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.
Laura Alvarenga Scalia
Laura Alvarenga Scalia (she/her/ella) defends and promotes the rights of people with disabilities who face discrimination in employment and unequal access to government programs and services. Her works also includes legal intakes, community trainings, and legislative advocacy to advance the rights of people with disabilities.
Laura received her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her J.D., pro bono honors, from the University of California Irvine, School of Law. While in law school, Laura served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Jay A. Garcia-Gregory, for the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. She gained invaluable experience through her participation in the UCI Immigrant Rights Clinic and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing Clinic, where she represented immigrants facing deportation and workers facing sex discrimination. She also served as the Senior Research Editor for the UCI Journal of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law and on the board of the Latinx Law Student Association.
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.
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 LGBTQ Rights Program and our Central Valley Workers' Rights Project. With an expertise in representing workers who have faced harassment based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity, Nora works in partnership with low-wage immigrant workers in the Central Valley who are seeking workplace justice.
A Modesto native, 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. 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.
Senior Staff Attorney
Sabina is a Senior Staff Attorney with the Racial Economic Justice Program since August 2022. Sabina provides legal services and training concerning individuals with criminal conviction histories that create barriers to living wage employment. Prior to joining LAAW as an attorney, Sabina was in private practice as a parole defense attorney, representing incarcerated individuals seeking release from state prison, before the California Board of Parole Hearings. During her 12-year practice, she successfully helped over 130 men and women gain their freedom through the parole board and/or appeals to the courts.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
Shazzy Kamali (she/her) is a Staff Attorney in the Work and Family Program at Legal Aid at Work. Shazzy provides legal advice, presents trainings, and engages in policy advocacy to support new parents, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, workers who are pregnant, and caregivers trying to access accommodations at work and paid leave.
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.
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.
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.
Bradan Litzinger (he/him) is the 2022-2023 Foundation for Advocacy, Inclusion, and Resources (FAIR) Fellow in Legal Aid at Work's Wage Protection Program and Racial Economic Justice Program. Bradan represents workers who have experienced wage theft and workplace retaliation, who have been wrongfully denied unemployment insurance benefits, and who have been subjected to labor trafficking. Bradan also advocates for workers who have been wrongfully terminated or denied employment opportunities in violation of California's Fair Chance Act, or who have experienced racial discrimination in the workplace.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Senior Staff Attorney
Maria Tapia-Hernandez is an attorney in the Community Legal Services Program, which provides free legal services to low-wage workers at over a dozen Workers’ Rights Clinics throughout California. The clinics provide workers who have been subjected to unlawful practices on the job with expert advice to improve their economic stability and wellbeing. Most recently, Maria was a fellow in LAAW’s Project SURVIVE, advocating for the workplace rights of survivors of violence. Maria’s legal background also includes comprehensive experience in immigration law, having assisted asylum seekers and other immigrants seek relief from deportation and release from ICE custody.
After law school, Maria worked at Bay Area Legal Aid; where she assisted domestic violence survivors with protective orders, 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 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.
Stacy Villalobos es abogada en el Programa de Justicia Económica Racial. Ella representa a trabajadores que se han enfrentado a la discriminación y el racismo en el trabajo, y dirige el trabajo de "Ban the Box"/"Fair Chance" de Legal Aid at Work. Stacy ha abogado por los derechos de los trabajadores durante casi una década, comenzando durante la universidad como organizadora de trabajadores inmigrantes de bajos recursos. Stacy anteriormente se desempeñó como "Skadden Fellow" en Legal Aid at Work, donde se enfocó en representar a las trabajadoras inmigrantes en el Valle Central. Stacy también se desempeñó como auxiliar judicial del Honorable Fernando M. Olguin, Tribunal de Distrito de los Estados Unidos para el Distrito Central de California. Stacy recibió su B.A. de la Universidad de Stanford, y su licenciado en Derecho de la Escuela de Derecho de Stanford, donde fue miembra de Stanford Law Review, de la Asociación de Estudiantes Latinxs de Stanford, de la Sociedad de la Constitución Americana, y participó en la Clínica de Derechos de los Inmigrantes. Durante la escuela de derecho, Stacy trabajó en el National Immigration Law Center, ACLU del Sur de California, y en Traber & Voorhees, un bufete de abogados de derechos civiles. Ella es la primera en su familia en obtener un diploma de escuela secundaria.
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 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.
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
Program Administrator, Community Legal Services
Lee (they/she/he) received their B.A. in Anthropology in May 2020 from Middlebury College where they helped found the Trans Affinity Group and served as President of the Queers and Allies. Afterward they moved to Burlington, VT where they became involved with racial justice organizing and worked at various social service providers working with unhoused youth and families before joining the Community Legal Services team in January of 2022.
Here at LAAW they work to ensure smooth operations for our Worker Rights' Clinics Program. In addition to administration and outreach, they also help train and orient new WRC Legal Counselors to our program.
Fair Chance Organizer
Sandra Johnson (she/her/hers) grew up in the community that Legal Aid at Work serves. She has experienced incarceration and workplace discrimination and has overcome many barriers because of our systemically racist society. These experiences fuel Sandra’s commitment to advocating for equality for people of color that suffer from the systemic racism that is embedded in the laws of this country. Having served 15 years in and out of the prison system Sandra draws from her own personal experience and has a passion for this work and other people struggling with the same issues she has: employment, housing, and educational discrimination.
Sandra first stumbled into social justice work when she was terminated from her job of six years because of her criminal history. She joined the team at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) in 2016 as their first Elder Freeman Policy Fellow where she has served as an expert witness and has testified many times in front of the California state legislature and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Her testimony and organizing was instrumental to passing the Fair Chance Act (Ban the Box) and the RISE Act (SB 180) that became law on January 1, 2018.
Sandra has also worked at the reentry legal advocacy organization Root & Rebound as their In-Prison Programs Coordinator, where she helped people to reenter and navigate the many barriers after being released. Her passion is to help others with a criminal history understand that they are worthy of a better future—that impacted people do not have to be held hostage to their past.
Sandra also serves as the first formerly incarcerated board member at East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) where she advises the organization on its client services.
Sandra believes every person deserves a fair chance and everyone’s voice matters regardless of their past struggles. She earned her A.A. Degree at San Francisco Community College and hopes to continue her educational journey towards her B.A. in the future.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 [email protected] or 415-593-0138.
Digital Communications Specialist
Savannah (she/they) oversees the organization’s social media channels, website content, and email marketing. She is also responsible for coordinating and managing projects for the client-facing self-help legal resource center, while also working with legal program staff to maintain the organization’s library of 100+ fact sheets and other legal resources. Prior to LAAW, they worked as a marketing and communications professional at various nonprofit organizations and served as a member of a DEI committee at one of them for over a year. Born and raised in San Francisco, she went to George Washington High School and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management at the Fashion Institute of Design & Technology (FIDM). Outside of LAAW, Savannah is a photographer, houseplant enthusiast, and plant-based home cook.
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.
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.
Vice President of Human Resources, Labor Relations, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
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.
Director of Recruitment and Retention
Alison (she/her) joined Legal Aid at Work in May of 2022 as the Director of Recruitment and Retention. In this position, Alison oversees and manages the organization’s staff, fellowship, and law clerk recruiting. Central to this work is her commitment to creating inclusive and equitable recruiting strategies and processes, supporting LAAW’s broader efforts to advance their DEI initiatives. Prior to joining LAAW, Alison provided executive search services to social sector clients, and also led national recruitment efforts for a workforce development organization.
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.
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.
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!