Our Staff

Executive Director

Jennifer L. Wood jwood@centerforjustice.org

Jennifer Wood has over 30 years of public interest experience in civil legal aid organizations, civil rights firms, state government, and legislative roles. Prior to joining the Center for Justice, she was the Deputy Secretary/General Counsel at the RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the General Counsel/Chief of Staff in the Office of the Lt. Governor. She also spent nine years as the Chief of Staff and Chief Legal Counsel at the RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She started her career as a fellow at Rhode Island Legal Services, before transitioning to private practice. Jenn is a graduate of Brown University and the Northeastern University School of Law.

Staff Attorney

Natalia Friedlander nfriedlander@centerforjustice.org

Natalia joined the Center for Justice as a Resnik-Curtis Liman Fellow in September 2018, with a focus on criminal justice and prisoners' rights. Natalia has a JD from Yale Law School, where she received the Stephen J. Massey Prize for client advocacy and community service. Prior to law school, she worked at healthcare nonprofits in Washington, DC, Tanzania, and Zambia. Natalia has a BA in Community Health from Brown University.

Staff Attorney

Sam Cramer scramer@centerforjustice.org

Sam joined the Center for Justice as a legal fellow in December 2020. He is an honors graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, where he worked closely with the Legal Skills in Social Context program, which pairs cohorts of first year law students with community organizations and public interest law firms to advance social justice. Before attending law school, Sam worked as a film-maker, a carpenter, and a community organizer. He has a BA in English Literature from Grinnell College.

Supervising Attorney

John Karwashanjnault@centerforjustice.org

John Karwashan joined the Center for Justice as the supervising attorney in December 2022. Prior to joining the Center, John worked in criminal defense, both as a private practitioner and a public defender. He brings a client-focused attitude into his work on the housing and criminal justice teams. He has successfully litigated cases in various courts across Rhode Island and Massachusetts. John is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and Roger Williams University School of Law.

Attorney Fellow

Mariel GarciaMariel Garcia mgarcia@centerforjustice.org

Mariel joined the Center for Justice as a Roger Williams University School of Law Legal Fellow in August 2021. Before joining the Center for Justice, Mariel attended Roger Williams University School of Law, where she spent multiple semesters working as a student attorney at their Immigration Clinic. Prior to attending law school, Mariel graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BS in Business Administration.

Staff Attorney

Troy Langeasteele@centerforjustice.org

Troy Lange is a housing law attorney that joined the Center in February of 2023, bringing with them past experience with housing law and public benefits law from Rhode Island Legal Services. Troy is a 2020 graduate of Roger Williams School of Law, where they served as the Executive Articles Editor of the Law Review. In their time outside the courts and the office, Troy officiates all levels of amateur ice hockey, including NCAA men's and women's games.

Legal Fellow

Diana Perez dperez@centerforjustice.org

Diana joined the Center for Justice as the Roger Williams University School of Law Legal Fellow in August 2022. Diana is a RI native growing up in North Providence, RI. Diana interned for the Center for Justice during law school and is excited to be on the staff. Diana is working on the housing team, drivers license restoration program, and education team.

Legal Fellow

Kristen Billings dperez@centerforjustice.org

Kristen joined the Center for Justice as a Roger Williams University School of Law Legal Fellow in August 2022. Before joining the Center for Justice as a fellow, Kristen attended Roger Williams University School of Law, where she externed with the Center for Justice as part of the Public Interest Law Clinic. Prior to attending law school, Kristen graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a B.A. in Political Science. Kristen is working on the housing team, education team, and Driver’s License Restoration Program. 

Paralegal

Nicole Patano npatano@centerforjustice.org

Nicole has been with the Center for Justice since September 2021. Nicole's focus is on post-conviction relief and the rights of incarcerated individuals. She is also involved in the drivers license restoration program. Nicole has a BA in Criminology from Providence College.

Paralegal/ Housing Advocate

Madison Mandellnpatano@centerforjustice.org

Madison joined the Center for Justice as an intern on the criminal justice team in September 2022. She is now working full time as a Housing Advocate/Paralegal on both the housing and education teams. Madison recently graduated from Brown University with a BA in History.