Community Legal Advocates of New York
Advocating for All Communities

CLA Board and Staff

Who We Are

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Keiko Cervantes-Ospina is one of CLA’s Founders and its Attorney-in-Charge. She has more than 8 years of experience fighting for the rights of low and moderate income New Yorkers on Long Island and in New York City. She was inspired to found CLA out of two deep concerns: that clients with multiple legal issues cannot obtain holistic representation and that too many are over income for free legal services but cannot afford a private attorney.

Before founding CLA, Keiko was a Supervising Attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she practiced in such areas as immigration, foreclosure defense, disaster relief, public benefits, advance planning, landlord-tenant, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security benefits. Before joining NYLAG, Keiko practiced foreclosure litigation defense at Nassau/Suffolk Law Services.

She is a graduate of Pace University School of Law, where she earned a J.D. with a Certificate of Environmental Law and an LL.M. in Real Estate and Land Use Law. She is also a graduate of Stony Brook University.


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Ann is one of CLA’s Founders and its Executive Director. She has more than 20 years of legal experience. She is deeply committed to CLA’s mission of providing holistic legal services to underserved low and moderate income clients.

Before founding CLA, she worked at the New York Legal Assistance Group. At NYLAG, she founded the Storm Response Unit in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, was the Director of the Tenants’ Rights Unit, which assists New Yorkers at risk of eviction, and was a Supervising Attorney in NYLAG’s medical-legal partnership. She has represented thousands of clients on immigration, public benefits, Medicaid and Medicare, advance planning and elder law issues. Before joining NYLAG, Ann was in private practice in New York and Silicon Valley. Ann graduated from the UCLA School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania.


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Edward Dibble is CLA’s Chairman of the Board. Edward was a elementary school teacher in Carle Place for more than 30 years. Since retiring, he has been a tireless community volunteer, including at The Mary Brennan INN, Meals on Wheels, Mercy Hospital and many more.


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Joel Bencosme, CPA, is a Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he focuses on state tax compliance and consulting services to the asset management industry.  He serves on PwC’s Latino Inclusion Network Partner Board and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the New York State Society of CPAs. Joel received his Master of Science in Taxation as well as his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University. Joel joined the CLA Board in January 2018.


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Rosemary Ventura, LMSW, is a Social Worker at Bellevue Hospital in the WTC Environmental Health Center, which provides medical and mental health services to 9/11 survivors. Prior to this, she worked in NYC Family Court, conducting assessments of families involved in juvenile delinquency and child protective proceedings. Her past experience includes working with survivors of domestic violence, as well as those with severe mental illness and criminal justice involvement. Rosemary received a Master of Social Work from Lehman College, a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College and her undergraduate degree from Stony Brook University. She joined the CLA Board in January 2018.