Who We Are

The Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, Inc., known as “AppalReD Legal Aid,” is a private non-profit law firm.  Our work is funded by public and private grants and donations. AppalReD offers free civil legal help to eligible low-income people in 37 counties of the Appalachian Mountains and rolling hills of eastern and south-central Kentucky, a region home to more than 240,000 people living in poverty.  AppalReD focuses on legal problems that affect our clients’ basic needs for food, shelter, income, personal safety from all forms of abuse, and safety and stability for children and the elderly. AppalReD does not handle criminal matters.

The people who work with AppalReD are committed to making a difference and ending the effects of poverty in the lives of our clients.  Since its 1970 founding by its first Executive Director, John Rosenberg, a legendary pioneer in Appalachian poverty law, AppalReD’s tradition of excellence has attracted young attorneys and legal workers from all over the U.S., and AppalReD’s intensive training programs and hands-on experience have produced leaders who have gone forward to change the face of life in Kentucky and the nation.  

Today, AppalReD operates six local law offices across the region.  Each covers a defined service area and is staffed by attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries with a high degree of specialized training in the legal matters we handle.

Our experts in housing law, consumer law, family law, domestic violence, and public benefits do more than serve our clients.  Annually, our attorneys and support staff host trainings open to private attorneys and legal staff, like our well-known, annual Domestic Violence Conference and Poverty Law seminars.  AppalReD engages in outreach efforts, attending community events and making contact with people to learn more about what is going on in the area.  AppalReD offers a unique Volunteer Lawyers Program, and our Low Income Tax Clinic stretches to provide help with income tax problems to residents of 86 Kentucky counties.   

 

 

Table of Contents

  1. Our Team
  2. Our Mission
  3. Our History
  4. Our Board of Directors
  5. Our Strategic Plan
  6. Our Brochure
  7. Yearly Information about AppalReD Legal Aid
  8. IRS Form 990

Our Team

Administrative Staff

 

Robert Johns

 

Robert Johns is the Executive Director at AppalReD Legal Aid, and he works in the Prestonsburg office. He can be reached at robertj@ardfky.org or (606) 889-1984. Prior to joining AppalReD Legal Aid in 2015, Robert worked as a staff attorney and managing attorney for 20 years with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services in Steubenville, Ohio. He began his legal career as an AmeriCorps Attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Findlay, Ohio. He is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School and the University of Notre Dame. Robert serves on the board of directors of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Sandy Valley Transportation Services, Inc., and Mountain Plus Services, Inc.

 

Evan Smith

 

Evan Smith is the Advocacy Director at AppalReD Legal Aid, and he works in the Prestonsburg office. Evan can be reached at evans@ardfky.org or 606-889-1958. Evan is involved in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. He has particular expertise in appellate advocacy, federal black lung benefits law, and other areas of administrative law. Evan joined AppalReD Legal Aid from Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center where he was a Skadden Fellow. Evan clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit for the Honorable John M. Rogers. Evan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received a Master’s in Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government. Along with his work at AppalReD Legal Aid, Evan actively participates on the boards of Kentucky Lawyers for the Arts, the Floyd County Community Foundation, and Headwaters. Follow him on twitter @evanky.

 

Barbourville Staff

 

Melissa Tidwell

Melissa Tidwell is the Directing Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Barbourville office. She can be reached at melissat@ardfky.org or 606-546-5115 ext. 4105. Melissa has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She spent the first eight years of her time at AppalReD representing survivors of domestic violence and now focuses on consumer, bankruptcy, and public benefits cases. Melissa joined AppalReD after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

 

Kirsten Clancy

 

Kirsten Clancy is a Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Barbourville office. Kirsten can be reached at kirstenc@ardfky.org or 606-546-5115 ext. 4102. Kirsten has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She is a HUD certified housing counselor. Kirsten is a graduate of UNC School of Law.

 

Ellen Johnson

 

Ellen Johnson is a Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Barbourville office. Ellen can be reached at ellenj@ardfky.org or 606-546-5115 ext. 4108. Ellen has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in family and domestic violence law. She joined AppalReD Legal Aid after graduating law school. Ellen is a graduate of Morehead State University and Appalachian School of Law. She has previous experience interning at Legal Aid of the Bluegrass while pursuing her law degree. 

 

Jennifer Perkins

 

Jennifer Perkins is a Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Barbourville office. Jennifer can be reached at jenniferp@ardfky.org or 606-546-5115 ext. 4107. Jennifer has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in family law. Jennifer joined AppalReD Legal Aid after a decade of working as a Public Defender. Jennifer graduated with Honors from The Appalachian School of Law, where she was the Senior Articles Editor on the ASL Law Review Board.

 

 

Central Intake Unit Staff

 

Katie Mullins

 

Katie Mullins is the Directing Attorney, Central Intake and works in AppalReD Legal Aid’s Prestonsburg office. Katie can be reached at katiem@ardfky.org or 606-886-3876 est.1525. Katie has advised clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in bankruptcy and family law. Katie joined AppalReD Legal after three years in private practice handling primarily bankruptcy and domestic cases. Katie is a graduate of the Appalachian School of Law.

 

Hazard Staff

 

Charnel M. Burton

 

Charnel M. Burton is the Directing Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Hazard office. Charnel can be reached at charnelb@ardfky.org or 606-439-2315 ext. 6004. Charnel has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in family, eviction, and administrative law. Charnel joined AppalReD Legal Aid after 7 years in private practice. Charnel is graduate of University of Kentucky College of Law.

 

Michelle Henson

 

Michelle Henson is a Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Hazard office. Michelle can be reached at michelleh@ardfky.org or (606) 439-2315 ext. 6001. Michelle has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in divorce, custody, and domestic violence law. Michelle joined AppalReD Legal Aid after returning home to Eastern Kentucky following law school and working with private firms in the area representing clients in Family Law matters. Michelle is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law. Along with her work at AppalReD Legal Aid, Michelle actively works with community organizations that assist domestic violence victims.

 

Low Income Tax Clinic Staff

 

Scott M. Davies

 

Scott M. Davies is the Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at AppalReD Legal Aid. He can be reached at scottd@ardfky.org. Scott represents clients before the United States Tax Court, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Kentucky Department of Revenue. Scott joined AppalReD Legal Aid in 2013 after working as a hearing officer at the Michigan Tax Tribunal. Scott holds a J.D. and LL.M. from Western Michigan University.

 

Richmond Staff

 

Stephanie Flanary

 

Stephanie Flanary is the Directing Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Richmond office. Stephanie can be reached at stephanief@ardfky.org or 859-624-1394 ext. 3001. Stephanie has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in bankruptcy, family and expungement law. Stephanie joined AppalReD Legal after working for the State of Maine as a program coordinator for homeless programs. Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law and Berea College.

 

Leigh Ann Moore

 

Leigh Ann Moore is a Senior Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Richmond office. Leigh Ann can be reached at leighannm@ardfky.org or 859-624-1394, ext. 3014. Leigh Ann has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in domestic violence, juvenile, and family law, including divorce and custody cases. Leigh Ann joined AppalReD Legal Aid after her graduation from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2011. Follow her on twitter @LegalLeighAnn.

 

Caleb Pittman

 

Caleb Pittman is a VOCA Attorney in AppalReD Legal Aid’s Richmond office. He can be reached at 859-624-1394 ext. 3015 or calebp@ardfky.org. Caleb has represented clients who are victims of crimes in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. He has particular expertise in family law. Caleb joined AppalReD Legal Aid after working as a public defender for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. Caleb is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he was the editor in chief for the Law Review. Outside of his work at AppalReD Legal Aid, Caleb is a member of the Berea Makerspace (a community workshop where members share knowledge and tools to promote creative projects) and a devoted caretaker of two mixed-breed dogs. 

 

Margaret Sites

Margaret Sites is a Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Richmond office. Margaret can be reached at margarets@ardfky.org or 859-624-1394 ext. 3009. Margaret has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in housing and consumer law. Margaret joined AppalReD Legal Aid after graduating from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, where she clerked at the Legal Aid Society in Louisville.

 

Pikeville Staff

 

Lana Gresham

 

Lana Gresham is the Directing Attorney in AppalReD Legal Aid’s Pikeville office and also works from the Prestonsburg location. Ms. Gresham can be reached at lanag@ardfky or 606.886.3876, ext. 1635. Ms. Gresham has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles.  She has particular expertise in family law. Ms. Gresham joined AppalReD directly after law school.  She is a graduate of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

 

Kristie M. Goff

 

Kristie M. Goff is a Senior Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Pikeville and Prestonsburg locations. Kristie can be reached at kristieg@ardfky.org; (606) 886-3876, Ext. 1604; or (606) 437-3446. Kristie M. Goff has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in consumer law, public benefits and housing cases, and is a HUD certified housing counselor. Kristie M. Goff joined AppalReD Legal Aid after six years of private legal practice.  Kristie M. Goff is a graduate of Salmon P. Chase College of Law.

 

 

Prestonsburg Staff

 

Kelly Ward-Wallen

 

Kelly Ward-Wallen is the Directing Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Prestonsburg office. Kelly can be reached at kellyw@ardfky.org or by phone at 606-886-3876 ext. 1632. Kelly has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in consumer law and housing cases and is a HUD certified housing counselor. Kelly joined AppalReD Legal after spending 5 years in private practice. Kelly is a graduate of Appalachian School of Law.

 

Kathryn Burke

 

Kathryn Burke is a Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Prestonsburg office. Kathryn can be reached at kathyrnb@ardfky.org; (606) 886-3876, Ext. 1617. Kathryn has primarily represented clients in family law cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has particular expertise in family law, domestic violence and child custody law. Kathryn joined AppalReD Legal in December, 2016 after having been in private practice of law in Pikeville for almost forty years and serving as the first Family Court Judge in Pike County.  Kathryn is a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Brandies School of Law, being a third generation graduate of that school. Along with her work at AppalReD Legal Aid, Kathryn has actively participated as a member of the Board of Directors of AppalReD, Jenny Wiley Theater, and Judi’s Place for Kids. 

 

Jo Ann Harvey

 

Jo Ann Harvey is a Legal Assistance to Victims Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Prestonsburg office. Jo Ann can be reached at 606-886-3876, ext.1612 or joannh@ardfky.org. Jo Ann has represented domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in a variety of cases. She has particular expertise in family law and domestic violence matters.  Jo Ann joined AppalReD from the Floyd County Attorney’s Child Support office, though she previously worked at AppalReD when first out of law school. Jo Ann is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law. Along with her work at AppalReD Legal Aid, Jo Ann actively participates with Communities Against Drug Addiction (CADA) and Friends of Jenny Wiley. 

 

Somerset Staff

 

Amber Shewmake

 

Amber Shewmake is the Directing Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Somerset office. Amber can be reached at amberd@ardfky.org or (606) 679-7313, ext. 7206. Amber has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. She has a particular interest in public benefit cases and helping to provide safety and stability for all clients. Amber joined AppalReD Legal Aid after law school but has prior experience assisting on a variety of cases including tax, wills & estates and criminal defense. Amber received her undergraduate degrees from The University of Kentucky and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Charlotte School of Law.

 

Jimmy Fahringer

 

Jimmy Fahringer is a Staff Attorney in AppalReD Legal Aid’s Somerset office. He can be reached at (606) 679-7313 ext. 7208, or jamesf@ardfky.org. Jimmy represents clients in all types of cases that AppalReD handles. He has substantial experience in housing law, including representing tenants and homeowners in evictions and foreclosures. He is a HUD certified Housing Counselor, meaning that he can help clients make plans for major housing related decisions. Prior to his career in law, Jimmy worked as a lobster packer for five years. He joined AppalReD Legal in 2018 after graduating from the University of Michigan School of Law.

 

Michelle Fisher

 

Michelle Fisher is a Legal Assistance to Victims Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Somerset office. Michelle can be reached at michellef@ardfky.org or 606-679-7313 ext. 7209. Michelle has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. They have particular expertise in domestic violence and family law. Michelle joined AppalReD Legal Aid after clerking at the Independent Police Monitor in New Orleans. Michelle is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Along with their work at AppalReD Legal Aid, Michelle actively participates in Pulaski County Operation UNITE Coalition, and PFLAG.

 

Seneka Land

 

Seneka Land is a Staff Attorney at AppalReD Legal Aid’s Somerset office. Seneka can be reached at senekal@ardfky.org or 606-679-7313 ext. 7208. Seneka has represented clients in all types of cases that AppalReD Legal Aid handles. He has particular expertise in family law, protective orders, and estate planning. Seneka joined AppalReD Legal Aid after spending time as a solo practitioner. He is a graduate of Western Michigan Law School. Along with his work at AppalReD Legal Aid, Seneka actively participates in programs focused on children’s literacy and feeding the homeless.

 

Volunteer Lawyers for Appalachian Kentucky (VLAK) Staff

 

Mary Going

 

Mary Going is the Pro Bono Director of AppalReD Legal Aid. Mary can be reached at 606-886-3876, ext. 1315 or maryg@ardfky.org. Mary previously represented clients in AppalReD’s Hazard and Prestonsburg offices, primarily in the area of family law. She is a graduate of Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, and while in law school worked for Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. Prior to her career in law, Mary worked as a registered nurse for twenty-five years, primarily with homeless persons experiencing addiction and mental illness.

Our Mission

To promote equal access to justice, to encourage self-sufficiency, to empower and to improve the lives of low income and other vulnerable people and families in eastern and south central Kentucky by providing them high quality legal assistance.

Our History

AppalReD began in 1970 and had three operating offices in Prestonsburg, Barbourville, and on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. AppalReD now serves 37 eastern and south central Kentucky counties, and today has six offices throughout the region.

In the early days, AppalReD addressed many devastating environmental and coal mine related issues such as black lung disease, abusive land use practices, and disfigured mountain tops caused by strip mining. AppalReD clients still face some of these same challenges, but even more devastating to the region are the socioeconomic challenges which promote instability and threaten to keep the region mired in poverty.

John M. Rosenberg, Founder of AppalRed

John M. Rosenberg was the Director of Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, Inc. (AppalReD), since it first received funding from the Office of Economic Opportunity in 1970. He held the directors position for over twenty-eight years before retiring.

Prior to his career at AppalRed Legal Aid, John served for eight years as a trial attorney and Section Chief in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice from 1962 - 1970, litigating discrimination cases primarily in the deep south. John's area's of practice have been primarily those of environmental law, and representation of the elderly. He has authored a number of articles on these matters.

November 1, 2019 - ABA Journal "Holocaust survivor has dedicated his career to serving others"

October 23, 2019 - The Paintsville Herald "Rosenbergs honored among 'Champions of Appalachia'"

Watch EKB's May 29, 2017 broadcast of One on One with John Rosenberg

On September 17, 2016, John was presented with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award.  For a video of John's remarks that evening click here.

In April of 2015, John was presented  the American Bar Association Grassroots Advocacy Award for his longtime service and his outstanding work in providing access to legal services.  

In May of 2015, John was presented with the Jewish Family & Career Services 2015 MOSAIC Award.  https://jewishlouisville.org/jfcs-2015-mosaic-awards-honorees/

In November of 2015, John was honored by the ACLU of Kentucky for his lifetime work of leading AppalReD.

John is featured in the book This is Home Now: Kentucky's Holocaust Survivors Speak  by Arwen Donahue, Rebecca Gayle Howell, and Joan Ringelheim.

On October 2013, John received the 2013 Difference Makers Award from the American Bar Association.

On June 2013, John received the Kentucky Bar Association Distinguished Lawyer Award.

On April 29, 2004, John received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Lawyer Magazine.

In December of 1999, John was presented a Doctor of Public Service Degree from Morehead State University and in January 2000, he was presented a Doctor of Laws Degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN.

On June 29, 1997, John was featured in The New York Times Magazine - "What's a Nice Jewish Lawyer Like John Rosenberg Doing in Appalachia?"

Read Mr. Rosenberg's article:
Reflections on Bringing Justice to the Citizens of Appalachia

West Virginia Law Review - Personal Reflections of a Life in Public Interest Law:  From the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice to AppalReD

 

Our Board of Directors

Board Counsel:   J. Warren Keller, Attorney, Taylor, Keller & Oswald, PLLC

Board Chair:   Carolyn Layne, Client Representative, Allen, KY

Board Vice Chair:  Joseph Lane, Attorney, Prestonsburg, KY

Board Treasurer:  Meena Mohanty, Attorney, Richmond, KY

Jessica Carlington, Client Representative, Jackson, KY

Edna Bland, Client Representative, Barbourville, KY

David Wright,  Assistant Dean of Student Services, UK College of Law

Jacqueline Burkhead, Client Representative, Somerset, KY

Donald Jones, Attorney, Paintsville, KY

Damon Preston, KY Public Advocate

Marilyn Morgan, Client Representative, Stinnett, KY

Patricia Thomas, Burkesville, KY

Thomas Hollon, Beattyville, KY

Amber Sisco, Attorney, Pikeville, KY

Justice Daniel J. Venters, Somerset, KY

Travis Rossman, Attorney, Barbourville, KY

Jonathan Meadows, Financial Oversight Committee Advisory Member - Woodforest National Bank

Our Brochure

 

Yearly Information about AppalReD Legal Aid