Rising Leaders: Gabriela Rodriguez and Leslie Allen Named New Supervising Attorneys of the Family Law Unit

A graphic with a white background and orange details announces, "Philadelphia Legal Assistance Rising Leaders: Leslie Allen and Gabriela Rodriguez named new Supervising Attorneys of the Family Law Unit"

Philadelphia Legal Assistance is proud to announce two new Supervising Attorneys for the Family Law Unit: Gabriela Rodriguez and Leslie Allen. Gaby and Leslie are both rising from Staff Attorney positions in the Family Law Unit at PLA, and we are excited to see the new directions their leadership will take us.  

Gabriela Rodriguez is the Co-Supervising Attorney of the Family Law Unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance. Gaby started at PLA in the Family Law Unit in 2019 representing survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault under the Legal Assistance for Victims grant. In her time at PLA, Gaby has assisted survivors with emergency custody petitions, protection orders, divorces, and support matters. For the past six years, Gaby has represented survivors of sexual assault with protection orders, custody, support, divorce, U visas, adjustment of status applications, school accommodations, and housing matters through her work with the Crime Victims Law Project. 

Gaby is committed to improving the lives of survivors of intimate partner violence and other crimes because our systems and delivery of services improve when we focus on survivors. Focusing on survivors centers their resilience and experiences and by using a bottom up approach to service delivery, we improve the delivery of services and outcomes for everyone. Gaby believes this is even more important during the coronavirus in which FLU has seen increased survivor isolation, more severe incidents of abuse, and decreased ChildLine reports.  

Gaby is hopeful, because in Philadelphia, we have a Family Court that is committed to ensuring access to the Court during these extraordinarily difficult times. Family Court’s DV Unit continues to assist survivors remotely with Petitions for Protection Orders, and they continue to run an Emergency Site at the CJC for Petition for Emergency Protection Orders. Family Court has seemingly overnight developed a system for remote hearings and pleadings to be emailed.  

Gaby has been in the Philadelphia Area for a decade and is originally from Oklahoma and Texas. She graduated from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2013 and the University of Texas at Austin in 2010. Gaby is a bilingual Spanish speaker, and her family is from Panama and Peru. Gaby enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, and they are currently reading lots of board books by Sandra Boynton and The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale.  

Leslie Allen is the Co-Supervisor of the Family Law Unit. She will continue to co-supervise the Child Custody and Support Clinic (CASAC), led by a dedicated cohort of University of Pennsylvania law students. Under the Justice for Families Grant, Leslie represents protective parents of child abuse and child sexual abuse survivors in domestic relations matters. She oversees the Help Center, located in the Philadelphia Family Court, which provides access to family court pleadings and motions for pro-se litigants.

Since 2016, Leslie has been representing domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse survivors in Philadelphia. She facilitates better communication between different systems in order to provide holistic services to help survivors thrive. From 2013 until 2016, Leslie worked in public health policy research, which informs her understanding of how family law legal services play a role in lifelong improvements in survivors’ safety, health, wellbeing, and happiness.

Originally from Colorado, Leslie is one of many Philadelphia transplants who fell in love with the city while attending Temple Law. City life has not entirely replaced her Colorado spirit and she still spends her free time skiing, rock climbing, and mountain biking.