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Advocates’ Guide for Protecting Tenants’ Rights During a Global Pandemic: Advanced Unlawful Detainer Defense 2021

Speaker(s): Alex Prieto, Amy Tannenbaum, Jackie Zaneri, Kate Wardrip, Kristina Rosales, Lauren Holzer, Lucia Choi, Madeline S. Howard, Michael Trujillo, Nazanin Salehi, Nisha N. Vyas, Scott Chang, Ugochi L. Anaebere-Nicholson
Recorded on: Mar. 3, 2021
PLI Program #: 305306

As Supervising Attorney in BayLegal’s Housing Practice in San Francisco, Lauren Holzer supervises and supports the attorneys and advocates in the housing unit providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help them excel in providing high quality impactful client services.

Lauren joined BayLegal in 2019 as a staff attorney in the San Francisco County housing unit. Prior to BayLegal, she practiced housing law at California Rural Legal Assistance and Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County.

Education: The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law

Bar Admissions: State of California (2016), U.S. District Court, Central District of California (2018)

Kristina “Tina” Rosales is a Housing Legislative Advocate with Western Center on Law and Poverty (WCLP), where she works on issues related to land use policies, housing production for people with low to no income, landlord/tenant law, homelessness, fair housing, and other housing related issues. Prior to joining WCLP, Tina was a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County where she was on the Lawyer’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness project, providing full-scope representation for low income and disabled tenants facing unlawful detainers. She then transitioned to the SCALE team where she worked on affirmative litigation on behalf of tenants, developed the first comprehensive unlawful detainer training for new staff, and engaged in housing and homelessness policy advocacy. Tina began her legal career at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles providing direct services to tenants on the Eviction Defense team. Tina is a 2020 alum of the Shriver Racial Justice Institute. She is co-author of Mental Health and Homelessness in the Wake of COVID-19: The Path to Supportive and Affordable Housing, U.C.L.A. Law Review.

Tina was born and raised in San Francisco, C.A. She obtained her J.D. from U.C Hastings College of the Law and attended Sacramento State University for undergrad.

Nisha N. Vyas is currently a Senior Attorney at Western Center on Law & Poverty where her work includes providing support to legal services providers on housing matters, litigation to protect against displacement, and advising on housing policies that are of statewide concern. With 17 years of experience in public interest law and a background in community law and fair housing, Nisha’s advocacy is rooted in the belief that all persons should have access to safe and affordable housing of their choice.

Vyas received her B.A. at University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. at UCLA School of Law, where she specialized in the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. Her published work includes a recent article in UCLA Law Review’s online project Law Meets World, From Commodities to Communities: Reimagining Housing After the Pandemic, co-authored with Matthew Warren.

Alex Prieto is a Senior Litigator at the Western Center on Law & Poverty, where he focuses on housing, public benefits, and economic justice issues.  Before joining Western Center, Alex was a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County for six years, where he defended the rights of low-income clients in landlord-tenant, employment, environmental justice, and public benefits cases.  Previously, Alex was a clerk for the Hon. Margaret M. Morrow in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the Hon. Susan Kenny of the Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne.  Alex has a J.D. from University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he was Articles Editor for the California Law Review, and a B.A. in comparative literature from New York University.  In his spare time, Alex enjoys hiking and backpacking, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Amy Tannenbaum is a staff attorney on Public Counsel’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project, where she does eviction defense and holistic direct services to unhoused Angelenos. Prior to joining Public Counsel, she was an attorney fellow at Community Legal Service in East Palo Alto’s Economic Advancement Project, focusing on employment-related collateral consequences of eviction records. She also clerked in the Central District of California. Amy is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Hamilton College. She is a proud member of the National Lawyers Guild and serves as a solidarity attorney for the Los Angeles Tenants Union and the Compton Tenants Union.

Before joining Housing Rights Center, he was Counsel at Relman, Dane & Colfax in Washington D.C., an attorney at Brancart & Brancart and a sole practitioner. The cases Mr. Chang litigated include: a precedent setting case establishing that fair housing organizations have standing in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and affirming a large damages award to a fair housing organization, Fair Housing of Marin v. Combs, 285 F.3d 899 (9th Cir.), a fair housing and hate crime case involving a group of Asian American Stanford University students who were intimidated based on their national origin when they attempted to rent a house and a disability discrimination case against a large city in which 4,000 affordable housing units will be made highly accessible for people with mobility and sensory disabilities.

Jackie is a staff attorney at the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Institute. She previously worked at Centro Legal de la Raza representing tenants facing eviction, unlawful rent increases, and uninhabitable conditions. She is drawn to housing work because of its connection to mass movements for racial and economic justice.

Kate Wardrip is a supervising attorney in the Yolo County office of Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC). Kate began her career at LSNC defending tenants in unlawful detainer actions through the Sargent Shriver Civil Council Act. She now focuses on housing and public benefits cases. Kate has a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Certificate in Public Interest and Social Justice Law. She also has a B.A. in English from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She is particularly passionate about representing tenants facing Domestic Violence and tenants with mental health disabilities.

Lucia Choi is an attorney at Disability Rights California’s Civil Rights Practice Group. She litigates cases that aim to eliminate discrimination and protect the rights of individuals with disabilities. Housing is her main focus and background. Prior to joining DRC, Lucia was an attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services, where she represented tenants in the Los Angeles area.

Madeline is a senior staff attorney at Western Center on Law & Poverty focusing on fair housing litigation, unlawful detainer appeals, and issues impacting tenants in foreclosed homes. Before joining Western Center in 2013, Madeline was a senior staff attorney with Bay Area Legal Aid in San Jose and San Francisco where she represented the interests of low-income tenants against landlords and major lending institutions. At Western Center Madeline partners with legal services attorneys on impact litigation to challenge discriminatory housing practices and preserve affordable housing. She also supports direct services attorneys through technical assistance and training on issues ranging from unlawful detainer appeals to fair housing rights. Madeline received her law degree from Berkeley after working as an advocate at Medical-Legal Partnership Boston, the nation’s first medical-legal collaborative. She went on to become a research attorney at San Francisco Superior Court before returning to direct services work.

Michael Trujillo is a Staff Attorney in the Housing Program at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, where he represents tenants in unlawful detainer cases, advocates for stronger tenant protections, and brings affirmative cases to advance fair housing choice and prevent the criminalization of homelessness. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the Oregon State University Honors College.

Nazanin joined Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto in 2017. As a staff attorney with the Housing Program at CLSEPA, she not only provides direct legal services (including eviction defense and affirmative litigation), but also works alongside community groups and organizers to advocate for stronger tenants’ rights, advise on issues of land use and planning, and generally resist the displacement of low-income and underserved communities. 

During her undergraduate studies, Nazanin became involved with the public service community on campus, serving as the Community Partnerships Director of the Magnolia Project. Through her service in New Orleans, she became interested in practicing law at the intersection of racial justice and civil rights. Throughout law school, Nazanin remained committed to social justice, working on voting rights litigation, criminal justice reform and civil rights compliance in law enforcement and education at organizations such as the Advancement Project, ACLU of Maryland, NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Civil Rights. She also successfully represented incarcerated individuals and parolees in her law school’s Prisoner & Reentry Clinic.

Nazanin earned her Juris Doctorate from The George Washington University Law School, and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Media Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ugochi serves as the Directing Attorney for the Housing and Homelessness Prevention Unit PLC. Before joining PLC, Ugochi served as Managing Attorney for the Indio Branch Office of Inland Counties Legal Services where she supervised advocates and support staff, and represented low-income residents of Coachella Valley. There she maintained a portfolio in a wide variety of areas, including, housing (eviction defense), public benefits, family, and immigration law (U-Visa and VAWA).

Ugochi was also a legal aid attorney in Los Angeles with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County’s Housing and Consumer Law Team and she directed pro bono legal services in the Central Valley at Central California Legal Services. Ugochi earned her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Political Science from UCLA, and her Juris Doctor Degree from Southwestern Law School.