Justice for all low-income people in Washington
About NJP

Staff

Senior Management

César Torres
Executive Director

César Torres has served as Executive Director of the Northwest Justice Project since the Fall of 2006. He earned his J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. from Yale University. He has dedicated his legal career to the cause of equal justice. During law school he clerked for the Legal Aid Society (civil) in New York and served in an externship at the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington D.C. Immediately after law school he became  a staff attorney at Hudson County Legal Services (1985-1989). Thereafter, he worked at Essex Newark Legal Services, Newark, NJ, where he took over as Managing Attorney for that program’s Housing & Income Maintenance Unit (1989 – 2006). He was named ENLS Deputy Director beginning in 1998, a position he held until his departure in 2006. Beginning in 2003 he litigated and supervised a Predatory Lending Practices Project.  Throughout his tenure at ENLS, he provided statewide training on federally subsidized housing programs. Mr. Torres’s advocacy efforts have focused on representation of low income residents of Essex County New Jersey combining litigation with community struggles to limit the loss of federally assisted and affordable private housing, Hope VI and Mark-to-Market housing programs, including significant state appellate advocacy experience.

Deborah Perluss
Deputy Director

Deborah Perluss is the Deputy Director of the Northwest Justice Project. Ms. Perluss has spent her career with civil legal services programs throughout Washington. Ms. Perluss received her B.A. in 1975 from the University of California, San Diego, J.D. in 1978 from the University of California Hastings College of Law, and earned an LL.M. degree, with distinction, from the University of London, London School of Economics and Political Science with emphasis on International Law and Human Rights. Ms. Perluss served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, School of Law from 1984-86; has been active in bar related and other professional activities; served as a consultant to an American Bar Association Presidential Task Force on Access to Justice; served on a 2003 WSBA Special Committee to Review the Washington Rules of Professional Responsibility; and has shared her expertise through scholarly publications, participation on panels and presentations and through participation in several committees and task forces related to access to justice. 

Vanessa Torres Hernandez
Director of Advocacy

Before joining NJP, Vanessa’s professional career was primarily at the ACLU of Washington where she has engaged in extensive policy work, worked on impact litigation efforts, and manages and supports grassroots efforts as the ACLU-WA’s Youth Policy Director, leading state and local campaigns to end the school to prison pipeline and increase positive supports for young people in communities. Previously, Vanessa founded the ACLU-WA's Second Chances Project, which worked to eliminate discrimination against people with criminal history and to fight debtors' prisons. Vanessa’s vision of advocacy builds on creating relationships between advocates and marginalized communities, integrates direct representation and impact litigation, and focuses on broad based coalition building to address the complex problems facing our client communities. Vanessa served as a law clerk for Judge Betty Fletcher on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, she was a Gates Public Service Law Scholarship recipient, and also holds Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While in law school she worked/interned for NJP, the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. 

Sue Encherman
Director of Administration

Susan Encherman began her career in civil legal services in January 1980 when she was hired as the first Administrator of Evergreen Legal Services. She held this position until October of 1995 when as a result of a statewide restructuring plan, she left to launch the Northwest Justice Project as the Director of Administration. Ms. Encherman is an active participant and lecturer in state and national legal aid technology and administrative taskforces and workgroups and is a frequent presenter on best practices for civil legal aid programs nationally. Prior to joining the civil legal services network, she was a paralegal with the Clark County Public Defenders office.

Karen Holland
Director of Human Resources

Karen Holland joined the Northwest Justice Project in 2014 as the Northwest Justice Project’s first Director of Human Resources. Karen brought over 20 years in Human Resources with her to NJP.  She is a generalist with experience in recruiting, employee relations, labor relations, staff training and development as well as benefits, compensation, and payroll administration. Most of her career has been in the healthcare industry in addition to time in both the manufacturing and hospitality industries. Although her experience includes working in for profit organizations, more than 15 years of her experience prior to joining NJP was in the in the not for profit sector.  

Bryan Baker
Director of Development

Bryan Baker joined Northwest Justice Project in 2015 as the organizations first Director of Development. He brings more than 20 years of nonprofit leadership to NJP including expertise in program management, operations, community engagement and fundraising. Bryan recently he helped transform the fundraising culture of Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets where he served as Development Director for four years. Living in Washington since 1992, Bryan earned his B.A. at the Evergreen State College and M.A. at Antioch University Seattle. He is currently serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals / Advancement Northwest Chapter.

Steve Pelletier
Director of Finance

Steve Pelletier is an accounting professional with over 25 years of accounting, finance and management experience. He has practiced in the public accounting and the private accounting sectors over the years and he is currently the Director of Finance of the Northwest Justice Project. Steve is a licensed CPA in Washington State and has been a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Washington Society of CPAs since the early 80’s. He received an undergraduate degree in accounting and business administration from Western Washington University in 1981. Since 1999, Steve has served as NJP’s Director of Finance where he is responsible for overseeing all the accounting, finance, management reporting, and budgeting functions of the organization and is deeply involved with program policy development and grant compliance. Mr. Pelletier’s professionalism and expertise has gained NJP significant recognition and in 2009 he was appointed to the LSC Fiscal Advisory Committee by LSC President Helaine Barnett to participate with LSC staff on ways to assist LSC grantees in improving internal control systems and procedures.

Attorneys

Samantha Adams
Robert Adelman
Juju Aldhaher
Meron Amare
Kristofer Amblad
Jennifer Ammons
Tami Arntzen
Kaha Arte
Lupe Artiga
Andres Batista
Jennifer Bell
Chea Berra
Michele Besso
Amy Bouldin
Matt Boyle
Sujatha Branch
Melissa Briggs
Meredith Bruch
Jennifer Brugger
Chris Brunetti
Karla Camac Carlisle
Leticia Camacho
Karen Campbell
Claire Carden
Alberto Casas
Josefina Cerrillo-Ramirez
Sarah Chaplin
Adam Chromy
Nikki Coleman
Lance Cornick
Jefferson Coulter
Scott Crain
Ben Crozier
Kristi Cruz
Alyson Dimmitt Gnam
Deborah Dorfman
Daniel Ediger
Mark Ferraz
Elizabeth Flavin
Jonathan Fork
LeeAnn Friedman
Brendan Gaff
Sandy Garcia
Christy Garcia
Sarah Glorian
Lindsey Goheen
Tyler Graber
Carrie Graf
Amber Greaves
Ashley Greenberg
Mariah Hanley
Elizabeth Helm
Elizabeth Hendren
Robert Hervatine
Chelsea Hicks
Marjie High
Monica Holland
Todd Hubbard
Kathy Jensen
Rachel Johnson
Joseph Jordan
Brick Kawabata
Jeffrey Keddie
Charlotte Keenan
Julia Kellison
Andrea Kelso
Stacy Kihlstrom
Jong Kim
Scott Kinkley
Alex Kory
Niki Krimmel-Morrison
Elizabeth Landry
Kate Laner
Cina Littlebird
Joy Ann Logan-von Wahlde
Diana Lopez Batista
Judith Lurie
Lindy MacMillan
Margaret MacRae
Michelle Maddox
Alicia McCormick
Camille McDorman
Tom McKay
Rob McMillen
Rob Miller
Vicky Minto
David Morales
Paola Morinigo
Jill Mullins
Timothy Murphy
Graciela Navarro
Therese Norton
Heidi Noun
Allyson O'Malley-Jones
Joanna Otero
Kelly Owen
Crystal Pardue
Parker Parsons
Steve Parsons
Derek Peterson
Lacey Peterson
Karen Phillips
Patrick Pleas
Mira Posner
Patricia Proebsting
Rachel Prouser Marenstein
John Purbaugh
Jason Quackenbush
Jessica Ramirez
Lorna Randall
Adison Richards
Martha Rickey
M. Abbas Rizvi
Steve Robins
Blanca Rodriguez
Jessica Schultz-Leyk
Luanne Serafin
Gail Smith
Jodi Sullivan
Kerry Summers
Jennifer Summerville
David Tarshes
Jamila Taylor
Holly Timmerman
Jose Trejo
Andrea Utigard
Maria Vega
Lola Velazquez
Amy Vigorita
Lisa von Biela
Lisa Waldvogel
Janell Waters
Mary Welch
Eva Wescott
Catherine West
Jarquita Williams
Carrie Williams
Aric Wong
Matt Woods
Jennifer Yogi
Rich Zahniser
Alma Zuniga