Attorney Profiles

The commitment of Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler to children with special needs is shared by each and every one of our attorneys, all of whom have professional and personal ties to this important area of law. In addition to their legal credentials, most of the firm’s lawyers are professionally credentialed in such areas as special education, speech and language pathology, clinical social work and psychotherapy.

Theodore A. Sussan, Esq.

Theodore A. Sussan, Esq.
As founder of the law firm that bears his name, Theodore Sussan was drawn to special education issues in 1975 due to personal circumstances involving his own autistic son. Out of necessity, he developed an in-depth knowledge of the special education rights of students aged three to twenty-one, experience which led to successful outcomes in precedent-setting cases and new state law.

A 1966 graduate of Rutgers University, Mr. Sussan earned his Juris Doctor Degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1969. An avid lecturer and publisher, he is admitted to the bar in both New York and New Jersey, and in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

Staci J. Greenwald, Esq.

Staci J. Greenwald, Esq. 
In addition to her Juris Doctorate, Staci Greenwald holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and is a Certified Teacher of the Handicapped. Ms. Greenwald is eminently qualified to advocate on behalf of her clients in forums ranging from the Office of Administrative Law to the federal courts.

Ms. Greenwald handles special education matters and offers advocacy in cases involving the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), guardianship, and estate planning for families of special needs students.

Ms. Greenwald is a graduate of Douglass College and received her Juris Doctor Degree from Seton Hall Law School. She is admitted to practice in all New Jersey courts, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Greenwald is a frequent lecturer throughout the state.

Jayne M. Wesler, Esq.

Jayne M. Wesler, Esq. 
Ms. Wesler’s experience in the law and in clinical social work makes her uniquely qualified to represent special needs students. From the wealth of her background, she advocates for the rights of students who require special educational programs through IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. As a lawyer, a psychotherapist and a former child study team member, she also advocates for protection from bullying and the enforcement of students’ civil rights.

Ms. Wesler holds her Juris Doctor Degree from Seton Hall Law School, holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, summa cum laude, from Georgian Court University and is a licensed clinical social worker. She is admitted to practice in all New Jersey courts, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Wesler presents frequently on various issues in mental health, special education and the law.

Recently, Ms. Wesler won a landmark decision in which she convinced the court that the Summit School District, NJ had denied a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment to a child diagnosed with a severe communication disorder. Wesler also won a precedent-setting case this year in which she obtained a ruling that IDEIA 2004 has a Braille presumption for blind students.

Lori M. Gaines, Esq.

Lori M. Gaines, Esq. 
In her career as a special educator, Lori M. Gaines has devoted a great deal of her time to advocating for the needs of her students. Her passion for students’ rights ultimately led her to become an attorney. One of Ms. Gaines’ cases, D.S. and A.S. o/b/o D.S. v. Bayonne Board of Education, was litigated through trial and two rounds of appeal, concluding upon final decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The precedent-setting decision in this case, which positively impacted the ability of parents of students with disabilities to obtain appropriate educational programs, was named one of the top ten cases in the country for Special Education Law in 2010.

Ms. Gaines is admitted to practice law in both New Jersey and New York. Ms. Gaines received her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education, summa cum laude, from New York University, and her Master of Arts degree in Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities from Teachers College, Columbia University, summa cum laude. She received her Juris Doctor Degree, cum laude, from the University of San Diego.

Lenore Boyarin Laracuente, Esq.

Lenore Boyarin, Esq.
As a lawyer and a former certified speech pathologist, Lenore Boyarin is uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of her clients in forums ranging from the Office of Administrative Law to the federal courts. Ms. Boyarin passionately advocates for the needs of special education students throughout the state, enforcing their rights under both state and federal law. As part of this advocacy, she is a member of the Child and Adolescent Committee of the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey, which created an award-winning program called “Brain Injury Basics,” and is working with the Governor’s Task Force on Traumatic Brain Injury and Special Education.

Ms. Boyarin is admitted to the bar in New Jersey. She earned a Master of Science Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Ithaca College and a Bachelor of Science Degree, cum laude, in Education and Speech Pathology at Brooklyn College. She holds her Juris Doctor Degree, cum laude, from New York Law School.

Alex M. Hilsen, Esq.

Alex M. Hilsen, Esq.
Alex Hilsen earned his J.D. at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware and earned his B.S. at Nyack College, in Nyack, NY.  He is a member of the New Jersey State Bar.

Alex Hilsen has experience at Fortune 500 companies such as Merrill Lynch and Citigroup where he worked in financial services and financial advisory. He monitored and advised clients on all avenues of investing and financial planning.  Licensed as a General Securities Representative, Investment Advisor and Life and Health Insurance Advisor, he is familiar with a broad array of investment strategies. At Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler Alex will be using his financial expertise to help guide our clients in Estate issues, including Special Needs trusts, Wills and General Estate Planning. Alex is also working towards an LL.M. in Estate Planning.

Alex Hilsen is the parent of a child with special needs and is dedicated to making a change in the lives of individuals with special needs and their families.

Theresa Sullivan

Theresa Sullivan - Paralegal
Theresa Sullivan holds an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from Brookdale Community College. She is in her third year with the law firm and has experience in reviewing and analyzing special education cases, second chair trial assistance, preparation of winning trial briefs, and case negotiations and settlement. Ms. Sullivan demonstrates a remarkable acumen in pinpointing pertinent issues in students and cases alike.

Tamara Mudachi – Paralegal
Ms. Mudachi received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Writing Arts from the State University of New York at Oswego.  She holds a Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Bernard M. Baruch College, in addition to a Certificate in Employee Benefits from Adelphi University.  Both programs are approved by the American Bar Association.  Ms. Mudachi joined the firm in 2004, having been drawn to special education from personal circumstances relating to her children.  Ms. Mudachi successfully advocated for all three of her children regarding their special education rights and assisted in the implementation of an IEP for one child and 504 Plans for her two older children through college.