Brooklyn legal services nonprofit selects new leader
by Benjamin Fang
May 09, 2018 | 3223 views | 0 0 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, a nonprofit legal services organization that has defended tenants in the borough for decades, has chosen a new executive director.

Jessica Rose, the current director of the Community Economic Development program, will take over as the organization’s new leader this summer. She will succeed longtime co-executive directors Martin Needelman and Paul Acinapura, who retired last year.

“As we enter our next 50 years as a national trailblazer in legal services and as a unique and critical safety net for thousands of low-income residents and hundreds of community organizations and small businesses, I am excited to lead the charge,” Rose said in a statement. “Our greatest assets are our staff and long-term commitment to and relationship with the communities we serve.”

Rose joined Brooklyn A in 2004 as a staff attorney, and was elevated to director of the CED program in 2008. Prior to joining the legal services group, she was an associate at the public finance firm Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP.

In her tenure leading the CED program, Rose established an externship program with the law firm Simpson Thatcher Bartlett LLP, and hosted and mentored dozens of interns and fellows. She also founded Brooklyn A’s Green Building Law and Justice Project.

Rose received her law degree from Fordham University in 2001.

She will have large shoes to fill. Needelman, who joined the organization 45 years ago, has led Brooklyn A for the last 35 years. He will continue to provide legal services to low-income tenants and community coalitions as chief counsel emeritus.

Brooklyn A now has more than 60 staff members and offices in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant. It began in 1968 as part of the federal War on Poverty, and has since provided litigation and legal services for communities in Brooklyn.

“I am confident that under Jessie’s leadership, Brooklyn A will continue to grow, innovate and most importantly, be a tool of the communities we serve in their collective struggle for social and economic justice,” Acinapura said.

Joshua Hoffman, the organization’s chief financial and operating office, will stay in his leadership role.

“Jessie has made major contributions towards Brooklyn A’s growth and stability,” he said. “We make a good team.”

Meanwhile, Shekar Krishnan will round out the leadership team as Brooklyn A’s first director of legal advocacy and strategic partnerships. His duties include overseeing the organization’s legal advocacy strategies, developing programmatic priorities and maintaining community partnerships.

He previously served as director of Brooklyn A’s Group Representation Unit in its affordable housing program, which managed fair housing litigation for tenants in north and east Brooklyn.

“Brooklyn A has afforded me the opportunity to fight for justice for low-income tenants caught squarely in the crosshairs of gentrification, residential segregation and displacement,” Krishnan said. “I look forward to this next chapter of our collective work for the neighborhoods we serve under Jessie’s leadership.”
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