Iris Sunshine, Executive Director
Iris received her B.S. from Cornell University and earned her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law. She began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney for the 21st Prosecutorial District where she tried numerous felony cases and focused upon the prosecution of adult sex offenders and the protection of children. Iris joined the Children's Law Center in 2008 as a Staff Attorney. She was appointed Executive Director in January, 2011. Iris is also the Director of the Wake Forest University School of Law Child Advocacy Clinic housed at the Children's Law Center.
Lisa Cline, Staff Attorney
Lisa received her B.S. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MD from East Carolina School of Medicine. Lisa spent several years homeschooling her three children, learning Spanish, and volunteering in the community. Lisa is a recent graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law. While in law school, Lisa worked as an extern with several offices of Legal Aid of North Carolina. At Legal Aid, she advocated for domestic violence victims as part of the Battered Immigrant Project and with victims in Chapter 50B domestic violence cases. Lisa joined the Children’s Law Center in 2020. She advocates for children in Chapter 50 high conflict custody cases and Chapter 50B civil domestic violence cases. Her position is funded by the United Way of Forsyth County and the NC Bar Foundation.
Susan Gies Conley, Director of Development
Susan received her BA from Wellesley College, an MEd from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and is a graduate of the Education for Ministry program offered by the University of the South. She is the 2016 recipient of the Professional Fundraiser of the Year Award from the NC Triad Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and is the Chuck Kraft Scholar for the 2016-2017 Nonprofit Essentials Course offered by HandsOn NW North Carolina. Susan previously worked in development at Eagle's Nest Foundation and Salem Academy and College.
Kathryn Corey, Staff Attorney
Kathryn graduated from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland with an MA in Modern History. After moving to North Carolina in 2006, she received her J.D. from Elon University. Kathryn was a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for Chapter 7B abuse, neglect, and dependency cases from 2008-2011. Her previous experience in private practice includes, DHHS parent representation, criminal defense, and adult guardianships. She advocates for children in Chapter 50B civil domestic violence cases in Guilford County. Her position is funded in part by the Governor’s Crime Commission.
Paige Berntson Gilliard, Staff Attorney
Paige received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and her J.D. from Hamline University in Minnesota. Paige advocated for the rights of children in the foster care system while working at the Children's Law Center of Minnesota and for Family. She also served as a Policy Advocate at Children's Services in Minneapolis. Paige joined the Children's Law Center in April, 2011 as the lead attorney for chapter 50B civil domestic violence cases, and is based at the Guilford County Family Justice Center. Her position is funded in part by the Governor's Crime Commission.
Meredith Hamsher, Staff Attorney
Meredith received her undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis and her J.D. from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Additionally, she earned her Master of Laws in Law and Government from the American University Washington College of Law. She has dedicated her career to working in child-centered legal advocacy and has experience working in national child welfare research and policy, providing direct legal services to children in New York City’s Family Court, and representing parents and children on appeal in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department. She advocates for children in Chapter 50 high conflict custody cases and Chapter 50B civil domestic violence cases. Her position is funded in part by the Governor’s Crime Commission.
Sara Royster, Staff Attorney
Sara graduated with a BSW from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Soon after completing her undergraduate studies, Sara earned her MSW at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Most recently, Sara earned a JD from Elon University. Sara has dedicated her professional life to serving children and families. Over the years she has worked as a social worker, family advocate, and quality assurance specialist. At the Children’s Law Center, Sara advocates for children in Chapter 50 high conflict custody cases and Chapter 50B civil domestic violence cases. Her position is funded in part by the Governor’s Crime Commission.
Jane Morgan Smith, Outcomes Specialist, Stepping Forward Program
Jane is a Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) retiree who has practiced bodywork and then was a truffle farmer for fourteen years. Jane has served as an active fundraiser and volunteer advocate for children. Stepping Forward is a partnership with Legal Aid of NC, and funded by the United Way of Forsyth County.
Ava Avedikian, Office Assistant and Development Associate
Ava will be a Certified North Carolina Paralegal by Fall of 2020. She will soon complete her undergraduate education at WSSU and hopes to attend law school afterwards. She has also studied at Guilford College, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Forsyth Tech. Ava is an active volunteer with the Guilford County Partnership for Children, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Piedmont, and Oak City Outreach, as well as a sworn Guardian Ad Litem for Guilford County. Ava has a background in early childhood and previously worked as an elementary school educator intern for two public schools in Guilford County. Ava previously worked in two law firms where she predominantly focused on Elder Law. Her positions at CLC are funded by the Governor's Crime Commission and the Winston Salem Foundation.