Healey Announces Experienced, Diverse Transition Team

11.25.2014

Oleskey Leads Senior Group of Attorneys, Prosecutors, Community Leaders 

BOSTON — Attorney General-elect Maura Healey today appointed a diverse, experienced team of attorneys, prosecutors, and community leaders to help guide her transition into office and help her build on the nation-leading record of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

The transition committee will be chaired by Stephen H. Oleskey, who co-chaired the AG-elect’s campaign, previously served as both a Deputy Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau. Oleskey is currently Of Counsel in the Boston office of Hiscock & Barclay, LLP.

The transition work will be directed by Deborah Shah, a longtime campaign manager and strategic organization development consultant who recently coordinated the Healey campaign’s Central and Western Massachusetts field efforts.

In addition to Oleskey, the committee will include: Civil rights lawyer Margaret Burnham; Attorney Jeff Clements, co-founder of Free Speech for People; Attorney Paul Dacier, who serves as General Counsel at EMC Corp.; former Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein; Attorney Lisa C. Goodheart, partner at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, LLP; Attorney Monica Halas of Greater Boston Legal Services; former Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, a partner at Nixon, Peabody LLP; Attorney Tom Lesser, a partner at Lesser, Newman and Nasser; Professor Jack McDevitt, director of Northeastern University’s Institute of Race and Justice; Will Ogburn, executive director of the National Consumer Law Center; Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree; Retired Judge Luis Perez of Worcester; Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley; Attorney Adam L. Sisitsky, who served as co-chair of Healey’s campaign; Attorney Mary Strother, Deputy General Counsel at WilmerHale; Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan; Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong and Attorney Mardee Xifaras of New Bedford.

Aiding in the effort and serving as advisers to the transition will be Mike Firestone, Healey’s campaign manager, and David Guarino, who was senior strategist and chief spokesman for the campaign.

“This group of talented leaders will help me ensure the people continue to have the strongest, nation-leading Attorney General’s Office and that we hit the ground running in January,” said Healey.

In an effort to encourage the best talent, from those already working in government and outside, Healey also set up an online application process for those interested in joining her team at the Attorney General’s Office at www.maurahealey.com/transition.

“I will continue our Massachusetts tradition of running the strongest public law firm in the country,” Healey said. "Working in the Attorney General's Office was the best job I've ever held. As I begin my tenure as the people's lawyer, this strong group of advisors will help me form a dynamic office ready to serve the people of our state and take on the challenges we face. I am humbled by this opportunity to serve.”

Background on Transition Leaders

Steve Oleskey, Chair, is Of Counsel in the Commercial Litigation practice area at Hiscock & Barclay, LLP. Oleskey served as Massachusetts Deputy Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in 1987 and 1988 and practiced at WilmerHale for more than 40 years. He was a member of the board of directors of MLAC (Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation) from 1995 to 2005.  In 2007, Oleskey received the Boston Bar Association’s President’s Award for his representation of pro bono clients detained at Guantanamo Bay as well as a lifetime recognition award from the American Bar Association for his commitment to civil services for the poor. He lives in Brookline.

Margaret Burnham joined the Northeastern University School of Law faculty in 2002. Her fields of expertise are civil and human rights, comparative constitutional rights, and international criminal law. She is the founder of the School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, which engages students in legal matters relating to the 1960s US civil rights movement. Professor Burnham began her career at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In 1977, she became the first African American woman to serve in the Massachusetts judiciary, when she joined the Boston Municipal Court bench as an associate justice. In 1993, South African president Nelson Mandela appointed Professor Burnham to serve on an international human rights commission, a precursor to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A former fellow of the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and Harvard University's W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Studies, Professor Burnham has written extensively on contemporary legal and political issues. She lives in Boston.

Jeff Clements is the chair of the board of Free Speech for People, a national non-partisan campaign to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, and to strengthen American democracy and republican self-government. He is the author of Corporations Are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy From Big Money And Global Corporations. Clements co-founded Free Speech for People in 2009 after representing several public interest organizations with a Supreme Court amicus brief in the Citizens United case. Clements has served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. Clements has been a partner at the law firm Mintz Levin and in his own firm. He lives in Concord.

Paul T. Dacier is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of EMC Corporation and is past President of the Boston Bar Association.  He was instrumental in establishing the Business Litigation Session in Suffolk County in the 1990s, is a past-chair and remains on the board of directors of the New England Legal Foundation and is a trustee of the Social Law Library, the oldest law library in the United States. He lives in Sherborn.

Joanne F. Goldstein is currently Associate Vice President of Workforce Development and Employer Engagement in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. Prior to joining Northeastern, Goldstein served as Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She was responsible for a budget of $3.5 billion for five agencies including the Departments of Unemployment Assistance; Career Services; Industrial Accidents; Labor Standards and Labor Relations. Previously, Goldstein was Chief of the Fair Labor Division of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and her experience includes serving as General Counsel to the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO.  She lives in Newton.

Lisa Goodheart is a partner at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, LLP, where she concentrates on environmental, real estate and general business litigation. Before joining SRBC, Goodheart was a partner in the Boston office of DLA Piper US LLP, and, before that, a partner at Hill & Barlow, P.C. In 2014 she received the Environmental Justice Award Recipient from Alternatives for Community & Environment, Inc. (ACE). She lives in Brookline.

Monica Halas is a nationally-recognized employment law expert and lead attorney in the Employment Law Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, where she has worked for 36 years. She has spent her career advocating for individual clients and for reforms to Massachusetts employment laws. Halas is a member of UAW Local 2320 and a vice-president on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Her varied legislative achievements include expanding eligible recipients of federal unemployment insurance, the 2012 Right to Know Law, and increases to the state minimum wage, the earned income tax credit, parental leave and protections for domestic workers. In 2013, Halas was named a “Top Women of Law” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and, in 2014 received the Lelia J. Robinson Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts. She lives in Boston.

Gerard Leone currently serves as a partner in the Government Investigations & White Collar Defense practice at Nixon & Peabody, LLP. Before joining the firm, Leone served as Middlesex District Attorney. Prior to his election as district attorney, Mr. Leone served as First Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Massachusetts, managing the office and conducting federal and international investigations and cases ranging from public corruption to health care fraud and cybercrime. He also served as the first Anti-Terrorism Task Force coordinator in Massachusetts following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Leone was the chief of the Criminal Bureau for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, where he oversaw the investigation and prosecution of statewide cases ranging from economic crime and corruption to environmental enforcement. He began his legal career in Boston as a trial attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. He lives in Hopkinton.

Tom Lesser is a partner in the Western Massachusetts firm, Lesser, Newman and Nasser. His practice is focused on the representation of clients in complex civil litigation and criminal law. He has been rated as a “Massachusetts Super Lawyer” since that designation was established by the Thompson Reuters rating service in Boston Magazine. Lesser has taught at Western New England School of Law, as well as continuing legal education courses in the fields of personal injury law, criminal law and technology. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently selected Lesser as one of five attorneys in Western Massachusetts to serve on the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations for the purpose of recommending candidates for federal judicial vacancies in Massachusetts. He lives in Conway.

Jack McDevitt is Associate Dean of Research for the College of Social Sciences & Humanities at Northeastern University. Professor McDevitt also directs the Institute on Race and Justice. Professor McDevitt is the co-author of three books and has spoken on hate crime, racial profiling human trafficking and security both nationally and internationally and has testified as an expert witness before the Judiciary Committees of both U.S. Senate and The U.S. House of Representatives and as invited expert at the White House. Professor McDevitt was appointed by Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo to lead the Committee to Reduce Firearm Violence. The recommendations of the Committee informed Massachusetts’ nation-leading gun safety legislation, signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2014.

Willard Ogburn has been the Executive Director of the National Consumer Law Center since 1987. He has litigated and provided expert testimony and administrative representation on a wide variety of consumer law and policy issues before a range of Congressional and regulatory committees on the national and state levels. He has served as Deputy Commissioner of Banks in Massachusetts; in the Executive Office of the President; with Congress' Legislative Reference Service; in the Law Reform Unit of Cleveland Legal Aid; as a member and Chair of the Federal Reserve Board Consumer Advisory Council; and on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Federation of America (President); Consumer Reports; the National Association of Consumer Advocates (Executive Committee); Americans For Fairness in Lending; and the Center for Legal Aid Education (President). He lives in Newton.

Charles Ogletree is the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. He is the author of several books on race and justice, including Life without Parole: America's New Death Penalty? (2012) with Professor Austin Sarat and The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class, and Crime in America (2010). In 2009, Professor Ogletree was awarded the ABA Spirit of Excellence Award for his many contributions to the legal profession. He was named in 2008 one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal. Professor Ogletree is a native of Merced, California and a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School. He lives in Cambridge.

Retired Judge Luis Perez has been widely recognized for his involvement in significant and continuous efforts to serve the growing and diverse Latino community for the past 30 years, as well as for community service dedicated to improving the quality of life for children in the Worcester area. For the past several years, the U.S. Government has invited Judge Perez to conduct lectures in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Venezuela and Spain on juvenile justice reforms. Judge Perez has led many initiatives dedicated to advocating and promoting children's rights and services. Judge Perez has been the recipient of many certificates and awards in recognition of his advocacy roles, not only from the Latino community, but also from the Worcester community in general. Along with other community members, he was a catalyst in the establishment of the first Latino grassroots community advocacy organization in Worcester A.L.P.A. (Asociacion Latina Para Progreso Y Accion), the first drug treatment program for Hispanics, Primera Parada, and Centro Las Americas, a multi-service and cultural center. He lives in Worcester.

City Councilor At Large Ayanna Pressley was elected to the Boston City Council in November 2009 and is the first woman of color to serve in the 100-year history of the Boston City Council. Councilor Pressley’s political career spans more than 16 years, in various behind-the-scene capacities in federal government. Councilor Pressley previously worked as a Senior Aide for former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II and former U. S. Sen. John Kerry. In addition to her work in government, Councilor Pressley has also been an active leader in the non-profit community on issues related to women and girls, civic engagement and diversifying the political pipeline.  Her work with young people on violence prevention has earned her national acclaim. She lives in Dorchester.

Adam Sisitsky is an experienced trial attorney and litigator at the firm Mintz Levin whose practice encompasses a wide range of matters focusing on business and securities litigation, internal investigations and government enforcement actions. In 2001 to 2002, while on leave from the firm, Sisitsky practiced as a Special Assistant District Attorney in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. He lives in Framingham.

Mary Strother has spent her career at WilmerHale and currently serves as their Deputy General Counsel, working with the Ethics Committee and assisting with risk management issues. She focuses her practice on general business litigation and arbitration. Strother also has experience representing companies subject to criminal investigations and has assisted companies in conducting internal investigations. In addition, she currently serves as chair of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers, an independent administrative body established by the Supreme Judicial Court to investigate and evaluate complaints against lawyers. She lives in Weston.

Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan was elected in November 2010 after serving as Register of Probate for Hampshire Probate and Family Court and, before that, as city attorney for Easthampton. As District Attorney, Sullivan has embraced a community prosecution model that blends smart and fair prosecutions, crime prevention, law enforcement partnerships and community collaboration to build safer communities. In 2008, he was one of two Massachusetts lawyers chosen to receive the Massachusetts Bar Foundation's President's Award for "extraordinary volunteerism, leadership, and commitment to increasing access to justice in Massachusetts. Prior to serving in government, Sullivan was a trial attorney who handled thousands of criminal and civil cases.  He lives in Easthampton.

Lisa Wong is serving her third term as Mayor of Fitchburg. She was first elected to that office in November 2007 at the age of 28 and is the first minority mayor in Fitchburg and the first female Asian-American mayor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mayor Wong began working for the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority in 2001 and became the agency’s Executive Director in 2004. As Director, she managed several urban renewal projects to revitalize Fitchburg, such as the redevelopment of a former General Electric facility into a modern business complex. Mayor Wong has already built a reputation as one of the most effective leaders in economic restructuring, environmental affairs and redevelopment projects and was recently asked to head the Gateway Cities Initiative statewide. She lives in Fitchburg.

Margaret D. “MarDee” Xifaras is a partner at the New Bedford law firm of Lang, Xifaras & Bullard. Xifaras taught for two years in Central Africa in the Peace Corps and served for 28 years on the Democratic National Committee. She is former Chair of the Family Law Section of the Massachusetts Bar Association and has taught family law at UMass Dartmouth, the state’s first public law school. In 2011, Xifaras was appointed to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees by Gov. Deval Patrick. She lives in Marion.

Deborah Shah, Transition Director, began her campaign career as a Regional Field Director for Deval Patrick and, since 2006, has managed several progressive Democratic races in Massachusetts including the election of state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and Mayor Setti Warren of Newton. She was the founding Executive Director of Progressive Massachusetts and recently served as Maura Healey’s Regional Field Director for Central and Western Massachusetts.  Shah spent more than 25 years running her own consulting company, which specialized in strategy and large scale change. She assisted some of the world's most dynamic companies in improving their performance, entering new markets, re-engineering major processes, enhancing customer satisfaction and increasing workforce participation. She lives in Boston.

 

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