Staff

Matt Selig

Staff

Executive Director (he/him)

Matt has advocated for health care access for consumers since the early 1990’s. He joined HLA in 2005 as a Staff Attorney and has served as Executive Director since 2009. At HLA, Matt oversees Massachusetts' only non-profit, public interest law firm dedicated exclusively to health care access. During Matt’s tenure, HLA’s staff has more than doubled in size and the organization has launched several new strategic initiatives serving children with mental illness, immigrants, transgender people, and people with disabilities. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Matt began his professional career as the staff assistant for the Chief Counsel for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s staff on the United States Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources (now known as the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions). In Senator Kennedy’s office, he participated in advancing national health care initiatives, including proposals to expand access to health insurance and strengthen public health programs. He left Senator Kennedy’s office to attend Suffolk University Law School where he graduated magna cum laude in 1997. Matt then worked in the Massachusetts State House as a legislative aide to State Representative Kay Khan, a champion for access to health care. In the State House, Matt drafted and helped enact various legislative and budgetary provisions including measures to improve mental health services and correctional health care.

Jennifer Cedor

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her)

Jennifer is a new staff attorney on our General Legal Practice Team! Prior to HLA, Jennifer worked at the Massachusetts Trial Court’s Boston Court Service Center providing access to justice to self-represented litigants. In this capacity, Jennifer assisted marginalized and underserved litigants navigate the judicial system in various Probate and Family and Housing Court matters. Before joining the Boston Court Service Center, Jennifer worked as a Public Defender with CPCS in the Mental Health Litigation Division. At CPCS, she represented clients who were facing civil commitment in mental health institutions. 

 
Jennifer received her Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School (“SULS”).  At SULS, Jennifer was a member of the Health and Biomedical Law Journal as a Symposium Editor and Vice President of the Health and Biomedical Law Society. Jennifer also earned a Bachelor of Art in Communication and Culture and from Clark University, graduating cum laude. The following year, she received her Master of Science, also at Clark University, in Communication with a concentration in Marketing.  Jennifer graduated with high honors and was inducted into Alpha Epsilon Lambda—an honor society for Graduate Students.  To build her background in public health and education, Jennifer completed training at the Boston Public Health Commission’s Community Health Education Center, where she became a certified Community Health Educator. 

Elisabeth Chee

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her)

Elisabeth joins the MHAP for Kids team as the second Staff Attorney for Middlesex County, based out of the Lowell office. Prior to joining HLA, Elisabeth worked at the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. At the District Attorney’s office, Elisabeth was part of the Mental Health Court in Lowell as well as the juvenile court ADA also in Lowell.  While in law school, Elisabeth was a part of the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project as well as a LEND (Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Delay) Fellow in 2018. Elisabeth received her J.D. from Boston College Law School in 2019 and her B.A. from Colby College in 2016.

Sarah Clark

Staff

Director of Finance & Operations (she/her)

Sarah joined HLA in August 2018, bringing more than a decade of experience in nonprofit finance and administration. Previous positions include nine years at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, where she developed a passion for the disability inclusion movement. Sarah holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Nell Clasby

Staff

Paralegal (she/her)

Nell joined HLA in September of 2021 as a Paralegal for the Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids. Prior to joining HLA, Nell participated in the School for International Training's International Honors Program, where she studied the public health care systems in Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina. She previously was a family law litigation assistant and a research affiliate for Military Support Programs and Networks. Nell earned her B.A. in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience with a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Andrew P. Cohen

Staff

Director/Lead Attorney, General Legal Practice Team (he/him)

Andrew P. Cohen has two decades of experience as a consumer advocate, community organizer, and health care policy expert. He is the Director and Lead Attorney for HLA’s General Legal Practice (GLP) Team. Over more than a quarter century, GLP attorneys and paralegals have helped many thousands of Massachusetts residents overcome barriers to needed health care coverage and services, and resolved millions of dollars in consumers’ unaffordable medical debt. The GLP team specializes in cases involving eligibility and coverage under MassHealth and Health Connector, private health insurance enrollment and service denials, mental health parity, care and coverage for immigrants, access to gender-affirming medical services for trans and gender diverse people, and access to long-term services and supports for people living with disabilities. With our advocacy partners, the GLP has successfully advanced policies at the local, state, and national levels that ensure greater access to health services and coverage for the broader public. Prior to arriving at HLA in 2014, Andrew led a Medical Debt Resolution Program at The Access Project, a non-profit health policy group, and he worked as a Senior Policy Analyst at UMass Medical School’s Center for Health Law and Economics where he focused on implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. Andrew graduated from Northeastern University School of Law where he was a Public Interest Law Fellow. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Bachelor’s degree with High Honors from Wesleyan University. Andrew is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Abigail Craig

Staff

Administrative Assistant (she/her)

Abigail (or Abby) joined HLA in January 2022 as an Administrative Assistant, supporting the work of our general operations team, MHAP for Kids, and our Development team. Prior to working at HLA, she held various administrative roles while teaching English as a Second Language at a language school and translation agency based in Montréal, Québec. Abby earned her B.A. in Art History and Anthropology from McGill University.

Ellen Crowley

Staff

Senior Supervising Attorney (she/her)

Ellen joins the MHAP for Kids team as the Staff Attorney for Worcester County. Prior to joining HLA, Ellen worked as a staff Attorney at Northeast Legal Aid and Metro West Legal Services.At Northeast Legal Aid, Ellen was in charge of the Medical-Legal Partnership program and also represented grandparents and third-party caregivers of children in legal matters. At MetroWest Legal Services, Ellen represented families and children in special education matters which often were complicated by life stressors such as substantial poverty. Ellen comes with a variety of experience in special education law, child welfare law, issues pertaining to domestic violence.  Ellen provides child-centered, trauma centered representation for families facing legal issues and is a compassionately zealous attorney. She is a 2007 graduate of New England Law. 

Stacey Dedian

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her)

Stacey joins the MHAP for Kids team as our Staff Attorney serving Plymouth County. Before HLA, Stacey was a self-employed Family Law Attorney specializing in divorce, child support, mediation, and other family law issues for over ten years. Stacey also has experience in Guardian ad Litem and Court Investigations and worked for the Committee for Public Counsel Services/Children and Family Law Program, where she represented parents and children in cases involving Care & Protection Petitions in Plymouth and Norfolk counties. Before launching her legal career, Stacey oversaw a variety of programs in the Department of Children and Families across her ten-year tenure there. Stacey earned her J.D. from the New England School of Law.

Marisol Garcia

Staff

Deputy Director (she/her)

Marisol Garcia has dedicated her 25 year legal career to advocating for youth at every stage of the cradle to prison pipeline. Since 2016, Marisol directs the work of the Commonwealth’s largest child advocacy program – the Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids (MHAP for Kids). Marisol achieved the mission of statewide expansion for this legal service program, increasing capacity by over 500% and placing attorneys in Family Resource Centers (FRCs) across the state. Working with public interest groups, Marisol leads the legislative lobbying efforts – establishing a budget earmark and receiving over 3 million dollars in public funding. Within months of assuming her position as project director, Marisol collaborated with key stakeholders to redefine the strategic direction of the program to relocate this diversion program from the juvenile justice system to the FRCs based in the community. Marisol also coordinates ongoing data collection with the evaluation team from Boston University School of Public Health. Marisol oversees the work of the attorneys who advocate for children with unmet mental health needs to receive the care that they require to be successful at school, at home, and in the community. She has co-authored numerous articles for the American Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Committee and has presented on children’s mental health issues at statewide and national trainings.  Marisol joined HLA in 2015 as a mental health advocate. From 2012 to 2014, Marisol litigated before the SSA, representing disabled adults and children. From 1999 to 2011, she maintained her own law office where she specialized in juvenile justice, representing children in civil and delinquency proceedings. During that time, Marisol was also an adjunct professor at University of Massachusetts in Lowell and William James College. Marisol was a Bart J. Gordon fellow and staff attorney at the Children's Law Center of Massachusetts from 1997 to 1999. She received her JD from Northeastern University School of Law in 1997 and a BA magna cum laude from Providence College 1994.

Kathleen Hackett

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her)

Prior to joining HLA, Kathleen engaged in private practice representing parents and children in Care and Protection Petitions and Children Requiring Assistance cases for the Committee for Public Counsel Services/Children and Family Law Division.  In addition, she has experience as a Guardian Ad Litem and Court Investigator in the juvenile courts in Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties. Kathleen also worked as an Education Advocate for the Home for Little Wanderers Parent Support Program as well as for families working with the Department of Mental Health. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross and a law degree from Suffolk University Law School.

Kara Hurvitz

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her/they/them)

Kara comes to HLA by way of MLPB, where she supported health and human service providers in their efforts to detect, triage, and address patients’ health-related social needs through regular consultation.  Prior to that work, Kara was a Social Services Advocate for the Committee for Public Counsel Services.  In that multidisciplinary role, she advocated for clients navigating the criminal justice system who were seeking to access benefits and services.  She also provided consultation for staff attorneys on issues of disability and benefits law.  Kara holds both a law degree from Boston College Law School and a master’s degree in social work from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.

Jennifer Javier

Staff

Manager of External Engagement (she/her)

Jennifer is the Manager of External Engagement at HLA, bringing nearly 10 years of nonprofit and volunteer management experience, and a deep passion for building champions for mission-driven organizations. Previous to HLA, she led the volunteer efforts at nonprofits such as Year Up Greater Boston, a national workforce development program for young adults, 826 Boston, a creative writing center for K-12 students, and Tenacity, a pathway program for middle schoolers that focuses on literacy and tennis. Jennifer holds a BA in Criminology, Law, and Society from the University of California, Irvine. 

Kathryn Koch

Staff

Justice Catalyst Fellow (she/her)

Kathryn is a Justice Catalyst Fellow on the Access to Care and Coverage Practice team. Prior to HLA, she served as Chief Operating Officer at Casa de Salud, a St. Louis-based health access organization. Kathryn has also worked in disability rights, language access initiatives, and care coordination for justice-involved and unhoused men. Kathryn received her law degree from Saint Louis University and master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis.

Toni Kokenis

Staff

Staff Attorney/MHAP for Kids Training Coordinator (she/her)

Before joining the HLA team, Toni served as Assistant Regional Counsel for Boston’s Department of Children and Families where she worked closely with clinical staff on case consultations, management, and mediation. While earning her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, Toni clerked for First Justice Jay D. Blitzman at the Juvenile Court of Middlesex County and worked alongside healthcare professionals and education specialists at the Advocating Success for Kids program at Boston Children’s hospital. Toni continues to teach courses and workshops in Public Narrative, Community Organizing, and Legal and Ethical Issues in Child Advocacy. In addition to her law degree, Toni holds an M.Ed in Human Development and Psychology Child Advocacy from Harvard University, an M.A. in Sociology from Stanford University, and B.A. degrees in both Sociology and Human Biology from Stanford University.

Shy-Anne Laura

Staff

Paralegal (she/her)

Shy-Anne joined HLA as a paralegal with MHAP for Kids in October 2022. Before HLA, Shy-Anne earned her BA in Applied Legal Studies at Suffolk University, where she was also an active member of the Legal Association, Student Government Association, and National Society of Leadership and Success. She previously worked in customer service and participated in an internship in Experimental Learning, where she focused on legal research and legal writing. Shy-Anne is a huge animal lover and volunteers her time at a local animal rescue, and is also a former cheerleader at Suffolk University.

Aly McKnight

Staff

Staff Attorney/Medical-Legal Partnership for Immigrants Fellow (she/her) 

Aly McKnight is the Staff Attorney/Medical-Legal Partnership for Immigrants Fellow on our Access to Care and Coverage team. Recently, Aly has interned with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson’s chambers, with AARP Foundation Litigation, and with Greater Boston Legal Services in the Welfare Unit.  While in law school, she was a part of Northeastern University School of Law's Poverty Law Clinic, and she served on the founding board of the National Disabled Law Students Association (NDLSA) as the social media director. Prior to law, Aly worked in community engagement. She was the Vice President of Community Engagement for New Futures, a nonprofit that advocates for health and wellness issues at the state level in New Hampshire. She also worked for the city of Nashua, New Hampshire in the public health division and in the office of Mayor Jim Donchess, and was a 2018 fellow for New Leaders Council NH. Aly holds a B.A. in Sociology and Public Policy Studies from William Smith College and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law with a concentration in poverty law and economic justice.

Zachary Meade

Staff

Paralegal (he/him)

Zachary joined the General Legal Practice as a paralegal in September of 2021.  Prior to joining HLA, he interned at the African American Community Service Agency in its Policy and Advocacy department, conducting research on local policy issues affecting the Black/African-American/African Ancestry communities and developing a civic education program on local, state, and federal policymaking processes. He also interned at the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, was a student member at the Bay Area JusticeCorps, worked as a part-time barista at Starbucks, and enjoyed leadership positions in student advocacy through student government organizations. Zachary recently earned B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Political Science from Santa Clara University.

Lisa Morrow

Staff

Managing Attorney (she/her)

Lisa Morrow, Senior Supervising Staff Attorney in HLA’s MHAP for Kids based at the Lynn Family Resource Center, advocates for children with unmet mental health needs throughout Essex County while supervising 3 other MHAP for Kids attorneys. Due to her experience and expertise, Lisa has co-authored 2 articles for the American Bar Association’s Children’s Rights Committee and has presented on special education to other attorneys at MCLE. Before she joined HLA in 2013 to work on children’s mental health issues, Lisa spent four and a half years as a staff attorney at the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts. At CLCM, Lisa represented children in education matters as the sole attorney for an education advocacy initiative in Lawrence, MA. Lisa holds a law degree from Boston University School of Law and Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Visual Art and History from Brown University.

Steph Neely

Staff

Head of Litigation (he/him)

Steph Neely joins HLA as the Head of Litigation. Prior to joining HLA, Steph was a litigator in the Boston office of the law firm WilmerHale for approximately 10 years. While there, he represented pharmaceutical and technology companies in litigations before federal courts and disputes before agencies. Steph also maintained a robust public interest practice while at WilmerHale, including representing pro bono clients before the Social Security Administration and Boston Housing Authority, co-authoring a legal manual for representing victims of human trafficking in Massachusetts, and drafting an amicus brief in support of expanded end-of-life medical care options. In addition, Steph served as a Special Assistant District Attorney in Malden District Court for six months in 2017, where he argued numerous motions and represented the Commonwealth in several trials. Steph holds a B.A. in Humanities from Yale University, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School with a focus on Religion, Ethics, and Politics, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Aashna Parikh

Staff

Paralegal (she/her)

Aashna joined HLA as a Paralegal for the General Legal Practice in August 2021. Prior to joining HLA, Aashna worked at a multi-focus law firm as a Legal Assistant, aiding in criminal, real estate, and intellectual property cases. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with bachelors degrees in Public Health (policy and management) and Legal Studies in 2020.

Kendal Poirier

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her)

Kendal joins the MHAP for Kids team as the staff attorney for both Bristol County and the Cape & Islands, based in the New Bedford Family Resource Center. Kendal comes to HLA from the Bristol County District Attorney's office. She spent five years supporting prosecutors in the Fall River District Court and in the Special Victims Unit, while attending law school at night and on the weekends. Kendal then transitioned to the role of Assistant District Attorney, spending four years as a prosecutor based in the Attleboro District Court. She became the lead prosecutor for the Attleboro high risk domestic violence team, overseeing complex prosecutions of repeat offenders and working with community partners to provide support to domestic violence victims. Kendal has tried dozens of cases and brings extensive litigation experience and trauma informed advocacy skills to this role. Kendal earned her B.A. from Saint Michael's College where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her J.D. from the University of Massachusetts School of Law.

Eliza Presson

Staff

Senior Supervising Attorney (she/her)

Eliza joined HLA from the Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC, where she spent three years representing children and their best interests in abuse and neglect proceedings.  She was a 2012 Skirnick Public Interest Fellow at the Education Law Center in Philadelphia, and as a law student, she participated in the Education Law Clinic and Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.  Eliza holds a B.A. in Classics from Brown University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. 

Katherine Purrington

Staff

Staff Attorney, Medical-Legal Partnership for Immigrants (MLPI) (she/her)

Before joining HLA, Katherine (Kate) was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in New York City, where she helped immigrant clients in low-income situations access health insurance and eliminate medical debt through advocacy, appeals, and client education. In law school, she worked at two legal services organizations serving immigrant populations and was a judicial extern at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a B.S. in Applied Psychology from New York University.

Caitlin Reed

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her)

Caitlin is a Staff Attorney for the Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids out of the Family Resource Center in Pittsfield. She provides services to families in Berkshire, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Prior to joining HLA, Caitlin had a private practice focused on representing kids and parents in care and protection proceedings in Juvenile Court, as well as mediating family law matters. She has extensive experience working with trauma survivors and helping people with mental health challenges navigate the legal system. Caitlin is also active with Gender Identity Validation Services, which provides free legal assistance to gender diverse people seeking name and gender marker changes. Caitlin earned her law degree and her master’s degree in public health in 2010 as part of a dual degree program with Northeastern University School of Law and Tufts University.  She also has B.A. degrees in both Biology and Religion from Mount Holyoke College.

David Satin

Staff

Staff Attorney/Intern Coordinator (he/him)

David is a staff attorney in the Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids program, and is based out of the Quincy Family Resource Center. Before joining HLA, David was an attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services in the Children and Family Law Division, where he was court appointed to represent children and parents in Care and Protection cases and Children Requiring Assistance cases at the Juvenile Court. In that role, David provided client-directed litigation and advocacy in the court, administratively, and in the community. David was also an associate attorney at a law firm, where he represented school districts in special and general education matters. David earned his Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law. 

Mara Shulman

Staff

Senior Supervising Attorney (she/her)

As supervising attorney with HLA’s Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids, Mara is based at Enlace de Familias, Holyoke’s Family Resource Center. Before joining HLA, Mara worked as a court-appointed attorney in Hampden and Hampshire Counties with a focus on representing youth in delinquency proceedings and, prior to that, she clerked at the Connecticut Supreme Court. Before studying law as a Public Interest Scholar at Western New England University, Mara received a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training and a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Spanish Literature from Smith College. Mara is a Supreme Judicial Court qualified mediator and currently volunteers as a mediator with Collaborative Resolutions Group in Western Massachusetts.

Shannon Sullivan

Staff

Senior Paralegal (she/her)

Shannon joined HLA as the paralegal in February 2019 and conducts intakes for private and public insurance. Shannon graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2017 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Immigration, Human Rights, and Latin American studies. During college, she interned in non-profit and school-based organizations focusing on providing immigration services, ESL, and services for families and children. In 2018 she served as an AmeriCorps caseworker with Jewish Vocational Services in the Refugee Department, primarily focusing on helping parents gain access to child care to promote job readiness.

Ignacio Velez

Staff

Paralegal (he/him)

Ignacio joined HLA in September of 2021 as a Paralegal for the Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids. Prior to joining the MHAP for Kids team, Ignacio was a Research Assistant at the Center for Media at Risk of the Annenberg School. Other experiences include interning at Americans for the Arts, SiriusXM, and serving on WQHS Radio’s board as Community Engagement Director. Ignacio earned his B.A. in Communication and minor in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Emmanuelle Verdieu

Staff

Staff Attorney (she/her)

Emmanuelle joins the MHAP for Kids team as the second Staff Attorney for Worcester County. Prior to joining HLA, Emmanuelle worked as a staff attorney and fellow with the Project on Predatory Student Lending at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, where she investigated and litigated against predatory for-profit colleges that target and harm students of color. Emmanuelle holds a BA in crime and justice studies, magna cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and received her law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. During law school, she was a legal intern at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in the Consumer Protection Division; Bowmans in Johannesburg, South Africa; and the Utah County Attorney’s Office. Prior to law school, Emmanuelle interned with the Boston Branch of the NAACP advocating for students, parents, and teachers in Boston Public Schools.

Wells Wilkinson

Staff

Senior Supervising Attorney (he/him)

Wells works with HLA's commercial insurance and mental health parity teams, and advises and represents individual clients in Massachusetts with commercial insurance on their rights to access needed care. He has successfully appealed denials of expensive pharmaceuticals, ABA therapy for children with Autism, and he has helped consumers reverse unpaid claims, protecting them from medical debt. Previously, Wells worked with the consumer advocacy group Community Catalyst, indirectly advising consumers about their rights under the Affordable Care Act to enroll, to receive free preventive care, and to receive exemptions from tax penalties, among other issues. Wells has extensive experience in local grassroots organizing in Massachusetts, working on health care reform, peace issues, globalization, youth leadership development, and community organizing. He holds a B.A. in Biology from Boston University, and a law degree from New England School of Law.

Rebecca Wilson

Staff

Senior Paralegal (she/her)

Rebecca joined HLA in February of 2021 as a Paralegal for the Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids. Prior to joining the MHAP for Kids team, Rebecca participated in Health Career Connection's 2020 summer cohort, interning at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. Other experiences include interning at Albany's District Attorney's Community Justice Outreach Center, NFI Massachusetts, and the New York State Assembly. Rebecca earned her B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology from the State University of New York at Albany.