LACLJ is excited to welcome two new staff attorneys, Melissa Viramontes and Mariliz Aquino, to our team! Get to know them below:
Melissa Viramontes – Attorney, Access to Justice Program
Melissa represents parents in high conflict custody cases, and survivors of domestic violence through the Shriver Family Law Project. Melissa has extensive experience working in family and public interest law. During law school, she volunteered for two consecutive summers at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA). At NLSLA, Melissa represented litigants in their family law matters as a certified law student. After law school, Melissa volunteered at LACLJ and also litigated as a certified law student. She began her professional career as an Associate Attorney at Fusco and Clarke, a law firm that practices primarily Family Law, Dependency cases, and Minor’s counsel. Melissa has represented clients and litigated their family law matters including dissolution of marriage, paternity, custody/visitation, child support, spousal support, restraining orders and guardianships. Melissa holds a B.A. in Sociology with an option in Law and Society from Cal State L.A., and earned her Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from Cal Poly Pomona. She received her J.D. from Whittier Law School where she participated in the Center for Children’s Rights Program. Melissa is fluent in Spanish.
Mariliz Aquino – Attorney, Immigration Program
Mariliz represents survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes, as well as vulnerable youth, in their U-Visa, VAWA, Adjustment of Status, or DACA petitions. She obtained her J.D. from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. At Southwestern, she helped clients at the Southwestern Immigration Law Clinic to prepare their U-Visa and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) petitions. Mariliz was also a member of a team of students participating in the Southwestern Appellate Practicum who filed a successful brief on behalf of a Mexican national before the Ninth Circuit seeking to reverse his removal. She has also volunteered with other organizations which provide legal assistance to the immigrant community, including Bet Tzedek, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense). Mariliz has an M.A. in Latin American Studies from California State University, Los Angeles, and a B.A. in Journalism from Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso Sul, Brazil. Prior to emigrating to the United States, she worked as a journalist and in public relations in Brazil. She speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish.