Stewart - Ambassador
Elizabeth Stewart is an Ambassador of UTP. She has a personal connection to criminal justice reform through her son, Jeremy, who was arrested for property theft and given a 70 years to life sentence under the California Three Strikes law in 2010. She began her activism by serving as Chapter Leader for Families to Amend California Three Strikes (FACT) from 2010-2015, and is currently continuing her work with All of Us or None, A New Path, and Moms United out of San Diego and the Fair Chance Program in Los Angeles. Elizabeth has shared her son’s story through speaking engagements and the creation of the “Three-Striker” documentary which exposes how the Three Strikes law sends nonviolent criminals away for life.
Rev. Dennis Malone - Ambassador
Rev. Dennis Malone has more than 25 years experience advocating for criminal justice reform. He earned a Bachelors of Social Science degree and is certified through SDSU in Community Economic Development (CED). Honors include the San Diego Foundation for Change Danzig Award for outstanding community grassroots organizing. Documentaries: “America’s Longest War” A film about drug prohibition. Rev. Malone’s lead organizing efforts include; United Afro American Ministerial Action Council (UAAMAC), where he recruited faith and community based agencies into joint collaborations leading towards effective policy changes. Families to Amend CA’s Three Strikes Law – San Diego Chapter, (FACTS). Rev. Malone currently directs “All of Us or None, San Diego”, a grassroots movement of former prisoners and felons, organizing to combat the many forms of discrimination faced as the result of felony convictions. He is in the 15th year of service on the Board of Directors of Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing “A New PATH”. These accomplishments come after serving nearly a decade (1982-1991) in federal and state penal institutions. Since 1991 Rev. Malone has been an example of “A second chance made good.”
Kevin Bilal Chatman - Ambassador
Kevin Bilal became an ambassador of UTP because of his dedication to ending mass incarceration. He was born in Los Angeles and later moved to San Jose as a child with his single mother and three brothers. In the 1980s, when the economy crashed, Bilal lost his job. At this time the crack epidemic hit, he was swept up in drug addiction and dealing. Ultimately, he received a 150 years-to-life sentence under California’s “Three Strikes” law for selling $200 worth of drugs to an undercover police officer. He was then incarcerated at Soledad, Solano, Jamestown, and ultimately San Quentin State Prisons. At San Quentin—known for its commitment to re-entry programming—Bilal took classes in Sociology, Anger Management, Conflict resolution, A.A. Peer Mentoring, Drug Treatment, Parenting, Humanities, Yoga, and Religious Studies. He also was a very active member in the Men’s Advisory Council. In 2012, Californians overwhelmingly voted to amend the “Three Strikes” law and Bilal became eligible for release. After nearly 11 years, he returned to San Jose, a district with relatively high support for those reentering, and has since thrived.
As a member of The Return Project as well as featured in the Emmy Nominated Documentary “The Return”, he was also featured on “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” invited to the Obama White House, and has been a panelist at a Capitol Hill Screening with Congressman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore. Bilal has also been on panels in Philadelphia, Virginia, Washington D.C, Chicago New York, Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, san Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland. He has traveled to Prisons in New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, California. Bilal is also a member of the “Ride Home Program” which picks up released Obama Clemency recipients, takes them shopping, and provides them with their first meal and stories of experience, strength, and hope during their first 24 hours released. He continues to travel the country speaking about the effects of mass incarceration in America.