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Staff

Tom Yates : EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Tom Yates

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Tom Yates was appointed Executive Director in April 2014 and is recognized as a local and national leader for his work in Social Security disability policy representing individuals who are low-income, have disabilities, and need income support and health care coverage. He is one of the foremost attorneys in the country handing children’s disability cases, and has co-counseled several significant class actions driving systemic improvements in access to health, including re-opening two consent decrees in 2015-2016 (Memosovski v. Maram and Beeks v. Bradley) to ensure and continuity of access to Medicaid-funded health care for more than 3.1 million Illinoisans despite an unprecedented state budget impasse. Because of his expertise, Tom is one of a select group of attorneys who meet with the Commissioner of the United States Social Security Administration on new regulations and guidance to states. The recipient of many honors, including the 2013 Chicago Bar Foundation Morsch Award for career contributions to public interest law, Tom came to the Council in November 2013 after 17 years as supervising attorney and general counsel at Health & Disability Advocates, where he built a practice helping thousands of children and adults with special health care needs to get Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, thereby enabling them to stabilize their lives. In 2015, he was named a Where Health Meets Justice fellow by the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership. Tom holds a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and a Bachelor of Special Studies with majors in economics and philosophy from Cornell College.

CONTACT: tyates@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1958
Ellyce Anapolsky : SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY

Ellyce Anapolsky

SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY

Ellyce brought her work representing clients in Supplemental Social Security Insurance (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits cases to the Legal Council in early 2014. Her practice is a vital service to people with disabilities, as she helps them navigate, secure, and protect their modest benefits in a complicated and often frustrating system. She also helps train benefit planners, health insurance counselors, and medical staff on issues involving Medicare, Social Security, and other benefits. In 2015, Ellyce was named Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Association Social Security Law Committee is currently serving as a Board Member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR). She was a Chicago Bar Foundation Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellow in 2013, and in 2014, won the Distinguished Service Award from the John Marshall Law School Alumni Association. Before earning her J.D. from John Marshall Law School in 2004, Ellyce had a 30-year career in accounting, administration, and finance for nonprofit and corporate organizations. She holds a M.S. in Accounting from California State University.

CONTACT: eanapolsky@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1946
Kevin Beaney : OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Kevin Beaney

OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR

Kevin has been the Council's Office Administrator since 1995, performing many of the agency’s internal non-legal activities, including reception, bookkeeping, statistical reporting, human resources, budgeting, and vendor negotiation. Previous jobs as office administrator of a not-for-profit theater and editor of a lesbian/gay newspaper provided him with relevant office skills and familiarity with HIV/AIDS issues for the position. Kevin’s experience with computer installation and testing enabled him to assume the responsibility for the network, agency databases and related information technology tasks. He led the search for new office space and organized the moves for the Council in 2000 and in 2006. He is a graduate of Fordham University with a degree in Communications.

CONTACT: kbeaney@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1950
Nerida Berrios : ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Nerida Berrios

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

CONTACT:
Megan Borneman : LEGAL ADVOCATE

Megan Borneman

LEGAL ADVOCATE

Megan is a legal advocate with the UIC CHECK program. Building her career in helping vulnerable populations attain healthy equity, Megan is a valuable asset to the UIC CHECK team because of her deep understanding of housing quality and its relation to health outcomes, particularly in children with chronic asthma. She came to the Legal Council with extensive experience with housing issues from her time at the City of Milwaukee Health Department and Chicago’s Metropolitan Tenants Organization. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Speech Communication at Augusta College and her M.A. in Sociology from Roosevelt University.

CONTACT: mborneman@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1966
Kenya Garrett-Burnett : SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY

Kenya Garrett-Burnett

SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY

Kenya Garrett-Burnett heads Legal Council's medical-legal partnership activities with Howard Brown Health in the AIDS Legal Council program. Prior to joining the Legal Council as a senior staff attorney in 2017, Kenya worked as a staff attorney at LAF where she served as Task Force Leader of the HIV/AIDS Task Force and represented various clients in divorces, special education hearings, order of protection hearings, and child custody matters. With over a decade of experience in Chicago, Kenya brings legal expertise in housing, family, employment, and disability law to her position with the Council. She earned her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and her B.S. in Community Health from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Outside of the Council, Kenya serves on the AIDS Foundation of Chicago Service Providers Council Executive Committee and on the Board of Directors for the Trinity United Church of Christ Childcare Center.

CONTACT: kgburnett@legalcouncil.org
Rebecca Cabezas : LEGAL ADVOCATE

Rebecca Cabezas

LEGAL ADVOCATE

Rebecca is a legal advocate with the UIC CHECK program. She is particularly passionate about immigration issues and rights. Fluent in Spanish and with experience interacting with immigrant children and their families, Rebecca’s interests and previous experience make her a crucial part of the UIC CHECK team. Previously, she worked at the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Student World Assembly. Rebecca has focused her career on human rights and advocacy. She went to the University of Illinois for her BA is Political Science and received her MS in Global Affairs from New York University.

CONTACT: rcabezas@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1956
Carrie Chapman : DIRECTOR OF POLICY ADVOCACY AND STRATEGIC INNOVATION

Carrie Chapman

DIRECTOR OF POLICY ADVOCACY AND STRATEGIC INNOVATION

As the Director of Policy Advocacy and Strategic Innovation for the Legal Council, Carrie oversees litigation, legislation, and administrative advocacy while assisting program directors in supervising legal work. She also uses her experience at building and sustaining medical-legal partnerships to foster new relationships. Carrie has extensive experience serving people in poverty through litigation. Prior to her time at the Council, Carrie directed the public benefits practice group at LAF where she supervised a 25-person team working on public benefits advocacy. She also litigated complex cases on hospital charity care. Currently, she teaches “Poverty Law” at DePaul University School of Law as an adjunct faculty member. She received her BA from the University of Michigan, MA in American Studies from Yale, and her JD from the University of Texas.

CONTACT: cchapman@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1981
Maria Duque : ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Maria Duque

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Maria, who is fluent in Spanish, joined the Legal Council for Health Justice in 2008. Previously, she worked as a legal assistant at a private law firm in Chicago for more than nine years, assisting with cases in family law, real estate, probate, and litigation. Maria studied criminology at Turabo University in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and holds a legal secretary associate degree from St. Augustine College. In her spare time, Maria is an active PTA member at her children's school and volunteers as part of the Parent Mentor Program in Logan Square.

CONTACT: mduque@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1969
Brianne Dotts : STAFF ATTORNEY

Brianne Dotts

STAFF ATTORNEY

Brianne is a staff attorney for Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children.  She provides direct representation to children and adults on a wide variety of legal issues and training to medical providers and legal professionals on topics related to Social Security disability, special education, and on the intersection of these topics with other areas of law and services. She years of experience working in both private firms and nonprofit organizations in the areas of Social Security disability, special education and school discipline, and guardianship to her role at the Legal Council. Brianne earned her J.D. from New York Law School, and has been admitted to practice in Illinois, Minnesota, and New York.

CONTACT: bdotts@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1945
Ruth Edwards : PROGRAM DIRECTOR, AIDS Legal Council

Ruth Edwards

PROGRAM DIRECTOR, AIDS Legal Council

Ruth is the current director of the AIDS Legal Council program and has almost a decade of experience in legal services and policy development on behalf of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. She came to the Council in 2006 with eleven years experience in legal services, including Legal Assistance Foundation, the legal clinic at the DePaul University College of Law, and Life-Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy. In her prior positions, she developed substantial expertise in the representation of immigrants and victims of domestic violence and is the Council’s resident authority on immigration law. Ruth, who is fluent in Spanish, received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Northeastern University in Boston.

CONTACT: redwards@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1970
Myron Grant : STAFF ATTORNEY

Myron Grant

STAFF ATTORNEY

Born and raised in Georgia, Myron received his B.A. in Political Science from Georgia State University. Following his time at Georgia State, Myron earned his J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law where he was awarded the Joseph R. Bartylak Public Interest Fellowship and the Mitch McGough Leadership Award for Outstanding Advocacy. While at SIU Law, he worked as a 711 Law Clerk in his university’s Students’ Legal Assistance Office and served as a summer 711 Law Clerk in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. With a passion for litigation, Myron served as captain of the Mock Trial Competition Team. His team took first place at the 2017 Midwest Regional BLSA Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition, and Myron also received an individual award as the Best Advocate in the competition. Myron joined the Legal Council team in August 2017.

CONTACT: mgrant@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1941
Justin Hayford : SENIOR LEGAL ADVOCATE

Justin Hayford

SENIOR LEGAL ADVOCATE

Since 1991, Justin has been the case manager at the AIDS Legal Council, where he volunteered for a year before joining the staff. In addition to handling hundreds of client matters every year, ranging from simple wills to complicated discrimination matters, he has written a series of nine booklets outlining Illinois AIDS Law for the Council. He has also trained groups of other professionals in HIV law, testified before legislative bodies, and taken on various state and local bureaucracies. A graduate of Northwestern University, Justin has written numerous articles focusing on various political and legal aspects of the AIDS crisis for The Chicago Reader, The Progressive, The Public Interest Law Reporter, and Positively Aware. Justin is also an award-winning cabaret performer, who has released several CDs of “forgotten gems” from the ‘30s and ‘40s on the national LML Music label. He regularly writes theater reviews for The Chicago Reader.

CONTACT: jhayford@legalcouncil.org
Sarah Hess : STAFF ATTORNEY

Sarah Hess

STAFF ATTORNEY

Sarah is a staff attorney with the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children, working with UI Health's CHECK (Coordination of Healthcare for Complex Kids) initiative. She provides legal services to mitigate the causes and consequences of trauma, toxic stress, and the social determinants of health. Sarah came to the Legal Council from Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, where she was a Skadden Fellow heading a Medical-Legal Partnership for school-based health centers at Erie Family Health Center. Sarah represents the 2011-2015 PILI Intern Alumni, is a member of the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative, and is a member of the National Order of Scribes. Sarah earned her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School, where she was awarded the Women's Bar Foundation Scholarship, the Herzog and Edward T. Lee Scholarships for academic excellence, and the Public Interest Recognition Award. Sarah was honored with the Kimball R. Anderson and Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship in 2017. She earned her B.A. from DePaul University with a focus on African-Black Diaspora Studies.

CONTACT: shess@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1984
Jessica Hoffen : AmeriCorps VISTA

Jessica Hoffen

AmeriCorps VISTA

At Legal Council, Jessica serves with the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children. A life-long Chicagoland resident, Jessica graduated from Northwestern University in 2017 where she earned a B.A. in Psychology and minored in Science in Human Culture and Global Health Studies. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school and work as a pediatrician and health advocate in Chicago. Previously, Jessica had the privilege of interning for RefugeeOne’s Wellness Program where she advocated for the health care needs of recently resettled refugees. She additionally served as a Health Justice Intern with the Native Health Initiative where she helped implement a de-colonizing framework for addressing the health needs of New Mexico’s native and indigenous peoples. She was exposed to Chicago’s health justice scene through her work with Northwestern University Community Health Corps and is pleased to be able to continue health justice work.

CONTACT: jhoffen@legalcouncil.org 312-427-8990
Dani Hunter : AmeriCorps VISTA

Dani Hunter

AmeriCorps VISTA

Originally from Tennessee, Dani moved to Chicago to serve with Legal Council's communications team. Dani is an award-winning photographer and worked as a photojournalist prior to joining AmeriCorps. In 2016, she graduated from Austin Peay State University with two B.S. degrees in English and Political Science, and two minor certifications in Leadership Science and International Studies. During her undergraduate career, Dani dedicated much of her time to advocating for LGBTQ and women's rights on her campus and throughout Tennessee, eventually helping to craft and implement new inclusive campus policies at APSU. Currently she is an online graduate student for the Masters of Public Administration and Policy program at American University and hopes to continue a life of public service long after her year with AmeriCorps ends. In her free time, Dani enjoys reading French poetry, traveling on a budget, volunteering for local organizations, and loudly singing showtunes off-key.

CONTACT: dhunter@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1957
Marina Kurakin : LEGAL ADVOCATE

Marina Kurakin

LEGAL ADVOCATE

Marina joined us in 2013, with extensive experience in working with immigrants, refugees, and other vulnerable populations. Currently, Marina is leading our legal clinics at TPAN and at the CARE program through Mercy Hospital. She has an M.F.A. and M.S.W. with a concentration in Community Health. Prior to joining the Council, Marina worked as a vision therapist partnering with individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and as a community organizer for the AFL-CIO. With her background in art, Marina sits on the board of two art residency programs and curates shows throughout Chicago. She is fluent in Russian and is passionate about building access to resources for all. Marina helps our clients navigate the Affordable Care Act, guiding them through Medicaid/Managed Care, Medicare, and Insurance Marketplace issues.

CONTACT: mkurakin@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1982
Michele McCay MPH, DrPH : PROJECT MANAGER

Michele McCay MPH, DrPH

PROJECT MANAGER

Michele McCay has a strong history of public health leadership and service. A professor at DePaul University in the Department of Health Sciences where she teaches public health, health research literacy, health leadership, and maternal and child health, Dr. McCay is the Project Manager of an innovative pilot to develop new approaches and break down barriers to Early Intervention among infants and toddlers who have been exposed to concerning levels of lead. Dr. McCay has worked with public health initiatives that focus on the diverse issues that affect women, children, and families including chronic diseases in children, affordable healthcare for working families, smoking prevention for peripartum women, perinatal mental health issues, and children’s mental health care. Dr. McCay earned her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the UIC School of Public Health and returned to earn a Doctor of Public Health in Leadership Degree with a focus on Maternal and Child Health Leadership and Management.

CONTACT: mmccay@legalcouncil.org
Enrique Mendoza : LEGAL ADVOCATE

Enrique Mendoza

LEGAL ADVOCATE

Enrique is a Legal Advocate in our AIDS Legal Council program, after spending one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA fellow working with our Marketing & Development staff.  Born and raised in Chicago, Enrique attended DePaul University where he earned a B.A. in Political Science. His future plans include going to law school, working in the non-profit sector, and becoming involved in Chicago’s political arena. Enrique's prior experience includes a stint as a legal intern with Mil Mujeres Legal Services where he provided legal assistance to immigrant women, a summer intern for the AFL-CIO where he helped to organize a home care worker campaign, and working as a congressional aide for Congressman Luis Gutierrez.

CONTACT: emendoza@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1948
Kate Miller : SENIOR LEGAL ADVOCATE

Kate Miller

SENIOR LEGAL ADVOCATE

After receiving her M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, Kate became part of the Legal Council’s legal team in 2002, inspired by its strong ethical commitment to care for individuals with HIV. She is one of few paralegals in the nation with the licensure to conduct federal disability cases, and currently works with the Homeless Outreach Project.  Before she moved to Chicago for graduate school, Kate served in Ghana as a secondary school teacher and worked in Seattle as an on-the-street case manager aiding chronically homeless adults with substance abuse and mental health issues.  Kate is an aggressive and successful advocate for all of our clients, but especially for people with mental impairments. She has earned certificates from the Cervantes Institute establishing her fluency in Spanish and was accredited by the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services to represent clients in adjustment interviews.

CONTACT: mkate@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1986
Kevin Mork : DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Kevin Mork

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Kevin joined the Council as director of community relations in April 2012 and was named director of development in February 2015. He manages fundraising initiatives, special event programming, corporate sponsorship, donor cultivation, major gifts, and government grants (notably Ryan White Parts A and B). Kevin also oversees and coordinates the numerous educational trainings the Council provides across the region each year. Prior to joining the Council, Kevin was the head of development at Illinois' largest LGBT-rights organization. He was also an ESL and Spanish teacher for a number of years and has lived in Japan, Mexico, Spain, and Thailand. Kevin holds a B.A. in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of Minnesota, a CELTA from the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, and an M.A. in Teaching Spanish from Portland State University.

CONTACT: kjmork@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1976
Joseland Nixon : DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING COORDINATOR

Joseland Nixon

DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING COORDINATOR

In May 2017, Joseland joined the Legal Council with a background in marketing, development, grant writing, communications, and graphic design. In previous positions, Joseland has worked on programs that assisted students and individuals with developmental disabilities and HIV/AIDS. She has a B.A. in Journalism from Columbia College and a M.S. in Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University. When not at the Council, Joseland serves on numerous committees, works as a volunteer for various non-profits, and spends much of her free time being politically active.

CONTACT: jnixon@legalcouncil.org
Lisa Parsons : PROGRAM DIRECTOR, Homeless Outreach Project

Lisa Parsons

PROGRAM DIRECTOR, Homeless Outreach Project

Lisa has devoted her career to ending homelessness and is one of the nation's foremost experts in trauma-informed legal care. She has led Illinois' first behavioral health MLP -- the Homeless Outreach Project -- since 2007, bringing it to the Legal Council in January 2014. Lisa and her team conduct outreach on the streets, in shelters, and in partnership with behavioral health providers to assist homeless individuals with dual diagnoses to secure Social Security disability benefits and connect them to healthcare, housing, and supportive services. She also serves on the Chicago SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery) Steering Committee. After earning her law degree, she served as  project director of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Homeless Advocacy Project, before accepting a similar position at Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago (LAF).  She later directed a joint law and social services project at the University of Chicago’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic to assist persons with serious mental illness to secure services in the least restrictive environment, obtain disability benefits, and defend against discrimination in housing.  In 2004, Lisa researched and produced two reports for the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois on public benefits and housing law issues affecting low-income households. She is a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

CONTACT: lparsons@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1962
Jessica Rhoades : STAFF ATTORNEY

Jessica Rhoades

STAFF ATTORNEY

Jessica is a Bilingual Staff Attorney working with the AIDS Legal Council program. Prior to joining the Council in 2015, she was a staff attorney with Prairie State Legal Services, providing a wide variety of free civil legal services to low income people in northern Illinois. Jessica’s past legal-service agency experience has taken her to northern California and central Illinois as well as to Chicago’s LAF and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. She earned her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law and her B.A. from Grinnell College.

CONTACT: jrhoades@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1965
Emelin Santiago : LEGAL ADVOCATE

Emelin Santiago

LEGAL ADVOCATE

Emelin Santiago brings ten years experience working with and assisting clients and attorneys on Social Security disability cases. She joined the agency in April 2016 and works with our Homeless Outreach Project providing assistance to individuals who are homeless with severe mental illness to secure Social Security disability benefits. Emelin has an Associates Degree in Applied Sciences in Paralegal Studies from the College of Lake County.

CONTACT: esantiago@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1977
Amanda Walsh : STAFF ATTORNEY

Amanda Walsh

STAFF ATTORNEY

Amanda launched and sustains a medical-legal partnership to improve the mental health and family stability of children with mental health needs at Mt. Sinai Hospital's Under the Rainbow child/adolescent mental health clinic. Prior to joining the Council, she worked with numerous public interest agencies around Chicago and nationally, including the Family Defense Center, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Chicago, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and the ACLU of Illinois. Amanda has a  B.A. from New York University and M.S.W., J.D., and LL.M.  from Loyola University. She is the 2011 recipient of the Chicago Bar Foundation Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Law Scholarship and Loyola’s Civitas ChildLaw Fellowship, 2015-2017 Equal Justice Works fellowship, and 2016 recipient of the Chicago Bar Foundation Kimball R. Anderson and Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship.

CONTACT: awalsh@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1989
Brooks Weinberger : Avodah Fellow, LEGAL ADVOCATE

Brooks Weinberger

Avodah Fellow, LEGAL ADVOCATE

Coming soon

CONTACT: bweinberger@legalcouncil.org (312) 605-1987
Jill Wohl : DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT

Jill Wohl

DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT

Jill is a strategic development and communications veteran who helped transition two nonprofit medical-legal partnership projects from another agency, where she had overseen a 30 percent increase in foundation giving. She has written and managed grants powering programs and policy for children and youth, mental health, disability, education, and restorative justice. Jill was a member of the senior management team at Illinois Action for Children during the historic passage of Preschool for All legislation. A former copywriter, Jill is also a founding member of Raise Your Hand, a grassroots  group dedicated to improving public school funding and quality, and a experienced champion of Local School Councils. Jill has a bachelor’s degree from the Media Lab at the M.I.T.

CONTACT: jwohl@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1980
Amy Zimmerman : MANAGING ATTORNEY, Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children

Amy Zimmerman

MANAGING ATTORNEY, Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children

As the program's longtime director, Amy brought the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (CMLPC) to Legal Council for Health Justice in 2014, which provides free legal assistance to families with children challenged by disability, chronic disease, and acute illness. Over her years of practice, Amy has spearheaded legislative initiatives and helped to implement groundbreaking health policies. Highlights include: the Illinois Children's Product Safety Act on recall requirements, the Illinois School Code on classroom access and home and hospital instruction, and the Early Intervention Services System Act on council and service delivery improvements. Amy is an appointed member of the Early Intervention Interagency Advisory Council and the Mayor’s Taskforce on Literacy. She also serves on the board of the Illinois Infant Health Association. Previously, Amy served as the Children's Policy Advisor to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, as assistant director of the Children's Health and Education Project at the Chicago Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and as a neighborhood and project attorney at LAF. She has received numerous awards, including honors from the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition and the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI). In April 2013, CMLPC received the National Outstanding Medical Legal Partnership Award. Amy was selected as a member of the inaugural class of the Children’s Health Leadership Network, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Amy earned her J.D. in 1991 from Northwestern University Law School.

CONTACT: azimmerman@legalcouncil.org 312-605-1963