Michael Kagan, Director
Prof. Kagan is a noted scholar of international refugee law and immigrant rights in the United States. Before coming to Boyd in 2011, Prof. Michael Kagan spent 10 years building legal aid programs for refugees throughout the Middle East and Asia. In addition to directing the UNLV Immigration Clinic, he has consulted on hundreds of criminal cases involving non-citizens with the Clark County Public Defender. Visit Prof. Kagan's faculty page for more about his scholarship and teaching.
Alissa Cooley, Managing Attorney
Alissa A. Cooley is the UNLV Immigration Clinic’s managing attorney and leads our off-campus Community Advocacy Office. A native Nevadan, she completed her undergraduate degree at UNLV and graduated cum laude from Boyd in 2014. After law school, she became one of the first two justice AmeriCorps (jAC) fellows at the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic, effectively jump-starting the growth of the Immigration Clinic as a legal aid provider. Over two years as a jAC fellow, she represented over one hundred children, ages two to sixteen, who entered the U.S. without a parent or guardian, in their immigration court proceedings. This work later evolved into the Edward M. Bernstein & Associates Children’s Rights Program (2017-2021) and then the Community Advocacy Office (2022-). Ms. Cooley practiced immigration and criminal law in private practice from 2016 to 2021 and co-taught UNLV’s Policing and Protest Clinic in 2021, before returning to Boyd full-time to lead the Community Advocacy Office. She is a member of the Lt. Governor’s Keep Nevada Working Task Force. Ms. Cooley was named Nevada's Top Lawyers for 2022 by Vegas Inc.
Melissa Corral, Staff Attorney
Melissa Corral joined the Community Advocacy Office as Staff Attorney in June 2022. Prior to coming to the CAO, she worked at Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada for four years, where she developed expertise in immigration and family law. She was a law clerk to the Honorable Linda Marquis in the Family Division of the Clark County Eighth Judicial District Court and a student attorney at the UNLV Immigration Clinic. Raised in Durango, Mexico, and a native Spanish speaker, she earned her undergraduate and law degrees from UNLV. She currently is President of the William S. Boyd School of Law Alumni Chapter, V.P. of Outreach of the Nevada Latino Bar Association, and Treasurer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) in Nevada. Ms. Corral was named among the 2022 Top Rank Attorneys by the Nevada Business Magazine.
Leslie Joya, Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow
Leslie Joya brings several years of personal and professional experience with the immigration legal system to the Clinic. Originally from Sinaloa, Mexico, her resilience and commitment to public service stem from growing up undocumented in Los Angeles and witnessing the systemic injustice that migrants face. After graduating from Harvard University, she worked providing legal services to immigrants in New York, Texas, and California. While at UCLA School of Law, she worked with various organizations serving unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, detained immigrants, and migrants stranded in Tijuana, Mexico under MPP. She is an abolitionist and aims to help her clients survive, thrive, and access justice.
Aubrey Maples, University Legal Services Fellow
Before entering the legal profession, Aubrey Maples spent 15 years as an educator. Her background in teaching first focused on supporting first-generation and non-traditional students as they navigated higher education at both community college and university. She has worked in community-based education and victim advocacy in Appalachia. She graduated summa cum laude from the Duncan School of Law at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee with recognition for her commitment to service to the community and the school. She collaboratively developed a series of virtual lunch and learn opportunities that discussed the intersection of equity, justice, diversity and the legal profession. Her goal in life is to work to make things more fair.
Martha Arellano, Office Manager (Community Advocacy Office)
Martha Arellano is originally from Los Angeles, California, where she grew up speaking English and Spanish. Ms. Arellano's love of language led her to expand on her formal English education to also study Spanish and French. She is a twenty-seven year resident of Las Vegas, Nevada and former UNLV engineering student, where she maintained a 4.0 GPA. In 2014, Ms. Arellano began working at the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic and was instrumental in the implementation of the AmeriCorps program for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children, the predecessor of the Edward M. Bernstein and Associates Children's Rights Program, and now the Community Advocacy Office. She has served as an interpreter, translator, administrative assistant, and legal secretary. She has been described as the program's "heart and soul,” and was promoted as the Community Advocacy Office’s first Office Manager in 2022.
David G. Blitzer, Esq.
David G. Blitzer joined the Community Advocacy Office as an Immigrant Justice Corps Justice Fellow in September 2022. Originally from New Jersey, he graduated with undergraduate degrees in English and Russian from Williams College in 2010. For eight years, he worked as a middle and high school English teacher in Boston, Massachusetts, working predominantly with the children of immigrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He later attended New York University School of Law, where he was a Notes Editor for the New York University Law Review and graduated magna cum laude in May 2022. He speaks Spanish proficiently and is particularly interested in the intersection of criminal law and immigration law.