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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Joan Messing Graff
Joan Graff (she/her) 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 [email protected] or 415-864-8848.
Swaaliha is a Legal Fellow with the Wage Protection Program where she assists with wage claims and represents clients before the California Labor Commissioner. Swaaliha is committed to leveraging her legal education and skills to help marginalized communities.
Swaaliha received her B.A from San Francisco State University, where she majored in World History and minored in Women and Gender Studies. Swaaliha received her J.D from UC Hastings, where she graduated with a social justice concentration. During her time at UC Hastings, Swaaliha interned at OneJustice, and Equal Rights Advocates. Additionally, Swaaliha was a Peggy Browning Fellow with the union-side labor law Neyhart, Anderson, Flynn & Grosboll. Outside of Internships, Swaaliha spent much of her time in the UC Hastings Community Justice Clinic. She was also a student director for Homeless Legal Services and the Acquisitions Editor for the UC Hastings Women’s Law Journal.
Swaaliha's fellowship is funded through the generous support of Legal Services Funders Network.
Senior Staff Attorney
Alexis Alvarez (she/her/ella) advises and represents people with disabilities facing discrimination in employment and unequal access to government programs and services. Before joining Legal Aid at Work’s Disability Rights Program, she was a staff attorney with the Disability Rights Legal Center’s Cancer Legal Resource Center in Los Angeles, where she helped people tackle legal issues related to cancer.
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.
Alexx Campbell (he/him/él) is a staff attorney in the Wage Protection Program. He represents workers who have experienced wage theft, assisting clients with cases in court and before the California Labor Commissioner. Alexx also serves clients at Wage Claim Clinics at day labor centers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and at the Labor Commissioner offices in San Francisco and Oakland. He educates and trains workers and community members on wage and hour protections and how to combat wage theft. Alexx often serves immigrant and Spanish-speaking workers, and is fluent in Spanish. In an earlier role at Legal Aid at Work, Alexx focused on helping construction workers recover unpaid wages using mechanic’s liens.
Nora Cassidy (she/her/ella) is an attorney in our Gender Equity and LGBT Rights Program and our Fair Play for Girls in Sports Project. She represents and supports workers who have faced harassment based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity and advocates for equality for girls in K-12 sports and parks and recreation programs.
Nora received her B.A. in history from Carleton College and her J.D. from UC Irvine School of Law where she was a Public Service Scholar and participated in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. In law school, Nora worked at the ACLU of Southern California, California Rural Legal Assistance, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work, Nora clerked for Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin on the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Nora speaks Spanish.
DeCarol Davis is the Director of the Community Legal Services program, which provides free legal services to low-wage workers at Workers’ Rights Clinics throughout California. Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work in 2020, Davis, in addition to bartending and managing house at Shotgun Players, Ashby Stage, conducted international legal research with the University of Sydney, Australia on the exploitation of migrant workers. Prior to her research, Davis litigated as a plaintiff-side employment attorney at Bryan Schwartz Law.
Senior Staff Attorney
Marisa Díaz (she/her/ella) defends and promotes the rights of low-wage immigrant workers and other workers who face discrimination based on their national origin or ethnicity. To do this, Marisa engages in impact litigation, community education, and policy work. Before joining Legal Aid at Work, Marisa was a fellow at Equal Rights Advocates, where she advocated on behalf of women who faced gender-based discrimination in the workplace.
After graduating from Stanford Law School in 2013, Marisa clerked for the Honorable Michael Daly Hawkins on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. During law school Marisa interned with Legal Aid at Work and the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. At Stanford’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, she represented immigrants facing deportation.
Prior to attending law school, Marisa received a Fulbright Grant to research the experiences of Colombian domestic workers in Spain. She also worked at organizations in California and México where she advocated for the rights of women and prisoners. Marisa, who is fluent in Spanish, received her undergraduate degree from Pomona College.
Diana Fabian-Gutierrez (she/her/ella) is a Legal Fellow with the Work and Family Program. Diana focuses her work on the rights of pregnant workers, new parents, and caregivers. Diana often serves communities hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic including low wage workers and mono-lingual Spanish Speakers. Her work includes legal intakes, community trainings, and legislative advocacy to expand family-friendly workplace policies. As the daughter of immigrants, a first-generation law graduate, and a past restaurant worker Diana provides a firsthand perspective in serving our client base.
Senior Staff Attorney
Mike Gaitley (he/him) is a staff attorney in the Community Legal Services program, where he has developed and nurtured a model for providing free legal services through a Workers’ Rights Clinic that has been emulated by numerous legal organizations.
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.
Senior Staff Attorney
As director of LAAW's National Origin and Immigrants' Rights Program, Chris (he/him) focuses on employment practices that disproportionately affect immigrant workers, language minorities and others who face discrimination because of where they or their families come from. In this work, he has litigated legal questions of first impression, leading to judicial decisions that have solidified and expanded Federal and California law protections for these worker communities.
The impact litigation Chris and his colleagues have brought has strengthened the ability of undocumented workers to fight back against employer exploitation. In two cases, Contreras v. Corinthian Vigor Insurance Brokerage and Singh v. Jutla, the U.S. District Court established that employers cannot contact immigration authorities to retaliate against undocumented workers who have asserted their legal rights. In Rivera v. Nibco, the Ninth Circuit in 2004 barred an employer from inquiring into the immigration status of the 25 plaintiffs, thereby precluding the weaponization of the civil discovery process as a tool of intimidation. 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, irrespective of their immigration status or whether they used an invalid Social Security number to obtain their jobs.
More recently, in 2017, Chris and his colleagues won two important victories in the Ninth Circuit. In Arias v. Raimondo, co-counseled with California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA), the court again created national precedent when it found an employer's attorney could be held personally liable for unlawful retaliation when he contacted ICE to have an undocumented immigrant worker deported after he had sued the employer to recover his unpaid wages. And in Guerrero v. California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Ninth Circuit upheld a groundbreaking U.S. District Court judgment that CDCR violated a job applicant's federal civil rights by rejecting him solely because he had used an invalid Social Security number to obtain work while he had been undocumented.Chris got his B.A. in political science from Yale, an A.M. in government from Harvard and his law degree from Stanford. He first joined Legal Aid at Work as its Félix Velarde-Muñoz Graduate Intern, later returning as a staff attorney. In 2001, he was a Windcall Resident Fellow in Belgrade, Montana. During the Obama administration, Chris was appointed to the EEOC’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace.
Erik Jimenez Rodriguez
Erik Jimenez Rodriguez is the Foundation for Advocacy, Inclusion and Resources (FAIR) Fellow with the Wage Protection and National Origin and Immigrants' Right Programs. Erik represents workers who experience wage theft and workplace retaliation for speaking up about unfair working conditions. He also advocates for workers who face immigration-related threats and retaliation or discrimination based on their national origin.Erik is passionate about advancing low-wage workers' rights and advocating for immigrant workers facing legal issues in the workplace.
Senior Staff Attorney
Jinny (she/her) directs the Disability Rights Program at Legal Aid at Work, where she represents clients seeking accommodation and facing discrimination by employers, educational institutions, and public entities. She joined Legal Aid at Work as the Félix Velarde-Muñoz Fellow in 1999-2001 and litigated race, disability, national origin, and gender cases. She returned as a staff attorney in 2008 following work in Washington, D.C., and in private practice.
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.
Senior Staff Attorney
Elizabeth Kristen (she/her) is the director of our Gender Equity & LGBT Rights Program, where she represents low-wage workers facing employment discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, military, or veteran status. As director of our Fair Play for Girls in Sports project, she engages in community education, negotiations, litigation, and policy work on behalf of female students who have not been afforded equal athletic opportunities under Title IX. She won a ground breaking Ninth Circuit ruling, with her co-counsel, that enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments in a Southern California high school (Ollier v. Sweetwater).
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.
Molly Lao (she/her) is a Skadden Fellow with the Racial Economic Justice and Disability Rights Programs. Molly provides legal services to individuals whose criminal records and disabilities compound and intersect to create barriers to living wage employment. Through her fellowship, she will work to establish a medical-legal-social services partnership in Fresno.
Molly received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her J.D. from Berkeley Law where she was honored with the Francine Marie Diaz Memorial Award for Public Service and as the John D. Weiss Employee Justice Fellow. During law school, Molly worked for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the East Bay Community Law Center, Legal Aid at Work, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. She was also Editor-in-Chief of the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law and Diversity Editor of the California Law Review.
Prior to law school, Molly was a Policy and Program Manager at the California Workforce Development Board and a consultant for the California Senate Public Safety Committee. She is also a native speaker of Cambodian.
Senior Staff Attorney
Lynnette Miner (she/her/hers) joined Legal Aid at Work as a Senior Staff Attorney in the Gender Equity & LGBTQ Rights Program in January 2022. Before joining Legal Aid at Work, Lynnette was a Senior Staff Attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, where she focused on class action litigation to improve prison conditions and other criminal justice advocacy. Prior to that, Lynnette was a Social Justice & Impact Litigation Fellow at the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office and a Litigation Fellow at the Impact Fund. She also clerked for the Honorable Fortunato Benavides on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Austin, Texas.Lynnette graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Harvard Law School. During law school, Lynnette worked with Timap for Justice in rural Sierra Leone, Legal Aid At Work, and the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. As part of the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, Lynnette spent a year pursuing litigation seeking to hold corporations and government officials accountable in U.S. federal courts for human rights abuses. She was also Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal.
Jared Odessky (he/him) is a legal fellow in our Gender Equity & LGBTQ Rights Program. Jared advises workers who face discrimination and harassment based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.
As a Skadden Fellow, Jared focuses on representing low-wage LGBTQ workers in underserved areas like the Central Valley. During law school, he worked for the National Employment Law Project, the Employment Unit of Greater Boston Legal Services, A Better Balance, and Outten & Golden, a plaintiff-side employment law firm. He was also a regular contributor to the blog OnLabor and a research assistant to the faculty at Harvard University’s Labor and Worklife Program. Before law school he worked as a legislative aide and as a union organizer.
Jared received his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his B.A., summa cum laude, from Columbia University.
Kim Ouillette (she/her/ella) is a Staff Attorney in the Wage Protection Program at Legal Aid at Work. She represents workers experiencing wage theft, retaliation, and other violations of their workplace rights. She also supports legislative advocacy efforts and provides trainings and advice to worker centers and community-based organizations.Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work, Kim clerked for the Honorable Christina Reiss on the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont. Kim is a 2018 graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law.
Senior Staff Attorney
As a member of our Work and Family and SURVIVE programs, Julia (she/her/ella) assists with the project helplines and provides legal advice, know-your-rights workshops and direct legal services for workers struggling with family and medical crises. She also directs the Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition, which includes numerous government and community partners.
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.
Sela (she/her) is a staff attorney in the Work and Family Program. She provides legal advice and representation to pregnant workers and new parents, workers struggling with family and medical crises, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Sela also presents trainings on new parent and caregiving leave laws and engages in policy advocacy to advance the rights of working families.Sela received her J.D. from UC Davis School of Law – King Hall. During her time in law school, Sela represented clients in Title IX actions and domestic violence restraining order requests as a member of the UC Davis Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic. She also worked as a law clerk for the Children’s Law Center, the Family Violence Appellate Project, and Public Advocates.
Project SURVIVE Fellow
As the SURVIVE Fellow at Legal Aid at Work (LAAW), Maria’s work focuses on improving the economic stability, health, and wellbeing of survivors of violence by advocating for survivors who have been subjected to unlawful practices on the job. Most recently, Maria worked at a boutique law firm, where she assisted asylum seekers and other immigrants seek relief from deportation and release from ICE custody. In 2016 as an attorney in the Community Legal Services program, Maria helped launch LAAW’s Workers’ Rights Clinic in San Diego. After law school, Maria worked at Bay Area Legal Aid; where she assisted domestic violence survivors apply for protective orders and help with custody, visitation, and other safety planning issues. She has clerked with Legal Aid of Napa Valley and the Immigration Center for Women and Children. Maria received her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley in 2009 and her JD from UC Hastings in 2014. During law school Maria was Co-President of La Raza Law Students Association.
Senior Staff Attorney
Sharon Terman (she/her) is Director of the Work and Family Program and Senior Staff Attorney. She provides legal advice to workers in low-wage jobs, represents employees facing family medical crises, advocates for policy change to promote family-friendly workplaces, and educates the community through trainings, know-your-rights materials, and technical assistance. Sharon is an expert on family and medical leave policies and has helped craft several landmark laws improving California’s work-family policies, including expansions of Paid Family Leave to cover caregiving for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law, and increasing the benefit amount, especially for low-wage workers; expansion of job-protected leave to millions more Californians; a law providing continued health insurance benefits during pregnancy leave; and a law ensuring job-protected time off to visit or enroll children in school or childcare or to address a child care emergency.
Sharon has provided expert testimony before Congress, the California Legislature, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and she serves on Governor Newsom’s Paid Family Leave Taskforce. She co-founded a medical-legal partnership with Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital Women’s Clinic to educate low-income pregnant patients about workplace rights.Sharon received her B.A. with highest distinction from UC Berkeley and received her J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School. Before joining Legal Aid at Work as a Skadden Fellow in 2005, she clerked for the Honorable Richard A. Paez of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Sharon is the 2011 recipient of the Stanford Law School Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award. She is the proud mother of a young daughter.
Brisa Velazquez Oatis
Community Legal Services Program Administrator
Brisa Velazquez Oatis (she/her/ella) oversees the Workers’ Rights Clinics throughout California as a part of the Community Legal Services Program. She manages the administration and outreach of the Workers’ Rights Clinics and provides legal services to workers in California.
Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work, Brisa worked at a wage and hour firm for over two years and volunteered her time at legal services agencies.
Brisa attended the University of San Diego School of Law where she helped launch San Diego’s first Workers’ Rights Clinic. During law school, she served as a clinic counselor and began representing clients in front of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. She then clerked for Legal Aid at Work’s Disability Rights Program as a John D. Weiss Employee Justice Summer fellow. Brisa’s legal background also includes comprehensive experience in family-based immigration law and employment immigration.
Brisa is a native Spanish speaker and remains passionate about client advocacy and social justice. Brisa has been passionate about civil rights and workers’ rights since her high school years where she actively participated in civil rights’ organizing and political campaigns. Her passion was further fostered where she received her undergraduate education, at the Bay Area’s National Hispanic University, where she graduated with honors. She remains an advocate for underrepresented groups and an advocate for making legal services accessible to all individuals.
Director, Racial Economic Justice Program
Stacy Villalobos (she/her/ella) is the Director of the Racial Economic Justice Program at Legal Aid at Work. She represents workers fighting race discrimination before federal and state courts as well as administrative agencies. Stacy has experience litigating a wide range of employment issues, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage theft. Stacy also spearheads Legal Aid at Work's Ban the Box and Fair Chance work representing job seekers with criminal records.
Director, Wage Protection Program
George Warner (he/him) is the Director of the Wage Protection Program at Legal Aid At Work. He represents workers who have been subjected to labor trafficking and wage theft, and workers seeking to obtain wage replacement benefits, including Unemployment Insurance. George Warner joined Legal Aid at Work's Wage Protection Program in 2019. Prior to joining Legal Aid at Work, George worked for the Honorable Vince Chhabria on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and the Honorable Marsha Berzon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. George graduated from Stanford Law School in 2017, and Brown University in 2011.
Katie (she/her) is leading the implementation of our Medical-Legal Partnership model in Contra Costa County. She provides free legal services, including representation and technical support, regarding the rights of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, workers struggling with family and medical crises, and pregnant workers and new parents. Katie also advocates to expand workers' rights and provides trainings on rights to leave, accommodations, and wage replacement to health care providers, survivors and advocates.
Robert E. Borton
Bob Borton is a former partner with Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, where he concentrated on complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on class actions, consumer, civil rights, real estate, and banking. He has extensive court and jury trial experience and has litigated a wide variety of civil rights, immigration, and landlord/tenant cases. He served on Legal Aid at Work's board of directors for more than 25 years and now consults on litigation as needed in the Gender Equity and LGBT Rights program at 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.
Professor Joseph R. Grodin
Joseph Grodin is an emeritus professor of law at UC Hastings College of the Law, and he served five years as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. He is a cofounder of Legal Aid at Work's Workers' Rights Clinic.
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.
Henry Hewitt consults part time with individual programs at Legal Aid at Work on a range of litigation. He is now working on cases involving pregnancy discrimination and the money bail system in San Francisco, among other issues.
Cacilia works with Legal Aid at Work's Gender Equity and LGBT Rights program on cases relating to gender equity, the rights of low-wage women and families, and veterans’ issues. A former senior staff attorney at the California Women’s Law Center, she litigated numerous cases addressing systemic discrimination against women and girls in education and employment. Her work has produced five published decisions to date.
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.
Ruth Silver Taube
Ruth Silver Taube advises Legal Aid at Work on matters related to ERISA disability benefit plans, and she is a vocal advocate against labor trafficking. She is also a sole practitioner at the Law Office of Silver & Taube and has been an adjunct professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law for 13 years.
Jessica Barragan Carmona
Central Valley Organizer
Jessica (She/Her) is the community organizer for the Central Valley program that is under the Gender/LGBTQ program. Raised in Stockton, Jessica has seen first-hand the empowerment reliable, accessible legal services can have on immigrant communities. Jessica conducts intakes, manages calls to the Central Valley helpline and works closely with Central Valley local organizations to provide legal services, advice and information to directly impacted communities
Work & Family Program Organizer
As part of the Work and Family Program team, Linda is passionate about providing advocacy, spreading empowerment, raising awareness, and providing resource referrals in English and Spanish for workers struggling with family and medical crises, with an emphasis on families impacted by COVID-19. She supports project helplines and legal intakes, and helps coordinate social media and outreach efforts to increase awareness of rights and resources available to low-income workers.
Aldo (he/him/el) supports attorneys across LAAW’s programs by conducting legal research, formatting legal documents, recording client intakes, and translating documents from English to Spanish. Aldo also serves clients at Wage Claim Clinics at the Labor Commissioner offices in San Francisco and Oakland twice a month. As a native Spanish speaker, Aldo often serves immigrant and Spanish-speaking workers and helps facilitate communications between attorneys and clients.
Tishon enjoys helping people and strongly believes in the power of the law to address issues of social justice. Supporting lawyers across Legal Aid at Work's programs, she looks up rules and prepares pleadings, subpoenas, deposition notices, spreadsheets, client correspondence, and other documents.
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.
Valerie (she/her) comes to us from the Paralegal Program at San Francisco State University where she received her ABA –approved Paralegal Certificate, with honors. She provides legal support across all programs in the organization including researching civil procedure and local rules, performing analysis on discovery, calendaring deadlines, and preparing legal documents.
Senior Language Access Coordinator
King (he/him) provides language assistance and legal information to low-income workers with limited English capacity. He helped initiate and manages our Chinese-language phone line, and he conducts outreach on employment law weekly through Chinese-language radio and newspapers. Before joining Legal Aid at Work in 1996, King worked as a broadcast journalist.
External Relations and Development
Vice President of Strategy
Kevin (he/him) cultivates the strategic alliances that make our mission possible. In that role, he oversees the organization’s communication efforts to help raise awareness of our work and the impact it has on the lives of our low-wage worker clients. Kevin also works closely with foundations, Board members, governmental entities, and other key supporters to ensure that we have the resources we need to carry out our mission. He also helps teach our Workers' Rights Clinic in East Palo Alto, which is operated in partnership with Stanford Law School. A plaintiffs’-side employment lawyer by training, Kevin was previously a litigation partner in the law firm of Kerr & Wagstaffe, during which time he served on Legal Aid at Work’s Board as the Chair of the External Relations Committee. Kevin received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2006 and his B.A. in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 2002.
Kevin (he/him) works in Legal Aid at Work’s development department, assisting in a variety of activities including database work, gift entry and acknowledgment, and communications. He worked previously as a non-profit database associate, a street fundraiser, and an assistant pre-school teacher among other childcare positions.
Assistant Development Director
Steve (he/him) manages fundraising and development campaigns for Legal Aid at Work. He joined us as coordinator of our $4 million Justice Fund Campaign in 2006. He had worked for six Bay Area nonprofits, including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Shanti, and the 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 [email protected] or 415-593-0138.
Senior Development Database Specialist
Greg (he/him) manages Legal Aid at Work's donor database and collaborates with other members of the development team on fundraising appeals and events. He joined us from the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, where he held several positions, including admissions manager and database administrator. In those roles, he promoted museum programs, hired and supervised front desk employees, entered and managed donor data and generated reports, and supported three annual fundraising events, among other responsibilities.
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.
Grants & Impact Assessment Specialist
As a Grants and Impact Assessment Specialist, Madeleine Rowell (she/her) acts as a project coordinator for Legal Aid at Work's grant application and reporting processes, working to ensure the organization's grant-related work aligns with LAAW's overall programmatic strategy. In doing so, Madeleine gathers critical information that allows Legal Aid at Work to know how well we are achieving our goals and how we can better serve those in need. Before joining Legal Aid at Work, Madeleine was a student at Stanford University, where she earned her B.A. in comparative studies in race and ethnicity with a concentration in politics, policy, and equity and a minor in psychology.
Chief Operating 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.
As the operations associate at Legal Aid at Work, BreAnna (She/Her) supports our staff, clerks, and network administrator in a variety of operations related tasks including leading onsite management tasks such as conducting IT orientations and timekeeping training for on-boarding new users such as attorneys, law clerks, and staff. She also collaborates with the network administrator on software configurations as needed.
Ana E. Flores
Senior Intake Assistant and 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.
Human Resource & Accounting Manager,
Ian (he/him) joined the Legal Aid at Work team in May 2020, acting as both Accounting and Human Resources manager. His day-to-day consists of working with both staff and individual departments, maintaining and developing the organization’s financial and human resource systems to sustain a high level of productivity. He works closely with his department to coordinate the annual audit, budget and enrollment. Ian received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from San Francisco State University, as well as a Master’s Degree in Accountancy from Golden Gate University. With over ten years of experience working with a variety of industries ranging from government organizations, for-profit corporations, and international nonprofits, Ian utilizes his expertise to support Legal Aid at Work’s mission and program. In his free time he loves enjoying food from his home country of Taiwan, and walking his twin dogs. He is incredibly grateful to be a member of the Legal Aid at Work family.
Senior Accounting Manager
As the Senior Accounting Manager, Galina oversees a variety of day to day financial and accounting functions to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the financials at LAAW. Among other things, she is responsible for preparing the annual organizational budget and leading the annual audit effort. She works closely with Development Department as well as Legal and other program Staff. Galina comes to LAAW with over a decade of nonprofit experience, and with a passion for the work and mission of Legal Aid at Work.
Operations and Technology Manager
As the Operations and Technology Manager at Legal Aid at Work, Scott (he/him) focuses on optimizing our day to day office operations and technology to facilitate the delivery of services to our clients. He has been with the organization since 1999 and was previously the Network Administrator prior to his current role. A San Francisco native, Scott attended Archbishop Riordan High School and San Francisco State University. He is proud to contribute his skills to the work of such an important San Francisco institution as Legal Aid at Work.
Vice President of Finance and Operations
Lawrence (he/him) joined Legal Aid at Work as its Vice President of Finance & Operations in the summer of 2021. He is responsible to the organization’s financial health and sustainability as well as day-to-day operations such as IT and office management. As a member of the management team, he contributes his ideas and experience to the organization’s strategy and growth. Prior to Legal Aid at Work, Lawrence has been a non-profit leader with over 10 years of experience in several nonprofit organizations range from social justice, community service to performing art and international education development. He earned his B.As in Accounting and International Business and went on receiving Master in Taxation and MBA. He is currently pursuing on his master degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. As an immigrant himself, a people of color and a member of LGBTQIA+, he is very proud of Legal Aid at Work’s mission and programs, and of being a part of Legal Aid at Work family!