Our History & Our Mission

Volunteer Lawyers for Justice (VLJ) was created in 2001 as a program of the Legal Services Foundation of Essex County to provide direct legal representation to residents of Essex County, New Jersey. The program began with one staff person and a core group of 30 volunteer attorneys. In 2008, VLJ separately incorporated as its own 501(c)(3) New Jersey not-for-profit corporation. Today, VLJ provides free legal services throughout the state with more than 1,500 attorneys and paralegals who volunteer their time for one or more of VLJ’s legal programs.

VLJ’s mission is to improve the lives of economically-disadvantaged adults, children, and families in New Jersey by empowering them with tools, advice and pro bono representation with the goal of securing fair and equal treatment within the legal system.

It is only through the assistance of VLJ’s committed volunteers and community partners that our staff is able to make that goal a reality for so many low-income families in New Jersey with critical unmet legal needs.

Our Board of Trustees

Susan McGahan, Esq.,Chair
David Bershad, Vice Chair
Howard Menaker, Esq., Treasurer
Emily Goldberg, Esq., Secretary
Lori Outzs Borgen, Esq.                             
Angela Coxe, Esq.
Donald Cussen, Esq.
Mark R. Daniel, Esq.
Susan Feeney, Esq.
Gemma Giantomasi, Esq.
Michael Griffinger, Esq.                                 Cathy Keenan, Esq. (ex-officio)                 Suzanne Klar, Esq.
Matthew Lepore, Esq.
Lynn Fontaine Newsome, Esq.
Tricia O’Reilly, Esq.
Jennifer Prioleau, Esq.
Alix Rubin, Esq.
Brian Saltzman
Eric Schwimmer, Esq.


Generation Now Committee

Gemma M. Giantomasi, Esq., Co-Chair
Alyson Villano, Esq., Co-Chair
Jessica Limbacher, Esq., VLJ Staff Liaison
Katherine Farley, Esq.
Natalya Johnson, Esq.
Arthur Owens, Esq.
Alyssa Spector, Esq.
Maryam Spector, Esq.
Bisola Taiwo, Esq
Brendan Walsh, Esq.
Kevin Weber, Esq.

Our Generous Supporters

Our Staff

Executive Director: Cathy Keenan, Esq.

Director of Finance: Tracy Nelson

Managing Attorney: Jessica Kitson, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Karen Robinson, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Kaleia Edmundo, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Elizabeth Hampton, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Jessica Limbacher, Esq.

Project Coordinator: Diana Onuschak

Legal AssistantMichelle Smith

Legal Assistant: Nestor Almeida

Legal Assistant: Emily Balan 



Chief Strategic Officer, Founding Executive Director: Karen Sacks, Esq.