Our office address is:
Western New York Law Center
Cathedral Park Tower
37 Franklin Street, Suite 210
Buffalo, NY 14202
Telephone: (716) 855-0203, Ext. 138
Fax: (716) 270-4005
Kate Lockhart, Vacant and Abandoned Property Program Director. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science in 2009, Kate moved to Buffalo for an AmeriCorps VISTA position with WNYLC. She has held several positions including Paralegal and Data Manager, focusing on foreclosures and vacant and abandoned properties. Now as WNYLC’s Vacant and Abandoned Property Program Director, Kate tracks and analyzes data relating to foreclosure filings as well as incomplete or “Zombie” foreclosures in Erie and Niagara County. She collaborates with municipalities in and around Erie County to identify and implement solutions for vacant and abandoned properties and gives presentation on incomplete or “Zombie” Foreclosures across the state. Additionally, Kate is the Chair of the Distressed Properties Task Force, a collaboration of local not for profits, government entities, community groups, and local officials, organized by WNYLC. The group meetings monthly to discuss the issues and solutions for vacant and abandoned properties in the City of Buffalo.
Jordan Zeranti, Esq., Managing Attorney, Vacant and Abandoned Properties. Jordan is a lifelong Town of Tonawanda resident, and has been a Staff Attorney at the WNYLC since 2015. Previously, she represented defendants in mortgage and tax foreclosure actions. Now in her role as Managing Attorney, Jordan supervises WNYLC staff in zombie foreclosure and vacant and abandoned matters, and advises municipalities with respect to enforcement actions under RPAPL 1308. She is admitted to practice in New York, U.S. District Court of the Western District of New York, and U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York. Jordan graduated cum laude from University of Buffalo Law School with her Juris Doctor and Masters Degree in Social Work. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, graduating magna cum laude.
Samantha R. Axberg, Esq., Attorney, Vacant and Abandoned Properties. Samantha started working at WNYLC in 2018 as an AmeriCorps Economic Development Corps fellow, working on financial education and community outreach for WNYLC’s CLARO program. After her admission to the New York State Bar, she was hired by WNYLC as a zombie foreclosure attorney in 2019. Her responsibilities include working with municipalities to enforce NY RPAPL mortgage servicer maintenance obligations, solving issues concerning vacant and abandoned properties, crafting and supporting legislation regarding vacancy and foreclosure defense, and continuing to practice law with consumer defense and protection in mind. Additionally, Sam runs monthly meetings for the Distressed Properties Task Force, a collaboration of local not for profits, government entities, community groups, and local officials, organized by WNYLC. The group meetings monthly to discuss the issues and solutions for vacant and abandoned properties in the City of Buffalo. Before coming to WNYLC, Samantha graduated cum laude from the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, and followed up with her Juris Doctor from University at Buffalo Law School. She learned forclosure defense during the fallout from the Great Recession through her pro bono internship, and researched zombie schools and facilitated grassroots movements and community education programs with the UB Center for Urban Studies.
Yanis Martinez, Zombie Foreclosures Paralegal. Yanis has been a paralegal at the WNYLC since 2016, working primarily on consumer debt, mortgage foreclosure, and tax foreclosure matters. Yanis primarily works with Jordan, as well as helping out with WNYLC’s CLARO program to provide consumer debt defense. In her role in the Erie County ZOMBIES Initiative, she serves as the point person between Clerk Kearns and municipal leaders who have zombie homes in their communities. Yanis performs intakes, prepares and submits zombie complaints, responds to public and municipal inquiries, conducts research on blighted properties to determine their legal status, and assists Jordan with zombie property cases. As part of the Generational Wealth Project, she assists Jordan by performing intakes, preparing materials, communicating with clients, and executing estate documents. Yanis earned her Associate degree in Paralegal Studies from Erie County Community College, and her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Buffalo State College.
Kay Kennedy, Paralegal. Kay began their relationship with the Western New York Law Center during the Summer of 2019 as an Americorops Economic development Corps fellow. After graduating magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in the Spring of 2021, they returned to WNYLC as a paralegal with the Vacant and Abandoned Properties Program where they directly assist Sam with all of her duties, including client intakes, property research, client communication, and executing estate documents. Kay’s previous work involves studying the intersection of grassroots political advocacy and economic justice as a Truman Scholar finalist, Presidential Fellow, and labor organizer.
Heather Murcin, Paralegal. Heather is a recent graduate of the University of Buffalo School of Law and has recently sat for the Bar exam. She brings a fresh experience to her role with her past experience working with family law as well as immigration law. Heather assists the team with intakes, research, client communication, and executing estate documents. As a law graduate, Heather also helps draft estate planning documents and perform legal research. Outside of her work with the Law center, she is a self-proclaimed adventurer who likes to read, run for fun, and travel as often as possible. She is looking forward to broadening her experiences at the Law center.