Veterans Legal Services promotes self-sufficiency, stability, and financial security for veterans in Massachusetts through comprehensive and accessible legal services. VLS’s unique model of delivering services on-site at homeless shelters and service centers allows it to reach veterans who would otherwise go without the legal help they need. Our partnerships with shelters, courts, and supportive services providers enable VLS to make legal services accessible and collaborate with other professionals, ensuring the best chance of veteran success.
Veterans Legal Services is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is not part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or any other government agency.
Want to join this award-winning and growing legal aid organization dedicated to serving veterans? As of December 2019, two positions are open: Pro Bono Director and Senior Staff Attorney. We’re looking for the best of the best to join our congenial team to serve our veterans! UPDATE: As of January 16, 2020, both of these positions have been filled. Stay tuned to learn about VLS’s newest team members!
“There are few finer legacies than having served our country well: statesmen, soldiers, and citizens alike. Then there are those who understand the cost of such sacrifice and give of themselves in an effort to pay back. Such are the people of Veterans Legal Services and all who support them.”
– Doris Kearns Goodwin, Friend of VLS
Friends of Veterans Legal Services
Friends of VLS is a group of distinguished individuals invited by the VLS Board of Directors to be affiliated with the organization due to their special knowledge of veterans’ issues, legal services, philanthropy, and non-profit organizations.
- Richard “Dick” Allen, Esq.
- Michael Douvadjian, ChFC, CFP®, CLU
- Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Scott Harshbarger, Esq.
- Michael B. Keating, Esq.
- Coleman Nee
- Stephen H. Oleskey, Esq.
- Stephen Pagliuca
- John “Jack” J. Regan, Esq.
- William “Bill” F. Sinnott, Esq.
Sarah E. Roxburgh, Esq.
Co-Executive Director & Chief of Operations
Sarah Roxburgh directs Veterans Legal Services’s (VLS) operations. She has served in that role since 2010. Prior to that, she was a staff attorney at the organization. Sarah specializes in raising the necessary resources to build capacity, recruiting and retaining volunteers, managing and growing the VLS board of directors, committees, and staff, and developing and implementing systems to scale with VLS’s growth. Since 2010, Sarah has helped quadruple VLS’s budget, allowing for significant program growth. She has actively participated in several non-profit capacity building initiatives, including those through Social Innovation Forum (2014), Nonprofit Learning Institute (2016), and Social Venture Partners Boston (2018).
Sarah received her B.A. from Northeastern University and her J.D. from New England Law | Boston. Upon graduation, she received the New England Law | Boston Dean Timothy J. Cronin, Jr. Memorial Award for the graduate with the most outstanding contribution to public service. Sarah lives in Boston with her dog, Wally (Airedale/Welsh Terrier mix), and is a dedicated yogi. She and her prior dog, Herman, have volunteered with Boston Children’s Hospital through their therapy dog visitation program. Sarah also volunteers with Christopher’s Haven, an organization providing temporary housing and support for families whose minor children are receiving cancer treatment in Boston.
Anna Schleelein Richardson, Esq.
Co-Executive Director & Chief Counsel
Anna Richardson leads VLS programs and is widely known for her expertise in veterans’ legal needs. She has served as faculty for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Basic Benefits Training offered by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education on state and federal veterans’ benefits. She has also performed trainings on veterans’ legal issues for the Boston Bar Association, the Legal Advocacy and Resource Center, and legal services agencies.
Anna received her B.A. from Boston College and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. In 2011, Anna received Boston University School of Law’s Victor J. Garo Public Service Award, presented annually to two alumni for their commitment and dedication to public service. In 2015, she was selected as a Boston Rising Star by the National Law Journal and Connecticut Law Tribune. Anna serves on the board of Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, appointed by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Anna is an avid gardener and lives in Waltham with her husband, Clarence.
Eve C. Elliott, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Eve Elliott assists low-income veterans through the Norfolk County Veterans Treatment Court. She specializes in a variety of civil matters,including landlord/tenant, public benefits, consumer debt, and family law.
Eve received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her J.D. from New England Law | Boston. Eve worked as a paralegal prior to law school with a solo practitioner, a large Boston law firm, and in-house at an area investment company. Eve initially began working with VLS as a volunteer Law Student Advocate during law school and also worked with the organization through the New England Law | Boston Lawyering Process Clinic. Eve also spent a year interning as a Rule 9 Student Practitioner for the Rhode Island Office of the Public Defender in the Providence District Court where she gained criminal law experience representing clients at arraignments, during pretrial conferences and in probation and bail violation hearings. Eve lives on the North Shore with her husband, Jesse, and her Wheaten Terrier, Finn.
Jessica Hopton Youngberg, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney; Skadden Fellow (2015-2017)
Jessica Hopton Youngberg assists low-income veterans through the VLS clinic at the New England Center & Home for Veterans. She assists clients with a variety of civil matters, including landlord/tenant, public benefits, consumer debt, and family law.
Jessica has a long history of public service work including advocacy for active duty service members, veterans and their families. Before joining VLS, she served as a law clerk to Magistrate Judge Charles B. Goodwin in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Jessica previously worked with VLS as a summer intern during law school and worked with the Red Cross while living in Korea during her husband’s service in the Army. Jessica received her B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University and her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, and is the first Suffolk Law School graduate to receive the prestigious Skadden Fellowship.The Skadden Fellowship Program, described as “a legal Peace Corps,” was established by the law firm Skadden, Arps in recognition of the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor. From hundreds of applications, only approximately 20 recipients are selected nationwide, based upon each applicant’s academic performance, demonstrated commitment to public interest, and the quality of his or her proposed project. Jessica is a member of the Boston Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Law Section’s Financial Literacy Committee and volunteer with the M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program for high school students. Jessica resides on the South Shore with her husband Brandon, a military veteran who works for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Pedro Spivakovsky-Gonzalez, Esq.
Staff Attorney; Skadden Fellow (2017-2019)
Pedro Spivakovsky-Gonzalez assists low-income veterans at the Chelsea Soldiers Home and the New England Center and Home for Veterans. He assists veterans across a range of practice areas, including landlord/tenant issues, family law, and benefits issues. He is interested in helping veterans facing collateral consequences of reentry and also works on discharge status upgrades for low-income veterans who are unable to access benefits given their discharge status.
Pedro is from Boston and recently graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was a student attorney and President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. He studied Economics and Political Economy at UC Berkeley, and then worked as a John Gardner Fellow and Research Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Prior to law school he also completed a Master’s program as a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge and worked at a think tank focused on income inequality and social mobility. In his free time he enjoys traveling, playing soccer, and listening to country music.
Please note: Unsolicited emails to any member of VLS do not create an attorney-client relationship. If you choose to email any member of VLS, do not send confidential or sensitive information. Any information provided in such an email may not be protected by attorney-client privilege and may be subject to future disclosure. If you are seeking legal services, the best way to contact VLS is by calling the office at 857-317-4474.
2019-2020: Pamela Meister, Esq., Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (ret.)
2018-2019: Jonathan Feltner, Esq., Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (ret.)
2017-2018: Steve Parker, Esq., Mintz Levin (ret.)
2016-2017: Hon. Paul A. Chernoff (ret.)
2015-2016: Hon. John C. Cratsley (ret.)
2013-2014: Rosemary Allen, Esq., Mintz Levin (ret.)
Board of Directors
Allan A. Ryan, Esq., Board Chair
Harvard Business School Publishing
Allan A. Ryan has been a lawyer at Harvard since 1985, first in the Office of General Counsel, and as Director of Intellectual Property at Harvard Business School Publishing since 2001. He graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Minnesota Law School magna cum laude, and was a law clerk for Justice Byron R. White of the Supreme Court of the United States. He served as a captain in the US Marine Corps, and then in the U.S. Department of Justice as assistant to the solicitor general, arguing eight cases before the Supreme Court, and as director of the office of special investigations in the criminal division. He is an adjunct professor of law at Boston College Law School, where he teaches in the field of human rights and international law. He also teaches two courses in Harvard’s Summer School: Intellectual Property; and War Crimes, Genocide and Justice. His recent books are Yamashita’s Ghost: War Crimes, MacArthur’s Justice and Command Accountability (2012) and The 9/11 Terror Cases: Constitutional Challenges in the War Against al-Qaeda (2015), both published by University Press of Kansas.
Andrew von Kuhn, Treasurer
BDT & Company
Andrew von Kuhn is an Associate at BDT & Company and graduate of Harvard Business School. Before returning to school at Harvard, he worked as an associate at J.P. Morgan. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan in 2013, Andrew served in the Marine Corps from 2009 – 2013 as an infantry officer. Andrew is a graduate of Dartmouth College. He serves as VLS’s Treasurer and is chair of VLS’s Endowment Committee. Andrew resides in New York City with his wife, Mary, and their two young children.
Jonathan C. Hayden, Esq., Secretary
Riemer & Braunstein
Jon joined Riemer & Braunstein in 2019. Jon’s practice focuses on representing various financial institutions in single-lender and agented, multi-lender real estate financing transactions, including term loans, construction loans, and mezzanine financing.
After law school, Jon served four years on active duty as a Captain in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, serving as a criminal prosectuor for the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, N.C., and as an administrative law and legal assistance attorney for the United States Military Academy at West Point. Jon received the Army Commendation Medal twice and the Army Achievement Medal. Jon is past co-chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Active Duty Military & Veterans Forum. He resides in Watertown with his wife, Courtney, and their two young sons.
Rosemary Allen, Esq.
Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, PC (retired)
Rosemary Allen was an Associate, and later a Partner, at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. from September 1987 until June 2012, when she retired from the firm. She practiced in the firm’s intellectual property and litigation sections, focusing in the areas of complex business litigation, intellectual property litigation, criminal law and appellate practice. During her career at Mintz Levin, Rosemary served as Section Manager of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice and as the partner in charge of firm-wide professional development. She also served on and chaired the firm’s Hiring Committee and Diversity Committee.
Rosemary received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in 1986. After law school, she served as a clerk to the Honorable Bruce M. Selya on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Rosemary also holds an M. Ed. from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. Prior to attending law school, Rosemary taught English at Brockton High School for approximately 10 years.
Rosemary serves as a member of the VLS board and as VLS’s Governance Committee Chair, and serves on the following VLS committees: Compensation, Endowment, Event & Communications, Executive, and Gift Acceptance. In addition, Rosemary served as VLS’s 2013 – 2014 Fellow through the Access to Justice Fellows Program. Rosemary resides in Newton with her husband, Dick, who serves as a “Friend of VLS” and on VLS’s Endowment and Governance Committees.
Boston Beer Company
Jennifer Glanville serves as Co-Chair of the Event & Communications Committee. She is the Brewery Manager at The Boston Beer Company, brewers of Samuel Adams. She is responsible for innovation and new beer development, production and research, development brewing, sourcing unique ingredients, brewery marketing, brewery events, visitor’s center and museum and sales, consumer, wholesaler and account training and education. She has been with the Boston Beer Company since 2001.
Jennifer is a graduate of Mount Holyoke, Doemens Brewing School in Munich, Germany and Babson’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. She serves as the Chair of the VLS Event Committee.
Joseph Kearns Goodwin, Esq.
Bank of America; National Service Now
Attorney and Army veteran Joseph Kearns Goodwin joined the VLS board in November 2015. In addition to his work with VLS, Joe is a Strategy & Public Policy Executive at Bank of America. He is also the founder of National Service Now, a nonprofit advocating that young Americans volunteer for a “service year,” whether through the Peace Corps, Teach for America, City Year, AmeriCorps, the military, or another public service organization. Joe’s recent TEDxBeaconStreet talk, National Service Can Make America Great Again, makes a thoughtful and compelling case for national public service, a cause to which he is deeply committed. Following the events of September 11, 2001, Joe responded by immediately enlisting in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq where he served as a combat arms platoon leader for fourteen months. He was later involuntarily recalled to service and also deployed to Afghanistan. Joe was awarded a Bronze Star for his distinguished service. Joe is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School.
Daniel C. LaPenta, Esq.
Daniel LaPenta is a Legal Counsel for Santander Bank and works in the Legal Department’s Risk and Compliance group. Dan began his legal career in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps and served as a trial and appellate defense attorney. In 2009, Dan deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he worked as a liaison officer to the judges of the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. In 2015, as a Navy reservist, Dan deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he advised the commanders on all military justice matters. After leaving active duty, Dan clerked for the Honorable Justice Mitchell J. Sikora, Jr. of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Following his clerkship, Dan worked as an attorney for LibbyHoopes, P.C., a boutique Boston law firm that specializes in white collar criminal defense, government investigations, and complex civil litigation. Dan is still active in the U.S. Navy Reserves and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Dan serves on the VLS Gift Acceptance Committee.
Nicole Jackson Leslie, Esq.
Brown Brothers Harriman
Nicole Jackson Leslie joined Brown Brothers Harriman in 2018 and is a wealth planner in the Boston office. Prior to joining BBH, Nicole practiced at the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP, where she provided comprehensive estate planning advice designed to minimize transfer taxes, preserve family wealth and achieve personal and philanthropic goals. Nicole is a member of the Boston Estate Planning Council. She graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University with a B.S. in criminal justice and human services and received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. During her undergraduate studies, Nicole volunteered as a student advocate with Veterans Legal Services.
Miroslav Majernik served 7 years and 11 months on active duty in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. Among other achievements, he earned an Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, two Army Achievement Medals, and two Army Good Conduct Medals. He served overseas, working with NATO forces, including training those forces for deployments. Miro obtained an Associate Degree from Northern Essex Community College in 2005 and is currently pursuing additional studies at Post University and beyond.
Alexandra Trobe is a U.S. Air Force Academy, NCAA Division I Academic All-American athlete, Distinguished Graduate, and current Boston University School of Law J.D. candidate. She is a recognized leader with 5 years experience leading teams in high-stress, fast operations tempo, and high-visibility environments; distinguished with multiple Air Force-level and national public relations awards for excellence in leadership, academics, athletics, and community development.
Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VA Medical Center)
Christopher Walton is a Certified Peer Specialist with the Veterans Health Administration, the largest integrated health care system in the United States. Chris works with the Post-Incarceration Engagement Project (PIE) at the Center for Healthcare Organization and Research (CHOIR) and in coordination with VA’s Health Care for Reentry Veterans Services program to provide and evaluate reentry peer counseling and mentoring to veterans leaving incarceration. He is a U.S. Navy Veteran with eight years of meritorious service and a graduate of the Harvard University Extension School with a degree in Humanities and Social Sciences. He is a dedicated father and self-described optimist.
Council of Advisors
The role of the Council is to advise and assist VLS in carrying out its mission as needed and at the discretion of VLS. The Council shall be comprised of persons recognized by VLS for their exceptional commitment to and support of VLS and its mission.
Committees include the following and certain committees include both board and non-board members: Compensation, Education, Endowment, Event & Communications, Executive, Finance/Audit, Gift Acceptance, Governance.
Richard Allen, Esq. Governance Committee Member
Casner & Edwards (ret.); former Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Division of Public Charities, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Richard Allen is a former partner in Casner & Edwards’ Nonprofit Organizations Law Practice. He specialized in the representation of nonprofit organizations, foundations and charitable trusts, and of businesses and individuals in matters involving philanthropy. Prior to joining Casner & Edwards, Dick was Counsel at the Boston firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart. Previously, he served for twelve years as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Division of Public Charities in the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General. Prior to holding this position, Dick served as Chief and Assistant Attorney General in the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
Dick is a member of the American Bar Association, Massachusetts Bar Association, and Boston Bar Association. He was previously an active member of the ABA Exempt Organizations Committee and a Co-Chair of the State & Local Regulations Subcommittee. Dick has served as an elected member of the BBA Board of Directors, Chair of the BBA’s Tax Exempt Organizations Committee, Co-Chair of the Health Law Section, and member of the Education Policy Committee. He was also a member of the BBA Tax Exempt Organizations Section Steering Committee, Colleges & Universities Law Section, and Corporate Law Committee. Prior to retirement, Dick was a frequent lecturer at programs and seminars sponsored by bar associations, continuing education organizations, and other Massachusetts, regional and national organizations.
Dick is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI). He received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A., cum laude, from Indiana University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He has received an ADR/Mediation Techniques Certification (JAMS/Endispute).
Dominic P. Amenta, Event & Communications Committee Member
Dominic Amenta is a marketing communications veteran with more than 14 years of experience handling a range of clients in the hospitality, lifestyle, sports, business and philanthropic sectors. As the founder of DPA Communications, Dominic applies his experience in the public relations field to help clients develop marketing and communication strategies that lead to increased exposure and awareness. Dominic resides in Peabody with his wife, Valerie, their daughter, Frankie.
Kate Bailey Roeser, Event & Communications Committee Member
Harvard Club of Boston
Kate Bailey is a Catering Sales Manager for the Harvard Club of Boston located in the Back Bay. She has been in the event planning business for over 20 years working on all types of events from running advance for US Presidential Candidates to the United Nations Environmental Programme and beyond. Kate is also the Chair of the Friends of the Marblehead SEPAC, Inc. – a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that raises funds for Special Education programming, education and events for the Marblehead community. She also serves as a Board Member (and outgoing Co-Chair) of the Marblehead Special Education Parent Advisory Council for the Marblehead Public School System. She lives in Marblehead with her husband Stefan and their son Jackson.
Hon. Paul Chernoff (ret.), Education Committee Member
Biography coming shortly.
Hon. John Cratsley (ret.), Education Committee Member
Biography coming shortly.
Biography coming shortly.
Todd Drager, Event & Communications Committee Member
Eastern Insurance Group
Biography coming shortly.
Jonathan Feltner, Esq., Education Committee Member
Biography coming shortly.
Rochelle Hahn, Esq., Education Committee Member
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Rochelle Hahn is an attorney who joined MLRI in 2005 to focus on food stamps advocacy. In May of 2007, she became MLRI’s Website Project Coordinator for http://www.masslegalservices.org/, the statewide website for Massachusetts legal services advocates. Prior to joining MLRI, she was the Executive Director of the Legal Advocacy & Resource Center (a legal services hotline), a staff attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, a litigation associate at WilmerHale, and a federal law clerk. She graduated from New York University School of Law. She serves on VLS’s Education Committee.
Danielle V. Holland, Esq., Event & Communications Committee Member
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Danielle V. Holland is an associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group of the Boston office of Skadden Arps. Danielle concentrates in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and securities law matters. Danielle graduated from Boston University School of Law in 2015. Prior to law school, she worked as a teacher and manager with the nonprofit Teach For America. Danielle holds a B.A. in International Studies from Boston College. Danielle resides in Boston with her husband, Ryan, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserves, and their young daughter.
Abby Porosky is the Manager of Events and Community Development at One Mission, a pediatric cancer foundation. One Mission’s programs and services provides programs and services that lift the spirits of pediatric cancer patients and their families to help the healing and recovery process and make life more livable during treatment and hospitalization. Prior to One Mission, Abby worked at K Sports & Entertainment and Altus Marketing & Management. Abby is a coveted event planner, silent and live auction fundraising coordinator, and development expert. Abby received her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. She serves on the VLS Event & Communications Committee.
Brian Reichart, Esq., Education Committee Member
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Biography coming shortly.
Bill Sinnott, Esq., Education Committee Member
Barrett & Singal
Biography coming shortly.
Joanne Thorud, Event & Communications Committee Member
Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C.
Joanne Thorud is the Director of Marketing at Davis, Malm & D’Agostine, P.C. Jo is responsible for creating and implementing the strategic marketing and business development efforts for the firm’s practice areas and attorneys. Jo manages all aspects of these initiatives, including communications, advertising, event planning, social media, content development, website and intranet, budgeting, and the CRM platform. She has been a professional in the legal industry for over 25 years. Jo has been an active member of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) since 2009 and served in several leadership roles, including Chair of the Boston Steering Committee in 2017. She currently co-chairs the LMA Boston Small Firm Shared Interest Group.
Mary von Kuhn joined the Event Committee in 2015. She began her career in financial services and transitioned to retail, working primarily for e-commerce start ups. Mary has a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and lives in New York City with her husband, Andrew von Kuhn, who is a Marine Corps veteran, and their young son.
Ellen White, PE, Event & Communications Committee Member
Ellen White is a Professional Engineer and program manager with Patrick Engineering in their Boston office. Her expertise is the design and construction management of complex infrastructure projects. Ellen’s varied background in highway and transit projects offers her a diverse perspective, having worked for state government, private and public engineering firms, a private developer, and a small litigation consultancy. Ellen recently completed a successful term as President of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers. It is the oldest engineering society in the United States and supports over 3,400 members throughout Massachusetts. Ellen also serves on the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Council. She received her B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and lives in Boston with her Labrador retriever, Livvy.
Biography coming shortly.
Katherine “Kit” Williams, Governance Committee Member
Kit combines an extensive business background with a deep understanding of corporate leadership development and coaching. After a decade in investment banking in senior positions with Citibank, First Pennsylvania and Fidelity, Kit followed her passion into executive coaching. She has more than 20 years experience in global executive coaching including positions as leading a corporate global leader development team, as a principal in a well-regarded coaching and career development firm, as a Harvard Business School-based consultant, and as an entrepreneur. Her clients include Merck, Genzyme, Raytheon, Hewlett Packard, Agilent, Dassault Systemes and JP Morgan Chase. Kit has lived and worked in various locations around the world and speaks French fluently. She currently resides in Weston with her fiancé, Neil, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Alfie.