Randye Retkin
Director and Founder, LegalHealth

Randye Retkin, Esq., is the Director and Founder of LegalHealth, a division of the New York Legal Assistance Group. She has been developing and running legal programs that serve low-income individuals for over 25 years. LegalHealth provides free legal services to individuals with chronic and serious illnesses through partnerships with hospitals and community groups. In addition to providing free legal services, LegalHealth offers an innovative legal education curriculum to doctors, social workers, and other health care professionals. LegalHealth provides legal services at 25 hospital sites across New York City and Long Island, and is the largest Medical-Legal Partnership in the country.

Prior to joining NYLAG, Randye served as Director of Legal Services for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. She has provided consulting on projects addressing the needs of people with breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, asthma, and other chronic illnesses. Randye served as a staff attorney with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) where she established the VOLS Immigrants’ Rights Project. She is a founder of the New York Immigration Coalition, the National Network of Cancer Legal Services Providers and a co-founder of the New York State Coalition of Medical-Legal Partnerships. She is a co-author of New York’s Standby Guardianship law and New York’s Health-Related Legal Services Program Law.

Randye is nationally recognized for building collaborations between professionals working with the chronically ill and for ensuring the well-being of this population by helping them access medical and legal systems.  She is a co-author of one of the first significant articles on collaborative care for the chronically ill: “Attorneys and Social Workers Collaborating in HIV Care: Breaking New Ground,” Fordham Urban Law Journal (1997).  She also co-authored “Complexities in HIV Consent in Adolescents,” Clinical Pediatrics (2005), “The Attorney As the Newest Member of the Cancer Treatment Team,” Journal of Clinical Oncology (May 2006), “Lawyers and Doctors Working Together-A Formidable team,” ABA Health Lawyer (2007), “Public Health Legal Services: A New and Powerful Vision,” Georgetown Journal of Poverty Law and Policy (2008), “How Bioethics Can Enrich Medical-Legal Partnerships,” The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (2010), “Legal Services: A Necessary Component of Patient Navigation”, Seminars in Oncology Nursing (2013), and most recently “The Long Road to State Endorsement of Medical-Legal Partnerships in New York” Clearinghouse Review, (2014).

In 2008, Randye and LegalHealth were awarded the prestigious E. Lee Walker award from the Live Strong Foundation for work on behalf of people with cancer. In 2010, Randye was the recipient of the New York City Bar’s Twenty-first Annual Legal Services Honorees Award. This award recognizes attorneys who have, for an extended period, devoted themselves full time to the direct provision of free civil legal services to indigent persons. LegalHealth was the recipient of the 2010 Denison Ray award from the New York State Bar Association, the 2011 “Outstanding MLP Award” from the National Center on Medical Legal Partnerships and most recently the 2012 Joan Tisch Community Health Prize. Randye is a frequent speaker at national legal and medical conferences and will be teaching a health law class at Fordham Law School the fall of 2015.

Julie Brandfield
Associate Director, LegalHealth

Julie is the Associate Director of LegalHealth. She coordinates the training curriculum for hospital partners, establishes new clinics, and supervises LegalHealth’s staff attorneys. Julie has extensive experience in employment and insurance law, key focuses of her LegalHealth practice. Julie has spoken at numerous conferences on partnering with healthcare professionals. In 2013, Julie was the recipient of the New York City Bar’s 24th Annual Legal Services Award.  She co-authored “Environmental Improvements Brought by the Legal Interventions in the Homes of Poorly Controlled Inner-city Adult Asthmatic Patients:  A Proof of Concept Study,” Journal of Asthma. (2012); “Medical-Legal Partnership: Collaborating with Lawyers to Identify and Address Health Disparities,” Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2010; 25(Suppl 2): 136-9; “Medical Legal Partnerships: A Key Strategy for Mitigating the Negative Health Impacts of the Recession,” ABA Health Lawyer, (2009); “Lawyers and Doctors Working Together – A Formidable Team,” ABA Health Law Journal (October 2007); ”The Attorney as the Newest Member of the Cancer Treatment Team,” Journal of Clinical Oncology (May 2006); and “Complexities in HIV Consent in Adolescents,” Clinical Pediatrics (July/August 2005).. Before joining LegalHealth in 2002, Julie was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York. She clerked for the Honorable Alfred J. Lechner of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Julie served as secretary of the Federal Courts Committee of the New York City Bar Association from 1995 to 1998 and contributed to Trial Ready: A Manual for Pro Se Litigants Appearing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (1997). She graduated from the University of Chicago and Fordham University School of Law.

Domna Antoniadis
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Domna is a staff attorney with NYLAG’s LegalHealth Unit, conducting legal clinics at St. Luke’s Hospital and Woodhull Hospital’s Geriatric Wellness Center.  She co-authored “Legal Services: A Necessary Component of Patient Navigation”, Seminars in Oncology Nursing (2013). She graduated from Fordham University  School of Law where she founded Fordham HEALS (Health, Education, Advocacy and Law Society), the law school’s first public interest group to specialize in health law advocacy, for which she received the Public Service 1L Student of the Year Award.  Upon graduation Domna was awarded a Public Interest Resource Center Leadership Award and the Archibald R. Murray Service Award for giving more than 1,000 hours of her time to public service work as a law student. Domna interned with the N.Y.S. Department of Insurance interpreting insurance regulations, with a focus on health insurance.

Julie Babayeva
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Julie is a staff attorney with NYLAG’s LegalHealth Unit. She conducts legal clinics at Coney Island Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. Prior to joining LegalHealth, Julie was a volunteer attorney at Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of New York where she worked on various immigration related cases.  She graduated magna cum laude from Pace University and earned her law degree from St. John’s University School of Law, where she received CALI Awards for Excellence for Immigration Law, Pre-trial Advocacy and Bread & Life: Bridge to Justice legal clinic.

Sirikit Benja-Athonsirikul
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Sirikit staffs the legal clinics at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Queens Hospital Center. Before joining NYLAG, Sirikit was a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County, Inc. primarily representing children in a wide range of family court matters. Sirikit studied art history at Colgate University in Upstate New York where she received her undergraduate degree. She received her Juris Doctor from St. John’s University School of Law in Jamaica Queens where she was the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award 2011 and the Gold Pro Bono Service Award 2011 for her dedication to public service.

Jason Biafore
Supervising Attorney, LegalHealth

Jason is in charge of the legal clinic at Lincoln Hospital and LegalHealth’s housing caseload. Prior to joining LegalHealth, Jason was a housing attorney at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. He earned a BA degree from Concordia University, Montréal, and graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law, Kingston, Canada with an LL.B degree.

Beth Breslin
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Beth works to further LegalHealth’s goals by engaging in public policy and advocacy, with a main focus on navigating the intricacies of the NY State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program. Prior to joining NYLAG, she was an associate with Peter R. Ginsberg Law, where she represented clients in a variety of fields, including criminal defense, sports law, and employment discrimination matters. Beth was previously employed as an associate at Weitz & Luxenberg in their complex pharmaceutical litigation department. Beth received her B.S. from Boston College and her law degree from Syracuse University College of Law, where she was the co-founder and managing editor of Impunity Watch, an online law journal focusing on human rights and impunity issues.

Michael Brown
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Michael is a staff attorney at NYLAG responsible for the LegalHealth clinics at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center. Michael graduated from New York Law School. Before law school, he served as a Captain in the United States Army and as a Military Police Officer in the United States Navy. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Counseling and Mental Health from Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Maria S. Campigotto
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Maria is responsible for the LegalHealth clinics at Bellevue Hospital and Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center. A magna cum laude graduate of Ohio State University, Maria received her law degree from New York University where she was also a student advocate at the institution’s employment and housing discrimination clinic. She is admitted to practice in both New York and New Jersey. Maria has served in internship and research programs in South Africa and Ireland on human rights issues.

Mary Fox
Senior Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Mary runs the legal clinic at Mt. Sinai Hospital. She has extensive experience handling consumer debt matters.  Before joining LegalHealth in 2013, Mary was a pro se attorney for the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of New York, the first pro se attorney for the United States Bankruptcy Courts across the nation. There, Mary structured and implemented a pilot program to provide in-court assistance to pro se debtors and creditors. Previously, Mary was a Senior Staff Attorney at Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Staff Attorney at Housing Conservation Coordinators, Inc.  Mary graduated from University of Maryland and received her JD from City University of New York.

Keith Hoffmann
Legal Fellow, LegalHealth

Keith is an Equal Justice Works Fellow with NYLAG’s LegalHealth division. He staffs NYLAG’s legal clinics at the Bronx VA Medical Center and the Manhattan VA Medical Center. Keith’s fellowship project is to help veterans obtain access to VA benefits and other legal services through legal clinics in VA medical centers. Keith graduated with honors from Fordham Law School and earned his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. During law school, he interned in the appellate unit of the Rhode Island Department of the Attorney General and served as a law clerk in the office of Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado.

Brian Hilburn
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Brian, a staff attorney with NYLAG’s LegalHealth Unit, runs the legal clinics at Harlem Hospital and Metropolitan Hospital Center. Prior to joining NYLAG, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. While in law school, he interned for the Honorable Robert B. Collings of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the San Francisco County Public Defender’s Office, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and South Brooklyn Legal Services (SBLS). Brian did a post-graduate fellowship at SBLS focusing on unemployment law and foreclosure prevention. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Arkansas Tech University and his Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law.

Kevin Kenneally
Supervising Attorney, LegalHealth

Kevin is a Supervising Attorney in Legal Health where he staffs our legal clinics at the Northport VA Medical Center and supervises LegalHealth’s Veterans Project.  He also has extensive experience in Social Security appeals. Before joining LegalHealth in 2003, Kevin spent three years in the public benefits unit at Legal Services of Greater Miami, specializing in Social Security disability law. He graduated from the University of Chicago and William and Mary Law School.

Sara Levine
Equal Justice Works Fellow, LegalHealth

Sara Levine is an Equal Justice Works Fellow with NYLAG’s LegalHealth division. Through her fellowship project, the LegalHealth Immigrant Access to Healthcare Project, Sara represents humanitarian-based immigrants (victims of domestic abuse, victims of crimes, and asylum-seekers) in their immigration cases. She also works with such individuals to obtain state Medicaid coverage once their federal immigration cases are pending. Sara received her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Michigan. Prior to law school, Sara worked as a journalist for the English nightly news on Israeli television.

Alexandra (Sasha) Lewis-Reisen
Supervising Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law Unit, LegalHealth

Sasha is a supervising attorney for the Matrimonial and Family Law Unit and LegalHealth. Sasha represents domestic-violence survivors in divorce, custody, orders of protection, and support cases, at both trial and appellate levels. Prior to joining NYLAG, Sasha was a litigation associate and counsel at O’Melveny & Myers, which is where she started her relationship with NYLAG, working on pro bono family law appeals. Now, part of her work at NYLAG is mentoring its pro bono partners in their trial and appellate representation of domestic-violence survivors. Sasha graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude.

Sylvia Miller
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Sylvia staffs NYLAG’s legal clinics at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and Coler Specialty Hospital & Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island. Prior to joining NYLAG, Sylvia was a Judicial Law Clerk at the New York Immigration Court through the Department of Justice Honors Program. As a law student she represented asylum seekers and victims of forced labor and human trafficking and received her J.D. from George Washington Law School. She graduated magna cum laude from Lewis and Clark College.

Megan K. O’Byrne
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Megan is a Staff Attorney in LegalHealth. She staffs NYLAG’s legal clinics at the Bronx VA Medical Center and the Manhattan VA Medical Center. Prior to joining NYLAG in 2014, Megan was a staff attorney with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley where her practice focused on housing and government benefits. Megan was previously employed as an associate at Bracewell & Giuliani in their litigation department.  She is licensed to practice in New York and California. Megan received her B.A. from Hunter College and graduated magna cum laude from Washington College of Law at American University.

Nina Pejoves
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Nina is in charge of the legal clinics at Montefiore Medical Center. Ms. Pejoves is a graduate from Boston College, where she interned with Senator John F. Kerry’s office and was involved with HIV/AIDS activism. She received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School, where she worked on employment discrimination issues as a legal intern with both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Legal Action Center. Ms. Pejoves was awarded the Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest Fellowship and the Edward V. Sparer Fellowship based on her commitment to public interest law.

Regina Rivera
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Regina runs the legal clinics at Kings County Hospital and Elmhurst.  Before joining LegalHealth in 2012, Regina volunteered with the Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino and clerked with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.  She graduated from California State University, San Bernardino and received her law degree from Chapman University School of Law, where she was a Dean’s Merit Scholar, Shropshire Group Scholar, and Chapman Law Public Interest Scholar.

Norma Tinubu
Supervising Attorney, LegalHealth

Norma runs the legal clinics at Elmhurst Hospitals and supervises immigration cases arising from LegalHealth’s various clinics. She joined LegalHealth from the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, where she specialized in immigration law and estate planning. Previously, she worked in investment law at TIAA-CREF. Norma is a graduate of Pace University and received her JD from Touro Law School.

Pamela van der Meulen
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Pamela, a staff attorney with LegalHealth, runs a full-time legal clinic at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, where she helps adolescents with a wide variety of legal problems. The Adolescent Health Center provides free medical care to children and young adults ages 10 – 24. In 2010 Pamela received the New York Regional Chapter award of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), for her outstanding contributions in this area. Prior to joining NYLAG and the Adolescent Health Center, Pamela practiced commercial real estate law in New York City for almost twenty years. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received her JD from Hofstra University School of Law, where she was Notes & Comments Editor of the Law Review.

Kimberly Warner
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Kimberly staffs the legal clinics at the Northport VA Medical Center. Kimberly graduated from Syracuse University, College of Law, and earned her B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from Loyola Marymount University. During law school, she sat on the executive board of Moot Court Honor Society, interned at the District Attorney’s Office, and was a Student Attorney with the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic where she represented low-income clients in child support, divorce and custody proceedings.

Debra J. Wolf
Supervising Attorney, LegalHealth

Debra supervises LegalHealth’s Cancer Advocacy Project and runs the legal clinics for cancer patients at Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention and the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center. Before joining LegalHealth in October 2005, she was in private practice, specializing in discrimination based on disability and private disability insurance coverage disputes. Debra previously served as Assistant Director of Legal Services and Advocacy for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. She is an adjunct law professor at Fordham University School of Law. Debra graduated from Westfield College and received her JD from Washington University School of Law

Kate Wurmfeld
Supervising Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law, LegalHealth

Kate is a supervising attorney for the Matrimonial and Family Law and Legal Health Units at NYLAG. She is responsible for providing legal services and direct representation for victims of domestic violence in divorce, custody, orders of protection, support and immigration matters, as well as for providing consultations for attorneys and clients in the Legal Health Unit on all family law matters. In addition to providing direct legal services, Kate also supervises junior attorneys and law student interns and serves as a co-chair for the Lawyers Committee Against Domestic Violence.  Prior to attending law school, Kate was a volunteer at NYLAG and then returned as an intern in the Domestic Violence Clinical Center, further solidifying her commitment to public interest law and to NYLAG’s mission. Kate graduated from Seton Hall Law School in 2005 and worked for Proskauer Rose before returning to NYLAG in 2008 in her current capacity.

Sheila Zablow
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Sheila runs the legal clinics at Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital.  She previously worked as an associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in the investment management group.  Sheila graduated Phi Beta Kappa (junior year induction) from Brown University with a degree in East Asian Studies.   She received her JD from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and was a visiting student at Harvard Law School.

Anna Chan
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Anna is a paralegal case handler for the Disability Appeals Project, assisting clients with SSD/SSI appeals. Prior to LegalHealth, she worked in administration for MSKCC. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Religious Studies and Spanish.

Leslee Dean
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Leslee works as a paralegal in LegalHealth. Before coming to LegalHealth, she worked as a legal assistant at Catholic Charities New Orleans and with the oral history project StoryCorps. She graduated from Furman University with a double major in Spanish and Political Science, and from Tulane University with a Master’s in Latin American Studies.

Elizabeth Esser-Stuart
Special Projects Coordinator, LegalHealth

Elizabeth works as the Special Projects Coordinator in LegalHealth. Prior to joining LegalHealth, Elizabeth was the Annual Campaign Manager at the Union for Reform Judaism. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in Philosophy and Political Science.

Katie Ferraro
Data & Administrative Coordinator, LegalHealth

Katie works as the Data and Administrative Coordinator for LegalHealth. Prior to joining LegalHealth, Katie taught English on a Fulbright Fellowship in Hamburg, Germany. She graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in Philosophy and German, and from Columbia University with a Masters in Public Health.

Jonathan Florez
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Jonathan is a paralegal and case handler for NYLAG’s LegalHealth Unit who works on housing, public benefits, and immigration issues. Prior to joining NYLAG, Jonathan worked as a mediator for the New York State Office of the Attorney General (Economic Justice Division) helping to resolve disputes among businesses and consumers, landlords and tenants, and creditors and debtors. He studied at The City College of New York (CUNY), where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in the fall of 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science. During his time at The City College, Jonathan was also one of the few scholars admitted into the Skadden, Harps Honors Program in Legal Studies.

P. Keegan Henry
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Keegan is a paralegal with LegalHealth, where he assists in staffing our legal clinics at the Bronx VA Medical Center and the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. Before joining LegalHealth, Keegan spent 3 years in the United States Air Force as a quality control specialist. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.

Annika Jakes
Research Assistant, LegalHealth

Annika is a research assistant. She coordinates the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation study at the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System and James J. Peters VA Medical Center. Before joining LegalHealth, she was a research extern at the Family Translational Research Group. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a double major in Psychology and Photography.

Jose Luis Montelongo
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Jose is a paralegal case handler for the SSI/SSD Application Assistance Project. Prior to joining LegalHealth, he worked in admissions for the Fu Foundation School of Engineering. He graduated from Columbia University with a double major in Astronomy and Philosophy.

Jason Reis
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Jason is a paralegal in LegalHealth specializing in immigration law. He has prior experience in private law offices and interned with the nonprofit Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services. He graduated from University of Connecticut with a double major in Political Science and Spanish.