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Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2019


Speaker(s): Carole Vigne, Deep Kaur Jodhka, Jodie Berger, Lisa Kye Kim, Whitney Rubenstein
Recorded on: Sep. 27, 2019
PLI Program #: 248868

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).


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.


Lisa Kim is the Supervising Attorney of the Housing Law Unit of the San Francisco County Regional office of Bay Area Legal Aid. In her current position, she is overseeing BayLegal's implementation and participation in the Tenant Right to Counsel program.

Lisa has also represented low-income and disabled clients in Unlawful Detainers and administrative hearings with BayLegal's offices in San Francisco County, Contra Costa County, and Santa Clara County. In addition she supervised legal clinics and provided trainings for attorneys, advocates, and community members on housing rights. Lisa earned her Bachelor's Degree from University of California, Berkeley and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.


Whitney Rubenstein practices both law and social work, and is the Director of the Social Work Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) where she oversees staff, and graduate level social work and law student interns, in the provision of holistic representation to clients of EBCLC. Whitney’s legal work at EBCLC focuses on advocating for young people being pushed out schools and into the juvenile legal system. She engages in a full range of litigation, representing clients in expulsion hearings, special education proceedings, and in juvenile court. Whitney began her legal career as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at EBCLC. During her fellowship, she worked with families at the intersection of the public housing and juvenile justice systems, where she represented youth in juvenile court and their families in housing matters both in civil court and in administrative hearings. Prior to attending law school, Whitney was a Staff Social Worker at the Center for Family Representation in New York.