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.
Jennifer Collins, Esq., Housing Attorney, came to us after completing a fellowship in the Housing Unit at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she represented clients in public housing cases. She is a member of the Pennsylvania bar, a 2011 graduate of Harvard Law School and a 2008 graduate of Amherst College. While in law school, Jenna spent two years as a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, where she assisted low-income clients in family law cases and government benefits cases. She also spent a summer working at the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and another at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Jennifer, born and raised in Cleveland, spends her spare time trying to enjoy watching her hometown sports’ teams play.
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.
Malissa L. Durham, Esq., Equal Justice Works Fellow, first joined the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania as a summer legal intern in 2013. She is now with us as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, generously sponsored by the Norflet Progress Fund, specializing in family law litigation, including divorce, child support, and domestic violence matters. A 2014 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (Go Blue!), Malissa worked at the Washtenaw County Courthouse for Judge Timothy Connors as a Domestic Relations Mediator, mediating disputes related to divorce and custody actions. In her spare time, Malissa enjoys elaborate baking and community organizing.
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, of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, is a nationally recognized advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS. In December 2010, she was listed among the top 100 HIV/AIDS activists in the United States by POZ magazine In 2007, Ronda was named “Policymaker of the Year” by the Penn Center for AIDS Research, a joint project of the University of Pennsylvania, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Wistar Institute. In 2005 she was voted a “Super Lawyer” in a poll of more than 36,000 Pennsylvania attorneys published jointly by Law & Politics and Philadelphia Magazine. Ronda is chair of the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, the civilian oversight agency for the city’s police department. She is a member of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the ACLU’s Philadelphia chapter. A graduate of the University of Miami, she received her J.D. from the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale and is admitted to the Bars of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
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, ActionAIDS, the LGBT Elder Initiative, Philly AIDS Thrift, and the William Way Center. She volunteered at the ALPP’s Silver Ball and joined the staff in March 2015. Messy assists Ronda with development, fundraising, and organization management duties and provides administrative support to the AIDS Law Project of Southern New Jersey.
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.
Jade E. McKnight, Housing Paralegal, began at the AIDS Law Project in March 2015, working with clients on housing and utilities issues. She is a graduate of Amherst College, where she majored in Anthropology and was captain of the Track & Field team for two years. Prior to joining the ALPP family, Jade worked with the Public Health Management Corporation in their Forensic Intensive Services department, offering case management services to chemically dependent populations. She is passionate about creating a more extensive and accessible public health network of resources for those that need it the most.
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.
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 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.