Management and Administration

Christopher M. Oldi

Executive Director

Gavin Bates

Deputy Director

­­Tom Kelley

Chief Financial Officer

Thomas Conley III

Bookkeeper

Jamie Gau

Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Coordinator

Victoria Gautney

Grants Manager

Ericka Lezcano

Supervising Attorney - Consumer Unit

Jeanne Marcotte

Assistant to the Executive Director

Clare McGorrian

Intake Supervising Attorney

Robert Mount

Managing Attorney

Jeannine Schoos

Supervising Attorney - Housing Unit

Lissl Thelin

Human Resources Administrator

Ruthie Withers

Supervising Attorney - Family Law Unit

Raymond Yox

Managing Attorney

Christopher M. Oldi

Executive Director

Christopher has been South Coastal Counties Executive Director since March 1, 2023.  Chris hails from Westchester County, NY and comes to SCCLS with a background in civil legal services, starting his public interest career with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) in 2014.  Chris served as LSHV’s Pro Bono Director immediately prior to joining in SCCLS. Chris previously practiced law with firms in New York City and White Plains, NY prior to joining LSHV. While an attorney at LSHV, Chris represented clients with disabilities, including HIV/AIDS, and he led the creation of the LGBTQ Legal Project, representing low-income LGBTQ individuals in areas such as job discrimination, housing, government benefits, and family law. Later in his time at LSHV, Chris was also a supervising attorney in their Yonkers office, assisting survivors of domestic violence, individuals with mental health challenges, and people with disabilities.

Chris is a graduate of Vassar College, with honors, and earned his JD degree from the City University of New York School of Law.  Because of Christopher’s LGBTQ+ advocacy and community work in Westchester County, two “Christopher Oldi” days have been named in his honor – June 22, 2016 and September 28, 2017.

Gavin Bates

Deputy Director

Gavin Bates is the South Coastal Counties Deputy Director.  He was a Managing Attorney prior to that, starting with the organization in 2014. His practice focused mostly on direct representation for individuals facing potential eviction and struggling to access public benefits, although he now handles a variety of other sorts of work. He worked in other legal fields prior to his time at SCCLS, including public defense, family law, immigration, and advocacy for juveniles in both school and court settings. Prior to his legal career, he earned his B.A. and then his master’s in public administration (both from Clark University) and worked for both local governments, nonprofit organizations, and the Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Health and Human Services. He is an enthusiastic advocate for those in need as well as an active community partner with other anti-poverty groups in and around SCCLS’ New Bedford Office

­­Tom Kelley

Chief Financial Officer

­­Tom Kelley is the Chief Financial Officer for South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SSCLS). His responsibilities include the oversight of the monthly financial closing, annual budget and forecasting, financial reporting to the Executive Director, Audit & Finance Committee, and Board of Directors, and oversight of annual audit, tax, and compliance requirements. Prior to SCCLS, Tom has worked in various industries including banking and health care. He is a licensed CPA in Massachusetts and holds a BS and an MS in Finance both from Boston College.

Thomas Conley III

Bookkeeper

Tom Conley is the Bookkeeper for South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SSCLS). His responsibilities include reconciling bank statements and verifying the cash receipts journal, maintaining the asset inventory system, vouches, verifying, reconciling and processing accounts payable, assisting with processing cash disbursements and vendor file maintenance, assisting with payroll processing, assisting with all support activity required for annual audits, and acting as recording secretary taking and producing minutes for SCCLS Board of Directors Meetings. He holds a BS from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Jamie Gau

Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Coordinator

Jamie Gau joined SCCLS as the Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Coordinator in April of 2023.  In this position, she manages the pro bono and volunteer projects, engages the local legal community, and helps to bridge the justice gap by increasing SCCLS’ service capacity through pro bono and reduced fee cases.  Jamie is a native New Yorker and graduate of Roger Williams University School of Law, where she participated in the Association for Public Interest Law, Public Interest Clinics, and worked with the Rhode Island Public Defender and Federal Defenders. Prior to joining SCCLS, she practiced in criminal defense law, navigating clients through all stages of the litigation process in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Most recently, Jamie strengthened her community connections through representation of clients in the field of residential and commercial real estate.  Jamie understands just how essential private attorney involvement is to extending SCCLS’ ability to meet the demand for our services and ensure our clients get the legal assistance they need.

 

Victoria Gautney

Grants Manager

Victoria Gautney is the Grants Manager at South Coastal Counties Legal Services. She was the Private Attorney Involvement Coordinator at South Coastal for five years before moving into this role. Prior to joining SCCLS, Victoria served three years as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Private Bar Involvement program at MetroWest Legal Services and in the CORI Project at Greater Boston Legal Services. She is from Texas and received her BA in Psychology and JD from the University of Alabama.

 

Ericka Lezcano

Supervising Attorney - Consumer Unit

Ericka is the supervising consumer attorney at SCCLS. Sowing the seeds of the consumer unit, her practice currently involves advising and representing clients in a variety of consumer matters including debt collection, bankruptcy, and credit reporting. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina – Beaufort and Roger Williams School of Law. She is barred in Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire. She is a native of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Jeanne Marcotte

Assistant to the Executive Director

Jeanne Marcotte is the Assistant to the Executive Director of South Coastal Counties Legal Services. She has served in this role for more than thirty years, providing vital support and continuity to the organization in the areas of Human Resources, Grants Management, Payroll, Purchasing and Property Management. Jeanne also works closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors on all Board related matters. Prior to joining SCCLS, Jeanne worked as Business Manager for an Employment Agency and Personnel Manager for a Textile Company.

Clare McGorrian

Intake Supervising Attorney

Clare McGorrian is Intake Supervising Attorney for South Coastal Counties Legal Services. In this role, she works with SCCLS leadership and staff to ensure access to civil legal services for low-income residents of Southeastern Massachusetts. Clare develops systems for intake, advice and referral, trains and supervises intake staff, and oversees provision of intake-related services throughout SCCLS. Clare joined SCCLS in September 2018, as the first hire in the newly created Intake Supervising Attorney position.

Prior to joining SCCLS Clare was a Senior Staff Attorney with the non-profit Health Law Advocates, where she represented individual clients, participated in impact litigation, and advocated for policy change. Clare also spent several years running a solo practice focused on health and disability benefit matters. Clare has a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.A. from Harvard College.

Robert Mount

Managing Attorney

Rob Mount has been the Managing Attorney of the Fall River Law Office of South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SCCLS) since December 2020. In this position, he oversees and ensures the provision of high-quality legal services to clients in the greater Fall River, Taunton, and Attleboro areas. To provide excellent legal advocacy to the community, he works collaboratively with other managing Attorneys in SCCLS and engages with the organization’s leadership team to develop and manage strategic initiatives and coordinate impact work. Attorney Mount directly supervises advocacy and support staff and works in conjunction with SCCLS senior management for the betterment of the organization. Previously he worked as a staff Attorney in the New Bedford Law Office of SCCLS, a legal advocate for Citizens Disability, and a Staff Attorney at the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Jeannine Schoos

Supervising Attorney - Housing Unit

Jeannine Schoos is the Supervising Attorney for the Housing Unit at the Fall River office. In her practice, Jeannine represents survivors of crimes and other harms, specializing in domestic violence and sexual assault. She practices a variety of civil legal matters including housing, safety, privacy, and education. Prior to joining SCCLS, Jeannine was a Staff Attorney at the Victim Rights Law Center (VRLC) and worked exclusively with survivors of sexual assault. Before joining the VRLC, Jeannine served as an AmeriCorps Attorney at SCCLS in the housing unit. Jeannine is a member of the Greater Fall River Domestic Violence Coalition. Jeannine is a graduate of New York University, and the City University of New York School of Law. She is barred in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Lissl Thelin

Human Resources Administrator

Lissl Thelin is a Human Resources Administrator with the Fall River Administration Office of South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SCCLS). She joined SCCLS in December 2020 and her role includes job postings, new hire on boarding, PFML and all other leave management, fiscal reporting, grant reporting, employee and workplace benefits & welfare and event planning.

Ruthie Withers

Supervising Attorney - Family Law Unit

Ruthie Withers is the Supervising Attorney of the Family Law Unit at South Coastal County Legal Services.  In her role, Ruthie supervises the advocates and attorneys handling domestic relations cases, including divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, and restraining orders.   She also handles a limited number of direct representation cases, advocating for clients in various Probate and Family Courts across the Southeast Region of Massachusetts. Ruthie is passionate about access to justice and providing quality legal representation for low-income individuals, as well victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Ruthie is a 2005 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA, and a 2000 graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she majored in Spanish Language and Literature.

 

Raymond Yox

Managing Attorney

Raymond Yox is the Managing Attorney of South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc.’s (SCCLS) Hyannis, MA Law Office.  Previously, he was the Executive Director of Legal Services for Cape Cod & Islands from 1997 until it merged into SCCLS in 2006. Prior to that, he began his legal career in New York State as a staff Attorney with Chautauqua County Legal Services, Inc. from 1983 until 1989 and as Executive Director of that organization from 1989 to 1997. He is a graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law. He currently holds the faculty position of adjunct professor at UMass Dartmouth School of Law, supervising the Mashpee Wampanoag Legal Services Clinic.

Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts

A subsidiary of South Coastal Counties Legal Services

Brian O’Connor

Program Manager, Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts

Emily Leung

Director of Immigration Advocacy

Laura Camara

Directing Attorney of Housing Advocacy

Ashley F Straker

Supervising Attorney - Education Unit

Marin Tollefson-Almeida

Immigration Unit Supervising Attorney

Brian O’Connor

Program Manager, Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts

Brian is a graduate of the University of Connecticut (B.A) and the University of New Hampshire, School of Law(JD).  Brian joined South Coastal Counties Legal Services in 2005 as a staff attorney after a 20 year career as a Criminal Defense Attorney. In 2011 Brian became the Program Manager of the Justice Center.  He has assisted thousands of families in housing and benefits cases, and supervised the provision of legal services by dozens of attorneys. Brian is also involved in many local, state-wide and federal campaigns aiming to promote access to justice for  all members of our community.

Emily Leung

Director of Immigration Advocacy

Emily Leung is the Director of Immigration Advocacy at the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts. In this role, she oversees a robust team of immigration advocates who engage in direct representation, community education, and impact advocacy affecting immigrant populations. Previously she worked as a staff Attorney at Massachusetts Law Reform Institute focusing on immigration policy and advocacy and was the Albert M. Sacks Clinical & Advocacy Fellow at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. She has worked at numerous boutique firms and non-profit organizations focused on asylum law, family-based petitions, removal defense, and other humanitarian-based relief. Emily received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law and her M.A. in International Relations, also from Boston University.

Laura Camara

Directing Attorney of Housing Advocacy

Laura F. Camara is the Directing Attorney of Housing Advocacy at the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts. She is a proud AmeriCorps alumnus having served two years with the program from 2011-2013 as an Attorney with South Coastal Counties Legal Services; she has continued to serve as a supervisor for new members entering the program. Attorney Camara previously practiced in the areas of family and elder law but now specializes in housing and benefit matters, particularly in the areas of public and subsidized housing and housing protections for survivors of domestic violence. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Brockton DTA Advisory Board, sits on the Access to Justice Commission Housing Working Group, is a member of the Plymouth County Bar Association, and is an active participant in the Tenancy Preservation Program’s Steering Committee. Attorney Camara received her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo with concentrations in Finance and Affordable Housing and Community Development and is admitted to both the Massachusetts and New York bars.

 

Ashley F Straker

Supervising Attorney - Education Unit

Ashley F Straker is the Supervising Attorney of the Education Unit at the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts. Attorney Francisque represents students and their families in various school related issues, including school discipline and special education matters. In 2015, she served as the Bart Gordon Fellow for two years working in partnership with the Center for Law and Education on a project focused on systemically addressing school policies that negatively impacted students who attended Brockton, New Bedford and Fall River school districts. She received her B.A. degree in Political Science at Boston College and received her J.D. degree from Suffolk University Law School.

 

Marin Tollefson-Almeida

Immigration Unit Supervising Attorney

Marin Tollefson Almeida is is the Immigration Unit Supervising Attorney Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts. She works with clients in all types of immigration matters, with a focus on humanitarian relief, including asylum, special immigrant juvenile petitions, and relief for survivors of violence and trafficking. Marin has a particular interest in the intersection of criminal and immigration law and has engaged in federal litigation on detainee rights. Marin speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and Cape Verdean Creole. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sao Nicolau, Cape Verde, and in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. Before coming to the Justice Center, Marin worked as a law clerk for the Federal District Court of Minnesota. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis.

 

AmeriCorps

Anne M. Silver

Program Director, AmeriCorps Legal Advocacy of Massachusetts

Anne M. Silver

Program Director, AmeriCorps Legal Advocacy of Massachusetts

Anne M. Silver is the AmeriCorps Legal Advocacy of Massachusetts Program Director.  Anne joined South Coastal Counties Legal Services after five years with Boston CASA, a non-profit organization that recruits and trains community volunteers to serve as best interest advocates for children involved with the juvenile court in Suffolk and Middlesex Counties, most often through involvement with the MA Department of Children and Families.  Anne began work with Boston CASA supervising volunteers who directly supported children throughout the court process, but finished her time with Boston CASA  as Program and Interim Executive Director.  Prior to entering the non-profit world, Anne spent the bulk of her career serving in a variety of legal and compliance roles in the financial services industry.  Anne graduated from Boston College with a degree in English and earned her JD from NYU School of Law.

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