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 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:
Georgia Super Lawyers Rising Stars List (2016 and 2017); Georgia Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite (2015 and 2016); 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).
J.D., Northeastern University School of Law
B.A., University of Central Florida, magna cum laude
Laura Glass-Hess, Associate Attorney
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.
Stephanie Avalos, Immigration Paralegal
Stephanie Avalos works closely with our clients who pursue immigration benefits. She is serious about ensuring that every client stays informed and remains our top priority. Stephanie carefully monitors each case and makes sure the attorneys can stay focused on circumstances requiring their legal expertise. She was born and raised in Long Island, New York but now calls Georgia home since 2009. Stephanie is fluent in Spanish and English, and has a Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies Degree.
The education, training and experience she has obtained throughout the years working as an Immigration Paralegal has provided her with the opportunity to show her passion for justice and helping the community pursue immigration benefits. On her spare time, she enjoys dedicating time for her Christian Congregation, and spending as much time as possible with her children and family.
Amelia Phan, Legal Assistant
Amelia Phan is passionate about bringing empowerment and opportunity to underserved communities. She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Latin American Studies and Anthropology. For a year of her studies, she lived in Peru, doing anthropological fieldwork with both urban and remote populations. After graduating, Amelia worked in Austin to advocate for immigrant women and children fleeing domestic violence, and to educate adult learners of English as a second language. She also has extensive experience providing workforce development to people with criminal backgrounds and those leaving long-term incarceration. After a while, Amelia was drawn to Atlanta by an interest in working with the refugee population in Clarkston. She worked with refugees to facilitate their resettlement experience and build long-term employment opportunities.
Amelia assists the Legal Team in criminal case management and legal work as STERN Law’s Legal Assistant. She provides the support necessary to ensure that each client and their criminal case receive the highest degree of attention. Amelia sees clients eye-to-eye and always puts their concerns at the forefront of her job. No matter the difficulty of their situation, Amelia will never take “no” for an answer when working for the best resolution of a case!
Angela Botero, Opportunity Advocate
Angela Botero is originally from Colombia and has been living in the United States since 2000. She completed her BBA in Finance at Kennesaw State University, and is interested in effectively communicating with individuals in need of assistance to support them in any way she can. Her mission in life is to lead people to a better future.
Angela is STERN Law’s Opportunity Advocate. She truly believes that building positive futures is possible in the United States, and will work to ensure this with everyone who contacts STERN Law for representation!
Diana Nunez, Intake and Billing Specialist
Diana Nunez serves as STERN Law’s Intake and Billing Specialist. Originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,
Diana is a trained Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. She is passionate about helping people in negative situations and offering her full assistance to find the best resolution to their problem. As an immigrant herself, she knows how difficult it is to manage immigration processes while trying to understand who does what, by when, and how.
She is extremely committed and tries to always embody STERN Law’s mission. In her role, she attentively listens to people’s stories to see how we can best assist them within our area of services. And if she determines we can’t help, she proactively figures out who can, for every person who reaches us. With her keen attention to detail, she fully supports everyone involved with STERN Law and makes sure they get the right assistance every time. She is also an avid food connoisseur and will never reject a new food adventure!
Perlamar Vega, Director of 1st Impressions
Perla Vega has over 20 years of experience in administration and management. She is the first contact when you visit or call the office, and will always make sure that your needs are met with high professionalism and kindness. She graduated with a Bilingual Secretary and Commerce Diploma from Eugenio Maria de Hostos in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and then with a Small Business Administration Diploma from the University of Puerto Rico, in Rio Piedras. She moved to Georgia in 2014 while serving as the Guest Relations Coordinator for the The Ritz-Carlton.
As a mother of two teenagers and married for 17 years, she understands the importance of keeping families together. She strongly believes that our future as a society depends in the values and education we bring to our kids today. Perla is excited to help our clients pursue the American Dream!
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 Guayaquil, 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.
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.