Meet Our Team

Isabel Machado, Esq.

Senior Partner and Founder

'The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.' –Jim Rohn

Isabel is the founding partner of the Machado Law Group and has devoted her distinguished legal career to the practice of education law. By listening and asking the right questions, Isabel has developed a unique ability to truly partner with clients on creative problem solving. Her collaborative approach fosters understanding and identification of goals and potential obstacles to achievement.

Jessika Kleen, Esq.

Partner

'The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.' -Eleanor Roosevelt

Jessika is a Partner at Machado Law Group who provides representation to school districts across all subject areas throughout the state of New Jersey. In this role, she collaborates with clients to identify and understand district needs, and then provide guidance and advice to ensure legal compliance moving forward. Jessika routinely conducts internal audits for all the firm’s clients to ensure compliance with mandatory laws, and then creates professional development trainings unique to the needs of the district, based on data-driven audit results, particularly on the area of special education. She negotiates collective bargaining agreements and assists in administrative compliance with established agreements. Jessika consults on all aspects of personnel and labor relations, including: hiring, discipline and discharge of employees; grievances and arbitration; contracting, bidding and procurement; and special education and student discipline matters.

Kyle Ulscht, Esq.

Managing Associate

'The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.' -Martin Luther King, Jr.

As an experienced Associate with Machado Law Group, Kyle regularly provides counsel to clients in a variety of areas, with a primary focus on aspects of personnel and labor relations; the hiring, discipline and discharge of employees; grievances and arbitration. Additionally, as a formal economics major, Kyle brings a talent and passion for interpreting and drafting contracts, and counsels in all aspects of bidding and procurement; Open Public Meetings compliance; Open Public Records compliance; and collective bargaining negotiations and compliance issues.

Christine Martinez, Esq.

Senior Counsel

'Education if the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.'  -Nelson Mandela

Christine has represented boards of education in a myriad of school law matters. She has rendered legal advice to school boards and school administrators on legal issues, including Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) matters, student and employee discipline, board policy, tenure and seniority rights, student rights, employment and contract matters, student issues, residency matters, and special education matters. Christine has also conducted workshops and in-service training for educational professionals covering topics, such as sexual harassment, affirmative action, board policy, HIB, and special education.

Christine Bernacki Smith, Esq.

Associate

'Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of becoming.' - Goethe

Christine’s extensive background in litigation brings a unique perspective to the firm. Her experience includes the representation of both individuals and public entities in a broad array of civil litigation matters, both before state court and administrative agencies. Her practice includes discovery, motions, depositions, mediation, arbitration and appellate work. Christine first works with clients to establish their goals and then assists them to achieve the best practical result possible, with an eye towards the reduction of costs.

Arian Rouzbehnia, Esq.

Associate

'Upon the subject of education … I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in.' - Abraham Lincoln

As an associate with Machado Law Group, Arian takes pride in solving various legal problems with ingenuity, diligence and efficiency. Prior to joining the firm, Arian worked at a local law firm, where he focused his practice on the Conscientious Employee Protection Act, employment discrimination, wrongful discharge claims, as well requests for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Currently, Arian continues to focus his practice on personnel and employment law matters, including employment discrimination claims.

Nicole Little

Law Clerk

'All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.'  - Galileo Galilei

For Nicole Little, joining the Machado Team is the inevitable culmination of the rich and varied experiences of her professional life. Nicole brings to the firm a variety of relevant experiences particularly from her tenure as a high school science educator. After teaching in Canada, she was recruited by the New York City Department of Education to fill a vacancy in one of the more challenging areas of the city. She taught with distinction, demonstrating care and concern for her ‘at risk’ students. She observed the overburdened school system and developed an interest in policy. Nicole is currently enrolled at Rutgers School of Law, class of 2019.