Our Team

Terry Lawson & Rebecca Press

Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors

Terry Lawson is a well-known leader in the immigration advocacy and anti-violence community, Terry has represented hundreds of people seeking safety for the past two decades. Her community lawyering approach to overcoming systemic barriers to self-determination coupled with her extensive experience providing and expanding access to direct legal services have inspired her to co-create Co-Counsel NYC.
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Following law school, Terry was a litigation associate with Sidley Austin LLP, where she handled pro bono immigration and family law cases and externed with Her Justice, representing women in family law matters. She spent the next eleven years of her public interest legal career in the Bronx office of Legal Services NYC, where she led the Family and Immigration Unit for six years, supervising a team of fourteen lawyers, paralegals, and social workers. While at Bronx Legal Services, she chaired the Bronx Domestic Violence Roundtable and co-founded the Bronx Immigration Partnership, a consortium of community-based organizations providing legal and social services for Bronx immigrants, where she remains on the Steering Committee. In 2015, Terry was appointed to the New York State Unified Court System Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court, where she has served for over eight years. Through her work with the ICE Out of Courts Coalition and as the Supervising Policy Attorney at the Immigrant Defense Project, Terry championed the rights of immigrants to attend court without fear of being arrested by ICE and helped New York secure a court rule, a federal and legislation stopping the practice. Following passage of the Protect Our Courts Act in 2020, Terry served for three years as the Executive Director of UnLocal, where she oversaw approximately 2200 legal matters, 200 social work cases, and over 280 community events, reaching more than 40,000 people online and in-person. She also co-created the Pro Se Plus Project to assist recent arrivals through community education and pro se assistance. Terry is the recipient of the NYC Bar Association’s Legal Services Award and the Hostos Advocacy Award and has been recognized by the 15th Congressional District of the United States, the Bronx Borough President, and the NYC Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. She has authored and co-authored numerous publications, including Safeguarding the Integrity of Our CourtsDenied Disappeared and Deported and “More People to Listen”: Legal and Social Services Needs of Bronx Communities Affected by Intimate Partner Violence. A graduate of Yale College, Terry has a Masters in Public Policy from from the Harvard Kennedy School and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

Rebecca Press is a distinguished immigration attorney recognized for her legal expertise and unwavering commitment to supporting community-centered advocacy efforts. With over a decade of experience, she champions her clients’ causes and actively supports communities through education, advocacy, and legal support. Rebecca has represented hundreds of clients in various immigration matters before the Immigration Courts and Board of Immigration Appeals. She has a robust practice before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals where she litigates complex areas of the law. Notable cases include Martinez de Artiga v. Barr, 961 F.3d 586 (2d Cir. 2020) (oral argument), Castro Perez v. Wilkinson, 833 Fed Appx. 913 (2d Cir. 2022) (oral argument), and Pucha Quituizaca v. Garland, 52 F.4th 103 (2d Cir. 2022) (oral argument). 
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Rebecca played an instrumental role in the creation and implementation of two ground-breaking programs expanding immigrants’ access to legal representation in New York State. The Rapid Response Legal Collaborative, launched in the Fall of 2019 and a first of its kind initiative, responds to the legal needs of people already ordered removed and at imminent risk of detention and/or removal. The Pro Se Plus Project, launched in January 2023, responds to the legal needs of the thousands of recently arrived migrants to New York. Both projects prioritize expanded access to legal representation and supporting communities through education. Under Rebecca’s leadership, UnLocal, where she was the Legal Director from May 2019 to September 2023, developed robust educational programs for directly impacted communities and their supporters. The programming ensures that the highest quality legal information is presented in the most accessible way, and has reached over 25,000 people thus far. Rebecca has distinguished herself through exceptional supervisory leadership, and her career is marked by her dedication to mentorship and the growth of legal professionals under her guidance. She has had the privilege of working closely with dozens of new advocates, training them to become fierce, compassionate, and client-centered practitioners, thereby extending her impact far beyond individual cases. She has also provided online seminars to thousands of attorneys, advocates, and community members, imparting her extensive knowledge of immigration law and practice. In May 2023, Rebecca was awarded an inaugural Nonprofit Trailblazers Award by the New York Nonprofit Media in recognition of her cutting edge representation of New York’s undocumented communities for over a decade. A graduate of Oberlin College, Rebecca received her JD from New York University’s School of Law.

Our Board of Directors

Alma Maradiaga is a passionate advocate for immigrant rights. Herself an immigrant, she knows the power of education, knowledge, and community, and she is committed to ensuring that all communities have access to the highest quality legal information possible.
Trinh Tran is a Senior Supervising Attorney at the International Refugee Assistance Project. She has provided direct legal representation and advocacy to support asylum seekers, refugees, migrants, and survivors of violence in both the United States and internationally. Her work is rooted in her own refugee and first generation American experience. Trinh is our Board co-Treasurer.
Jason Castillo is a beloved middle school teacher in the Bronx. Intimately aware of the challenges immigrant communities face in finding trustworthy legal advice and representation, Jason is excited to lend his voice, experience, and skills to Co-Counsel NYC, which aims to provide exactly that. Jason is our Board Secretary.