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Public Interest Boot Camp

Speaker(s): Eliza Hersh, Jeanne Nishimoto, Joann H. Lee, Kent Qian, Linda D. Kilb, Nicole M. Perez, Phong S. Wong, Protima Pandey, Tirien Steinbach, Toby J. Rothschild
Recorded on: Jun. 2, 2016
PLI Program #: 177198

Tirien Steinbach
East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC)
Executive Director



J.D., Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley (1999)
B.A., Art History, University of California at Santa Cruz (1994)


Steinbach is the executive director of the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), the community-based clinic for Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall).  She is a lecturer-in-residence and teaches a companion course on applied legal ethics and community lawyering.  Steinbach joined EBCLC in 2001, where she incubated the Clean Slate Clinic, a community reentry program.

Steinbach graduated from Boalt Hall in 1999, where she was co-president of the Berkeley Law Foundation and Vice President for Law Students of African Descent.  Upon graduation, Steinbach received several recognitions, including Equal Justice Works and Berkeley Law Foundation fellowships and the inaugural Thelton Henderson Social Justice Prize, the BJALP Adhama Award, the 2010 Sisters of Fire Award, the 2011 LSAD Alumna of the Year Award, and the 2015 Berkeley Law Young Alumna Award. She served on the board of Berkeley Law’s Initiative on Mindfulness and the Law from 2010-14.

Jeanne L. Nishimoto is the Pro Bono Training Coordinator at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), where she oversees the development of legal trainings for pro bono attorneys. Prior to becoming the Pro Bono Training Coordinator, she worked for five years as a LAFLA staff attorney, focusing on housing and eviction defense, government benefits, and civil rights.

Ms. Nishimoto earned her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as an executive editor to the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform and participated in the school's advanced clinical program. She received her undergraduate degree from Amherst College.

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.

Protima has been an advocate for gender justice and is the newly appointed Director for the Office of Women’s Policy at Santa Clara County. Working for the County Executive, her office works to bring a gender lens to policy decision-making, building a pipeline to leadership, and demand equity in governance. Prior to that, she was the Managing Attorney and Regional Counsel for Immigration at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she started as a staff attorney litigating on family law and immigration cases for survivors of domestic violence, as well as allied legal relief in areas of public benefits, housing preservation, and economic justice. Most recently she co-counseled on a precedent setting case in California, Kumar v. Kumar, a complex immigration and family law cross-over case. She also led the firm-wide post-graduate Fellowship program to shepherd and develop fellowship proposals through the national selection process. She is also one of 17 lawyers nation-wide appointed as a Commissioner to the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence to work on issues impacting delivery of legal services to survivors, where she is also a litigation skills faculty. She also serves as faculty for Practicing Law Institute in San Francisco, training on issues relating to housing rights for immigrants and representation of domestic violence survivors in family courts as well as on understanding personal bias, working with diverse populations, and on domestic violence awareness. Being passionate about giving back to the legal profession, Protima has served as the Chair of San Mateo County Bar Association's Diversity Committee (2014), has been integral to the work of BayLegal's diversity initiative, and the Racial Justice Initiative. Prior to joining BayLegal, Protima was the Public Policy specialist for California Partnership to End Domestic Violence in Sacramento, California where she worked on legislation and advocacy on behalf of agencies serving survivors and their families.

Education: Washington University in St. Louis, School of Law, 2001; National Law School of India University Practice Areas: Family Law, Immigration Law, Housing protections for DV survivors.

Bar Admissions: California, 2003; India, 1999

Awards: South Asian Bar Association Northern California Community Impact Award (2014), South Asian Bar Association Northern California Foundation Public Interest Attorney of the year (2012), Woman of Color Scholarship from National Network to End Domestic Violence (2007)

Joann Lee is a directing attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). Bilingual in Korean, Ms. Lee has provided direct legal services to the growing Asian/Pacific Islander immigrant population in the Los Angeles area at LAFLA since 2000.  Ms. Lee specializes in family and immigration law, with a focus on representing survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.  She has extensive experience navigating courts and other government entities to obtain interpreters for limited-English proficient individuals, including filing administrative complaints and litigation based on civil rights language access requirements.  In 2015, Ms. Lee was appointed to the California Judicial Council Language Access Plan Implementation Task Force.  Active in the local community, Ms. Lee has served on the boards of the Korean American Bar Association, Korean Resource Center, and the Center for the Pacific Asian Family.  She is a graduate of Northwestern University and George Washington University Law School.

Linda D. Kilb is currently the Director of the California Legal Services Trust Fund Support Center Program of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF).  Founded in 1979 by a unique alliance of people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, DREDF is a national law and policy center with offices in Berkeley, California and Washington, D.C.  Ms. Kilb has been an attorney with DREDF since 1989.  In this capacity she represents plaintiffs and amici in litigation brought under a range of disability rights laws, and participates in the development of policy positions and legislative education efforts to advance the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Ms. Kilb has been extensively involved in litigation to enforce federal and state disability rights laws.  This includes individual and class action lawsuits under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975, the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and similar California laws.  She has provided training throughout the nation to educate people with disabilities, advocates and attorneys with respect to the requirements of such laws.

Ms. Kilb has served on the board of the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC), a statewide, private, tax-exempt organization, founded in 1982 for the purpose of ensuring delivery of effective legal services to indigent and disadvantaged people throughout California.  Her LAAC service from 2003 to 2008 also included several years on the board executive committee.  She was adjunct faculty at U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) from 1999 to 2008, where she co-taught a Disability Rights Law seminar course. Ms. Kilb received a Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship in 1999, awarded to experienced public interest attorneys with demonstrated interest in and ability to mentor law students seeking public interest careers.  Ms. Kilb received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in political science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1985, and was graduated with honors from the Harvard Law School in 1988.

Eliza is a 2016 Soros Justice Fellow and Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Law School's Center for the Study of Law & Society. From 2006 to 2016, Eliza was a clinical instructor and directed the Clean Slate Reentry Legal Services Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center, which is a teaching clinic of Berkeley Law School. The Clean Slate Practice developed innovative strategies in criminal, consumer rights, and administrative law, as well as policy advocacy and impact litigation that empowered people to overcome barriers to employment, education, housing, and civic engagement following contact with law enforcement.

Nicole is the managing attorney of the Veterans Justice Center at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) is a nonprofit law firms that protects and advances the rights of the most underserved – leveling the playing field and ensuring that everyone can have access to the justice system.  Every year, LAFLA provides free, high-quality legal services to more than 100,000 people living in poverty across Greater Los Angeles. LAFLA’s Veterans Justice Center advocates for  Veterans to obtain life-sustaining income, health, and housing benefits, and rebuild their lives through our full scope of critical legal services.  We believe that all Veterans deserve a steady source of income, a safe and stable home, and access to the healthcare that they need to thrive. We also believe that Veterans who have tickets, criminal convictions, and less-than-honorable discharges deserve a fresh start.  LAFLA’s unique combination of neighborhood offices, self-help centers at courthouses, and domestic violence clinics puts LAFLA on the front lines in vulnerable communities, and at the forefront of change.

As a disabled woman from a marginalized Latino community, Nicole has dedicated her career to fighting for economic and racial justice. At LAFLA, Nicole works passionately alongside advocates and Veterans themselves to secure government benefits, prevent Veteran homelessness and access civil justice. With a law degree and Masters in Social Work, Nicole practices holistic advocacy for Veterans and their families, utilizing the support of pro bono, community, and social service partners. Nicole obtained her graduate degrees in Law and Social Work from UCLA, her undergraduate degrees in Social Welfare and Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, and her “degree” in life skills from her kind and hardworking single father Fred Perez. Nicole began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow in homelessness and government benefits advocacy at LAFLA. She founded the first Veterans law school clinic in Los Angeles at Loyola Law School in 2010 and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Legal Issues Committee of the LSC Veterans Task Force.

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.

Toby J. Rothschild is Of Counsel to OneJustice, providing ethics training and counselling to legal services programs in California. He retired after serving as the General Counsel of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles for 13 years. Prior to that, he was the executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation of Long Beach for 28 years and Interim Executive Director of LAFLA. He graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1969, and has worked at legal aid programs since graduation. He has been the president of the Long Beach Bar Association and was Vice Chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice. Toby served as a member of the State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, a member of the California Lawyers Association and Orange County Bar Ethics Committees, and as Chair of the Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar. He was liaison on access to justice issues to the first commission which drafted the proposed new California Rules of Professional Responsibility, and was a member and vice chair of the second Rule Revision Commission. He also has served as a member of the State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission. He served as co-vice chair of the State Bar Task Force on Access Through Innovations in Legal Services, and is a member of the State Bar Closing the Justice Gap Working Group.