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 taught a health law class at Fordham Law School during 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.

Christian Abbott
Paralegal, LegalHealth

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.

Beth Breslin
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Beth staffs the LegalHealth clinic at CancerCare, a national cancer support organization.  Additionally, Beth works to further LegalHealth’s goals by engaging in healthcare and Medicaid reform efforts, with a current focus on navigating the intricacies of the NY State Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program.  Prior to joining NYLAG, she practiced civil litigation, representing clients in a variety of fields, including complex pharmaceutical litigation, criminal defense, sports law, and employment discrimination matters.  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.

Melissa A. Cartine
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Regina Chessari
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Regina runs the legal clinic at Kings County Hospital.  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.

Stephanie Graveron
Paralegal, LegalHealth

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.

Keith Hoffmann
Legal Fellow, LegalHealth

Keith is an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Latham & Watkins, with NYLAG’s LegalHealth division. Keith’s fellowship project is to help veterans obtain access to legal services and VA benefits through legal clinics at VA medical centers in the Bronx and Manhattan. 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.

Arielle James
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Samantha Kubek
Equal Justice Works Fellow, LegalHealth

Samantha is an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Greystone & Co., Inc. and Greenberg Traurig, LLP, in NYLAG’s LegalHealth Division. Samantha’s fellowship project will help female veterans access VA and social security benefits, obtain discharge upgrades, and address their family law problems through legal clinics in VA medical centers in the Bronx and Manhattan. During law school, she interned in NYLAG’s Family Law Unit and the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, as well as serving as a New York City Women’s Bar Fellow at Her Justice. Samantha received her J.D. from the New York University School of Law and earned her B.A. at Georgetown University.

Mara A Kuns
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Mara staffs the legal clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital. Before joining LegalHealth in 2016, Mara worked at the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project for 7 years, where she worked on disability rights and eviction prevention cases.  Mara graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School and  received her A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis. She also has an M.S. in mental health counseling from Nova Southeastern University.

Alexandra (Sasha) Lewis-Reisen
Senior Attorney, Matrimonial & Family Law, 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 the Victims Services Immigration Clinic at Bellevue Hospital and works on LegalHealth’s Immigrant Health Initiative, a partnership with New York City public hospitals that is funded by a grant from the New York City Council. She also staffed NYLAG’s legal clinics at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and Coler Specialty Hospital on Roosevelt Island. Prior to working at LegalHealth, Sylvia was a Judicial Law Clerk at the New York Immigration Court through the Department of Justice Honors Program. She received her J.D. from George Washington Law School, and as a law student she represented asylum seekers and victims of forced labor and human trafficking.

Lia Capri Minkoff
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Pedro Moreno
Senior Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Ira Needleman
Senior Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Ira staffs the legal clinic at Woodhull Hospital’s Geriatric Wellness Center.  Prior to joining LegalHealth, Ira represented clients including victims of domestic violence, children and youth, and persons afflicted with HIV and AIDS at several non-profits. Ira graduated from S.U.N.Y.   College at Old Westbury, and also has a M.A. in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  He received his JD from C.U.N.Y. School of Law.  In the Fall of 2013, Ira was featured in the school’s Public Square magazine with other law school alumni who were providing legal services to the HIV/AIDS community.

Katie Ocampo
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

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.

Josephine Pimentel
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Juan Rivera
Paralegal, LegalHealth

Ibrahima Thiam
Paralegal, LegalHealth

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.

David M Titus
Staff Attorney, LegalHealth

Jacqueline Wagner
Data Coordinator, LegalHealth

Jacqueline works as the Data Coordinator for LegalHealth. Before joining LegalHealth, Jacqueline researched violence and injury prevention at the World Health Organization in Copenhagen, Denmark and analyzed data for Grace Hill Settlement House in St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis with her BA in anthropology, later going on to earn her Master of Public Health from the university as well.

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.

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.