2016 PAI Attorneys

Private attorneys provide important civil legal services through LASNNY’s PAI (Private Attorney Involvement) Program, which encourages and supports attorneys who offer pro bono services to needy people in Northeastern New York. Support for PAI volunteer attorneys includes client and case screening, CLE credits, free training, secondary professional liability insurance and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.


List of Pro Bono Attorneys: 2016



  • William Berglund
  • Joel Blau
  • Ira Bloom
  • Frank Brennan
  • Paul Cardinal
  • Jennifer Chisolm
  • Jon Crain
  • Sharon Couch Debonis
  • Joseph Dougherty
  • Dennis Dugan
  • Byrgen Finkelman ***
  • Carl Hasselbarth
  • Ab Hessberg, III
  • Tara MacNeill
  • Tara Moffett
  • Justin Myers
  • Michael O’Brien *
  • Michael O’Connor *****
  • Thomas O’Connor
  • Lynne Papazian
  • Frank Pell
  • Emily Quinlan
  • Doug Shartrand
  • Jonathan Warner
  • Mia Wolfe



  • John Casey
  • Joel Peller *
  • Jack Piller
  • Erica Rangel
  • Arthur Siegel



  • Jennifer Chisolm
  • Melissa Dobson
  • John Dormin
  • Eileen Walsh Gallagher
  • Chelsey Lester
  • Salvatore Lomanto
  • Mark McCarthy
  • Lisa Mills ***
  • Mary Louise Stanford
  • Christopher Stevens
  • Robert Terwilliger



  • Melissa Dobson
  • Michael Englert
  • Eileen Walsh Gallagher
  • Salvatore Lomanto
  • Erik Pinsonnault
  • Erica Rangel
  • Amanda Rose ***
  • Bethany Schumann-McGhee
  • Arthur Siegel



  • Christian Dribusch
  • Alexander Dunshee *
  • Teresa Eddy
  • Marc Ehrlich *
  • James Gross *
  • Christopher Stevens
  • Kimball Williams



  • Chelsey Lester
  • Richard Rowley
  • Mireille Nitti *
  • Erik Pinsonnault
  • Tara Anne Pleat
  • Erica Rangel
  • Veronica Reed
  • Jackie Seitz
  • Christopher Stevens
  • Jon Whalen



  • Nancy Delain
  • Alexander Dunshee *
  • James Gross *
  • Charles Harding
  • Cassandra Partyka
  • Sondra Smith
  • Stephan Weiss *


St. Lawrence

  • Jennifer Chisolm
  • Andrew Moses ***
  • Joseph Nichols
  • Erica Rangel
  • Jennifer Ward
  • Kimball Williams



  • John Casey
  • Richard Rowley
  • Tara MacNeill
  • Mary Louise Stanford


Albany/ Rensselaer County Assigned Counsel Program

  • Robert L. Adams
  • Gloria Arroyo Copland
  • Michael Assaf
  • Jo Ann Coughtry
  • Paul Devane
  • Dennis Englert
  • Shawn Flaherty
  • Joyce Galante
  • David Goldin
  • David Gruenberg
  • David Kavanaugh
  • Barrett Mack
  • Karen Rhoades
  • Town Ryan & Partners
  • David Siegel
  • Justine Spada


*5 or more
** 10 or more
*** 15 or more
**** 20 or more
***** 25 or more


PAI Director Michele Sleight and her daughter
In 2016, the PAI Program continued to evolve, both in terms of staff and programmatically.  We welcomed aboard Ariel Ahr as PAI Coordinator in the spring, followed shortly thereafter by Melody Harkness as the Closing the Gap (CTG) Coordinator, who has since been promoted to CTG Paralegal.  We also saw the departure of Cheryl Dedes, longtime PAI Coordinator, who is now working for New York State.


I’m sure many of you have had the opportunity to meet with Melody throughout her time here regarding CTG, and its aim to virtually connect pro bono attorneys from our urban core to rural clients.  With the CTG technology, the attorneys assisted the clients in drafting documents to respond to their housing or consumer matters.  The success of this program has garnered interest from other civil legal services organizations, both statewide and nationally, and for good reason.  Due to CTG, certain attorneys and judges alike have been forced to acknowledge the rights of our clients, rights which unfortunately would have been cast aside had it not been for the volunteers’ assistance.  Melody remains eager to meet new, prospective volunteers, and connect them to our rural clients in need.  She can be reached at mharkness@lasnny.org.


In the last couple weeks of 2016, the PAI Program was also instrumental, along with area civil legal services organizations, in providing a free training to teach attorneys how to assist transgender individuals through the process of obtaining a name change.  PAI has offered this service, with the assistance and dedication of volunteer, Byrgen Finkelman, so this service is not a complete change in our program.  Though as Byrgen transitioned her career, and the intentions of the current administration becoming known, those in civil legal services knew that it was imperative to have mobilize more volunteers swiftly.  This is truly a life changing service for our clients, and we’ve taken care to place much emphasis on keeping our pro bono panel strong, as well as getting and keeping the word out there that Legal Aid has plenty of volunteers at the ready.  We are continuing to strengthen the panel, and will be offering this training again on November 15 at the offices of The Legal Project.


The last major staff change (albeit in 2017) will have already occurred by the time you read this.  I decided to return to school to become a registered nurse (with hopes of someday pairing my two degrees and types of experience), and the new PAI Director is Myleah Misenhimer.  If you haven’t already met Myleah, I’m sure you will soon!  Please feel free to reach out to her and say hello at mmisenhimer@lasnny.org.