Meet Disability Rights Center - NH Staff

Deodonne Bhattarai, Communications Specialist
Francesca Broderick, Intake Attorney
Lynne Clay, Managing Attorney
Sarah Cooley, Office Assistant
Michele Fleming, Fiscal Director
Beth Kelley, Executive Assistant
Courtney Lockwood, Intake Attorney
Andrew Milne, Staff Attorney
Stephanie Patrick, Executive Director
Pam Phelan, Litigation Director
Cindy Robertson, Senior Staff Attorney
Karen Rosenberg, Senior Staff Attorney
Michael K. Skibbie, Policy Director
Ellen Van Gelder, Institutional Monitor
James Ziegra, Staff Attorney

Deodonne Bio PicDéodonné Dustin Bhattarai, Communications Specialist back to top

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 back to top

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 ClayLynne Clay, Managing Attorney back to top

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.

Sarah CooleySarah Cooley, Office Assistant back to top

Sarah has been with DRC since 2005. She started as an intern, and when she finished her studies she joined DRC as a permanent employee. She provides office support including computer data entry, and outreach and public speaking on disability rights. Sarah is a published book author, with several volumes of poetry and essays to her name. She has a strong interest in music and songwriting.



Michele Fleming, Fiscal Director back to top

In 2016, Michele joined the DRC as Fiscal Director. She is responsible for monitoring the financial affairs of DRC; this includes managing federal and other grants along with the budget for DRC. Additionally, she is responsible for human resources. Michele has worked as an accountant since 1992, both at a large nonprofit agency and in private practice. Michele graduated cum laude in 1991 from Franklin Pierce University. She has been an active volunteer in her community, especially Boy and Girl Scouts.

Beth Kelley, Executive Assistant  back to top

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, Intake Attorney back to top

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. Courtney serves on the board of ABLE-NH.

Andrew MilneAndrew Milne, Staff Attorney back to top

Andrew joined the DRC as a staff attorney in 2016. He graduated from New York University School of Law in 2012, where he was an advocate in the Criminal Appellate Defense Clinic and taught in the High School Law Institute. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 2006, after which he coordinated development efforts for a social services non-profit organization in Upper Manhattan. Upon graduating from law school, Andrew became a staff attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, where he focused on domestic violence, public defense, and youth rights. He then accepted a clinical teaching fellowship at South Texas College of Law, where he supervised law students representing low-income clients in the Civil Practice Clinics. Andrew was admitted to the NH Bar in 2016 and is a member of the Texas Bar.

Stephanie PatrickStephanie Patrick, Executive Director back to top

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. 

The Board of Directors of the Disability Rights Center – New Hampshire (DRC) is pleased to announce that Stephanie Patrick, MSW, has been appointed Executive Director effective February 6, 2017.

Phelan Bio PicPamela Phelan, Litigation Director back to top

Pamela joined DRC-NH in 2018 with nearly twenty years of experience in trial and appellate litigation in New Hampshire. As its Litigation Director, Pamela leads DRC-NH’s efforts to protect and expand the civil rights of people with disabilities. Pam was previously at the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire where she had been serving as Chief Deputy Clerk. She had also worked at the New Hampshire Public Defender’s Office and Orr & Reno, P.A. She is an adjunct professor at the UNH School of Law, teaching pretrial and trial skills to Daniel Webster scholars.

Cindy RobertsonCindy Robertson, Senior Staff Attorney back to top

Cindy joined the Disability Rights Center – NH in 2004 as a senior staff attorney after many years in private litigation practice, including as a partner in the litigation department of Devine, Millimet & Branch. Cindy is a 1984 graduate of Franklin Pierce Law Center and is admitted in New Hampshire, Maryland, the Federal District Court for the State of New Hampshire, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals. She serves on the Mental and Physical Disabilities Committee of the NH Bar Association and represents the DRC on the Medical Care Advisory Committee, the Elder Rights Coalition, and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Advisory Committee. In 1992, Cindy received the President’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Legal Profession. Her many community activities include serving as the vice-chair of the Town of Hooksett Conservation Commission.

Karen Rosenberg, Senior Staff Attorney
back to top

Karen Rosenberg joined the staff of DRC in 2005 as a staff attorney. She is a 1988 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. Earlier she received a BS in Psychology from Tufts University. Karen is admitted to the bars of New Hampshire and Massachusetts (retired), and to the US District Courts for New Hampshire and Massachusetts (retired). Karen comes to us after many years as a staff attorney and project director at New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA), where she specialized in Health, Housing and Consumer laws. She was counsel for plaintiffs in Hawkins v. Commissioner, a federal class action to improve access to dental care for children enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program. She also directed NHLA’s Fair Housing Project and the Housing Preservation Project during her tenure at NHLA. Karen has been active in her community of Manchester.  Over the nearly twenty years she has resided in Manchester, Karen has volunteered in the Manchester Schools and with various community organizations including the Palace Theatre and the Makin’ It Happen Coalition’s Dropout Prevention Work Group. She currently serves on and NHPR's Community Advisory Board. She is the former Chair of the Board of the New Hampshire Minority Health Coalition, the Manchester Food Co-op’s Legal Committee, the Alliance for the Progress of Hispanic Americans, a former Board member of the Latin American Center, and a past member of the NH Regional Community Development Corporation Board of Directors.

Michael K. Skibbie, Policy Director back to top

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 Bio PicEllen Van Gelder, Institutional Rights Monitor back to top

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.

James ZiegraJames Ziegra, Staff Attorney back to top

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.