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California Eviction Defense: Protecting Low-Income Tenants 2014


Speaker(s): Kari Rudd, Karlo Ng, Kent Qian, Laura Lane, Leah F. Simon-Weisberg, Madeline S. Howard, Maria E. Palomares, Navneet Grewal, Phong S. Wong, S. Lynn Martinez, Stephanie Haffner, William T. Tanner
Recorded on: Mar. 12, 2014
PLI Program #: 49813

Kari Rudd is a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, representing low-income tenants, consumers and homeowners, including tenants after foreclosure.  A 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Kari served as an Americorps VISTA attorney in the foreclosure prevention program of Housing Preservation Project (St. Paul, MN) prior to joining BayLegal.


Kent Qian is an attorney in the Redevelopment, Real Estate & Rent Unit in the Advisory Division of the Oakland City Attorney's Office.

Mr. Qian previously worked as a staff attorney for the National Housing Law Project in San Francisco, where he litigated cases in state and federal courts to protect the rights of low-income tenants and homeowners and advised state and federal policymakers regarding the creation of new foreclosure protections.

Mr. Qian graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. He has a Master’s degree in physics from Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

He is a commissioner on the San Francisco Rent Board and is a member of the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services.


Leah Simon-Weisberg is the Managing Attorney of the Tenant Rights Program at Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland.  Leah came from Tenants Together (TT) where she was the Legal Director. At TT, she managed the litigation practice which included class action and multi-plaintiff fair housing, habitability, tenant contract and consumer rights matters. She regularly provided technical assistance on rent control and drafted the ordinance that passed in Richmond, California in November 2017. Before joining Tenants Together, Leah was the Managing Attorney of the Anti-Predatory Lending and Home Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Practice at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto. Leah began her housing work in Los Angeles as the co-Executive Director of the Eviction Defense Network (EDN). At EDN, Leah litigated over 1,000 unlawful detainer cases on behalf of tenants facing eviction in Los Angeles County. Leah has extensive experience providing education to legal service providers on eviction defense and rent control.  Before attending law school at Northeastern University, School of Law, Leah worked for Senator Barbara Boxer in her San Francisco Office and served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in Morocco. Leah is presently an elected Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner.


Lynn Martinez is Managing Attorney and Senior Litigator at Western Center on Law and Poverty where she specializes in multi-client impact ligation involving land use, landlord/tenant and fair housing issues.  Lynn supervises WCLP’s Foreclosure Task Force and provides legislative support, technical assistance and training on the state and national level.  She has published a number of articles and is co-editor of WCLP’s Housing Update and the Housing Practice Tip.  Prior to joining WCLP, Lynn was a staff attorney at the National Housing Law Project where she specialized in homeownership issues and Legal Services of Northern California.  Lynn has served as a visiting professor at UC Davis School of Law and core faculty for the Benchmark Institute.  She also completed eight years of service as a judge pro tem in Solano County, hearing cause for issuance of domestic violence Emergency Protective Orders during the hours when the local courts are closed.  Lynn was part of the inaugural class of HUD Community Builders, representing the San Francisco office from 1998-2000.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Lynn was an escrow and title officer for a Northern California title company.


Stephanie Haffner, a graduate of UC Berkeley Law School, began her legal career at California Rural Legal Assistance where she chaired its statewide public benefits task force and served as lead counsel in Price v. City of Stockton, which secured replacement housing and relocation benefits for hundreds of Stockton downtown hotel residents.  Stephanie taught Administrative Law and other subjects at Whittier Law School.  From 2006 to 2011, Stephanie supervised the Housing/Consumer Advocacy Group of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County.  She joined Western Center in 2011 as a Senior Litigator, and became a Director of Litigation for Western Center in 2017.  Her practice includes administrative law, anti-discrimination law, food and cash benefits, and homelessness issues, among others. As of April 30, 2018, she will be joining Legal Aid of Marin as their Executive Director.


William T. Tanner received a J.D. from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1994 and a B.A. in Philosophy/Law and Society from University of California, Riverside in 1991.  He is currently a Directing Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, where he oversees the Legal Aid Hotline, Incubator Program, The Notice, the Small Claims Court Advisory Program of Orange County and aspects of I-CAN!.


Phong Wong is the Pro Bono Director at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and has devoted her legal career to helping those in need. At LAFLA, Phong oversees the pro bono program and coordinates the outreach, recruitment and hiring of all volunteers. She works closely with pro bono partners including law firms, law schools, bar associations, incubator attorneys, and community groups to develop and implement pro bono projects and trainings. These projects include technology innovations such as remote videoconferencing clinics and the online Pro Bono Training Institute as ways to expand pro bono service. Before becoming Pro Bono Director, Phong worked on slum housing litigation, subsidized housing, housing redevelopment and access to justice issues. Phong started her career as a Loyola Law School Fellow with the Western Center on Law and Poverty and LAFLA, focusing on reducing access to court barriers and supporting right to civil counsel initiatives.


Karlo Ng is the Supervising Attorney at the National Housing Law Project (NHLP) where she focuses on housing issues impacting survivors of domestic and sexual violence and trafficking; fair housing and civil rights, with a focus on the special needs and housing issues of immigrants and people with limited English proficiency. Before joining NHLP, Karlo was an attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C.  Karlo received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.


Laura Lane earned her J.D. in 1996 from Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall), University of California.  She joined the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley as a supervising attorney in 1997 and has directed its housing practice since 2003.  She has taught housing law and policy at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and at Golden Gate University School of Law.  Prior to joining East Bay Community Law Center, she was awarded an Echoing Green public interest fellowship and founded and directed a project to provide free legal services to persons living with HIV/AIDS in Richmond.  Recently, Laura authored a chapter on Residential Landlord-Tenant Law in the California Basic Practice Handbook published by CEB.


Maria Palomares is a Staff Attorney, whose work has focused on ensuring that low income housing is preserved through impact litigation, policy advocacy and trainings.  Prior to joining Western Center, Maria served as a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA), specializing in cases involving housing, language access, and civil rights issues. Maria, who has worked in legal services since 2009, is a graduate of Southwestern Law School and received her B.A. from the University of California Los Angeles.


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.


Navneet Grewal is a Senior Attorney at Western Center on Law and Poverty, a statewide legal services support center that fights, through litigation and legislative and policy advocacy, to secure housing, health care and a strong safety net for low-income Californians. She has successfully litigated cases in state and federal court that have, for example, expanded due process rights for voucher applicants, reimbursed thousands of public housing residents for rent overcharges, enforced state land use and zoning laws (resulting in the development of affordable housing), and that have preserved mobilehome parks. She also works with the housing team to develop and analyze statewide housing legislation that has led to significant protections for low-income Californians. Critically, she also works to support local legal services attorneys in identifying and assessing critical legal claims that their clients might avail themselves of, both through technical assistance and workshops. Navneet has also written several housing law-related publications; most recently, she was a contributing author to the Section 8 chapter of the 2017 California Rutter Group Practice Guide - Landlord-Tenant. She also previously served on the Steering Committee of the State Bar’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Section and on the Board of Directors of Housing California. In all facets of this work, Navneet strives to ensure that housing policies and practices work toward racial justice. Navneet is a graduate of the New York University School of Law, where she received the Vanderbilt Medal (the highest graduation honor), and the Black, Latino, and Asian Pacific American Alumni Association’s Public Service Award.