Our Staff

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The staff members of Legal Aid at Work are leaders in their areas of specialization and have won national and statewide awards. Many are bilingual. Our attorneys are regularly named among the nation’s top lawyers, and they advocate tirelessly for individuals and groups of clients — and to strengthen civil and employment rights.

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President

Joan Graff

Joan Messing Graff

President

Joan Graff has been President of Legal Aid at Work since 1981. She began her legal career working in the General Counsel’s office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and she was a founding staff member of Equal Rights Advocates in San Francisco.

Joan worked as an attorney with Equal Rights Advocates for nearly a decade. The organization was one of the first nonprofit legal organizations in the country dedicated to securing equality for women and it became one of the leading proponents for women’s rights nationally. She has served on a number of boards and advisory committees and, among other honors, received the Loren Miller Legal Services Award from the State Bar of California.

Joan received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1967 and her B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in 1964. She is a member of the bars of California and the District of Columbia.

Reach Joan at jgraff@legalaidatwork.org or 415-864-8848.

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Attorneys

Alexis Alvarez

Alexis Alvarez

Staff Attorney

Alexis es miembro de nuestro Programa de Derechos de Personas con Discapacidades. Antes de integrarse a Legal Aid at Work, ella fue abogada del Centro de Recursos Legales para el Cáncer para el Centro de Derechos Legales para Personas con Discapacidades (Disability Rights Legal Center’s Cancer Legal Resource Center) en Los Ángeles, donde ella ayudó a las personas a lidiar con problemas legales relacionados con el cáncer.

Alexis clerked for Judges Robert L. Hess and Barbara M. Meiers of Los Angeles Superior Court and Judge Gilbert M. Román of the Colorado Court of Appeals. She is a founding member of the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities.

Alexis received her J.D. in 2011 from the UC Davis School of Law and her B.S. with honors in 2007 from Colorado State University. During law school, Alexis was a senior articles editor for the UC Davis Law Review and served on the board of the La Raza Law Student Association.

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Mana Barari

Mana Barari

Staff Attorney

Como miembro de nuestro equipo de defensa salarial, Mana representa a trabajadores que están lidiando con el incumplimiento en el pago del salario y otras prácticas laborales injustas, incluyendo el tráfico de mano de obra. Mana llegó a Legal Aid at Work desde la organización Corporación de Servicios Legales de Micronesia (Micronesian Legal Services Corporation), donde abogó por los derechos de los trabajadores migrantes y sobrevivientes de la trata de personas en Palau.

She also has represented low-wage and immigrant workers as an associate with Sundeen Salinas & Pyle in Oakland. She was a consulting attorney with the Pars Equality Center in San Francisco. And at the Urban Justice Center, she helped produce a report on racial discrimination in New York City that was presented to the UN Committee on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination.

Mana recently served as president of the Iranian American Bar Association-Nor Cal. She served on a delegation to monitor the elections in Venezuela in October 2012. And she is a commissioner on the California State Bar Access to Justice Commission.

She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2007 and completed a BA in interdisciplinary studies with high honors at UC Berkeley in 2003. During law school, Mana was production editor on NYU's Journal of International Law and Politics, and she spent her summers interning with human rights organizations in Brazil and Costa Rica. Mana also served as a research assistant to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions, and she participated in the International Human Rights Clinic’s project addressing the discriminatory effects of counterterrorist policies. She also was a member of the 2007 academic delegation to Cuba.

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Marisa Diaz

Marisa Diaz

Staff Attorney

Marisa defiende y promueve los derechos de los trabajadores que son inmigrantes o miembros de minorías étnicas. Antes de unirse a Legal Aid at Work, Marisa fue becaria en Equal Rights Advocates, donde participó en litigios, cabildeos en la legislatura, educación en la comunidad y servicios legales directos a nombre de las mujeres que enfrentaban la discriminación con motivo de su género sexual en el lugar de trabajo.

After graduating from Stanford Law School in 2013, Marisa clerked for the Honorable Michael Daly Hawkins on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. During law school Marisa interned with Legal Aid at Work and the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. At Stanford’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, she advocated on behalf of immigrants facing removal from the country.

Marisa began her work with and on behalf of immigrant communities well before law school. She received a Fulbright Grant to research the experiences of Colombian domestic workers in Spain. And she worked for the San Francisco nonprofit La Cocina. Marisa, who is fluent in Spanish, received her undergraduate degree from Pomona College.

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Katherine Fiester

Katherine Fiester

Staff Attorney

Katie Fiester aconseja y representa a clientes en procedimientos administrativos sobre reclamos salariales y del seguro de desempleo y trabaja tanto en el Programa de Servicios Legales de la Comunidad como el Programa de Defena Salarial (Wage Protection Program). Ella también atiende a clientes en talleres sobre reclamos salariales (Wage Claim Clinics) semi-mensuales impartidos en las oficinas del Comisionado Laboral de California en San Francisco y Oakland.

Katie obtained her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2014. While in law school, she clerked for the Community Legal Services Program at Legal Aid at Work and participated in the Workers' Rights Clinic. Before law school, Katie worked as a legal assistant with JusticeCorps, where she facilitated equal justice and fairness for pro se litigants.

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Mike Gaitley

Mike Gaitley

Senior Staff Attorney

Mike Gaitley supervisa el Taller de Derechos Laborales (Workers' Rights Clinic )y dirige nuestro Programa de Servicios Legales de la Comunidad, donde ha creado y cultivado un modelo para brindar servicios legales gratuitos que ha sido emulado por varas organizaciones legales.

Our clinics provide low-income workers with expert advice by engaging highly experienced local employment law specialists and carefully selected law students as volunteers.

Before joining Legal Aid at Work as a staff attorney, Mike was a sole practitioner focusing on employment-related litigation and related services. He also worked as a union official and attorney with Pan Am's flight attendants union.

Mike graduated from the University of Michigan in 1979 and from Pace University Law School in 1984. He now serves as an adjunct professor at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and at University of San Diego School of Law.

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Jenna Gerry

Jenna Gerry

Staff Attorney

Jenna atiende las llamadas a las líneas telefónicas de ayuda laboral y familiar e imparte talleres para conocer sus derechos y ofrece servicios legales gratuitos a trabajadores que enfrentan crisis de tipo familiar y médico. Ella también participa en el cabildeo legislativo para ampliar las políticas laborales que favorezcan a las familias y trabaja con la Coalición Laboral de Madres Saludables (Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition )y apoya las labores de nuestras colaboraciones médicas y legales (Medical Legal Partnerships).

Jenna came to Legal Aid at Work from a clerkship with trial Judge Cynthia S. Kern in Manhattan. Prior to that, she served as a post-graduate fellow with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation. Jenna had internships with the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York and with the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and the Education Rights Center in Washington.

She holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she made dean’s list, and she holds a BA in political science (with minors in philosophy and Irish studies) from New York University.

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Christopher Ho

Christopher Ho

Senior Staff Attorney

Como director de nuestro Programa de Inmigración y Origen Nacional (Immigration and National Origin Program), Chris se enfoca en prácticas laborales que afectan de manera desigual a los trabajadores indocumentados, las minorías lingüísticas y los inmigrantes recientes. En el 2014, ella alegó exitosamente el caso Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., el cual reafirmó las garantías que las leyes estatales de California brindan a los trabajadores indocumentados. Más recientemente, en un caso de los derechos civiles de primera impresión que Chris llevó a juicio, el Juzgado del Distrito Federal en San Francisco sentenció que un patrón quebrantó leyes federales de los derechos civiles cuando descalificó a un candidato para un puesto de trabajo por el único hecho de que éste había utilizado anteriormente un número de seguro social inválido para obtener trabajo.

Most recently, Chris and his team won two important victories in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In the first case, Arias v. Raimondo, which we co-counseled with California Rural Legal Assistance, the court broke new legal ground when it held that an employer's attorney violated the law when he contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") in an attempt to have his client's former employee deported after he sued for his unpaid wages. In the other case, Guerrero v. California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a precedent-setting 2015 U.S. District Court trial judgment that an employer violated federal civil rights law when it disqualified a job applicant solely because he had used an invalid Social Security number to obtain work while he was undocumented.

Chris's litigation has helped to reinforce and advance the right of undocumented immigrants to seek legal redress for workplace rights violations. In Contreras v. Corinthian Vigor Insurance Brokerage., Inc. and Singh v. Jutla, Chris and his co-counsel established the precedent that employers may not contact immigration authorities to report undocumented workers who have come forward to assert their legal rights. In Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., the Ninth Circuit upheld a protective order barring an employer from inquiring into the plaintiffs’ immigration status, thus precluding the use of the discovery process as a tool to intimidate immigrant workers seeking to assert their civil rights. And Chris’s 2014 California Supreme Court victory in Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. established that immigrant workers have full legal standing to enforce their California workplace rights, even if they might have used an invalid Social Security number to obtain their jobs or are undocumented.

In 2013, with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Council on American-Islamic Relations ("CAIR"), Chris represented an observant Muslim woman who was fired from her job at a Hollister Co.-branded store of Abercrombie & Fitch because she refused to remove her hijab to comply with its "Look Policy." Finding Abercrombie could not prove the policy was necessary to its business, the U.S. District Court granted our client summary judgment, holding the clothing retailer had failed to reasonably accommodate her religious faith.

Chris has also worked on many cases seeking to protect workers from discrimination based on the languages they speak -- for example, "speak-English-only" policies, discrimination because of accent, and English proficiency requirements lacking any connection to the jobs in question.

Chris received a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award in 2004 for his work on Rivera and Singh, and was given the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area’s Joe Morozumi Award for Exceptional Legal Advocacy in 2006. In 2007, he received Stanford Law School’s Alumni Public Service Award. La Raza Centro Legal honored him for advocacy on behalf of domestic workers in 2010. And in 2013, Chris was recognized by Chinese for Affirmative Action for his advocacy in defense of immigrants’ rights, and by CAIR for his work in Khan v. Abercrombie & Fitch.

Chris got his B.A. in political science from Yale, an A.M. in government from Harvard, and his J.D. from Stanford. He joined Legal Aid at Work as its Félix Velarde-Muñoz Graduate Intern, and returned as a staff attorney in 1990. In 2001, he was a Windcall Resident Fellow in Belgrade, Montana. During the Obama administration, Chris served on the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.

Selected published decisions:

Contreras v. Corinthian Vigor Insurance Brokerage, Inc., 25 F.Supp.2d 1053 (N.D. Cal. 1998)

Contreras v. Corinthian Vigor Insurance Brokerage, Inc., 103 F.Supp.2d 1180 (N.D. Cal. 2000)

Singh v. Jutla, 214 F.Supp.2d 1056 (N.D. Cal. 2002)

Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., 364 F.3d 1057 (9th Cir. 2004), reh’g and reh’g en banc denied, 384 F. 3d 822 (2004), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 905 (2005)

Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., 701 F.Supp.2d 1135 (E.D. Cal. 2006)

Zamora v. Elite Logistics, Inc., 478 F.3d 1160 (10th Cir. 2007) (en banc)

Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., 372 Fed.Appx. 757 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 562 U.S. 1135 (2011)

EEOC and Khan v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 966 F.Supp.2d 949 (N.D. Cal. 2013)

Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., 59 Cal.4th 407, cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 755 (2014)

Guerrero v. California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, et al., 119 F.Supp.3d 1065 (N.D. Cal. 2015), aff'd in part and rev'd in part, ___ Fed.Appx. ___, 2017 WL 2963531 (9th Cir. July 12, 2017)

Arias v. Raimondo, 860 F.3d 1185 (9th Cir. 2017)

Publications:

With Jennifer C. Chang, “Drawing the Line After Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v NLRB: Strategies for Protecting Undocumented Workers in the Title VII Context and Beyond,” 22 Hofstra Lab. & Emp. L.J. 473 (2005)

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Jinny Kim

Jinny Kim

Senior Staff Attorney

Jinny comenzó su carrera jurídica en Legal Aid at Work como becaria Félix Velarde-Muñoz de 1999 a 2011, a cargo de litigios en casos sobre cuestiones raciales, de discapacidades, de origen nacional y de género. Ella regresó y fue contratada como abogada en el 2008 después de trabajar en un bufete jurídico particular en Washington, D.C. Ahora, como directora de nuestro Programa sobre Derechos de las personas con Discapacidades (Disability Rights Program), ella representa a clientes que necesitan acomodos o se enfrentan a la discriminación de sus patrones, las instituciones educativas y las entidades públicas.

As a Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow, she served as Labor Counsel to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy on the Senate's Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She also has held positions at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach; at Schneider, Wallace, Cottrell, Brayton and Konecky; and at Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian.

Jinny received her J.D. in 1999 from the University of California, Davis, and her B.A. in 1995 from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Elizabeth Kristen

Elizabeth Kristen

Senior Staff Attorney

Elizabeth Kristen es la directora de nuestro programa sobre Igualdad de Género y Derechos de las Personas LGBT (Gender Equity & LGBT Rights Program), donde ella representa a trabajadores de bajos ingresos que enfrentan la discriminación y el acoso en el trabajo a causa de su sexo, orientación sexual, identidad de género, estado de embarazo, servicio militar o condición de veterano. Además, como directora de nuestro proyecto Juego Justo para las Niñas en los Deportes (Fair Play for Girls in Sports project), con los abogados asociados en el caso Ollier v. Sweetwater Union, ella ganó la primera sentencia de un juzgado federal de apelaciones que ordenaba el cumplimiento con el Título IX de las Enmiendas Educativas en las escuelas high school.

Elizabeth graduated from Berkeley Law in 2001. She was selected for the Order of the Coif and served as an editor for the California Law Review. Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work in 2002 as a Skadden Fellow, she clerked for the Honorable James R. Browning on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

In 2015, California Lawyer selected Elizabeth as one of its California Lawyers of the Year in the field of Civil Rights. Elizabeth is a Northern California Super Lawyer. She was the recipient of Protect our Defenders' Justice Award. In 2012-2013, Elizabeth served as a Harvard law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow. She was a lecturer at Berkeley Law School from 2008-2013.

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Rachael Langston

Rachael Langston

Senior Staff Attorney

Rachael Langston es una abogada de los Programas sobre Igualdad de Género y Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidades (Gender Equity and Disability Rights Programs). Rachael se unió a Legal Aid at Work en el 2008. Ella aconseja y representa a trabajadores con discapacidades, con un enfoque principal en la discriminación a causa de la discapacidad y la falta de acomodos en el lugar de trabajo.

Rachael también brinda capacitación en la comunidad sobre los derechos de los empleados con discapacidades y participa en el cabildeo legislativo para ampliar los derechos de los trabajadores que tienen la responsabilidad de cuidar a algún miembro de la familia. Ella recibió su doctorado en derecho en 2008 de la Universidad de California, Berkeley y su licenciatura de Texas Tech University en el 2005.

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William C. McNeill III

Senior Staff Attorney

Bill McNeill es el director de nuestro Programa sobre Igualdad Racial (Racial Equality Program) y ha estado en Legal Aid at Work desde 1988, donde se ha desempeñado como abogado supervisor. Él ha enfrentado la problemática de los derechos civiles desde hace más de 30 años, litigando varios casos diseñados para fortalecer los derechos de las minorías, incluyendo el caso Davis v. City and County of San Francisco, el cual resultó en la integración racial del departamento de bomberos, aumentó las oportunidades para las personas de color en cuanto a contrataciones y ascensos, además de conseguir que se nombrara al primer jefe de bomberos afroamericano en la historia de la ciudad.

Bill began his legal career in 1971 as a public defender with the Roxbury Defenders Committee in Roxbury, Mass. He then worked as an attorney with the Atlanta Regional Litigation Center for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as the director of the Title VII Project at the San Francisco Office of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and as regional counsel for California Rural Legal Assistance. He has received two honors from the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. for his litigation work combating employment discrimination.

Bill joined Legal Aid at Work in 1988 and has served as managing attorney for the organization. He received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1971 and his A.B. in Economics from Oberlin College in 1965. He is a member of the California, Georgia, and Massachusetts bars.

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Julia Parish

Staff Attorney

Como miembro de nuestros programas Trabajo y Familia (Work and Family) y SOBREVIVE (SURVIVE), Julia ayuda con las líneas telefónicas de ayuda y brinda asesoría legal, imparte talleres para conocer sus derechos y ofrece servicios legales directos a trabajadores que enfrentan crisis de tipo familiar y médica. Ella también es directora de la Coalición de Madres Saludables en el Lugar de Trabajo (Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition), la cual incluye la colaboración de varias agencias de gobierno y de la comunidad.

Julia was a legal intern with the Gender Equity Program at Legal Aid at Work and with the East Bay Community Law Center.

Julia received her J.D. from Berkeley Law at the University of California in 2011. She also received her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from UC Berkeley, and she holds a master's degree in teaching from Pace University. Before attending law school, she was a high school sports coach and Spanish teacher.

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Maria Tapia-Hernandez

Workers' Rights Fellow

María está ayudando a fundar el Taller sobre Derechos Laborales en San Diego, en colaboración con la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de San Diego. El taller colaborará con organizaciones de la comunidad local para brindar asesoría legal, hacer promoción y dar capacitaciones en la comunidad acerca de los derechos de los trabajadores.

Most recently, Maria worked at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she assisted domestic violence survivors apply for protective orders and tackle custody, visitation, and other issues. She has clerked with Legal Aid of Napa Valley and the Immigration Center for Women and Children.

Maria also worked as a student clinic counselor with the Workers' Rights Clinic at LAS-ELC, after which she went on to become a student representative at the Civil Justice Clinic at UC Hastings. Maria received her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley in 2009 and her JD from Hastings in 2014.

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Sharon Terman

Senior Staff Attorney

Sharon dirige nuestro programa Trabajo y Familia, donde ella representa a trabajadores con reclamos de tipo familiar y médico, así como aquellos relacionados con la discriminación por el embarazo, el género sexual y las discapacidades. Ella también brinda asesoría legal a trabajadores de bajos ingresos, ofrece capacitación en la comunidad y cabildea a la legislatura para ampliar los derechos de los trabajadores.

She clerked for the Honorable Richard A. Paez of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from 2004 to 2005. She joined Legal Aid at Work as a Skadden Fellow in 2005 and became a staff attorney in 2007.

Sharon received her B.A. from UC Berkeley in 1998 and her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2004.

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Kim Turner

Senior Staff Attorney

Kim trabaja para nuestro Programa de Igualdad de Género y Derechos de Personas LGBT, así como el Proyecto de Juego Justo para las Niñas en los Deportes. Por medio de los litigios, la educación y el cabildeo, Kim promueve la igualdad, concentrándose especialmente en las oportunidades deportivas de las mujeres jóvenes, especialmente en comunidades de bajos ingresos.

Kim has practiced a mixture of Title IX, employment and housing law, including as a staff attorney with Bay Area Legal Aid. Before law school, Kim worked for Senator Dianne Feinstein and the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C.

She graduated from Cardozo Law School in New York City in 2008. And she received a B.A. from Brown University in 2002, double concentrating in public policy and sociology. At Brown, Kim also played for the varsity women’s volleyball team.

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Carole Vigne

Senior Staff Attorney | Director, Wage Protection Program

Carole Vigne es abogada de la organización y directora de nuestro Programa de Defensa Salarial (Wage Protection Program). Ella brinda información asesoría y representación legal a los trabajadores acerca de sus derechos laborales, concentrándose en asuntos relacionados con el salario, el horario y el seguro de desempleo. Carole también capacita y supervisa a promotores legales para que representen a clientes en audiencias administrativas sobre reclamos salariales y apelaciones sobre el seguro de desempleo, además de hacer trabajo educativo en la comunidad.

Carole was a Skadden Fellow with Legal Aid at Work’s National Origin, Immigration, and Language Rights Program, working to expand the rights of immigrant workers and serving San Francisco’s immigrant, limited-English-proficient, Latino workers through a workers’ rights clinic. She also litigated employment law cases at Rukin, Hyland, Doria & Tindall, LLP, and previously worked at the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

Carole received her B.A. from Brown University in 2001 and her J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2007.

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Special Counsel

Bob Borton

Robert E. Borton

Special Counsel

Bob Borton fue socio en Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, donde se concentró en los litigios comerciales complejos, con énfasis en demandas colectivas, derechos de consumidores, derechos civiles, bienes raíces y el sector bancario. Él tiene mucha experiencia en juzgados y juicios y ha litigado una amplia gama de casos sobre derechos civiles, inmigración y de caseros e inquilinos. Él fue miembro de la junta directiva de Legal Aid at Work durante más de 25 años y ahora brinda asesoría en litigios cuando sea necesario al programa de Igualdad de Género y Derechos de Personas LGBT de Legal Aid at Work.

From 1992 to 2007, Bob led Heller Ehrman’s pro bono practice and the firm’s litigation and trial advocacy training. He later practiced with the Oakland firm of McShane & Felson.

Bob received the State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award, the Robert Sproul Pro Bono Award, the Phillip Burton Immigration and Civil Rights Award, Legal Aid at Work’s Roll Call for Justice Award, the Public Interest Clearinghouse Opening Doors to Justice Award, the San Francisco Bar Association Award of Merit, and the American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award.

As an adjunct professor at Berkeley Law, Bob taught pre-trial civil litigation practice from 1982 to 2013. He received his J.D. from Michigan Law School in 1972 and his B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1964.

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Professor Joseph R. Grodin

Special Counsel

Joseph Grodin es un profesor emérito de Derecho en la Faculta de Derecho de UC Hastings y fue juez asociado de la Suprema Corte de California durante cinco años. Él fue co-fundador del Taller sobre Derechos Laborales de Legal Aid at Work. Lea su biografía completa aquí.

Professor Joseph Grodin, a native Californian, received his B.A. with honors from UC Berkeley in 1951 and his J.D. cum laude from Yale Law School in 1954. Upon graduation from law school he traveled to England on a Fulbright grant and earned a Ph.D. in labor law and labor relations from the London School of Economics. You can read a full bio here.

Professor Grodin practiced law in San Francisco from 1955 to 1971, specializing in labor law and serving pro bono in a variety of civil rights and civil liberties matters. During portions of that period he taught as an adjunct professor at UC Hastings and a visiting professor at the University of Oregon Law School. Active in bar affairs, he served as chairman of the labor law section of the San Francisco Bar Association and as a member of the State Bar Committee on Legal Services.

From 1972 to 1979, he was a full-time professor at UC Hastings, teaching courses in labor law, employment discrimination, arbitration, and contracts. During portions of that period he served as a member of the state's inaugural Agricultural Labor Relations Board, as foreman of the Alameda County Grand Jury, and as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School.

In 1979, Professor Grodin was appointed Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal. He was elevated to presiding justice in 1981, and in 1982 was appointed Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, a position he held until January 1987, when he returned to the UC Hastings faculty.

He retired from full-time teaching in May 2005. He continues to teach part-time and to do arbitration and mediation work.

Professor Grodin is the author of numerous scholarly books and articles. He is particularly proud, however, of a book on hiking trails in the Silver Lake area of the Sierra, which he coauthored with his daughter, Sharon.

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Henry Hewitt

Henry Hewitt

Special Counsel

Henry Hewitt es asesor de medio tiempo de los programas individuales de Legal Aid at Work, en diversos litigios. Él ahora se encarga de casos relacionados con la discriminación por el estado de embarazo y el sistema de fianzas monetarias de San Francisco, entre otros temas.

After a clerkship for the Hon. George B. Harris, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, he took a job with Legal Aid Society of Alameda County, where he represented plaintiffs in individual and class employment cases, including Traylor v. Safeway Stores concerning allegations that women and minorities were excluded from store management, which ended with a consent decree and damages of more than $1 million, one of the larger settlements of the early 1970s.

With two partners in 1978, he founded Erickson, Beasley & Hewitt, which litigated civil rights cases and represented public entities primarily in the areas of eminent domain and employment. That work included two significant cases: Barefield v. Chevron, 1987 WL 65054 (N.D. Cal. 1987) (class action race discrimination case involving oil field jobs in Bakersfield) and Hulteen v. AT&T, 498 F.3d 1001 (9th Cir. 2007, en banc), reversed, AT&T v. Hulteen, 556 U.S. 701 (2009) (pregnancy discrimination case). After the firm closed in 2010, he did eminent domain work with Meyers Nave for three years, and he has been volunteering with Legal Aid at Work since 2013.

Henry holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from Occidental College and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.

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Cacilia Kim

Special Counsel

Cacilia trabaja en el programa de Igualdad de Género y Derechos de las Personas LGBT de Legal Aid at Work, en casos relacionados con la igualdad de género, los derechos de las mujeres y las familias de bajos ingresos y la problemática de los veteranos. El trabajo de Cacilia ha resultado en cinco sentencias publicadas a la fecha, siendo la más reciente la primera sentencia federal que aplica el Título IX a los programas deportivos para niñas de Kindergarten hasta el doceavo grado. El equipo de abogados recibió el premio de Abogado del Año de la revista California Lawyer (CLAY, por sus siglas en inglés) por su trabajo en este caso, en marzo del 2015.

One of Cacilia's most recent published decisions was a win with Legal Aid at Work and our co-counsel in 2014 in Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High School District. The case resulted in the first federal court ruling applying Title IX to girls’ athletics in K-12 schools. The team received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award for that work in March 2015.

Cacilia and Elizabeth co-authored “Unequal Play,” an article about the case in LA Lawyer magazine in June 2015. They also were joint recipients of the 2016 Justice Award from Protect Our Defenders for their work on behalf of military service members who were sexually assaulted during their service and then retaliated against when they spoke out.

Cacilia earlier served as a council member for the California Breast Cancer Research Program for three years and was an associate with O’Melveny and Myers LLP, where she focused on securities fraud class action litigation. As a congressional fellow at the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, she was the lead staff member on legislative issues pertaining to food stamp benefits, child abuse and neglect, and welfare benefits for immigrants and Native Americans.

She received her B.A. in psychology from UC Berkeley in 1992, her Ph.D in developmental child psychology from UCLA in 2001, and her J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 2000, where she graduated with the Order of the Coif.

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photo of Ruth Silver Taube

Ruth Silver Taube

Special Counsel

Ruth Silver Taube aconseja a Legal Aid at Work en asuntos relacionados con los planes de beneficios por discapacidad ERISA y además aboga enérgicamente en contra del tráfico de mano de obra. Ella también tiene su propio despacho el bufete de abogados Silver & Taube y ha sido profesora adjunta de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Santa Clara desde hace 13 años.

Ruth supervised our former Workers' Rights Clinic location in San Jose for 11 years and brought a form of our Healthy Mothers Workplace awards to Santa Clara County (the Family-Friendly Awards). She is a founding member of the Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative, chair of the Family-Friendly Workplace Collaborative, and coordinator of the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition. She is the legal services chair of the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking; an alternate delegate to the Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Commission; and a board member for Justice at Last, a new nonprofit combating human trafficking.

She worked as an associate at Cotchett, Illston & Pitre and a federal mediator at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in San Francisco and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Ronald M. Whyte, U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of California. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a master's degree from UC Berkeley, and a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law.

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Daniela Urban

Daniela Urban

Special Counsel

Daniela fundó y dirige el Centro para los Derechos de los Trabajadores en Sacramento (Center for Workers’ Rights in Sacramento), el cual se dedica a mejorar las condiciones laborales, a disminuir los obstáculos para conseguir empleo y a resolver las injusticias laborales que padecen los trabajadores de bajos ingresos y sus familias. En su papel como abogada especial del LAS-ELC, ella ayuda a administrar nuestro Taller sobre Derechos Laborales en el Área de Sacramento. Ella representó anteriormente a sindicatos en Los Ángeles.

Daniela formerly represented unions in Los Angeles. She received her J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2012 and her B.A. in politics and international relations and philosophy from Scripps College in 2005.

With Elizabeth Kristen, director of the Gender Equity and LGBT Rights Program at Legal Aid at Work, and with Blanca Banuelos, Daniela coauthored the article “Workplace Violence and Harassment of Low-Wage Workers,” which appeared in the Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law, January 2015.

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Program Services

Leslie Chaires

Leslie V. Chaires

Community Outreach Coordinator

Leslie brinda apoyo administrativo a los Talleres sobre los Derechos Laborales, los cuales brindan asesoría y consejos gratuitos a trabajadores de bajos ingresos. Ella también coordina esfuerzos de promoción en la comunidad, hace entrevistas a nuevos clientes y remite y da información al público, además de ofrecer servicios de traducción y representación limitada en audiencias sobre el desempleo.

Leslie received her B.A. from San Francisco State University in 2008, double majoring in broadcast and electronic communications arts and Latino studies. As a student, Leslie was an active member of organizations dedicated to promoting social justice for undocumented immigrants and helped advocate for higher education for low-income students throughout California.

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Ruby Ponce

Ruby Ponce

Paralegal

Ruby Ponce proporciona apoyo administrativo y legal a abogados en todas las áreas de la práctica profesional. Antes de integrarse a LAS-ELC en el 2013, ella fue pasante de la unidad de cumplimiento de leyes en las oficinas distritales de la Comisión de Igualdad de Oportunidades de Empleo (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) en San Francisco.

Ruby graduated from Sonoma State University in 2012 with a B.A. in Philosophy concentrating in Pre- Law Studies, and later completed the Paralegal Studies Program at San Francisco State University in 2013. Ruby was also a Legal Intern at the Law Offices of Svetlana M. Shirinova and The Law Offices of Adam Neufer.

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Tishon Smith

Tishon Smith

Legal Assistant

Tishon disfruta de ayudar a las personas y cree firmemente en el poder de la ley para abordar la problemática de la justicia social. Al apoyar a los abogados en todos los programas de LAS-ELC, ella indaga disposiciones de ley y prepara alegatos, citatorios, notificaciones sobre declaraciones juradas, hojas de cálculo, correspondencia a clientes y demás documentos.

Tishon has worked as a legal assistant and legal secretary in a variety of fields, including international trade, civil litigation, and employment. At Inland Counties Legal Services, she drafted and managed pleadings, prepared expense reports, and maintained a docket and individual lawyers’ calendars, among other responsibilities.

With the Oakland insurance firm of Trenk, DiPasquale, Della Ferra & Sodono, she also oversaw a case management database and managed trial exhibits, and she prepared and processed summonses and paperwork for purposes such as MCLE compliance and attorney timekeeping.

Tishon studied general education at Mesa College and took paralegal courses at Western College.

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King Szeto

King Szeto

Language Access Coordinator

King proporciona asistencia lingüística y legal a trabajadores de bajos ingresos con dominio limitado del inglés. Él ayudó a fundar y administra nuestra línea telefónica en el idioma chino, además de hacer labor de promoción semanal sobre derecho laboral en la radio y los periódicos en el idioma chino. Antes de unirse a LAS-ELC en 1996, King se desempeño como periodista en medios de difusión.

External Relations and Development

Steve Heimerle

Development Manager

Steve administra campañas de recaudación de fondos y desarrollo para LAS-ELC. Él se integró como coordinador de nuestra campaña para Fondos de la Justicia de $4 millones en el 2006. Él ha trabajado para seis organizaciones sin fines de lucro del Área de la Bahía, incluyendo la Orquesta Sinfónica del Este de la Bahía de Oakland (Oakland East Bay Symphony), Shanti y los Músicos Contemporáneos de San Francisco (San Francisco Contemporary Music Players).

Steve attended Iowa State University’s School of Architecture and worked for two national design firms in Chicago, Fountain Valley, Palo Alto and San Francisco for 14 years.

Reach Steve at sheimerle@legalaidatwork.org or 415-593-0138.

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Greg Medley

Greg Medley

Development Associate

Greg administra la base de datos de los donantes de LAS-ELC y colabora con otros miembros del equipo de desarrollo en llamados y actividades para solicitar fondos. Él llegó desde el Museo Discovery en Sausalito, donde ocupó varios puestos, incluyendo el de administrador de entradas y la base de datos. En dichos puestos, él hizo promoción a los programas del museo, contrató y supervisó a empleados de la recepción, capturó y administró datos sobre donantes y generó informes, además de impulsar tres actividades anuales para recaudar fondos, entre otras responsabilidades.

He earlier served six years as membership director for the San Francisco Zoo, had an internship with the National Park Service, and worked as membership manager for the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society.

An avid historical costumer, Greg helps direct the annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair and performs at the Northern California Pirate Festival and the Northern California Renaissance Faire. He also constructs his own props and costumes.

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Administration

Photo of Abner Chaires

Abner Chaires

Operations Associate

Abner joined Legal Aid at Work with significant experience in technical support, administrative work, and communications. Abner plays an essential role in managing the office and facilitating both the administrative flow and internal communications among the various departments of the team at Legal Aid at Work, and he leads critical support functions in archiving and IT support.

Abner serves as the operations associate at Legal Aid at Work, a role that he approaches from a background in sales and operations. Abner has experience handling inquiries, meticulously recording and cataloguing information, and supporting office administrative work. He is proficient in Spanish and English, and has a mastery of Microsoft Office suite, as well as Atom, CodeBlocks, Adobe Photoshop CS6, and Final Cut Pro.

Abner is currently pursuing a major in Software Engineering at City College of San Francisco.

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Howard Chen

Howard Chen

Chief Administrative Officer

Howard oversees all the operational and administrative functions for Legal Aid at Work. A member of the management team, he is primarily responsible for office management, human resources, compliance, technology, financial management, and oversight. Howard has held a number of roles in support of the mission of the organization since 1997 and was the Director of Human Resources prior to becoming the Chief Operating Officer.

Ana Flores

Ana E. Flores

Receptionist

Ana plays an integral role in the daily operations and flow of our office and is the first Legal Aid at Work staffer that many of our clients speak with. Bilingual in Spanish and English, Ana conducts initial intakes and determines where to direct first-time callers. She also manages appointments for our legal clinics across California; interprets and translates for clients and potential clients in the office; and does written translation work.

Ana joined Legal Aid at Work in 1986 as a legal assistant, and she has served as our receptionist for many years. Born and raised in San Francisco, Ana also spent five years in El Salvador, where some of her family lives.

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photo of Jerome Nakagawa

Jerome Nakagawa

Finance and Operations Manager

Jerome supervisa el funcionamiento interno de nuestra organización. Él ayuda al director de finanzas a llevar los libros contables y a codificar; administra la nómina y las prestaciones, además de adquirir provisiones y asegurarse de pagar las cuentas a tiempo. Él está estudiando finanzas y contabilidad.

Born in Hayward, Calif., Jerome studied political science at UC Berkeley and worked three years as a congressional aide and liaison to federal agencies in former U.S. Rep. Pete Stark’s office. Before joining Legal Aid at Work in 2010 as special projects coordinator, Jerome worked as a photojournalist, including internships, fellowships, and staff positions in Texas and Arizona.

He has completed the coursework toward a master’s degree in visual communication with an emphasis photojournalism at Ohio University.

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Scott Neilson

Scott Neilson

Network Administrator

Scott Neilson es el administrador de la red de computadoras de Legal Aid at Work, donde ha estado concentrado desde 1999 en la optimización de la tecnología de las oficinas para facilitar que el personal brinde asistencia a los clientes. Scott es originario de San Francisco y fue alumno de la escuela Archbishop Riordan High School y San Francisco State University. Él se precia de contribuir con su talento al trabajo de una institución de San Francisco tan importante.

Fellows

Galen Ages

Galen Ages

Skadden Fellow

As an attorney in the Community Legal Services program, Galen Ages provides free legal services to clients at numerous Workers’ Rights Clinic sites across California. He is also managing LAAW’s 100th anniversary expansion to bring the Clinic’s services to low-income and unemployed workers in currently underserved communities.

Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work in 2017 as a Skadden Fellow, Galen clerked for the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Galen received his J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2016, where he was Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, served as a student director of both the Workers’ Rights Clinic and the Wage Claim Clinic, was awarded the Prosser Prize in Employment Law and Employee Benefits Law, and received the Victor Van Bourg Scholarship for his commitment to workers’ rights. He also clerked for Legal Aid at Work, the East Bay Community Law Center, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, and Lewis, Feinberg, Lee & Jackson, P.C.

Before law school, Galen worked for Altshuler Berzon LLP and the World Affairs Council of Northern California. He served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Mexico City, where he obtained his M.A. in U.S.-Mexico Studies from La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Galen also holds a B.A. in Development Studies with highest distinction from U.C. Berkeley.

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Juliana Franco

Zellerbach Family Foundation Day Labor Outreach and Wage Recovery Project Fellow

Juliana Franco, a fellow in our Wage Protection Program, helps people working in construction, landscaping and other day-labor jobs to recover unpaid wages. She is also working to educate workers and community organizations about how they can use what's known as a mechanic’s lien to force employers to pay them. This tool is  uniquely available to workers who have performed work on real property and are owed wages.

As a clerk in our Wage Protection Program in spring 2017 and in our Work and Family Program in fall 2016, Juliana helped workers file wage claims with the Labor Commissioner, conducted helpline intakes, researched and wrote memos and letters, and counseled victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.  She served earlier as a research assistant at the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings and as a clinical law student with the UCSF-UC Hastings Consortium Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic.

Juliana, who is a native speaker of both Spanish and English, holds a BA in political science from UC Berkeley and a JD from UC Hastings. We are grateful to the Zellerbach Family Foundation for support of Juliana's work in the Day Labor Outreach and Wage Recovery Project Fellowship. 

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Katherine Wutchiett

Katherine Wutchiett

Skadden Fellow

Katie encabeza la implementación de nuestro modelo de colaboración médico-legal (Medical-Legal Partnership, o MLP, por sus siglas en inglés) en el Condado de Contra Costa. Como parte de MLP, Katie brinda capacitación acerca de los derechos a los permisos, los acomodos y la recuperación del salario para proveedores de atención médica y trabajadores de bajos ingresos que estén embarazadas o que sean padres primerizos. Ella también contrata personal para los talleres en la comunidad y la línea telefónica de ayuda sobre Trabajo y Familia en nuestras oficinas.

She provides technical support, community education and free legal services regarding the rights of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and workers struggling with family and medical crises, as well as pregnant women and new parents.

Katie obtained her J.D., summa cum laude, from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Mo. While in law school, she worked as a law clerk for the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, the Service Employees International Union, and Legal Aid at Work. Most recently, she clerked for the Hon. Bobby Shepherd of the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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