Laura Booth – Director, Equal Justice Coalition
Laura joined the Equal Justice Coalition, a collaboration between MLAC, Boston Bar Association and Massachusetts Bar Association, as Director in September 2016. Laura has a long career in social services and advocacy for low-income populations, having worked at the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee, the office of former State Senator Anthony Galluccio, Women’s Lunch Place, and Heading Home, Inc. Laura has also participated in a variety of progressive organizing initiatives at community, regional and national levels including the establishment of women’s international peace camps, protesting strip mining, advocating for incarcerated individuals and their families, securing rights for immigrants and promoting LGBTQ rights, among others. Laura completed post-graduate studies in the Women in Politics and Public Policy Program at the University of Massachusetts and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Catherine Brady – Bookkeeper
Catherine joined MLAC as its bookkeeper in late 2015. Catherine has been involved in finance and administration in the Boston area since pre-computer days, but after the abacus was in general use. During the mid-80s to mid-90s she was engaged in national social change campaigns as a grassroots organizer and fundraiser. Since 2008 she has worked as a part-time contract bookkeeper for several non-profit groups. Catherine and her life partner live in Cambridge, and have a college-age daughter.
Dennis Fleury – IT Support Specialist
Dennis joined MLAC’s information technology team in January 2017 and assists in efforts to maintain and improve technology for legal services programs statewide. A graduate of Wentworth Institute of Technology, Dennis brings more than 20 years of experience in System Administration, Network Engineering and IT Application Support, and has a long history of working with legal professionals. Prior to joining MLAC, Dennis worked at Fish & Richardson and, more recently, assisted Goodwin Procter with its relocation efforts to the Seaport District. He also has experience in the health care and financial services industries.
Rachel Glanz – Legislative Campaign Assistant; Executive Assistant
Rachel joined MLAC in June 2016. A Massachusetts native, she earned a degree in Political Science from Duke University. As the Executive Assistant to MLAC and the Legislative Campaign Assistant to the Equal Justice Coalition, Rachel supports both the Executive Director of MLAC and the Director of the EJC in planning and implementing the legislative campaign, drafting general and legislative correspondence, organizing legislative committee meetings, and maintaining the program database.
Janne Hellgren – Deputy Director
Janne has worked in legal services programs in Massachusetts since 1987 as an attorney and as an administrator.
Danielle Hines-Graham – Operations Manager
Dani joined MLAC in August 1999 as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director and Secretary to the MLAC Board of Directors. In July 2004, she became Operations Manager while continuing to serve as Board Secretary. Dani ensures all office functions are running smoothly. She also is responsible for the board mailings, meetings logistics and meetings. Previously, Dani worked for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, first with Rep. Shirley Owens-Hicks and later with Rep. Harold Lane. She attended Alabama State University. A Dorchester native, Dani lives with her husband, two daughters and grandson.
Tobey Johnson – Director of Information Technology
Tobey joined MLAC in 2013. Tobey is responsible for managing IT operations for the Central Technology Systems, providing centralized computing infrastructure and applications to legal services organizations with more than 500 users across the state of Massachusetts. Tobey oversees the development, implementation and use of technology in more than 20 offices, leading efforts to improve the effective deployment and use of technology statewide. Tobey also serves as the Chair of the Management of Technology Committee. Prior to joining MLAC, Tobey worked in similar roles in financial services and healthcare, architecting and implementing solutions that leverage the use of technology to improve financial and operational efficiency.
Freddy Matute – Fiscal Manager
Freddy Matute joined MLAC as Bookkeeper in November 2003. After more of 10 years supporting the Fiscal Director by maintaining accurate and timely financial records, processing accounts payable and payroll, providing support to Loan Forgiveness Program Administrators, and more, Freddy became Fiscal Manager in 2014. He directs all aspects of fiscal policy, financial management and planning for MLAC; oversees automated information systems for fiscal administration; coordinates human resources functions; and provides technical assistance to recipient program Fiscal Directors in the area of financial management and associated information systems.
Freddy also works part-time at Centro Presente, a non-profits organization that advocates for the rights of the Latin American Immigrant Community of Massachusetts. He has completed college courses in Business Administration and is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Evan Molinari – Communications and Legislative Campaign Assistant
Evan joined MLAC in November of 2016 as Communications and Legislative Campaign Assistant. He assists with social media, digital and print communications, and helps implement the legislative campaign. He earned a degree in History, with a focus on civil rights, from Bates College, and interned for U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine. He lives in Somerville.
Lonnie A. Powers – Executive Director
Lonnie A. Powers has served as Executive Director of MLAC since it was established in 1983. He has more than 41 years of policy and legal experience at the state and national levels, having devoted the majority of his career to establishing, building, sustaining and revitalizing legal aid organizations. In his role as Executive Director, Lonnie’s primary responsibilities include increasing funding for civil legal aid; enhancing partnerships with the bar, the legislature, the judiciary, and the public; and strengthening legal aid programs across the Commonwealth. He serves on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Committee on Pro Bono and is active in the American, Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations. He directed the Massachusetts Legal Needs Survey (2003). Lonnie began his legal career in his native Arkansas, first with the Attorney General’s Office and later with Legal Services of Arkansas, where he served as Executive Director. He earned his JD from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and is admitted to practice in Arkansas, Missouri and Massachusetts. He lives in Newton with his wife, Nancy Israel, and daughters Amanda and Jessica.
Catherine Rizos – Communications Manager
Catherine joined MLAC in August 2014. As Communications Manager, she directs MLAC’s communications and media outreach, works with the legislative campaign for civil legal aid coordinated by the Equal Justice Coalition, and provides communications support to MLAC-funded programs. She also manages MLAC’s website, social media channels, and print and electronic publications. Catherine holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington.
Patricia Shaughnessy – Support and Training Specialist
Tricia joined MLAC as the Support & Training Specialist in April 2009. Her main responsibilities are user support and training as well as overseeing the Help Desk for MLAC and MLAC-funded legal aid programs. Prior to MLAC Tricia worked at the Boston law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Donna Southwell – Director of Policy Analysis
Donna joined MLAC in 1995 and served as Communications Director until 2006, when she became Director of Policy Analysis. In this role, Donna is responsible for overseeing all MLAC research and data analysis, with a particular focus on demonstrating the economic benefit of legal assistance to low-income people and to the Commonwealth. She also provides oversight to the Domestic Violence Legal Assistance Project, the Disability Benefits Project and the Medicare Advocacy Project. Donna received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from The George Washington University. Her varied career path includes stints as: a computer programmer for the U.S. General Accounting Office in the days of punch cards; a dress designer/shop owner; a machinist at General Electric; a machine shop teacher at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School; and a writer and editor of the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition’s publication State House Watch.
Patricia Swansey – Program Director
Pat joined MLAC in 1996 as Program Director. In this role, she oversees the peer-review monitoring process of MLAC’s grantees, to assure their compliance with MLAC’s performance standards. She also supports the activities of client-eligible board members. Pat received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Grinnell College, studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and received a master’s degree in management from Brandeis University. Her career path includes service in Massachusetts’ state government as Legislative Aide for the Legislative Black Caucus, Deputy Director for the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, Program Officer for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Program Officer for the Urban Initiative Fund at the Massachusetts Community Development Finance Corporation.