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Our Staff

Brwyn Downing, Executive Director

Brwyn Downing received her J.D. with honors and awards from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2018.  She first joined SCLO as a paralegal in 2014 and continued working with SCLO through law school.  After graduation, Brwyn was hired as a law clerk and then as a staff attorney upon passage of the bar examination.  In 2020, Brwyn left the organization to work for New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department, primarily giving legal advice and providing representation to Adult Protective Services.  Brwyn rejoined SCLO as the Executive Director, and is honored to continue SCLO’s long history of advocacy and legal services for New Mexico’s most vulnerable elders.

Elena Spielman, Attorney

Elena received her B.A and J.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin (Madison WI). After moving to New Mexico in 1976 she worked for the Legal Aid Society of Albuquerque and then Northern New Mexico Legal Services (now New Mexico Legal Services). Subsequently Elena practiced family law in the private sector for many years. Elena joined SCLO’s staff as a part-time attorney in 2014.

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.

Michael C. Parks, Staff 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.

Michael McGuire, Staff Attorney

Michael McGuire received a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 2007 and graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2012. Prior to joining SCLO in 2016, he worked with legal services programs in Louisiana and Ohio representing low-income taxpayers and military veterans. Michael legal practice has focused on a variety of legal issues including: identity theft; evictions; veterans’ benefits; family law; tax disputes; and estate planning.

Cristóbal Muñoz, Staff Attorney

Cristóbal Muñoz received his J.D. from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and M.A. from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. Before 2017, Cristobal litigated cases in federal labor law after some previous work and intern experience in foreclosure defense. At SCLO, Cristobal focuses primarily on issues involving Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and state benefits, such as SNAP and LIHEAP, with some tangential work resolving landlord/tenant problems and debt collection.

Cari Neill, Staff Attorney

Cari Neill received her B.S. in Environmental Science and her J.D. from the University of New Mexico. Cari began her legal career practicing civil defense, representing insurance companies and their insureds. Prior to attending college, Cari worked with programs providing services directly to senior citizens and children with disabilities. Cari is excited to once again be able to offer direct services to New Mexico’s senior population. Cari is a member of the New Mexico State Bar Committee on Women in the Legal Profession and on the Board of Directors of the Elder Law Section of the State Bar. Cari focuses on areas of law concerning consumer and debt protection, housing, and health and retirement benefits.

Paul Spear, Foreclosure Project Attorney

Paul grew up on a farm south of Fargo, North Dakota, studied Agricultural Economics at North Dakota State University and worked several years as a farm loan officer with USDA and private banks in northwestern Minnesota. Graduating from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2005, Paul moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has represented creditors and insurance companies with insurance subrogation, foreclosure, asset and debt recovery, and tort defense. Paul represents SCLO clients with active foreclosure cases before the courts.

Mikayla Jaramillo, Foreclosure Legal Assistant

Mikayla Jaramillo joins SCLO as a  graduate of the Post Degree Paralegal program with the University of New Mexico Continuing Education. She additionally holds Bachelor degrees in English and Religious Studies, and a minor in Philosophy. She has a strong professional background in training and client care. She looks forward to advocating on behalf of New Mexican Seniors that are facing foreclosure.

Kathy Heyman, Administrative Director

Kathy Heyman joined SCLO in 1990 after working with private attorneys in the area of consumer law for five years.   In her current role as SCLO’s Administrative Director, Kathy relies on her formal 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.

 Dean Shelton, Paralegal

Dean Shelton, an SCLO paralegal, has more than 30 years of experience in the private legal sector in Albuquerque and, most recently, Portland, Oregon. He holds a Bachelor of University Studies from the University of New Mexico, which speaks to his eclectic interests. Dean worked for many years as an estate planning paralegal, but assists SCLO’s legal staff in all areas of the law. Dean has also worked at a non-profit public radio station and has an enduring passion for music.

 Carla Wassom, Receptionist

Carla joined the SCLO staff as a bi-lingual part-time receptionist in 2019; she is an asset to our organization with her hard work ethics.

Roberta Gabaldon, Legal Assistant

Roberta is a retiree from the Social Security Administration.  She went on to work for private attorneys in the area of family law and estate planning.  She joined Senior Citizens Law Office in July 2020 and assists legal staff.

Almitra Wynn, Receptionist/Legal Assistant

Almitra joined SCLO in July of 2021, as a part-time receptionist/legal assistant.  She has several years of experience in legal office settings and brings to the position excellent organizational skills, data entry, and client communication.  Starting November 1, 2021 Almitra will join SCLO as a full time legal assistant.


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