Our Staff

Jonathan Rhodes Esq.

Executive Director

Jonathan M. Rhodes has dedicated his career to issues of community development, social justice, and legal services.   He is currently Executive Director of the Louisiana Civil Justice Center.  Before joining LCJC, he was Projects Counsel for the Louisiana State Bar Association Access to Justice Program, where his work focused on improving legal services and promoting criminal justice reform.   Jonathan has been a member of the Louisiana Supreme Court Pro Se Litigant Task Force and participated in several commissions of the Louisiana Legislature including the Louisiana State Law Institute Expungement reform working group, the Marijuana Sentencing Reform study group and Criminal Justice Funding study group.

As an attorney and advocate, Jonathan has successfully assisted numerous political and legislative campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. He has also held policy positions with various political offices, serving as a Policy Fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Democratic Caucus under Chairman Rahm Emmanuel where he focused on creating workforce development programs for the Gulf Coast region. Throughout his career, Jonathan has proven to be an effective leader, building consensus and developing innovative policies to promote justice and prosperity.

He is a graduate of the Loyola University New Orleans Institute of Politics and studied as an associate student at Oxford University’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.  Jonathan received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Dayton and his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Chicago-Kent College of Law. A dedicated community leader, Jonathan serves on numerous boards and has been involved in many campaigns to rebuild neighborhoods throughout the New Orleans area, particularly in the 9th ward and Central City communities, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Amelia Hoppe Esq.

Associate Director

A native southerner, Amelia has a deep and demonstrated commitment to the legal non-profit sector. Surrounded at an early age by activist parents and friends, Amelia quickly developed a passion for social justice. The enthusiasm took root and influenced her decision to earn a Doctorate in Jurisprudence with a Certificate in Civil Law in her adopted hometown of New Orleans.She joined LCJC in January 2015 as Projects Counsel and became Program Director in summer 2015.

At LCJC, Amelia supervises Court Based Self-Help Resource Center programs in Orleans Parish and the LCJC Medical-Legal Partnership Help Desk at Children’s Hospital.  She cultivates relationships with partners across the state to make sure that the best resources are available for people seeking services while implementing integrated advocacy campaigns to improve LCJC’s legal impact.  She continually re-evaluates how pro-bono services should evolve and is always looking for new ways to place Louisiana at the forefront of social justice lawyering.

Amelia received The Gillis Long Public Service Award for her commitment to serving those in need.  She has been featured in several publications regarding collective responsibility in the Gulf Coast Region. Amelia is a barred attorney in Florida, a Family Mediator who satisfies the Louisiana Revised Statute Section 9:334 requirements, and a certified legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild. She is a member of the LSBA Access to Justice Department Self-Represented Litigants subcommittee and was recently awarded the Innovative Legal Services award from the Louisiana State Bar Association for her “Justice Tour” which has now become a perennial program in Louisiana. A couple of other programs that she has been a part of starting include the ADALA program ( to provide civil legal services to the Arabic population), Virtual Legal Help Desk program to increase access to rural communities in Louisiana and a new partnership between LCJC, FEMA and ABA to expand Disaster legal services to the USVI & PR after Hurricane Irma and Maria.

Amelia enjoys finding innovative ways to make the law accessible to all members of the community and is thrilled to be a member of such a vibrant organization whose heartbeat matches in tune with the rhythms of New Orleans.

Dave Lanser

Projects Counsel

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Dave Lanser’s lifelong passion for social justice has driven his career choices from nonprofit construction jobs with the Appalachia Service Project, Americorps, and Habitat for Humanity, to disaster-response work with Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.

That commitment to serving others led Dave to the University of Wisconsin Law School, where the school’s “Law in Action” approach to learning gave him the opportunity to assist the Madison community with legal issues through the Neighborhood Law Clinic, the Unemployment Appeals Clinic, and other opportunities which ultimately led to an honorary distinction from Wisconsin’s Pro Bono Society. In addition, Dave completed internships with Judge William Conley at the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the New Orleans City Attorney’s Office. Dave also served as the Senior Note & Comment Editor for the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society for which he was a published author and was chosen by his classmates to receive the Katherine Held Memorial Award for commitment to the journal’s mission. Throughout law school, Dave also participated as an active member of a variety of student groups, most notably the National Lawyers Guild, American Constitutional Society, Environmental Law Society, and Legal Assistance for Disaster Relief.

Jesse Rafert

Operations Manager

A native of Delaware, Jesse moved to New Orleans at the beginning of 2014. Jesse obtained undergraduate degrees in history and political science from Hampshire College and Paris 8 St. Denis, and a Masters degree in International Development from the Sorbonne. Before working with LCJC, she conducted healthcare outreach on behalf of New Orleans labor union Local 10 by assisting community members to access federal programming. She has an active history in social justice work as an intern for the ACLU, the French immigrant rights coalition and an internship in Cameroon conducting research to defend the land and natural resource rights of small farmers in the Congo Basin.  Jesse brings this passion for community outreach and education to her work as Operations Manager for LCJC, over the phone, at the courthouse help desks and community legal clinics.


Evian Mugrabi Esq.

Director of Legal Services

Evian Mugrabi started working at LCJC in 2014 and has been building the organization’s resources and outreach capabilities ever since. Evian is barred in Louisiana, New York and Isreal with her years of experience being crucial to LCJC’s successes.  She practiced for six years in Israel, focusing on civil litigation and often sitting as first chair. She also worked for the District Attorney’s office and handled family law cases for several Israeli nonprofits.  In Israel, Evian obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology, an LLB (Doctorate of Jurisprudence equivalent), and an LLM. While in the United States as a Fulbright scholar, Evian has continued to add to her academic and professional achievements while working towards her SJD (Ph.D in law) at Tulane University.

At LCJC Evian manages hotline services, legal research, and mediation services. She actively supports the next generation of social justice attorneys by providing training for new staff members, supervising LCJC interns, and creating new educational materials.  She is responsible for ensuring LCJC’s operational success through seamless team management and professional development.  When she is not bettering her community with her social justice pursuits or adding to her academic portfolio, Evian impresses her friends and family with her fantastic home cooking and Arabic dancing. Evian is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, English and has working proficiency in Italian and French.

Harrece Gassery

Staff Attorney

In January 2017 LCJC was joined by Staff Attorney Harrece Gassery. Harrece is originally from the Greater New Orleans area and is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Paul M. Hebert (LSU) Law Center. While at Morehouse he was a midshipman of the Atlanta Consortium NROTC Unit (Morehouse Battalion). Shortly after graduating he accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps. Harrece currently practices law in Greater New Orleans primarily but has represented people in various regions of Louisiana. His practice areas include criminal law, limited family law, torts, contracts, limited successions and estates, and limited worker’s compensation. He began practicing solo, but is currently on a fellowship dedicated to helping people with legal issues that have been precipitated by natural disasters. These issues include helping people with FEMA applications, FEMA appeals, contractor disputes, and landlord-tenant issues. At LCJC Harrece contributes quality civil legal services to some of Louisiana’s most vulnerable residents