The DC Affordable Law Firm was established through a unique partnership among Georgetown University Law Center, DLA Piper and Arent Fox. DC Affordable Law Firm hires recent Georgetown law graduates who complete 15-month fellowships, with half of the attorneys remaining on thereafter to complete a second year of service. Each DCALF attorney provides a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year.
Gabrielle Mulnick Majewski, Executive Director
Gabrielle “Gabby” Mulnick Majewski joined DC Affordable Law Firm as Executive Director in January 2020. Gabby oversees all aspects of DCALF’s programs and operations, leading the high-quality work of the staff, building and strengthening community partnerships, and guiding the strategic direction of the organization.
Gabby has dedicated her entire career to amplifying the voices of underserved community members and providing holistic, compassionate, family-centric legal services to DC residents. Gabby came to DCALF following more than eleven years of experience with Children’s Law Center, where she served as a Guardian ad litem, supervising attorney, and program manager. Across these roles, Gabby represented the best interests of children, teens, and young adults in DC’s abuse and neglect system, children caught in the middle of high-conflict custody disputes, and the parents of children in need of appropriate special education services. Gabby appeared in hundreds of hearings in DC Superior Court, litigated dozens of trials, led a multitude of trainings in national and local forums, and supervised more than three hundred child welfare, custody, and education cases. As a program manager, Gabby cultivated stakeholder relationships and created more effective models for representation and attorney engagement to maximize impact for the District’s families.
Since 2012, Gabby has served on the Board of Directors and Advisory Board of BEST Kids, providing fiduciary, strategic, content-knowledge, and fundraising leadership to the organization. Gabby was a member of the Princeton AlumniCorps Emerging Leaders class of 2016 and a 2008 recipient of the Frederick B. Abramson Public Service Award. Gabby earned her law degree from American University Washington College of Law and graduated with honors from the University of Delaware with Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Public Law.
Mary Elizabeth Gately, Legal Director
Mary Gately is the co-head of DLA Piper’s Washington, DC Litigation group and pro bono legal director of DC Affordable Law Firm. She graduated from Harvard Law School. Mary serves on the leadership committee for DLA Piper’s Washington, DC office. Mary has repeatedly been ranked by Chambers USA, a highly respected legal directory and is ranked Band 2 in the 2019 edition where she was regarded as “…very tenacious in the courtroom, she works hard to understand clients’ needs and interests to get the best results.” Clients have recognized her as an “‘outstanding’ lawyer who ‘combines a deep understanding of legal principals with a common-sense approach to practice.'” She focuses her practice on reputation management, class actions, cross border litigation and other complex litigation in the fields of the First Amendment, product liability and commercial litigation. Mary also is a DLA Piper 2018-2019 North American Pro Bono Award Recipient.
Mary has served as DC Affordable Law Firm’s pro bono legal director since January 2019. In this capacity, Mary has played an instrumental role in supervising, training, and and mentoring DCALF attorneys in litigation, case planning and strategic decision-making, and case management. Mary has also played an integral role in co-counseling complex litigation alongside DC Affordable Law Firm attorneys. During her first three years of practice with DC Affordable Law Firm, Mary has performed over 1000 hours of pro bono service to the firm.
Mary teaches annually at a one-week NITA trial advocacy institute run by the EPA and is on the Board of School Talk, a D.C. based not for profit that advocates for the rights of students with disabilities.
Francesca A. Gibson, Senior Associate
Francesca Gibson joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in August 2018. She came to DCALF with experience in education. At DCALF, she focuses primarily on Family Law and Immigration Law.
Francesca earned her B.A. in Sociology from Spelman College and a M.A. in Teaching from American University. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2018. During her time at Georgetown, she was a student attorney in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic. In addition to clinical experience, Francesca gained valuable experience at the Maryland Public Defender’s Office, Landesa, and as a member of Georgetown’s Moot Court Team.
Prior to law school, Francesca was an English teacher in Washington D.C. and a Fulbright scholar in Thailand.
Francesca is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.
Melissa A. McClure, Senior Associate
Melissa McClure joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in August 2018. Melissa came to DCALF with a background in assisting survivors of intimate partner violence and abuse. At DCALF, she represents clients primarily in Family and Immigration matters.
Melissa earned her Bachelor of Arts and graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University, where she double majored in Women and Gender Studies and Government. As an undergraduate, and in the years following, Melissa volunteered on the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network as an online hotline crisis counselor. After college, she worked as a Litigation Legal Assistant at Sullivan & Cromwell in Washington, D.C. Melissa started at Georgetown University Law Center in the fall of 2015, where she was a member of Section 3 during her 1L year. During law school, she interned in the family and public benefits units at The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, the family unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. Melissa was also the Senior Notes Editor for The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, a Public Interest Fellow, and a student attorney in the Domestic Violence Clinic. Melissa graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law and was recognized as an Exceptional Pro Bono Pledge Honoree for providing over 175 hours of pro bono services to individuals and organizations in the District.
Courtney A. Wilkes, Senior Associate
Courtney Wilkes joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in August 2018. She came to DCALF with a strong commitment to helping others utilize the law to achieve justice.
Prior to law school, Courtney lived and worked in southwest China. She is proficient in Mandarin. Courtney earned her B.A. in East Asian Studies and Human Rights at Barnard College, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
At Georgetown, Courtney served as a student attorney in The Community Justice Project legal clinic. Beyond her clinical experience, Courtney served on the boards of student organizations focusing on reproductive rights and migrant rights, and she was a member of the Student Bar Association. She received the Dean’s Certificate in recognition of special and outstanding service to the Georgetown Law Community.
As a Public Interest Fellow, Courtney spent her law school summers interning at community organizations dedicated to immigrant youth, human trafficking survivors, and consumers facing debt collection and other financial issues. She earned Exceptional Pro Bono Recognition for providing 284 hours of pro bono services to individuals and organizations during law school.
Josette M. Barsano, Associate
Josette joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in September 2019. She came to the firm with a passion for advocating on behalf of marginalized groups to minimize the access to justice gap. Josette has a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, a M.Ed. in Special Education from Arizona State University, and a B.A. in Art History and Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University. She is currently pursuing her LL.M in Civil Justice from Georgetown.
Prior to law school, Josette taught children with special needs in a Title I school district as a Teach For America Corps Member. In designing and implementing students’ individualized education plans, she was struck by the widespread lack of understanding of legal rights, as well as the unique difficulties low-income individuals face in acquiring legal representation. In working closely with her students, their families, and school personnel to overcome these challenges, she developed a keen awareness of the critical role advocates serve in protecting the most vulnerable in our society. Her experience as a special educator cemented her desire to practice law with the goal of defending the rights of under-represented individuals.
During law school, Josette continued her commitment to public interest work. She was the Editor in Chief of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, and a member of Georgetown’s Pro Bono Advisory Board. Josette also participated in a wide variety of litigation internships. She worked as a judicial intern for Chief Judge G. Murray Snow of the United States District Court of Arizona and the Honorable Robert Okun of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Josette also worked as a law clerk for the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia, and as a trial intern for New York Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice. She further developed her litigation and client counseling skills as a student attorney in Georgetown’s Civil Rights Clinic. At graduation, Josette was recognized as a Special Pro Bono Pledge Honoree for providing over 100 hours of pro bono services to individuals and organizations during law school.
William A. Cox, Associate
William Cox is a current law fellow with the DC Affordable Law Firm. William is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, focusing much if his academic study on child welfare and civil justice. Upon graduation, William completed the requirements to become a Public Interest Fellow and was a recipient of the Tutorial Program Award. William also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Communication Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
During law school, William dedicated himself to child welfare policy and juvenile justice by working at several non-profit organizations and government agencies such as the Prince George’s County Office of the Public Defender, Advocates for Justice and Education, The Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Children’s Law Center, and the Children’s Defense Fund. Most recently, William participated in the Georgetown University Law Center’s Domestic Violence Clinic, where he represented victims of domestic violence pursuing civil protection orders in DC Superior Court.
William also served as a board member and President of the Georgetown Gilbert and Sullivan Society, in which he helped produce and perform in various musical theater productions. He continues to be an active member of the organization.
During college, William was a competitor on the Forensics (Speech and Debate) team, earning multiple state, regional, and national awards in various public speaking events.
Clayton G. Davis, Associate
Clayton Davis joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in September 2019. Clayton came to DCALF with a background in asylum and immigration law. At DCALF, he primarily represents clients in immigration and family law matters.
Clayton earned his B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in International Relations and Plan II Honors, an interdisciplinary arts and science honors major with a core curriculum. While at the University of Texas, Clayton interned with the International Refugee Committee’s refugee resettlement office in Dallas, Texas.
In 2019, Clayton earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. During his time at Georgetown, Clayton focused much of his work on human rights and criminal justice. As an intern with the Public Defender Service’s Parole Division, Clayton defended people at their parole revocation hearings. He also helped edit the Georgetown Law Journal Annual Review of Criminal Procedure as a research assistant. As a third-year law student, Clayton served as a student attorney in Georgetown’s asylum clinic, the Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS). He also spent a summer interning with the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas, where he assisted detained women and children as they prepared for their credible fear interviews.
Lela N. Prichett, Associate
Lela joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in September 2019 to pursue her passion in bridging the access to justice gap. At DCALF, she represents clients in Family, Immigration, and Probate matters.
Lela graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts is Psychological and Brain Sciences, and a minor in Religion and Politics. The summer after graduation, Lela served as a Legal Intern at the Missouri Department of Higher Education, and then moved to DC to attend Georgetown Law.
At Georgetown, Lela served as an Opportunity Scholar and studied abroad at the National University of Singapore. She completed judicial internships in the Los Angeles Superior Court Civil Division and in the DC Superior Court Domestic Relations Branch, and interned at Aoun & Boone, PC, a boutique Family Law Firm in Virginia. Lela also competed internationally as a member of Georgetown’s Alternate Dispute Resolution Team, and served on the executive board for the Black Law Students’ Association. Lela graduated from Georgetown Law in 2019 and was recognized as a Special Pro Bono Pledge Honoree for providing over 100 hours of pro bono services to individuals and organizations across the country. Lela is currently pursuing her LL.M. from Georgetown Law in Civil Justice.
Molly E. Thornton, Associate
Molly Thornton joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in September 2019 with a background in education and civil rights.
Molly graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 with a B.A. in Geography and Sociology. After college, she taught Kindergarten and Second Grade at Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Elementary School in New York City. During this time, she also earned her M.S. in Education from Brooklyn College.
Molly’s experiences in the classroom motivated her to attend Georgetown University Law Center, where she focused primarily on education and civil rights. During law school, she interned with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, National Center for Youth Law, and Southern Poverty Law Center. On campus, Molly served as a legal research and writing fellow, constitutional law research assistant, and member of the Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law and Policy. She also participated as a student-attorney in Georgetown’s Civil Rights Clinic.
Molly graduated from Georgetown Law in 2019. She received the Dean’s Certificate for outstanding service to the Georgetown community.
Samuel P. Wilkins, Associate
Samuel Wilkins joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in September 2019. He came to DCALF with a deep academic interest in access to justice theory, and a commitment to implementing access to justice ideals on the ground. At DCALF, he focuses on Family Law, Probate, and Immigration Law.
Samuel graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center. While in law school, he served as the Senior Notes Editor of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. His prior legal experience was primarily focused on education law, interning for organizations like the National School Boards Association, US Department of Education Office of the General Counsel, and Advocates for Justice and Education. He received Special Pro Bono Pledge Recognition for his 119 hours of pro bono service during law school, which he spent working on projects that ranged from staffing an election protection hotline to writing an analysis on the interaction between childhood trauma and court involvement for the Georgetown Center for Child and Human Development.
Samuel also received his Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University, where he graduated magna cum laude, double majoring in Government (focusing on Political Theory) and Theology (focusing on Religious Ethics).
Holly Pannullo, Office and Operations Manager
Holly Pannullo joined the DC Affordable Law Firm in November 2015 as the Office and Operations Manager. She earned her B.A. in Mathematics from Vassar College and her M.E. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. After working for 10 years in the software industry, she took a career break to raise her three children who are now teenagers. Holly is responsible for a variety of tasks to support DCALF.
Karen Reyes, Legal Assistant
Karen joined the firm in August 2019. Prior to coming to DCALF, she worked as a paralegal for a law firm in Washington, DC.
Karen earned her B.A. from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD, where she studied Government and Politics. In addition to translation work, Karen has done volunteer interpreting in a variety of settings including asylum interviews and neighborhood clinics. She is fluent in Spanish.