Our Staff

Rachel Spears, Executive Director

Rachel Epps Spears was hired as the Executive Director of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta in 2005 when the organization was founded. Prior to joining the Partnership, Rachel was an associate in the public finance department at King & Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rachel is a former Chair of the State Bar of Georgia Nonprofit Law Section and is a member of the Public Interest Executive Roundtable of the Atlanta Bar Association. She has been recognized as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite and the Daily Report’s On the Rise attorneys. She has received the EPIC Inspiration Award: Unsung Devotion to Those Most in Need awarded by Emory University School of Law and the Rita A. Sheffey Public Interest Award presented by the Atlanta Bar Association.

An Atlanta native, Rachel graduated from Davidson College in 1993 with a degree in Political Science and received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1997. She lives in Morningside with her husband, two daughters and one very lazy lab mix.

Robyn Miller, Senior Corporate/Tax Counsel

Robyn has more than 25 years of corporate and tax-exempt law experience, including six years at Ernst & Young working primarily in the nonprofit arena. While at Ernst & Young, she worked in the National Tax-Exempt Organizations Group located in Washington, D.C. and worked with large non-profit organizations nationwide. She also created tax-exempt research and solution tools for Ernst & Young professionals to use in assisting their tax-exempt clients. In addition, she has given speeches nationwide on a variety of tax-exempt-related issues.

Prior to working at Ernst & Young, she practiced law for five years in Washington, D.C. at Miller & Chevalier and Popham Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman including tax transaction and controversy, corporate, and litigation work. While in D.C, she organized a pro bono program for one of her firms to provide ongoing legal representation to six non-profit organizations. She has also served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, and she led a nonprofit in New York City while attending law school.

As the part-time Corporate/Tax Counsel for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, for the past eight and a half years, Robyn provides direct legal services to non-profit organizations as well as serves as a resource to Pro Bono Partnership’s volunteer attorneys and non-profit clients. She also coordinates our Nonprofit Legal Check Up, Day of Service, works to educate lawyers and clients on non-profit legal issues, and recruits volunteer attorneys, with a focus on recruiting in-house lawyers.

Robyn is a cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and earned a J.D. from the New York University School of Law.

She lives in Milton, GA with her husband Brian Henry, an attorney with The Coca-Cola Company, and their two children.

Lori Shapiro, Employment Counsel

Lori joined Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta in July 2014. As a part-time staff attorney for Pro Bono Partnership, Lori provides direct legal services to non-profit organizations, in addition to serving as a resource to Pro Bono Partnership’s volunteer attorneys and non-profit clients, and educating lawyers and clients on employment-related legal issues. She also coordinates monthly webcasts on legal issues of interest to Pro Bono Partnership’s non-profit clients.

Prior to joining Pro Bono Partnership, Lori practiced labor, employment and benefits law for more than 20 years, both as a law firm partner and as in-house corporate counsel. As an associate and then a partner at Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP, she represented national and international corporate clients in all aspects of employment law and litigation. Starting in 2000, she moved her career in-house, first as General Counsel for Employment Learning Innovations, Inc. (“ELI”), a training company that provided labor and employment law training courses, and then as labor, employment and benefits counsel with Graphic Packaging International, Inc., an international paperboard packaging company. Throughout her career, Lori has had the opportunity to assist clients with a wide variety of corporate legal matters, including matters involving labor and employment law and litigation, employee benefits, intellectual property, licensing (including software licensing), non-compete and confidentiality agreements, OSHA issues, and general contracting.

In addition to her experience teaching her corporate clients about the law in her in-house positions, Lori is an adjunct professor, teaching labor law classes, in the Employment Law LLM program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. She also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum, and the Center for Advanced Studies Foundation at Wheeler High School, and has previously served on non-profit boards throughout her career.

Lori received her J.D. degree from New York University School of Law. She graduated from Brandeis University cum laude with a B.A. in Politics and European Cultural Studies. She lives in Marietta with her husband, Cary Goldenthal, who is a Vice President with Aetna, her two children, and her dog, a schnoodle named Star.

Sireesha Ghanta, Counsel

Sireesha undertook her first volunteer attorney project with Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta when she was a first year associate at McKenna Long and Aldridge. 12 years later, she joined PBPA as a part-time staff attorney. Sireesha has a mix of prior in-house and firm prior to joining PBPA. Her background includes working at Cooper Holdings, Inc., The Trust for Public Land, and Genuine Parts Company, focusing on real estate and technology contracts.

Sireesha graduated with a BA from Wake Forest University, and has a JD and MBA from the University of Georgia. She lives in Decatur with her 3 children and husband.

Laurie Grant Nichols, Development Director

Laurie joined Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta in September 2016 as part-time Director of Development. Prior to this role, Laurie served 20+ years in the non-profit sector including roles within higher education, health and human services, and the arts. Key roles have included serving as CEO of Hands On Georgia, Chief Development Officer at The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Director of Major Gifts at United Way of Greater Atlanta, and Director of Experiential Education at Oglethorpe University.

She is Past Board Chair for the Georgia Council for International Visitors, Past President of the Georgia Executive Women’s Network, and serves on the Dean’s Board of Advisors for the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at The University of Tennessee. She is also on the advisory board for Assistance League of Atlanta.

Laurie holds an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and an undergraduate degree in English and Government from The College of William and Mary in Virginia. She holds The Advanced Certificate of Transformational Nonprofit Leadership from the Center for Social Leadership in Washington, D.C.

In her spare time, she is involved with a community garden. She lives in Dunwoody, Georgia with her husband, daughter, and three cats.

Jessica Caldas, Programs Manager

Jessica Caldas joined Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta in the Summer of 2016 as the Programs Manager. Prior to joining PBPA, she worked and volunteered in various non profit organizations, including time working with one of PBPA’s clients, The Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation as the Program Coordinator of their Domestic Violence Project. Jessica remains committed to the larger nonprofit community and to volunteer work in Atlanta, the city she loves. She also believes in the power of civic engagement, regardless of background or profession, and has worked on policy issues concerning women and girls for several years now at the local and state level.

Jessica also works as a full time artist. She received her BFA in printmaking from the University of Georgia in 2012 and is currently pursuing her MFA at Georgia State University. She lives in Atlanta, GA.

Lola Ibitoye, Operations Manager

Lola joined the staff as Office Manager in January 2011.

Prior to joining Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, Lola received her B.A. in Anthropology from the State University of West Georgia. She has served as Program Assistant for the American Friends Service Committee and Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta.

Lola is an active member of Amnesty International USA and performs volunteer work for them on a regional and national level.

Natalie Yasson, Client Manager

Natalie joined Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta in April 2017 as the Client Manager. Natalie has over nine years of experience working with nonprofits in the Atlanta area, and most recently served as the director of a refugee resettlement and immigration program. Natalie graduated from Berry College with a degree in Government and received a M.S. in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University. She is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, and served in Botswana from 2006-2008, where she worked with village leaders on an HIV/AIDS education campaign. She currently lives in Stone Mountain with her husband and son.

Laura Coats, Development and Communications Coordinator

Laura Coats joined Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta in June 2016 as the Development and Communications Coordinator. Originally from North Carolina, she attended Wake Forest University and graduated with a BA in History. She then moved to Knoxville, TN to serve in AmeriCorps where she worked with various ‘green’ nonprofits. Laura lives in the Poncey Highlands with her two cats, and her partner Zach.