JAC Staff and Team Members

JAC's mission and goals are accomplished by full time staff, contract attorneys, volunteers, and collaborations with partners like Southeast Louisiana Legal Services and First 72+. It often takes a village to accomplish the seemingly impossible, but with assorted teams, the impossible becomes a reality. Below you will see JAC's team members who make the impossible possible everyday.

Vanessa Spinazola - Executive Director


Vanessa is a dedicated, passionate, and consistent advocate with nearly twenty years of building, managing, and obtaining funding for programs designed to create social impact. Prior to joining JAC, Vanessa served as a facilitator for the Greater New Orleans Funders Network’s Coastal Communities Action Table. She also was the resident grant writer at Converge and the Legislative & Advocacy Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, where she connected people to policy at state and local levels, protecting and achieving gains in criminal, reproductive, immigrant, and voting justice. Upon returning to Louisiana, she served as Chief of Staff to New Orleans City Councilmember Susan Guidry, co-founded a social justice government relations firm, and worked as a public defender in Jefferson Parish. Vanessa has been involved in the founding of several organizations including a Seattle grassroots education and advocacy organization with immigrant survivors of intimate partner abuse, and both the Employment Law Program at The Pro Bono Project and the Workplace Justice Project at the Loyola Law Clinic, where she represented low-wage and immigrant workers in state and federal cases, as well as litigation in support of worker organizing. While a county coordinator for dislocated worker services in western Washington, she served as President of her AFSCME local. 

Vanessa earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish Literature from Whitman College and her Juris Doctor from Loyola University New Orleans. While at Loyola, she engaged thousands of students from around the country in the post-Katrina recovery through co-founding the Student Hurricane Network and was acknowledged for her work in the Clinic with an Outstanding Student Award. After serving on the Board of Directors for the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, she served in the role of Interim Executive Director, where she merged the organization with the US Center for Climate Law & Policy, a project of the US Human Rights Network. She also has ten years of hosting, bartending, and waitressing experience and is a certified indoor cycling instructor.

Shametria Gonzales - Community Organizer


Shametria is the Community Organizer for Justice  and Accountability Center in New Orleans La. She is the Founder of the FORWARD reentry project assisting women that have recently been released from prison to connect them with resources, mentorship, and advocacy during their transition back into society. Shametria is also a transformational speaker that helps Women and Children  to redevelop themselves after dealing with trauma. Before starting her own business Spiritually Connected, Shametria worked as a Rape Prevention Educator for the New Orleans Family Justice Center, Became a facilitator for the Teen Sex and the Law program for the Children's Advocacy Center, A Medical Advocate for University Hospital assisting victims of sexual assault, and co-authored a book with her 9 year old daughter in order to raise awareness on the effects of childhood trauma, titled The Reflection Eyes See. After a successful career in being an educator, presenter, and activist, Shametria now uses her story as a platform to inspire others. She spent her entire 20s going to conferences, volunteering, reading books, and finding the best mentors in order to help her redevelop herself.  Now she uses all the knowledge and wisdom she obtained from mentors and survivors over the years in order to put on workshops and presentations to inspire her audience to move into massive action, and change. She believes the only way to change the world is to first change yourself. Her passion and purpose in life is to make sure not one person feels alone or unworthy of a safe and healthy relationship. 

Ebonee Rhodes Norris - Expungement Team Shreveport


Ebonee Rhodes Norris is the founding partner of The Norris Law Group, LLC, where she practices in the areas of personal injury, criminal law, succession and probate law.  Norris is also a certified mediator.  Norris is a member of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Shreveport Bar Association, the Bossier Parish Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the Louisiana State Bar Association. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, from Louisiana State University in Shreveport; and earned her Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.  Norris is a frequent presenter in the areas of expungements and personal injury.

To reach The Norris Law Group, email ENorris@attorneynorris.com or call (318) 771-7000. 

Cherie Teamer - Re-Entry Attachment Docket Attorney


Cherie Teamer is a graduate of Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication with minors in African and African American Studies and Political Science. She is JAC's contract attorney for our Re-Entry Attachment Docket program, assisting formerly incarcerated people in Orleans Parish with reducing and eliminating excessive traffic fines, fees, and attachments.

After graduating from Louisiana State University Cherie started working in Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s Office of Communication. Working for the Mayor in his first term was an amazing opportunity that gave her much needed guidance in determining that she wanted to make impacting public policy part of her career.

Cherie attended Tulane University Law School where she received her JD among other distinctions.


The opportunity to work for Senator Mary Landrieu’s campaign arose during the end of Cherie’s time in law school and gave her the chance to work directly with people across the State of Louisiana.

Cherie operates Teamer Law Corp, LLC, a solo family, real estate, and personal injury practice. Many of her clients need legal services and cannot pay large amounts upfront and alternatives need to be present. Cherie gives clients options for flexible payment plans to help them get the representation they need.​


To contact Teamer Law, email cherie@teamerlaw.com. 

Dominique Lang Verner - Family Law Contract Attorney


Dominique Lang Verner is the managing attorney of Lang Law, LLC. She represents a diverse group of clients in civil litigation and criminal matters with an emphasis on family law, personal injury, wills & successions, and dui/dwi defense.  Dominique earned her Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University's Paul M. Hebert Law Center, and her BBA - Economics from Southeastern Louisiana University.  She holds memberships in several professional and civic organizations, including the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association, the American Association of Notaries, the Independent Women's Organization, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

To contact Lang Law, Dial Dominique 504.355.8454 or email Dominique.l@langlawco.com.

Sarah Whittington - Staff Attorney


Sarah Whittington joins JAC as a full-time staff attorney focused on reducing the collateral consequences of criminal records and assisting clients re-entering our communities from incarceration. Prior to joining JAC, Sarah worked as a staff attorney with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services for two and a half years. She started as an eviction diversion attorney in the Housing Unit before moving into a full-time position with the Employment and Public Benefits unit. Her practice focused on benefits denials and cessations in addition to unemployment and wage claim matters. Through grant funding, she also provided outreach and civil legal services to Opportunity Youth living in Orleans Parish who were trying to overcome barriers created by criminal records and provided expungement services.

Originally from Media, Pennsylvania, Sarah is a 2015 graduate of Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law. Prior to law school, Sarah taught 4th and 8th grade English/Language Arts and Reading in East Feliciana Parish. She received her B.A. in History from Connecticut College in 2006.

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