Zane Johnson, Esquire, Managing Attorney
A graduate of Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where he was named an Eve Biskind Klothen Law Student Award winner in recognition of his commitment to pro bono service, Zane was appointed Managing Attorney of PLSE on January 5, 2018. he began his legal career with PLSE as one of just thirty-three Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows nationwide. Working primarily on the Criminal Records Expungement Project, he has taught and supervised scores of volunteers as they performed intakes and prepared petitions for hundreds of PLSE clients. In 2017 alone, he personally represented more than 350 clients, filing over 1625 expungement petitions on their behalf, with a success rate of over 98%. He also helped launch the new partnership with the Philadelphia Association of Paralegals whose members will provide pro bono assistance, potentially allowing PLSE to double the reach of its expungement services. In addition to his work with PLSE, Zane serves today as Zone 1 Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division and a member of its Executive Council; works as a facilitator for Good Shepherd Mediation’s Juvenile Offender Diversion Program; and sits on the board of the nonprofit organization, Art for Justice. As Managing Attorney, he supervises PLSE’s Criminal Record Expungement Project and Fair Employment Opportunities Project, and manages relationships with community partners.
Tobey Oxholm has been a fixture of Philadelphia’s pro bono legal community for decades, having been a Trustee of Community Legal Services for twenty years and a co-founder of Philadelphia VIP, the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project, and the Homeless Advocacy Project. He began his service with PLSE as a volunteer staff attorney in September 2016 and was appointed its Interim Executive Director in January 2018. Within the Philadelphia Bar Association, he served for a decade as an Officer and member of the Board of Governors, chaired the Delivery of Legal Services Committee, and helped create the Public Interest Section. Following graduation from Harvard Law School in 1979, his career as a civil litigator began at Dechert LLP, included service in the Philadelphia Office of the City Solicitor and partnership in Fox Rothschild, and ended as General Counsel of Drexel University, after which he went on to senior administrative leadership positions in three area universities and one community college.
Katherine M. Zuk, Director of Communications & Outreach
Katherine first started volunteering for PLSE in July 2017 as a researcher and volunteer coordinator, after relocating to Philadelphia from Washington, DC. In recognition of her many skills and her passion for community empowerment and organizing to promote racial and economic justice, she was appointed PLSE’s Communications and Outreach Coordinator in January 2018. In addition to managing all technological communications (including social media and website), Katherine will be developing and leading a comprehensive and innovative community outreach plan targeting communities with need, helping to identify and mobilize former clients and others with lived experience to become volunteers at clinics, program speakers, and advocates for reform, and identifying and coordinating with community partners relevant to PLSE’s strategic priorities and projects through ongoing research and evaluation. Katherine has served as a program assistant at the Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Georgetown University, which presented her with a fellowship for graduate study. She received her Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Political Science, and is seeking masters degrees in public health and social work at Temple University this fall.
Jim Coyne, Pro Bono Paralegal
Jim began volunteering at PLSE in December 2017 as a pro bono paralegal following careers in the corporate and non-profit sectors and after completing a paralegal training program. His responsibilities include maintaining extensive client contact in providing case updates, appropriately researching and delivering legal information, and assisting the Managing Attorney with clients at court hearings. He looks forward to making further contributions to PLSE’s life transforming work by drafting and e-filing petitions in the Philadelphia Court and supporting attorneys dedicated to helping clients pursue pardons. Previously, Jim served as Director of Strategy and Community Engagement at United Way of Delaware where he was responsible for engaging donors and community stakeholders to give and advocate, integrated implementation of core strategic initiatives, public policy, and fund development. His earlier 19-year public affairs career at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals spanned a variety of field sales, internal and external communications roles, including as counselor to Legal and State-Federal Government Affairs Departments, charitable contributions management, and public relations.
Jeffrey Eberly, Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Eberly started volunteering with PLSE in October 2017 as the Chief Financial Officer. His finance career spans over 25 years primarily working in higher education and non-profit institutions. During the last 12 years, he has led and managed numerous financial and operational functions within those institutions. Today he is the Executive Director, Fiscal Operations, for the Gene Therapy Program of the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Financial Accounting from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and his Master’s in Business Administration from Drexel University through its executive MBA program.
Michael Hardiman, Esquire, Of Counsel
Michael Hardiman brings decades of experience with employment and civil rights litigation to PLSE. He began his employment with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in January 1979 as an Assistant General Counsel in the Commission’s Harrisburg Regional Office. In July 1982 he was promoted to supervising attorney and moved to the Philadelphia Regional Office. In June 2005, Mike was appointed its Chief Counsel and he spent the last seven years of his career in that position. In June 2016, Hardiman returned to the PHRC as a Commissioner, legislatively appointed to serve a five-year term; and in January 2018 he was appointed to serve as the Commission’s interimExecutive Director. His primary work concentration centered on employment discrimination litigation. In addition, he was directly involved in the litigation of a wide range of issues, including urban area school district desegregation and educational equity, sex equity in athletic program, physical disability/accessibility, age discrimination (pensions), and access to private clubs. Mike received his undergraduate degree from Moravian College and graduated cum laude from the William Mitchell College of Law.
Henry Sias is a transgender civil rights attorney and a statewide leader in advocating for the LGBTQ community. His legal career includes clerking for two Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (Justice James J. Fitzgerald III and Justice Jane Cutler Greenspan) and two judges in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (Judge Barbara McDermott in the Criminal Division, and Judge Kenneth Powell in the Mass Tort Program of the Civil Division). Henry manages an appellate-oriented civil rights and immigration practice in Philadelphia, representing victims of discrimination in employment, housing, and similar matters. He has been involved with Philadelphia’s indigent defense program for over ten years, and has contributed to efforts to reform that program. He has also represented several transgender individuals as part of his pro bono work, in name changes and in cases involving medical care and coverage. He received his law degree from Yale Law School.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Ryan Allen Hancock, Esquire, Board Chair
Ryan Hancock is Of Counsel and chair of Willig, Williams & Davidson’s Employment Group where he counsels and represents clients in all matters related to their employment. Prior to joining Willig, Williams & Davidson, he served as Assistant Chief Counsel with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), the Commonwealth’s civil rights enforcement agency. While there, he successfully litigated a wide range of discrimination matters including but not limited to claims of: sexual orientation, religious accommodation, disability, race, sex and denial of employment based on a criminal record. Mr. Hancock is the author of The Double Bind: Obstacles to Employment and Resources for Survivors of the Criminal Justice System, 15 U. Pa. J.L. & Soc. Change 515 2011-2012 and the principal author of the PHRC policy entitled Disparate Impact Discrimination Implications Related to a Denial of Employment Based on a Criminal Record. Ryan received his law degree from Rutgers School of Law and clerked in Camden County Superior Court, Criminal Division, for the Honorable David G. Eynon. He was one of PLSE’s co-founders and has served on the Board ever since.
Jeffrey N. Brown
A fourth-generation grocer, Jeff Brown is the founder, President & CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, Inc., a network of 11 ShopRite and 2 Fresh Grocer Supermarkets in the greater Philadelphia area. The company estimates that it employs 500 returning citizens, often providing them with their first jobs after being released from prison. He started this practice in 2008, making him one of the very first business leaders to act on the fact that it makes sense for society to employ former inmates so they can remain crime-free and contribute to the economy. This is not his only, or even his first, “win-win” business innovation with immense benefits for impoverished communities: he was the first to open a major grocery store in a low-income underserved neighborhood, often referred to as a food desert, in Philadelphia (in 2004), and he now operates seven of them. In recognition of his leadership in solving the “food desert” crisis, he was a guest of First Lady Michele Obama at President Obama’s first State of the Union address in 2010; and he was named 2014 Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year for his innovative work of meeting the needs of impoverished communities through holistic supermarket hubs. In addition to many other public service activities, Jeff chairs the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and the Philadelphia Youth Network, and is a member of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Corporate Council. He is also the founder and chair of Uplift Solutions, a non-profit working to create sustainable access to healthy and affordable food, nutrition education, health care and workforce development for returning citizens to obtain opportunities in the food industry, all for underserved communities nationally.
Lisa Campbell, Esquire
Ms. Campbell has been a public defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia since 2004. Currently, she is the Assistant Chief of the Juvenile unit of the Defender Association. After graduating cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law school, M. Campbell clerked for the Honorable Mary A. McLaughlin on the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. As a public defender, M. Campbell has handles countless adult and juvenile ceases during rotations through the various trial units. She has experience handling complex and serious juvenile cases, as well as leading and training teams of attorneys in the Juvenile Unit. M. Campbell has provided training for her office as well as attorneys across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on a variety of legal issues. She currently is researching and presenting on the issue of collateral consequences of juvenile adjudications and the need for expungement of juvenile records.
Russell Craig is a painter whose work has been exhibited both locally and nationally. Combining realistic portraiture with political statements, his work was part of the “Truth to Power” exhibition during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where he displayed a self-portrait on his own court documents, reasserting his ability to define himself rather than being defined by systems of power. Russell is an alumnus of the Mural Arts Guild program who taught himself to read, write, and draw while incarcerated. He was one of the inaugural fellows for Right of Return, a program of the Open Philanthropy Foundation awarding formerly incarcerated artists $20,000 for a project addressing mass incarceration. He has also worked on “Voices,” a mural arts project within the Restorative Justice Program of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections that humanizes and empowers the voices of those who are or were recently jailed on criminal justice issues through creative expression, and the “Making Time: Prison Arts and Activism” Conference organized by the Institute for Research on Women at Rutgers University. Russell learned about PLSE by obtaining an expungement through our Criminal Records Expungement Project.
Stuart Davidson is one of the country’s leading labor law attorneys, having represented labor unions and employee benefit plans since graduating from Harvard Law School in 1982 and now a senior partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm that bears his name, Willig, Williams & Davidson. Keenly aware of how critical collectively bargained agreements are to the future well-being of families, Stuart has worked for both public and private-sector unions and played key roles in the development of new and progressive benefit structures in the pension and health and welfare plans he represents. Today he serves as chief counsel to large regional and local unions along the East and Gulf Coasts and in the Mid-West. Stuart is a frequent lecturer, teacher, and author on issues such as employment discrimination, drug and alcohol testing, and other labor and employment issues. He has served as a trustee of the Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Occupational Safety and Health Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, now known as the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He recently completed service as a member and Chair of the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center; as a member and Chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners; and has served as a Commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority. Currently he serves on the Board of Advisors for the Workshop School in Philadelphia and “Our Generation Speaks,” a fellowship program creating cohorts of young Israeli and Palestinian community leaders who cooperate across ethnic and political lines to build shared prosperity within the region. For his exemplary, lifelong commitment to community service, Stuart has received the Jewish Labor Committee’s Humanitarian Award and the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope and the Tri-State Labor & Management Council.
Yvettee Jones-Sizer works in Philadelphia media. Ms. Jones-Sizer is also a case manager for The Montgomery County, PA Youth Aid Panel, a juvenile diversionary program that serves as an alternative to Juvenile Court or Magisterial District Court adjudication and provides the juvenile an opportunity to avoid a criminal record. She is an executive of the NAACP in Montgomery County, PA and has also served as Director for the NAACP Youth and College Division. While serving in both NAACP executive roles Yvettee has been a driving force in creating both successful youth diversionary programs and mentoring programs as well as working in areas that address civil engagement, healthcare, criminal justice, economic opportunities, and media diversity. Yvettee holds several board memberships and volunteer positions in Montgomery County, PA that serve/advocate for youth, women and minorities. Yvettee has a degree in Education.
Josie Reed is a lifelong Philadelphia resident with a deep desire to help people in need. This desire springs from her experiences rising from humble beginnings and overcoming adversity to create a better future for herself and her family. That pathway includes successfully obtaining, by herself, a pardon from Governor Tom Wolf for a crime she committed when she was a young woman. Free of the record that once haunted her, Josie has a fulfilling position with Campbell’s Soup Company and has completed her degree in Business Administration Concentration in Management from Peirce College of Philadelphia. After raising her own two children and sending them off to college, she has decided to become a foster parent to provide a loving home for kids caught in the child welfare system. She also volunteers at the South Jersey Food Bank through her employer and is a member of the Women’s Of Campbell which advocates for women of all races. She intends to use her knowledge and experience to help people facing the same barriers that she has, and to one day create her own nonprofit organization focused on helping women with the unique challenges they face when dealing with a criminal record. She hopes that her journey will serve as inspiration that if she can overcome her record, anyone can.
Jennifer H. Sperling, Esquire
A proud PLSE board member since PLSE’s founding, Ms. Sperling is currently the Impact Litigation & Policy attorney for Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a public interest law firm that provides free, expert legal advice and representation to low-income residents of Los Angeles. Before moving to California, Ms. Sperling was a Visiting Professor at Villanova University School of law where she taught the Civil Justice Clinic. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Anita B. Brody in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 2008-2009, and a Staff Attorney for the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 2009-2011. Ms. Sperling has also worked for Latham & Watkins LLP in New York and Greenpeace USA in Washington, DC. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2005.
Hillary Weinstein found her passion for criminal and social justice while working as a paralegal with the Federal Defenders in the Southern District of New York. While at law school, she spent a semester as an extern with the prosecution team at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands. After graduation, she started her career with a one-year Philadelphia Bar Association Fellowship at the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Community Defender. For six years, she was a litigation associate with Morgan Lewis where she worked pro bono on a number of social justice matters, including volunteering with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, representing a criminal defendant in federal pre-trial proceedings, and representing an incarcerated client in his (eventually successful) adult adoption proceedings. After a stint with a small firm specializing in providing advice and representation to clients in the non-profit sector, she joined Anapol Weiss in 2017, where she now focuses on plaintiff’s appellate advocacy, consumer class actions, and complex commercial and personal injury litigation. Hillary joined PLSE’s Board in 2017.