Leadership and Governance

CLS Executive Director

Deborah R. Witkin, Esq.

Executive Director

Debi oversees the organization, including financial, administrative, human relations, strategic planning, advocacy and legislative initiatives, and communications. She is the first female Executive Director of CLS, served as CLS’ Deputy Director from 2007 to 2017, and previously held a variety of other roles within the agency, including Regional Director of the Eastern Local Services Team and  Director of Development.

As a staff attorney, she practiced and litigated across a wide range of the organization’s practice units. In addition to her work at CLS, Debi served as a Visiting Professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law, where she developed and directed a health law clinic. She was selected as a Legal Services Corporation Fellow to run a year-long poverty law clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and she maintains an active and engaged presence across a number of community and legal networks. She is a James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a member of the Advisory Council for the Office of Victim Services, and serves as a trainer for national seminars with the Shriver Center on Poverty Law.  She has held several leadership roles at a large non-profit agency that serves the greater New Haven area. 

CLS Board Chair

Ann Taylor, Esq.

Chair, Board of Directors

Ann has been serving as a consultant to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center since her retirement in February, 2019. For the previous 19 years, she held various management positions at Connecticut Children’s, including Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer, and General Counsel.

Prior to Connecticut Children’s, Ann held several counsel positions within the banking industry in Wash., D.C. and Connecticut.  She has been a member of the Simsbury Bank Board of Directors since 2013, served as a Commissioner on the State of Connecticut Criminal Justice Commission for 18 years, chaired the Foodshare Board and has served on several other boards and Commissions. Ann has also taught health law and ethics classes at UConn School of Law and Quinnipiac University Law and Medical Schools.



  • Ann G. Taylor, Esq.
    Retired: Connecticut Children’s Center
  • Carolyn Wilkes Kaas, Esq.
    Vice Chair
    Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Helen Harris, Esq.
    Partner: Day Pitney LLP
  • Tadhg Dooley, Esq.
    Partner: Wiggin & Dana LLP


  • Livia DeFilippis Barndollar, Esq.
    Pullman & Comley LLC
  • Mike Hanley
    Partnership for Strong Communities
  • Sheila Hayre, Esq.
    Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Laura Jordan, Esq.
    Stamford Health
  • Peter Knight, Esq.
    Robinson & Cole LLP
  • Leslie Levin, Esq.
    University of Connecticut School of Law
  • Ivy Thomas McKinney, Esq.
    Retired: Xerox Corporation
  • Patricia McIntosh, LMSW, MPH
    Hartford Civilian Crisis Response Team: City of Hartford
  • Basam (Bas) E. Nabulsi, Esq.
    McCarter & English LLP
  • Richard Orr, Esq.
    Retired General Counsel: University of Connecticut
  • Jeffrey Plotkin, Esq.
    Finn Dixon & Herling LLP
  • Kevin Rasch, Esq.
    Deputy General Counsel: Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare
  • Brad Saxton, Esq.
    Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Michael Sullivan, Esq.
    Retired: State of Connecticut, Office of Policy and Management
  • Thomas (Sully) C. Sullivan Jr.
    PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • Adam M. Swanson, Esq.
    McCarter & English, LLP

Advisory Council

  • Vivien Blackford
    Vivien Blackford & Associates
  • Peter Kelly, Esq.
    Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C


  • Aaron S. Bayer, Esq.
    Wiggin & Dana
  • Gregory B. Butler, Esq.
  • David Carson
    Hartford, CT
  • Marilyn J. Ward Ford, Esq.
    Quinnipiac University School of Law
  • Joel Freedman
    Glastonbury, CT
  • Thomas Goldberg, Esq.
    Day Pitney, LLP
  • Robert L. Holzberg, Esq.
    Pullman & Comley LLC
  • Karen Jarmoc
    Assistant Vice President Sustainability Leader: The Hartford
  • Jay Malcynsky, Esq.
    Gaffney, Bennett & Associates, Inc.
  • James H. Maloney, JD.
    Founder and President Emeritus, Connecticut Institute For Communities, Inc.
    Owner: Commonweal Services Corporation
  • Leslie O’Brien
    Legislative Program Director: Department of Consumer Protection
  • Mitchell Pearlman, Esq.
    Retired: Freedom of Information Commission
  • Howard Rifkin, Esq.
    Corporation Counsel: City of Hartford
  • James Shearin, Esq.
    Pullman & Comley, LLC
  • Paul A. Slager, Esq.
    Silver Golub & Teitell, LLP
  • Richard Slavin, Esq.
    Cohen and Wolf, P.C.
  • Stanley Twardy Jr., Esq.
    Day Pitney, LLP