Cheryl Hystad, Executive Director

Cheryl Hystad joined Civil Justice in 2013 as its Executive Director. Cheryl, a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, has been a longtime advocate for low and moderate income consumers. She started her career as an attorney at Maryland Legal Aid, a statewide legal services program, handling consumer and housing cases. After eleven years at Legal Aid, Cheryl taught in the Civil Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law for two years and then entered private practice. She has litigated numerous cases involving predatory lending, mortgage foreclosures, debt collection, automobile repossessions, and bankruptcy, including the landmark property flipping case, Hoffman v. Stamper, 385 Md. 1, 867 A.2d 276 (2005).

In 2000, she helped to found and became the first executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition. In that position, she focused on legislative and policy advocacy on a wide range of consumer issues. Her legislative advocacy efforts have led to additional consumer protections in Maryland’s auto leasing law and credit statutes, enactment of a model debt management law, the outlawing of payday lending in Maryland, increases in bankruptcy exemptions for consumers, enactment of a model foreclosure rescue scam law, and significant improvements to Maryland’s foreclosure process.

In 2006, Cheryl became the director of advocacy for Maryland Legal Aid. She provided mentoring and support for Legal Aid’s 145 attorneys and directed Legal Aid’s impact advocacy, including litigation, legislative and appellate work. In this position, she was instrumental in the adoption and implementation of a human rights framework for Legal Aid, making it the first legal services organization in the country to do so.

Cheryl has served on numerous commissions and boards including the Maryland Foreclosure Task Force, the Consumer Council of Maryland, the Consumer Federation of America, the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition, and the Maryland Coalition for Financial Literacy.

Joseph Mack, Deputy Director

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law with Honors, Joe Mack served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alan M. Wilner of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Joe spent the next several years as an associate of Venable LLP before starting his own law practice in 2009. He became a network member attorney with Civil Justice that same year and represented countless clients referred to him through Civil Justice. Indeed, Joe turned a Civil Justice referral into what was reported in 2011 to be the largest settlement of a police misconduct case in Anne Arundel County in at least four years. Joe has served as lead counsel on numerous bench and jury trials in state and federal courts. He has also presented lectures to professional school students on how to start their own practices. Joe joined Civil Justice as Deputy Director in 2014 to continue his work providing legal services to communities in need, both directly and through providing education and support to other attorneys providing legal services to those communities.

Carrie McCully, Director of Operations and Programs

Carrie McCully began working for Civil Justice in September 2008 as Project Coordinator for the Foreclosure Prevention Project. Prior to working for Civil Justice, Carrie worked for 4 years as a senior mortgage processor at two national mortgage brokers. She graduated in 1998 from Lock Haven University with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism. Carrie is a routine presenter to housing counselors throughout the state of Maryland regarding Maryland Foreclosure procedures. In house, Carrie oversees grant-funded foreclosure programs and manages the network of member attorneys.

Avy Mallik, Foreclosure Program Attorney

Avy Mallik joined Civil Justice in 2013 to work on Foreclosure law and policy. In 2012, Avy graduated from Georgetown University Law Center with a JD and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. While at Georgetown Law, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race, a scholarly publication dedicated to discussing the intersection of race, law and policy. Avy also received a CALI award for best exam or paper for a class on Health Law and Policy, and was on the Dean’s List for being in the top 1/3 of his class during his 2L year. Avy served as Conference President of the North American South Asian Law Student Association, bringing together over 100 law students, professors, and legal practitioners to discuss legal issues affecting minority and immigrant communities.

Avy is the Foreclosure Program Attorney at Civil Justice, where he overviews legal and policy work relating to foreclosure prevention in Maryland. He has extensive experience in civil rights law, environmental policy, and international human rights law. Prior to law school, Avy worked for an environmental organization in San Francisco, CA, helping build partnerships between the private sector and the Department of Interior. He also interned at the United Nations, writing articles for the UN Chronicle, the flagship quarterly journal of the organization. While at Georgetown Law, Avy worked in Geneva for the International Organization for Migration, spent a summer as a law clerk for the Washington, DC civil rights law firm Mehri & Skalet working on civil rights violations, and traveled to Uganda to conduct law clinic work investigating discrimination in healthcare access for women. Avy works on Foreclosure and Housing rights at Civil Justice, bringing together attorneys, housing counselors, lenders and legislators to enact improvement on housing law and policy.

Avy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Reed College in Portland, OR, with a B.A. in English Literature in 2007, writing a thesis entitled “The Postmodern and Postcolonial Age within the Discourse of Globalization.

Catherine Gonzalez, Student Loan Program Attorney

Catherine Gonzalez joined Civil Justice in November 2014 as a recipient of an 18-month OSI-Baltimore Community Fellowship.  Through her fellowship, Catherine will provide advice and legal assistance to low and moderate income Baltimore City residents on issues stemming from student loan debt.

Catherine graduated with honors from the University of Maryland School of Law in 2013, where she was co-editor-in-chief of the Maryland Journal of International Law and vice-president of the Maryland Public Interest Law Project.  Prior to joining Civil Justice, Catherine served as a pro bono law clerk to the Honorable Ellen L. Hollander of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Latisha Coates, Administrative Assistant

Latisha Coates began working for Civil Justice in June 2015 as an administrative assistant.  Prior to joining Civil Justice, Latisha worked as a facilitator in the Baltimore City Public School System and as an administrative assistant and intake specialist for Diversified Housing Development, Inc.  Latisha has over 5 years of administrative experience and is a certified Housing Counselor.  During her time with Diversified Housing, she worked closely with the counselors and the Executive Director to assist with outreach, program streamlining, and researching grant funding.  She also worked with clients and counselors to help each client reach the best solution possible for their situation.  Latisha graduated in 2014 from Lancaster Bible College with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and will begin a Master of Education program in the fall.

Lynette A. Whitfield, Program Director, LEAP

Lynette A. Whitfield began working for Civil Justice in December 2015 as Program Director for the Law Entrepreneurs for Access Program (LEAP).  Ms. Whitfield also has a solo practice in Rockville, Maryland, where she primarily represents federal sector employees with a variety of labor and employment issues. In addition, Ms. Whitfield is also a supervising attorney for the Montgomery County Bar Foundation's Gaithersburg pro bono clinic, and an active volunteer with the Montgomery County Bar Foundation's pro bono program, and the Women's Law Center's Employment Law Hotline.  Before starting her solo practice, Ms. Whitfield worked as an associate at the law firm of Passman & Kaplan, P.C.

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