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Reentry in California – Overcoming Legal Barriers to Community Reintegration 2018

Speaker(s): Adam G. Slote, Ali Saidi, Brandon C. Banks, Brandon L. Greene, Christian Schreiber, Danica Rodarmel, Eliza Hersh, Eric Henderson, Eva J. DeLair, Joseph Calderon, Katrina Logan, Maureen Kildee, Noe Gudiño, Sacha C. Steinberger, Sadie Wathen, Sandra Johnson, Theresa Zhen, Tucker Cottingham
Recorded on: Aug. 10, 2018
PLI Program #: 221658

Theresa joined EBCLC’s Clean Slate Practice in 2016. Prior to joining EBCLC, Theresa was a Skadden Fellow at A New Way of Life Reentry Project in South Central Los Angeles, where she directed a Fines and Fees Project focused on traffic court debt and driver’s license suspensions. Theresa is a graduate of UCLA Law School’s David J. Epstein Public Interest Law and Policy Program and the Critical Race Studies Program. While in law school, she interned for the Federal Defenders of the Central District of California, the Bronx Defenders, and the Southern Center for Human Rights. Prior to law school, she worked at a civil rights law firm representing individuals who had been wrongfully convicted of crimes that they did not commit. She is committed to pursuing economic justice for people leaving prisons and jails and creating opportunities for people who are rebuilding their lives after involvement with the criminal justice system.

Ali Saidi is an attorney with the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office where he serves as the county’s first Deputy Public Defender Immigration Attorney and as the Director of Stand Together Contra Costa, the county’s new rapid response and immigration due process program.  Mr. Saidi specializes in the intersection between immigration law and criminal law.  He provides continuing legal education trainings as well as expert technical assistance for public defender offices, clinics and bar associations throughout the Bay Area regarding representation of immigrants in criminal proceedings.

Mr. Saidi received his B.A. from the University of California, at Berkeley and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.  He began his legal career at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s office as a criminal defense attorney for several years and then went into private practice for over a decade, practicing both criminal defense and deportation defense.  Mr. Saidi has represented hundreds of individuals charged with serious crimes in California state courts and has represented immigrants in deportation and removal proceedings in immigration court, before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Mr. Saidi formerly taught Criminal Pretrial Advocacy at UC Berkeley School of Law.  Mr. Saidi returned to the public sector in 2015 to establish the immigration unit at the Office of the Public Defender for Contra Costa County.

Danica Rodarmel is a 2017 Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Fenwick & West. She began her two-year fellowship at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights CCR in September 2017. Her fellowship project centers on providing direct consumer legal services to clients with issues stemming from the commercial bail bond industry.

Eric Henderson is the Policy Associate at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. In this role, he works on various local and state policies to end mass incarceration and redirect resources to programs that increase housing, healthcare, education, and jobs. Eric is an appointed member of the San Francisco Sentencing Commission, and serves as an advocate for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families. He is also a member of the San Francisco Reentry Council - Legislation, Policy, and Practices subcommittee.

Maureen Kildee is a staff attorney and clinical supervisor at the East Bay Community Law Center, serving indigent people in Alameda County seeking record clearing relief. Maureen received her B.A. from the University of Delaware, her A.A. from Cabrillo College, and her J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2001.

Maureen joined the East Bay Community Law Center’s Clean Slate Practice in 2017, where she focuses on removing barriers to employment and civic engagement for people with criminal records. She also works with EBCLC’s immigration unit to provide specialized post-conviction relief to immigrants who are not U.S. citizens.

Maureen is an active member of the Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County (JRC), and serves on the steering committee. The JRC is a group of local community-based organizations dedicated to creating a fair and just public safety system that invests in our communities, our families and our people.

Prior to working at EBCLC, Maureen spent ten years in private practice in Alameda County where she represented hundreds of indigent adults and children accused of serious crimes. She started her law career at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office.

Sacha C. Steinberger founded and directs Project Legal Link. Sacha is an experienced litigator who pivoted in 2014 to begin this project with Tipping Point Community. Project Legal Link, started in San Francisco, works to reduce poverty by fundamentally shifting where and how legal knowledge and access is gained. We do this by working to educate and equip low-income residents and their advocates with the information and tools they need to more effectively navigate the legal system. We primarily serve grantees of Tipping Point community - all top-performing social service non-profits - but our website, legal frameworks, and tools are available to the public.

Prior to Project Legal Link, Sacha did worker's rights and civil rights litigation for seven years at Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson, P.C. in Oakland, and clerked for Federal District Court Judge Martin J. Jenkins. During law school, she externed for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Marsha S. Berzon, interned at Legal Aid at Work, Bay Area Legal Aid's Legal Barriers to Employment Project, and the General Assistance Advocacy Project, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. Prior to law school, Sacha spent four years doing community organizing and electoral politics in Seattle and Los Angeles. Sacha received her B.A. from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

Sandra is a Community Organizer and proud member of All of Us or None. She joined the team in 2017 as LSPC’s first Elder Freeman Policy Fellow before she joined the staff as an organizer. Before coming to LSPC, Sandra studied Health Education and Social Science at City College of San Francisco from which she will receive her AA degree May, 2018. Sandra is originally from Monterey, California, and is the oldest of 6 siblings. She draws from her own personal experience coming from a single parent household and having several formerly incarcerated love ones. Her oldest brother is currently 31 years into a 17-to-life sentence. She is formerly incarcerated herself, having served 15 years in and out of the system. Sandra is an advocate for other families with incarcerated loved ones. Sandra has served as an expert witness and has testified many times in front of the CA state legislature and SF Board of Supervisors as a criminal justice expert. Her testimony and organizing was instrumental to passing the Fair Chance Act (AB 1008) and the RISE Act (SB 180) in 2017. She understands the pain and struggles of others that still have loved ones behind the walls and has dedicated herself to the fight to end the injustice of both being first locked up and then locked out upon release.

Brandon L. Greene is the Director of the Racial and Economic Justice Program at that ACLU of Northern California and an Adjunct Professor and Affiliated Scholar in the Center for Race and Economic Justice at UC Hastings School of Law. Brandon is a graduate of Boston University Law School where he was a Public Interest Scholar and Martin Luther King Social Justice Fellow. Previously, Brandon managed the Civic Design Lab in Oakland and was an Attorney and Clinical Supervisor at the East Bay Community Law Center where he helped to create and lead the decriminalization of poverty clinic. His recent articles Too Rich to be Poor: The Hypocrisy of Indigency Determinations and Mirror, Mirror: Anti-Blackness and Lawyering as an Identity were published in the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law and the Harvard Black Letter Law Journal, respectively. His article Depraved Necessities: Prison Privatization, Educational Attainment and the Path to Profit was published in 2013 by SRBLSA Law Journal.

Adam G. Slote started the practice of law at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office in 1988. He has been in private practice in San Francisco since 1990. Adam’s experience includes criminal and civil jury trials, hearings before the California Office of Administrative Hearings, and the appeal of administrative decisions to the Superior Court and Court of Appeal.

Adam has defended licensed professionals in administrative law cases since 1991, and since 2008, he has served as the update author for the “Effect of Criminal Conviction on Professional Licenses” Chapter 53 in CEB’s California Criminal Law - Procedure & Practice.

Brandon Banks has dedicated his entire legal career to indigent defense work.  He has been an attorney at the Contra Costa Public Defender’s Office since December 2002.  During that time, he has represented clients in cases ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies.  Brandon Banks has tried over 50 jury trials, including multiple murder and life cases.  Brandon Banks is an Assistant Public Defender with the Contra Costa Public Defender.  He currently supervises the Clean Slate, Arraignment, and Probation Units in his office.

Christian Schreiber is a founding partner of Olivier Schreiber & Chao LLP.

Chris represents individuals in class action and collective action cases involving, employment, civil rights, consumer law, and financial services matters. He has litigated cases across the United States, and also handles individual employment and civil rights cases, as well as Qui Tam and whistleblower cases.

Before founding OSC in 2018, Chris was a Partner at Chavez & Gertler LLP, a nationally-recognized class action firm based in Mill Valley. Prior to joining Chavez & Gertler, he was a class action litigation associate at Schneider Wallace Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns LLP in San Francisco. Chris has prosecuted class action cases across the country and has helped to achieve settlements on behalf of consumers and workers in wage-and-hour, discrimination, product liability, financial fraud, and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) cases.

Chris is involved in numerous legal and educational volunteer community organizations. He is currently the Chair of the Board of the Impact Fund, a Berkeley-based non-profit that funds and prosecutes impact litigation across the United States. He is currently the vice-chair of the California State Bar Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, on which he has served since 2013. The Commission administers the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Program (IOLTA) and the Equal Access Fund, and jointly administers the Justice Gap Fund with the California Commission on Access to Justice. Chris is also a volunteer supervising attorney of the Workers’ Rights Clinic for Legal Aid at Work, in San Francisco. He is also an active member of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), where he serves on CELA’s Legislative Committee and Wage and Hour Committee and helped found and served as an editor for the organization’s blog, CELA VOICE.

Chris has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine for the last six years (2013-2018). He was named a “Rising Star” in 2012.

Chris is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, where he won the school’s Roscoe Pound Moot Court Competition and served on the Moot Court Executive Board. He was a staff member on the Journal of Sexual Orientation Law and served as co-chair of UCLA’s Public Interest Law Fund. He was also a co-founder of the UCLA chapter of the American Constitution Society.

Prior to law school, he worked in Sacramento as a legislative aide in the Legislature, where he served as Chief Investigator for the State Senate Select Committee to Investigate Price Manipulation of the Wholesale Energy Market.

Eliza is a 2016 Soros Justice Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Law School's Center for the Study of Law & Society. From 2006 to 2016, Eliza was a clinical instructor and directed the Clean Slate Reentry Legal Services Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center, which is a teaching clinic of Berkeley Law School. The Clean Slate Practice developed innovative strategies in criminal, consumer rights, and administrative law, as well as policy advocacy and impact litigation that empowered people to overcome barriers to employment, education, housing, and civic engagement following contact with law enforcement.

Eva received her J.D. in 2014 from Drexel University, Kline School of Law.

While at law school, Eva worked at the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project where she assisted in prisoner rights litigation; interned at the Philadelphia Defender Association where she represented low income clients in pretrial felony arraignments and misdemeanor trials. She also volunteered with the ACLU, reviewing police stops for violations of people’s Fourth Amendment Rights; Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity assisting individuals in understanding their conviction histories and applying to seal them; and as a collective member of Books through Bars in Philadelphia which sends free books and educational materials to incarcerated people. Eva brings strong experience to Root & Rebound, working with systems and impacted people and communities.

During Eva’s second summer of law school, she interned in San Francisco at Legal Services for Prisoner with Children (LSPC). Following law school, she continued that work as a fellow at LSPC and then as a staff attorney until July of 2018. With LSPC, Eva advocated for legislative and regulatory policy changes to increase the rights of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and their families. Areas of work include increasing access to visits and family connections, increasing and protecting employment rights, accessing expungement and other post-conviction sealing remedies, challenging the use of solitary confinement, advocating for trans and gender nonconforming prisoners, among others. She worked from start to end on many of these projects, from legislative advocacy, following and advocating for proper regulatory implementation, and working with communities to ensure that they knew their rights and how to access them, and with service providers to develop tools to implement the changes.
In Eva’s spare time, she volunteers with the Prisoner Advocacy Network (PAN). PAN is a project of the National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco and works with activists inside California prisons to support them in their advocacy and challenge retaliation and other bad treatment they receive because of their work.

Eva received her BA in political science and religious studies at Scripps College in Claremont, CA.

Joe Calderon is a native of San Francisco. At the age of 23, he started serving a life sentence. After nearly 20 years incarcerated, he began to explore ways to give back to society upon his release. In 2013, Joe was appointed to the San Francisco Reentry Council by the Board of Supervisors, and has continued in this role ever since. He also served on the Equity Advisory Committee with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, with the mission of seeking equity for all people. He enrolled and graduated from City College’s Post-Prison Health Worker Certificate program, and works as a community health worker with Transitions Clinic in the Bayview. He has a passion for working with diverse and disenfranchised populations, leveraging his personal experience with incarceration to advocate the ideals of social justice and community investment. Joe is currently working on a degree in Public Health.

Katrina leads the Economic Advancement Program at CLSEPA. The Economic Advancement team seeks to improve economic security for our most vulnerable families by removing barriers to employment and enforcing workplace and consumer rights for our clients. Katrina received her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law where she graduated with a Public Interest Certificate. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in African and African American Studies and English from Stanford University. Before working with CLSEPA, Katrina was a Graduate Fellow at the Northern California Innocence Project and volunteered with the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley, representing clients in restraining order and child custody hearings.

Noe Gudiño is from Richmond,CA, and currently a junior transfer student at Cal State University East Bay. Recently placed on CSUEB’s Honors List for his academic efforts, Noe also participates in Level V, a campus organization servicing formerly incarcerated students. Noe is a community advocate with local organizations such as Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action), the Safe Return Project, and All of Us or None for major campaigns such as Ban the Box, Eliminating Criminal Fines & Fees and Bail Reform. Noe recently completed at fellowship with Staying Power as a part of the The Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley, conducting research on affordable housing on the county and state level.

Sadie Wathen has been an attorney with the Clean Slate Program at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office since 2014. She currently leads the Program, which is an integral part of the Office’s holistic model of defense and has filed over 9,000 successful petitions since its inception in 2013. Sadie focuses her practice on direct legal services and administrative advocacy to remove barriers to occupational licensing and employment for people with prior convictions. Additionally, she worked with a coalition, which included people impacted by the criminal legal system and other providers of legal services, to draft and pass fair chance occupational licensing legislation in California. Sadie also has experience providing case management and employment services to Bay Area residents with prior convictions. She became interested in reentry issues during law school while working on habeas cases at the Northern California Innocence Project and seeing the challenges faced by exonerees upon reentering the community after incarceration. Sadie received her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law and her B.A. from Georgetown University.

Tucker is the co-founder and CEO of Lawyaw, an experienced attorney, and a former law firm partner. He helped build and manage one of the top rated transactional law firms in San Francisco, and started his career representing clients in state and federal court litigation. 

Tucker is passionate about building technology that serves humanity. He wants to help encourage our higher nature by empowering us to spend as much time as possible connecting with people and being human. 

He started Lawyaw so that he could create more hours in the day and spend more time on the things that mattered most: 1:1 time with clients, digging into challenging legal issues, growing his client base, and spending more time with his family. 

Tucker currently serves on the Board of the Legal Resources Technology Council for the American Bar Association and was selected as a 2018 Rising Star by Super Lawyers.