Juan Baez, Esq., Deputy Managing Attorney, first worked with us as a student at the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, when he was part of the 2009-2010 Civil Practice Field Clinic, which we hosted in our office. Now, in addition to assisting the other attorneys with their cases, Juan has his own consumer debt, tax, estate planning, social security disability and student loan caseload. He is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. In 2014, he graduated from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law with a Masters in Law in Trial Advocacy.
Blair C. Dickerson, Volunteer Attorney, works primarily with the intake review committee, interviewing clients and assessing the best way to proceed with cases. He is an adjunct instructor in the graduate program, business division, at Wilmington University. Blair is a former anti-discrimination investigator for the state of Delaware.
Jacob M. Eden, Esq., Staff Attorney, started at the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania as an intake volunteer and became our public benefits paralegal, specializing in preserving clients’ access to life-sustaining benefits. After a three-year break for law school at American University, he is back and continuing his public benefits work. He is developing a specialty in resolving post-entitlement SSI/SSDI issues (such as continuing disability reviews and overpayments) and in handling the complex interactions between Medicaid, Medicare, and the Marketplace. He also trains case managers and other advocates on public benefits matters and acts as the AIDS Law Project liaison to the annual LGBT Elder Initiative Will Clinic. Jacob enjoys biking and is proud to have seen the entire canon of both William Shakespeare and August Wilson.
Ronda B. Goldfein, Esq., Executive Director , has led the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania since 2000. She is listed among the top 100 HIV/AIDS activists in the United States by POZ magazine and website. She was voted a “Super Lawyer” in a poll of more than 36,000 Pennsylvania attorneys published jointly by Law & Politics and Philadelphia Magazine. In 2010, Goldfein was appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter to Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission, the official civilian oversight agency for the city’s police department. She was elected to chair the commission in 2012. She is a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia chapter. A graduate of the University of Miami, she holds a J.D. from the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, and is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Charlotte Hollander, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, manages the AIDS Law Project of Southern New Jersey in Voorhees, NJ. She works closely with the staff of the Kennedy and Cooper clinics to address legal barriers to care. After graduating Villanova Law SChool in 1979, she was Managing Attorney with Cape-Atlantic Legal Services. Charlotte was the Director of the Law Project of the AIDS Coalition of Southern New Jersey from 1999 to 2010. She continued to work on AIDS advocacy at the All About Hope office from 2010 to 2015, at which time she joined the AIDS Law Project. Her areas of expertise include housing law, especially foreclosures, loan modifications and Chapter 13 plans for repayment of tax and mortgage arrears. She also focuses on government benefits and Social Security disability law, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodations.
Messapotamia Lefae, Administrative Assistant and Notary Public, after graduating from Vassar College in 2008, “Messy” trained at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre before moving to Philadelphia in 2010. In addition to working as a Lead Administrative Coordinator for the Defender Association for several years, Messy has served as a development volunteer for a number of HIV/AIDS service orgs and LGBTQ community non-profits like the AIDS Fund, ActionWellness, the LGBT Elder Initiative, Philly AIDS Thrift, and the William Way Center. She volunteered at the AIDS Law Project’s Silver Ball and joined the staff in March 2015. Messy assists Ronda with development, fundraising, and organization management duties.
Yolanda French Lollis, Esq., Managing Attorney, supervises the AIDS Law Project’s staff of lawyers and paralegals. Since joining the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania in 1993, she has represented people living with AIDS at their Social Security Administration hearings and has won thousands of dollars in retroactive benefits for people with AIDS who were wrongfully denied SSD or SSI. In 1998, she initiated the HIV and Immigration Project at the AIDS Law Project. She has successfully represented people living with HIV in getting asylum and legal permanent residency. Immigration lawyers across the nation frequently consult her for advice and technical assistance about overcoming the barriers to immigration for people living with HIV. Although the majority of her work involves Social Security and immigration, she also advocates for the rights of individuals living with HIV in a broad range of issues, including discrimination. She has negotiated settlements for people who were fired from their jobs or refused dental treatment because of HIV positive status. She frequently lectures and provides technical assistance on the issue of HIV confidentiality to a wide audience, including doctors, medical students and social service agencies. A graduate of the University of Louisville and the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, she is admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky.
Adrian M. Lowe, Esq., Staff Attorney, first joined the AIDS Law Project as a 2011 Summer Associate while attending Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law. He maintained his relationship with the AIDS Law Project as a law student volunteer, then as a Fellow after being admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar. His practice at AIDS Law Project includes public benefits law, confidentiality law, HIV discrimination law, and HIV criminalization. Prior to attending law school, Adrian had a 12-year career in social work. He is fluent in English and French.
John C. Marrero, Housing Paralegal and Prevention Point Liaison, At the age of 14, John was passionate about helping his community and served as Youth Councilman for the city of Newark. He worked to close the gap between the youth and local government. At the age of 18, John began working with high risk populations throughout North Jersey region. He became involved with the North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), a nonprofit in Newark. At NJCRI, John took on various roles, including HIV and Hepatitis C testing and working on a research project called the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS), which worked in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). John recently moved to the Philadelphia area and worked for the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office of the Philadelphia Department of Health to continue the work with NHBS, focusing on interviewing, testing, and reporting data to the CDC of findings of the research. John recently joined the AIDS Law Project team as a housing paralegal and Prevention Point of Philadelphia liaison, where he continues his work on serving underserved populations. John speaks English and Spanish, and loves to cook and travel in his personal time.
Arlene Vasquez, Receptionist, is fluent in both English and Spanish. Her experience includes being an administrative assistant at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza hotel, where she coordinated details for weddings, meetings and other special events. She was also a receptionist at the Philadelphia law firm of Corson, Getson & Schatz.
Jeni Wright, Esq., Staff Attorney, joined the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania in February 2017 as our housing attorney, representing Philadelphians in housing court and providing legal advice and advocacy on landlord tenant and utility issues to tenants throughout the state. Her focus is on keeping our clients in safe, habitable housing and fighting to preserve affordable and public assisted housing. Before joining ALPP, Jeni was on staff at SeniorLAW Center for ten years, as an Independence Foundation Fellow, Intake Coordinator, and Staff Attorney. She also worked at the Landlord Tenant Legal Help Center at Philadelphia Municipal Court. Jeni earned her law degree from the City University of New York, the only law school in the nation with the mission of producing public interest attorneys. She is a graduate of The George Washington University.
Sarah Schalman-Bergen, Esq., Of Counsel, is an attorney at Berger & Montague, P.C., where her practice includes plaintiffs’ class and collective action employment litigation. As volunteer of counsel for the AIDS Law Project, she litigates HIV/AIDS discrimination and confidentiality cases. Sarah first became involved with the AIDS Law Project in 2006. Between 2007 and 2009, she served as the Shestack Public Interest Fellow at WolfBlock LLP, where she spent half of her time litigating cases for the AIDS Law Project. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and is the author of “CDC’s Call For Routine HIV Testing Raises Implementation Concerns,” an article published in the Harvard Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 2007; 35 (1):223-7. In 2010, Sarah was honored as an “Unsung Hero” by the Legal Intelligencer, Pennsylvania’s daily law journal, for her pro bono work with the AIDS Law Project.