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Reentry in California – Overcoming Legal Barriers to Community Reintegration 2015

Speaker(s): CT Turney-Lewis, Eliza Hersh, Emily A. Bieber, Kara J. Portnow, Manuel La Fontaine, Michelle Natividad Rodriguez, Rose Cahn
Recorded on: Aug. 14, 2015
PLI Program #: 57271

Emily A. Bieber defends employers in employment litigation, including employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and wage and hour issues, as well as occupational safety and health and trade secret and noncompete matters. She also regularly advises employers on a broad spectrum of workplace practices, including hiring, personnel concerns, drug testing and safety and health issues that involve enforcement, compliance, investigations, and emergency response matters.  She has presented on the Occupational Safety and Health Agency’s (OSHA) priorities, trends, and How to Survive an OSHA Inspection, as well as on best practices for conducting criminal background checks.  In her pro bono efforts, Emily achieved a favorable settlement for a previously incarcerated man who was repeatedly subjected to physical abuse at the direction of prison guards, serves as employment counsel to an lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth services organization, and was a 2015 recipient of the Corporate Courage Award from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area for her work educating employers on fair chance employment practices.

Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Emily worked with a number of nonprofit organizations focused on issues ranging from indigent mothers in prison, hate crimes, and domestic violence to advocacy on behalf of LGBT communities. Emily has published articles on occupational health and safety compliance, domestic violence and violence within LGBT communities and, in 2004, was recognized as a leading community activist and advocate for social change in the New York City area.


Duke University, 2008, M.A., With Distinction

Duke University School of Law, 2008, J.D.

Mount Holyoke College, 2002, B.A., With Honors


California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of California, and U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Manuel La Fontaine is an Organizer for All of Us or None – a project of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.  He helps build the voices, visibility, and leadership of people and communities most impacted by incarceration.  Manuel has extensive community organizing, relationship building, and facilitation experience.  As a former captive and survivor of California’s Dept. of Corrections, better known as the Punishment System by its survivors, he strives to help transform the narrative on how current and formerly-incarcerated people are framed by dominant society to one that promotes a culture of healing through restorative & transformative practices.  Prior to joining All of Us or None in 2008, Manuel was the outreach coordinator for Project Rebound, a unique program helping formerly-incarcerated people obtain educational objectives at San Francisco State University.  He was also formerly with the Second Chance Program in E.O.P.S at City College of San Francisco.

Michelle Natividad Rodriguez
Senior Staff Attorney, National Employment Law Project (NELP)

Michelle works with state and local advocates across the country in their efforts to reduce barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records, with a focus on California.  She is also leading NELP’s efforts to promote fair chance hiring campaigns nationally and co-authored 65 Million “Need Not Apply”: The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment (2011).  Before joining NELP, Michelle was a Senior Staff Attorney at Public Advocates, a non-profit law firm and advocacy organization in San Francisco.  She serves on the board of Common Counsel Foundation.

Rose Cahn is a nationally recognized expert in the field of immigrant post-conviction relief and oversees the ILRC’s pro bono Immigrant Post-Conviction Relief Project. With over 15 years of experience working in the field of immigrant rights, and a special focus on the intersection of criminal and immigration law, Rose is a frequent speaker and trainer on the subject. Rose has co-authored several manuals including, California Post-Conviction Relief for Immigrants (Tooby) and Helping Immigrant Clients with Proposition 47 and Other Post-Conviction Legal Options: A Guide for Legal Service Providers (Californians for Safety and Justice). Rose spearheads federal, state, and local advocacy to help advance the rights of immigrants with criminal convictions and assist providers in understanding how to better serve this population. She is one of the principle drafters of California Penal Code § 1473.7, a landmark piece of legislation that created a legal mechanism to vacate unconstitutional convictions. She serves on the Advisory Committee of the National Clean Slate Clearinghouse and is on the Steering Committee of the American Immigrant Representation Project.

Before working at the ILRC, Rose was a Senior Soros Justice Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she founded the nation’s first Immigrant Post-Conviction Relief Project. Prior to that, she litigated post-conviction relief cases at the Law Office of Norton Tooby and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Rose graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she was the recipient of the Root Tilden Kern scholarship.

CT Turney-Lewis is the senior staff attorney at A New Way of Life Reentry Project, focusing on adult clean slate remedies, occupational licensing, and other means of reducing and overcoming barriers to employment for people with conviction histories.  From 2011 to 2015, CT headed the Reentry Legal Clinic at ANWOL, the largest clean slate clinic in Southern California, representing clients in nearly 1,000 clean slate petitions each year, and resulting in a published decision to clarify eligibility requirements for dismissal under P.C. 1203.4 (People v. Parker, 217 Cal.App.4th 498 (2013)).  CT’s work at ANWOL has also included litigation to enforce access to courts for people pursuing clean slate remedies, and assisting efforts to develop local Ban the Box policies in Los Angeles County.

CT earned their J.D. from UCLA School of Law, with specializations in Public Interest Law and Policy, and Critical Race Studies.  Prior to coming to Los Angeles, CT earned a B.A. in Communication from Rutgers University, and worked for eight years as a software technical writer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  They still bleed black and gold.

Kara Portnow received her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and law degree from the New York University School of Law.  She spent two years working at the Alaska Public Defender's Office in Anchorage before relocating to the Bay Area. She has been with the Alameda County Public Defender's Office for the past 17 years. In 2015, she became the Proposition 47 coordinator for the public defender's office. Her current assignments include Proposition 64, Early Intervention Court (felony pre plea diversion), Parole Reentry court, Homeless Court, and Veteran's Court.

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.