Our Executive Director and Lead Attorney: Cheryl Coon

Cheryl Coon RDBO Lead Attorney

Cheryl Coon
RDBO Lead Attorney

Cheryl Coon previously led the social security disability section of Swanson Thomas Coon & Newton of Portland, Oregon, where she represented disabled individuals seeking benefits, at all stages of the process from application to federal court appeals. 

She graduated from Bryn Mawr College magna cum laude in 1974; from Boston University School of Law cum laude in 1977; and from the University of Washington School of Law with a LL.M in 1981. During her thirty-eight years practicing law, she has litigated in state and federal courts and administrative tribunals; spent six years working on public policy issues in the United States Congress as legal counsel and staff director of committees of the Congress; practiced for a decade as a senior assistant attorney general in the Oregon Attorney General’s office; and taught as an adjunct at the Lewis and Clark Law School. 

Cheryl previously chaired the Disability Law Section of the Oregon Bar and is the immediate past chair of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, a past member of the Board of the Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon and a past founding member of the Children's Diabetes Network. Cheryl presents frequently on disability issues, most recently at the Oregon Health Sciences University Psychiatry Grand Rounds (2015); the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Department Annual In-Service (2014); the Oregon Women Lawyers Association (2014); and the Joint Conference of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and the Brain Injury Association of Oregon (2014).  She has published numerous articles.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Certificate of Appreciation, Oregon Labor Law Conference (2014)
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College (2012)
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans and the Brain Injury Organization of Oregon (2012)
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Oregon Labor Law Conference (2012)
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon (2011)
  • Outstanding Service Award, Oregon Department of Justice (1994)

Our Staff

Linda Lancaster - Client Manager
Linda has a Master's degree in Public Health with an emphasis in program evaluation, as well as a B.S. in Human Development with a concentration in Counseling. In addition to her work with RDBO's clients and care providers, Linda works as an independent program evaluator for the Oregon Community Foundation and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Z. Hanah Riley - Attorney
Hanah Riley has a B.A. with honors from University of Toronto and a J.D. magna cum laude from Western Michigan University Law School. She is admitted to the Oregon bar and trained as a mediator. Her practice has included immigration law at Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services.  Hanah came to the United States via Canada, Germany and Bosnia after leaving her home country as a refugee of war and she speaks Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and conversational German.

Diane Fulton - Volunteer Coordinator
Diane has dedicated the last 25 years to a career as a professional administrator for legal and medical practices, taking charge of human resources, finances, facilities, and overall management. Diane has volunteered for many charitable organizations over the years and comes to RDBO after working with Cheryl Coon in her law practice and being inspired to contribute to the important mission of RDBO.


Our Volunteers

Dr. Mike Lezak
Dr. Lezak is an internal medicine physician who holds an M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzger School of Medicine.  Dr. Lezak is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and in Gastroenterology.  He is licensed in Oregon, Washington and California.  His practice of medicine has included positions in Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Portland.  He has published numerous articles in the medical arena. His interests include medical education with a focus on preventative care.

Mary Shivell
Mary Shivell has had a 40-year career in vocational rehabilitation services, having recently retired from the Vocational Rehabilitation Program of the Oregon Department of Human Services, where she was a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Specialist, Branch Manager and Field Services Manager from 1998 to 2016.  Mary's career also included serving as adjunct faculty for Portland State University in the Department of Education, Rehabilitation Counselor Education, and employment in the private sector of vocational rehabilitation services administered by the Department of Consumer and Business Services of the State of Oregon.

Elisabeth Rennick
Elisabeth is a 2017 graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School. She first became interested in helping refugees when she worked with social security claimants as a legal assistant for Cheryl.  She has a B.A. from Grinnell College and an M.A. from the University of Texas, where she wrote her thesis on the value of citizenship.