Staff

Administrative & Supervisory Staff

Jeanette Zelhof, Executive Director
Elise Brown, Deputy Director for Legal Practice & Director of Litigation for Housing Rights
Tiffany Liston, Deputy Director for Program and Development
Jacqueline Adorno, Supervising Attorney
John Bart, Supervising Attorney
Montel A. Cherry, Supervising Attorney
Donna Chiu, Supervising Attorney
Carolyn E. Coffey, Director of Litigation for Economic Justice
Kevin M. Cremin, Director of Litigation for Disability and Aging Rights
Andrew Darcy, Supervising Attorney
Tiffany Femiano, Supervising Attorney
Leah Goodridge, Supervising Attorney
Justin La Mort, Supervising Attorney
Elizabeth Lynch, Supervising Attorney
Lindsay Bascom, Chief Fiscal Officer
Juliette Dayana Bistoury, Director of Operations
Anu Garfield, Director of Contract Management and Compliance
Lucy Liang, Controller
Marleah Martin, Assistant to the Controller
Douglas Meredith, Grants & Contracts Specialist
José Ortiz, Director of Development
Dolores Schaefer, Director of Communications

Staff Attorneys

Shanila Ali
Peter Barker-Huelster
Cristina Quiñones Betancourt
Jason Blumberg
Jota Borgmann
Cassandra Charles
Ernie Collette
Evelyn Compton
Evan Denerstein
Christopher Fasano
Elizabeth Filatova
Aleah Gathings
Alberto Gonzales
Sandra Gresl
Ethan Han
Tangier Harper
Chloe Holzman
Bernadette Jentsch
Karla Johnson
Linda Jun
Tanya Kessler
Jesse Levitsky
Ariana Lindermayer
Matthew Longobardi
Dinah Luck
Belinda Luu
Matthew Main
Ariana Marmora
Ali Naini
Michael Novasky
Orier Okumakpeyi
Javier Ortiz
Michael Pereira
Samantha Rauer
Joseph Rebella
Arlene Rodriguez
Brenden Ross
Daniel Ross
Traci Salami
Mark Schulte
Anamaria Segura
Nahid Sorooshyari
Andrew Stafutti
Brian Sullivan
Patrick Tyrrell
Shi-Shi Wang
Rochelle Watson
Meaghan Whyte

Law Graduates

Kayan Chiu
Nora Kenty
Nora Machuga
Lizzie White

Social Work Coordinator

Sarah Heller, LCSW

Paralegals/Organizers

Jeffrey Bohn
German Castaneda
Fanny Chan
Abraham Hernandez
Tamika Johnson
Elisa Medina
Denise Romero Gonzalez
Reisy Veloz

Support Staff

Jessica Cepin, Administrative Assistant
Karla Diaz, Administrative Assistant
Brian M. Moody, Administrative Assistant

Extern Fellows

Provided by:

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Fellowships

Provided by:

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

MFY’s Leadership

Jeanette Zelhof, Executive Director

Jeanette Zelhof has been the Executive Director of Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services, Inc.) since September 2011.  A long-time member of MFJ’s legal team and force behind MFJ’s pioneering advocacy on adult home reform, Ms. Zelhof directs MFJ’s legal practice that annually serves more than 12,000 poor, low-income and disabled New Yorkers. Under Ms. Zelhof’s leadership, MFJ has expanded the scope and depth of its programs by developing projects to serve homeowners in foreclosure, low-wage workers, seniors, consumers, people with disabilities, and residents of three-quarter houses and nursing homes. She has held a number of positions at MFJ, including supervising MFJ’s affirmative litigation. Ms. Zelhof is the recipient of the Coalition of Institutional Aged and Disabled Adult Home Residents’ award (1998), the New York County Lawyers’ Association Award for Outstanding Public Service (1999), the Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services’ Public Policy Leadership Award (2002), and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Legal Services Award (2005).  She is co-author of Protecting the Rights of Litigants with Diminished Capacity in the New York City Housing Courts, 3 Cardozo Pub.L.Pol’y & Ethics J. 733 (2006), Ensuring a Fair Hearing for Litigants with Mental Illnesses, 17 J.L. & Pol’y 455 (2009), and Mental Health-Legal Partnerships, 44 Clearinghouse Rev. 535 (March/April 2011).  Ms. Zelhof is a 1985 graduate of Brooklyn Law School.

Jacqueline Adorno, Supervising Attorney

Jacqueline Adorno is Supervising Attorney of MFJ’s kinship caregiver unit, which works to prevent children from entering the traditional foster care system by helping relatives to secure orders of custody or guardianship or to adopt the children in their care. As a staff attorney, Ms. Adorno expanded the Project’s work in the Bronx, conducting regular legal clinics at Bronx Family Court and developing a collaborative project with Bridge Builders, a coalition of Bronx social service organizations, to expand services to Bronx families. A 2011 graduate of Fordham University School of Law, Ms. Adorno served as the Notes and Articles Editor of the Environmental Law Review and assisted domestic violence survivors as part of the Courtroom Advocates Program.  Before joining MFJ, Ms. Adorno was a Special Assistant District Attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, Domestic Violence Bureau and worked in private practice.

John Bart, Supervising Attorney

John Bart is Supervising Attorney of MFJ’s work on behalf of mental health consumers, which provides civil legal services in a general practice, including housing, government benefits and a host of other civil legal matters.  Previously, Mr. Bart worked at Northeast N.J. Legal Services and Harlem Legal Services as a Supervising Attorney in housing law and government benefits.  He has worked at DC37 Legal Services and at the NYC Legal Aid Society as a staff attorney, specializing in housing law and government benefits.  Mr. Bart has spent his career as an advocate, supervisor and litigator, with published successful decisions in New York and New Jersey.  Mr. Bart is a 1991 graduate of Cornell Law School.

Elise Brown, Deputy Director for Legal Practice & Director of Litigation for Housing

Elise Brown oversees MFJ’s housing practice, which focuses on preserving affordable housing and preventing homelessness. Prior to this, she launched MFJ’s forecosure practice, and is the organization’s deputy in charge of legal practice. Ms. Brown obtained CLE certification for the organization and manages its CLE program. Before joining MFJ in 2008, she practiced complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts and handled a wide range of legal matters as commercial real estate litigation, business torts, RICO, antitrust, insurance coverage, copyright, railroad law, and construction law. Following her graduation from law school, Ms. Brown served as a law clerk for the Hon. John M. Duhé, Jr. of the United State Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ms. Brown is the recipient of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Legal Service Award in 2013 and the NYCLA Award for Outstanding Public Service in 2017. She is a 1989 graduate of Louisiana State University School of Law.

Montel A. Cherry, Supervising Attorney

Montel A. Cherry is Supervising Attorney of MFJ’s government benefits unit, which assists individuals with legal problems relating to Public Assistance, Food Stamps, Medicaid/Medicare, Disability Benefits, immigration and special education.  This assistance includes representing clients in state and federal courts, and at administrative hearings. Prior to coming to MFJ, Ms. Cherry was a Disability Law Specialist at Manhattan Legal Services, where she represented adults and children with physical and mental impairments in appealing their denial of disability benefits.  Prior to that she was as a staff attorney for the government benefits unit at the former Harlem Legal Services and worked as a decisions editor at the New York Law Journal. Ms. Cherry is a 1999 graduate of CUNY School of Law.  She received the NYCLA Award for Outstanding Public Service in 2016.

Donna Chiu, Supervising Attorney

Donna Chiu is a Supervising Attorney in MFJ’s housing unit. Ms. Chiu recently returned to MFJ where she started her legal career as a housing attorney. Prior to returning to MFJ, she was the Director of Housing and Community Services at Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), a non-profit, community-based organization. At AAFE, Ms. Chiu led a team comprised of attorney, organizer and housing advocate to provide legal representation, organize and empower non-English speaking immigrants in Queens and Chinatown to stand up to their predatory equity landlords and fight back against tenant harassment.  Ms. Chiu is an immigrant from Hong Kong, China and a native Chinese-Cantonese speaker. She takes great pride in leveraging her lived experiences growing up in Chinatown as an immigrant to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services to some of New York’s most underserved tenants. Ms. Chiu received her J.D. from CUNY School of Law in 2005.  In 2015, she received the Community Partner Award from Manhattan Legal Services and the Community Ally Award from the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence. In 2016, Ms. Chiu was the recipient of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Legal Services Award.

Carolyn E. Coffey, Director of Litigation for Economic Justice

Carolyn E. Coffey oversees MFJ’s economic justice practices and supervises the consumer rights unit, which provides advice, counsel, and representation to low-income New Yorkers on a range of consumer problems, including bankruptcy and the workplace justice unit. In addition to supervising these practice areas, Ms. Coffey represents clients in state and federal courts in both defensive and affirmative cases, conducts trainings on consumer law, engages in legislative advocacy to help pass pro-consumer laws in New York City and New York State, and has co-authored several reports concerning the debt collection industry. She is also co-chair of the New York City Consumer Advocates Task Force and an adjunct professor at Cardozo School of Law.  She was previously a staff attorney in MFJ’s Workplace Justice Project and Consumer Rights Project and, before joining MFJ, clerked for the Hon. Deborah A. Batts in the Southern District of New York. She is a 2004 graduate of CUNY School of Law. Ms. Coffey is the recipient of the New York County Lawyers’ Association 2012 Public Service Award and the National Association of Consumer Advocates’ 2012 Consumer Advocate Award.  

Kevin M. Cremin, Director of Litigation for Disability and Aging Rights

Kevin M. Cremin oversees MFJ’s disability and aging rights practice, including supervising MFJ’s affirmative advocacy and litigation involving the rights of people who are elderly or have disabilities, including nursing home and adult home residents.  In 2006, Mr. Cremin received a fellowship to conduct a study in India to determine whether law and public policy should be reformed to facilitate better community-based services for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.  He has also worked for the West Side SRO Law Project and Legal Services NYC.  After clerking for a federal district court judge and a federal appellate court judge, he was a Trial Attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.  Mr. Cremin has published numerous articles on the rights of individuals with disabilities and conducts Fair Housing trainings citywide. He is an adjunct at Cardozo Law School and Columbia Law School. He is a 2000 graduate of Yale Law School. Mr. Cremin is the recipient of the New York County Lawyers’ Association 2013 Public Service Award.

Andrew Darcy, Supervising Attorney

Andrew Darcy is a Supervising Attorney in MFJ’s housing unit. Before becoming a supervisor, Mr. Darcy was a Staff Attorney at MFJ, representing tenants involved in disputes with their landlords in the Bronx and Manhattan. He has advocated for tenants from pre-litigation stages through appeals, in cases involving, among others, illegal lockouts, allegations of nonpayment and breach of lease, as well as rent overcharges. Mr. Darcy has had numerous decisions stemming from his successful representation of tenants published in the New York Law Journal and in the New York Official Reports. Before joining MFJ, Mr. Darcy was an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he litigated cases involving complex commercial, antitrust, and securities matters, as well as government investigations. In 2012-2013, Mr. Darcy clerked for the Honorable Katharine S. Hayden, District Judge for the District of New Jersey. Mr. Darcy is a 2010 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law.

Tiffany Femiano, Supervising Attorney

Tiffany Femiano is a Supervising Attorney in MFJ’s housing unit. Prior to joining MFJ, Ms. Femiano was a Staff Attorney at Bronx Defenders, where she represented clients on a broad range of civil legal issues, including housing matters and those involving loss of employment licenses. She also served as a Staff Attorney at Queens Legal Services, where she engaged in affirmative litigation and eviction defense on behalf of tenants at administrative agencies, Housing Court and Supreme Court. She has had several decisions stemming from successful representation of tenants published in the New York Law Journal and in the New York Official Reports. Ms. Femiano is a 2011 graduate of Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.

Leah Goodridge, Supervising Attorney

Leah Goodridge is a Supervising Attorney in MFJ’s housing unit. Prior to joining MFJ, Ms. Goodridge was a Housing Staff Attorney at the Urban Justice Center where she organized tenant groups and initiated affirmative litigation to address environmentally hazardous conditions. She also litigated a housing discrimination case which sought to reinforce reasonable accommodation provisions for tenants.  Fluent in Spanish, Ms. Goodridge has taught courses on capacity building and community development at the City University of New York and NYU Wagner. She is a 2009 graduate of UCLA School of Law. In recognition of her efforts in community development, Ms. Goodridge was awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant in 2015 to lead a series of lectures on social innovation and housing law at the University of Malta in Europe.

Justin La Mort, Supervising Attorney

Justin La Mort is a Supervising Attorney in MFJ’s housing unit. Before joining MFJ, Mr. La Mort was a Supervising Attorney at CAMBA Legal Services where he represented hundreds of tenants in Brooklyn with winning decisions published in the New York Official Reports and the New York Law Journal. His legal writings have been published in the Missouri Law Review, NYU Review of Law & Social Change, Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law, and the online Harvard Law & Policy Review. Mr. La Mort is a 2010 graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Tiffany Liston, Deputy Director for Program and Administration

Tiffany Liston assists the Executive Director in overseeing program, development, and strategic organizational initiatives for Mobilization for Justice. Before joining MFJ, Ms. Liston was the Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel for a charter management organization that supported five public charter schools where she oversaw all legal issues, human resources, development/external relations, finance, and operations. Prior to that, Ms. Liston was a Litigation Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP where she managed a complex commercial case load, including government investigations, RICO, intellectual property, antitrust, among other matters. Prior to Simpson Thacher, Ms. Liston interned for Judge Lucy Billings, NY Supreme Court, and Mobilization for Justice, where she started her legal career. Ms. Liston is on the Board of Riverdale Neighborhood House, a social services non-profit in the North Bronx. She is a 2002 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.

Elizabeth M. Lynch, Supervising Attorney

Elizabeth Lynch is Supervising Attorney of MFJ’s foreclosure unit, which represents clients in court-based foreclosure proceedings. Ms. Lynch carried out an extensive investigation into illegal practices by foreclosure firms, resulting in a nationally acclaimed white paper, Justice Deceived. Ms. Lynch regularly speaks on foreclosure at conferences and community events. Her fluency in Mandarin is important in serving the Chinese-speaking community in Queens. Her commentary on foreclosure issues has appeared as op ed pieces in the New York Times, New York Law Journal and The Huffington Post. She is a 2003 graduate of Harvard Law School. In 2015 Ms. Lynch was named a Rising Star by the New York Law Journal.

 

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