New Hampshire Legal Assistance

Helping to balance the scales of justice for everyone since 1971.

Meet the Staff: Kerstin Cornell, fighting against childhood lead poisoning

Posted Feb 09, 2018

Meet Kerstin Cornell, one of NHLA’s newer staff attorneys working on our lead poisoning prevention project. The lead project is financed by a grant from the NH Bar Foundation wit h money from the Bank of America Foreclosure Settlement.


Kerstin says she went to law school in order to play her part in the fight against inequality and oppression. “The economic inequality in this country is staggering. No one should have to live a life without sufficient resources, yet that is the reality for many. Folks often find themselves unable to advocate for themselves and unable to afford a lawyer, which leaves them without access to justice. I simply don’t think this is acceptable – so I became a lawyer to work to change it.”


Next up for the lead project is helping to implement the newly passed law that requires testing all New Hampshire children for elevated blood lead levels, protecting drinking water systems from lead contamination, and addressing lead hazards in children’s homes.  Specifically, Kerstin will be working to raise awareness of the prevalence of lead poisoning in the state and the requirements of the state’s laws. This will be done through community and stake holder outreach to ensure that children are tested and tenants know their rights. The lead project will place a special focus on those communities that have been found to be most at-risk, including New Hampshire’s New American communities.   Kerstin will also provide legal representation to low-income families whose children have been poisoned by lead-hazards in their homes.


Kerstin grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan and is proud of her Midwest roots and her family’s commitment to working toward social justice. She was taught early the importance of standing up for herself and others when her mother sent her to daycare wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m a mini-feminist” and told her to defend herself. When she is not at work, Kerstin is with her two year-old daughter, Anika, who she expects to make quite a bit of trouble herself one day.


NHLA is a state-wide non-profit law firm representing low-income and elderly New Hampshire residents who cannot afford a lawyer. NHLA maintains offices in Berlin, Claremont, Concord, Manchester and Portsmouth. For more information about New Hampshire Legal Assistance, please contact Communications Manager Sarah Palermo at 603-369-6650 or