Laura Davis
Director, Special Education, Holocaust Compensation

Laura joined the NYLAG staff in 1999 as a Supervising Attorney after working for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and the Center for Constitutional Rights. She currently serves as Director for NYLAG’s Holocaust Compensation Assistance Project, which provides free legal assistance to Holocaust survivors in the areas of compensation and restitution. In addition, Laura is the Director of the Special Education Unit, which advocates on behalf of low-income families on a variety of education issues.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Laura was a social worker for nearly 20 years, spending the last eight years evaluating children for developmental disabilities at the Rose F. Kennedy Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Steven Alizio
Law Fellow, Special Education

Steve is a Law Fellow in NYLAG’s Special Education Unit (SEU).  He advocates for students with disabilities to ensure that they receive appropriate educational services and placements.  Steve earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was the Executive Development Editor of the Michigan Law Review, Vice President of the Education Law and Policy Society, and Event Coordinator for Legal Advocates for Children and Youth.  Steve spent his final semester of law school at Columbia University, and served as a student educational consultant for Columbia’s Center for Public Research and Leadership.  Prior to law school, Steve was a high school mathematics teacher in New York for seven years.  He received his M.S.Ed. from Hofstra University, and studied philosophy and politics at The George Washington University and Pembroke College, Oxford University.

Phyllis Brochstein
Senior Staff Attorney, Special Education

Phyllis is senior staff attorney representing special needs children primarily to obtain appropriate educational placements and funding for non-public school placements. Before joining NYLAG, Phyllis worked in the tax department of a large, NY-based law firm, and as an international tax attorney with Mobil Oil Corporation and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. She graduated from Vassar College, Fordham University School of Law and has a LL.M degree from New York University School of Law.

Ya-wen Chang
Staff Attorney, Special Education

Ya-wen is a Staff Attorney in NYLAG’s Special Education Unit, where she provides advice and representation for families of students with disabilities. Ya-wen is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum, and was a paralegal and educational advocate at NYLAG prior to law school.  She has interned at Children’s Rights, DC’s Children’s Law Center, and First Star, working on a variety of foster care and special education-related issues.  In law school, she represented clients in the Disability Rights Law Clinic.  Ya-wen has a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, and a B.A. from Williams College in psychology and art.

Joel Mandelbaum
Staff Attorney, Special Education

Joel advocates for appropriate placement and services for children with special needs. Such advocacy may involve negotiations with school officials and staff, including principals, psychologists, and teachers; attendance at meetings where students’ annual programs are developed; and administrative hearings and appeals. Joel has practiced law for thirty-four years. Before joining NYLAG, he worked on a broad range of real estate matters, including project financing for community groups and other not-for-profit organizations. He also was a part-time administrative law judge for a city agency that adjudicated violations of building, fire, and other laws. He attended Columbia College, has a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law, where he was a notes and comments editor of the law review. Before going to law school, he was a freelance newspaper reporter for The New York Times (Sunday Real Estate Section), The Village Voice, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Sandra Robinson
Staff Attorney, Special Education

Ashley Sizemore
Staff Attorney, Special Education

Ashley Sizemore is a staff attorney in NYLAG’s Special Education Unit (SEU).  Ashley advocates for students with disabilities attending New York City public and charter schools to ensure that all students receive a free appropriate public education.  Her practice includes representing students and parents during IEP meetings, special education hearings, and school discipline proceedings.  Ashley graduated from the University of Michigan Law School where she served as Managing Editor of the Michigan Journal of Law Reform and as a Student Attorney for the Michigan Law Legislation Clinic.  Prior to law school, Ashley taught third grade in inner city Detroit as a Teach For America corps member.  Ashley earned her Master’s in Education with a concentration in Urban Pedagogy from the University of Michigan Graduate School of Education, and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles.