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Staff

Laura Abel, Senior Policy Counsel Bio
x 283 label@lawyersalliance.org

Wilma Alexander, Office Administrator Bio
x 221 walexander@lawyersalliance.org

Ellie Brandmeyer, Client Relations Coordinator Bio
x 278 ebrandmeyer@lawyersalliance.org

Mary Burner, Staff Attorney Bio
x 240 mburner@lawyersalliance.org

Ciarra Chavarria, Staff Attorney Bio
x 228 cchavarria@lawyersalliance.org

Tri Chiem, Extern, Staff Attorney Bio
x 212 extern@lawyersalliance.org

Emily Crossan, Marketing and Communications Director Bio
x 233 ecrossan@lawyersalliance.org

Sean Delany, Executive Director Bio
x 227 sdelany@lawyersalliance.org

Gina DelChiaro, Corporate Engagement Counsel Bio
x 215 gdelchiaro@lawyersalliance.org

Stacey O'Haire Fahey, Pro Bono Counsel Bio
x 242 sfahey@lawyersalliance.org

Victoria Gaffney, Pro Bono Associate Bio
x 203 vgaffney@lawyersalliance.org

Elizabeth M. Guggenheimer, Deputy Executive Director/Director of Institutional Advancement Bio
x 231 eguggenheimer@lawyersalliance.org

Joel Hochman, Program Associate Bio
x 223 jhochman@lawyersalliance.org

Douglas Kato, Director of Finance and Administration Bio
x 237 dkato@lawyersalliance.org

Judith Moldover, Senior Staff Attorney Bio
x 250 jmoldover@lawyersalliance.org

Hedwig O'Hara, Senior Staff Attorney Bio
x 226 hohara@lawyersalliance.org

Raymond Palmer, Jr., Cleary Extern, Staff Attorney Bio
x 202 cleary@lawyersalliance.org

Jessica Perelman, Program Assistant Bio
x 272 jperelman@lawyersalliance.org

Elizabeth Perez, Legal Director Bio
x 232 eperez@lawyersalliance.org

Aaron Perlson, Information Systems Manager Bio
x 205 aperlson@lawyersalliance.org

Noah Sapse, Staff Attorney Bio
x 282 nsapse@lawyersalliance.org

Neil Stevenson, Senior Staff Attorney Bio
x 273 nstevenson@lawyersalliance.org

James Valentin, Development Coordinator Bio
x 225 jvalentin@lawyersalliance.org

   
 
Staff Biographies
   
 

Laura Abel
As Senior Policy Counsel, Laura Abel leads Lawyers Alliance's advocacy-related work and provides business law representation to nonprofit organizations engaged in advocacy work. She brings to Lawyers Alliance more than a decade of experience representing advocacy nonprofits in First Amendment litigation. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2013, she was Deputy Director of the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School, Senior Counsel and then Acting Co-Director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a Gibbons Fellow at Gibbons P.C., a Reproductive Freedom Fellow at the ACLU, and a clerk for the Hon. Robert Carter in the Southern District of New York. She graduated from Yale Law School in 1994 and from Harvard College in 1989.

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Wilma Alexander
As Office Administrator, Wilma Alexander provides invaluable support for all aspects of Lawyers Alliance's office facility and administrative functions. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2015, she was a transcriptionist and was engaged in advocacy for workers' rights. She received an A.A. from the City University of New York in 2003.

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Ellie Brandmeyer
As Client Relations Coordinator, Ms. Brandmeyer serves as the primary day-to-day liaison between Lawyers Alliance and its current and prospective clients. She actively engages in outreach to community-based and other nonprofit organizations, coordinates the client intake and screening process, responds to numerous inquiries from nonprofit groups, and strives to ensure that clients receive prompt and appropriate legal assistance. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance, she worked in a boutique law firm specializing in nonprofit corporate governance matters and volunteered with Lawyers Alliance after receiving her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law in 2012.

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Mary Burner
Staff Attorney Mary Burner is responsible for Lawyers Alliance's Urban Health program area, providing business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations focusing on preventative health, food security, healthy aging, and environmental health. She also counsels community-based organizations to help them navigate the complexities of New York State's Medicaid Redesign. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2016, Ms. Burner was an associate at White & Case LLP. She received a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2008, an M.S.P.H from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2015, and a B.A. from George Washington University in 2004. Lawyers Alliance publication: Changing the Name of a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation

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Ciarra Chavarria
Ciarra Chavarria is the Staff Attorney responsible for Lawyers Alliance's Education program area, which focuses on providing business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations that support, deliver, and improve education and increase access to educational opportunities for low-income New Yorkers. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2017, Ms. Chavarria was a senior associate at Covington & Burling LLP. She is also a former Lawyers Alliance extern. Ms. Chavarria received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 2008 and a B.A. in English Literature from Austin College in 2003.

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Tri Chiem
Among Lawyers Alliance's staff attorneys are law firm associates who work full-time at Lawyers Alliance. They each serve as an extern at Lawyers Alliance for four months. Mr. Chiem is from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

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Emily Crossan
As Marketing and Communications Director, Emily Crossan works to reinforce Lawyers Alliance's reputation among nonprofit clients, volunteer attorneys, and communities served. Ms. Crossan develops Lawyers Alliance's newsletter, website, and other marketing materials and coordinates the promotion of legal services, trainings, and events. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2011, Ms. Crossan spent more than 15 years working in communications at a number of nonprofit organizations, including The Children's Aid Society and Child Care Action Campaign. She received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1994.

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Sean Delany
As Executive Director, Mr. Delany positions Lawyers Alliance among peer institutions, law firms, community-based organizations, and the general public. Mr. Delany works with the organization's Board and staff to carry out all aspects of its operations. Mr. Delany also advises nonprofits in the areas of exempt organizations tax law and nonprofit law, with a focus on the regulation of lobbying and political activity. Prior to becoming Executive Director in 1999, Mr. Delany was Legal Director at Lawyers Alliance, Section Chief and then Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Charities Bureau of the New York State Attorney General's Office, and Staff Attorney at Bronx Legal Services. He received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1980 and B.A. from Hamilton College in 1975. Professional Activities: Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities of the Internal Revenue Service (2006-2008); Board of Advisors, Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund; Advisor, American Law Institute's Principles of the Law of Nonprofit Organizations; President, National Association of State Charities Officials (1996-1997); Adjunct Professor, New York University School of Law. Lawyers Alliance publications: Advising Nonprofits, Fifth and Sixth Editions and Mergers and Strategic Alliances for New York Not-for-Profit Corporations.

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Gina DelChiaro
As Corporate Engagement Counsel, Gina DelChiaro works to expand pro bono and other engagement with corporate legal departments, as well as Lawyers Alliance's role as a national business law pro bono leader. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2017, Ms. DelChiaro was a Senior Staff Attorney at Human Rights First, where she worked with law firm and in-house counsel to increase pro bono representation of asylum-seekers and other immigrants. She also spent six years as an associate at Sidley Austin LLP, where she represented clients in a variety of capital markets, securities, and complex commercial litigation, and pro bono matters. She graduated from Fordham Law School and has been a member of the Federal Bar Council's Public Service Committee and the New York City Bar Association's Committee on Pro Bono and Legal Services, where she co-chaired the sub-committee on increasing pro bono outside of large law firms.

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Stacey O'Haire Fahey
As Pro Bono Counsel, Stacey O’Haire Fahey plays a central role in Lawyers Alliance's client intake, volunteer recruitment and support, case management, and pro bono program staff supervision. She works with Lawyers Alliance staff and pro bono leaders from law firms and corporations to ensure clients receive quality legal help on more than 1,000 cases each year. Ms. Fahey comes to Lawyers Alliance following a long career at Proskauer Rose LLP, first as a Health Care Associate and then as Director of Pro Bono/Pro Bono Counsel from 2006 to 2015. She is a 2002 recipient of Lawyers Alliance’s Cornerstone Award for exceptional volunteer service. She received a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, M.P.A. from Long Island University, and a B.S. from Duke University. Professional Activities: Member, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Chair, Pro Bono and Legal Services Committee, 2009-2012, Member, 2007-2009 and 2015 to present; Member, New York State Bar Association Pro Bono Coordinators Network, 2006 to present; Member, New York State Bar Association House of Delegates, 2012-2014; Member, Association of Pro Bono Counsel, 2006-2015.

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Victoria Gaffney
As Pro Bono Associate, Victoria Gaffney is a key liaison between Lawyers Alliance and its volunteers. She engages in pro bono outreach to law firms and corporations and coordinates the staffing of pro bono matters, striving to ensure that volunteers have the most rewarding experience possible. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2016, Ms. Gaffney worked as the publications assistant at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists and as a paralegal in pharmaceutical litigation at Pepper Hamilton LLP. While working as a paralegal, she actively volunteered on pro bono projects with The Homeless Advocacy Project, HIAS Pennsylvania, and the Nationalities Service Center. She received a B.A. in English from Haverford College in 2012 and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins in 2016.

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Elizabeth M. Guggenheimer
Deputy Executive Director and Director of Institutional Advancement Liz Guggenheimer leads the organization's pro bono program, strategic planning, fundraising and marketing initiatives, and its national efforts to cultivate the business law pro bono field. She advises nonprofits and their boards of directors in the areas of Nonprofit Accountability, governance, fundraising law and regulation, and legal ethics. As Legal Director from 1999-2006 and Deputy Executive Director from 2006-2013, Ms. Guggenheimer also has significant experience in developing and managing Lawyers Alliance's client outreach and client representation services, educational trainings, and advocacy program. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance, Ms. Guggenheimer was Deputy Bureau Chief and Acting Bureau Chief of the New York State Attorney General's Charities Bureau and a litigator at Dewey Ballantine LLP. She received a joint J.D./M.P.A. from New York University School of Law and Princeton University in 1987 and an A.B. from Harvard University in 1982. Professional and Community Activities: School Board, Scarsdale Public Schools, Trustee, Vice President, President (2007-2013); New York State Bar Association Pro Bono Coordinators Network, Past Chair; Coro Leadership New York, Class XVI; New York Nonprofit Excellence Awards Selection Committee. Lawyers Alliance publications: Bylaws That Work; Changing the Name of a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation; Charting the Course: Legal Help for Nonprofits in Troubled Times; Disaster Relief and Recovery: The Role of Nonprofits Beyond Ground Zero and the Implications of Their Work; Extra Credit: A Legal Guide for Nonprofits Offering In-School and After-School Programs; and The Volunteer Workforce.

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Joel Hochman
As Program Associate, Joel Hochman works closely with Lawyers Alliance's database and external audiences, ensuring that our case and contact information about clients, volunteers, donors, and alumni is current. Mr. Hochman also provides program support for events, closes out case files on completed volunteer projects, and takes part in client and volunteer outreach for the Economic Development and Advocacy initiatives. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2016, Mr. Hochman worked as a paralegal at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). He also previously worked as an ESOL teaching assistant at the Colegio Publico Mirasierra in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Hochman received a B.A. in Government and Iberian Studies from Wesleyan University in 2013.

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Douglas Kato
As Director of Finance and Administration, Douglas Kato oversees the daily operations of the accounting and finance functions at Lawyers Alliance. Mr. Kato is a Certified Public Accountant and Financial Controller. His career includes public accounting and corporate accounting for several for-profit and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance for New York, he was Controller for the American Jewish Historical Society and Director, Finance for the American Red Cross in Greater New York. Mr. Kato graduated with a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Professional and Community Activities: Member, New Jersey State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Board of Trustees, Volunteer, and Past Treasurer, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, New Jersey Metro Chapter.

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Judith Moldover
Judith Moldover is a Senior Staff Attorney at Lawyers Alliance for New York. She leads Lawyers Alliance's Community Arts program area to provide legal assistance to nonprofit arts organizations serving low-income New Yorkers. Ms. Moldover is an experienced employment lawyer and regularly helps nonprofits in the areas of Nonprofit Accountability, including sound board governance, fiscal transparency, and proper personnel management. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2008, Ms. Moldover was Of Counsel at Ford & Harrison LLP, Vice President and Group Counsel at American Express Company, and Labor Counsel at CBS Corporation. She received her B.A. cum laude from Bryn Mawr College and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Professional and Community Activities: Co-Vice President, New York Public Radio Community Advisory Board; past Program Chair of Greater New York Association of Corporate Counsel.

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Hedwig O'Hara
Senior Staff Attorney Hedwig O'Hara has substantial experience in affordable housing development and leads the Housing and Shelter program area, which focuses on business law services to nonprofit organizations engaged in affordable housing development, neighborhood revitalization, supportive housing, and services to the homeless. Ms. O'Hara also uses her financing and real estate law expertise to help Lawyers Alliance clients with complex real estate law needs. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2002, Ms. O'Hara was an attorney with Brown & Wood LLP, Battle Fowler LLP, and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. She received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1991 and B.A. cum laude from City University of New York at Hunter College. Lawyers Alliance publication: Joint Ventures for Housing Organizations.

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Raymond Palmer, Jr.
Among Lawyers Alliance's staff attorneys are law firm associates who work full-time at Lawyers Alliance. They each serve as an extern at Lawyers Alliance for four months. Mr. Palmer is from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

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Jessica Perelman
As Program Assistant, Jessica Perelman provides support for Lawyers Alliance's legal and educational programming. Her work aims to enhance the quantity and quality of client and volunteer experiences. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance, Ms. Perelman engaged with the nonprofit sector through internships at Communities in Schools and Vineyard Theatre. She received a B.A. in Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Wesleyan University in 2017.

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Elizabeth Perez
Legal Director Elizabeth Perez oversees Lawyers Alliance's client outreach and representation services and manages the in-house staff attorneys. Ms. Perez has significant experience in the areas of immigrant communities, elder services, contracts, corporate structuring, coping with financial distress, and lobbying and political activity regulation matters. She launched and led Lawyers Alliance's Urban Health program area and coordinated a program providing technical assistance to nonprofits that form New York City's safety net. From 2007 until her January 2016 appointment as Legal Director, Ms. Perez was a Staff Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney at Lawyers Alliance. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance, Ms. Perez was an associate at Clifford Chance US LLP. She received her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2004, an L.L.M. from the University of London in 2004, and a B.A. from Texas A&M University in 2000. Lawyers Alliance publications: Advising Nonprofits, Fifth and Sixth Editions.

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Aaron Perlson
As Information Systems Manager, Aaron Perlson oversees and maintains Lawyers Alliance's computer network. He is responsible for ensuring that Lawyers Alliance's servers, workstations, databases, and other technical systems run smoothly. He also helps Lawyers Alliance collect, maintain, and analyze data in an efficient and effective manner. He has been part of Lawyers Alliance since 1996, previously serving as Office Assistant and then Pro Bono Coordinator. Mr. Perlson received his B.A. in Applied Mathematics from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1985.

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Noah Sapse
Staff Attorney Noah Sapse works in Lawyers Alliance's program areas aimed at Community Redevelopment, providing business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations focused on increasing affordable housing and economic opportunity for low-income New Yorkers. He also works on Lawyer Alliance's social enterprise pilot program. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2017, Mr. Sapse was a staff attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group. He received his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 2015, and a B.A. in Studio Arts from Carleton College in 2012.

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Neil Stevenson
Senior Staff Attorney Neil Stevenson is responsible for Lawyers Alliance's Economic Opportunity program area. He uses his wealth of experience in corporate and real estate law to assist community development and nonprofit organizations that are bringing investment capital and credit services, pursuing earned revenue activities, stimulating and revitalizing commercial activity, and sponsoring job training and job placement programs in New York City. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2004, Mr. Stevenson was a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society and partner at Eaton & Van Winkle. He received an L.L.M. from Columbia University School of Law in 1982 and L.L.B. joint honours from the University of Glasgow School of Law in 1980. Lawyers Alliance publication: Building Successful Collaborations: A Legal Guide for Nonprofits.

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James Valentin
As Development Coordinator, James Valentin is a key liaison to Lawyers Alliance's institutional funders and individual supporters. Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2016, Mr. Valentin worked at Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) for nearly six years on a variety of operational, fundraising, and communications projects. He has been an English teaching assistant in France and worked as a legal analyst at a boutique law firm. He received a B.A. in History from Yale University in 2006 and an M.A. in French Language and Civilization from New York University in 2013.

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