Denisa Buljubasic, Staff Attorney
Denisa leads the Center for Justice in its housing justice work, including the CFJ Rental Rights Clinic and the CFJ’s policy reform efforts. She was previously an attorney in private practice, focusing on family law, personal injury, criminal defense, and general civil litigation. Denisa is a graduate of Eastern Washington University and Florida Coastal School of Law.
LaTisha began working with nonprofits many years ago when she was given the task of bringing the Long Beach Reads One Book festival to life. She used her creativity and passion for the arts to create and produce multiple events in the citywide, weeklong event. She then moved into the role of Development Assistant at American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. In this position she was able to further develop her skills while learning how to fundraise for a divisive organization. In her most recent role at the Spokane Symphony, she served as Manager of Corporate Partnerships and was responsible for reenergizing the concert sponsorship program. LaTisha is also a writer. She is a frequent contributor to the female empowerment website GirlTalkHQ, has appeared on Huffington Post Live and writes a political fan fiction blog about an 8 year old girl who serves as President Obama’s aide. She is so happy to be working in an organization that respects and advocates for the rights of all individuals.
Lee First, Outreach Coordinator
Lee spent her high school years canoeing lakes and rivers in northern Ontario. By profession, she is a wetland biologist. After spending 25 years climbing mountains, she switched to sea kayaking as many stretches of the Alaska’s inside passage as possible. As the former North Sound Baykeeper in northwest Washington, Lee has been involved with the Waterkeeper movement for over 10 years. While working in western Washington, she patrolled all the lowland streams and northern Puget Sound shorelines with canoes and kayaks. Her specialties include stormwater management and best management practices to prevent stormwater pollution. As our new Outreach Specialist, she will be concentrating on educating local residents about the sources of toxics in the Spokane River, and steps that individuals can take to keep our river clean. Lee is enjoying learning all about the topography, watersheds, geology, and natural history of this area.
Dainen Penta, Executive Director
Dainen graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2001. During his legal career, he has successfully resolved a variety of disputes across a range of substantive law areas, including bankruptcy, debtor-creditor, foreclosure defense, debt collection defense, consumer protection, real estate, and taxation. Dainen held a variety of bar association and community leadership positions, serving as President of QLaw, the Washington State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and the Asian Bar Association of Washington.
Before joining the Center for Justice as Executive Director in 2019, Dainen was in private practice as a general counsel attorney. He worked with over 1,000 condominium and homeowner associations, successfully resolving contentious and often complex neighborhood disputes. His practice focused on enforcing community norms to restore harmony.
Lisa joined the Center as an Accountant in 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow, and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland. She trained with the international accounting firm Price Waterhouse (Coopers). A year after qualifying she moved to a government enterprise company assisting small start-ups, applying for grants and managing European Funding. Looking to expand her experience she joined Scottish and Newcastle Breweries. There, she had various roles: internal auditor; Finance Manager of the International Export company; and Marketing Accountant. Originally from Scotland, Lisa moved to Spokane in 2004 with her family on an overseas assignment for two years, and has remained here ever since. In her spare time she loves to ski, run, walk, bike and generally be active outside with her family. She also likes to read and cook family meals.
Jule works on water quality and nonpoint pollution in the Spokane River watershed for Spokane Riverkeeper. Although born in Oklahoma, Jule moved to Anacortes, Washington when he was 12, where he began his lifelong love of the water and all things in it. He graduated with a B.A. in Biology from Lewis and Clark College and then went on to earn his Master’s degree in Marine Biology from the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Coos Bay, Oregon. Jule comes to the Center for Justice by way of Olympia, where he helped regulate the shellfish industry for the State Department of Health. Jule is married to the always wonderful Katy Sheehan and has two very active sons.
Virla Spencer, Relicensing Program Director
Virla joined the Center for Justice in 2011. Born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Virla came to Spokane as a teen in the midst of a family crisis. By her own admission, she has lived a difficult life, one that includes a felony conviction, in 2001, for malicious mischief. But few people have harvested their hardships better than Virla Spencer. Though Virla first came to the Center as a client in 2005–to restore her driver’s license–she returned in 2009 as a volunteer, and then filled a key Americorps Vista position as Outreach Director. Since then she has distinguished herself not only with her outreach skills but as a forcefully articulate advocate for the needs and rights of the underprivileged in our community. Virla is the single mother of four girls, two boys, and also cares for a live-in nephew. She is active in the Church of Berachah and regularly volunteers at Truth Ministries in Spokane to help feed homeless and disadvantaged men. Spokane’s weekly newspaper, The Inlander, recognized Virla’s heart and her talents for making a positive difference in other people’s lives with a 2013 Peirone Prize.
Jerry was born in Corvallis, Oregon near the Willamette River. His family moved to Cheney where he grew up exploring the lakes, rivers and forests of the area. From a young age he traveled each spring to fish for native Chinook salmon with his grandfather on the Willamette. Jerry has a long history of working to protect rivers in the Inland Northwest. As a former staff member of Save our Wild Salmon, Jerry advocated for the restoration and protection of native Snake River salmon and steelhead. He has worked for native trout as conservation chair and continues to volunteer for the Spokane Falls Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Currently, he is a board member of Inland Northwest Nature Connection. He loves to spend time on the Spokane River fly fishing for trout, rowing his drift boat, shooting one of his longbows or backcountry skiing on the very snow that feeds our River. Jerry lives with his wife, two sons and two barky heeler dogs within earshot of the Spokane River.
Cam Zorrozua joined the Center for Justice in 2018 after leaving her practice at Maxey Law Office. Cam originally joined the Maxey firm in 2005 following a Rule 9 internship. Her focus was criminal defense, restoration of rights, appeals, general litigation, and family law/divorce. Cam practiced throughout the counties and municipalities of Eastern Washington, including Federal District Court and Spokane Tribal Court.
Cam grew up on a small farm outside of Cheney, Washington. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with an Emphasis in Law, and a minor in English Literature from Western Washington University in 2000. Cam volunteered as an investigative intern for the Whatcom County Public Defender’s Office and archived photos for the Spokesman-Reivew before her admission to Gonzaga Law School. She graduated in 2004. Cam and her long time partner, Joe Labish, reside in West Valley with their two dogs and a collection of regional artwork and found objects.
Over her career, Cam has supported and volunteered for various local nonprofits including: Spokane AIDS Network, the Center for Justice, United Way of Spokane County, the Emerging Leaders Society, West Central Community Center, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach Center. Cam enjoys spending time outdoors and along the Spokane River; combing Oregon beaches, and taking in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Cam is a fearless advocate who gives her clients personalized representation with dignity and respect. She served as a board member for the Center for Justice from 2016-2018.