BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Courtney Cockrell, Board Chair
Hon. Derrick Simmons
Stephen P. Spencer
Honorable Carter Bise
Carnelia P. Fondren
Ben J. Piazza, Jr.
Anna K. Rush
Gayla Carpenter-Sanders is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP). She received Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Political Science from Tougaloo College and received her law degree from the University of Florida School of Law. While in law school, Gayla was a Virgil Hawkins Scholar and a member of the Black Law Students Association. Prior to assuming her position with MVLP, Gayla was in private practice for ten (10) years as a litigation associate at a Jackson law firm and later at a Ridgeland law firm. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, National Bar Association and the Madison County Bar Association. She is a past member of the Mississippi Bar’s Women in the Profession Committee and was selected to participate in the 2014 Mississippi Bar Leadership Forum. She is a past recipient of the 2011 MVLP Pro Bono award. She has also been recognized as a Super Lawyers Mid-South Rising Star in insurance defense in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Gayla was named to the Lawyers of Color Hot List for 2014 and received the 2014 Board of Directors Award from the Hinds County Human Resource Agency.
Seirra Williams is the Foreclosure Prevention and Community Redevelopment Program Staff Attorney at the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project (MVLP). She received her Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies from the University of Mississippi, her Master of Public Administration from Belhaven University, and her law degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Prior to joining the MVLP staff, Seirra served as a Staff Attorney with another organization, providing services and resources to eliminate barriers to employment and housing.
Sara R. Cotten is the Case Referral Coordinator at MVLP. In her position, Sara handles case placement, case closures and quarterly case status reports to partner organizations and funders. She provides general case support for legal clinics and communicates with existing clients. Sara received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from the University of Mississippi, and a Juris Doctorate from Miles Law School in Birmingham, Alabama. She is licensed to practice law in Alabama.
Deborah K. Hicks is the Legal Intake Coordinator at MVLP. In her position, Deborah handles the intake process for new and prospective MVLP clients. She attended Kaplan University where she obtained an Associates of Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Studies in July 2006 and was a member of the Honor Society. Deborah began her career in the legal field in 1992. Before joining MVLP, she worked at two Jackson area law firms as both a Legal Assistant and Paralegal.
Robyn B. Kennebrew is the Development Coordinator at MVLP. In her position, Robyn coordinates MVLP’s annual Pro Bono Awards dinner, handles all development opportunities including writing and submitting grant applications and assists with the coordination of MVLP’s legal clinics across the state. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a focus in marketing from Jackson State University and is currently enrolled at Mississippi College where she is completing her Master of Business Administration.
Eden D. Pepper is the Administrative Support Specialist at MVLP. In her position, Eden serves as a live liaison between the public and MVLP’s programs by advising the general public of the types of services offered by MVLP and income eligibility for the programs. Eden received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Mississippi State University. Eden began her career in public service in 2003 and since then has used her experience and education to serve the legal, education, and banking industries of Mississippi.