NLS Management Team

Lauren Breen, Executive Director

Lauren first worked at NLS from 1989-1992, as a staff attorney, before leaving for private practice and to teach nonprofit, tax exemption and community economic development courses at the University at Buffalo School of Law.  She is proud to have played a small role in launching Buffalo’s Massachusetts Avenue Project, PUSH Buffalo and the Partnership for the Public Good while at UB Law.  Lauren served on NLS’ Board of Directors from 1993-1999, as president from 1997-1999.  From 2010-2013 Lauren was a part-time supervising attorney for the Western New York Law Center.  In 2016, Lauren concluded her teaching career, returning to NLS as its first deputy director and, in 2018, became executive director.  She currently serves on the Eighth Judicial District’s Attorney Grievance Committee and on the board of the Bar Association of Erie County.  Lauren has an A.B. from Georgetown University and a J.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Law.  She is third out of eight loud children hailing from Lackawanna, NY, has three of her own and could not be more delighted to be back at NLS working with such passionate advocates.

Grace Andriette, Deputy Director, Supervising Attorney of the Housing Unit

Grace Andriette has been involved in the civil rights and housing advocacy community for over 30 years.  Grace has represented tenants seeking redress for housing discrimination in federal, state, and local courts.  As an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo Law School, Grace co-taught the Healthy Homes Legal Practicum.  Throughout her career, Grace has worked collaboratively with many  community partners to combat housing discrimination and to enforce the right to safe affordable housing in our communities.  Grace received her Juris Doctor Degree from the University at Buffalo, and is a proud member of Buffalo’s Westside community.

Penny Selmonsky, Deputy Director, Supervising Attorney, Health & Economic Security Unit

Penny has devoted her legal career to ensuring that persons living with low incomes and those who experience homelessness obtain the benefits they are entitled to so that they have what they need to live in the community. She has been with NLS for over twenty years in positions of staff attorney, supervising attorney and deputy director. Penny believes in working collaboratively with community partners and the governmental entities that serve our clients. This has enabled her to have great success in making lasting changes in policies and procedures that affect our clients including making the Erie County Department of Social Services language accessible to our growing immigrant communities and helping to create a homelessness policy and procedure that is a model for the state. Penny was the recipient of the Community Action for Prenatal Care (CAPC) Advocacy Award and the Sister Jean Frank Advocacy Award for her work on behalf of our clients. She has served on the Board of Directors of CAPC and the Western New York Law Center and currently serves on the Erie County Bar Foundation’s board and is a commissioner for the City of Buffalo Living Wage Commission. She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin, Madison and received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law. Penny resides in the City of Buffalo with her spouse Karen and two adorable, if temperamental cats.

Tamar Rothaus, Director of Finance

Tamar has worked in nonprofit finance and administration for over 20 years.  She has a passion for organizations which are building community and fighting for social justice.  She prefers a back office role in these organizations supporting Board development, financial systems and human resources policies and procedures.  Her past positions include work with the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP), Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH).  Tamar has a Master of Business Administration from Yale University where she concentrated in community economic development.  She lives in the City of Buffalo with her husband and 2 daughters.

John Zonitch, Supervising Attorney of the NLS Batavia Office

John is the Supervising Attorney of NLS’s Batavia office, which provides legal services to residents of Orleans, Genesee, and Wyoming Counties.  John received his Juris Doctor from Villanova University and has been an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services since 1981.  John has practiced law before Federal and State courts throughout Western New York before both trial and appellate courts. John is an avid runner and has run over 25 marathons.

Andrew Emborsky, Supervising Attorney, Family Unit

Andrew spent the first 15 years of his career in private practice, and was a partner in a mid-size law firm in Buffalo immediately prior to coming to NLS.  While engaging in the practice of law, he has always volunteered with mission-driven organizations, have recently been a member of the Board of Directors of the Family Justice Center, and currently a board member of the East Aurora Cooperative Market.  He was previously the President of a domestic violence and homeless assistance shelter in Geneseo, New York.   As a matrimonial and family law trial attorney, Andrew has a long track record of successfully assisting clients with in high-pressure situations.   As a supervisor at NLS, Andrew truly enjoys the unique and fulfilling opportunity to work alongside and mentor both staff and counsel, utilizing his experience to enhance the law practice of others.  He is presently a co-chair of the Matrimonial Committee of the Bar Association of Erie County, and holds a BA from Hobart College, and a JD from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  He resides in East Aurora, with his wife and two sons.

Karen Welch, Supervising Attorney, Unit serving People with Disabilities

Karen has spent her career pursing social justice in the area of civil rights and disability law.  She began her legal career in 1991 at the New York Civil Liberties Union as the Western Regional Director working on civil rights cases. In 1994, she joined Neighborhood Legal Services working as a staff attorney in the public benefits and housing units before joining the disability law unit.  For over 20 years, Karen worked under the Protection and Advocacy program representing individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights statutes.  During this time, she developed and expanded a student loan clinic that has assisted hundreds of borrowers to successfully manage or discharge their student loan debt.  Karen served on the board of the Aid to Indigent Prisoners (Assigned Counsel) and currently serves as Treasurer of the Western New York Law Center.  She received a BA summa cum laude from Le Moyne College and a J.D. from the University at Buffalo School of Law where she was an editor on the Buffalo Law Review. Karen lives with her two children in the City of Buffalo.

Sandra Fudala, Office Administrator

Sandy, who has a paralegal degree, has served as the Office Administrator at Neighborhood Legal Services since 2011. Prior to arriving at Neighborhood Legal Services, Sandy worked for 35 years with private attorneys, both as a paralegal and Office Administrator. For more than 20 years, Sandy has been active with the running community including her work assisting with the with the Buffalo Marathon and Turkey Trot. Sandy has two grown children and lives in the Village of Hamburg.

BATAVIA OFFICE

45 Main Street
Batavia, NY 14020
(Tel) 585.343.5450
(Fax) 585.343.5503
Serving Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Counties

BUFFALO OFFICE

237 Main Street, Ste. 400
Buffalo, NY 14203
(Tel) 716.847.0650
(Fax) 716.847.0227
(TDD) 716.847.1322
Serving Erie County

NIAGARA FALLS OFFICE

225 Old Falls Street 3rd Floor
Niagara Falls, NY 14302
(Tel) 716.284.8831
(Fax) 716.284.8040
Serving Niagara County

NLS will not provide legal advice over the internet. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from State to State, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your jurisdiction. Finally, the information contained in this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your state.

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