Bill Lienhard, Esq., Executive Director, graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and Boston College Law School. After clerking for Federal District Court Judge Paul J. Barbadoro, Bill was awarded a fellowship at the NLG/Sugar Law Center to represent the NAACP in NAACP v. Engler, for which he won the NAACP Flint chapter's Social Justice Award. He then spent two years as a staff attorney Queens Legal Services' Housing Unit before moving to the Urban Justice Center's Mental Health Project, where he was promoted Project Director in 2002. Over the next seven years, under Bill's leadership, the Mental Health Project more than doubled in size and litigated several class actions that brought millions of dollars in benefits and services to hundreds of thousands of low-income and homeless people with mental illness. In 2007, Bill was selected to serve as a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard Law School. Bill became VOLS' Executive Director in 2011.
Sara Effron, Associate Director, graduated from SUNY College at Purchase and has an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College. She has over twenty years experience working in legal/social work collaborations. She serves on the Pro Bono and Legal Services Committee of the New York City Bar Association. She has represented VOLS on the Law Help Consortium since its inception. She is a member of the New York State Coalition of Medical-Legal Partnerships. She previously worked as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the Community Council of Greater New York.
Dave Fillingame, Esq., Director, Unemployment Insurance Advocacy Project, graduated from the University of California at Davis in 2002. He worked on bonded labor issues for International Justice Mission in India before graduating from New York University School of Law in 2009. After law school, Dave worked as a legal fellow for the Benefits and Employment Law Unit at South Brooklyn Legal Services where he was named a Legal Services NYC 2010 Pro Bono Leader. He joined VOLS in February 2011.
Nelson Gutièrrez, Paralegal, Elderly Project, graduated cum laude from Long Island University where he majored in Music and minored in Communications, and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. He began his career in legal services as a Process Server/Investigator at Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. A, then became its Program-wide Librarian, and then became a paralegal, first in the Government Benefits Unit, then later in the Disability Advocacy Unit. In May of 2002 he became the paralegal of Volunteers of Legal Service’s Elderly Project. In 2011, Nelson was honored at the Riverstone Senior Center's annual gala and received a City Council Citation for exemplary service to the community. In addition to his career in legal services, Nelson is a professional trumpeter. He has performed and toured with many Latin artists, including Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Larry Harlow, Marc Anthony, Victor Manuelle, Jose Alberto, Johnny Rivera and Tito Nieves, for whom he served as Musical Director for almost 10 years.
Diane Lutwak, Director, Elderly Project was the Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn Office for the Aging (LAS-BOFTA) before joining VOLS. In addition to managing LAS-BOFTA’s team of five staff attorneys, two social workers, a paralegal, and volunteers for 17 years, in her almost 25-year career at the Legal Aid Society, Diane personally provided direct legal services to approximately 6,000 low-income, elderly Brooklyn residents facing a variety of urgent civil legal problems. Before becoming the Attorney-in-Charge of LAS-BOFTA, Diane completed a two-year clerkship for federal Magistrate Judge Sharon Grubin in the Southern District of New York, was a LAS-BOFTA Staff Attorney for five years and was a Housing Supervisor at Legal Aid’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Office. Diane has taught externship seminars at Fordham and Cardozo Law Schools, presented at conferences and trainings for advocates throughout the City, led City-wide advocacy efforts to monitor and improve the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (“SCRIE”) Program, and conducted outreach and public information sessions at senior centers and other venues in Brooklyn. She was a founding member and officer of the Brooklyn Tenant Lawyers Network, is a member of the advisory boards for the Vera Institute’s Guardianship Project and the Bill Payer Program at the Council for Senior Centers and Services and a 2001 recipient of the New York City Bar Association’s Legal Services Award. Diane received her B.A. and J.D. degrees from New York University.
Elizabeta Markuci, Esq., Director, Immigration Project, trains and mentors volunteer attorneys working on pro bono immigration cases in the Children’s Project. Liz also coordinates the Dream Not Deferred project, and conducts trainings on immigration law for the staff of our school and hospital partners. Liz received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario, and later, her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law at Queens College. Liz is a member of the New York City Bar Ethics Committee, and co-chairs the Pro Bono Committee for the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which won the New York State Bar Association's 2012 Bar Leaders' Innovation Award.
Angelic Martinez, Program Assistant, graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.F.A. in Photography. After moving to New York City, she worked at Forbes Media, L.L.C. and then New York Road Runners. She is currently pursuing an M.B.A. with a focus on Management/Entrepreneurship at Baruch College. She also volunteers at Animal Care and Control of New York City.
Ellen Rosenberg, Esq., Legal Consultant, Incarcerated Mothers Law Project, is a recipient of the City Bar Association's Legal Services Award. Ellen graduated from Boston University and CUNY School of Law. She also holds an MSW from New York University School of Social Work. Ellen has 20 years' experience in family law, and has worked for some of the leading organizations in New York in this field, including the Women's Prison Association, Sanctuary for Families, and Covenant House. She has also been a clinical instructor at both Brooklyn Law School and Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.
Annie Sumberg, Program Assistant, graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Women's Studies. In addition to providing program support to VOLS' staff, she works as a counselor at Planned Parenthood and volunteers with The Doula Project, offering support to pregnant women at health facilities in the greater New York area. Annie also plays fiddle in Animal Man, a local band.