Nolo Staff

Executive Bios

General Manager, President

Chris Braun, President

Chris Braun came to Nolo as General Manager in 2012. Before joining Nolo, he was with ALM where he was the Managing Director at lawjobs.com, and Publisher for The Recorder. Chris holds an MBA from MIT and a BA from University of Massachusetts - Amherst.

Executive Editor

Janet Portman, Executive Editor

As Nolo's Executive Editor, Janet Portman directs the editorial content of Nolo's website, eProducts, and print products. She specializes in residential and commercial landlord/tenant law, legal issues related to courts, landlords and tenants, and neighbor disputes. She is the author or coauthor of Every Landlord's Legal Guide, Every Landlord's Guide to Finding Great Tenants, Every Tenant's Legal Guide, Renters' Rights, Negotiate the Best Lease for Your Business, Leases & Rental Agreements, The California Landlord's Law Book: Rights and Responsibilities, and California Tenants' Rights. Portman received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University and a law degree from Santa Clara University. Before joining Nolo in 1994, she practiced law as a public defender.

Vice President, Engineering

Jonathan Rochez, Vice President, Engineering

Jonathan Rochez joined Nolo in 2011 and leads the engineering team. Before coming to Nolo, he was the VP of Engineering at Pixsense, a start-up company that focused on mobile applications. Jonathan holds an MS in applied science engineering from University of California-Davis and a BS in chemical engineering from University of California-San Diego.

Vice President, Sales & Operations

Chelsey Langan, Vice President, Sales & Operations

Chelsey Langan joined Nolo in 2008. She leads the sales team, operations and business development for the company’s Martindale-Nolo attorney marketing programs, including lead generation and directory services. Prior to joining Nolo, she held senior positions with Matchpoint and other companies involved in lead generation. Chelsey holds a BS in marketing.


Editor Bios

Chris Barta, J.D.

Chris conducts legal research for and updates Nolo's books and websites. Before working at Nolo, Chris was a reference attorney and Westlaw account manager for Thomson Reuters. Chris earned an undergraduate degree in English from Saint John's University (Minnesota), and his J.D. from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota.

Ilona Bray, J.D.

Ilona Bray is an author and legal editor at Nolo, specializing in real estate, immigration law, and nonprofit fundraising. She is a coauthor of Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home and author of numerous immigration books such as Becoming a U.S. Citizen. Ilona's working background includes solo practice, nonprofit, and corporate stints, as well as long periods of volunteering, including an internship at Amnesty International's main legal office in London. She received her law degree and a Masters degree in East Asian (Chinese) Studies from the University of Washington's School of Law and Jackson School of International Studies. Her undergraduate degree is in philosophy, from Bryn Mawr College.

Diana Fitzpatrick, J.D.

Diana Fitzpatrick specializes in small business, tax, and nonprofit law. Before joining Nolo, she was a deputy attorney at the San Francisco City Attorney's Office in the bond department. She also worked for several years in New York City at a law firm, doing corporate and securities work. Diana is a graduate of Barnard College and received her law degree from New York University School of Law.

Legal Researcher

Jessica Gillespie, Legal Researcher

Jessica conducts legal research and writes articles for Nolo’s website. Before joining Nolo, she worked in the library of a large law firm in Richmond, Virginia and at New York University’s Law Library. Jessica received a B.A. from the University of Virginia, an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Long Island University, and an M.A. in United States History from North Carolina State University.

Author and Editor

E.A. Gjelten, Author and Editor

E.A. Gjelten is a special projects editor at Nolo. She has been a legal author since 1994, explaining family law and workers’ compensation law for attorneys. Previously, she was a legal editor and the managing editor for a prominent family law publication. She has taught at San Francisco State University and New College of California, and has worked as a freelance book editor, journalist, and content producer.

David Goguen, J.D.

David Goguen is a legal editor at Nolo, focusing on claimants' rights in personal injury cases. He is a member of the California State Bar with over a decade of experience in litigation and legal publishing. David is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Attorney

Lina Guillen, Attorney

Lina Guillen has been a legal writer and editor for Nolo since 2012. She writes and edits articles on a wide range of family law topics and oversees family law content development on Nolo.com, Divorcenet.com, and Lawyers.com. Lina edits a variety of Nolo books and is a coauthor of Neighbor Law, 8th edition. Prior to joining Nolo, Lina practiced civil litigation and family law at several firms in the Bay Area, including Hanson Bridgett LLP and Hanson Crawford Crum LLP. She also served as a judicial extern for Judge Susan Illston of the United States District Court. Lina is an active member of the California State Bar and received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she served as the submissions editor for the Hastings Women's Law Journal. Before law school, Lina was an editorial assistant for The Press Democrat newspaper in Sonoma County.

Aaron Hotfelder

Aaron Hotfelder is a legal editor at Nolo specializing in employment law and workers' compensation law. He has written for Nolo since 2011 and is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Prior to joining Nolo as a legal editor, he represented clients in Social Security disability, long-term disability, and workers’ compensation cases. He has also served as a legal editor focusing on employment law. Aaron received his law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law and holds a B.S. in criminal justice from Truman State University.

Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney

Bethany Laurence joined Nolo as a legal editor in 1997. She holds a law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law, a B.A. degree from Boston University (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude), and is a member of the California State Bar. Bethany is the editor for Nolo's Disability Law Center and the Social Security and Medicare Center and edits Nolo's Guide to Social Security Disability, The Complete IEP Guide, Social Security, Medicare, and Government Pensions, Long-Term Care and California's Workers' Compensation. Bethany has also combined her legal and financial expertise to edit many Nolo small business books and online applications over the years. She is a coauthor of Business Buyout Agreements: Plan Now for Retirement, Death, Divorce or Owner Disagreements, Save Your Small Business, Bankruptcy for Small Business Owners: How to File for Chapter 7, and Nolo's Online LLC. Over the last decade she has been active on the board of directors of several educational nonprofit organizations.

Attorney

Amy Loftsgordon, Attorney

Amy Loftsgordon is a legal editor at Nolo, focusing on foreclosure, collections, and debt management. She writes for several sites, including Nolo.com and Lawyers.com. She has also updated several Nolo books, including The Foreclosure Survival Guide, Credit Repair, and Solve Your Money Troubles. Amy has worked in foreclosure and related areas since 2001, most recently on suits against mortgage servicers for non-compliance with federal servicing standards. She has also developed customized foreclosure-related training programs, audited completed foreclosures to determine if they were processed in accordance with state laws, and reviewed servicer records to uncover extensive credit reporting errors as part of a national settlement involving the mortgage industry. She received a B.A. from the University of Southern California and a law degree from the University of Denver, and is licensed to practice law in Colorado.

Attorney

John McCurley, Attorney

John McCurley is a legal editor at Nolo, focusing on DUI and driving law. He has a degree in engineering physics from U.C. San Diego and completed law school at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Before joining Nolo, John practiced criminal defense and juvenile dependency law, primarily doing writs and appeals. He's an appellate law specialist (certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization) and has four published appellate victories: In re Juarez (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1316, K.F. v. Superior Court (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 1369, People v. Hill (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 1100 (co-counsel), and In re Bianca S. (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 1272. John maintains a small private practice in San Diego (see www.mccurleylaw.com).

Attorney

Cara, O'Neill, Attorney

Cara O'Neill is a legal editor and writer at Nolo, focusing on bankruptcy, consumer credit, and debt. She writes for several sites, including Nolo.com, Lawyers.com, AllLaw.com, and TheBankruptcySite.org. She also edits a variety of Nolo book titles and updated Nolo’s How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, 19th edition. Prior to joining Nolo, Cara practiced for over 20 years in civil litigation and bankruptcy. During that time, she served as an Administrative Law Judge mediating disputes in the automotive industry, taught undergraduate and graduate law courses, and served as house counsel for a large insurance company. She earned her law degree in 1994 from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she served as a law review editor and graduated a member of the Order of the Barristers—an honor society recognizing excellence in courtroom advocacy. Cara maintains a bankruptcy practice in Roseville, California at the Law Office of Cara O’Neill.

Attorney and Managing Editor

Micah Schwartzbach, Attorney and Managing Editor

Micah Schwartzbach joined Nolo’s editorial staff in 2013. Beforehand, he practiced primarily criminal defense law, specializing in research and writing. As Nolo's Managing Editor, he oversees content on Nolo.com and affiliated websites. He also writes and edits content across a range of practice areas. Micah earned his B.A. from the University of California, Davis, where he graduated with highest honors, and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he graduated cum laude.

Betsy Simmons Hannibal, Attorney

Betsy Simmons Hannibal specializes in estate planning. She writes for Nolo.com, edits many Nolo books, and is the managing editor of Quicken WillMaker. Before joining Nolo, she trained at two private law firms as well as the San Francisco Superior Court and the Federal District Court of Northern California. Hannibal is a graduate of the Honors Lawyering Program at Golden Gate University School of Law, where she served as the research editor of the law review.