Our Team

We could not serve our mission without the support of a dedicated team. We recruited experienced and compassionate professionals who are fluent in Spanish and English. 

 

Jessica Stern, Managing Attorney

Jessica SternJessica Stern is a bright, spirited courtroom lawyer and a champion for justice. Blending years of experience as a public defender and an Associate Attorney with a well-respected federal criminal defense firm, Jessica founded STERN Law, LLC in 2013.

Built exclusively to protect non-U.S. citizens, STERN Law is the first 100% CrImmigration law firm in the nation.  Jessica and her carefully-selected team focus completely on the defense of non-U.S. citizens throughout an entire criminal case with protection from deportation consequences, fight against deportation in Immigration Court, and diligently pursue lawful status through applications for immigration benefits nationwide.

She ensures quality representation to those in need of a client-centered, compassionate, and no-nonsense legal team.   Despite common systematic and societal challenges, Jessica never takes lightly the responsibility to provide each and every person with respect and the best shot at winning. She is not afraid to push the envelope and challenge common practices in order to uphold and protect one’s constitutional rights and the basic principles of fairness. To that end, she is a firm believer that individuals are not defined by the worst thing they (may) have done in life.

Jessica values her courtroom experience, where she has litigated well over a thousand felony cases and complicated deportation trials. She has built skill through careful investigation and methodical research, strategic negotiations with the government, effective client communication, hundreds of motions arguments before various judges, and the willingness to force the government to prove its case at a jury trial. Jessica not only views success in the trials and motions she has won, but also in the dismissals and charge reductions, in arguments that change a judge’s view on a sentencing statute or evidentiary law, and most importantly in the overall satisfaction of the people she has represented.

Jessica is extremely knowledgeable about post-conviction relief options and enjoys counseling criminal defense attorneys through the Padilla Immigration Consequences analysis.

Jessica is admitted to the Bar in the State of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, and the Georgia Supreme Court. Jessica is also admitted to practice before the United States District Court in the Northern District of Georgia. Jessica was  appointed in 2014 to the Bar’s Judicial Selection & Tenure Committee and sits on the City of Atlanta Board of Ethics through 2018. She is the former Chair of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section Board (2014-2015) and served on the Board of the Women in the Profession Section from 2012-2014.  She’s an active member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), serving on the chapter’s ICE liaison committee for the past few years. Jessica has received the following awards:

2016 Georgia Super Lawyers Rising Star List; Georgia Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite (2015); National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDA); Top 10 Under 40 Award (2015); National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 lawyers (2013 and 2014); Avvo Superb Rated Attorney Award (2014) and Client’s Choice Award (2013).

Education

J.D., Northeastern University School of Law
B.A., University of Central Florida, magna cum laude

 

Laura Glass-Hess, Associate Attorney

Laura Glass-Hess

Laura Glass-Hess joined STERN Law in February 2017. She has worked passionately to protect the rights of the accused and vulnerable since graduating from UGA Law School in 2007.  Laura spent 8 years in Arizona, representing farmworkers on the U.S.-Mexico border and serving as a public defender in Phoenix,  where she consistently maintained a winning trial record. Through living and working in a county known for anti-immigrant policies, Laura saw the direct impact of brutal criminal laws and harsh immigration enforcement on families and communities. Laura has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and is committed to justice internationally.  She studied Spanish in Guatemala, worked in Peru with a non-profit that represents child victims of sexual violence, and trained Mexican attorneys in trial advocacy through a joint program of the Mexican government and the US Department of Justice. 

Laura moved back home to Georgia in 2016, where she serves as the vice-president of her community association in Atlanta and volunteers regularly with El Refugio, a ministry that provides hospitality to family members of immigrants detained in south Georgia.  Laura continued her work as a public defender in Atlanta before expanding her practice into CrImmigration defense where she now leverages her experience to strategically defend immigrants in difficult situations.

 

Javi Villalobos, Opportunity Advocate

Javi Villalobos is originally from Southern California, where he received a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Fullerton. He has significant law firm experience and is a certified Spanish interpreter. As our Opportunity Advocate, he talks with potential clients all day with a commitment to helping them see a brighter future – either through our help or a trusted colleague’s.

Javi’s main focus is to figure out how to solve the problem or need for every single potential new client who reaches out to STERN Law for help. He also takes the time to recommend a trusted referral if someone needs help with an area of law that we don’t practice – or even for a good handyman!  There is never a circumstance in which we cannot provide assistance.

“I have found a place where I can express both of my passions under one roof – with an attorney who shares the same passion and has the drive to help the same communities, and a staff who has walked the walk and fights for the people. This is a law firm where truly We Defend the American Dream® .”

Stephanie Avalos, Immigration Paralegal

Stephanie Avalos works closely with our clients who pursue immigration benefits. She is serious about ensuring that every client knows their case is important to us and that every client stays informed. Stephanie carefully monitors each case and makes sure the attorneys can stay focused on circumstances requiring their legal expertise.

Diana Nunez, Intake Specialist

Diana Nunez helps determine how we can best help each and every person who contacts our firm. With her keen attention to detail, she fully supports everyone involved with STERN Law and makes sure they get the right assistance every time.

 

Xavier Torres de Janon, Marketing Assistant

Xavier Torres de Janon finished his undergraduate at Hampshire College, where he studied social sciences and U.S. policy, among other things. He is interested and passionate about working with underserved communities and true social justice, and has experience with different organizations around the country. Originally from Ecuador, Xavier loves helping others, and firmly believes that all humans deserve compassion, regardless of the situation they find themselves in.

Xavier has held many roles at the firm – providing support to the office’s administrative planning, assisting with criminal case management, and now continuing with marketing strategy. He contributes to the firm’s blog, newsletters, video publications and community marketing endeavors. He always tries to put clients’ needs first, and won’t take no for an answer when tasked with the responsibility to help them.

 

Gladys Hernandez, Director of 1st Impressions

Gladys Hernandez is the smile on the other end of the line. She’s the first point of contact for every caller and helps the STERN Law Team stay on track and organized. Make sure to say hi when calling or visiting us!

 

Dulce Guerrero, Programs Specialist

Originally from Mexico, Dulce Guerrero is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who moved to Georgia in 1996. After graduating from high school, she became extremely involved with several immigrant rights organizations across Georgia. She works for STERN Law remotely, while pursuing her studies at the Delaware State University as a Fulbright scholar.

As part of her organizing and activism, Dulce has worked with local communities on tuition equity issues for immigrant students and against immigrant detention. She is currently a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Education System in Georgia, and has worked with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) and DreamACTivist.

During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and recently became an aunt to her first niece, Sofia.