Our People


Our staff

Illinois Legal Aid Online's staff members are committed to innovation, simplifying the law and legal processes, and using technology to help people solve their legal problems more easily. We are a diverse group that includes lawyers, techies, fundraisers, and nonprofit professionals.

Karla Baldwin
Karla supports ILAO by managing its office operations, human resources functions and supporting staff. She has held previous positions as a QA Tester and Project Manager and served as a Health Volunteer in the Peace Corps in Mauritania, West Africa. She has one daughter and one yorkie.
Nicole Capretta
Legal Answers Program Manager
Nicole recruits and supports the volunteer lawyers who answer legal questions posted by lower income clients on the secure website, IL.freelegalanswers.org. Nicole is a graduate of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and has devoted her legal career to working with people who would not otherwise have access to legal help.
Chris Swope Cholewa
Development Director
As Development Director, Chris leads ILAO’s fundraising efforts by managing grants, events, giving, and strategic alliances. Chris has more than 25 years of experience with nonprofits creating engaging relationships, building upon organizational strengths, and developing long-term sustainability. Chris is active in her hometown of Lombard, and is on the Board of Directors of Lombard Town Centre.
Amy Clark
Community Engagement Manager
As Community Engagement Manager, Amy directs ILAO’s marketing, outreach, training, and support to ILAO's members and partner organizations to ensure they are effectively using ILAO's products and services. She received her AM from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and her JD from Emory University School of Law. Amy lives in Chicago's #1 neighborhood, Logan Square.
Gwen Daniels
Software Product Director
Gwen is ILAO's Software Product Director and has been with ILAO since 2004. She is the product owner for IllinoisLegalAid.org and leads our technology team to ensure our technology environment meets the needs of users and aligns with the organization’s strategic goals. Gwen is a full-stack Drupal developer, has a B.B.A, and is a graduate of DePaul University's College of Law.
Jessica Gavlin
Finance Director
As the Finance Director, Jessica oversees all areas of accounting and financial management for ILAO. Jessica was most recently a Senior Accounting Analyst at Tenneco, Inc. in the SEC Reporting and Consolidations group and a Senior Audit Associate at Crowe Horwath. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with an MS in Accounting in 2006.
Maureen Jouhet
Content Director
A hard-core content strategy evangelist, creative professional who is energized by the possibilities of technology, Maureen understands the importance of putting in time upfront to save time in the long run to make websites as frustration-free as possible. Maureen speaks French, lived in France for a number of years before returning to Chicago with her husband and two boys.
Aileen Macariola
User Experience Research Coordinator
As User Experience Research Coordinator, Aileen assists with ILAO's user research efforts including user research design, planning and execution. Before joining ILAO, Aileen worked at Grubhub, where she worked in restaurant care while running SLICE, the company's internal restaurant and test environment. Aileen holds an MS degree in Human Computer Interaction from DePaul University.
Clare McKinley
Content Improvement and Promotion Coordinator
Clare helps to promote ILAO's content as well as to coordinate volunteer legal writers. Originally from Wisconsin, she graduated from UW-Madison in 2016 with a degree in English literature. When she's not in the office, Clare likes to play her violin and eat cheese curds.
Matt Newsted
Automated Documents Producer
As Automated Documents Producer, Matt creates and supports ILAO's guided interviews and automated forms. After getting a J.D. from DePaul College of Law, he worked for 3 years as staff attorney at LAF. He then spent 11 years doing IT support at Northwestern University, where he earned an M.S. in Computer Information Systems. Matt enjoys exploring and building worlds in Minecraft with his daughter.
Dennis Rios
Content Manager
As Content Manager, Dennis manages ILAO's legal resources and outreach efforts to low-income, LEP and immigrant communities in Illinois. Dennis has served these communities as a passionate advocate throughout his legal career. He holds a J.D. from Mexico and a Master of Law from the University of Georgia School of Law. Dennis is an international rugby player and classically trained guitarist.
Teri Ross
Interim Executive Director
After a decade at ILAO, mostly as its Program Director, Teri took the helm as Interim Executive Director in May 2018. She continues to foster strategic partnerships with local and national leaders and groups, pursue innovations, and lead development of new and transformed products and services. She also leads ILAO's team of 16 members and hundreds of volunteers, including its Board of Directors.
Andrew Sharp
Content Manager
As a Content Manager, Andrew helps oversee the content ILAO publishes on the web. Previously, Andrew was a Co-Supervising Manager at the Chicago-Kent Self-Help Web Center, and a Chicago Bar Foundation intern at the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS). He holds a BA from Indiana University and a JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Kyra Smalls
LiveHelp Program Coordinator
As LiveHelp Program Coordinator, Kyra recruits, provides support, and manages LiveHelp volunteers who give people assistance navigating the website and getting the information they need. Originally from Ohio, Kyra earned a B.A. from Ohio State University where she majored in International Relations and Diplomacy, and minored in Japanese. She is an avid tea drinker and loves traveling.
Tevin Williams
Livehelp Program Coordinator
As LiveHelp Program Coordinator, Tevin provides support and manages the LiveHelp volunteers that give people assistance navigating the website and getting the information they need. Tevin earned a B.A. from Northeastern Illinois University where he was a double major in Justice Studies and Political Science. He is an avid sports fan and political enthusiast.