About the
WNY Law Center

Combining direct legal services, policy advocacy, local coalitions, and community involvement to effect real, unique change.

Mission

To ensure all members of our community receive the full range of civil legal services including “non-traditional” legal assistance like policy advocacy and legal education. 

Our Impact

As of 2019

14,900

Clients Represented

809

Households Saved from

HOMELSSNESS

40%

Reduction in vacant
properties in less than
2 years

Awarded and Settlements Avoided

$20 MILLION

$1.5

BILLION

Invested in the

community

$5

MILLION

Saved Fighting Improper

Collections

The First Bank and Financial Wellness
Center Opened on Buffalo's East Side

2012

Foreclosures
Prevented

Our Legal Work

Housing

Experienced foreclosure attorneys work with clients to review loan documents and represent them to prevent foreclosure.

We track foreclosure activity in collaboration with other groups across the state and use it to recommend responsible lending practices to policy makers at all levels.

We also represent homeowners in our education and outreach to community residents and real estate professionals regarding fair lending.

In collaboration with Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns, the Eire County Legislature, & Columbia Law School, the Law Center is providing training and legal research to municipalities all around Erie County at no cost to take on the issue of Zombie Properties (vacant and abandoned homes).
“In 2010 I was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease and my mortgage payment became unsustainable. After my initial foreclosure and bankruptcy were filed, I left my home and my seven year foreclosure journey began. Harassing phone calls from lending institutions became so frequent and confusing that I no longer knew who owned the property and what my responsibilities were. I watched helplessly as my former home fell into disrepair. I can’t express the amount of stress and uncertainty I felt. In 2015, the WNYLC researched my case and explained that the bank had discharged the mortgage against my property and abandoned my foreclosure. I had no idea that I still owned the property or that once the loan was discharged, I could sell it outright. Without the efforts of the Western New York Law Center, my home would still be a ‘zombie’. I can finally sleep soundly again, knowing that this turbulent chapter of my life has ended. "

-Deborah C., Former Client

Finances


The Buffalo Civil Legal Advice and Resources Office (CLARO) is the first upstate program providing free legal advice and representation to low-income New Yorkers being sued by debt collectors in four counties across the state. At ur consumer walk-in clinics, we draft papers that consumers can file in court. In connection with this clinic, we appear twice weekly in Buffalo City Court to represent any consumer who needs our assistance.

We also have a bankruptcy clinic providing free bankruptcy assistance to low-income Western New York residents. Our online Bankruptcy Assistance provides a step-by-step overview of how we can help you through the bankruptcy process.

We also supervise a consumer walk-in clinic where consumers can come in and receive legal advice and often drafted papers which they can file in court. In connection with this clinic, we appear twice weekly in Buffalo City Court to represent any consumer who needs our assistance.
"A woman recovering from two strokes, unable to pay her credit card debt because of her medical bills.

'A victim of identity theft who discovered he was over $40,000 in debt only when his wages were being garnished.

A man who lost his wallet, discovering the bill for an unpaid $1,400 television bought in his name.

These are the complicated stories that come into our CLARO clinics every day."

-Paulette Campbell, esq. Lead Attorney, CLARO

Small Business


Started in 2017, the Small Business Legal Clinic gives free, one-on-one business law advice from attorneys. The Clinic assists clients who live in households whose income falls below 300 percent of the Federal poverty line and holds drop-in clinics in zip codes whose poverty rates exceed 29%. We promote neighborhood revitalization and socio-economic mobility by providing low-income entrepreneurs and small businesses with the legal services they need to thrive.

Clinic attorneys also teach business law classes for entrepreneurs in conjunction with local partner organizations. They cover topics such as intellectual property, business taxation, business structures, and contract law.
"I was referred to the Western New York Law Center through the Small Business Development Center in Buffalo, NY. I had two separate calls and both exceeded my expectations. They took their time to explain everything in detail as we discussed what direction would be best for my business. They explained the difference between a PLLC and an LLC in an easy to understand way that helped make my decision much easier. They also did a great job in getting my business entity set-up. The call to get my LLC taken care of was again very informative and they walked me through each step of the process. Their office also made sure I had all the appropriate documents and information needed to get started with my small business. I am very happy with the services and information the team provided. I found them very easy to talk to and I felt very welcomed and comfortable during our calls. Highly recommend the WNY Law Center!"

-Marshal D., Former Client

Community Involvement

The WNYLC has founded and joined several groups advocating for social and economic justice, fighting for equality, and improving the conditions of our communities. The Law Center advocates for progressive legislation at the State, Local, and Federal levels and works to address proposed legislation and current laws that are harmful to low income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups.
“Having the assistance of the Law Center…has been a tremendous help for us in getting resolution to this issue of vacant and abandoned properties. We love working with them.”

-Joe C., Jr., Code Enforcer Officer, Town of Elma

Team

Meet the people who make our work possible.

Amy Gathings

Supervising Attorney, Foreclosure

828-8427
Agathings@wnylc.net

Constance Joyce

Lead Paralegal, CLARO; Community Outreach Coordinator

828-8414
cjoyce@wnylc.net

Elizabeth Cattarin

Paralegal, CLARO

828-8428
ecattarin@wnylc.net

George Burkett

Paralegal, CLARO & Foreclosure

828-8451
gburkett@wnylc.net

Hannah Mercer

Service Collaborative Volunteer Paralegal, Bankruptcy

828-8441
hmercer@wnylc.net

Kevin McDonnell

Service Collaborative Volunteer Paralegal, Bankruptcy

828-8434
kmcdonnell@wnylc.net

Heather Murcin

Law Clerk, Evictions

828-8446
hmurcin@wnylc.net

Ian Grogan

Paralegal, Foreclosure

828-8417
igrogan@wnylc.net

Jean Blizzard

Paralegal & Community Engagement Specialist,
Vacant & Abandoned Properties

828-8447
Jblizzard@wnylc.net

Kevin McDonnell

Service Collaborative Volunteer Paralegal, Bankruptcy

828-8434
kmcdonnell@wnylc.net

Joseph Kelemen

Staff Attorney,
Vacant & Abandoned Property & Litigation

828-8411
jak@wnylc.net

Jordan Modrzynski

Supervising Attorney,
Evictions

828-8438
jmodrzynski@wnylc.net

Kate Lockhart

Vacant & Abandoned Property Program Director

828-8420
klockhart@wnylc.net

Kathryn Franco

Data Analyst,
BNCRC Chair

828-8440
kfranco@wnylc.net

Kathryn Franco

Data Analyst,
BNCRC Chair

828-8440
kfranco@wnylc.net

Keisha Williams

Executive Director, Attorney

828-8415
kwilliams@wnylc.net

Kevin McDonnell

Service Collaborative Volunteer Paralegal, Bankruptcy

828-8434
kmcdonnell@wnylc.net

Kevin McDonnell

Service Collaborative Volunteer Paralegal, Bankruptcy

828-8434
kmcdonnell@wnylc.net

Matthew Parham

Supervising Staff Attorney,
CLARO

828-8422
mparham@wnylc.net

Matthew Parham

Supervising Staff Attorney,
CLARO

828-8422
mparham@wnylc.net

Mia Forney

Volunteer
CLARO

828-8454
miaforne@wnylc.net

Matthew Parham

Supervising Staff Attorney,
CLARO

828-8422
mparham@wnylc.net

Neha Karambelkar

Managing Attorney,
Small Business Legal Clinic

828-8445
nkarambelkar@wnylc.net

Pamela Lanich

Staff Attorney, Foreclosure

828-8418
planich@wnylc.net

Paulette Campbell

Managing Attorney, CLARO

828-8423
pcampbell@wnylc.net

Sherry Soules

Office Manager/HR Coordinator

828-8410
ssoules@wnylc.net

Sherry Soules

Managing Attorney, CLARO

828-8423
pcampbell@wnylc.net

Roxanna Herreid

Law Student Volunteer
CLARA & BCRC

828-8455
rherreid@wnylc.net

Sherry Soules

Managing Attorney, CLARO

828-8423
pcampbell@wnylc.net

Stephen Halpern

Staff Attorney,
BNCRC Counsel,
Water Board Litigation Program

828-8416
shalpern@wnylc.net

Yanis Martinez

Paralegal,
Evictions

828-8426
ymartinez@wnylc.net

Samantha Axberg

Staff Attorney, Vacant & Abandoned Properties

828-8419
saxberg@wnylc.net

Vincent Bai

Service Collaborative Volunteer Paralegal,
Small Business Legal Clinic

828-8449
vbai@wnylc.net

Vincent Bai

Service Collaborative Volunteer Paralegal,
Foreclosure

828-8453
shossain@wnylc.net

In Memoriam

Tom Karkau

Computer Programmer

Board

President

Melinda
Saran

Vice-President

Joseph
McCarthy

Secretary

Catherine Creighton

Treasurer

Karen
Welch

John
LaFalce

Honorary Member

John
LaFalce

Honorary Member

Catherine
Creighton

Catherine
Creighton

Alexander
Wright

Alexander
Wright

Melinda
Saran

Melinda
Seran

Marshall
Bertram

Marshall
Bertram

John
Lipsitz

John
Lipsitz

Joseph
McCarthy

Joseph
McCarthy

Karen
Welch

Joseph
McCarthy

What People Say About Us

Testimonials

Help the WNYLC Put a Stop to Injustice in Our Community

Contact Us!

Email Us!

wnylc@wnylc.net

We look forward to hearing from you!

Call Us!

716.855.0203

Office Hours:
9:00am - 5:00pm
Or By Appointment

Our Address

By Appointment Only

37 Franklin Street
2nd Floor, Suite 210
Buffalo, NY 14202

(Look for us behind Pearl Street)

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Nothing on this or associated pages should be taken as legal advice by any entity for any individual case or situation. Using this website or communicating with Western New York Law Center does not form an attorney-client relationship. There is no attorney-client relationship unless and until you sign an agreement confirming the nature and scope of representation.

Please do not act or refrain from acting based on information or materials on this site. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed, professional attorney in your state. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.