Susan Stewart, Board Chair
Susan Chervellera-Stewart joined the Board in 2013 and currently serves as Board Chair. She retired as a Court Services Manager from Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, in 2011. Her management experience includes more than 24 years in court operations, including the areas of domestic violence and family law. Ms. Chervellera-Stewart has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from San Jose State University.
Larisa Meisenheimer, Internal Committee Chair
Larisa Meisenheimer, Esq., is the Chair of FVLC’s Internal Committee, and has served as a member of the Board since 2013. She is a partner at Shartsis Friese LLP and primarily handles litigation of complex financial disputes. She also worked in the District Attorney’s Office in Multnomah County (Portland, OR) where she prosecuted assault cases involving domestic abuse. Ms. Meisenheimer has a J.D. from Stanford University and a B.A. from Pomona College.
Janelle Smith, Secretary
Janelle M. Smith is FVLC’s Secretary and has served on the board since 2015. She is an attorney in the Natural Resources Law Section of the California Attorney General’s Office. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General, Ms. Smith worked in private practice and assisted pro bono clients with obtaining asylum on domestic violence grounds. Ms. Smith has a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Patrick Bengtsson is recently retired from the Clorox Company in Oakland, at Clorox he was Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property and International. Prior to joining The Clorox Company in 2003 he was Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at TheraSense, Inc. in Alameda. Mr. Bengtsson has worked closely with the Family Violence Law Center since 2007 as a volunteer attorney representing FVLC clients at restraining order hearings. He holds a J.D. degree from the University of San Diego School of Law and Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Berkeley.
Mark Danis is Vice President – Associate General Counsel at The Clorox Company. His responsibilities include the oversight of U.S. litigation, regulatory, marketing, privacy, and cyber security. Prior to joining Clorox, Mark practiced for 25 years as a civil litigator with Morrison & Foerster LLP, where he also worked on pro bono cases involving foster care, tenants’ rights, and sexual orientation discrimination. Mark received his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law, and his undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley.
Michelle Gillette is a partner at Crowell & Moring, where her practice focuses on commercial litigation and class actions. She has enjoyed representing clients in many pro bono matters, and is actively involved in the Family Violence Law Center as a volunteer attorney representing FVLC clients at restraining order hearings. She also performs pro bono work regarding violations of civil rights. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law, and a B.S. from the University of Texas in Austin.
Stephen Knight brings three decades of experience as an advocate for social justice, both in law and policy advocacy. Stephen currently is the Policy & Partnerships Director with Alameda County Community Food Bank. His professional career includes work on the intersection of women’s rights, refugee law and immigration law as Deputy Director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. He has also worked in affordable housing and the environment with the National Housing Law Project and Save the Bay, A native San Franciscan, Stephen is a graduate of Yale University and U.C. Hastings College of the Law
David Wallach is a partner at Jones Day, where his practice focuses on international commercial arbitration, international civil litigation and complex civil litigation. Dave has represented clients in many pro bono matters, including cases involving domestic violence and federal civil right violations. He has a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and a B.A. from Colorado College.
Mujdah Rahim is the owner/principal attorney at the Law Office of Mujdah Rahim. She exclusively practices family law and assists families transition after the family dynamic has changed. Mujdah has worked closely with the Family Law Center since 2011. Mujdah received her J.D. from Widener University School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from U.C. Davis.