OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Category Archives: Help for Rural and Isolated Californians

You did something very special…

Last week, the OneJustice Network came together and brought help, hope, and justice to Californians in need — and we couldn’t be more grateful!

Through the generosity of donors like you, along with law firms, corporations, and our nonprofit partners, we raised over $286,000 to bring mobile legal clinics to four high priority counties: Butte, Solano, Tulare, and San Joaquin.

On behalf of the OneJustice staff, Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and most importantly, the individuals who will receive vital legal help because of your support, thank you!

In case you weren’t able to attend, below are some photos from the inspiring evening, and be sure to visit our Facebook page for the full album!

You can also click here to watch the videos we made for Honorees Suk and Chris and the Fund-A-Need Challenge.

Thank you again for bringing help, hope, and justice to vulnerable communities. We look forward to keeping you informed about the impact your generosity will make!

With appreciation,

The OneJustice Team

P.S. Didn’t get a chance to bid on any items at the event? There are still a few items up for grabs during our fire sale, which will run through July 6 at midnight! Click here to bid now!

IMAGE: Photos from Opening Doors to Justice event.

She hears their calls…

Welcome to our new Pro Bono Justice Program Associate, Lyla Bugara!

We’re super excited to introduce you to the newest member of our team! Lyla will be working with the Pro Bono Justice Program, which fosters volunteerism in the legal profession and builds innovative, private/nonprofit collaborations that deliver free legal services to vulnerable communities. So to get to know her better, we sat down with Lyla this week and asked her a few questions!

Please join us in welcoming her to the OneJustice network!


Photo: Lyla Bugara, the new Pro Bono Justice Program Associate in the San Francisco office.

Meet Lyla Bugara, the new Pro Bono Justice Program Associate in the San Francisco office.

Thank you for joining us today, Lyla! Tell us what drew you to the work of OneJustice?

I was extremely excited by the opportunity to work at OneJustice because of the organization’s commitment to systemic and transformative change. OneJustice is a unique nonprofit in that it takes a bird’s-eye view of the legal aid system in California and works to develop innovative solutions to the many problems that plague our state’s justice system. Millions of people live their lives every day without access to legal resources just because of where they live, how much money they make, where they were born, what language they speak, the color of their skin, and their gender identity. It’s wildly unjust, and the time for change was yesterday! The good news is that we are living in historic times. Thousands of Black and brown people across the country are rising up to say “enough!” to systemic racism and oppression. I hear their calls. And OneJustice’s work plays such an important part in the fight for equal justice, economic justice, and racial justice. I am honored to work here.

We’re honored to have you on the team! What will you be doing in your role at OneJustice?

As the Pro Bono Justice Program Associate, I will be responsible for managing the Justice Bus Project in Northern California and clinic coordination for the Rural Justice Collaborative. Both of these programs provide essential legal services to people living in rural areas who might otherwise never be served. I hope to ensure these projects best serve the needs of oppressed and marginalized Californians, while transforming the legal aid system in California.

We look forward to hearing about this work in the near future! What were you up to before coming to OneJustice? 

In 2011, I worked at the Correctional Association of New York advocating for an end to the incarceration of domestic violence survivors. From 2012-2016, I worked at ColorOfChange, the country’s largest online civil rights organization, as Criminal Justice Campaign Manager where I managed campaigns relating to ending for-profit prisons and anti-Black police violence.

It sounds like really rewarding work! And final question, tell us something about you that is not work-related!

I was born and raised Macrobiotic — a Japanese diet based on the power of whole foods to heal and nourish the body. From ages 10-13, I went to “Macro Camp” every summer. 🙂

Thank you so much for your time, Lyla! We’re happy to welcome you to the OneJustice team!

It’s never too late for a fresh start…

Over 100 individuals receive free legal help in Los Angeles!

IMAGE: Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, OneJustice, in partnership with Jenesse Center Legal Advisory CommitteeAlternate Public Defender, Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Californians for Safety and JusticeICE out of LAIMPACT LA, the John M. Langston Bar Association, Legal Aid Foundation of Los AngelesLos Angeles Public DefenderNeighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, A New Way of Life Reentry ProjectOne LA I.A.F., and other Los Angeles-based community organizations helped give Angelenos a Fresh Start.

At the newly created Fresh Start Legal Clinic, South LA residents completed applications for the Traffic Ticket Amnesty program, which allows individuals with unpaid fines on traffic and non-traffic infraction tickets to get a reduction of up to 80% of the amount owed to the court or collections agency. Clients also filled out applications for Proposition 47, a program that changes low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors.

Having a suspended driver’s license or felony criminal record can be a barrier to employment that keeps individuals and families trapped in an endless cycle of poverty. Without the ability to work and earn a living, families are forced to make difficult decisions about housing, transportation, and other life necessities. Traffic Ticket Amnesty and Proposition 47 programs can help end this cycle. Both programs are crucial to bettering individuals’ lives. Participants in these time-limited programs are able to improve their employment prospects, regain driver’s licenses, remove immigration barriers, and reduce old debts all through a brief application and short post-clinic process.

IMAGE: Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys hard at work at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the John M. Langston Bar Association volunteer attorneys hard at work at the Fresh Start Legal Clinic in Los Angeles.

At the clinic, about 70 volunteers helped over 100 South Los Angeles community members with Proposition 47 reclassification and Traffic Ticket Amnesty. Volunteer attorneys helped clients with the support of community organizations. Thanks to the Fresh Start Legal Clinic, South LA residents face fewer barriers to success in their futures.

“[The clinic was] extremely helpful and it helps people to achieve what they always wanted to do,” said one client.

Thank you to our wonderful partners, supporters, and volunteers for making this clinic a reality!

For more information about Proposition 47, please visit http://myprop47.org/.

To learn more about Traffic Ticket Amnesty, please visit http://www.backontheroadca.org/.

Everybody can be great because everybody can serve

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the OneJustice network paid homage to him by bringing justice to rural communities that need it most.

Photo: Poverty Density in California

Poverty Density in California

California currently has the largest poverty population in the country. In the state alone, between 8 to 12 million low-income residents are eligible for free civil legal aid, and most of them live in rural communities.

To meet this great need, OneJustice is joining forces with community partners and organizations around the state by participating in the White House Rural Council‘s Rural Impact initiative, a national effort to enlist volunteers and organizations to strengthen and build thriving rural communities. To do this, our Justice Bus and Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative projects are mobilizing more urban attorneys and law students to provide free legal services in these communities.

Photo: Morrison & Foerster LLP and Yahoo Inc. volunteer attorneys aboard the Justice Bus to Modesto, California.

Morrison & Foerster LLP and Yahoo Inc. volunteer attorneys aboard the Justice Bus to Modesto, California.

In fact, today, volunteer attorneys from Morrison & Foerster LLP and Yahoo Inc. are traveling on the Justice Bus to Modesto to provide free immigration assistance to those who need it.

We continue to be amazed by the commitment of our wonderful volunteers and community partners in the effort to expand access to justice.

Stay tuned as our network works together to #ServeRural!

Justice Bus Rider Spotlight: Kyuli Oh

Electronic Arts Inc.’s Associate General Counsel tells us about her experience aboard the Justice Bus.

Before we start, we just want to thank all our volunteers from Electronic Arts Inc. and Covington & Burling LLP for bringing life-changing legal assistance to 18 clients in Modesto this past November! Because of their hard work, these clients are more informed about their immigration options and many are ready to submit their applications! Volunteers like these really make all the difference for Californians in need.

Now, please welcome this month’s featured Justice Bus Rider, Kyuli Oh!


Photo: Kyuli Oh, Associate General Counsel at Electronic Arts Inc.

Kyuli Oh, Associate General Counsel at Electronic Arts Inc.

Welcome, Kyuli! Tell us about yourself. What type of law do you practice and why are immigration issues like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) important to you?

I’m the Associate General Counsel at Electronic Arts Inc. with responsibility over all corporate matters, including securities, M&A, and corporate governance. I’ve got 2 young boys (ages 5 and 2), who keep me busy. I came to the US when I was 4 years old and became a naturalized citizen, so I identify with the immigrants that we help on the Justice Bus.  I was lucky to have had legal status and to become a naturalized citizen.

Thank you so much for giving us a sneak peek into your life! Why does pro bono matter to you and what motivates you to do pro bono work?

Living and working in Silicon Valley, there’s so much wealth around you. It’s easy to lose perspective. Doing pro bono work helps me realize that my problems do not compare to those truly struggling – people worried about deportation, unemployment, having enough money to pay rent and buy groceries.

Photo: Kyuli and EA and Fenwick & West LLP attorneys at the Justice Bus clinic in Greenfield, CA.

Kyuli and EA and Fenwick & West LLP attorneys at the Justice Bus clinic in Greenfield, CA.

We couldn’t agree more! Pro bono really makes the difference for low-income individuals everyday. Why do you participate in the Justice Bus model of pro bono?

They make it so easy for you – you get on the bus; they provide breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner; they train you; they provide expert advisors to answer all your questions and review your work; and it’s a one-day commitment. There are no excuses not to do this!

We’re happy to hear the process was so easy for you! During your time at the Justice Bus Clinic, which client story resonated with you the most?

My first client was a berry picker in the Salinas Valley. I helped him with his naturalization application and his fee waiver request since the $680 fee was a true hardship for him and his family. He had 2 young kids, who were close in age to my 2 boys. I remember speaking to him about his income and his assets and I was stunned. It was really humbling to think about how hard it must be for his family to live at that level and why it was so important that we helped him that day.

It’s amazing how being a parent can be the shared common experience among people of different backgrounds! Final question, who is your favorite social justice hero and why?

Oprah – my mom learned English watching the Oprah show. Oprah was the first African American person she “knew”. Later in her life, my mom branched out of her Korean community and became involved in a racially diverse church and became very close friends with an African American woman from church.  I think Oprah had that impact on so many women and I think that opened the door for more acceptance.


Thank you for joining us, Kyuli! This work is possible thanks to volunteers, like you!

I could see happiness in their eyes

Healthy Nonprofits Program’s Christopher McConkey tells us about the civil justice shortfall and the need for free legal assistance.

We asked our Staff Attorney Christopher McConkey to give us his insight on why it’s necessary for organizations and programs in the legal sector to transform the civil legal aid delivery system.


Guest Blogger: Christopher McConkey, OneJustice Staff Attorney for the Healthy Nonprofits Program

[Photo: Huffington Post]

Photo Credit: Huffington Post

There is a phenomenon in our society where people who are less able to afford legal help are often the people who need it the most. These low-income individuals struggle every day to find the legal assistance they need to preserve basic life necessities like housing, health care, economic security, and child custody.

This is not a minor phenomenon. Over 60 million people in the United States might qualify for free civil legal services because they live at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. However, people are less likely to access these services due to limited resources, mental health issues, and inexperience with our legal system.

Worsening this crisis, insufficient funding prevents many legal aid programs from serving 50% or more of the people who actively seek their help, leaving attorneys to address less than 20% of lower-income people’s legal needs.1 All of these shortfalls ultimately leave low-income individuals without critical legal assistance.

The Civil Justice Shortfall

The civil justice shortage is especially acute in California. As a legal aid attorney right after law school, I encountered hundreds of people slowly moving from one legal services project to another with the same issues. The recurring problem was program capacity. Staff attorneys reached full caseloads, projects offered fewer services to help more people, and funders carved programs to reflect their priorities. Even waves of talented and eager volunteers could expand an organization’s capacity only superficially, and only to a point.

I recall a monthly legal clinic I helped coordinate in Los Angeles. This clinic aimed to reduce an overwhelming and countywide need for immigration legal aid. The immigration attorneys who volunteered–I was not one of them–helped numerous lower-income Angelenos to understand and pursue their legal options. Limited capacity, however, left some clients on the waitlist for months. Those who persevered accessed expert immigration services for free. Those who dropped off the waitlist continued the long search for assistance or, worse, gave up.

For the clients who received assistance, legal help gave them their safety, jobs, family cohesion, dignity, and peace of mind; I could see happiness in their eyes. To me, this clinic exemplifies why finally eliminating the justice gap is worth our collective effort, resources, and ingenuity.

Transforming the Legal Services Sector through Innovation

As with all solvable problems, we should be optimistic! Our resourceful and morally ambitious society can overcome this justice shortfall. More funding is necessary, but for now, we can and should innovate additional ways to expand legal services for people who are lower-income.

[Photo: Legal Services Nonprofit leaders discussing trainings.]

Legal Services Nonprofit leaders discussing trainings.

OneJustice is already strengthening California’s legal services infrastructure to provide greater access to the legal system. In the Healthy Nonprofits Program (“HNP”), we are supplying nonprofit management consulting, legal technical support, and public policy advocacy to legal services organizations throughout the state.

Additionally, we help connect hundreds of public-interest-minded law students to nonprofit and government employers every year. We are invigorating legal nonprofits while enhancing the environment in which they operate—all so we can transform the legal services sector.

Individual attorneys will close the justice gap one client at a time. Several factors can coalesce to make that possible: additional funding, robust nonprofit management, public policies that value legal services organizations, and the gumption to innovate strategies that will solve one of the most stubborn justice crises of our time.

1 For more information about this civil justice gap, please see the Legal Services Corporation’s report titled Documenting the Justice Gap in America: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans


Chris_CROPPED

As a Staff Attorney in the Healthy Nonprofits Program, Chris helps guide legal services organizations on matters of nonprofit law and management. He also advocates for public policies that foster the growth of legal nonprofits and–through them–meaningful access to justice for all Californians. In this way, his work bolsters California’s infrastructure for civil legal assistance at the organizational and systemic levels. As part of his role, Chris provides legal support for OneJustice’s consulting and policy work. Additionally, he provides policy briefings and advocacy for OneJustice’s statewide community of legal services organizations.

 

Virtual pro bono: from theory to reality

We’ve been talking about virtual pro bono for years

It’s time to move from theory to reality!

Jenna Finkle, Pro Bono Justice Program Associate at OneJustice

Jenna Finkle, Pro Bono Justice Program Associate at OneJustice

Last month over 125 people gathered at the two Regional Pro Bono Meetings to discuss hot topics in pro bono in California and plan for continuing to expand pro bono services throughout the state.  Thank you to everyone who participated in these great conversations in Los Angeles (October 2nd) and San Francisco (October 28th)!

Both of the meetings had sessions that continued our community’s discussion about how to more strategically use technology to connect Californians facing pressing legal problems with pro bono resources in the private sector.  Thank you to the Pro Bono Project’s Virtual Legal Services Program for appearing – virtually – at both meetings to share their successful model.  This model is highly replicable – and we’re excited about the opportunities that exist to move this topic forward in a big way over the coming year.

Today’s guest blogger, our very own Jenna Finkle, reflects both on her work coordinating the Regional Meetings and her participation in our own virtual pro bono clinic earlier this year.  Thanks Jenna!

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Guest Blogger: Jenna Finkle, Pro Bono Justice Program Associate

NorCal Pro Bono Regional Meeting

Over 80 participants attended the Northern California Pro Bono Meeting – we almost couldn’t fit them into one photo!

As OneJustice’s Pro Bono Justice Program Associate, I help coordinate and administer OneJustice’s support work and pro bono convenings throughout California. During the two regional Pro Bono Meetings in October, I had the opportunity to meet in person many of the pro bono stakeholders I have been communicating with via email, phone, and webinar from my office in San Francisco.

Both of these daylong conferences included a robust discussion about how to make pro bono virtual by connecting three essential ingredients through video and online chat: the clients, the volunteers, and the legal services experts to supervise.

Virtual Pro Bono Session

Cameron Day of the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley appeared virtually at the Southern California Pro Bono Meeting to demo their virtual pro bono services.

Watching these two groups dig into the idea of virtual pro bono during the sessions, I immediately thought about my experience working on OneJustice’s first virtual clinic in April, 2014. The Justice Bus Project brought 15 University of San Francisco School of  Law students to a DACA clinic in Humboldt in March, 2013. Due to limited resources in 2014, the Justice Bus Project was unable to return to Humboldt County to provide desperately needed immigration services. However, students from Humboldt State’s student group, F.R.E.E. (Find Resources and Empowerment through Education), reached out to OneJustice and prompted our partnership and coordination of our first ever virtual clinic to help immigrants in Humboldt County gain access to free DACA and immigration assistance.

The dedication of this student group astounded me. They were already a group seen in their community as an organizing node and resource. Their advocacy helped provide free legal services that were desperately needed. In preparation for this clinic, they coordinated DACA information sessions and found a space for the clinic, and F.R.E.E. members served as interpreters and doubled as technological navigators for clients during their appointments. They were ultimately able to successfully bring DACA & immigration assistance to 15 members of their community.

Ann, clinic volunteer at the April 2014 virtual clinic.

Volunteers in San Francisco connected virtually with immigrant youth in Humboldt County during the April 2014 virtual pro bono clinic.

These community members were served by seven University of San Francisco School of Law students working under the expert supervision of attorneys from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. These students came into USF’s library on a Saturday, despite schoolwork, jobs, and their many other obligations, to provide much-needed services to folks up in Humboldt. The enthusiasm OneJustice saw from our community partners, volunteers, and clients clearly demonstrated the importance of bringing desperately needed legal services to rural and isolated communities.

In my 10 months at OneJustice, I have seen amazing collaborations across geographic areas and services, from community organizers to law schools to pro bono legal service providers. The folks present at the SoCal and NorCal Regional Meetings are key players in the many statewide efforts to build connections and provide services to help low-income, under-served Californians navigate a complex legal system. I was inspired at the Regional Meetings to see stakeholders’ dedication to create innovative ways to use technology to increase access to free legal assistance in rural areas.

I am excited that there will be new virtual pro bono pilot projects in the next year, and I look forward to bringing stakeholders back together to share best practices development and new ideas at the 2015 Pro Bono Conference, to be held in the fall of 2015 in Los Angeles.

Mark your calendars now for the California Pro Bono Conference – Fall 2015 (more details to come soon).  Our big dream?  That next year’s conversation will include a TON of new virtual pro bono pilots developed over the next 12 months!

7 fun facts about the farthest we’ve gone

They boarded the bus this morning

And will travel 706 miles before they return

In our March Justice contest, we asked you all to guess the number of miles a group of law student volunteers will travel over the course of the two-day Justice Bus Trip to bring free legal help to persons with disabilities in Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

The correct answer?  706 miles

Students from Pacific McGeorge School of Law boarded the Justice Bus this morning.

Students from Pacific McGeorge School of Law boarded the Justice Bus this morning.

And we are delighted to report that Karen Dwyer-Meadow won our March contest, with her closest guess of 728 miles.  Congratulations Karen!

And yep, you heard that right.

These amazing law students from Pacific McGeorge School of Law will spend their spring break traveling a total of 706 miles in their quest to bring life-changing legal help to residents of Humboldt and Del Norte counties.  Today they were at a Yurok Tribe building in Eureka (Humboldt County) providing free legal assistance on special education issues to nine families of children with disabilities.  Tomorrow morning they will get up and travel to Klamath (Del Norte County) and set up a free legal clinic for children and adults with disabilities – and then travel home to Sacramento.

We are also delighted to bring you 7 fun facts about these counties, which represent the farthest that Justice Bus have ever traveled!

  1. Number of prior Justice Bus Trips to these counties: 1 prior trip (in January of this year)
  2. Total hours of service that each student will perform during the trip: 8 hours (13 if you also count the hours they will spend in training on the areas of law)
  3. Percent of population living below the poverty level in Del Norte County: 21.5%  (compared to 15.3% for the state as a whole)
  4. Percent of population living below the poverty level in Humboldt County: 19.7
  5. Number of incorporated cities in Del Norte County: only 1 (Crescent City, with a total population of 7,394)
  6. Number of Justice Bus trips McGeorge students have gone on: 15 trips (This trip is the law school’s 16th!)
  7. Final Interesting Fact: Humboldt County contains eight Indian reservations within its borders. Only four other counties in the United States contain a greater number. And in fact, the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation (located in Del Norte County) is the largest in the state of California.
This family was all smiles after receiving help at the Justice Bus special education clinic today in Humboldt County.

This family was all smiles after receiving help at the Justice Bus special education clinic today in Humboldt County.

Thank you to Pacific McGeorge School of Law and their amazing law students who are willing to travel serious distance to make a difference for those in need.

Thank you all to all the amazing partners on this trip!  Huge thanks to Legal Services of Northern California and Disability Rights California for providing the expert supervising attorneys and the trainings for the law students.  Thank you to Chief Judge Abby Abinanti and all the amazing staff at the Yurok Tribal Court and the Yurok Tribe for their incredible partnership.

And a heartfelt thank you to the California Endowment and a group of generous donors for making this trip possible.  You are creating the change we all hope to see in the world.  Thank you!

To believe is power. Justice is power. This is justice.

Sometimes you get to be part of something really special.

That’s what happened when Mr. Salazar invited me into his home.

Last October, something really special happened to me.  I drove in the early morning from my home in Pacifica to a small town in the Central Valley – Firebaugh, California.  And there, I met Mr. Florentino Salazar, who invited me into his home.

Mr. Salazar in the Dave Brick Film for OneJustice

Click on the image above to view the 3-minute film Dave Brick created about the power of legal services.

You see, a couple of months earlier, OneJustice won an amazing contest run by Dave Brick of Brick Films.  Dave is an incredibly talented filmmaker (you can see his work on his website) – and he decided to provide a free film to a nonprofit as a way of giving back.  After 47 contest submissions and thousands of votes cast for the finalists, OneJustice was the contest winner – and the recipient of Dave’s generosity with his time, energy and expertise.  Working with Dave, we all decided that the best possible idea was a film that could be used by the entire legal services sector to relate the power of our work – through the lens of one client’s experience.  And with OneJustice’s focus on reaching isolated areas of the state, and Dave’s prior work for CRLA and PolicyLink documenting the needs of small unincorporated communities in rural areas, it was a no-brainer that we would focus on the Central Valley.

And so we worked with Chris Schneider and the dedicated team at Central California Legal Services, who introduced us to Mr. Salazar.  He agreed to meet with me, to hear more about the film idea, so I trundled off to Firebaugh.

And had my heart broken wide open.  As we sat around his kitchen table, Mr. Salazar was incredibly open with me about his experience.  He had worked his entire life to provide for his family.  Like many low-wage workers, they lived one pay period away from truly hard times.  And then came medical problems, surgery, and trouble making ends meet – followed by a terrible experience with a loan modification company whose unlawful practices brought Mr. Salazar and his family to the brink of losing their home.  Somehow they miraculously made it to Central California Legal Services – who stepped in, saved the home, and ultimately won an injunction that prohibited the company from continuing their illegal and predatory behavior.

Now I know that this story is repeated hundreds and thousands of times throughout California.  Legal services attorneys work miracles in family’s lives every day.  But sitting in Mr. Salazar’s modest and immaculate home, meeting his wife, sons and family members, hearing him describe the attorneys at Central California Legal Services as angels who came into his life – it reminded me what an honor and a privilege it is to do this work.

And so it seems particularly right to share this film with you all on Martin Luther King Jr. day.  Because I think Dr. King would have agreed with Mr. Salazar that “To believe is power.  Justice is power.  This is justice.”

(Click here or on the image above to watch the film.)

Join us in celebrating Bruce Ives on July 25!

Guess who spent over 14 hours on the Justice Bus to bring vital legal assistance to community groups in Delano, CA?

The OneJustice network will gather on July 25th to honor Bruce Ives

The OneJustice network will gather on July 25th to honor Bruce Ives

Bruce Ives, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Hewlett-Packard Company!

Now that takes real dedication!
And that dedication is just part of why OneJustice is so thrilled to be celebrating Bruce and his tremendous commitment to pro bono at our upcoming Opening Doors to Justice” eventWe hope you will also join the rest of the OneJustice network to celebrate on:
Thursday July 25th
6:oopm to 9:00pm
Tickets are now available at the Opening Doors to Justice website, where you can also preview the awesome silent auction items and make a donation to the Justice Bus.
In preparation for the July 25th event, we caught up with Bruce and posed some interview questions about his passion for justice.  We know you’ll be just as inspired by his responses as we were!
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Why have you committed so much of your professional career to working on access to justice?

I’m not sure where my interest in access to justice started.  Suspect I watched too many police shows as a kid and that part of the Miranda warnings about “… if you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you …” must have stuck.  Might also explain why my first job after law school was as a Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles.  I carried the interest with me as I worked on political campaigns and later with elected officials.   When I moved to the private sector one of the main reasons I chose HP was because of its long tradition of giving back.  The company remains a leader in Global Citizenship with a strong pro bono program that allows our legal team to partner with leaders in the non-profit sector like OneJustice.  This gives me, and all of my colleagues, real opportunities to act on our values and use our legal skills to help make a difference.  The ability to do that work continues to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job.  Maybe it’s the reward that really explains my interest in access to justice, but it’s probably those old cop shows.

Bruce Ives on the Justice Bus on the way to Delano, CA.

Bruce Ives on the Justice Bus on the way to Delano.

What is one particularly rewarding experience you have had in your work on access to justice?

There are many, but a real highlight was the Justice Bus trip I joined last summer.  We took a bunch of lawyers from HP and Morgan Lewis to the Central Valley on a trip organized by OneJustice.  We connected there with the Equal Justice Works Fellow that our firms co-sponsor and did a legal clinic for the community groups she was working with.  We met some amazing people, many who were getting involved for the first time to lead local efforts to bring healthy food, clean water and entrepreneurial opportunities to their families and neighbors.  For the HP and MLB lawyers the contrasts were striking, between the Silicon Valley and the Central Valley, and between our day jobs and our pro bono work.  Yet the most impressive part of the whole experience, and the most rewarding, was the chance to meet and help some real local heroes – homemakers, retired forklift operators, grandmothers – who were stepping up to improve their communities. We all returned inspired.

What is your favorite part of being a part of the OneJustice network?

The most amazing thing about the OneJustice network is the broad number of connections it provides to foster and sustain collective work.  One example – the diverse group of supporters it brought forth to support the Civil Gideon Pilot Project funding Bill that was moving through the California legislature in the middle of a terrible budget crisis.  Because of this coalition building effort the Bill was passed, and signed, against staggering odds.  And that effort has allowed other members of the OneJustice network to launch cutting edge legal services programs around the state utilizing Civil Gideon pilot grants.  OneJustice has a unique capacity, because of its range and credibility, to enable so many other partners to expand legal services for Californians in need.  It is impressive to watch a small and dedicated team have such a large impact, and it is very rewarding to join in and support their efforts.

Want a visual of Bruce on the Justice Bus?  Well, you’re in luck!  Equal Justice Works captured the day in a video about the trip, the volunteers, and the Equal Justice Works Fellows at the heart of it all.  Thanks to Equal Justice Works for allowing us to share the video here for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

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