JULIE MOGENSEN, Executive Director
Ms. Mogensen has been with VARN since 2013, previously in the role of Finance & Grants Manager where she handled the day-to-day financial activities and assisted with grant writing and the development of annual budgets. She is also currently a board member of the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCEDSV). She spent ten years working in the political and legislative arena for campaign organizations and elected officials. In particular, for four years, she held the position of District Director for the Nevada Senate Majority Leader and managed all aspects of the district office. Ms. Mogensen has a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Email Julie Mogensen.
VICTORIA S. MENDOZA, Esq., Managing Attorney/Pro Bono Coordinator
Ms. Mendoza received her undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame. She has been licensed to practice law in the state of Nevada and the state of California. (Her California license is currently inactive.) She has served as a law clerk for the Second Judicial District Court and a staff attorney for the Nevada Supreme Court.
Prior to joining VARN, Ms. Mendoza practiced commercial litigation, bankruptcy, family and probate law with the Hale Lane law firm (now known as, Holland and Hart), the Silverman and Decaria law firm, and her own law firm, Victoria S. Mendoza, Esq. Ltd. Ms Mendoza has also served on many non-profit boards, such as, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Nevada Hispanic Services, Step 2, the Nevada Women’s Fund, and Pack Paws. She is a past president of Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association, and a former board member of the Board of Governors for Nevada Trial Lawyers. She is also a member of Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows.
She has been named a Women of Achievement by the Nevada Women’s Fund and been the recipient of several Pro Bono awards for her work with Washoe County Senior Law Project and Washoe County Law Library’s Lawyer in the Library. Besides her legal and community work, Ms. Mendoza has participated in the Team in Training Program with the Leukemia Society of America by running marathons, riding century bike rides, and completing triathlons while raising thousands of dollars for the Leukemia Society. For her efforts with the Leukemia Society, she has been named a Leukemia Society “Rock Star” and a winner of the Leukemia Society “Triple Crown”. Email Victoria Mendoza.
ELENA M. BUTKO, Esq., Staff Attorney
Elena Butko attended undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis where she received degrees in English and Spanish. After undergrad, she decided to pursue a career in law, and was admitted to University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. Elena found she greatly enjoyed litigating and being in the court room, and obtained an emphasis in Trial Advocacy. After law school, Elena moved to Reno, NV where she worked for a small Criminal Appellate practice for a year before joining the team at VARN. She is eager to assist those in need and happy to be serving the community of Northern Nevada. In her down time, Elena enjoys hiking with her husband and dog, baking, and jogging. Email Elena Butko.
REBECCA SMOKEY, Senior Legal Advocate/Caseworker
Rebecca Smokey is the Senior Legal advocate/caseworker who interviews clients for legal services, gathers documentation and provides summaries to attorneys for case consideration. Rebecca is knowledgeable in the dynamics of domestic violence providing direct service, case management, crisis intervention, lethality assessments, safety planning , and information and referrals to victims and families. Rebecca also provides outreach services to social service and domestic violence agencies, courts, victim witness specialists, and is a representative of the Partnership of Community Resources. Rebecca served on the Nevada Council for Prevention of Domestic Violence with the Attorney General, Domestic Violence Task Force Teams, Native American Women’s Coalition, Tribal Representative for the Washoe Tribe for 14 yrs, and served as the chair of the Burial Committee for the past 7 yrs. Rebecca is a Native Nevadan and grandmother of 4 who is active in their sporting events, community and tribal events and enjoys camping, swimming, walking, volleyball and being around family & friends. Email Becky Smokey.
ANGELICA SOLIS, DV Intake Worker/Receptionist
Ms. Solis is the Receptionist/ Legal Aid for Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans (VARN). She helps assist the attorneys with opening files, filing documents, preparing documents, answering the phones, works with the Legal Assistants, counseling, translation, and she also provides information and referrals to clients. She provides support to all program staff here in our office, Pro Bono, Domestic Violence, Immigration, and also assists with Lawyer in the Lobby program.
Angelica Solis volunteered at (VARN) 3 years ago and has also worked in the food industry for 2 years as a manager. Ms. Solis is also Bilingual. She is a mother of two children. On her free time she likes to spend time with her daughter Annabella and her family. One of her hobbies is to bake cookies, cakes, and cupcakes. Email Angelica Solis.
MACIEL DOTSON, Legal Assistant
Ms. Dotson is a Legal Assistant for Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans. She assists the staff attorneys with preparing legal documents, filing documents, and maintains client files. She also assists with administrative duties and grant work.
As a military spouse for nine years Ms. Dotson spent extensive time volunteering for military and non profit organizations. She has a passion for helping women and children. In her free time Maciel enjoys doing yoga, spending time with family, and traveling. Email Maciel Dotson.