Our Staff

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

<!--:es-->Joan Graff<!--:--><!--:en-->Joan Graff<!--:-->

Joan Messing Graff

President

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.

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Attorneys

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Laura Alvarenga Scalia

Staff Attorney

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 first joined Legal Aid at Work as the Foundation for Advocacy, Inclusion and Resources (FAIR) Fellow and litigated national origin and disability cases. Laura continued her fellowship at Hennig Kramer Ruiz & Sigh, LLP. While there, she represented employees in disputes involving discrimination, failure to accommodate, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour violations. Laura also represented workers in class actions.

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.
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Alexis Alvarez

Alexis Alvarez

Staff Attorney

Alexis是我们残疾人权利计划的一个成员。在加入LAS-ELC之前,她曾经是洛杉矶的残疾人权利法律中心的癌症法律资源中心的职员律师,在那里她曾经帮助人们处理有关癌症的法律事务。

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

作为我们薪水保护团队的成员,Mana代表那些要对抗未得到支付薪水及其它不公正的雇佣做法的职工,包括贩卖劳工。Mana在加入LAS-ELC之前在密克罗尼西亚人 法律服务公司(Micronesian Legal Services Corporation)工作,在那里她 曾经为帕劳(Palau)的移民工人及人口贩卖的幸存者维护权利。

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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Alexx Campbell

Staff Attorney

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.

Alexx received his B.A. from Amherst College in 2007 and his J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2015. During law school, Alexx worked at Tenants Together, the East Bay Community Law Center, and Legal Aid at Work. Prior to re-joining Legal Aid at Work in 2018, Alexx worked at the Homeless Action Center in Oakland, representing homeless and other low-income clients in Social Security disability benefits cases.
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Nora Cassidy

Attorney

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.

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DeCarol Davis

Staff Attorney

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. 

As a Truman Scholar, Davis received her J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2017, where she served as a student director of the Workers’ Rights Clinic, was a two-time mock trial national champion, including regional and national titles in the ABA Labor and Employment Law Competition, and earned the Francine Marie Diaz Memorial Award for distinguished public service.

Before becoming an attorney, Davis was an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.  Davis, who graduated top of her class at the Coast Guard Academy in 2008 with a degree in Electrical Engineering, served as a marine inspector, the author of Coast Guard field regulations, and a law enforcement officer. During her service, she was awarded the Judge Advocate General Field Regulations Award, Meritorious Team Commendation, and the Department of Defense STEM Role Model Award.

In 2022, she received the Berkeley Law Kathi Pugh Award for Exceptional Mentorship.
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Marisa Diaz

Marisa Diaz

Staff Attorney

Marisa为移民职工或少数族裔职工提供法律辩护并提升他们的权利。在加入Legal Aid at Work 之前,Marisa是平等权利维权人组织(Equal Rights Advocates)的研究员, 在那里她曾经参与法律诉讼、立法倡议、社区教育,并直接为在工作场所面临性别歧视的妇女提供法律代理服务。

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在社区法律服务计划(Community Legal Services Program) 和薪水保护计划(Wage Protection Program)两个计划上工作,在薪水索赔 方面和失业保险行政程序方面为客人提供咨询并代理客人。她还在加州劳工标准执法处在旧金山和奥克兰的办公室举行的每月两次的薪水索赔诊所为客户服务。

Katie obtained her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2014. While in law school, she was a judicial extern for the Honorable Michael J. Seng, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of California. 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

Michael T. Gaitley

Senior Staff Attorney

Mike Gaitley主管职工权利诊所并指导我们的社区法律服务计划,在那里他发展并 培养了提供免费法律服务的模式,该模式被许多法律组织所模仿。

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的工作是接我们工作及家庭帮助专线的电话并给那些因为家庭及医疗危机而挣扎的职工提供了解您权利研讨会并提供免费法律服务。她还参与立法倡议活动去扩展对家庭友善的工作场所政策,而且她还与健康母亲工作场所联合会合作并为我们的医疗法律合作伙伴项目贡献力量。

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

作为我们移民及原始国籍计划的主任,Chris专注于不成比例地影响到无合法移民文件的职工、语言少数族裔以及新移民的雇佣做法。在2014年,他成功地争辩了Salas对Sierra化学公司一案获得胜诉,该案维持了加州的保护无合法移民文件职工的法律。最近,在一个Chris参与的第一印象民权案件中,美国联邦法院旧金山地方法院裁定某雇主仅仅因为某工作申请人以前曾经用无效的社会安全号码获得工作就自动决定其没有资格申请工作违反了联邦民权法律。

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在1999-2001年间在Legal Aid at Work作为Félix Velarde-Muñoz研究员开始了她的法律生涯,她当时的工作涉及种族、残障、原始国籍、以及性别案件的法律诉讼。她在首都华盛顿以及在私营律所工作后于2008年回来成为我们的一名职员律师。现在,作为我们残障权利计划的主任,她为那些向雇主、教育机关以及公共单位寻求方便条件并面临他们歧视的客户提供法律代理服务。

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是我们的性别平等及LGBT权利计划的主任,在这个计划中她 代表那些因为性别、性导向、性别认同、怀孕、军人或退伍军人身份而面临歧视的低收入职工。而且,作为我们公平对待女生参与体育运动项目的主任,在Ollier对 Sweetwater工会一案中,她与合作律师一起赢得了史无前例的联邦上诉法庭裁决,判定应在高中执行教育修正案的第九条法律。

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是性别平等及残障权利计划的一个职员律师。Rachael于2008年 加入Legal Aid at Work. 她为残疾职工提供代理服务,主要专注于在工作场所的残障歧视及 无法得到方便条件。Rachael还为残疾职工提供社区教育,并参与立法倡议去扩大那些有家庭照料责任的职工的权利。她于2005年从德州技术大学获得文学士学位2008年从伯克利加州大学获得法律博士学位。

Rachael also provides community education regarding the rights of employees with disabilities and participates in legislative advocacy to expand the rights of workers who have familial care giving responsibilities. She received her J.D. in 2008 from Berkeley Law and her B.A. in 2005 from Texas Tech University.
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Molly Lao

Skadden Fellow

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.

William C. McNeill III

Senior Staff Attorney

Bill McNeill是我们种族平等计划的主任。他从1988年开始就为Legal Aid at Work工作而且曾经做过我们的经理律师。他参与处理民权方面的事务已经有30多年,经手过许多设计促进少数族裔权利的诉讼案件,包括Davis对旧金山市和旧金山郡。那个案子导致了消防局内的种族融合,增加了有色人种被雇佣及提升的机会,并且导致该市史上第一次任命了一位黑人消防局长。

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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Lynnette Miner

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.

Lynnette’s ancestry is Korean and white (southern U.S. with western European origins), and she speaks Korean. She has dedicated practices of meditation and embodiment and uses these practices to ground her in exploring ways to cultivate greater safety, belonging, and well-being.
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Kim Ouillette

Staff Attorney

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.

Julia Parish

Staff Attorney

作为我们工作及家庭和SURVIVE计划的成员,Julia协助项目的帮助专线并提供法律咨询,参与了解您权利研讨会并指导为因家庭及医疗危机而挣扎的职工提供的法律服务。她还指导健康母亲工作场所联合会,其成员包括许多政府及社区合作伙伴。

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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Sela Steiger

Staff Attorney

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.

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Maria Tapia-Hernandez

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.

Sharon Terman

Senior Staff Attorney

Sharon是我们工作及家庭计划的主任,在该计划中她代表有家庭假及病假申诉以及怀孕、性别、及残障歧视申诉的职工。她还为低收入职工提供法律咨询、从事社区教育、并参与立法倡议去扩大职工权利。

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为我们的性别平等及LGBT权利计划及我们的公平对待女生参与体育运动项目工作。通过法律诉讼、教育及政策方面的工作,Kim倡导平等,而且特别专注于女性青少年的体育运动机会 -- 特别是在低收入的社区。

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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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.

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Carole Vigne

Senior Staff Attorney | Director, Wage Protection Program

Carole Vigne是我们的一位职员律师,而且是我们薪水保护计划的主任。她就雇佣 工作权利为职工提供信息、建议,并为他们提供代理服务,她主要专注于薪水及工时以及失业保险等问题。Carole还培训并督导法律维权人去在薪水索赔行政听证会上或失业保险上诉中代理客户,并且参与社区教育。

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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Stacy Villalobos

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. 

Most recently, Stacy was involved in briefing 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.   Stacy has also played an active role in programmatic strategic planning, secured almost $300,000 in grants to support the work of the program, and supervises the Fair Chance Community Organizer at Legal Aid at Work. Stacy also serves as an Abogada Consultora for the Consulado General de Mexico de San Francisco. Stacy first worked at Legal Aid at Work as a Skadden Fellow, representing immigrant women workers in the Central Valley and beyond.  After law school, Stacy completed a federal district court clerkship with the Honorable Fernando M. Olguin, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School.  At Stanford Law, she was a Senior Editor of the Stanford Law Review and a Co-Chair of the Stanford Latino Law Students Association.  As part of the Immigrants' Rights Clinic, Stacy also represented clients before San Francisco's Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit. During law school, Stacy worked at the National Immigration Law Center, ACLU of Southern California, and Traber & Voorhees, a plaintiff-side civil rights law firm. She is the first in her family to obtain a high school diploma and a native Spanish speaker.  Stacy has been advocating for workers’ rights for over a decade, beginning during her undergraduate years as an organizer with low-wage immigrant workers on campus.
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George Warner

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.

photo of Katie Wutchiett

Katherine Wutchiett

Skadden Fellow

Katie领导在Contra Costa郡实施我们的医疗-法律合作伙伴(Medical-Legal Partnership)模式。作为MLP的一部分,Katie提供以下方面的培训:请事假的权利、方便条件、以及那些怀孕或作为新生儿家长的健康照料人及低收入职工的薪水替代权利。她同时还为我们办公室的现场诊所和工作及家庭帮助专线招募员工。

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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Program Services

Jessica 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

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Linda Centeno

Work & Family Program Advocate

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.

Leslie Chaires

Leslie V. Chaires

Community Outreach Coordinator

Leslie为职工权利诊所提供行政支援,这些诊所给低收入职工提供免费咨询和顾问服务。她还协调社区扩展服务工作、处理新案件接收、并提供介绍及信息服务、翻译服务、以及在失业听证会上的有限代理服务。

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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Lee Garcia

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.

Sandra Johnson

Sandra Johnson

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.

After her fellowship ended Sandra then went on to become LSPC’s Senior Community Organizer. In this role she led the annual “Quest for Democracy” event in 2018 & 2019 for which she took over 700 formerly incarcerated people and impacted family members to the State Capitol for two days of advocacy for policies that would benefit their communities. Sandra later had the responsibility at LSPC for coordinating and monitoring LSPC membership of currently incarcerated people to help them learn to advocate for policies that impact their lives while inside.

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.

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Tishon Smith

Tishon Smith

Legal Assistant

Tishon喜欢帮助别人并坚定地相信用法律来解决社会公正的问题。她为LAS-ELC的许多项目的律师提供支援、查找规则并准备法庭申请、传票、取证会通知、电子表格、客户通信、以及其它文件。

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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Valerie Sprague

Valerie Sprague

Senior Paralegal

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.

Valerie received her BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she majored in History. Prior to joining LAAW, she interned at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and worked part-time at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Murphy.
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King Szeto

King Szeto

Language Access Coordinator

King为低收入的英文有限的职工提供语言协助及法律信息。他帮助创立并管理我们的中文电话专线,而且他每周都会通过中文广播及报纸进行劳工法知识的推广传播。在1996年加入LAS-ELC之前,King曾经做过广播电台的记者。

External Relations and Development

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Kevin Clune

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.

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Kevin Dolan

Development Associate

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.

An avid basketball fan, Kevin can often be found playing at the park or watching NBA games. He also enjoys old-school card and board games like spades and sequence and spends lots of time lounging with his cat Draymond. Kevin currently lives in his hometown of Oakland, attended Gonzaga University where he earned a B.A. in sociology, and earned a certificate in data analytics through UC Berkeley Extension
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Steve Heimerle

Assistant Development Director

Steve管理LAAW的募款及活动开发工作。他在2006年协调我们的4百万美金公正基金征集活动时加入了我们。他曾经为六家湾区的非盈利组织工作过,包括奥克兰东湾管弦乐队、 Shanti、以及旧金山现代乐团。

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.

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Savannah Kuang

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 Medley

Greg Medley

Development Associate

Greg管理LAAW的捐款人数据库并与开发团队的其他成员一起合作去进行筹款并 举办活动。他在加入我们前在Sausalito的湾区发现博物馆工作。他在那里有过好几个职位,包括检票经理及数据库管理员。在那些角色上,他宣传博物馆的计划、聘用并监管前台员工、输入并管理捐款人数据并做出报告,并为每年三次的筹款活动提供支援,还有其它一些职责。

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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Madeleine Rowell

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.

Administration

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Howard Chen

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.

BreAnna Crawford

Operations Associate

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.

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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.

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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Ian Huang

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.

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Alison Kaneko

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.

Galina Khunis

Galina Khunis

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.

Jerome Nakagawa

Jerome Nakagawa

Finance and Operations Manager

Jerome监督我们组织的内部工作。他协助财务主任记账及编码;他管理工资名单以及发放福利;他订货购买办公用品并确保所有的账单都按时支付。他现在正在学习金融及会计。

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是LAAW的网路管理员。自从1999年以来他就专注于优化我们 办公室的技术去使得我们的职员可以帮助客户。Scott是旧金山本地人,他在Archbishop Riordan高中及旧金山州立大学接受的教育。他为能在如此重要的旧金山机构 工作贡献他的才华而感到骄傲。

Headshot of Lawrence Yuan

Lawrence Yuan

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!