Lynne Parker – Executive Director
Lynne Parker joined MLAC as executive director in September 2018. Lynne has more than three decades of experience advocating on behalf of low-income residents, most recently as executive director of New Hampshire Legal Assistance. A Massachusetts native, Parker holds a BA in political science from Mount Holyoke College, and a JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law. As a law student, she interned at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, and later worked at Southeastern Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (now South Coastal Counties Legal Services)—both of which are MLAC-funded organizations.
She began her legal aid career representing migrant farmworkers as an attorney at Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Bangor, Maine, and has also worked as a housing advocate. During her tenure at New Hampshire Legal Assistance, Parker served as a staff attorney and later deputy director before becoming executive director in 2014. Throughout her career, Parker has promoted staff diversity and linguistic competence, advocated for the rights of people with limited English proficiency, and conducted outreach to underserved communities.
A civil justice crisis is coming – Much greater funding for legal aid is needed – By Lynne Parker and Susan Finegan
Tenzin Bayul – Executive Support and Organizational Development Manager
Tenzin joined MLAC in July 2018 as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director and the Deputy Director. Prior to MLAC, she worked at Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island as the Office and Finance Coordinator. Tenzin has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. She lives in Somerville.
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.
Grace Coughlin – Legislative Campaign Associate
Grace joined MLAC in November 2018 as the Legislative Campaign Associate. Grace has a Master’s in Social Work from Boston College, where she focused on community organizing and public policy. Through her graduate fieldwork Grace interned in a variety of settings—including community health centers and government affairs consulting.
Michelle Deakin – Director of Communications
Michelle Deakin joined MLAC as Director of Communications in December 2018. She has spent her career in communications as a journalist, author, and strategic communicator. Prior to joining MLAC, she was managing director of media relations and public information at Harvard Law School.
She has written extensively about legal issues as a writer and editor for the Lawyers Weekly publications, and she has written about many social justice issues as an editor for UU World magazine. For more than a decade, Michelle was a freelance writer and communications consultant, and she is the author of two books about same-sex marriage and social action. A graduate of Williams College, she lives with her family in Arlington, Mass.
Carolyn Goodwin – Director, Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission
Carolyn Goodwin joined MLAC in August 2019 as the Director of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission. First established by the Supreme Judicial Court in 2005, the Commission seeks to improve access to justice for people who are unable to afford an attorney for essential civil legal needs, such as cases involving housing, consumer debt, and family law. Carolyn most recently served as the Director of Public Service and Pro Bono at Boston University School of Law, after practicing law in New York City for several years. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. In Boston, Carolyn has served on the pro bono panel of the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project, as a co-chair on the Amicus Committee of the Women’s Bar Association, and is the incoming co-chair for the Boston Bar Association Delivery of Legal Services Committee.
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.
Marlena Idrobo – Communications Associate
Marlena Idrobo joined MLAC as Communications Associate in November 2021. Prior to MLAC, she worked in Harvard University’s Alumni Affairs and Development office on the donor relations team, which creates reports for donors on the impact of their funds. Previously, she served as development and marketing assistant at a Boston-based arts education nonprofit. Marlena graduated from Wellesley College, where she majored in Latin American studies and minored in art history. She earned a graduate certificate in Marketing Management & Digital Strategy from the Harvard Extension School in 2020, and is looking forward to continuing her communications career at MLAC. Marlena lives in Somerville and volunteers with a local mutual aid group.
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.
Azim Mazagonwalla – Chief Financial Officer
Azim Mazagonwalla joined MLAC as Chief Financial Officer in October 2019. Previously, he served in senior financial positions with Willows International, a not-for-profit organization providing maternal health services to more than 325,000 women in Ghana, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Turkey, and with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay. He holds an MS in Accounting, an MBA in International Business and Total Quality Management from the University of Rhode Island, an MA in Social Work, and a BA in Corporate Secretaryship from Madras University in India.
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.
Martha Rogers – Data Associate
Martha joined MLAC in the fall of 2017. She assists MLAC’s Director of Data and Policy Analysis collect, evaluate, and present data about civil legal aid organizations in Massachusetts and the populations they serve.
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 – Director of Program Monitoring and Evaluation
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.
Legal aid is there for people like me.