Ellen Leitzer, Executive Director
Ellen Leitzer co-founded and, for 22 years, served as managing director of the Senior Citizens Law Office, Inc. In 2005 Ellen moved to Washington, D.C. where she directed a Medicare project for Families USA, a national consumer health advocacy organization. Subsequently Ellen worked in Nepal, Cambodia and Burundi before returning to New Mexico where she opened a private practice that focused on elder law. On June 1, 2013 Ellen returned to SCLO as Executive Director. As a long-time advocate for New Mexico’s aging population, Ellen authored many state laws that benefit seniors.
Clara Padilla-Silver, Foreclosure Defense Attorney
Clara A. Padilla-Silver is a graduate from the University of New Mexico School of law. She has been an attorney since 1996 and is licensed in three states, New Mexico, Texas, and Nevada. Ms. Padilla-Silver has been practicing strictly in the area of real estate since 1996 and foreclosure law since 2007. Prior to moving back to Albuquerque in July of 2013, she was a foreclosure mediator for the State of Nevada Foreclosure Mediation Program. She currently serves on the Lobos for Legislation Committee at the University of New Mexico and is the Chair of the Greater Albuquerque Area Alumni Association for the University of New Mexico.
Elena Spielman, Attorney
Phillip Medrano, Estate Planning Attorney
Phillip Medrano is a graduate of The American University Washington College of Law (1978) and began practicing law in 1978. He was a prosecutor until 1985. He then had his own law practice for eleven years; a substantial part of his practice involved estate planning matters. His next position was as an assistant federal public defender until 2014. He started working for SCLO in May, 2014, and is one of two estate planning lawyers at SCLO.
Nita C. Day, Attorney
Senior Citizens’ Law Office, Inc. staff attorney Nita Day joined SCLO in 2014. In 2011 Nita received a J.D degree from the University of Idaho’s School of Law. Prior to joining SCLO’s staff, she was a Bergstrom Fellow at Albuquerque’s Pegasus Legal Services for Children, and subsequently served as an Assistant District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District where she gained extensive trial experience. Nita’s SCLO caseload includes consumer, housing, and protective proceedings cases. She is passionate about public interest law and protecting the rights of her clients.
Michael C. Parks, Attorney
Michael Parks is a staff attorney who has worked with seniors and persons with disabilities for many years, primarily specializing in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. His past work has included being a staff attorney with the National Health Law Program in Los Angeles, where he co-founded a Medicare Advocacy Project, and Disability Rights New Mexico. Michael has extensive experience with educational presentations for community groups and professionals, and has received advocacy awards from the New Mexico State Conference on Aging, and the National Aging and Law Conference.
David Lee, Estate Planning Attorney
Michael McGuire, Staff Attorney
Kathy Heyman, Administrative Director
Kathy Heyman joined SCLO in 1990 after working for private attorneys in the area of consumer law for five years. In her current role as SCLO’s Administrative Director, Kathy relies on her education in business administration and work experience in human relations and in the paralegal field to supervise support staff and assist attorneys in their advocacy work on behalf of seniors.
David J. Monson, Fiscal Officer
David has been the Fiscal Officer for the Senior Citizens’ Law Office since 1996. David has 29 years experience serving as the Finance Director/Fiscal Officer for several non profit organizations including Open Hands, Inc., Santa Fe, NM; Desert State Life Management Services, Albuquerque, NM; and Health Action New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. In addition to serving as the treasurer of Health Action New Mexico, David also served as the Treasurer of NewChild Productions, a performing arts academy in the African American community for kids aged 6 through 84. He serves as treasurer of ACTNM, a GLBTG affiliate of the New Mexico Community Foundation, building a fund to provide grants for projects concerning the health and welfare of families in the Gay & Lesbian Community. In addition to health care advocacy, David is on the New Mexico Governor’s AIDS Commission.
Jan Thomson, Paralegal
Jan is a recent graduate of the Post Degree Paralegal Program at Central New Mexico Community College. Jan received her Bachelors degree from UNM in 1975 and worked for many years in a medical laboratory field. Jan joined SCLO’s Foreclosure Defense Team this year and looks forward to helping Senior Citizens keep their homes.
Brwyn Downing, Paralegal
Brwyn Downing joined SCLO as a paralegal in 2014. She has her BA in English, MFA in Writing and Poetics, and her ABA Approved Paralegal Certificate. Before SCLO, Brwyn worked for attorneys specializing in the fields of family law, criminal defense and civil litigation. Brwyn is honored to be a part of the strong team that makes up SCLO’s legal services. Brwyn first started working with Seniors during her graduate work, when she would teach poetry classes at retirement communities.
Lupe Watson, Administrative Secretary
Lupe Watson joined the staff of SCLO in 2004. Ms. Watson’s many skills include: Bilingual in Spanish, strong organizational skills that are instrumental to SCLO’s many outreach programs, and a strong proficiency with SCLO’s case management computer program. Ms. Watson was born and raised in New Mexico and brings a local flair to SCLO.
Carolina Favela, Receptionist
Carolina was raised in Bernalillo, New Mexico, and still resides there. She is a UNM student studying Spanish and History. She enjoys volunteering in numerous events and helping her community with charity. Some of her best memories were going to the senior citizen center that is located next to the parish church in Bernalillo and reading the newspaper to seniors. When she is not working or studying, Carolina enjoys reading, writing, cooking and taking hikes. She has an interest in quotes and sayings of all types. She shares her favorite quote on aging: “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”