Who We Are

Board of Directors

Jane Taylor

Ms. Taylor recently retired as the Director for Pro Bono and Communications for the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. Prior to her employment with the Foundation she practiced law for 25 years at the Akron law firm of Guy, Lammert & Towne, concentrating her practice in commercial litigation, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy. In 1994, Ms. Taylor was elected the first female president of the Akron Bar Association, and was president of the Ohio State Bar Association from 2005 to 2006. She holds a B.A. from Kent State University and a J.D. from the University of Akron School of Law. 


Evelyn Stratton

President Emeritus
Evelyn “Eve” Stratton was a former trial judge for seven years, and an Ohio Supreme Court Justice for 16 years. Evelyn Lundberg Stratton retired from the Supreme Court of Ohio early to pursue criminal justice reforms with a particular emphasis on veterans who become involved with the justice system. She established the Veterans in the Courts Initiative in 2009.
She comes from a long line of veterans – a grandfather killed in the line of duty (KIA) in WWII, five uncles and a father who also served in WWII, and two brothers who served in the Vietnam Theater. She assisted the Department of Veterans Affairs in establishing veterans treatment courts, served on the VA committee that launched the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program, founded Operation Legal Help Ohio, co-founded Resurrecting Lives, a non-profit focusing on veterans and traumatic brain injury (TBI), co-chairs the Ohio Attorney General’s Task Force on Mental Illness and Criminal Justice, with a sub-committee on Veterans Courts and Military Affairs, among other veterans-related issues. Stratton teaches and speaks nationally on veterans and criminal justice reform issues.


Fred Stratmann

Vice President
Fred Stratmann is General Counsel for CommuniCare Health Services in Cincinnati. He served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services from 2013-2015. During his tenure at ODVS, he was a proponent of expanding Veterans Treatment Courts in more counties in Ohio. He has also developed and presented CLE programs on Veterans Treatment Courts and the representation of Veterans in criminal courts. He serves as Co-Chair of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Military and Veterans Law Committee has also served as Interim Superintendent of the Ohio Veterans Homes. Fred served in the United States Coast Guard from 1984-1990.


Shawn Beem

Shawn M. Beem is the Assistant Dean for Professional Development at Capital University Law School. He is a frequent developer of innovative CLE programs and presentations and author of articles on the subject of career and professional development. Dean Beem served as a Director on the Board of NALP – The Association for Legal Career Professionals, a national organization dedicated to professional development and legal recruitment. He assisted in the initial creation of Operation Legal Help Ohio’s call center and pro bono placement. Dean Beem earned a Bachelor of Arts in French and International Studies from the University of Dayton and a Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School. He spent a year studying at the Université de Strasbourg in France earning a Diplôme d’Etudes Françaises.


David Borrell

David Borell is an attorney licensed in Ohio and Michigan and practices in the Toledo firm of Anapach, Meeks & Ellenberger. He focuses his practice on serving the needs of veterans, military members, and their families. David previously served in the U.S. Army as a Military Policeman and performed several overseas tours, including a combat tour in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. David continues to serve as a Judge Advocate General assigned to Trial Defense Services in the Ohio Army National Guard.


Stephen Lynch

Steve Lynch has served as the legal assistance attorney for Coast Guard units around the Great Lakes since 2001. Based in Cleveland, he provides counsel to Coast Guard and other military personnel on a wide range of issues, including the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Prior to joining the Coast Guard, Mr. Lynch served on active duty with the Air Force for more than twenty years. He is an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve School of Law, and a guest instructor at the Army JAG School in Charlottesville, VA. He is a recipient of the Ohio AMVETS Public Servant Award, and the ABA Distinguished Service Award for Legal Assistance to Military Personnel.


Judge Gary Loxley

Judge Loxley has served on the Warren County Court bench since 2013 when Governor John Kasich appointed him to fill a vacacncy.  in 2014 he was elected to complete the unexpired term, and in 2016 was elected to a full six-year term.  Prior to assuming his judicial duties, he was an Assistant Prosecutor in the Warren County Prosecutor's Office for 14 1/2 years. I additiom to his regular duties, he is the Presiding Judge of the Warren County Veterans Court, which he established in 2015. Judge Loxley is a Colonel in the U.S. Army Resrves Judge Advocate General's Corps.  He has served over 35 years in the Ohio Army National Guard, Regular Army, and Army Reserve and has been mobilized onto active duty three times in support of the Global War on Terrorism.  A 2007 greduate of the U.S. Army War College, he is a former Military Judge in the 1st and 2nd Judicial Circuits of the Army Trail Judiciary, and now serves as the Commander of th 8th Legal Operaitons Detachment in Independence, MO. Jodge Loxley is the current President of the Warren County Bar Association


Melissa Palmisciano
Melissa (Dunlap) Palmisciano is Corporate Counsel & Assistant Secretary at White Castle System, Inc.  She is also a Judge Advocate and Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve.  Prior to affiliating with the Reserves, she served 11 years on active duty as an Aviation Intelligence Officer and Judge Advocate. She graduated summa cum laude and Order of the Coif from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and with distinction from the United States Naval Academy. Her husband Matthew served on active duty as a Marine Corps F/A-18 pilot and then transitioned to fly the A-10 in the Indiana Air National Guard before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2018.


David Singer

David graduated the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT with a Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. As a Coast Guard Aviator he is directly responsible for the saving of a multitude of lives in various Search and Rescue operations throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Equatorial regions. Other career highlights include being involved in a myriad of law enforcement operations and flying operations in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Storm. He retired with the rank of Commander after 23 years of distinguished service. In the civilian sector, David has flown a broad range of corporate and commercial aircraft and has circumnavigated the globe numerous times. Most recently, he managed a corporate flight department in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years prior to moving to Ohio.


Joe Schwade

Major Joe Schwade is the Chief Counsel and Joint Staff Judge Advocate for the Ohio National Guard. He began his military service in 1990 as a rifleman in the United States Marine Corps Reserve with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines. He separated from the Marine Corps Reserve in 1994. Major Schwade graduated from The Ohio State University in June 1994 and later from Capital University Law School and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1998. In 1998 he began his practice with the Ohio Attorney General, where he practiced for 10 years in the areas of bankruptcy and creditor/debtor law. He commissioned into the Ohio Army National Guard Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 2004 and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team in 2008 as the Brigade Judge Advocate. Shortly after returning from deployment he was selected as the Deputy Chief Legal Counsel for the Ohio National Guard.


Frank T. Sossi
Frank T. Sossi is a licensed Ohio Attorney and CPA (inactive) and is a founding member of Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC practicing in the Health Law, Securities and Tax areas. Frank's practice involves the representation of for profit and not for profit health care enterprises including physician practices, hospitals, free standing health centers and long-term care providers as well as the representation of a variety of tax-exempt organizations serving a broad range of community activities.  Frank's father served in the Army in World War II and three of his six children serve or have served in the Navy, Air Force and Marines. Frank is a graduate of John Carroll University, received his JD from the University of Toledo School of Law and his LLM in Tax from the Case Western Reserve School of Law.  When not practicing law or serving on boards, Frank can be found on various golf courses, gunsmithing or being a part-time roadie for Jim Messina and his band.


Executive Director

Robert Abdalla

Robert Abdalla serves as the organization's Executive Director and is responsible for its day-to-day management and operations.  He is a licensed attorney with several years of civil litigation experience.  Robert graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University, where he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa society.  Robert then earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University.  He is admitted to practice law in all Ohio state courts, as well as the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio.  Also a veteran, Robert served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army from 2002-2007 and deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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