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Representing the Pro Bono Client: Advocacy Skills for Administrative Hearings 2015


Speaker(s): Carole Vigne, Lauren Hansen, Steven Weiss, Travis Silva
Recorded on: Oct. 2, 2015
PLI Program #: 57366

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).


Lauren joined PILP in 2012 as its first Attorney Fellow.  She is now a staff attorney in the public benefit unit.  Prior to joining PILP, Lauren worked at Legal Services of Northern California for three years in its Ukiah office doing housing, public benefits, and health law.  Lauren graduated from UCLA in 2004 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, CalWORKs, and food stamps.  She started and currently leads PILP’s Rural General Assistance Project (Rural GAP), a project dedicated to increasing access to General Assistance benefits in rural areas.  She is admitted to practice in California and Washington D.C.


Steven Weiss is a staff attorney in the Alameda County office of Bay Area Legal Aid, and their Social Security & SSI Advocacy Regional Coordinator, specializing in administrative advocacy with the Social Security Administration.  Prior to working at Bay Area Legal Aid, Mr. Weiss was a staff attorney at the Homeless Action Center in Berkeley, California.  He is 1998 graduate of the Golden Gate University School of Law, and received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in Urban Public Policy Administration.


Travis Silva is an Equal Justice Works Emerson Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where he practices in the Committee’s Racial Justice and Immigrant Justice programs. Travis has appeared before a variety of administrative tribunals ranging from the federal to the municipal levels, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Education, and various local agencies in the Bay Area. Additionally, Travis has supported the Committee’s pro bono attorneys in the presentation of complex immigration matters before various federal agencies and courts. Travis holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and an M.A. and a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining the Committee, he served as a clerk to the Honorable Michael Daly Hawkins of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.