NJC Staff Members

Cullin Smith - Executive Director/Attorney

Cullin Smith

Cullin Smith received his B.A., Summa Cum Laude, from Hamline University, and his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. He has worked for judges in both State and Federal Court, and has worked internationally on criminal matters in the English Crown Courts. Cullin defends cases of all levels, ranging from driving matters to homicide. In his role as Director of Community Outreach, Cullin organizes N.J.C.?s education of the community on how our legal system works, how to protect our Constitutional rights, methods for resolving problems with police and how to avoid becoming part of the criminal justice system. Cullin has served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, protecting the rights of GLBT individuals. He truly believes in the power of community and is a zealous advocate in pursuit of a more just society. Cullin has been an attorney at the Neighborhood Justice Center since 2007.

Krista Marks - Attorney/Expungement Program Director

Krista Marks

Krista graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in 2003 Cum Laude, with a B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology. She was on the Dean's Honor List for outstanding scholastic achievement, and was a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honor society. Krista has been at NJC since 2003 where she started as an investigator / community worker. While in law school she became a law clerk/certified student attorney at NJC. She received her J.D. from William Mitchell in 2009, and is presently a staff attorney at NJC.

Katie Allen - Attorney

Katie Allen

Katie received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 2007, where she majored in Sociology - Law, Criminology and Deviance and Political Science. While in law school, Katie was awarded a Minnesota Justice Foundation clerkship and clerked at NJC. When the clerkship was finished, Katie remained at NJC helping the staff attorneys with cases of all levels. Katie received her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in 2010. She entered private practice where she handled criminal defense cases of all levels, ranging from driving matters to homicides, while continuing to do pro bono work for NJC. Katie enjoys working with clients to achieve fair and just results in a system that oftentimes works against defendants. She has been a staff attorney at NJC since January 2014.

Darcy Golish - Community Advocate - Investigator

Darcy Golish

Community Advocate/Investigator - responsible for serving clients and staff.

Abdi Guled Elmi - Part Time Community Advocate Certified Investigator


Community Worker, Certified Investigator, is the first and only certified Somali interpreter, has a master's degree from Saint Mary's University in Minneapolis. Originally from Somalia, his focus at NJC is on outreach to the Somali community. He formerly worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Health Organization. He is fluent in Somali and Arabic, as well as English.

Kris Xiong - Receptionist


Kris Xiong is fluent in Hmong, responsible for greeting clients and visitors, answering and routing calls, assisting NJC clients and staff, and for controling secure access to the office.

Volunteers and Interns


Volunteers and interns play many important roles that contribute to the success of NJC. Law student clerks screen potential clients, assist with investigations, and represent clients in selected cases. Attorneys volunteer their time to assist clients in expungements, and provide representation in misdemeanor cases. Work study students and other community volunteers screen potential clients, make referrals to community resources, assist with case preparation, and help maintain client files.

  • A Non-Profit Community Based Law Office

    Neighborhood Justice Center is a non-profit community based law office. For NJC to continue to ensure that low-income persons and persons of color receive fair treatment in the legal system we need your support.

    About NJC

  • Criminal Defense Services

    Gross Misdemeanors
    Probation violations
    Community Education.

    NJC Programs

  • Internal Affairs complaints

    Neighborhood Justice Center is now offering assistance in filing Internal Affairs complaints.

    Please contact Darcy Golish dgolish@njcinc.org for additional information.

    IAC Assistance

Cullin Smith
Executive Director
Krista Marks
Katie Allen - Attorney
Abdi Guled Elmi
Community Advocate
Certified Investigator
Darcy Golish
Community Advocate Investigator
Kris Xiong