Attorneys and Staff

Cathy Costanzo

Executive Director Cathy CostanzoCathy Costanzo became the Center’s Executive Director in September 2011. She has worked in the mental disability law field since 1977 and has extensive experience in providing representation to institutionalized persons throughout the country and for litigating ADA/Olmstead cases. She is the former director of the Massachusetts PAIMI Project and the former chair of National Disability Rights Network’s Legal Committee. Ms. Costanzo is co-counsel in a number of class action cases in New Mexico, Massachusetts, Oregon and Ohio which seek to promote the integration and to expand the rights of persons with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.

Ms. Costanzo is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with B.A. in Psychology and earned law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Steven J. Schwartz

Steven J. Schwartz is the Center’s Litigation Director. He began practicing Attorney Steven J. Schwartzmental disability law in 1971 after graduating from Harvard Law School and served as the Center’s Executive Director for 38 years, until September 2011. He has extensive experience litigating class action cases challenging issues related to the institutional confinement and community integration of persons with disabilities and has successfully resolved a number of damage cases for individuals with disabilities. Mr. Schwartz has authored a number of law review articles, testified before Congress on P&A authorizing legislation and abuse and neglect issues, and served on the faculty of the Harvard and Western New England Law Schools.

Tasheena Davis

TBlack woman smiling wearing a pink blouse and pink floral blazer with a flag in backgroundasheena M. Davis joined CPR as a racial equity attorney in October 2021. Prior to joining CPR, Ms. Davis worked as a municipal attorney. In this role she worked as a legal advisor to several boards and commissions including the Springfield City Council and Community Police Hearing Board. She also served as Primary Records Access Officer for the municipality supervising responses to public records requests. Ms. Davis worked part time as a Bar advocate for the Hampden County Lawyers for Justice, Inc. providing legal representation to indigent individuals. She is dedicated to the youth of Western Massachusetts as she previously served on the Board of Directors for HCS Head Start and Educare Springfield and is currently a Board member for the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School.  Ms. Davis is a proud graduate of an HBCU, Virginia State University. She earned her law degree from Western New England University.

Karen Detmers

Karen DetmersKaren joined the Center in 2007 as a litigation paralegal.  In addition to providing litigation support, she manages CPR’s IT and communications operations, and aides in general office and administrative support.  Karen came to CPR after serving many years as a paralegal at a Connecticut law firm specializing in disability discrimination in the workplace.  Prior to entering the legal field, she worked in the travel industry and in marketing at a southern Vermont ski resort.  Karen holds degrees from Mount Ida College and UMass Amherst, and resides with her family in western Massachusetts.

Mona Igram

Mona Igram is the Coordinator of the Racial Equity Initiative and a senior attorney with the Center for Public Representation.  Mona has over 25 years of litigation experience in private practice and as a public defender, representing young people and families in the criminal and juvenile courts in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  She came to CPR from the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), where she was the Attorney in Charge of the Youth Advocacy Division office in Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts.  While at CPCS, Mona was active in several racial justice initiatives.  She was the co-chair of the National Association of Public Defenders Racial Justice Litigation Committee and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Racial Justice Committee.  She co-founded and chaired Juvenile Defenders Dismantling Racism at the Youth Advocacy Division.  She was a member of the class of 2020 Ambassadors for Racial Justice, a program of the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Center and the National Juvenile Defender Center.  Mona serves as a board member of Elevated Thought, an art and social justice organization in Lawrence, Ma.  She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.

Jennifer Kaplan

Attorney, Jeni Kaplan

Jennifer Kaplan joined the Center as a senior attorney in 2020 after ten years in the federal courts.  She clerked for three federal judges, including serving as chief of staff to the Honorable Michael A. Ponsor, United States District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts.  Ms. Kaplan has served on the boards of Camp Howe, a 4-H camp in Goshen dedicated to providing a summer camp experience for all youth, and MotherWoman (now known as Women of Color Health Equity Collective), a nonprofit organization providing community-based perinatal support to mothers experiencing postpartum depression.  She earned a Bachelor of Science from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from Western New England University School of Law.

Michael Kendrick

MMichael Kendrickichael Kendrick is the Center’s Senior Advisor on Supported Decision-Making Initiatives.  He has spent the last twenty years in international consulting and prior to that was the Assistant Commissioner for the Massachusetts Developmental Services Department, Director of the Institute for Leadership and Community Development and consultant to the International Initiative On Disability Leadership.

 

Aishea Lewis

Aishea Lewis joined CPR in November of 2021 as its Office Manager/Legal Assistant. She completed her undergraduate degree at Xavier University of Louisiana and has studied at the American University in Cairo and La Universidad de Sevilla. Aishea, who is fluent in Spanish, has been a long-time advocate for children and families with disabilities and mental health issues. Her current duties at CPR include office operations, client intake and referral, and litigation support.

Mark Murphy

Mark Murphy is a Senior Attorney with the Center for Public Attorney Mark MurphyRepresentation.  He has represented people with disabilities and disability rights organizations in a wide range of legal matters for more than 30 years, including cases involving the right to integrated, community-based services and the enforcement of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Fair Housing Act, and Title XIX (Medicaid).

Prior to joining CPR, Mr. Murphy was the Managing Attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.  He also has held senior positions in both the New York and Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy Systems, including serving as the Legal Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania and as the Executive Director of the Disabilities Law Project, based in Philadelphia.  For several years he also worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he taught the Law of Disability Discrimination and Mental Health Law.

Mr. Murphy is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Kathryn Rucker

Kathryn Rucker began her legal career with the Center in August of 1999.  Attorney Kathryn RuckerMs. Rucker’s individual representation and system reform work focus on serving adults and children with serious mental illness, as well as individuals with Acquired Brain Injury.  She is co-counsel in several of the Center’s class action lawsuits, advocating for the development and expansion of integrated community service systems.  Ms. Rucker received her undergraduate education from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and went on to participate in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.  She is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, where she volunteered in the domestic violence clinic and worked in co-op positions with Greater Boston Legal Services, the Department of Justice, and the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.

David Waldfogel

David Waldfogel joined CPR in April, 2012 and represents individuals in Attorney David WaldfogelSocial Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income cases.  He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Boston University School of Law.  He was the first Executive Director of the Massachusetts Justice Project, a federally funded Legal Aid program serving all of central and western Massachusetts, an organization he ran from 1997-2002.  Prior to that Mr. Waldfogel worked at Queens Legal Services, New York and Western Massachusetts Legal Services where he specialized in Social Security/SSI and Elder law. He has conducted numerous trainings on Social Security/SSI law and in the delivery of legal services to low-income clients, and has served as an instructor at Greenfield Community College.

Morgan Whitlatch

Morgan Whitlatch is the Center’s Director of Supported Decision Making (SDM) and works from our Washington DC location. Prior to joining CPR in October 2021, Morgan was the longtime legal director and attorney at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities (QT), where she planned and implemented litigation, legal advocacy and systemic initiatives addressing issues such as legal capacity, decision-making, community integration, discrimination, and health care.  While in DC, Morgan also led coalitions that secured the first in the nation educational SDM policy in DC Public Schools and made the District the fourth jurisdiction in the nation to recognize SDM Agreements in its state laws. In addition, she served as the Lead Project Director of the National Resource Center for SDM, an advocacy and education center that is dedicated to advancing less restrictive, community inclusive alternatives to guardianship and has been housed at QT since 2014.

Morgan, a graduate of Georgetown Law School and Wesleyan University, has published and contributed to numerous articles and national reports and presented hundreds of presentations and webinars, mainly on SDM within the context of life events addressing health care, education, transition-age youth, and older adults.