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Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2018


Speaker(s): Adam Poe, Deep Kaur Jodhka, Jodie Berger, Katherine Fiester, Lauren Hansen
Recorded on: Sep. 17, 2018
PLI Program #: 221676

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.


Deep Kaur Jodhka is a Supervising Attorney in Bay Area Legal Aid's Economic Justice unit in Oakland, California where she provides Social Security and SSI advocacy for low-income clients with disabilities, with a specific focus on assisting individuals who are currently or formerly incarcerated in county jail. Prior to working in the Economic Justice unit, Deep worked as a reentry attorney, providing wrap-around civil legal services to formerly incarcerated individuals and veterans in areas such as housing and public benefits. In her free time, Deep serves on the working board of Sikh Family Center, an organization devoted to providing meaningful access to resources for immigrant families in the United States. She is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley School of Law and received B.A. degrees in Chemistry and Communication from University of California, Davis.


Jodie Berger has been an Administrative Law Judge with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) since 2014. In 2016, Judge Berger was appointed to the State Hearing Division’s Training, Quality Development, Rehearings, and Special Projects Bureau. In that position, she is responsible for conducting rehearing reviews (an internal appellate review), updating state hearing regulations, maintaining an updated and accurate database of summaries of legal authority binding in the CDSS hearings, and other special projects.

Judge Berger has assisted in developing and presenting trainings on the state hearing process for hearing representatives, judicial training on Engaged Neutrality complex benefit budgeting, as well as various presentations for the biannual statewide State Hearings conference.

Prior to joining the State Hearing Division, Judge Berger worked for Legal Services as a Public Benefits Specialist (administrative law and litigation) for 28 years. As a Legal Services attorney, Judge Berger worked extensively with the CDSS on regulation and policy development, participating in eight Stakeholder groups.

Judge Berger is Co-Chair of the Administrative Law Committee of the State Bar, working on issues for unrepresented claimants, and the prior Chair of the Bar’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee. Judge Berger co-developed and presented a training program on Administrative Hearings for CLE, and for several years provided training at the annual CDSS CalWORKs and NLADA conferences, on public benefit and language access topics.


Katie Fiester is a staff attorney specializing in wage and hour and unemployment insurance matters in the Wage Protection Program at Legal Aid at Work. Katie advises and represents clients in wage and hour settlement conferences and Berman hearing proceedings before the California Labor Commissioner. She also advises and represents clients in unemployment insurance appeal hearings before the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. In addition, Katie trains law students and community advocates on wage and hour and unemployment insurance law and oversees representatives advocating for workers in administrative legal proceedings. She also serves clients at semi-monthly Wage Claim Clinics held at the California Labor Commissioner offices in San Francisco and Oakland. Katie obtained her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2014.