Déodonné Dustin Bhattarai, Communications Specialist
Déodonné, began volunteering at the DRC-NH in 2016, following the diagnosis of her son with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She officially joined the DRC-NH team in May of 2018, as its Communications Specialist. Déodonné received her JD from Northeastern School of Law and her Master of Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine. Déodonné is a graduate of the New Hampshire Leadership Series and Parent Information Center’s Volunteer Advocate training. She currently serves on UNH’s Institute on Disability’s Consumer Advisory Committee and the Council for Youths with Chronic Conditions. In 2016, Déodonné was appointed to the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities as a parent advocate. Déodonné has a long-term demonstrated commitment to civil rights and social justice advocacy.
Francesca Broderick, Intake Attorney
Francesca joined the DRC as an intake attorney in 2015. She graduated summa cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2013 and received honors in legal writing and research. She has been a member of the NH Bar since 2013. Francesca clerked at the New Hampshire Supreme Court from 2013-2015. She interned during law school at the New Hampshire Public Defender and at Vermont Legal Aid. Francesca also has experience working with at-risk youth as an educator and case manager.
Lynne Clay, Managing Attorney
Lynne Clay, Managing Attorney, graduated from Rhode Island College in 1982 with a B.A., Magna Cum Laude, in Communications and Psychology. She received her JD degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1989 cum laude. She was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1989 and the New Hampshire Bar in 1991.
Lynne has been an attorney with the Disability Rights Center – NH since 1991. During her time at the DRC, Lynne has served in many roles including Managing Attorney, Supervising Intake Attorney, Intake Attorney, and Staff Attorney. Her many years of experience have given her knowledge in many substantive areas of disability practice, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Juvenile Law, Social Security, Housing and Medicaid. Lynne’s practice has included litigation in state and federal court including the US First Circuit Court of Appeals. Lynne is also DRC’s Section 504/ADA compliance coordinator. Lynne was an adjunct faculty member at Middlesex Community College for over twenty years where she taught Constitutional Law, Criminal Evidence and Court Procedures and Criminal Law.
Michele Fleming, Fiscal Director
In 2016, Michele joined DRC-NH. She serves as its Fiscal Director and also handles matters relating to human resources. Michele graduated cum laude in 1991 from Franklin Pierce University. She enjoys needlework and quilting.
Sarah Jancarik, Staff Attorney
Sarah graduated from the Roger Williams University School of Law where she focused on the intersection of disability and criminal justice. Sarah’s experience is in advocating for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, and mental illness. Sarah’s life-long passion for individuals with disabilities stems from her mother, a special education teacher.
Beth Kelley, Office Manager
Beth joined DRC’s staff in 2004, bringing significant experience in lobbying, public policy work, and office management. She is responsible for assisting DRC’s executive director, coordinating DRC’s federal reporting, supervising DRC’s support staff, assisting callers who request help from DRC and ensuring the office runs smoothly and efficiently.
Courtney Lockwood, Senior Intake Attorney
Courtney Lockwood joined DRC as an intake attorney in 2005. Courtney was formerly a Legal Aid Attorney at Pine Tree Legal Assistance in rural Maine. In that position, she practiced in the areas of Medicaid and other public benefits, housing, domestic violence, consumer law, and guardian ad litem work. She is a 2002 graduate of Vermont Law School and holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University.
Stephanie Patrick, Executive Director
Stephanie Patrick joined DRC as Executive Director in 2017. Stephanie was formerly the Director of Policy and Planning at the Advocacy Center, DRC’s sister agency in Louisiana, where she worked on legislative advocacy, coalition building and programmatic compliance. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2003 with a Master’s of Social Work and also holds an undergraduate degree in social work from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Pamela Phelan, Litigation Director
Pamela joined DRC-NH in 2018 with nearly twenty years of experience in trial and appellate litigation in New Hampshire. As its Litigation Director, she leads DRC-NH’s efforts to protect and expand the civil rights of people with disabilities. Pamela previously was the Chief Deputy Clerk at the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. Prior to that, she worked at the New Hampshire Public Defender’s Office and Orr & Reno, P.A. In addition to her work at DRC-NH, Pamela is an adjunct professor at the UNH School of Law, teaching pretrial and trial skills to Daniel Webster scholars.
Karen Rosenberg, Senior Staff Attorney
Karen Rosenberg joined the staff of DRC-NH in 2005. She is a 1988 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and holds a B.S. degree from Tufts University. Previously, Karen was a staff attorney and project director at New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA), where she focused on Health, Housing and Consumer laws. She also directed NHLA’s Fair Housing Project and Housing Preservation Project during her tenure at NHLA. Karen serves on the State Advisory Committee for the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities, New Hampshire’s Medical Care Advisory Committee, the New Hampshire Home and Community Based Services Advisory Task Force and the New Hampshire Brain Injury Association’s Provider Council.
Todd Russell, Staff Attorney
Todd joined the DRC-NH team in the Fall of 2019. Todd graduated from Stanford University in 1994 with a B.A. in American Studies and received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 1999. He was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1999 and has spent the last twenty years as a criminal defense attorney at the New Hampshire Public Defender. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Todd frequently advocated for people with disabilities in the criminal justice system. He enjoys acting in local community theatre productions in addition to playing the role of an attorney in courtrooms throughout New Hampshire.
Michael K. Skibbie, Policy Director
Michael Skibbie joined DRC in 2004 and works with staff, constituents and other organizations on policy issues of importance to people with disabilities. Mike is a 1984 graduate of Franklin Pierce Law Center, J.D., and holds a B.A. degree from the University of Vermont.
Previously, Mike was Research Associate Professor of Political Science and Co-Coordinator of the Justice, Law & Society Project at Justiceworks, University of New Hampshire. Mike’s UNH activities included research and program development in the area of juvenile justice and children with disabilities.
For many years, Mike handled criminal cases in a variety of roles for the NH Public Defender’s office, culminating as head of the statewide program from 1992 to 2001. He has worked extensively with court-involved youth and adults with disabilities and has been involved in a number of legislative and interagency efforts to improve the justice system.
Ellen Van Gelder, Institutional Rights Monitor
Ellen Van Gelder joined the DRC-NH team in the Spring of 2018, as its Institutional Rights Monitor. Ellen has her BS in Psychology from Granite State College and is working on her MS in Forensic Psychology. She comes to DRC with a career in the human services, working with individuals with developmental disabilities, at risk youth, individuals with dual diagnosis or complex medical issues. She looks to create environments where individuals can make meaningful change occur. She has been a lifelong advocate assisting those that need to learn the skills to be empowered to help themselves.
Lisa Wolford joined DRC-NH in 2020 to lead a new ‘Special Education and COVID-19’ project. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Cornell Law School. She moved to New Hampshire in 2002 to become a trial lawyer with the New Hampshire Public Defender, where she represented children and adults charged with serious crimes. In 2012, Lisa joined the New Hampshire Department of Justice, where she investigated and prosecuted government employees alleged to have committed criminal misconduct, supervised the Criminal Justice Bureau, and worked to improve child abuse and neglect investigation procedures and outcomes. She has extensive appellate litigation experience, having briefed over 80 and argued more than 30 cases before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Lisa is a Director on the Board of the New Hampshire Bar Foundation and is a 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Service in Public Sector/Public Interest Law Award.
James Ziegra, Staff Attorney
James began his career at Disability Rights Center – NH in 2012 as a UNH Legal Fellow. As a Fellow, he represented individuals at Civil Commitment hearings at New Hampshire Hospital, and worked on the Phenix Hall case. He worked as an attorney on the intake team before assuming the position of Staff Attorney. James received his J.D. degree from the UNH School of Law in 2011 and holds a B.A in Political Science from UNH. At UNH, he practiced at the Criminal Practice Clinic and the Consumer and Commercial Clinic. Prior to joining the DRC, he worked at Community Legal Services, Inc., a non-profit corporation which offers “unbundled” legal services to low-income residents. He is admitted to the Bar in New Hampshire and the NH Federal District Court.