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.
Musawir Chaudhry – Intern
Musawir, a Massachusetts native, started at MLAC in 2017. Currently a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in legal studies and journalism. Musawir provides assistance to MLAC’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the ongoing mission to seek racial and gender equality in the legal field.
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.
Michael Raabe – Director of Data and Policy Analysis
Michael Raabe, Esq. joined MLAC in January 2017 after 30 years at Neighborhood Legal Services, Merrimack Valley Legal Services and Northeast Legal Aid, where he practiced law and served in a variety of top management positions. Michael is noted for his work studying demand for legal aid along with measuring outcomes and impact. He earned his JD from the New England School of Law in Boston and is admitted to practice in Massachusetts. Michael lives in Gloucester with his wife, Patricia Levesh.
Catherine Rizos – Director of Communications
Catherine joined MLAC in August 2014. As Director of Communications, she leads 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.
Jacqueline Sullivan – Technology Support Analyst
Jacqueline rejoined MLAC in March 2018, having previously worked at South Coastal Counties Legal Services and MLAC. Jacqueline has over 20 years experience working in the legal services industry. In her role as Technology Support Analyst, Jacqueline supports users of the central technology platform. She provides end-user support of the case management system, Microsoft Office applications, and the VoIP telephone system. She also writes many of the reports used for funding reporting purposes. Jacqueline works closely with the Director of Information Technology and the Support and Training Specialist to design and implement effective technology solutions that meet the requirements of the statewide technology goals, satisfy the needs of the local program(s) and users, and improve the ability to provide services to low-income clients.
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.
Tonysha Taylor – Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Tonysha has spent the last decade leading diversity, equity and inclusion work in the field of education and is excited to extend her commitment to race equity work within the legal services community. Tonysha in a native New Englander who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Barnard College and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She enjoys cooking, traveling and mentoring young people.