NVLSP

Executive Team

Staff

Executive Biographies

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Paul Wright

Executive Director

Mr. Wright is Executive Director of NVLSP. He was unanimously appointed by the Board in June 2021 to lead NVLSP.  He joined NVLSP as Deputy Executive Director in 2019. 

Mr. Wright has more than 20 years’ experience in civil litigation and as in-house legal counsel as well as operational and financial expertise. Prior to joining NVLSP, Wright served as general counsel, compliance officer and director of contracts & legal at IMPAQ International. Previously, Wright was interim chief executive officer, vice president of operations and chief financial officer at Berkley Policy Associates. During his tenure at both organizations, he propelled major business expansions and annual increases in value.

Mr. Wright began his military career enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He subsequently became a cadet in the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and went on to serve as Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army.  He led, trained and managed dozens of attorneys and paralegals. He advised senior military and civilian personnel on a spectrum of issues including tax, criminal, family, immigration, claims, consumer and international law. He served as legal counsel to over 20,000 soldiers and civilian Department of Defense personnel in the Republic of Korea and served as counsel to the commander of US Army South for a range operations in Central and South America. He served with distinction and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for Outstanding Performance as tax center officer in charge and the Army Commendation Medal for outstanding performance as a legal assistance attorney.

Mr. Wright is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A.) and University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.). He is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and has served on a number of public and private boards and commissions. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“CAVC”) and is licensed to practice in the State of Minnesota.

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Rochelle Bobroff

Director of Lawyers Serving Warriors®, Pro Bono Program of NVLSP

Ms. Rochelle Bobroff is the Director of Lawyers Serving Warriors®, the Pro Bono Program of NVLSP, supervising the attorneys in NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® program.

Previously, Ms. Bobroff was Director of the Federal Rights Project at the National Senior Citizens Law Center and Director of the Access to Courts Program at the Constitutional Accountability Center. She also worked as the Senior Attorney for Systemic Reform at AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly and as a Senior Attorney at AARP Foundation Litigation. She served as a Commissioner on the D.C.Access to Justice Commission.

Ms. Bobroff has managed systemic reform pro bono projects and litigation regarding Veterans, housing, consumer, public benefits, and long-term care issues. She has written numerous United States Supreme Court and federal Court of Appeals amicus briefs. She also published several law review articles regarding court access for safety net and civil rights statutes. She has led workshops at national training conferences addressing pro bono innovations and court access.

Ms. Bobroff is a graduate of Yale Law School and obtained her undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Chicago.

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Patty Briotta

Director of Communications

Ms. Patty Briotta is Director of Communications for NVLSP. In this role, Ms. Briotta drives the organization’s branding and communications strategy. She works closely with NVLSP’s leadership team on a variety of strategic initiatives to promote the group and its activities including legislative advocacy and NVLSP’s pro bono volunteer lawyer program, Lawyers Serving Warriors®.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Briotta ran her own communications and marketing business. Ms. Briotta has held senior communications positions at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Lafarge North America and the National Association of Life Underwriters. She holds a bachelor’s degree from New York University and she completed an executive education program Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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Renee Burbank

Director of Litigation

Ms. Burbank is Director of Litigation at NVLSP.  In this role, Ms. Burbank supervises all individual lawsuits brought by NVLSP in U.S. district courts, Article III courts of appeals, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, as well as all of NVLSP’s class actions and other strategic litigation.

Before joining NVLSP, Ms. Burbank co-taught Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services clinic as a Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow. During her tenure at Yale, Ms. Burbank supervised advocacy on behalf of veterans and veterans’ organizations at all levels of administrative and judicial review as well as class actions and impact litigation. Prior to that, Ms. Burbank worked for nearly eight years as a litigator at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she worked on complex commercial litigation at both the trial and appellate levels.  Ms. Burbank’s work earned her several accolades including a Civil Division Special Commendation Award. 

Ms. Burbank is a graduate of the University of Chicago (A. B., with honors) and Harvard Law School (J.D., cum laude), and clerked for the Honorable David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She has written scholarly work on a variety of topics, including veterans law, disability rights, voting rights, and illegal exactions.  She is an active member in good standing of the Connecticut and North Carolina State Bars, and a VA-accredited attorney. She is admitted to practice before several federal courts, including the Federal Circuit,  Court of Federal Claims and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

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Rafael Resto-Olivo

Director of Human Resources & Operations

Mr. Rafael Resto-Olivo is NVLSP’s Director of Human Resources & Operations.

In this role, Mr. Resto-Olivo is responsible for ensuring the proper operation of NVLSP’s human resources operations, facilities, administrative functions, and provides general supervision to the NVLSP’s Information Technology (IT) operations.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. Resto-Olivo completed 21 years of staff service with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He is now retired from Federal service as of 2022. At the CIA he served in corporate assignments at CIA Headquarters as well as field assignments in over 33 countries around the world. During his time at the CIA, Mr. Resto-Olivo served as the Chief of Global Support Services for multiple CIA organizations to include the Counterterrorism Center Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria Departments and CIA Teams in East Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Latin America. He also served as a CIA Expeditionary Officer in Afghanistan, Japan, and Colombia. In the HR field, Mr. Resto-Olivo served as the Chief of HR for the CIA Office of Security, the CIA Cyber Ops Center, and CIA organizations in Iraq and Pakistan, and as the regional Chief HR for CIA for East Asia. Mr. Resto-Olivo is a recipient of multiple CIA Exceptional Performance Awards, CIA Merit Unit Citations, the Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Yemen War Zone Service Medal. 

In his spare time, Mr. Resto-Olivo enjoys hiking, running, or walking around the many paths and trails available in Northern Virginia or Washington DC.

He is also a passionate student of the physical properties, and historical context of banknotes or paper currency. He studies and maintains a personal collection of close to 700 rare banknotes from over 200 countries, paper money acquired during his business or personal travel around the world at bazaars or markets where currency enthusiasts gather on weekends to display or exchange their currency collections.

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Ana Reyes

Director of Development

Ms. Ana Reyes oversees NVLSP’s development and philanthropic programs, helping donors and corporations contribute to NVLSP’s work helping veterans receive the disability benefits they’ve earned and deserve.  Ms. Reyes has more than fifteen years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and management.  She has effectively developed comprehensive fundraising strategies for national, regional and local organizations supporting civil rights; community services programs for those in need; and immigrant and refugee rights. 

Prior to coming to NVLSP, Ms. Reyes held senior development positions at Advancement Project, The Hispanic Committee of Virginia, Norwalk Community Health Center, and other institutions.  Ms. Reyes is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A., Political Science).

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Richard Spataro

Director of Training and Publications

Mr. Richard V. Spataro is the Director of Training and Publications for NVLSP.  Mr. Spataro joined NVLSP as a law clerk in 2004 and accepted a position as a staff attorney upon his graduation from law school in 2005. He was promoted to the position of senior staff attorney in 2013. He has represented hundreds of veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and has also represented veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and VA Regional Offices. He trains advocates in veterans law and mentors attorneys who participate in NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors®Program and the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program. From November 2010 to August 2015, he was also the managing attorney of NVLSP’s Nehmer Lawsuit Division. During that time, he and his team of attorneys assisted thousands of veterans and their survivors obtain retroactive VA benefits for herbicide-related disabilities under the court orders in the class action Nehmer v. U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. 

Before embarking on his legal career, Mr. Spataro served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy. He earned his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program at Duke University. He spent four years on active duty, serving first as the Auxiliaries Officer of the USS Vella Gulf and then as the Navigator of the USS Mount Whitney. 

Mr. Spataro is a member of the Virginia and the District of Columbia Bars. From 2010 to 2013, he served as a Vice Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association. 

Mr. Spataro originally hails from Malone, New York. He is a graduate of Duke University (B.A., History, 1998) and American University, Washington College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2005). He, his wife Jessica, and their two young children live in Springfield, Virginia.

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Stacy Tromble

Director of CAVC Litigation

Ms. Stacy Tromble is the Director of CAVC Litigation at NVLSP.  She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is licensed to practice in the State of New York, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.  Ms. Tromble is also a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and is admitted to practice in several federal districts. She is also an At-Large Member of the CAVC Bar Association Board of Governors. 

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Tromble was a senior associate in the government enforcement group of a large international law firm.  Her pro bono work at the firm focused on veteran and family law matters.

Ms. Tromble earned her law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo (J.D., summa cum laude, 2007).  She also holds a Master of Social Work degree with a mental health concentration.

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Jeffrey J. Zanghi

Director of Finance

Mr. Jeffrey J. Zanghi is Director of Finance and Secretary/Treasurer for NVLSP.  As Director of Finance, Mr. Zanghi is responsible for overseeing the financial and accounting function of NVLSP, working with the Board of Directors’ audit and investment committees, strategic planning, benefits adminstration, and other related activities.  

Mr. Zanghi has 25 years of experience in finance, accounting and business management. He has extensive experience working for non-profit organizations. Previously, Mr. Zanghi served as Controller for Folger Shakespeare Library and as Budget and Management Reporting Director for Environmental Defense/Action Fund.

Mr. Zanghi is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University.

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Staff Biographies

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Shara Abraham

Appellate Attorney

Ms. Shara Abraham is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. Following her graduation from law school, Shara was a Staff Attorney with the Ohio Justice & Policy Center and a law clerk to the Honorable Lisa Margaret Smith, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. After her federal clerkship, Shara joined the Westchester County Office of the District Attorney, where she investigated and prosecuted crimes involving public integrity and corruption, weapons possession and gang violence. Following her tenure as a prosecutor, Shara worked at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley. As a Staff Attorney with LSHV’s Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project, Shara represented veterans and active duty service members in a wide array of civil legal matters, including VA benefits claims and discharge upgrades; eviction and foreclosure prevention; custody, child support and protection from domestic violence; and consumer debt. Most recently, Shara served as LSHV’s Pro Bono Director.

Ms. Abraham is a graduate of American University’s Washington College of Law (J.D., cum laude 2002) and Trinity College (B.A., 1996). During law school, she was the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Human Rights Brief and was recognized with the American University Award for Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at Ramapo College, St. Thomas Aquinas College and SUNY Rockland and has conducted trainings on a variety of topics, including housing law and veterans and trauma-informed lawyering.  She is a member of the New York State Bar, New Jersey Bar, U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims.

 

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Ronald Abrams

Special Counsel

Mr. Ronald B. Abrams is Special Counsel to NVLSP, where he served as Joint Executive Director from 2004 to 2017 and Director of Training and Publications from 1989 to 2004. He is a graduate of the Temple University (B.A. 1969), and Temple University School of Law (J.D. 1973).

Mr. Abrams began his career in 1975 in the Philadelphia regional office of the Veterans Administration, serving first as an adjudicator and then as a member of the rating board. Mr. Abrams transferred to the VA’s Central Office in 1977 as legal consultant to the Compensation and Pension Service (C&P), where he was recognized as an expert in due process.

As legal consultant to C&P, Mr. Abrams helped to draft the VA Adjudication Procedures Manual M21-1. He wrote and interpreted regulations and directives to be followed by VA staff and others, and both drafted and commented on legislation on the VA’s behalf. As part of his work, Mr. Abrams was in charge of the C&P quality review section.  While at VA Central Office, Mr. Abrams conducted national training sessions in adjudication and due process for VA staff.

Mr. Abrams has appeared on national television and testified on many occasions before the U.S. Congress on behalf of the nation’s veterans. Mr. Abrams experience working for VA gave him great insight into the VA system.  He decided to employ this knowledge as an advocate with NVLSP.  Since joining NVLSP, he has conducted hundreds of training sessions for such organizations as the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, The American Legion, the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, AMVETS, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and many state and county departments of veterans affairs. He has also conducted training sessions for many state bar associations, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

He is the former editor of The Veterans Advocate, a quarterly publication on veterans’ law and advocacy, editor of the Basic Training Course in Veterans Benefits and is a co-author and editor of The Veterans Benefits Manual.




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Adrian Arias

Accountant

Mr. Adrian Arias has more than five years of accounting and research experience working with non-profit organizations and commercial entities in the Washington, DC area. 

Mr. Arias earned his AA in Business Administration from Prince George’s Community College and a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland. 

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Amy Borgersen

Appellate Attorney

Ms. Amy Borgersen is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. She is a member of the Virginia State Bar. Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Borgersen worked as an Associate Attorney at a private firm in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where she handled a significant docket of appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Ms. Borgersen is a graduate of Western Michigan University Law School (J.D., cum laude 2013) and Florida Atlantic University (B.S., 2003). During law school, she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Journal of Practical and Clinical Law and interned for the Honorable Rosemary Aquilina of the Ingham County Circuit Court. She also worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section and Vietnam Veterans of America.

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George Burtsev

Office Manager

Mr. George Burtsev is Office Manager for NVLSP adopting successively more responsibilities since he joined the organization as Office Assistant in March 2016. Mr. Burtsev provides wide-ranging administrative support to NVLSP Staff and coordinates a variety of operational matters. Earlier in his career, Mr. Burtsev worked as a department manager at Nordstrom Company in Annapolis, Maryland.

Mr. Burtsev received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2010 and a Master of Business Administration in 2011 from Strayer University.

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Sarah Champion

Appellate Attorney

Sarah Champion is an Appellate Attorney at NVLSP. Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Champion worked as an Appellate Attorney at Vietnam Veterans of America. Before practicing veterans’ law, Ms. Champion was a staff attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina, where she assisted clients with Social Security disability claims and developed trainings for medical providers on the social determinants of health.

 

Ms. Champion is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is member of the D.C. Bar. Ms. Champion is a  graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A., 2014) and of Duke University School of Law (J.D., 2021).

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Margaret A. Costello

Staff Attorney

Margaret (Peggy) Costello is a staff attorney at NVLSP.  She represents veterans before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and U.S. Court of Veterans Claims and provides training to veterans advocates. 

Ms. Costello has extensive experience in veterans law. Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Costello worked as Associate Professor and Director the Veterans Law Clinic at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law for 15 years. During her tenure at Detroit Mercy Law, Ms. Costello oversaw the development of the Veterans Law Clinic. Ms. Costello’s work has garnered her many accolades, including the Michigan State Bar Champion of Justice Award.

Ms. Costello is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. She is admitted to practice before several federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, the Sixth and Seventh U.S. Circuit of Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. She is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University (B.S. with high distinction and Honors in Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa), Southern Illinois University (M.A. Rehabilitation Administration), University of Michigan (M.A., Clinical Psychology), and Detroit College of Law (J.D. Summa Cum Laude). She is a Ph.D candidate in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan.

 

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Christine Cote Hill

Special Counsel

Ms. Christine Cote Hill is Special Counsel to NVLSP. She represents veterans and survivors before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and other federal courts and trains and supervises NVLSP staff attorneys. She devotes much of her time to mentoring and advising pro bono attorneys representing veterans and survivors through NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® program, as well as pro bono attorneys representing appellants through the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program.  She also trains advocates in veterans law.

Ms. Cote Hill has also spoken on matters related to veterans disability benefits, including as moderator/panelist of the session, Navigating the National Personnel Records Center/Joint Services RecordsResearch Center: Requesting and Searching Official Records, during the Eleventh Judicial Conference of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  She also served on the planning committee of the Twelfth Judicial Conference of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Ms. Cote Hill joined NVLSP in July 2005. Prior to that, she worked as an appellate litigator with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the General Counsel, Appellate Litigation Staff. During her tenure, she worked in the United States Senate for two years as a VA Congressional Liaison, and was selected for the agency’s Regulations Re-Write Task Force. She also served as associate counsel at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Before moving to the Washington, D.C. area, Ms. Cote Hill was an associate at a firm in Albany, New York, specializing in criminal defense and matrimonial law. She is a graduate of the Union College (B.A., cum laude, 1994) and Albany Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1996) Honors Law and Public Policy Program, and completed the Georgetown University Legislative Studies Program.

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Emily Woodward Deutsch

Appellate Attorney

Ms. Deutsch is an Appellate Attorney at NVLSP. She spent eight years at the Board of Veterans Appeals as an Attorney-Advisor.  During that time, Ms. Deutsch prepared more than 1,100 Board decisions, signed more than 45 decisions as an acting Veterans Law Judge, and served in the Board’s Office of Quality Review.  She also served as Executive Editor, Managing Editor, and Associate Editor of the Veterans Law Review over a six-year period. More recently, she served as Assistant General Counsel at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  Ms. Deutsch is a graduate of the College of William and Mary (B.A., summa cum laude) and the Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.) where she received numerous writing awards.  She is admitted to practice in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

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Brandy Disbennett-Albrecht

Appellate Attorney

Brandy Disbennett-Albrecht is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP, mentoring and advising pro bono attorneys representing veterans and survivors through NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® program. An experienced veterans’ law practitioner, Ms. Disbennett has over 10 years of experience in both public and private practice representing veterans before the US Department of Veterans Affairs, including over 6 years with the Benefits Service Line of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS). Ms. Disbennett has a passion for teaching veterans law; serving in training and policy roles during her tenure with VDVS, and instructing a Veterans Law Practicum as an Adjunct Professor with Washington & Lee University School of Law. Ms. Disbennett has delivered over 1,500 hours of training in the field of veterans’ law, including continuing legal education presentations and other public speaking events. She has also authored several published articles related to the practice of veterans law. 

Ms. Disbennett graduated cum laude from Roger Williams University School of Law and is admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is accredited to represent veterans before the US Department of Veterans Affairs and licensed to practice before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Ms. Disbennett was appointed to serve on the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services in 2020, and appointed to the Board of Governors of the Virginia State Bar’s Military Law Section in June 2022. Ms. Disbennett was also awarded the National Organization of Veterans Advocate’s Distinguished Advocate Award in April 2023. 

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Masha Danilenko

Development Associate

Ms.  Danilenko is the Development Associate for NVLSP. She provides administrative support for NVLSP’s development activities, including prospect research, appeals, annual fundraising events, grants, and donor stewardship.  Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Danilenko sharpened her organizational and creative skills with a number of multi-platform production companies.

Ms. Danilenko is a graduate of the University of Maryland (B.A.) and Long Island University (M.F.A.). She is fluent in French and Russian.

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Monica Draper

Senior Accountant

Ms. Monica Draper joined NVLSP in January 2006 as Staff Accountant and was promoted to Senior Accountant in March 2021. In that capacity, she assists the organization’s Director of Finance with all accounting activities.

Taking on the additional role of Network Support in 2010, Monica also maintains local area network (LAN) system support and provides oversight of the organization’s computer systems.  

Prior to joining NVLSP, Monica worked as an accountant and billing specialist with Interior Architects, Inc. in Washington. Before moving to the United States, she worked with the US Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia as an IT specialist managing day-to-day operations of the embassy’s unclassified computer system.

Monica holds a BA in Accounting from the University of Liberia and a Master of Science in Accounting from Strayer University.

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Amy Fulmer

Staff Attorney

Amy Fulmer is a staff attorney with NVLSP’s Pro Bono Program Lawyers Serving Warriors. She mentors and advises attorneys assisting veterans with claims for discharge upgrades, medical retirement, and combat-related special compensation claims.  She also mentors and advises volunteer attorneys representing veterans before the Discharge Review Boards and the Board for Correction of Military Records.

While in law school, Ms. Fulmer acted as a student attorney in her law school’s Veterans and Servicemember Clinic where she assisted veteran’s applying for disability benefits and discharge upgrades.  While in the clinic she also was a member of a team who wrote an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in support of a veteran’s rights issue (George v. McDonough).  Ms. Fulmer is a graduate of Broward College (B.A., summa cum laude, 2019) and University of Florida, Levin College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2023).  Ms. Fulmer is also a veteran of the Army where she served for four years as a watercraft operator.

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Louis George

Special Counsel

Mr. Louis J. George is Special Counsel to NVLSP, and focuses on matters at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) and Training. He began his previous tenure at NVLSP in 1998, serving as a Staff Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney before being named Director of Training and Publications, a position he held from 2013 to 2015.

While a member of NVLSP’s litigation staff, he represented veterans and dependents before the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and other federal courts.  He also trained and mentored attorneys participating in NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® Program. He was also a co-author and co-editor of The Veterans Benefits Manual.

Most recently, Mr. George served as an Attorney for the Office of the General Counsel at the Social Security Administration in Boston, MA. His exceptional work garnered him numerous accolades including Exemplary Contribution or Service Award, Excellence-in-Service Award and Recognition of Contribution Performance Awards.

Mr. George has a long history of public service and defending veterans rights. From 1996 to 1998 he worked as an associate counsel with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, where he wrote decisions regarding entitlement to veterans benefits for review by members of the Board. From 1992 to 1996, he served as a staff attorney with the Massachusetts Highway Department, Central Artery/Tunnel Project, in Boston. During law school, he worked as a law clerk with the Board for Correction of Military Records of the Coast Guard, where he researched and wrote decisions regarding requests for discharge upgrades and other claims involving such issues as promotions, separations, and disability retirements.

Mr. George is admitted to the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1992) and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (1994). He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and several other federal courts. He is accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. George was President of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association. He was a member of the Rules Advisory Committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. From 2012 to 2015 he served on the Section Council of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association, having previously served as Co-Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee of the Section. He later served as Assistant Budget Officer and Budget Officer of the Section. 

A native of Danvers, Massachusetts, Mr. George is a graduate of Salem State University (B.S., summa cum laude, 1989) and Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.,1992). He and his wife, Ellen Dempsey, live in Danvers, where he is active in local and community affairs.

 

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Alec Ghezzi

Appellate Attorney

Mr. Ghezzi is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP.  He is a member of the Maryland State Bar. Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. Ghezzi worked for Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) in various attorney roles, including Director of its Veterans Benefits Program.  During his close to seven years at VVA, Mr. Ghezzi recovered over $4.5 million in retroactive benefits for veterans and their survivors through representation before the Veterans Benefits Administration and Board of Veterans’ Appeals.  He also provided training and mentorship to VVA’s attorneys and service officers.  

Additionally, Mr. Ghezzi worked as an attorney for a private law firm for four years.  He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of law (J.D. 2011), where he participated in the school’s Veterans Law Clinic, and Washington College (B.A. 2008).

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Matthew Handley

Equal Justice Works Fellow

Matthew Handley is an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation and a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. Prior to attending law school and joining NVLSP, he served on active duty in the U.S. Army for nine years. Throughout law school he engaged in a wide variety of supervised clinical practice representing veterans in state and federal court as well as before the VA and military records correction boards. Through his fellowship with NVLSP, Mr. Handley works to organize a coordinated campaign of investigation, litigation, and advocacy to compel the military to stop wrongfully denying medical retirement benefits to qualifying veterans.

Mr. Handley is a graduate of Cedarville University (B.A., 2009), the University of Oklahoma (M.A., 2017), and Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., 2022, magna cum laude).

 

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Thomas J. Herthel

Of Counsel

Mr. Tom Herthel serves Of Counsel to NVLSP.  Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. Herthel served as Deputy Commissioner, Virginia Department of Veterans Services where he managed the Agency’s Benefit Services, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, and Cemeteries service lines.  

Mr. Herthel brings a wealth of military experience to NVLSP.  Mr. Herthel served as the Director of the Air Force General Counsel’s office in Europe, providing legal support to the United States Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as for negotiating defense issues throughout Europe.  Mr. Herthel retired from the military after 26 years with the U.S. Army and Air Force.  Mr. Herthel also served as an intelligence officer, deploying to Saudi Arabia and Iraq in support of Operations Desert Shield and Storm.  After law school, Mr. Herthel accepted a Commission as an Air Force Judge Advocate.  Throughout his military career, Mr. Herthel served on the Joint Staff in Belgium, as a Staff Judge Advocate, the legal advisor to the Air Force Inspector General and Air Staff Counsel at the Pentagon, an international law instructor, and both a prosecutor and defense attorney.  

Mr. Herthel is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.  He attended Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree.  Mr. Herthel also earned a Masters in Law in Military Law from the Army’s Law Center in Charlottesville, Virginia and a Certificate in Military and Veterans Health, Policy and Advocacy from William & Mary College of Law.  He is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Supreme Court of Alabama. 

 

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Rosalee Hoffman

Senior Appellate Attorney

Ms. Rosalee Hoffman is a Senior Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is a member of the New York State Bar. She is a graduate of The University of Iowa (B.A., 2009) and American University Washington College of Law (J.D., 2013). While in law school, Ms. Hoffman was a student attorney at the Women in the Law Clinic and a staff member of the Administrative Law Review.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Hoffman represented veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran’s claims at a firm specializing in veterans law.

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Alexis Ivory

Senior Staff Attorney

Ms. Alexis Marie Ivory is a senior staff attorney with NVLSP.  She splits her time between developing training programs and conducting training sessions for veterans service officers and representing veterans and their survivors before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  She is admitted to practice before the U.S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is a member of the Maryland State bar. 

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Ivory was counsel at The Board of Veterans’ Appeals, Department of Veterans Affairs.  During her tenure, Ms. Ivory was the VA representative at military bases in Japan and taught the VA portion of the Transition Assistance Program.

Ms. Ivory is from New York and is a graduate of The Catholic University of America (B.S. 2002), and The Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America (J.D. 2005). 

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Paige James

Legal Assistant

Ms. Paige James is a Legal Assistant for NVLSP. She supports litigators who represent veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).  

Ms. James is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (B.A. 2021). She is also the proud spouse of an active duty service member.

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Cinthia Johnson

Staff Attorney

Cinthia Johnson is a Staff Attorney in NVLSP’s Litigation Division. She will spend time working with NVLSP’s Nehmer Lawsuit Division and on other impact litigation at NVLSP.  

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Johnson worked at CT Veterans Legal Center where she represented veterans through their VA Benefit claims for eleven years. She also taught a Veterans Benefit Advocacy Clinic at UCONN law for five years.  Ms. Johnson is a graduate of UCONN Law school. She is a member of the Connecticut State Bar and admitted to practice before the CAVC. 

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Ryan Kelley

Staff Attorney

Ryan Kelley is staff attorney at NVLSP.  Mr.Kelley represents veterans before the VA on claims for disability benefits related to exposure to toxic fumes and smoke emanating from the burn pits that the U.S. military used on American bases throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of Southwest Asia to dispose of all kinds of waste,including ordinance, batteries, human waste, fuel, etc.  He also serves as an attorney in NVLSP’s impact litigation and class actions on behalf of veterans, servicemembers, and their families. Mr. Kelley joins NVLSP staff after completing an exemplary year with NVLSP as a fellow sponsored by Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned his J.D.  Mr. Kelley is admitted to practice in D.C.

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Ann Kenna

Staff Attorney

Ms. Ann Kenna is a Staff Attorney in NVLSP’s Nehmer Lawsuit Division.  She is a member of the New York State Bar.  Ms. Kenna focuses her time on ensuring Vietnam Veterans and their surviving family members receive benefits for disabilities and deaths that are associated with Agent Orange exposure as a part of the class action lawsuit: Nehmer v. U.S.Department of Veterans Affairs.

Ms. Kenna is a graduate of St. John Fisher College (Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, summa cum laude) and Syracuse University College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2016).  While in law school, she worked in the Syracuse University College of Law Veterans Legal Clinic and was an editorial member of the Syracuse Law Review.  Ms. Kenna is a member of the Justinian Honor Society. 

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Esther Leibfarth

Senior Managing Attorney

Ms. Esther N. Leibfarth is a Senior Managing Attorney at NVLSP assisting active duty service members and veterans in obtaining medical military retirements through NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors program. She serves as a mentor to volunteer attorneys representing service members in the military’s Disability Evaluation System and before the Board for Corrections of Military Records. 

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Leibfarth worked as a civilian Judge Advocate General with the Army’s Office of Soldiers’ Counsel,where she represented Army service members before the Medical and Physica lEvaluation Boards. Ms. Leibfarth is a graduate of Emory University School of Law (JD, 2010) and holds a Masters of Laws in international business and economics from Georgetown Law Center (LLM, 2011). Ms. Leibfarth is admitted to practice in New York. 

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Anita Meador

Paralegal

Ms. Anita Meador is a Paralegal for NVLSP. She provides support to the litigators who represent veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Ms. Meador joined NVLSP as a law clerk and advanced to the position of paralegal. 

Before pursuing a legal career, Ms. Meador was a registered nurse with a solid record of experience in acute rehabilitation, cardiovascular care and clinical trials nursing.  She is a graduate of Western Oklahoma State College.  

Ms. Meador and her husband Kenny are a proud military family. He is an appellate attorney with NVLSP as well as an Army veteran.  She is a proud military mother to son, Brayden, who is currently serving in the U.S. Army.  The Meadors live in Massachusetts with their youngest son, Boston.

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Kenneth Meador

Appellate Attorney

Kenneth Meador is an Appellate Attorney at NVLSP. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar. 

After September 11, 2001, Mr. Meador joined the United States Army as a combat medic and deployed to combat three times. While serving

in the Army, Mr. Meador saw and experienced the sacrifices that veterans make firsthand. When he left the Army, he knew that he wanted to continue to serve those who served. He used the Post 9/11 GI Bill to attend the University of Oklahoma where he was selected to become a Harry S. Truman Scholar in 2013 and graduated summa cum laude in 2014. He then attended Boston University School of Law as a public interest scholar and was selected to become a Rappaport Fellow in 2016. He graduated in 2018 and became a law clerk for the Honorable William S. Greenberg at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Mr. Meador lives in Massachusetts with his wife Anita, their son, Boston, and their dog Fenway. Mr. Meador’s oldest son, Brayden, is currently serving in the U.S. Army. In his spare time, Mr. Meador volunteers with Service 2 Schools, a non-profit organization that helps veterans transition from military service to academia.

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Ashlyn McCall

Staff Attorney

Ashlyn McCall is a staff attorney with NVLSP’s Pro Bono Program Lawyers Serving Warriors® and a member of the Texas bar. She is also the proud spouse of an active duty service member. Ms. McCall mentors and advises volunteer attorneys assisting veterans with applications for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). She also mentors and advises volunteer attorneys assisting veterans with applications for Discharge Upgrades.

While in law school, Ms. McCall was a student clinician in the Texas A&M Family and Veteran’s Advocacy Clinic, learning about the wide range of issues veterans face once they are separated from the military and how to best advocate for and assist them. She was also a research assistant and served as a senior staff editor and student author for the Texas A&M Journal of Property Law. Ms. McCall is a graduate of Texas A&M University (B.A., magna cum laude, 2020) and Texas A&M University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2023.)

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Lane McCall

IT Manager

Mr. Lane McCall is the Information Technology (IT) Manager for NVLSP. Mr. McCall is responsible for ensuring proper operation of NVLSP’s computing hardware and software while optimizing NVLSP’s network infrastructure, troubleshooting and acting as project manager for IT vendor services.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. McCall worked at IT Veterans, an IT consulting firm in Herndon, Virginia. He was also a part-time lab manager for a DIA-owned sandbox environment used to test and demo future cybersecurity and networking capabilities. Lane also teaches ethical hacking, cybersecurity best practices, and more on his personal YouTube channel.

Mr. McCall is an Air Force Veteran with an extensive military cyber background. While in the Air Force, he was responsible for sustaining executive communications systems, troubleshooting network issues, and managing active directory objects for key leadership including the commander of United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He also worked in the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing (ISRW) on the NSA side of Ft. Meade, Maryland supporting various cyber operations across multiple classifications.

In his spare time, Mr. McCall enjoys riding his motorcycle, photography, fishing, working out, and playing video games with friends.

He is CompTIA A+, Security+, and USAF Cyber 100 certified. 

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Erin M. Mee

Senior Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney

Ms. Erin M. Mee is the Senior Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney for NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® project. She works with the Lawyers Serving Warriors® network of law firm and corporate partners to assist veterans pro bono on a variety of veterans disability related matters. In addition to facilitating pro bono case placement and guidance to pro bono volunteer attorneys, Ms. Mee coordinates Lawyers Serving Warriors® virtual clinic and brief service and advice opportunities. While in law school, Ms. Mee served on the Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, the Legislation & Policy Brief, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Honor Society’s negotiation team. She also worked as a legal intern for the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Ms. Mee is a graduate of the College of William & Mary (B.A., Government and Sociology) and American University Washington College of Law (J.D.). 

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Caitlin M. Milo

Senior Appellate Attorney

Ms. Caitlin M. Milo is a Senior Appellate Attorney with NVLSP.  She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is a member of the Maryland Bar.  While in law school, Ms. Milo served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Coastal Law Review and was awarded the Scribes Legal Writing Award and Honorable Mention in the 2012 International Association of Defense Counsel’s Legal Writing Contest. Ms. Milo also interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and clerked for Justice R. Fred Lewis at the Supreme Court of Florida and Judge Timothy Corrigan at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Milo completed an Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps Fellowship with the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, where she represented veterans seeking VA benefits and facing homelessness.  Ms. Milo was also an associate attorney at Mattar Veterans Advocates, a Buffalo, New York firm that assists veterans nationwide with their appeals for benefits. 

Ms. Milo is a member of the National Organization of Veterans Advocates, Amicus and Litigation Committee and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association.

Ms.Milo is a graduate of James Madison University (B.A., summa cum laude with distinction, History, 2009) and Florida Coastal School of Law (summa cum laude, 2013).  She is an active member of the Junior League of Wilmington, an organization that supports local, low-income women and children.  She and her husband, a Navy veteran, live in New Jersey.

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Christopher G. Murray

Senior Managing Appellate Attorney

Mr. Christopher Murray is a Senior Managing Appellate Attorney with NVLSP, where he represents veterans and survivors before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) and trains veterans service officers and other advocates in veterans law.  Prior to joining NVLSP’s litigation group, Mr. Murray served as Counsel at the Board of Veterans Appeals for over twelve years. During that time, he prepared more than 2,200 decisions, signed more than 200 decisions as an Acting Veterans Law Judge, and played an active role in the Board’s training program.  Mr. Murray was recognized by the Board as a subject-matter expert on a number of complex topics, including Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services,Gulf War and Undiagnosed Illnesses, and Reductions and Restorations.  He also served as Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor of the Veterans Law  Review.

Mr. Murray is a graduate of The College of William & Mary (B.B.A., 2002) and the George Mason School of Law (J.D., 2006).  He is admitted to practice before the CAVC and licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

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Angela Nedd

Senior Paralegal

Ms. Angela Nedd is Senior Paralegal for NVLSP. She joined NVLSP in 2016 to provide administrative support to the organization’s Co-Executive Directors, as well as paralegal support to the litigators who represent veterans before the U.S. Court of Veterans Claims.  Ms. Nedd recently earned a B.A. in Psychology and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from a local university.  As a student, Ms. Nedd completed an externship at the PTSD Unit of a VA Hospital, where she observed group therapy sessions of combat veterans.  The veterans described not only their experiences with PTSD, but the difficulties they encountered obtaining benefits from the VA; this experience solidified her desire to serve the women and men who have served our country.  In previous positions, Ms. Nedd has worked on website design and architecture, on substance abuse issues, in advocacy, in student leadership, and in facilities management. 

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Anita Nigam-Ritchie

Appellate Attorney

Ms. Anita Ritchie is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is a member of the Washington, D.C. Bar.  

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Ritchie served for 6 years as a Senior National Service Officer, specializing in appeals, with Wounded Warrior Project. During her tenure, Ms. Ritchie provided education, claims counseling, and representation for veterans and family support members throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs benefit claims process for a number of issues, with a focus on military toxic exposure claims. She also has provided practitioner trainings on the VA appeals process and military toxic exposure claims. Ms. Ritchie has also testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. 

Additionally, Ms. Ritchie served as an Attorney Advisor, Associate Counsel and Counsel at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals for 11 years where she headed the Board’s Designation of the Record Unit, performed evidence review, and drafted appellate decisions for Veterans Law Judges. 

Ms. Ritchie is a graduate of the Canisius College Honors Program with a Bachelor’s degree in English, and of American University, Washington College of Law (J.D.). 

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Nnamdi Okoli

Staff Attorney

Mr. Nnamdi Okoli is a Staff Attorney in NVLSP’s Nehmer Lawsuit Division. Mr. Okoli focuses his time on ensuring Vietnam Veterans and their surviving family members receive benefits for disabilities and deaths that are associated with Agent Orange exposure as a part of the class action lawsuit: Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. Okoli has worked in ensuring access to justice and improving the rule of law in international projects. Mr. Okoli is a graduate of Austin College (B.A., 2011) and of The George Washington University School of Law (J.D., 2016). Mr. Okoli is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia.

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Heather Olson

Appellate Attorney

Heather Olson is an Appellate Attorney at NVLSP. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is a member of the Maryland State Bar. Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Olson served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Grant C. Jaquith at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Before her clerkship, she worked as a Senior Managing Attorney at Vietnam Veterans of America. 

Ms. Olson is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 2018). She also holds a Master of Social Work degree with an Organization and Community Leadership concentration.

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Zach Outzen

Equal Justice Works Fellow

Zach Outzen is an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Lavan-Harris Charitable Fund and a member of the Maryland Bar. His fellowship with NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® Project involves mentoring and advising attorneys providing assistance to traumatically injured veterans with initial claims and appeals for Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) benefits. He also works to expand access to TSGLI benefits through advocacy and community outreach.  

Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. Outzen interned at the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps Special Victims’ Counsel Office, where he assisted servicemembers who experienced military sexual trauma. He also interned at the Richmond Public Defender’s Office and Legal Services of Northern California, and served as a student advocate at the Lewis B. Puller, Jr., Veterans Benefits Clinic, assisting veterans with VA disability compensation claims. He is a family member to six  Army veterans. 

Mr. Outzen is a graduate of Christopher Newport University (B.A., 2019) and William & Mary Law School (J.D., concentration in Public Interest and Social Justice, 2022).

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Andrew Penman

Appellate Attorney

Andrew Penman is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. He is admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and licensed to practice in Indiana. Mr. Penman is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law (J.D., cum laude 2017) and the United States Naval Academy (B.S., Honors 2008). 

Prior to joining NVLSP, he has worked as a public defender in Indiana and Kentucky. A veteran US Navy SEAL, Mr. Penman received the Combat Action Ribbon (2011) and is a two-time recipient of The Bronze Star Medal (2011 & 2013). 

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Grace Paul

Appellate Attorney

Ms. Grace Paul is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. Ms. Paul is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Florida Supreme Court and is a member of the Florida Bar. 

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Paul worked with several private law firms. As a student, she also worked at the Stetson Law Veterans’ Advocacy Clinic. 

Ms. Paul is a graduate of Stetson University (B.A. Sociology) and Stetson University of Law (J.D.). 

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Rebecca Pierce

Appellate Attorney

Ms. Rebecca Pierce is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP.  She is admitted to practice before the North Carolina Supreme Court and is a member of the North Carolina Bar. 

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Pierce interned with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  

Ms. Pierce is a graduate of Lees-McRae College (B.A. Criminal Justice and Religious Studies, Magna Cum Laude) and of Campbell University School of Law (J.D.). 

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Dorrie Popovski

Paralegal

Dorrie Popovski is the paralegal for NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® program.

Ms. Popovski directs and manages the LSW intake process from initial inquiry through placement/rejection. She conducts the preliminary screening of submitted applications, and requests VA and military records. She also screens discharge upgrade cases, makes recommendations for placement/rejection, writes up rejections and writes screening memos for placements. Ms. Popovski is a graduate of the University of Maryland.

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Jeffrey Price

Appellate Attorney

Jeffrey Price is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP.  He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and Federal District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western, Districts of Texas. Mr. Price is a member of the Texas Bar.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. Price worked as a litigation associate and eventually as counsel at an international law firm in Dallas, Texas.  He was also a partner in several boutique and regional firms where he worked as an appellate and trial attorney focusing on complex commercial litigation. 

Mr. Price is a graduate of Brigham Young University (B.A.) and the University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.).  He served in the Utah and Minnesota Army National Guard.  During his time in the Utah National Guard, Mr. Price served on “Active Duty for Special Work” for two years as a Spanish translator at the Joint Language Training Center.  

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Abigail Reynolds

Staff Attorney

Abigail Reynolds is a staff attorney with NVLSP’s Pro Bono Program Lawyers Serving Warriors®. She mentors and advises volunteer attorneys representing veterans before the Discharge Review Boards and the Boards for Correction of Military Records. She also mentors and advises volunteer attorneys assisting veterans with claims for VA benefits before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) following remands from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).

While in law school, Ms. Reynolds interned at Homeless Persons Representation Project, working on veterans’ benefits and discharge upgrade cases, and Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia, working on public benefits cases. She also served as Senior Forum Editor for the American University Law Review and Director of Academic Affairs of the Student Bar Association. Ms. Reynolds is a graduate of Winthrop University (B.A., magna cum laude, 2015) and American University Washington College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2020). She is a member of the District of Columbia bar.

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Abigail Schopick

Senior Appellate Attorney

Ms. Abigail Schopick is a Senior Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is licensed to practice in the District of Columbia and in the State of Maryland (inactive). Ms. Schopick is a graduate of Tulane University (BA psychology) and American University Washington College of Law (JD).

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Schopick spent more than 8 years as an Appellate Attorney/Senior Appellate Attorney with VA’s Office of General Counsel, representing the Secretary before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. While at VA, she also conducted trainings both within OGC as well as for Veterans Law Judges at the Board. Prior to working at VA, Ms. Schopick practiced as an attorney representing veterans before both VA (RO and Board) and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims at a small private firm.

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Carlie Steiner

Senior Appellate Attorney

Ms. Carlie Steiner is a Senior Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. She is a member of the Colorado Bar. Ms. Steiner is graduate of Colorado College (B.A., cum laude, 2009) and American University Washington College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2015). While in law school, Ms. Steiner was a Public Interest Public Service Scholar, a Senior Research Associate with the Public International Law & Policy Group, and a Senior Articles Editor on the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law.

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Steiner worked as a National Appellate Attorney at Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) where she represented clients before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Before working with VVA, Ms. Steiner clerked for the Honorable Shirley M. Watts of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. 

 

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Bart Stichman

Special Counsel

Barton F. Stichman is Special Counsel to NVLSP focusing on litigation activities. In July 2021, he stepped down as Executive Director of NVLSP, which he co-founded in 1981. After earning law degrees from New York University School of Law (J.D. 1974) and Georgetown University Law Center (LLM 1975), he has devoted his entire professional legal career to helping veterans and their families get the federal veterans benefits to which they are entitled. 

For the last four decades, Mr. Stichman has represented veterans and their families before U.S. District Courts, U.S. Courts of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs, military department discharge review boards and boards for correction of military records. His litigation efforts have resulted in payment of more than $5.4 billion dollars in disability and healthcare benefits to hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans and their families.

A major part of NVLSP’s mission is to increase the pool of effective advocates available to represent veterans and their family members by training lawyers and non-lawyers and providing educational publications to them in veterans benefits law. Over his career, Mr. Stichman has trained thousands of non-lawyer accredited veterans service officers, lawyers, and law students in this area of law. 

Mr. Stichman is a co-author/editor of The Veterans Benefits Manual, NVLSP’s 2,400-page treatise on veterans benefits law that is published annually by Lexis Law Publishing and has been distributed to thousands of veterans service officers and lawyers. The Veterans Benefits Manual has been recognized as legal authority in numerous court cases. He is also a co-author of The Rights of Military Personnel, and NVLSP’s Military Discharge Upgrade Manual and has written articles on veterans benefits law appearing in the Administrative Law ReviewThe American University Law Review, The Federal Bar News and JournalClearinghouse ReviewStanford Law and Policy Review, and the Legal Times

Mr. Stichman is a member of the Judicial Advisory Committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and is a past president of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association.

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Elizabeth Tarloski

Staff Attorney

Elizabeth Tarloski is a staff attorney with NVLSP. She represents veterans before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and U.S. Court of Veterans Claims and provides training to veterans advocates. 

Before joining NVLSP, Ms. Tarloski was staff attorney at the Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania Veterans Advocacy Project. She was also a Visiting Professor at the William and Mary Law School Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic where she developed and taught the first law school clinic class nationwide to focus exclusively on Veterans Benefits cases specific to Military Sexual Trauma and helped to create and teach the online certificate course ‘Psychological Challenges and Resulting Legal Issues for Service Members and Veterans.’ She also served on the Supreme Court of Virginia - Special Committee on Best Practices for Veterans’ Dockets and worked with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Veterans’ Initiative Program. 

Ms. Tarloski is a graduate of the University of San Diego (B.A.), the London School of Economics and Political Science (M.S.) and Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law (J.D.). She is a member of the Pennsylvania State Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

  

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Dale Ton

Appellate Attorney

Dale Ton is an Appellate Attorney with NVLSP. He is admitted to practice before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (“CAVC”) and the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Mr. Ton is licensed to practice in the  District of Columbia. He is a graduate of American University Washington College of Law (J.D., 2018) and California State University, Fullerton (B.A., 2015). 

Prior to joining NVLSP, Mr. Ton was an Appellate Litigation Associate at a firm practicing in veterans law and a Staff Attorney for Legal Aid of North Carolina. He has worked as a volunteer for the US CAVC’s Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program.

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Alie Venuti

Senior Staff Attorney

Ms.  Alessandra (“Alie”) Venuti is the Program Manager of NVLSP’s Nehmer Lawsuit Division.  Ms. Venuti focuses her time on ensuring Vietnam Veterans and their surviving family members receive benefits for disabilities and deaths that are associated with Agent Orange exposure as a part of the class action lawsuit: Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Ms. Venuti is a graduate of LaSalle University (B.A., 2010) and Western Michigan University Cooley Law School (J.D., 2013). During law school she worked as a law clerk at NVLSP.  Ms. Venuti is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and she is a volunteer attorney for the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.

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Tekey Wallace

Staff Attorney

Tekey Wallace is a Staff Attorney with NVLSP’s Nehmer Lawsuit Division. Prior to joining NVLSP she served as an intern for the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office in Pittsylvania County. While in law school she was the recipient of several writing and moot court awards, which included being named the 2016 Virginia Law Foundation Public Service Grant. 

Ms. Wallace is a graduate of Hampton University (B.A.) and Liberty University School of Law (J.D.) She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and the proud spouse of an active duty service member.

 

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Hannah R. Zacharias

Appellate Attorney

Ms. Hannah R. Zacharias is an Appellate Attorney with the NVLSP. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and is a member of the Wisconsin State Bar. She graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College (B.S. 2009) and Marquette University Law School (J.D. 2018).

Prior to joining NVLSP, Ms. Zacharias worked as an Appellate Attorney at a private firm in Wisconsin, where she represented Veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

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