ABOUT US

Our Staff

Joanna Allison, Esq.

Position: Executive Director

Joanna has been the Executive Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project since 2015. She attended law school at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Before becoming Executive Director, she practiced as a supervising attorney in landlord and tenant disputes, consumer debt defense, foreclosure prevention, bankruptcy, unemployment insurance, and more.

Joanna Allison, Esq.

Executive Director

Joanna has been the Executive Director of the Volunteer Lawyers...

April Jones

Position: Director of Finance and Operations

April Jones graduated from Johnson & Wales in 2000 with a B.S. in Accounting. She specializes in nonprofit accounting and enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles and spending time with her family. April came to VLP in 2021 as our Director of Finance and Operations.

April Jones

Director of Finance and Operations

April Jones graduated from Johnson & Wales in 2000 with...

Geraldine Gruvis-Pizarro, Esq.

Position: Director of Advocacy and Pro Bono

Geraldine Gruvis-Pizarro has worked in legal services for over 12 years with a focus on Family law matters and until recently was the Supervising Attorney for the Family Law and Guardianship Unit at the Volunteer Lawyers Project. Geraldine is excited to join VLP’s leadership team as the first Director of Advocacy and Pro Bono. Geraldine is the Language Chairperson at VLP and represents the agency at the statewide Language Access Coalition and the Race and Equity Coalition. Before VLP, Geraldine worked in immigration law, housing, and disability law in addition to her work with family law and victims of domestic violence. Geraldine is a member of the SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, where she is co-chair of the Communications, Outreach, and Diversity sub-committee; she is a member of the BBA Family Law Steering Committee and has been named a Top Women in Law 2022 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Geraldine Gruvis-Pizarro, Esq.

Director of Advocacy and Pro Bono

Geraldine Gruvis-Pizarro has worked in legal services for over 12...

Barbara Siegel, Esq.

Position: Director of Compliance and Technology

Barbara is the Volunteer Lawyers Project Compliance and Technology Director and Senior Partners for Justice Project Manager. Barbara graduated from Brown University (B.A. 1982) and Boston College Law School (J.D. 1989). Her legal career began in 1989 with a clerkship in the Massachusetts Appeals Court and an associate position in a law firm. In 1992, she entered legal aid and had yet to look back. Before joining VLP, she served as a senior staff attorney at the Disability Law Center and as Assistant Legal Director at the Community Legal Services and Counseling Center.

Barbara Siegel, Esq.

Director of Compliance and Technology

Barbara is the Volunteer Lawyers Project Compliance and Technology Director...

Emelia Andres

Position: Pro Bono Manager

Emelia joined VLP in March of 2021. She is originally from Kansas City, MO, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Wingate University in NC. Before VLP, Emelia served two years with AmeriCorps NCCC in Baltimore, MD, and AmeriCorps State and National here in Boston, serving at a youth mentoring organization. Most recently, Emelia worked as a Senior Partnerships Manager at Boston Partners in Education, an academic mentoring organization that supports students in Boston Public Schools. Emelia is excited to continue supporting volunteers as they provide access to justice for clients.

Emelia Andres

Pro Bono Manager

Emelia joined VLP in March of 2021. She is originally...

Gloria Cabrera

Position: Bilingual Intake Specialist

Gloria graduated from Salem State University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice in 2022. She will be receiving her M.S. in Criminal Justice in Spring 2023. Before joining VLP, Gloria interned at the Boston Court Service Center, where she mainly helped Spanish-speaking litigants fill out court documents.

Gloria Cabrera

Bilingual Intake Specialist

Gloria graduated from Salem State University with a B.S. in...

Lisa Marshall, Esq.

Lisa Marshall is a Housing and Appeals Staff Attorney. She has practiced in housing law previously for the last three years. In her 20-year legal career, Lisa has always practiced in legal aid, also doing mental health litigation and guardianship work. She is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and New York. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her six children, 2 dogs, and husband, preferably on the water or by a beach.

Lisa Marshall, Esq.

Lisa Marshall is a Housing and Appeals Staff Attorney. She...

Laura Castro Atehortua

Position: Housing and Appeals Paralegal

Laura joined VLP in 2022. She started as a Bilingual Paralegal in the Eviction Legal Aid team before becoming the Housing and Appeals paralegal. Laura graduated from Pine Manor College with a B.S. in Social & Political Sciences and a minor in Criminal Justice. Laura worked at the Somerville District Court as an Administrative Assistant to the Probation Department. She has also worked for an immigration firm, serving as an interpreter and Legal Assistant. Laura enjoys playing soccer, riding motorcycles, and shopping in her spare time.

Laura Castro Atehortua

Housing and Appeals Paralegal

Laura joined VLP in 2022. She started as a Bilingual...

Olivia Cella

Position: Family Law & Guardianship Bilingual Paralegal

Olivia Cella joined VLP as a Bilingual Paralegal in the Family Law and Guardianship Unit shortly after graduating from Colby College in 2023. Before completing her bachelor’s degree, Olivia worked as a Legal Intern at Northeast Legal Aid and the Medical-Legal Partnership of Boston. She worked at Vinfen Corporation, Bay Cove Human Services, and Colby College’s Title IX Office. Olivia is passionate about working with diverse, underrepresented populations. She also enjoys long runs, cooking, and surfing.

Olivia Cella

Family Law & Guardianship Bilingual Paralegal

Olivia Cella joined VLP as a Bilingual Paralegal in the...

Adrián Coss, Esq.

Position: Housing and Bankruptcy Staff Attorney

Adrian is an Arizona State University and University of New Hampshire Law School graduate. Before law school, Adrian was VLP’s pro bono coordinator. He received a graduate award at UNH Law for his dedication to social justice and public service. Most recently, he served as a Law Clerk for a criminal trial judge in St. Paul, Minnesota. Outside of VLP, Adrian enjoys literature, anime, comics, video games, history, and spoiling his dog Sammi (a VLP office favorite).

Adrián Coss, Esq.

Housing and Bankruptcy Staff Attorney

Adrian is an Arizona State University and University of New...

Cassian Harman, Esq.

Position: Bankruptcy and Consumer Staff Attorney

Cassian Harman is a Bankruptcy and Consumer Staff Attorney at VLP. Cassian is passionate about economic justice and is interested in advocating for bankruptcy and consumer law policies that make economic justice more accessible and effective for consumers. Cassian graduated with his J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Outside of VLP Cassian enjoys watching the Boston Bruins, ice skating, cooking, and film photography.

Cassian Harman, Esq.

Bankruptcy and Consumer Staff Attorney

Cassian Harman is a Bankruptcy and Consumer Staff Attorney at...

Rochelle Jones, Esq.

Position: Housing and Appeals Supervising Attorney

Rochelle works in VLP’s Housing and Appeals units as a Supervising Attorney. She graduated from New England Law | Boston. Rochelle has years of experience working with low-income individuals and families, particularly in the housing and family law arena. She has also gained experience as a civil litigation associate handling complex insurance defense cases. Rochelle has a passion for fitness and enjoys traveling in her spare time.

Rochelle Jones, Esq.

Housing and Appeals Supervising Attorney

Rochelle works in VLP’s Housing and Appeals units as a...

Staff photo of Camille Kerwin

Camille Kerwin

Position: DotHouse and Wills Paralegal

Camille graduated from Middlebury College in Spring 2021 with a B.A. in International and Global Studies. She started at VLP in Fall 2021 as the paralegal for the DotHouse and Wills Unit. Before VLP, Camille interned at the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and worked as an Arabic tutor. She is from Greater Boston, where she loves hiking nearby trails and visiting cafes.

Camille Kerwin

DotHouse and Wills Paralegal

Camille graduated from Middlebury College in Spring 2021 with a...

Ilene Klein, Esq.

Position: Family Law and Guardianship PT Staff Attorney

Ilene earned a J.D. from Cleveland State University’s Marshall School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree from Queens College in New York. She was a Clinical Law Professor at New England Law | Boston for 31 years, teaching and mentoring law students in their in-house civil litigation clinic. Ilene has extensive experience in public interest law, family law, social security disability law, and health law. She has volunteered with her students at the Lawyer for the Day Program, the Court Service Center, VLP, and Saheli Boston. She has also mentored new attorneys through the Women’s Bar Foundation. At New England Law | Boston, Ilene developed a course in Elder Law and taught an Elder Law Seminar for over 20 years.

Ilene Klein, Esq.

Family Law and Guardianship PT Staff Attorney

Ilene earned a J.D. from Cleveland State University’s Marshall School...

Natasha Lewis, Esq.

Position: Call Center Supervising Attorney

Natasha is the Call Center Supervising Attorney and has been with VLP since 2016. Natasha graduated from Fitchburg State College, magna cum laude, with a major in political science and a minor in criminal justice. She earned a J.D. from New England Law | Boston in 2016. Natasha has been a legal services attorney for five years, focusing on bankruptcy and unemployment insurance. She has also enjoyed working in various other areas within VLP, including our Family Law and Guardianship Clinics and our 209A Abuse Prevention Project. Natasha is VLP’s delegate on the Statewide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council through MLAC. Natasha was born and raised in Massachusetts. She finds her work doubly rewarding because she gets to educate herself and her clients in availing themselves of their rights.

Natasha Lewis, Esq.

Call Center Supervising Attorney

Natasha is the Call Center Supervising Attorney and has been...

Rafael Martín-Navas

Position: Bilingual Intake Specialist

Rafael joined VLP as a Bilingual Intake Specialist. He graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s in Women’s and Gender Studies. Rafael has experience working with underserved communities, assisting individuals to overcome health barriers. He has a strong passion for LGBTQIA+ rights, particularly trans youth rights.

Rafael Martín-Navas

Bilingual Intake Specialist

Rafael joined VLP as a Bilingual Intake Specialist. He graduated...

Elizabeth Mason, Esq.

Position: Unemployment and Wage and Hour Staff Attorney

Elizabeth joined VLP as a Staff Attorney in the Unemployment and Wage & Hour Units. She earned her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oberlin College in Ohio. Elizabeth has many years of experience representing clients and working on employment and wage and hour cases as an attorney in the Law Offices of Paul Murray and her law practice, Mason Law.

Elizabeth Mason, Esq.

Unemployment and Wage and Hour Staff Attorney

Elizabeth joined VLP as a Staff Attorney in the Unemployment...

Abigail McCourt, Esq.

Position: Family Law and Guardianship Staff Attorney

Abigail is a Family Law and Guardianship Unit staff attorney at VLP. She is a 2023 graduate of New England Law Boston. Abigail also earned a master’s degree in clinical social work from Boston College and a bachelor’s in social work and political science from Providence College. Abigail is a passionate advocate dedicated to increasing access to justice for all.

Abigail McCourt, Esq.

Family Law and Guardianship Staff Attorney

Abigail is a Family Law and Guardianship Unit staff attorney...

Chris Neighbours

Position: Call Center Manager

Chris joined VLP as a Legal Advocate in 2017 and manages the Eastern Regional Legal Intake program in concert with our Call Center Supervising Attorney. Chris graduated from the Catholic University of America with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. He also holds a certificate in Paralegal Studies from Boston University. He considers it a privilege to work with the ERLI team to provide our clients with high-quality legal services. Outside of VLP, Chris enjoys spending his free time playing basketball, maintaining his outdoor garden, and spending time with his family.

Chris Neighbours

Call Center Manager

Chris joined VLP as a Legal Advocate in 2017 and...

Briana Saint Pierre

Position: Intake Specialist

Briana Saint Pierre is a compassionate professional known for thriving in dynamic and fast-paced environments. She graduated from Framingham State University in 2020 and is working on her paralegal certification at Bunker Hill Community College. With a background in paralegal support and residential assistance, Briana brings a unique blend of skills to her new role as an Intake Specialist. Driven by a passion for social justice and a desire to make a difference, Briana is actively pursuing a master’s degree in law or political science with a focus on law reform. Her interests lie in addressing the homelessness crisis, understanding housing and the law, and effecting positive societal change. Committed to continuous learning and growth, Briana aims to leverage her adaptability and strong writing skills to contribute meaningfully to her team and the broader community.

Briana Saint Pierre

Intake Specialist

Briana Saint Pierre is a compassionate professional known for thriving...

Auris Rosario

Position: Bilingual Intake Specialist

Auris joined VLP as a Bilingual Intake Specialist. Auris is dedicated to making a difference with a forthcoming associate’s degree in paralegal studies and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication. With experience aiding low-income populations through various organizations, Auris brings our team a wealth of knowledge and a passion for community service. When she’s not working or studying, she cherishes time with her partner and two boys, embodying the values of family and community support that drive her commitment to helping others.

Auris Rosario

Bilingual Intake Specialist

Auris joined VLP as a Bilingual Intake Specialist. Auris is dedicated...

Steve Russo, Esq.

Position: Dothouse and Wills PT Staff Attorney

Steve is a VLP Staff Attorney in the DotHouse and Wills Unit. He has over 19 years of experience delivering intake, advice, and referral services to legal services programs and over 21 years of experience as a legal services and private practice attorney. Steve has been a panelist on several continuing legal education and community training and has also served as a moderator for the CORI section of Masslegalservices.org. His prior experience includes immigration, family, and criminal records sealing. Steve is also fluent in Spanish. Steve is also an SJC Standing Committee on Pro Bono Services member.

Steve Russo, Esq.

Dothouse and Wills PT Staff Attorney

Steve is a VLP Staff Attorney in the DotHouse and...

Yewellyn Sanchez

Position: Senior Bilingual Intake Specialist

Yewellyn graduated from Suffolk University with a B.S. in Communications and Journalism. She comes to VLP from MIRA Coalition, where she served as an AmeriCorps member. In this position, Yewellyn assisted clients with naturalization forms, green card renewals, and other immigration forms, conducting outreach, preparing materials, and registering clients for the clinic. She has also worked as a Spanish interpreter and has a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages. She is eager to continue learning about the intersectionality of journalism and the legal field.

Yewellyn Sanchez

Senior Bilingual Intake Specialist

Yewellyn graduated from Suffolk University with a B.S. in Communications...

Shaiprice Vazquez

Position: Landlord Bilingual Paralegal

Shaiprice is a part of the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Paralegal team. He started as a legal intern in January 2023 and became a Paralegal in April 2023. He was born and raised in the neighborhoods of Worcester. He completed his Associate degree at Quinsigamond Community College and his Bachelor of Science in Law at Suffolk University. He enjoys every aspect of being able to assist Massachusetts residents and is planning on continuing his career in law school to become an attorney.

Shaiprice Vazquez

Landlord Bilingual Paralegal

Shaiprice is a part of the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Paralegal...

Lurenne Velazquez Carrasquillo

Position: Bilingual Intake Specialist

Lurenne joined VLP as a Bilingual Intake Specialist, seeking to gain experience in different areas of law to aid underserved communities. She graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Political Science. Before joining VLP, Lurenne worked at the Boston Court Service Center, where she helped individuals complete documents for their cases and navigate the court system. Lurenne is also passionate about teaching, previously working as a tutor for Ringle and working part-time as a Course Teacher for Elite Open School. Lurenne enjoys reading in quiet cafes and traveling with family and close friends in her spare time.

Lurenne Velazquez Carrasquillo

Bilingual Intake Specialist

Lurenne joined VLP as a Bilingual Intake Specialist, seeking to...

Aisling Walsh

Position: Housing Paralegal

Aisling (pronounced Ash-LEEN) is a Paralegal in VLP’s Housing Unit. In May 2023, Aisling graduated summa cum Laude from Boston College with a B.A. in Criminal and Social Justice. Prior to her time at VLP, Aisling worked at the Massachusetts Department of Correction in the Victim Services Unit and as a Per-Diem Legal Assistant in a family law firm. In her free time, Aisling enjoys spending time with her dogs Booboo and Biscuit, reading, and hiking. 

Aisling Walsh

Housing Paralegal

Aisling (pronounced Ash-LEEN) is a Paralegal in VLP’s Housing Unit....

Kevin Walsh, Esq.

Position: Landlord Staff Attorney

Kevin joined the VLP in 2022 as a Temporary Staff Attorney. He earned his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1979 and his J.D. from the Notre Dame Law School in 1982. He practiced law in a few law firms for nearly forty years, handling civil litigation matters such as landlord/tenant cases, business disputes, and contract claims.

Kevin Walsh, Esq.

Landlord Staff Attorney

Kevin joined the VLP in 2022 as a Temporary Staff...

Gabrielle Young

Position: Employment and Consumer Paralegal

Gabby graduated from Boston University in May of 2023 with a BA in Political Science. Gabby was an intern in the Bankruptcy Unit and is excited to have returned to VLP in the summer of 2023 as an Employment and Consumer paralegal. During her free time, Gabby loves to exercise and picnic with her friends, and in the winter months, she spends many weekends skiing in her favorite East Coast mountains.

Gabrielle Young

Employment and Consumer Paralegal

Gabby graduated from Boston University in May of 2023 with...

Ilana Zeltser

Position: Senior Manager of Finance and Operations

Ilana joined Volunteer Lawyers Project in April 2019. Ilana earned a B.S. in Business Management and an M.B.A. from the University of Hartford. Before joining VLP, Ilana spent six years working in higher education.

Ilana Zeltser

Senior Manager of Finance and Operations

Ilana joined Volunteer Lawyers Project in April 2019. Ilana earned...