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Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2017


Speaker(s): Abigail Trillin, Adam Poe, Carole Vigne, Joanna Parnes, Lauren Hansen
Recorded on: Sep. 20, 2017
PLI Program #: 181004

Carole Vigne is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid at Work (the organization formerly known as Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center).  She currently directs the Wage Protection Program, which represents low-wage workers through litigation in state and federal court and administrative advocacy before the California Labor Commissioner, San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board; provides advice and brief services to workers through a semi-monthly Wage Claim Clinic hosted at the California Labor Commissioner’s San Francisco and Oakland offices; conducts trainings for workers and provides technical assistance to worker advocates; and engages in legislative advocacy and amicus briefing to expand protections for workers.  In her prior role, Carole oversaw Legal Aid’s Wage and Unemployment Claims Project, training and supervising scores of volunteer legal advocates to represent hundreds of clients at wage claim conferences and hearings before the California Labor Commissioner and unemployment insurance appeal hearings before the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

Carole was previously a Skadden Fellow with Legal Aid’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.  In that capacity, Carole also litigated discrimination and wage and hour cases on behalf of immigrant workers.  She also litigated employment law cases, primarily wage and hour class actions, at Rukin, Hyland, Doria & Tindall, LLP.

Carole is a graduate of Brown University and University of California, Berkeley School of Law (the law school formerly known as Boalt Hall).


Joanna Parnes is a Supervising Attorney at the Alameda County Regional Office of Bay Area Legal Aid in Oakland, California. Joanna currently serves low-income clients with mental and physical health disabilities through direct legal services and systemic advocacy in the area of public benefits, with a focus on SSI and Social Security disability benefits. Prior to joining Bay Legal, Joanna worked at the East Bay Community Law Center and as a researcher at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, evaluating programs and policies that impact poor families. She holds a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and received her B.A. from the University of Michigan.


Adam joined Bay Area Legal Aid in 2008 as a housing attorney in the Contra Costa Office and has been managing attorney in that office since May 2018. Adam became the first dedicated reentry attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid in 2012 and took on the role of regional project coordinator for the growing reentry unit shortly thereafter.

In his housing practice Adam has represented hundreds of low-income and disabled clients in Unlawful Detainers and administrative hearings in Contra Costa. He maintains a case load of housing and reentry cases and is involved in efforts to support individuals with criminal records achieve stability through housing and employment advocacy.

Adam serves on several regional task forces and steering committees, including the Reentry Community Advisory Board (CAB), the Reentry Success Center, the Youth Justice Initiative and the Alliance to End Abuse. He has trained hundreds of attorneys, advocates and service providers on Fair Housing issues and the housing rights of individuals with criminal records.

Education: DePaul College of Law (2006); Michigan State University, B.S. Pol. Sci (1999)

Practice Area: Housing, Reentry

Bar Admission: California, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California


After joining PILP as a fellow in 2012, Lauren is now a staff attorney in the public benefit unit. Prior to joining PILP, Lauren worked at Legal Services of Northern California for in its Ukiah office doing housing, public benefits, and health law. Lauren graduated from UCLA and went to law school at the University of Iowa College of Law.

At PILP, Lauren has worked on a variety of cases on issues including redevelopment, housing element, General Assistance/Relief, CalFresh (SNAP), and CalWORKs (TANF). She started and currently leads PILP’s Rural General Assistance Project (Rural GAP), a project dedicated to increasing access to General Assistance/Relief benefits in rural areas. She is admitted to practice in California and Washington D.C.


As Executive Director, Abigail has overall leadership responsibility for the agency, where she has worked since 1996. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Abigail was the Managing Attorney for ten years and a staff attorney for six years prior to that. She has both direct service and policy expertise in all four LSC legal practice areas. Previous to joining LSC in 1996, Abigail worked at numerous charitable organizations with a focus on education, and taught at an inner-city school in Los Angeles. Abigail is one of the nation’s first Certified Child Welfare Law Specialists. She is proficient in Spanish.