Martin S. Needelman, Esq.
Executive Director & Chief Counsel
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Marty NeedelmanMartin Needelman has 43 years of experience providing legal services to clients in Brooklyn, the majority of which have been spent with Brooklyn A as a Staff Attorney, and then for the last 30 years as Project Director, and Chief Counsel. Following his graduation from Boston University Law School, he became a VISTA Attorney with the Southside Community Mission in Brooklyn, a CBO that provides legal and social services to immigrants, senior citizens, youth, and the homeless. Throughout his career, Mr. Needelman has received many honors and awards, including the Pro Bono Award from the Brooklyn Bar Association in 1992, the 1998 Risk Taker of the Year Award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and the 2010 Louis Lefkowitz Award from the Fordham Law School Public Interest Center for his contributions to the law as it affects urban communities. Mr. Needelman is fluent in Spanish.

Paul J. Acinapura, Esq.
Of Counsel to the Community and Economic Development Unit (CED)
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Paul AcinapuraPaul Acinapura has worked at Brooklyn A since graduating from Rutgers School of Law, coming on as a Staff Attorney in the Evictions Prevention Unit in 1973. In 1976, he established the Community & Economic Development (CED) program at Brooklyn A and served as its Director for over 25 years. In his current role as General Counsel, Mr. Acinapura is responsible for the overall operations, functioning, and leadership of the organization. Mr. Acinapura has received multiple awards and honors, including the 2012 Annual Men of Distinction and Women of Valor Award from the New York State Senate and the 1999 Public Service Award from the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) for his distinguished service as a public-sector lawyer. In addition, Mr. Acinapura is a frequent guest lecturer on community economic development work at law schools such as CUNY, Syracuse University NYU, Fordham, and Saint John’s University schools of law. He also served as a mentor to Camden Regional Legal Services, Inc, a New Jersey-based law practice, when it developed a CED program under funding from the Ford Foundation and the  National Economic Development & Law Center.  He is also the recipient of a number of other  recognition awards including the 2013 New York Law Journal’s Impact Award.

Ndukwe Agwu, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Blackshear Fellow
Consumer & Economic Advocacy Program
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Ndukwe AgwuNdukwe Agwu graduated from SUNY Purchase in Purchase New York with a double degree in Political Science and Economics. He went on to attend Touro Law School, graduating in 2006. Immediately following graduation from law school, Ndukwe went on to work at DHL as an in-house attorney handling OSHA and workers compensation claims and hearings. In 2008 he accepted a position with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) as a staff attorney. There, he started out in their Mount Vernon office as a general practice attorney handling primarily landlord/tenant, public benefits, unemployment, and social security benefits. In 2010 he moved into the foreclosure unit and soon thereafter became one of the lead foreclosure attorneys for LSHV.

Ndukwe is a graduate of the Max Gardner Bankruptcy Boot Camp and a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys(NACBA). He is on the Board of Directors for the “Coalition for Debtor Education” out of Fordham Law School which has a mission to assist consumers, particularly vulnerable populations, in understanding and improving their ability to manage their financial affairs. Ndukwe is also an adjunct professor at SUNY Purchase in Purchase New York where he teaches “Legal Research and Writing” and “The Nature and Function of Law”.

Travis Arrindell, Esq.
Deputy Director, East Brooklyn Office
Perserving Affordable Housing
Group Representation Unit
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Travis attended Brooklyn College for both his Bachelor’s in Classics and his Master’s in Urban Policy and Administration. He went on to receive is JD from Delaware Law School. Travis joins Brooklyn A from the Housing Preservation Department (HPD), where he served as a managing attorney of their litigation division, most recently in the Bronx.  Before that, he was an agency attorney in Brooklyn, where he and the Brooklyn A office co-counseled a number of affirmative cases together on behalf of tenants in our communities.  One of his most notable cases was our 172 North 8th Street 7A victory, in which Travis was lead counsel on behalf of HPD.

Joseph Calaceto
Development & Grants Associate
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Prior to joining Brooklyn A, Joseph spent several years in the publishing industry as a textbook editor. He also worked concurrently as a freelance writer, editor, and website developer. His passion for public service and desire to pursue the legal profession led him to join Brooklyn A as an AmeriCorps VISTA. He received his B.A. from New York University.

Anna Deknatel
Attorney and Skadden Fellow
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Anna is a 2014 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to coming to Brooklyn A, Anna was a law clerk to Hon. Margo Brodie at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and to Hon. Elizabeth Stong at the Eastern District of New York Bankruptcy Court. During law school, Anna worked at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Consumer Law Center, Philadelphia Community Legal Services, and the Legal Aid Society. Prior to law school, Anna worked as a political communications consultant at BerlinRosen Public Affairs.

Tamara del Carmen, Esq.
Clinic Director
Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
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Tamara del CarmenTamara del Carmen has 10 years of experience practicing law in New York and New Jersey. She is also admitted in the Federal Courts of New York and New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree and graduated magna cum laude from St. John’s University, and her law degree from Albany Law School of Union University. Prior to joining  Brooklyn A, Ms. del Carmen was a partner in a private practice for seven years representing clients in a diverse range of matters including bankruptcy, tax, real estate, immigration and litigation matters. During law school, Ms. del Carmen participated in the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic where she represented individuals with tax matters and negotiated with the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Samuel Hamilton Chiera, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Samuel ChieraSam is a 2014 graduate of Brooklyn Law School. He interned for the New York City Anti-Violence Project and Kurland Associates, a Civil Rights law firm specializing in LGBT law, before interning with Brooklyn A in 2012 and 2013. Sam received his bachelor’s degree in History and English Literature from the University of California at Los Angeles. His Spanish language skills are iffy but his French is terrible.

Meah Clay, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney

Community & Economic Development Program
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Meah ClayMeah received her BA from Spelman and JD from Vanderbilt University Law School. After law school she an associate at Weil Gotshal in its corporate practice for a number of years which included a one-year externship at Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts in Nashville helping to form art-focused non-profits, coordinate pro bono referrals, conduct trainings and outreach, and handle miscellaneous contract matters.  She was then a Legal Associate and Community Development Officer at the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), a non-profit lender with whom many of our CED clients work on affordable housing and community development projects. Before coming to Brooklyn A she was serving as counsel to an online start-up focused on collecting, curating and organizing reviews and news on the diverse art community of NYC.

Jerry Dickens
Community Outreach and Intake Specialist

Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Jerry received his Bachelor’s in Business and Sports Management from St. John’s University. He joins us after working as Make the Road New York’s (MRNY) GJGNY Coordinator since 2002, where he worked for various high profile clients and organizations. He is experienced in a variety of community issues, including: creating jobs for low income communities, developing strategies to improve the environment, working with tenants, homeowners and building owners, and quality housing. He also has worked on issues such as stop and frisk, civil rights, youth advocacy and workers’ rights. While at MRNY Jerry built strong relations with community leaders, community organizations and community members. He brings those connections with him to Brooklyn A, where he will work directly with our community partner Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH). Outside of the office, Jerry is also a music producer, song writer and recording artist; he plans on releasing his first single this year.

Alexandra Drimal, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Alex DrimalAlexandra is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Boston College, graduating with a B.A. in History and Sociology. At Harvard she served as an article editor on the Harvard Latino Law Review and worked on the Harvard Human Rights Journal. Before joining Brooklyn A, Alexandra served at the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender representing clients charged with felony offenses and at the Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts representing clients in municipal and juvenile courts. Alexandra spent the summer of 2013 as a legal intern with the European Roma Rights Centre, an NGO in Budapest, Hungary that litigates on behalf of the Roma in domestic and European Court of Human Rights proceedings. 

*New Jersey. Awaiting admission in New York.

Ana Granados
Fair Housing Advocate
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Ana Granados

Prior to joining Brooklyn A, Ana worked as a Paralegal at Gordon & Rees LLP were she engrossed herself on high profile cases which involved big city rule. She has interned in a variety of legal capacities, as a Paralegal, an Assistant Investigator for the State of New York Executive Department – Division of Human Rights, and as a Legislative Associate for the 67th District of Assembly were she focused on women’s rights and housing legislative reform. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy  from Queens College.

Joshua D. Hoffman, Esq.
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer
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Joshua HoffmanJoshua Hoffman was admitted to both New York and New Jersey’s State Bars following his graduation from St. John’s University School of Law in 2005. While at St. John’s, Mr. Hoffman was honored with the Pro-Bono Service Award and the Public Interest Certificate for his community service work. He has served as the Director of Finance and Administration at Brooklyn A since 2007, working with its Co-Executive Directors on all management aspects of the organization. In addition, in 2011, Mr. Hoffman completed the We Are All Brooklyn (WAAB) Fellowship at CAUSE-NY of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, a fellowship designed to teach nonprofit leaders how to help communities share resources, manage dynamic tensions, and collaborate on solving communal problems. Mr. Hoffman is conversational in Hebrew.

Shekar Krishnan, Esq.
Program Director
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Shekar KrishnanShekar Krishnan is the Director of the Group Representation Unit, managing its fair housing litigation and community-based advocacy on behalf of tenant and neighborhood groups in North Brooklyn.  He began his career as an attorney in the Unit, leading Brooklyn A’s Broadway Triangle fair housing case against the City of New York.  He was then an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, serving as pro bono counsel to Brooklyn A and as a member of our board.

Shekar clerked for Senior United States District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein in the Eastern District of New York.  He received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a Clarence Darrow Scholar and contributing editor of the Michigan Law Review, and his undergraduate degree from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.  He is a member of the board of directors of Citizens Union and El Puente.  His publications include “Advocacy for Tenant and Community Empowerment” (CUNY Law Review) and “Without an Attorney, the Scales of Justice Are Weighted Against the Poor” (New York State Bar Association Pro Bono News).

Jennifer Kubicki, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney

Community & Economic Development Program
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Jennifer KubickiJennifer received her BA and JD from SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Buffalo Law School.  While at SUNY Buffalo Law School, Jennifer did extensive legal work focused on affordable and fair housing – with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity of HUD in Buffalo, the Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Company, Neighborhood Legal Services, and the law school’s Affordable Housing Clinic.  After law school she worked as a Project Manager at a for-profit developer of affordable housing in Buffalo managing all phases of low-income housing tax credit projects.  She relocated to NYC over a year ago and before coming to Brooklyn A she was working at HPD as a Senior Article XI/420-c Analyst.

Joanna C. Laine, Esq.
Staff Attorney/Poverty Justice Solutions Fellow

Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Joanna Laine is a graduate of New York University School of Law and the University of Chicago, where she received her B.A. in Public Policy Studies and focused especially on housing and antipoverty policy. Before law school, Joanna was a NYC Civic Corps fellow at Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice, where she engaged senior attorneys in pro bono legal service through the New York State Attorney Emeritus Program. During law school, Joanna was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow, an Executive Editor of the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, and was active in several student organizations which help low-income clients with housing, consumer debt, and other legal issues. Joanna clerked for the Honorable Mary Catherine Cuff and the Honorable Walter F. Timpone on the New Jersey Supreme Court before joining the Group Representation Unit at Brooklyn A.

Lina Lee, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Lina LeePrior to joining Brooklyn A Lina was a Staff Attorney at Minkwon Center for Community Action, where she represented low-income immigrant clients in cases on housing, foreclosure and labor. As a staff attorney, she was selected to participate in Coro’s Civic Leadership Program and Columbia Business School Leadership Program. During law school, Lina was part of the Criminal Defense Clinic and worked as a fellow doing criminal defense with the Legal Aid Society.  She is fluent in Korean and speaks basic Mandarin and Japanese. Lina is a graduate of Boston University School of Law and received her B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Janna Levin, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Individual Representation Unit

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Janna LevinJanna Levin is a May 2012 graduate of Fordham University School of Law, where she was a member of the Fordham Urban Law Journal and a regular volunter with Fordham Law’s Housing Rights Clinic. Prior to serving as a VISTA with Brooklyn A, she worked with the Legal Aid Society, Harlem Community Law Office, Housing Conservation Coordinators, ZTL Companies, and Contemporary Art Consulting. Ms. Levin received a B.S. from the State University of New York, FIT in May 2008.

Gregory E. Louis, Esq.
Deputy Program Director
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Gregory LouisGregory is the new staff attorney for our Group Housing Representation Unit. Before coming to Brooklyn A, Greg represented low-income tenants as an attorney for Legal Services of The Hudson Valley. Greg received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. After Law School he was a Morgan Lewis Public Interest Fellow and spent a year as an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. Greg is Fluent in Haitian Creole and French.

Mateja Lucic
Legal Advocate and Communications Specialist
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Mateja LucicMateja is a graduate of the University of Buffalo with a Bachelor’s in Economics and Legal Studies. He has always wanted to be involved in the community and work with a non-profit organization; given his relevant course study at UB he believed he could best serve the community by working with Brooklyn Legal Services. Before joining the Preserving Affordable Housing Program, Mateja served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Brooklyn A.

Andrew Malozemoff, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Consumer & Economic Advocacy Program

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Andrew MalozemoffAndrew attended University of Miami School of Law in 2007 with his primary interest being in the field of entertainment and intellectual property law. Andrew was a fellow at Brooklyn A through the Miami Law Legal Corps program, which provides a fellowship to Miami Law graduates to work for non-profit and government organizations. After his fellowship Andrew continued to volunteer working for the foreclosure unit at Brooklyn A. In the beginning of 2014 Andrew was brought on full time as a staff attorney for the Foreclosure Prevention Unit. During the course of law school Andrew also worked as a freelance web site developer. Along with his foreclosure work he is now interested in the legal area of internet technologies, including internet security and domain name issues.

Carmen J. Manzano
Legal Assistant and Intake Specialist
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Carmen ManzanoCarmen is a graduate of Long Island University, receiving her B.S. in Childhood Education. Before arriving at Brooklyn A, she worked at several family oriented nonprofit organizations in Houston, Texas. In New York, Carmen worked as an assistant at Northwestern Mutual, maintaining client case files.


Leander (Lee) McRae, Esq.
Program Director
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Individual Representation Unit

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Lee McRaeLeander (Lee) McRae has been providing legal services to people and organizations involved in housing related issues for almost 30 years. Mr. McRae, who received his Law Degree from Duquesne University School of Law, has worked in the Housing Law Unit at Brooklyn A since 1987, beginning as a Staff Attorney, advising and representing clients in housing related matters. Just a few months after joining the Brooklyn A housing advocacy team, Mr. McRae was promoted to be the Director of the Housing Law Unit and served in this position through 2012. In addition to supervising and coordinating Housing Law Unit activities and staff, as well as maintaining his own caseload, Mr. McRae was and is a trainer for Housing Court Answers, a collaboration of providers that works to support housing advocates and reform the Housing Court system. He is currently focusing his advocacy efforts as a member of the Consumer and Economic Advocacy program.

Adam Meyers, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Adam MeyersAdam Meyers, with the Group Representation Unit, graduated from Harvard Law School in 2013. Through law school, Adam worked with Project No One Leaves and was coordinator of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau’s Foreclosure Task Force, which partnered with Boston-area community organizations to provide legal assistance to tenants and homeowners facing eviction following foreclosure. During his law school summers, Adam worked with Brooklyn A’s Group Representation Unit and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Rachel Nager, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Rachel NagerRachel is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law where she served on the executive board of the CUNY Law Review. After interning with Brooklyn A’s Group Representation Unit in the summer of 2013, Rachel served as a legal intern at the Family Center and at Main Street Legal Services. She received her B.A. majoring in International Relations and minoring in German from Samford University.

Kristie Ortiz, Esq. 
Senior Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Individual Representation Unit

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Kristie OrtizKristie received her B.A. in Political Science from West Virginia University and her JD from New York Law School. After graduating she held several positions as a Law Clerk at the Human Resource Administration, Legal Aid Society, NYC Supreme Court Criminal Division and NYC City Council. She has experience as a solo practitioner in several areas, including landlord/tenant, matrimonial, personal injury, real estate and foreclosure disputes as well as criminal and immigration law.

Rosemarie Peralta
Intake/Reception
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Rosemarie PeraltaRosemarie Peralta has worked with Brooklyn A since 2010. She is currently studying culinary arts at Kingsborough Community College, with an expected graduation date of Fall 2013. She has also volunteered with a community partner of Brooklyn A, El Puente, since 2009, where her work has included a gang violence prevention art project. Ms. Peralta is a Brooklyn native and is fluent in Spanish.

Michelle Perez

Paralegal/Intake Specialist
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Michelle is a graduate of Dowling College with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. Before coming to Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, Michelle worked as the Operation Manager for a Junior High Charter School in East New York, Brooklyn. Michelle states that her proudest moments came when the students who were struggling the most finally realized that they could achieve their goal, graduate and enter in the high school of their choice. Working for Brooklyn A allows Michelle to continue to help serve the communities that need the most help. Michelle was born and raised by her grandmother in Williamsburg Brooklyn. .

Maria Posner
Office Manager
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Maria PosnerMaria Posner has over 37 years of experience as an Intake Specialist and Office Manager for Brooklyn A. Additionally, between 1980-2002 she served as a Paralegal in Brooklyn A’s HIV Unit. Prior to her work with Brooklyn A, she worked as a bookkeeper for the Insurance Company of North America and the Kurtz Furniture Company. Ms. Posner is a Brooklyn native and is fluent in Spanish.

Austen D. Refuerzo, Esq. 
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Individual Representation Unit

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Austen RefuerzoAusten is a 2013 Graduate of University of California Berkeley School of Law where he was a member of the Berkeley Business Law Journal and acted as counsel for the New Business Counseling Practicum at Berkeley Law. Before coming to Brooklyn A, Austen worked as a Legal Extern for Justice Baxter of the Supreme Court of California, as an intern for the Fifth District Court of Appeal in California and was a case manager for the Los Angles Superior Court ADR Department. In his spare time Austen likes to surf (though not in the Hudson) and watch baseball.

Charnyl Revere, J.D.
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Individual Representation Unit
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Charnyl RevereCharnyl graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 with her Bachelor’s in Economics and Public Policy; she went on to receive her J.D. from Florida A&M University in 2013. Prior to coming to Brooklyn A she volunteered part-time with the Georgia Innocence Project, where she assisted with inmate exoneration by performing intake evaluations to screen for eligibility. At the same time she also performed audits for Atlanta Seafood and Catering Company. Before moving to New York City she spent her spare time coaching gymnastics, providing instruction to people of all ages and skill levels.

Jessica Rose, Esq.
Program Director
Community & Economic Development Program

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Jessica RosePrior to coming to Brooklyn A, Ms. Rose was an associate at the public finance firm, Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP, and worked for the Civil Division of the Legal Aid Society. Ms. Rose joined the CED Program of Brooklyn A in 2004, as a staff attorney and became the Director of the CED Program in 2008. Ms. Rose is a member of the NYC Bar Association’s Housing and Urban Development Committee, is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Fordham Urban Law Center, and has co-authored multiple articles on CED. In 2015 she received the Stein Alumni “In the Service of Others” Award from the Stein Center for Law and Ethics, Fordham University School of Law, for her exceptional leadership and commitment and significant public service contributions, and in 2012 she received the New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA) Public Service Award for her distinguished service as a public-sector lawyer. Ms. Rose received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2001 and is fluent in Spanish.

Raphael Ruttenberg, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Raphael RuttenbergRaphael Rutternberg has extensive experience in public service. Prior to joining Brooklyn A, Raphael was a litigation associate at Rosner Nocera & Ragone, LLP where he litigated on behalf of national banking associations in state and Federal court on commercial foreclosure, promissory note defaults, and bankruptcy proceedings. After law school, he was an assistant to the General Counsel of the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, where he formulated policy, reviewed contracts, and drafted amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Borough President. Raphael earned his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and B.A. in Philosophy from Vassar College. While in law school, Mr. Ruttenberg participated in the Brooklyn law School Capital Defender and Federal Habeas Clinic, a federal appellate clinical program, and interned for Judge Eric N. Vitaliano of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Raphael Ruttenberg is admitted to practice in New York, and in the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Margaret Saalfield, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Maggie SaalfieldPrior to law school, Maggie worked in international development at Eurasia Foundation and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. During law school, she held internships at the EPA and Earthjustice, participated in her school’s Health Law Concentration, and was a member of Law Review. After law school, she clerked at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent federal agency that adjudicates health and safety disputes arising in the nation’s mines, and the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. Maggie is a member of the Environmental Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association and an alumna of the New York City Environmental Law Leadership Institute. She is interested in the intersection of housing, health, and environmental justice. Maggie received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and her J.D. from CUNY Law.

Myrna Sanabria
Senior Paralegal
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Individual Representation Unit

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Myrna SanabriaMyrna is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, growing up in the borough and receiving her paralegal certificate from Brooklyn College. She has been a member of Brooklyn A for 36 years and loves the work she does because it is rewarding. Myrna has a husband of 49 years, two sons and three grandchildren. Her hobbies include cooking and gardening.

Milagros Sandoval
Community Outreach and Intake Specialist
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Prior to joining Brooklyn A, Milagros Sandoval worked at the National Development and Research Institute, Inc. as a field coordinator. She has published numerous articles in various journals. Milagros received her B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology from City University of New York where she is currently working on completing her Master of Arts in Sociology.

Shimon Sieskel
Reception
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Shimon SieskelShimon has worked with Brooklyn A since 2011. He is a lifelong resident of Williamsburg.

Christopher Sina, J.D.
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Individual Representation Unit

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Chris SinaChristopher graduated from New York University School of Law in 2013 where he was an editor for the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. Chris has experience as a Law Clerk for Nevada Legal Services as well as serving as a Clinic Student for the EDNY Government Civil Litigation Clinic. Additionally Chris was a summer intern for Brooklyn A in our Individual Housing Unit. He received a B.A. in political science from University of Nevada Las Vegas and studied abroad at University of Brighton in England.

Serena Stewart
Assistant, Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
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Serena StewartSerena is experienced in the fields of development, communications and administration. Prior to joining Brooklyn A, she worked for the Rochester Public Library in Western New York for over three years. During this time she gained valuable experience doing programming with youth ages 12-21. In 2015, Serena started at Brooklyn A as a development and communications coordinator through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She helped plan and organize fundraising events, completed grant applications, and executed e-mail and social media campaigns.

After completing her year of service, Serena moved to Brooklyn A’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic to assist with administrative work. Serena also works for the Youth Development Institute as development and communications associate managing the foundations grant portfolio, maintaining the social media and website presence, and systems building for internal communications and tracking. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. John Fisher College in 2010. In her spare time, she organizes with the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), doing direct action, organizing and political education work through a Black Queer Feminist lens; she serves as Communications Co-Chair.

Elvin Taveras
Community Outreach and Intake Specialist
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Elvin was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn. He spent some of his childhood living in the Dominican Republic with his Mother, Father and sister. The work that Elvin does as an Organizer for Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A resonates with him because of all the changes he see’s happening in East New York. Elvin is dedicated to helping his community through his advocacy.

Ezinwanyi Ukegbu, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Ezi UkegbuEzi Ukegbu is a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law.  Before coming to Brooklyn A, she clerked at the State of Connecticut Superior Court-New Haven and at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.  While in law school, she represented low-income clients in her school’s General Practice Clinic and was an Articles Editor in the school’s Labor and Employment Law Forum.  During law school, she also interned at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission-Office of the Chair. Prior to law school, she worked for nearly two years at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc. as the Assistant to the Director of Litigation. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College with honors. During college, she interned on Capitol Hill for then-Senator Hillary Clinton.

Jack Underwood
Staff Attorney
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Jack UnderwoodJack is a graduate of the Boston University School of Law where he worked on The International Law Journal. After Interning with Brooklyn A’s Fair Housing Program in the summer of 2014, he volunteered at the New York Legal Assistance Group as a part of their Foreclosure Prevention Project. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Gustavus Adolphus College and represented his school as an Academic All-American in soccer.

Joyce Vargas
Paralegal
Consumer & Economic Advocacy Program

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Joyce VargasJoyce is a recent graduate of New York City College of Technology with a BA in Legal Studies. She has been working in Foreclosure Defense since 2013 and is an avid advocate for homeowners. She hopes to advance her career in the legal field by attending law school in the future. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Justina Walker
Legal Advocate
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit
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Justina WalkerJustina recently graduated from Columbia University-Barnard College with a B.A. in Philosophy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Pre-Law. She was very active on campus, participating in the Columbia University’s Black Students’ Organization, Columbia Prison Divestment, the Intercultural Resource Center and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. She previously worked for the Legal Aid Society as a Criminal Defense Investigative Intern, conducting on-site interviews, corresponding with inmates and implementing “Know Your Rights”  workshops. She has a personal interest in writing.

Sara J. Wolkensdorfer, Esq.
Staff Attorney
Poverty Justice Solutions Fellow
Preserving Affordable Housing Program
Group Representation Unit

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Sara WolkensdorferSara is a recent graduate of Syracuse University College of Law. She has worked with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, Syracuse University College of Law Criminal Defense Clinic, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She graduated summa cum laude from Ithaca College in 2012.