Meet The 2024 Fellows
Lauren is an associate attorney with Sanchez Fischer Levine, LLP, where she practices commercial litigation and general civil litigation. She has served in leadership positions for various organizations since she first started practicing law nearly five years ago. She has served as a committee chair for the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (both for the statewide organization and the Miami-Dade Chapter), and she is the President-Elect of the Miami-Dade Bar, Young Lawyers Section. She also serves as a Guardian Ad Litem within the State of Florida. Ms. Allen earned her law degree from the American University Washington College of Law, where she graduated cum laude and served on the Law Review and in the Mock Trial Honor Society. She has been honored with the 2023 40 Under 40 Award by the Miami-Dade Bar, Young Lawyers Section, and the 2023 Rising Star Award by MDFAWL.
Yesenia serves as a staff attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, working in the organization’s eviction unit. She has dedicated her legal career to public service and pro bono advocacy projects, spending over five years working as lead attorney for the Domestic Violence Project with Dade Legal Aid and five years as Deputy Director with CABA Pro Bono, managing pro bono matters for a team of attorneys. She earned her law degree from the St. Thomas University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Florida International University. Ms. Arocha is deeply committed to identifying advancement opportunities for minority women within the South Florida legal community.
Katsi earned her law degree from the City University of New York School of Law. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico and lived in New York before she moved to Florida 16 years ago. Ms. Colon is very knowledgeable in the media and entertainment industry. She is Vice-President of Business and Legal Affairs in the Global Entertainment Division at TelevisaUnivision, managing an international team of attorneys. As the oldest of four daughters, Ms. Colon had early lessons in being a leader and developing supportive and meaningful friendships. Her core values are integrity, loyalty, and accountability. Ms. Colon aspires to improve her leadership skills while mentoring other women and advocating for resources to enhance the lives of communities of color in South Florida. Ms. Colon earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Michaèl's Déborah Saint-Vil
Michaèl’s obtained her law degree from St. Thomas University (STU) Benjamin Crump College of Law. In law school, Ms. Saint-Vil advised the United Nations for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on maritime law issues. She competed in STU’s International Moot Court and contributed to the Intercultural Human Rights Law Review. Ms. Saint-Vil was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Haiti. She currently serves as Immigration Services Manager at Miami-Dade County’s Office of New Americans , and she is a Supervising Attorney at Catholic Legal Services, Archdiocese of Miami, where she is an ardent advocate for victims, refugees, and asylum seekers. In addition to her community service, her other interests include cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family. Ms. Saint-Vil earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a minor in History, from Oakwood University.
Karina earned a Juris Doctor and Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She is the Chief People Officer and General Counsel at Ironhack. She founded the Ironhack Women in Tech Collective, an initiative focused on raising awareness of the gender gap. Ms. DuQuesne has extensive experience advising high-growth tech companies and investment firms on how to scale and make opportunistic acquisitions. She is a member of the Cuba Study Group, has been recognized by the Daily Business Review as Counsel on the Rise, and has received the Attorney Ad Litem Award for Lawyers for Children America. She is also an angel investor. She enjoys playing the piano, reading, and gardening in her spare time. Ms. DuQuesne obtained a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sanite has been practicing law for approximately five years and works for Roig Lawyers in Deerfield Beach, Florida. In addition to her work as a civil litigator, Ms. Ermat has worked as an adjunct professor at Broward College and Everglades University. She has been a panelist on several significant presentations for the Urban League of Broward County and the Florida Department of Health. She has spoken as a panelist on The Intersection of Black Lives and Immigration Law with the University of California, Davis. Ms. ermat earned her law degree cum laude from the University of Miami and her Bachelor of Arts Degree magna cum laude from the University of South Florida. Ms. Ermat is fluent in Creole and a proud first-generation immigrant, dedicated to enhancing the South Florida community through her service.
Liana works as an Assistant Public Defender, practicing criminal defense work in Miami, Florida. Ms. Matthews has been heavily involved in various volunteer activities with MDFAWL for over a decade, serving as a chair for the Website Committee, the Elections Committee, and the Government and Nonprofit Attorney Liaison Committee. She also serves as Secretary of the Florida Bar Criminal Procedure Rules Committee and chairs one of the Florida Bar’s grievance committees. Ms. Matthews earned her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism from Florida Atlantic University. During law school, Ms. Matthews dedicated time to various vital causes and was tapped into the Iron Arrow Honor Society, awarded the Roger Sorino Award, and received the distinction of the Order of Barristers.
Alexa is a University of Miami (UM) School of Law graduate. As a law student, Mrs. Philossaint received the Outstanding Public Interest scholarship. She earned a Public Service award for her work on UM’s Oral History Project on Coconut Grove’s Black community. Mrs. Philossaint is passionate about helping families and works as a Family Law Staff Attorney for Dade Legal Aid Put Something Back. She graduated from Class VII in the 2022–2023 Dade Legal Aid Leadership Academy. She is the Secretary of the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association and a member of the Haitian Lawyers Association. Mrs. Philossaint obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and African Studies, with a minor in Child Psychology, from the University of Miami.
Brittney graduated with honors from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law (NSU). She was born and raised in New York and moved to Florida to attend college. As a law student, while working, Mrs. Polo was a member of NSU's Law Review, Moot Court, and Trial Association. She is living out her lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer as an Associate Attorney in the Casualty Litigation section at RumbergerKirk. Mrs. Polo loves going to theme parks, listening to audiobooks/podcasts, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends in her spare time. Mrs. Polo received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with a minor in International Relations, from Florida International University.
Sylvie is Senior Associate General Counsel with Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During her years as an attorney, she has served in various leadership positions for GSCBWLA, most recently serving on the Board of Directors. Ms. Rampal is dedicated to community service and has worked with the Legal Aid Service of Broward County, the New York City Housing Development Corporation, and the ALM Triumph Center. She has provided a host of pro bono services and community services, such as immigration legal assistance, to those in need. Ms. Rampal is a proud first-generation college graduate. She earned her law degree from the Columbia University School of Law and her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida, where she attended the university's Honors College and was a Presidential Scholar.
Emily is a native Miamian, graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. While in law school, Ms. Selig was a Tutor for the Legal Writing department and a Junior Editor for the Children's Legal Rights Journal. In addition, she was involved in the Jewish United Fund's Young Professionals Division, where she networked with other professionals in the Jewish community. Mrs. Selig recently returned home to Miami and is an Associate Attorney in the Labor and Employment Law division at Littler Mendelson P.C. Mrs. Selig enjoys bonding with her niece and nephew in her spare time, engaging in outdoor sports, such as pickleball and paddleboarding, and rediscovering Miami's burgeoning restaurant scene. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Florida International University.
Marguerite ("Maggie") Snyder
Maggie works with the City of Miami, Office of the City Attorney, Litigation and Appeals Division. She dedicates her practice to civil litigation, covering commercial, municipal, and constitutional law. Over the last 10 years, Ms. Snyder has dedicated time to MDFAWL's Mentorship Committee, and she has also served as Board Secretary and a member of the Board of Directors with the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment in Miami since 2010. Ms. Snyder also serves as Board Vice President for the Ada Merritt K-8 Center school. Ms. Snyder earned her law degree from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana, where she made the Dean's List and served on the Law Review. Ms. Snyder earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University. Ms. Snyder hopes to work as a team to facilitate women lawyers' ascension into leadership roles and to help uplift minority women within the South Florida legal community.
Elizabeth is a senior associate at Bryant Taylor Law in Plantation, Florida. She is an active member of MDFAWL and has committed herself to various community service activities over the years. She was a mentor for the FIU Negotiation and Mediation Team, a volunteer judge with the National Forensic League, and a team captain for a mock trial team. She earned her law degree and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida International University. Ms. Tavaras is passionate about mentoring and hopes to work with her colleagues on strengthening oral advocacy skills in the courtroom and beyond.
Emmanuella Annette Telfort
Emmanuella is an attorney with Universal Property and Casualty Insurance. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida. Emmanuella attended Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for her undergraduate studies. While at FAU, she was an Orientation and Welcome Leader and a member of Caribbean clubs. She takes advantage of opportunities to serve by attending missionary trips to Haiti. Emmanuella graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communications and a minor in Political Science. Next, Emmanuella attended Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While in law school, she was an editor for the Journal of Race, Gender, and Poverty. Also, Emmanuella worked as a judicial extern, a Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus fellow, and a Louisiana Legislative Women's Caucus assistant. Emmanuella was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2017. Emmanuella is the current treasurer of the Haitian Lawyers Association (HLA) and served two years as a director for HLA. In her spare time, Emmanuella enjoys serving at her church, visiting art museums, and spending time with her family and friends.