Katherine Baldwin
Rep Payee Program Manager
Katherine joined DLC in July, 2019. She is originally from the Pioneer Valley Region of New Hampshire and had the privilege to grow up in a family care home which allowed the inclusion of persons with disabilities as an integrated part of her family. Her family provided a home for people that came from institutions, family homes, group homes and other situations. The opportunity to live, work and play side by side with such a diverse population taught

Katherine the value of empowerment and advocacy. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Maine at Farmington where she studied special education. She later earned a Masters of Education and a Masters of Public Policy. Ms. Baldwin previously worked doing case management and as an IDD director in North Carolina. Katherine has devoted her career to advocacy and empowering outcomes for all persons in the mental health system.  In working with families, she strives to educate them on the processes and systems at work to allow for self-empowerment for both guardians and the consumer of services. Katherine has been active in the Cumberland Provider Advisory Council and the Consumer and Family Advisory Committee.

Ms. Baldwin was named Rehabilitation Partner of the Year in 2010 by Service Source. Katherine’s focus at the Disability Law Center is as an Investigator for the Representative Payee Program. In her free time Katherine is a proud Army wife and mother, she enjoys playing volleyball, scrapbooking and reading.

Laura Best (she/her)
Intake Specialist

Laura joined DLC in August 2019. She is originally from the Andersonville neighborhood on Chicago’s north side. She is a Cubs and a Bears fan, but will root for the Red Sox and Patriots if they are not playing her home teams. Her work with people with disabilities began when she worked as an inclusion companion at a summer camp outside of Chicago.

 

Ms. Best graduated from Boston University in May 2019 where she received a BA in Psychology and Political Science. While at BU, she studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium interning at a non-profit that assisted in refugee resettlement. She also completed an internship at Senator Edward Markey’s office in Boston where she wrote a legislative brief on migrants with mental illnesses, focusing on PTSD and other trauma related disabilities.

Linda Byrne (she/her)
Intake Specialist
Linda, a graduate of Aquinas College, has assisted individuals with physical, developmental and mental health disabilities at DLC since 2003. Ms. Byrne started as an Administrative Assistant; and was promoted to an Intake Specialist several years later. Prior to joining DLC, Ms. Byrne worked at the Center for Public Representation for 8 years assisting individuals with mental health disabilities. She speaks fluent Portuguese.
Rich Contente (he/him)
Director of Finance & Information Technology

Rich joined DLC in 1988 as Business Manager. He was responsible for computerizing all of the agency’s legal and administrative functions. Today, Rich administers our computer networks, manages our web sites and social media outlets, and provides technical assistance to staff. Most recently, Rich developed our mobile web app and turned our local access cable TV show into a video podcast. He has a special interest in assistive technologies and how they can help people with disabilities. Rich is also responsible for all of the accounting and financial functions of the agency, as well as human resources and other general management functions. He has overseen the growth of our annual budget from $600K to $3 million. He especially enjoys developing budget strategies to help maximize our limited resources.

April Duggal (she/her)
Disability Rights Advocate

April joined DLC in 2022. She grew up in Arkansas; completed her MSc in Equality Studies at the University College Dublin, Ireland where she focused on the oppressions faced by adults in long-term mental health programming; and earned status as PhD Candidate (all but dissertation) at UMass Boston’s School for Global Inclusion and Social Development where she focused on human rights for adults in long-term mental health programming. In 2017, April contributed to the development of the World Health Organization's QualityRights global training series for human rights in mental health services. 

April comes to DLC with her own lived experience navigating the mental health system and has previously served in Human Rights Coordinator and Peer Support Coordinator roles at Boston area mental health providers. 

April is an artist and several of her public art pieces can be seen on display around the Greater Boston Area. She has a senior cat named Tomato and a corgi called Aloo (which means “Potato” in Hindi—her husband’s native language). 

Alison Fondo (she/her)
Staff Attorney

Alison joined DLC in 2021 as a Civil Legal Aid for Victims of Crime Staff Attorney.  Prior to joining DLC, Alison was an Associate Attorney for a general practice law firm that handled both family law and criminal matters.  She later joined Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a Human Services Coordinator where she advocated for communication access for her Deaf and hard of hearing clients in a variety of settings, including prisons, homeless shelters, housing authorities, medical providers and legal services. 

Alison is a 1994 graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.S in Communication Science Disorders.  She received her J.D from Northeastern University School of Law in 2001. 

Alison is Deaf herself and is fluent in ASL.

Amanda Gasparonis
Director of Administration
Amanda started working at the Disability Law Center in 2010 and has been the Director of Administration since 2012. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Hampshire in 2009 with a BA in Anthropology. While a student at UNH, Amanda worked for the Office of Disability Services for Students and the Department of Occupational Therapy.
Rick Glassman (he/him)
Director of Advocacy
Rick is a 1981 graduate of Colgate University, magna cum laude, and received his J.D. in 1984 from Northeastern University School of Law. He worked in a legal services program from 1985 to 2001 and managed a law school poverty law clinic from 2001 to 2006, before joining DLC. From April 2006 to February 2014 he served as Director of Litigation at the Disability Law Center, when he then assumed his current position as Director of Advocacy. In recent years, Rick has been actively involved in issues such as: housing discrimination and reasonable accommodations; restraint and seclusion of children in schools; eligibility for adult services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; access to public accommodations; rights of prisoners with psychiatric disabilities; rights to live and receive services in an integrated setting in the community; and wage and hour issues on behalf of subminimum wage workers with disabilities.
Jordan Goldstein (he/him)
Disability Rights Advocate

Jordan joined the DLC staff as a Disability Rights Advocate in 2022. He previously worked as a Peer Specialist and Human Rights Officer with different community mental health agencies in the Boston area, providing individual and group supports while advocating for the rights and preferences of people receiving services. He also served as Program Coordinator for The Living Room, a peer-run crisis alternative to emergency department visits and hospitalization. Jordan is a graduate of Oberlin College and holds an MA in Medical Anthropology from Southern Methodist University. 

Rizwanul Huda (he/him)
Staff Attorney

Rizwanul (“Riz”)  joined DLC as a staff attorney in 2021. Prior to joining, he was a solo practitioner who advocated for employees and immigrants. He was a member of CPCS’ Children and Family Law trial and appellate panels and was a Bar Advocate on criminal cases for Suffolk Lawyers for Justice. He has represented clients in the Appeals Court, Superior Court, Boston Municipal Court, Juvenile Court, USCIS, and MCAD. He earned an M.B.A., and was a successful financial professional in his previous career. He transitioned to becoming an attorney to protect the civil rights of the marginalized population. 

Stefanie Krantz (she/her)
Senior Attorney
Stefanie has been a staff attorney at DLC since 1994. She works in the Northampton office. Stefanie has expertise in many areas of disability rights work including; access to health care, special education, housing, employment, and public accommodations. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and Western New England School of Law. She is also a trained mediator and she brings these skills to her work on a daily basis. Stefanie has conducted statewide trainings in the areas of health care access, special education, and communication access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In addition, she has authored a number of publications, including chapters on Special Education and Health Care Access in the MCLE publication: Legal Rights of Individuals with Disabilities. Stefanie has dedicated her profession to furthering the rights of people with disabilities on an individual and a systemic level.
Linda Landry (she/her)
Senior Attorney
Linda has worked at DLC since 1990. Her focus is on Social Security benefit issues and work incentives, as well as the related health benefits, MassHealth and Medicare. She has over 30 years of experience in legal advocacy in these areas, which has included individual representation, training, impact and policy work, class action litigation, and backup, support, and technical assistance to a statewide project of attorneys and advocates who represent individual Social Security and SSI disability benefits claimants. Linda writes and presents on a variety topics for local and national audiences. She is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and worked at Neighborhood Legal Services in the 1980s before coming to DLC. She received the NOSSCR Distinguished Service Award in 2006, the Massachusetts Bar Association Equal Access to Justice Award in 2011, and a Massachusetts Top Women of the Law Award in 2013.
Barbara L'Italien (she/her)
Executive Director

Barbara has been a leading advocate at the intersection between politics, law, health care and policy for twenty-five years. She served as both a State Representative and State Senator in the Massachusetts Legislature, focusing on the rights and needs of people with disabilities, seniors, people who are economically disadvantaged and the LGBTQ community. Her advocacy concerning Autism built the service delivery system for educational, social-emotional, and medical support and included establishing and chairing the first Autism Commission and passing comprehensive mandated medical insurance coverage. Barbara also chaired the Elder Affairs Committee, fought for community-based services and passed model legislation to address Alzheimer’s care as well as Consumer Protection laws and dyslexia screening. She is proud of her votes for Universal Healthcare and Equal Marriage. Barbara gave up her State Senate seat to run for Congress in 2018 as a Mom on a Mission to fight for Medicare for All. She has been a Government Affairs Director for the Massachusetts State Treasurer and The Arc of Massachusetts. In recent years, she operated a small lobbying firm that facilitated a partnership with the state to achieve an increase in the community-based elder healthcare workforce through the expansion of an employment training program.

During the pandemic, Barbara served for six months as a Supervisor on the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative and as Senior Government Affairs Advisor for Partners in Health. In the latter position, she focused on partnering with other organizations on an equitable COVID-19 response. Barbara is committed to working to address the systemic inequities that COVID-19 has exacerbated – in health care, employment, housing, education and opportunities for civic engagement – grounded in structural racism as well as discrimination based on disability and socioeconomic status.

“I am honored to join the Disability Law Center in continuing to fulfill their mission,” Barbara remarks. “Working in concert with DLC’s dedicated Board and talented Staff, I look forward to building upon the existing coalition work, advocacy efforts, public profile and financial resources of the organization.”

Nina Loewenstein (she/her)
Senior Attorney

Nina Loewenstein comes to DLC after nearly twenty years as an attorney at Disability Rights New York, New York’s protection and advocacy system.  Most recently, she was a supervising attorney in New York’s PAIMI program.  Nina led statewide litigation for the New York P&A challenging the solitary confinement of prisoners with mental illness and the inadequacy of mental health treatment.  This litigation led to a statewide settlement whose protections were ultimately enacted into state law.  She also worked extensively on Olmstead litigation and advocacy for individuals with serious mental illness in adult homes and nursing homes, and is actively involved with advocacy on long-term care reform in New York.  Nina is pleased to be working with DLC this year to develop reports and assist with other systemic advocacy.  Nina graduated from Wesleyan University and New York University School of Law and earned a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University. 

John Lundborn
Investigator

John Lundborn joined DLC as a Representative Payee Investigator in 2019.John has well over twenty-five years of police and public safety experience. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law Enforcement and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He is also a graduate of the FBI LEEDA Program and a graduate of the New England Law Enforcement Executive Development Class at Babson College, and a graduate of the UMASS Boston addiction counseling program. 

Since 1987, he has held various responsibilities and assignments.  John has also held positions as a transition coordinator and director at a not for profit advocacy organization that serve people with disabilities. He was responsible for obtaining and managing grants, programs, services and human resources for the organization.

As a tireless advocate, he has helped hundreds of people with disabilities and addictions in their recovery efforts, and has helped them transition to more independence through positive and progressive change.

Kinga Mierzejewski
Disability Rights Advocate

Kinga joined the DLC in 2022. Previously she worked as an Educational Specialist at DESE, Special Education Coordinator/Teacher in Western New York state, and Residential Services Counselor in WNY. Kinga has a B.A. in Psychology, an M.S. in Educational Computing, an M.S. Ed in Special Education, and an Advance Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership.  In her professional role she ensured that all people with disabilities had an equal access to needed programs, services, and opportunities in the educational settings as well as in the community. 

Nancy J. Murphy (she/her/hers)
Front Desk & Intake Unit Managing Attorney
Nancy joined Disability Law Center in the Northampton Office in 2005. Attorney Murphy focuses on individual and systemic advocacy for individuals with disabilities living in the community and in facilities. Attorney Murphy specializes in investigating allegations of abuse and neglect, ensuring appropriate discharge planning from a facility, and protecting individuals’ human rights in any setting. In addition to her individual advocacy for individuals in the community and in facilities, Attorney Murphy has managed and developed systemic projects on emergency preparedness for individuals requiring additional assistance, Police Department response to individuals with disabilities, and using Photovoice as a tool to work with individuals with disabilities and provide feedback to the Governor. Attorney Murphy regularly conducts on site monitoring at Vibra Hospital of Western MA and Bridgewater State Hospital. Attorney Murphy graduated cum laude from Hamilton College in 1997 with a double major in Economics and Communication Studies. While studying for a semester at Oxford University, Attorney Murphy was the American Student Representative at the Oxford International Law Symposium. After college, she worked as a Corporate Law Legal Assistant at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in NYC, then attended George Washington University Law School. During law school, Attorney Murphy interned for the Torts Civil Litigation Unit of the U.S. Dept. of Justice as a legal research intern on the Waco, Texas Branch Davidian Litigation. She also interned at the New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel. Upon graduating in 2001, Attorney Murphy returned to the NYC Law Department in the General Litigation Division where she practiced civil defense litigation for the various City agencies, including NYPD, Health and Hospitals Corporation, Education Department, and DSS.
Tom Murphy (he/him)
Supervising Attorney
Tom has been an attorney at DLC since 2005. He works in our Northampton office. His expertise is focused on issues involving the civil rights of individuals with disabilities, primarily in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations discrimination, government programs and services, architectural access, and voting rights. He has practiced in federal and State courts in Massachusetts, and before agencies such as the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Department of Developmental Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He has authored amicus briefs before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, as well as chapters on Employment Law and Public Accommodations Law in the DLC publication Legal Rights of Individuals with Disabilities. Attorney Murphy has over nineteen years of experience in legal advocacy, litigation, administrative law, public policy, and conducting legal trainings and continuing education programs. He is a graduate of Villanova University and Boston University School of Law, and previously worked for the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, in addition to working in private practice and legal services.
Walter Noons
Senior Attorney
Walter graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1996 and initially worked at the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee until joining DLC in 2003. Walter’s primary practice has been to represent persons with psychiatric disabilities who are receiving services from state-operated and private psychiatric hospitals. Prior to law school, Walter worked at Greater Boston Legal Services as a paralegal on the Health and Benefits team.
Tatum A. Pritchard (she/her)
Director of Litigation
Tatum joined DLC  as the Director of Litigation in May 2019. Tatum has devoted her career to challenging systemic inequities and upholding the rights of people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations through litigation in various settings. As an attorney at Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts for over eight years, she has represented incarcerated individuals in strategic civil rights litigation in state and federal courts, including several class actions on behalf of people with disabilities. Since 2013, she has also served as Strategic Litigation Consultant for the International Justice Resource Center. Prior to her work at Prisoners’ Legal Services, Tatum was a visiting attorney at the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa where she engaged in impact litigation aimed at realizing the human rights enshrined in the South African Constitution, with an emphasis on socio-economic rights.

Immediately following law school, Tatum completed a clerkship with the Massachusetts Superior Court and, thereafter, spent three years as a Public Defender with the Committee for Public Counsel Services representing indigent clients charged with crimes in Massachusetts District and Superior Courts. She has represented indigent criminal defendants in appellate proceedings as well. Tatum is a graduate of Colgate University and Boston College Law School and is admitted to the bars of Massachusetts, New York, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Josiah Richards
Representative Payee Investigator

Josiah joined DLC in September of 2021.  Originally from Rochester, NH, Josiah earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Salem State University in 1998. He went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Business Management from Suffolk University in 2007.   

Josiah has nearly 25 years of advocacy and social service experience.  Josiah worked at the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project in Boston, the Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force in Nashua, and most recently he was an adult foster care case manager at The Arc of Opportunity in Fitchburg, Massachusetts..  Josiah brings 8 years of case management and Rep. Payee experience supporting individuals and their families on funds management plans and advocating for their rights for financial literacy and independence.  

Hillary Dunn Stanisz (she/her/hers)
Senior Attorney

Hillary Dunn Stanisz is a Senior Attorney at the Disability Law Center where she focuses on advocating for appropriate community supports and services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and special education matters. She also monitors program sites and conducts abuse and neglect investigations under the Disability Law Center’s authority as the Commonwealth’s Protection and Advocacy system. Hillary is regularly involved in legislative and policy advocacy regarding disability issues and has trained people with disabilities, families and professionals in various areas of disability law. In addition to her work at the Disability Law Center, Hillary previously worked in the Special Needs and Elder Law Practice Group at a Massachusetts law firm where she practiced in the areas of special education, guardianship issues, and advocacy with adult human service agencies. Following law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Debra C. Freeman of the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Hillary is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Tufts University.

Matthew Steele (he/him)
Staff Attorney

Matt joined DLC in 2020. He previously worked at the protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in New York, where he focused on housing, employment, and mental health treatment issues. Matt also worked for a number of years at the Boston Housing Authority on fair housing issues, civil rights investigations, and policy compliance. He has also worked in legal services, medical-legal partnerships, and legal editing. Matt is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School.    

Kyra Sweeney (she/her/hers)
Law Fellow
Kyra joined DLC as the N. Neal Pike Fellow in September 2022. She is originally from Santa Monica, California. She graduated from Boston University School of Law in 2022. Prior to attending law school, Kyra worked for three years as a Web Accessibility Specialist. During law school, Kyra participated in the Civil Litigation and Justice Clinic and the school’s National Moot Court team.
Svetlana Uimenkova (she/her)
Senior Attorney
Svetlana joined DLC in 2005. After graduating from Boston University Law School in 2001, she worked in private practice providing individual representation on Social Security cases nationwide. As part of the disability benefits project at DLC she provides technical assistance and counseling to attorneys who represent individuals in Social Security, SSI, and Medicaid appeals. She is a regular presenter of Social Security and Medicaid related programs across Massachusetts.
Richard Villavicencio (he/him)
Intake Specialist
Richard, a member of our Intake Unit, joined DLC in 2001. He has also served as Outreach Coordinator and Affirmative Action Officer, and has organized special education conferences and a multitude of in-house training workshops for linguistic minorities statewide. On a day to-day basis, he conducts intakes for potential clients, which consist of personal interviews and write-ups to determine if the potential client qualifies for legal representation. A veteran of the US. NAVY, Richard holds a B.A. in legal studies and is fluent in English and Spanish.
Caitlin Walsh (she/they)
Administrative Assistant

Caitlin joined DLC in late 2021 as the Administrative Assistant. Previously she worked at GLAD - GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders as the Public Affairs Assistant for over 3 years, where she provided administrative support to the Public Affairs department and managed reception. During Covid-19, GLAD worked remotely and Caitlin transcribed voicemails for the info-line.

Caitlin has a BA Degree in English and has completed the Successful Grant Writing, from A to Z course at UMass Boston. Born and raised in Boston, she is a fan of science fiction and enjoys writing.  

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