Justine Rakich-Kelly, Executive Director
Justine Rakich-Kelly graduated from Western Connecticut State University, cum laude, with a BS in Justice and Law Administration and earned her law degree from University of Connecticut School of Law in 1991. She worked for a number of years in private practice focusing on family and juvenile law. She became a staff attorney and then a managing attorney of the family unit at Statewide Legal Services in 1998. In 2000, she accepted the position of Executive Director at The Children's Law Center of Connecticut and has been in that role since.As Executive Director, Attorney Rakich-Kelly has presented at numerous conferences including a joint conference of the American Bar Association and the American Psychological Association in 2008, where she introduced the Families in Transition program and discussed the importance of a mental health perspective in the legal representation of children. Justine served on several Commissions and Committees, including a sub-committee on the Governor's Commission on Divorce, Custody, and Children in 2003; and the Governor's Commission on Judicial Reform in 2006. She currently serves as a 2016 Governor's appointee to the Statewide Advisory Council on Children and Families and also serves on the Standing Committee on Guardians Ad Litem and Attorneys for Minor Children in Family Matters. In 2013, she co-authored a comprehensively written chapter in the handbook A Practical Guide to Divorce in Connecticut entitled "Representing Children in Family Court Custody and Visitation Disputes" with CLC Deputy Director Randa Hojaiban. Attorney Rakich-Kelly is married with three children, two step-children, and two grandchildren.
Randa Hojaiban, Deputy Director
Attorney Hojaiban has been with Children's Law Center since 2001, first as an intern, then as staff attorney. She completed her undergraduate studies at Fordham University and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. She also earned a Masters in Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, which she applies in developing outcome measurement tools for CLC as well as in the course of her legal duties. As Deputy Director, Attorney Hojaiban is responsible for case management, staff oversight and implementing outcome measures for the organization. Additionally, she carries a partial caseload in New Britain Family Court, acts as a mediator in the Families in Transition program and supports the Children’s Law Line. She is admitted to practice law in both Connecticut and New York.
Deb Shulansky, Director of Development
Deb is a graduate of Suffolk University School of Law and a graduate of the University of Rochester, cum laude. Prior to joining CLC, Deb served as Director of Community Outreach and Support at the Brain Injury Alliance of CT. She taught elementary school art at Renbrook School and has worked as a legal consultant to Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities and as an Administrative Attorney with the Department of Banking. In her spare time, Deb can be found playing with clay at her pottery studio.
Aisha Roche, Staff Attorney
Attorney Roche is our Spanish speaking Staff Attorney. She handles New Haven Family Court cases, supports the Law Line and acts as a mediator in the Families in Transition program. She completed her undergraduate studies at Goucher College and is a graduate of Quinnipiac University School of Law. Attorney Roche graduated with an honors concentration certificate in Family and Juvenile Law and is admitted to practice in both Connecticut and New York.
David Coughlin, Staff Attorney
Attorney Coughlin graduated cum laude from Western New England School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and a recipient of the Public Interest Scholarship. During law school David interned at The Children’s Law Center. David represents children in New Britain Family court, supports the Children’s Law Line and is acting as a mediator in the FIT program. Attorney Coughlin also runs CLC's internship program.
Artila Lubonja, Staff Attorney
Attorney Lubonja handles CLC’s caseload in the Waterbury and Hartford Family Court. Artila also mediates cases in the FIT program, as well as supports the review of advice given through the Children's Law Line. Artila completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut and holds a BA in Psychology. While attending UConn, she also interned at the Children's Law Center. Artila earned her JD from Western New England University, School of Law and is licensed to practice in Connecticut. During law school, Artila clerked at the Hampden Probate and Family Court in Springfield, MA, in addition to the legal division of the Department of Children and Families of Waterbury, CT. Prior to CLC, Artila worked as a Temporary Assistant Clerk for the Judges of the Hartford Superior Court. Artila is our Albanian speaking attorney.
Monique Ryan, Staff Attorney
Attorney Ryan is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut. She is an experienced family law attorney and has practiced at various private firms. Attorney Ryan is a returning staff attorney, having previously been a member of the CLC staff covering the Rockville and Putnam courts. She resides in a small town in Connecticut with her husband and children and is also a professor at Sacred Heart University.
Kathryn Phillips, Staff Attorney
Attorney Phillips handles CLC’s caseload in Hartford Family Court. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut and earned her JD from Quinnipiac University School of Law. Attorney Phillips graduated with honors concentration certificates in family law and civil advocacy and dispute resolution and is licensed to practice in Connecticut. While attending law school, she interned at the Children's Law Center. Prior to joining CLC, she practiced family law at a private practice and worked as a clerk and the Caseflow Coordinator for the Judges of the Regional Family Trial Docket in Middletown.
Jodie Comer Oshana, Staff Attorney
Attorney Jodie Comer Oshana is returning to CLC, having previously been both a CLC intern and a CLC staff attorney. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Maine, her Masters in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut, and her Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University School of Law with an honors concentration certificate in Family and Juvenile Law. Attorney Oshana recently received her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is an experienced family law attorney and has practiced previously at CLC and at a private law firm with her practice focusing in family law. She also has an extensive background in child development and family studies, and has been teaching courses at the University of Connecticut since 2008.
Nicole Silva, Staff Social Worker
Nicole Silva is a graduate of Springfield College, where she earned a master’s degree in Social Work. She has her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Communication from Keene State College. Currently, Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Connecticut. Previously Nicole has worked at the Wheeler Clinic’s Extended Day Program (EDT) and also in their Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service Unit (EMPS). She spent several years working at High Road School in Wallingford as a School Social Worker for children with emotional disturbance and severe special needs. Recently Nicole was a School Social worker in the Manchester Public School district where she was an integral part of maintaining a school based clinic partnership with the Manchester Community Child Guidance Clinic. Nicole loves the outdoors and when she is not working she can be found out on the numerous trails in CT or reading a book for her book club. She hopes to bring her excitement and enthusiasm of working with youth and families to CLC.
Photo Credit: Mark Tegtmeier Photography @marktegtmeierphotography