Board of Directors 2017-2018

Ingrid Benson-Villegas

Ingrid Benson-Villegas serves on the Board of Directors of MDFAWL and is Chair of the Website Committee. Ingrid practices in the areas of real estate, personal injury, labor law, and immigration at the Law Offices of Isaac Benmergui, P.A. She received her B.A. in International Relations from Florida International University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and obtained her J.D. from FIU College of Law, where she was on the Dean’s List. In addition to her work at MDFAWL, Ingrid was selected to be an Associate Editor on the American Bar Association’s The Young Lawyer Editorial Board. She is admitted to The Florida Bar, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Ingrid also serves as a judge for moot court competitions at FIU College of Law, as an attorney ad litem through Lawyers for Children America, and has enjoyed being a subscribing member of the Florida Grand Opera for over a decade.

Lauren Brunswick

Lauren Brunswick is a Director of Miami-Dade FAWL and is the founder of Miami-Dade FAWL’s Young Lawyers Division. Lauren practices commercial, real estate, and employment litigation with Shubin & Bass, P.A. She graduated with honors from Brown University and received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, where she was a Senior Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. Lauren practiced law in Boston at an international law firm prior to moving to Miami. In her free time, she enjoys competing in and coaching sports.

Stephanie A. Casey

Stephanie A. Casey is a member of the MDFAWL Board of Directors, as well as the Federal Court Liaison Committee and the Leadership Committee. Stephanie is an attorney at Colson Hicks Eidson, where she practices primarily in the areas of commercial and personal injury litigation. Stephanie also has extensive experience litigating multi-district consumer class actions. She represents clients in a wide range of matters in trial and appellate courts in Florida, New York, and Washington, D.C. Stephanie relocated to Miami from Washington, D.C. to serve as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Marcia G. Cooke of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Prior to that, she worked at a large international law firm in Washington, D.C. Stephanie received her law degree, magna cum laude, from American University, Washington College of Law, and her undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Boston College.

Allison Jade Leonard

Allison is a member of the MDFAWL Board of Directors and co-chairs MDFAWL’s Public Relations Committee. Allison is a litigation associate at Damian & Valori, LLP where she practices complex business litigation, receivership, bankruptcy and securities litigation. Allison also represents local businesses in Fair Labor Standards Act wage and hour claims. She is licensed to practice in Florida and is admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. In 2016, Allison was appointed to the Eleventh Circuit Unlicensed Practice of Law Committee of The Florida Bar. Allison is also an active member of the community and currently serves on the Executive Committee of Olympia Center, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to managing and maintaining the Olympia Theater, downtown Miami’s oldest historic performing arts center. She received her law degree from Florida International University College of Law where she served as Vice President of the Student Bar Association

Freddi Mack

Freddi Mack is a member of the MDFAWL Board of Directors. She is an associate at K&L Gates in the firm’s Commercial Disputes and Restructuring & Insolvency practice groups. Freddi focuses her litigation practice on creditors’ rights and bankruptcy related matters, and various tort and contract actions. Her experience includes complex commercial litigation on behalf of mortgage loan servicers at the trial and appellate levels. Additionally, Freddi has represented clients in the restaurant and lodging industries with labor, employment, and general litigation matters. She also provides pro bono assistance to clients through the K&L Gates Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project. Freddi’s community involvement also includes serving as a member of Legal Services of Greater Miami’s “GenNext” Committee, as a site visitor for the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, and as Vice Chair of the Use and Disposition of Property Subcommittee for the American Bar Association’s Business Bankruptcy Committee. Freddi received her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, summa cum laude, and she holds a Bachelor of Music degree from New York University, magna cum laude.

Diana C. Mendez

Diana C. Mendez serves on MDFAWL’s Board of Directors, and co-chairs the Corporate Counsel Liaison Committee. Diana is a senior associate attorney at Llorente and Heckler, P.A. where she represents clients through all phases of the government procurement process including proposal preparation, contract negotiations, and bid protest litigation. In addition to her position at Llorente and Heckler, P.A., Diana is also a Director at LSN Partners, LLC, a Miami-based, full-service strategic business development and consulting firm. Diana received a B.A. in Economics and International Relations, magna cum laude, in 2006 from Florida International University. In 2010, she received a JD, cum laude, from the American University, Washington College of Law, and an MA in International Affairs from American University’s School of International Service.

Diana is a passionate advocate of gender equality and women’s rights. In addition to her involvement with MDFAWL, Diana is also a member of the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, an advisory board to the Board of County Commissioners that addresses issues pertaining to the status of women in the County. She is also a 2017 Miami fellow of the New Leaders Council, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization that prepares and connects the next generation of civic leaders.

Stephanie Moot

Stephanie Moot is a member of the Board of Directors of MDFAWL. Stephanie focuses her practice on advising clients regarding Title III Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) public accommodations. She has extensive experience defending class action and individual lawsuits for clients across various industries, such as food, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and entertainment. Stephanie has handled a broad spectrum of disability discrimination matters under Title III and similar state laws involving architectural and operational barriers to access. Stephanie also counsels clients on the requirements of the ADA and state accessibility laws.

Stephanie works with clients to develop effective strategies for ADA compliance that address design, operational, and industry-specific issues. She also guides clients on creating compliance policies and personnel training programs. With her knowledge and experience, she advises clients on hot-button ADA issues such as website accessibility, point of sale devices, service animals, auxiliary aids and services, pool and spa lifts, ATMs, and recently-enacted design standards.

Kelly M. Peña

Kelly M. Peña serves on the Board of Directors and co-chairs the Public Relations Committee of MDFAWL. Kelly is a labor and employment attorney with the Miami office of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. Kelly’s practice focuses primarily on employment litigation. Kelly represents management in administrative proceedings, as well as all phases of litigation. She litigates discrimination claims, retaliation claims, and wage and hour claims, and also responds to Charges of Discrimination brought under the EEOC and Florida Commission on Human Relations. In addition to her MDFAWL work, Kelly serves on the Publications Subcommittee for The Florida Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section, and she serves as an attorney ad litem for abused and neglected youth through Lawyers for Children America. Kelly earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. from Northeastern University, where she served as a fellow at Oxfam for the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy.

Julissa Rodriguez

Julie is a Director of MDFAWL and a co-chair of MDFAWL’s Table for 8 committee for state court judges. She practices at Greenberg Traurig, P.A., where she is a shareholder, the Chair of the Firm’s Miami Appellate Department and a member of the Firm’s National Appellate Practice. Julie, who is Board Certified in Appellate Practice by The Florida Bar, focuses her practice on appellate litigation and trial support, representing clients in both state and federal courts in a variety of areas of the law, including products liability, medical malpractice, employment litigation, and contract disputes.

Jennifer V. Ruiz

Jennifer V. Ruiz serves as a Director of MDFAWL and co-chairs the Quality Control Committee. A partner with the law firm of Cole, Scott, & Kissane P.A., Jennifer is a civil litigator, practicing in state and federal courts, at both trial and appellate levels. Jennifer dedicates a significant amount of time to community service as a member of numerous judicially-appointed committees. She currently serves on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Professionalism Panel, as well as the Hispanic Heritage Planning Committee for the Southern District of Florida. Jennifer also has served as a Dade Legal Aid Leader since 2014, and she was appointed to multiple Federal Magistrate Judge Merit Selection and Reappointment Panels for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida from 2011 through 2014. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from the Florida State University, cum laude, and her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University, where she served as an Articles Editor for the Nova Law Review.

Jody Shulman

Jody Shulman serves as a Director of MDFAWL and Chair of the Judicial Reception Planning and Sponsorship Committees. She has been a member of The Massachusetts Bar for 27 years, and during 17 of those years she was a litigator specializing in divorce, paternity, and family law matters. Jody also serves on the Board of B’nai B’rith Justice Unit 5207, the Board of Legal Services of Greater Miami, and on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee. Jody is currently employed with U.S. Legal Support where she focuses on providing court reporting, record retrieval, transcription/translation, trial presentation and e-discovery services to the legal community. She specializes in finding solutions for complex, class action and multi-district litigation cases. Lastly, Jody is a co-founder of “Make a Difference Miami,” which is committed to raising monies for both Dade Legal Aid and Legal Services of Greater Miami.