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 a core group of 30 volunteer attorneys and was led by Karen Sacks, who in her 15 years as VLJ’s executive director transformed the program into a statewide pro bono leader. 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
Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel, AT&T
Tricia O’Reilly, Esq., Vice Chair
Partner, Walsh Pizzi O’Reilly Falanga LLP
Eric Schwimmer, Esq., Vice Chair
Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer, Prudential
Howard Menaker, Esq., Treasurer
Jennifer Prioleau, Esq., Secretary
Division Counsel, HP, Inc.
David Bershad, Vice Chair
Angela Coxe, Esq.
Senior Patent Counsel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Donald Cussen, Esq.
Vice President, Senior Consulting Group, RBC Wealth Management
Sneha Desai, Esq.
Deputy General Counsel, Litigation, BASF Corporation
Hon. Marianne Espinosa, Esq. (Ret.)
Of Counsel, Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinis, P.C.
Emily Goldberg, Esq.
Pro Bono Director, Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Michael R. Griffinger, Esq., Emeritus
Director, Gibbons, P.C.
Peter Harvey, Esq.
Partner, Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler LLP
Jessica Hodkinson, Esq.
VP, General Counsel and Secretary, Panasonic Corporation of North America
Nicholas Insua, Esq.
Shareholder, Anderson Kill
Cathy Keenan, Esq. (ex-officio)
Executive Director, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice
William Krovatin, Esq.
Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Merck & Co., Inc.
Judith McCarthy, Esq.
Assistant Corporate Secretary - Counsel, PSEG
Geoffrey Rosamond, Esq.
Partner, McCarter & English, LLP
Alix R. Rubin, Esq.
Founder, Rubin Employment Law
Erik Sandstedt, Esq.
Member, Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi PC
Jeffrey M. Shapiro, Esq.
Partner, Mergers & Acquisitions, Governance, Antitrust, Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Generation Now Committee
Kelly Lankford Lloyd, Esq., Co-Chair Kaitlyn Stone, Esq., Co-Chair
Omar Bareentto, Esq. Brian Biglin, Esq. Suzanne Bradley, Esq. Caitlin Cascino, Esq. Caitlin Conklin, Esq. Krystina DeLuca, Esq. Alison Frimmel, Esq. Charlotte Howells, Esq. Natalya G. Johnson Esq. Abigail Luhn, Esq. Peter Slocum, Esq.
Mia Stollen, Esq. Jewel Watson, Esq.
Kevin W. Weber, Esq.
Brandon L. Wolff, Esq.
Kelsey Lee, Esq. Jaclyn Kramer Kim Garcia
Our Generous Supporters
VLJ thanks all of the offices and organizations that provide financial support to our programs. Without each of you, VLJ would not be able to assist so many clients in need.
In addition to the generous financial support provided by the offices listed below, VLJ would like to express our gratitude to McCarter & English for providing our team with office space in Newark. It is with your support that VLJ attorneys are “Taking Cases. Changing Lives.”
Executive Director: Cathy Keenan
Managing Attorney: Jessica Kitson
Development Director: Jaclyn Kramer
Director of Finance: Tracy Nelson
Director of Administration and Community Engagement: Diana Onuschak
Staff Attorney: Karen Robinson
Staff Attorney: Jessica Limbacher
Staff Attorney: Allison Nolan
Staff Attorney: Nari Wang
Law Clerk: Michelle Smith
Legal Assistant: Emily Balan
Legal Assistant: Joselyn Chavez
Legal Assistant: Jamayrah Moore
Legal Assistant: Kim Garcia