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.
Arlette Espindola joined the Law Center in August of 2008 as an Administrative Assistant. A native of Lynn, she is currently juggling work, parenthood, and a part-time course of study at North Shore Community College, where she is working toward a degree in Paralegal studies.
Michael D. James, Supervising Staff Attorney, has been with the Children's Law Center since June 1999. Mike is a graduate of Cape Cod Community College (AA), the University of Massachusetts/Boston (BA) and a 1989 Magna Cum Laude graduate of the New England School of Law, Evening Division. He also served in the U.S. Marines. Following his admission to the Massachusetts Bar, Mike served as a staff attorney with the Boston Regional Office of the Federal Trade Commission, where he was involved in consumer protection investigation and litigation. Between 1992 and 1999, he was a sole practitioner, primarily in Essex County. A member of the Committee for Public Counsel Services' Children & Family Law Program panel, he focused his practice in the areas of child welfare, special education, social security disability, and family law. Mike has served as a member of the education committee of the Essex County Bar Association Advocates, and has presented seminars in the areas of Juvenile Court practice and special education. In addition to his child welfare and related special education practice at CLCM, Mike remains part of the Essex County Bar Advocates panel and represents youth in juvenile delinquency court matters.
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 is the Coordinator of the EdLaw Project, a collaborative initiative of the CLCM and the Youth Advocacy Project of Boston. Marlies joined the EdLaw Project in August, 2001 where she has 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 lawyers. 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 began working as a staff attorney with the Law Center's Edlaw Project in August, 2006. She earned her A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Bryna gained valuable experience in client advocacy through internships with the Public Guardian of Cook County in Chicago, 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 and as the president of her law school's Public Interest Law Society. During her time in Chicago, Bryna taught "Know Your Rights" courses to children and youth in the city's public schools and the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center.