New Hampshire Legal Assistance

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

NHLA announces next Executive Director

Posted Oct 30, 2018

The Board of Directors for New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA) announced today they have selected Sarah Mattson Dustin of Hopkinton, NH, to serve as the next executive director of NHLA.  

Mattson Dustin is currently the policy director of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation. From 2006-2017, she worked at NHLA, as a law clerk, staff attorney, project director and policy director.


“NHLA has a long history of skilled and tenacious advocacy that helps prevent and alleviate the harmful effects of poverty. I am deeply honored to be leading NHLA into the future and to be rejoining an extraordinary staff that delivers the highest-quality legal services to clients every single day. I look forward to working with partners around the state to sustain NHLA's excellence and to continue to improve access to justice in New Hampshire,” Mattson Dustin said.


From 2010 to 2017, Mattson Dustin led NHLA’s legislative and regulatory advocacy work, including extensive work on the state budget process. She also served from 2008 to 2011 as director of the Health Law Collaborative, a statewide partnership bringing civil legal expertise to serve low-income clients of four community health centers.


NHLA’s prior executive director, Lynne Parker, announced in early August she would be leaving to head up the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation after more than 19 years with NHLA.


A search committee of the board worked over the past several months to evaluate candidates’ leadership experience, financial management and resource development abilities and their visions for the future of the program, including how to best engage NHLA’s diverse stakeholders to fulfill its mission.

“At each step of the process, the board found even more layers of Sarah’s qualifications and aptitude for this important position. She expressed a deep understanding of the NHLA mission and was far and away the most qualified applicant,” said Deborah Kane Rein, Board co-chair. “Sarah brings a unique breadth of experience, from providing direct legal services to individuals to leading systemic advocacy that improved the lives of thousands.” 

NHLA Litigation Director Kay Drought, who was a member of the staff advisory committee for the search said “I have worked with Sarah in many ways since she first came to NHLA as a law clerk in 2003. Still, when we met with Sarah recently, I was struck anew by her intellect, by her humility, and by her deep commitment to legal services for the poor. NHLA has been in good hands for many years, and we look forward to continued excellence under Sarah’s leadership.”

  Mattson Dustin is a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School. She has received numerous accolades for her legal work during her career, including being selected as a member of the New Hampshire Bar Association Leadership Academy in 2011, and as the recipient of the New Hampshire Bar Foundation Robert E. Kirby Award in 2010. She is expected to assume her new post on November 13. 

New Hampshire Legal Assistance is a state-wide non-profit law firm representing low-income and elderly New Hampshire residents facing illegal evictions, domestic abuse or financial exploitation. NHLA maintains offices in Berlin, Claremont, Concord, Manchester and Portsmouth. In 2017, NHLA helped nearly 6,400 people who could not afford an attorney when their homes, livelihoods or personal safety were threatened. For more information about NHLA, please contact Communications Manager Sarah Palermo at 603-369-6650 or