Jessica Berry, Staff Attorney, joined the CLCM in September, 2009 as recipient of a Skadden Fellowship. Jessica earned her B.A. from the University of Chicago, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, and has an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Following law school, Jessica clerked for the Honorable Nathaniel M. Gorton of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and then for the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. As a fellow at the CLCM, Jessica focuses on representing adolescents in child welfare, education, and mental health matters.
Yajaira Chavez, Administrative Assistant, joined CLCM in April of 2014. A native and resident of Lynn, she is a national certified phlebotomist from North Shore Community College. She is presently balancing a full time and part time job as well as parenting.
Paul Easton, Staff Attorney, joined the CLCM in 2014 as a recipient of the Equal Justice Works Fellowship sponsored by Biogen Idec and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. Paul graduated magna cum laude from Boston College law School after earning his B.A. from Duke University and his M.Ed. in special education from Arcadia University. Before joining the CLCM, he clerked for the Honorable Paul J. Barbadoro of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. Paul taught special education to middle school students in Philadelphia and served in the U.S. Navy prior to law school. As a Fellow at the CLCM, Paul is coordinating a medical-legal partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital – Chelsea Healthcare Center as a means to advocate for at-risk children in educational matters.
Allie Horwitz, United Way Americorps Member, joins the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts for the 2014-2015 year. Her previous experiences include working with Spanish-speaking clients at the Quinnipiac Law School Civil Justice Clinic and volunteering as a cultural companion and case management assistant at Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services. After graduating from Amherst College in 2012, where she received a B.A. in psychology, Allie spent a year working for a youth development non-profit, Soccer Without Borders, as a Team Leader and External Relations Associate. There she worked to increase opportunities for underserved females ages 12-18 through team building, workshops, education programs and civic engagement projects. Allie is excited to join the team at CLCM to learn about the challenges facing immigrant youth and to work together with CLCM staff to empower them to succeed.
Caroline Kazakis, Staff Attorney, is a 2010 graduate of the Northeastern University School of Law. She obtained undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Spanish from Ohio University. While in law school, Caroline gained valuable experience through internships at the Middlesex Juvenile Court, the Cambridge Public Schools Office of Legal Counsel, the Center for Law and Education and the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Caroline began working at the Children's Law Center as a staff attorney in June, 2010, representing children in educational matters, including special education and school discipline.
Robyn L. Laukien, Staff Attorney/Pro Bono Coordinator, began her tenure at the Children's Law Center in July 1999 as a volunteer advocate. She came on staff in the fall of 1999. Robyn is a graduate of Wellesley College and Boston College Law School. Upon graduating from B.C. Law in 1988, she joined the Boston firm of Widett, Slater & Goldman as a corporate associate. After four years of practicing business law, she left to work part time at Bruker Instruments, Inc. as in-house Corporate Counsel. Robyn worked part time at Bruker for over six years while raising her two children, but still found time to volunteer as a foster care case reviewer, participate in an outreach program through the New England Aquarium with Head Start preschoolers, and serve as President of the Aquarium's Council from 2002-2006. Robyn was Co-Chair of the Aquarium's 30th Anniversary Gala, and is an annual member of the corporate fundraising committee. While President of the Aquarium Council, Robyn served as a Trustee. Currently, she is an Overseer and a member of the Aquarium Development Committee. Robyn's experiences as a parent and volunteer led her to her work with the Children's Law Center.
Jay McManus assumed the position of Director of the Children's Law Center in March 1999. A graduate of New England School of Law, he previously worked as staff counsel to the state's Department of Children & Families, and as Assistant General Counsel to AFSCME, Council 93, a public employee labor union. Between 1991 and 2007, he also directed the Massachusetts chapter of the IPPCH-Because of the Children Program, a not-for-profit that provided relief to children of Irish political prisoners and to families affected by the conflict in the North of Ireland.
Marlies Spanjaard, Director of Education Advocacy, is responsible for supervising staff attorneys and interns, making program-wide policy decisions, and cultivating relationships with other individuals and agencies in an effort to promote the Edlaw Project mission. Prior to serving as Director, Ms. Spanjaard gained valuable experience as a staff attorney on the EdLaw Project during which time she represented students in school disciplinary hearings, special education team meetings, and administrative hearings before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals. Marlies has provided trainings on education related issues throughout the state and before a wide variety of audiences including parents, youth workers, students and attorneys. In 2007, Marlies began teaching at Wheelock College as an adjunct instructor in the college's Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy Concentration. She earned her J.D. and her M.S.W. at Washington University Law School and George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis, MO.
Claire Valentin, Staff Attorney, joined the CLCM in September, 2013 as a recipient of Harvard Law School’s Irving R. Kaufman Fellowship. Claire earned her B.A. from Brown University in 2006 and graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2011. Following law school, Claire clerked for the Honorable A. Franklin Burgess Jr. of the District of Columbia Superior Court and the Senior Judges of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. As a fellow at the CLCM, Claire focuses on representing immigrant children on whose behalf petitions for guardianship or care and protection need to be filed as a first step in a lengthy process geared to securing their legal resident status.
Bryna Williams, Senior Staff Attorney, joined The EdLaw Project in August, 2006. During her tenure, she has gained broad experience with representing students in the areas of school discipline, special education rights, and access to school. She is primarily responsible for consulting with and supporting attorneys working in the juvenile courts to effectively advocate for their clients in schools, for representing court-involved clients in complicated education matters, and for developing and leading trainings about education rights to present to attorneys, community groups, and child advocates throughout the Commonwealth. She regularly attends community meetings and forums focused on public education and services for marginalized students. During law school, she gained valuable experience in client advocacy through internships with the Public Guardian of Cook County in Chicago and the Citizen Advocacy Center in Elmhurst, Illinois, and as a student clinician at the Loyola Civitas ChildLaw Clinic. Additionally, she served as the managing editor of the Children's Legal Rights Journal, as the president of her law school's Public Interest Law Society and, as a volunteer teaching students about their legal rights in the Chicago Public Schools and at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center. She earned her A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998 and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2005.