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California Family Law Basics: Pro Bono Representation in Low-Income Family Law Cases

Author(s): Stephanie E. Bilinski, Elizabeth Hom, Genevieve Richardson
Practice Area: Family Law, Pro Bono
Published: Feb 2013
ISBN: xx
PLI Item #: 43056
CHB Spine #: 526

Elizabeth A. Hom is a Program Supervisor at the State Bar of California, Office of Access & Inclusion where she is responsible for grant administration, and works with the legal services community and other stakeholders including providers, pro bono programs, lawyer referral services, law firms, law schools, bar associations, and courts to develop, coordinate, and support policy and innovation to improve access to justice, and diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Prior to joining the State Bar, from 2015-2017, Elizabeth served as Pro Bono Counsel at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she managed the firm’s pro bono projects portfolio, which reached across a seven county region. Her responsibilities included stewarding law firms and corporate legal departments to develop pro bono projects that ranged from legal clinics to affirmative and impact litigation opportunities. Elizabeth also managed recruitment, training programs, and support for law clerks, interpreters and other volunteers. From 2004-2015, Elizabeth served in various roles at the Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA,) including as Director of Access Programs, where she oversaw the Lawyer Referral Service and the ACBA Volunteer Legal Services Corporation (VLSC,) the pro bono arm of the ACBA. Elizabeth was responsible for developing and improving pro bono projects, building strong relationships with local legal services providers, the court, and the private bar as well as fiscal oversight, including budget monitoring, developing and executing a diverse fund development plan, and grants management. Elizabeth has also worked extensively on board relations, board development, and strategic planning, and is a graduate of the OneJustice Executive Fellowship Program for Nonprofit Management. Elizabeth is committed to developing, evaluating, and shaping policy and programs to promote and advance social justice. Elizabeth participates regularly in regional and statewide pro bono forums. She has served on the board of directors for Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), and on the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Standards Review Team.

Elizabeth holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Legal Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Juris Doctor and a Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago.

Stephanie E. Bilinski is the Supervising Attorney for Family Law at the Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco.  Ms. Bilinski oversees the Justice & Diversity Center’s family law pro bono project, reviewing cases for placement, conducting training of volunteers and providing guidance and supervision to volunteer attorneys.  Prior to joining the Justice & Diversity Center, Ms. Bilinski was a family law litigator and mediator, working in all courts in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Ms. Bilinski received her J.D. cum laude from Seton Hall University School of Law, and her B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College.

Genevieve Richardson is the Director of Pro Bono Activities for Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal), the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest provider of free civil legal services to the poor.  Ms. Richardson oversees BayLegal’s pro bono program throughout the Bay Area.  She develops and coordinates pro bono opportunities and trains and recruits attorneys to provide much needed pro bono assistance to expand access to the civil justice system for low-income families.  She also works on a regional and statewide basis to address systemic poverty and inequality issues, including as a member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Association of California.  A graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law, Ms. Richardson is also a Family Law and Immigration Attorney, specializing in Domestic Violence.