Our History & Our Mission

Karen Sacks and VLJ Staff in 2015.

Karen Sacks and VLJ Staff in 2015.

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 lead 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

David Bershad, Vice Chair

Howard Menaker, Esq., Treasurer

Emily Goldberg, Esq., Secretary
Pro Bono Director, Paul Weiss, Rifkind,  Whanton & Garrison LLP

Lori Outzs Borgen, Esq.
Associate Director, Seton Hall Law Center for Justice

Ret. Judge Patricia Costello, Esq.
Of Counsel, Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC

Angela Coxe, Esq.
Senior Patent Counsel, Hewlett Packard  Enterprise 

Donald Cussen, Esq.
Senior Vice President, Senior Consulting Group, RBC Wealth Management

Gemma Giantomasi, Esq.
Member, Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi PC

Cathy Keenan, Esq. (ex-officio)
Executive Director, Volunteer Lawyers for  Justice

Suzanne Klar, Esq.
Associate General Litigation Counsel, PSEG

William Krovatin, Esq.  
Senior Vice President and Assistant General  Counsel, Merck & Co., Inc.

Matthew Lepore, Esq. 
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, BASF Corporation

Tricia O’Reilly, Esq.
Partner, Walsh Pizzi O’Reilly Falanga LLP

Mary Frances Palisano, Esq.
Director, Criminal Defense, Gibbons P.C.

Jennifer Prioleau, Esq.
Division Counsel, HP, Inc.

Geoffrey Rosamond, Esq.
Partner, McCarter & English, LLP

Alix R. Rubin, Esq.
Founder, Rubin Employment Law

Eric Schwimmer, Esq.
Vice President and Chief Litigation Officer,    Prudential


Generation Now Committee

Gemma M. Giantomasi, Esq., Chair
Jessica Limbacher, Esq., VLJ Staff Liaison
Emily Balan
Suzanne Bradley, Esq.
Meghan Cohen, Esq.
Tom DeCataldo, Esq.
Katherine Farley, Esq.
Natalya Johnson, Esq.
Kelly Lloyd Lankford, Esq.
Arthur Owens, Esq.
Henal Patel, Esq.
Alyssa Spector, Esq.
Maryam Spector, Esq.
Mia Stollen, Esq. 
Bisola Taiwo, Esq.
Kevin Weber, Esq.
Brandon Wolff, Esq.

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.”

Our Staff

Executive Director: Cathy Keenan, Esq.

Director of Finance: Tracy Nelson

Managing Attorney: Jessica Kitson, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Karen Robinson, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Jessica Limbacher, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Rosa Neel, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Stella Lyubarsky, Esq.

Staff Attorney: Allison Nolan, Esq.

Project Coordinator: Diana Onuschak

Law ClerkMichelle Smith

Legal Assistant: Emily Balan 

Legal Assistant: Joselyn Chavez

Legal Assistant: Taniesha Bermudez-Mitchum

Job Opportunities