OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Category Archives: Meet the OneJustice Team

Meet our summer law clerks! Part 2

OneJustice welcomes four new summer law clerks in its San Francisco office.

Welcome back! This week, we are welcoming four law clerks to the OneJustice network. Each year, summer law clerks join the team to assist with current projects and apply the skills they’ve learned in law school. Today, we’re excited to introduce you to the other two summer law clerks, Kyle and Chris! Please join us in welcoming them!


IMAGE: Summer Law Clerk Kyle Edgerton will be helping with the new Rural Immigrant Connect project.

Summer Law Clerk Kyle Edgerton will be helping with the new Rural Immigrant Connect project.

Welcome, Kyle! Tell us, what drew you to the work of OneJustice and what will you be responsible for at the organization? 

One assumption underlying our adversarial legal system is that both parties make it through the courthouse doors. However, millions of people in California and beyond are prevented from vindicating their rights because of systemic barriers unrelated to the merits of their claims. The challenges of “access to justice” are diverse and dynamic, but OneJustice’s work with a large coalition of legal aid programs positions it to confront those challenges in innovative ways, to develop and workshop solutions, and to disseminate its models so all communities can thrive.

I know the unparalleled satisfaction – and hair-pulling frustration – of direct-service work. Partnering with OneJustice exposes me to a new dimension of legal aid and challenges me to reinvent myself as an agent of social change operating at a different layer of the problem.

I will be part of a team continuing to test and iterate OneJustice’s new Rural Immigrant Connect project, which uses virtual technology to bridge the gap between urban-based pro bono attorneys and the Central Valley youth who need immigration representation. The project is off to an exciting start, and we are working to expand its reach and improve its function.

Thinking big-picture, I want to work with all segments of the legal profession to create – and fulfill – opportunities for pro bono service. A disturbingly small share of California attorneys are currently pitching in to shoulder the heavy burden of legal aid needs, and I want to learn more about the barriers and bottlenecks that create this shortfall so I can help to remove them.

Can’t wait to hear about your upcoming work! What did you do before coming to OneJustice? 

I just finished my first year at UC Davis School of Law (King Hall). Before starting law school, I was the Director of the Immigration Assistance Program at Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada for almost five years; That work was engaging, meaningful, and provided a great mix of direct service and some systemic work and advocacy. My journey toward becoming an attorney grew out of my growing recognition of how great the scope of unmet legal need is, and I am excited to mark OneJustice as a waypoint along that path.

We’re excited to be working with you too! And finally, tell us something quirky about you. 

My son, Asher, will turn 2 in September 2016. I think I’ll lose major Dad Points if I don’t list him as my number-one hobby. Other recent hobbies include homebrewing, a weekly short story club, and trying to build up a bicycle from scratch. In college, I took the Flag Football course for eight semesters in a row. (Seriously.)

IMAGE: Summer Law Clerk Chris Gordon will be assisting with the Justice Bus Project.

Summer Law Clerk Chris Gordon will be assisting with the Justice Bus Project.

And now, let’s welcome our last law clerk, Chris! Tell us, what drew you to OneJustice and what will you be doing here during the summer?

I was drawn to OneJustice’s focus on helping Californians in need by connecting rural communities with legal resources. Programs like the Justice Bus Project‘s expungement and housing clinics allow clients and their families to substantially improve their lives. Additionally, OneJustice’s commitment to forming lasting relationships with local organizations and communities is a major reason why I am excited to join this organization.

This summer, I will be working with Pro Bono Justice and the Justice Bus team to provide free legal services to underserved Californians; Groups such as California’s rural Asian Pacific Islander communities who are often not aware of beneficial legal programs or legal steps they may take. I hope to increase the availability of free legal resources within these communities.

Thank you for working on the Justice Bus Project — we look forward to hearing about your work! What did you do before coming to OneJustice?

I finished my first year of law school at the University of Michigan in May. Before attending law school, I volunteered as a teacher for homeless youth in Manila and worked as an educational consultant with students in Beijing.

Sounds like a great abroad experience! Last question: what is something quirky about you?

I attended a Cantonese elementary school here in San Francisco.

Thank you for joining us, Kyle & Chris — and welcome to the OneJustice network! We’re excited to have you all here this summer! 

P.S. Missed our other two law clerks, Grant and Erika? Click here to meet them!

Meet our summer law clerks! Part 1

Join us in welcoming Grant, Erika, Kyle, and Chris to the OneJustice team!

Each summer, we’re excited to have summer law clerks join the OneJustice team. These law clerks will be responsible for assisting with a variety of our Pro Bono Justice projects and will use their skills at mobile legal clinics. Please join us in welcoming the first two summer law clerks, Grant and Erika!


IMAGE: Summer Law Clerk Grant Lehner will be assisting with the Justice Bus Project.

Summer Law Clerk Grant Lehner will be assisting with the Justice Bus Project.

Welcome, Grant! Tell us, what drew you to the work of OneJustice and what will be you be working on?

I was initially drawn to OneJustice because of our desire to bring access to high-quality legal aid to everyone, not just those who can afford it. Justice doesn’t work if it’s only accessible to some. In order for a society to actually work, everyone has to be playing by the same rules, on the same field, and OneJustice’s desire to bring life-changing legal help to those individuals who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise helps balance out the scales of justice. This is something I absolutely love.

I’ll be working on the Justice Bus Project, assisting in the organization and implementation of clinics in rural parts of California. These are places where people almost never get to access lawyers, and I am extremely excited to help bring a little assistance into their lives.

Sounds like great work ahead! What were you up to before coming to OneJustice?

I currently go to school at Georgetown University Law Center (GULC), and have worked for a few environmental nonprofits during my gap. At GULC, I’ve helped with the International Migrant’s Bill of Rights, a submission to the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees. I have also helped folks with Special Immigrant Visas pass through the immigration process as part of the International Refugee Assistance Project.

Wow — both sound like very rewarding experiences! Finally, what’s something quirky about you?

In my spare time, I really enjoy sleeping on the ground in sleeping bags, and walking very long distances with a heavy backpack for no particular reason. I also love to slather rocks with white powder and fall off of them in dramatic fashion. Back in DC, I volunteer at Catalyst Climbing clinics, helping folks with various disabilities get up on the rock and kick some major boulder booty.

IMAGE: Summer Law Clerk Erika Villaseñor will be helping with Rural Justice Collaborative and the Justice Bus Project.

Summer Law Clerk Erika Villaseñor will be helping with Rural Justice Collaborative and the Justice Bus Project.

Thank you, Grant! And welcome, Erika! Why did you choose OneJustice for your summer clerkship? What will you be responsible for at the organization?

I was immediately drawn by OneJustice’s mission to increase access to high-quality legal services for individuals living in rural parts of California. As someone who grew up in the Central Valley, I understand the needs and share experiences with some of the underserved populations OneJustice serves. I am passionate about reforming both our immigration and criminal justice systems, so I look forward to being part of an organization that serves as an innovation lab and is currently working to transform the civil legal aid system.

As a Summer Law Clerk, I will be supporting the Pro Bono Justice Program in Northern California. I will have the opportunity to provide various types of legal assistance to Californians living in rural parts of the state through OneJustice’s Rural Justice Collaborative and the Justice Bus Project. I will be using the skills I learned during my first year of law school and my experiences to help make legal aid services more accessible to underserved and unserved populations.

Great to have you on the team! Tell us, what did you do before coming to OneJustice?

I am currently a rising 2L at University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). As a first year student, I was involved in the La Raza Workers’ and Tenants’ Rights Clinic at Centro Legal de La Raza in Oakland and the Immigrants’ Rights Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects. Prior to law school, I worked alongside community organizations, a state government representative, and grassroots organizations in Bakersfield.

And, final question: what is something quirky about you?

I love gummies! Sprouts Farmers Market has the best ones — 12 Flavor Gummi Bears.

Thank you so much for joining us this summer — we’re excited to have you aboard! 

Paving a path for a just life

OneJustice’s newly appointed Board Chair Jennifer Chaloemtiarana tells us about her work in providing a helping hand to fellow Californians. 

This week, we’re honored to introduce you to our recently appointed Chair of our Board of Directors, Jennifer Chaloemtiarana! She currently leads the legal function of Castlight Health as its General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, and has served on our Board of Directors for over 5 years. Thanks to our Board’s guidance, the OneJustice network is able to continue bringing help, hope, and justice to Californians in need.

We asked Jennifer to share with us a little bit about her new role and why equal access to justice is so important to her. Please join us in welcoming Jennifer!


IMAGE:Jennifer Chaloemtiarana, OneJustice Board of Directors Chair.

Jennifer Chaloemtiarana, OneJustice Board of Directors Chair.

Welcome, Jennifer! Tell us about how you became involved with OneJustice? What is your role as the new Board Chair?

I have always been involved in social service in some manner, including full time summer jobs in nonprofits serving low-income individuals all throughout college and then significant levels of volunteering as I entered the workforce. As a lawyer, I kept this connection through active pro bono work supported by the law firm I worked for. When I went in-house, pro bono work became harder to incorporate into my work life. I had become familiar with the work that OneJustice does through colleagues and friends, and the approach and business model of the organization really appealed to me. I attended several Opening Doors to Justice events before engaging with Julia Wilson, the CEO, about coming onto the Board. It was just the right fit at just the right time.

I have been so pleased to be on the Board with so many smart, motivated people. I just completed a term as a member of the Governance & Nominating Committee and then moved into the Board Chair role. At a high level, my role as chair is two-fold. One function is to lead the Board in making sure that the organization’s actions are in line with its mission and that the organization is appropriately managing the assets to which it is entrusted. Secondly, my role is to provide resources and assistance to management. Are there tools, skills, or knowledge that they might need that the Board can provide? How can the Board be an extension of staff in promoting the goals of the organization? There are a lot of sub-parts to each of those primary functions, and fortunately, OneJustice has a very engaged Board and skilled staff that make the work seem easy.

Thank you for all of your hard work and support, Jennifer! We look forward to working with you as our Board Chair! Can you now tell us why you support OneJustice? 

The level of unmet need for legal resources and access to justice in the state of California is overwhelming. There is only 1 lawyer for every 351 low-income persons in the state, and only 100 legal aid organizations in California. There is just no way for all of the needed legal services to be provided. OneJustice does so many things to fill in those gaps, including linking law firms and law students to legal aid organizations which expands their reach without stretching their limited resources, providing training and tools so that the organizations can do more with less, and serving as a center for innovation and ideas to move the entire legal aid industry forward to do more, better, and faster. The unique set of strategic services that OneJustice provides really appeals to me as a business lawyer. And the “prize” is really worth going for: if we could level out the playing field for the 8 million low-income individuals in California, think about how the quality of life for our entire state would be lifted!

We couldn’t agree more! Every individual should have access to legal help. Finally, what does justice mean to you? Why is equal access to justice so important? 

One of my favorite quotes comes from Cornel West: “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” We have all experienced it, that moment where we put aside our own troubles, challenges, and prejudices and reached out to another person, whether friend or stranger, offering our hand for no other reason than simply being available when help was needed. To me, justice is what happens in that moment, when we recognize that we are all equally worthy of a chance to simply live a satisfied life. Legal barriers can be especially daunting and can compound other challenges that low-income individuals may be facing. Lawyers are uniquely equipped to help remove those barriers; we can pave that path to a satisfied life. It is our honor, opportunity, and responsibility to provide a helping hand to fellow Californians.

Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us, Jennifer! We can’t wait to see how you lead our Board and organization!

DACA has helped me in ways I’ll never forget

DreamSF Fellow tells us about his time at OneJustice and his experience as a DACA recipient.

We’re excited to have Miguel, our DreamSF Fellow and Communications Intern, give us an inside view on his current work and his goals for the future before he leaves OneJustice. We have been so fortunate to have had Miguel on the OneJustice Team, and he will be sorely missed! So before he leaves, we wanted to pick his brain one last time!

Join us in bidding Miguel a heartfelt farewell!


Thank you so much, Miguel, for joining us for this quick Q&A! Tell us about your work at OneJustice, why did you choose OneJustice as your host site?

IMAGE: Miguel Castillo, DreamSF Fellow and Communications Intern at OneJustice.

Miguel Castillo, DreamSF Fellow and Communications Intern at OneJustice.

For my DreamSF Fellowship, I chose to work for OneJustice, because I believe in the work and the change OneJustice is so bold to take on. Since September of 2015, I have helped out the Pro Bono Justice Program (PBJ) and the Development and Communications team. For the PBJ program, I helped with outreach for upcoming Justice Bus Project and Rural Justice Collaborative clinics and clinic logistics like, signing up clients, making sure they have the right paperwork for the clinic, and translating legal documents into Spanish. During clinics, I would help greet and sit clients down with a pro bono volunteer as well as interpret in Spanish for clients.

In my role with the Development and Communications team, I used my graphic design skills to help with the creation of the upcoming new website and interactive clinic map, plus I designed flyers and a brochure for OneJustice. In addition, I would take professional pictures at clinics for communication purposes and would help with social media.

We’re so grateful to have had a Fellow like you — you’ve been a crucial part of our team over the past months! Can you explain to folks what the DreamSF Fellowship is? How has it helped you with your career goals?

The DreamSF Fellowship is a paid internship exclusively for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. Fellows get placed at a nonprofit organization in San Francisco serving the immigrant community. By training and preparing DACA recipients, the DreamSF Fellowship serves as a gateway to the professional workforce. It has provided me with professional work experience and skills that will help me with my career goals. It has also given me a wide network of people that I can reach out to and count on. The Fellowship has given me hope that I can succeed in a world that is not always welcoming. It is important that programs like the DreamSF Fellowship continue to serve and empower underprivileged communities and provide opportunities to youth.

It definitely sounds like Fellowships such as the DreamSF Fellowship are opening doors for individuals! Tell us how DACA has helped you on your journey towards achieving your goals.

I immigrated to the United States when I was three years old and grew up in Santa Barbara, CA. My family decided to come to the US due to economic hardship and lack of opportunity in their home country. Before DACA, I was limited and barred from most opportunities that people would not think twice about. For example, DACA allowed me to get an Identification Card, a Driver’s License, and allowed me to obtain a job — all things that most people my age have access to. If I could summarize DACA with one word, it would be opportunity. It has allowed me to travel, go to college, and feel somewhat normal in society. I now have more control over my life and where I would like to go and who I would like to become.

IMAGE: Miguel presenting a proposal for the creation of an Undocumented/AB540 Student Resource Center to the Board of Associated Students at San Francisco State University.

Miguel presenting a proposal for the creation of an Undocumented/AB540 Student Resource Center to the Board of Associated Students at San Francisco State University.

Although DACA is an amazing opportunity and achievement, it is not enough. Families are still getting torn apart and getting abused and taken advantage of in the workforce. Due to my immigration status, I have become a big activist in my community for Immigrant rights. As a result of my activism and advocacy for immigrants, I have been at the forefront of establishing an Undocumented/AB540 Student Resource Center at San Francisco State University. The Resource Center will provide resources to over 650 students at the University who identify as Undocumented or AB540. Currently, there is a resource gap that undocumented students face while at school. This population of students do not have access to Federal Student Aid, loans, and most scholarships, and do not have access to a central location where they can receive help with resources they do qualify for. The creation of this resource at San Francisco State University is one of my biggest dreams and goals.

Sounds like great work ahead — we can’t wait to hear about what you do in the near future! How would you say free legal services have helped DACA applicants?

Legal forms and the English language can be obstacles for DACA-eligible people, but free legal services help this specific population with their applications, giving them access to new opportunities. With this new eligibility, DACA recipients can join the workforce and contribute to society, proving how the country can benefit from immigrants. I believe DACA will play in important role in immigration, because it is the start of something bigger, like immigration reform. 

We couldn’t agree more on the importance of programs like DACA and DAPA, and we are grateful for our partners, supporters, and volunteers for bringing justice to those who need it most.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Miguel! We will miss you! We know you will achieve everything you’ve set your mind to! 


To keep updated on Miguel’s current endeavors and projects, follow him on Behance, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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!

Namaste, Justice Bus riders!

OneJustice welcomes Elinor Rushforth, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow and yoga teacher, to the team!

Before our Justice Bus Project ramps up to full speed this spring, we asked Elinor to tell us more about herself and the work that she will be doing at OneJustice’s Los Angeles office!

Please join us in welcoming Elinor!


Photo: Elinor Rushforth, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow

Elinor Rushforth, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow

Elinor, thank you so much for taking some time to chat with us! Tell us, what drew you to the work of OneJustice?

OneJustice provides a unique perspective in the nonprofit world and has been instrumental in bridging the justice gap between legal services providers and people in isolated, rural communities. It’s an organization that responds to its diverse partners with down-to-earth, yet innovative solutions to create an educated and empowered community of lawyers, law students, and community partners. I believe this holistic approach leads to more engaged service providers and helps build trust with our clients. I’m a passionate public servant, and it’s an incredible opportunity to be working with such inspiring people!

We couldn’t agree more! What is your focus at the organization, and what do you hope to achieve during your Fellowship?

While serving as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, my primary focus will be on the Justice Bus Project in Southern California. Through this project, I will be able to connect legal experts to clients with unmet legal needs in isolated, rural areas. By drawing on the breadth of institutional knowledge at OneJustice, my experience working with veterans and other underserved populations, and the commitment of SoCal’s pro bono attorneys and law students, I hope to grow our program by focusing on relationship and community building throughout the region.

We look forward to seeing the project grow! What did you do before coming to OneJustice?

I served as an advocate for veterans in veteran treatment courts which helped me narrow my focus in on providing services for low-income or otherwise isolated clients. I also have experience on the policy side working on voter outreach and women’s rights issues. As a native of the Southwest, immigration and trafficking issues intersected with almost every case I worked on and showed me how limited comprehensive legal assistance actually is. I am so excited to be a part of OneJustice and the Justice Bus team!

We’re excited to have you on the team! One more question: what is something quirky about you?

I am a yoga teacher and will probably annoy you about yoga within five minutes of meeting you. It changed my entire world after a serious injury, and I think everyone can benefit from a little time on the mat! Namast-yay!

Thank you so much, Elinor – and a very warm welcome to the OneJustice team!

Trick or Treat

This All Hallows’ Eve, the OneJustice staff dressed up for treats!

The OneJustice offices brought to life some of their favorite characters! We had a queen, a traveling doctor, a legendary Wookiee warrior, some fictional movie characters, and a bat! Every year, we vote on the best costume and this year’s contest goes to…

  • First place in San Francisco: Frida Kahlo (a.k.a Sandra Hernandez, Program Associate for the Pro Bono Justice Program).
  • First place in Los Angeles: the 4th Doctor from Doctor Who (a.k.a Patrick Fodell, Training Institute Coordinator for the California Pro Bono Training Institute).
  • Second place: Jurassic World’s Owen Grady (a.k.a Chris McConkey, Staff Attorney for the Healthy Nonprofits Program) and one of his four Velociraptors (a.k.a honorary team member)!

Congratulations to our winners! Check out the photo montage below for a peak at all the awesome costumes! 

Wishing you a very Happy (and spook-tacular) Halloween!

Photo: OneJustice Staff

2 new Fellows aboard the Justice Bus

OneJustice welcomes 2 new Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows to the team!

This National Pro Bono Week, we’re proud to celebrate all of our pro bono volunteers, who care deeply about bringing justice where it’s needed most. We also wanted to take this moment to introduce you all to two special people who also care about access to free legal assistance, Marian Lee and Maureen Slack.

Marian and Maureen are OneJustice’s new Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows for the Justice Bus Project, which mobilizes pro bono resources to bring free legal assistance to low-income Californians across the state. We’ve asked Maureen and Marian to share with you all a bit about themselves and the work they will be doing at OneJustice.

Please join us in welcoming these two new members!


Welcome Marian! Tell us, what drew you to the work of OneJustice?

Photo: Marian Lee is the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow for the Justice Bus Project at OneJustice's Los Angeles office.

Marian Lee is the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow for the Justice Bus Project at OneJustice’s Los Angeles office.

I was drawn to OneJustice because of our commitment to leveraging the underutilized talent and passion for public service that already exists in the legal community to help the most vulnerable Californians. Throughout my career, I’ve always committed extensive time to pro bono work, so I’m so excited to encourage and enable other attorneys to do the same through the Justice Bus program.

The Justice Bus Project offers such a logical solution to a complex problem in California – most attorneys live in urban areas, whereas so many low-income and underserved populations do not. OneJustice plays a unique role in helping to close this justice gap by collaborating with law schools, a variety of nonprofits, and attorneys in both public and private practice.

We’re excited to see where the Justice Bus is headed next! What will your role be in this project?

As an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, I’ll be responsible for the Justice Bus Project in Southern California. I’m charged with mobilizing pro bono attorneys and law students from urban areas to assist rural and isolated communities out of our Los Angeles office. I hope to expand the Justice Bus program by creating new partnerships with legal services providers and community based organizations in Southern California.

Sounds like great work! What did you do before coming to OneJustice? 

I started my legal career in private practice as a real estate and real estate finance attorney, where I represented developers and lenders. Most recently, I developed programs for 3Ls and international students as an Assistant Director at a law school in Northern California. It’s great to return to L.A. to start my public interest career and reconnect with local attorneys while continuing to work with law students!

Those are wonderful experiences! What is something quirky about you?

I have a healthy fear of heights but love skiing! I went from tumbling down the bunny slopes to doing blue runs in a couple of seasons. My goal is to one day finish an entire black diamond course in one piece!

Photo: Maureen Slack, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow for the Justice Bus Project at OneJustice's San Francisco office.

Maureen Slack is the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow for the Justice Bus Project at OneJustice’s San Francisco office.

Thank you, Marian! Your turn, Maureen! What inspired you to join OneJustice?

OneJustice’s goal of tapping into rural and low-income communities in need provides a great opportunity to examine, and hopefully address, the ways that the legal system underserves certain geographic and socioeconomic populations. Also, connecting with local community and legal organizations to facilitate this goal is really inspiring and rewarding.

Tells us more about your role — what kind of things will you be doing?

I’ll be working on the Justice Bus Project in Northern California, as the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. In addition to planning and executing one-day legal clinics throughout Northern California, I hope to successfully connect clients in rural communities to meaningful social and legal services assistance, both during the one-day clinics and beyond.

We can’t wait to hear about these clinics in the upcoming months! What were you up to before coming to OneJustice?

An East Coast native, I grew up in New Jersey and then went to NYU for undergrad. After graduation, I hung around New York for a year as a paralegal at a union-side labor law firm, before heading to Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, I prioritized exploring as many different public advocacy fields as possible, including civil rights, asylum, and eviction law. I’m excited that the Justice Bus Project will allow me to continue exploring different legal areas.

Sound like an exciting adventure aboard the Justice Bus! One last question: what’s something you really love?

I love exploring new cities. My new move to San Francisco means I get to fully indulge my love of comfortable sweaters and affordable avocados.

Thank you so much for joining us, Maureen and Marian! We look forward to hearing about the upcoming Justice Bus trips!

A BIG thank you to our wonderful and committed volunteers who make all the difference for veterans, seniors, families, and children! You are all truly inspiring! Happy National Pro Bono Week!


The Justice Bus Project takes teams of attorney and law student volunteers from urban areas to set up free legal clinics for low-income Californians living in rural and isolated communities.  These clinics provide life-changing legal assistance to low-income veterans, vulnerable seniors, children with disabilities, low-wage workers, immigrant youth, and families. Learn more about this project in the video below!

Meet our Expert Dancer and Tae Kwon Do Master

OneJustice welcomes its newest members, DreamSF Fellow Miguel Castillo and Pro Bono Justice Program Intern Brandon Marquez.

Our busy fall season is in full swing for the Rural Justice Collaborative project and the Justice Bus Project! With our clinics filling up and phones ringing off the hook, we welcome Miguel and Brandon to the team to bring legal help where its needed most. We asked them to share with us a little about themselves and their upcoming work during this busy season.

Please welcome Miguel and Brandon!


Miguel, tell us what drew you to the work of OneJustice? 

[Photo: As a DreamSF Fellow, Miguel Castillo assist in outreach efforts for the Justice Bus Project and the Rural Justice Collaborative.]

As a DreamSF Fellow, Miguel Castillo assists in outreach efforts for the Justice Bus Project and the Rural Justice Collaborative.

The way OneJustice travels all over northern California with pro bono attorneys to rural areas and provides legal assistance to low-income underrepresented communities is what drew me to work at such a respected and amazing nonprofit. As an immigrant and a DreamSF Fellow (the DreamSF Fellowship is for DACA-approved youth to serve San Francisco’s immigrant communities while gaining valuable professional experienc), I hope that by working for OneJustice I can bring more access to legal aid to the immigrant communities that need it the most.

That’s so inspiring, Miguel! What will you be responsible for at OneJustice – and what do you hope to achieve?

As a Senior DreamSF Fellow, I help the Rural Justice Collaborative and the Justice Bus projects organize clinics and do outreach efforts. During the clinics, I mainly serve as a Spanish interpreter and support the staff on-site. I also help the Development team with communication tasks, such as website maintenance/creation and flyers. I hope to utilize my skills in visual communication and help OneJustice move forward with their social media, website, and posters/flyers.

It sounds like great work ahead for you! What did you do before working for OneJustice? 

Before working for OneJustice, I served as the Administrative Assistant at another nonprofit organization in San Francisco, Legal Services for Children (LSC). As their Administrative Assistant, I mainly helped the Development team with administrative tasks such as scanning, court filing, translating documents, interpreting, outreach, and mailing. I also helped them with their communication efforts by running their social media accounts, website maintenance, and flyer creation.

Last thing, what is something quirky about you?

On my spare time, I love to go dancing or dance in general. I dance most Latin dances pretty well and I will dance to any kind of music. Also, I will dance anywhere if I get the urge, no problem at all!

Great answers, Miguel! And Brandon, how did OneJustice appeal to you? 

[Photo: As the Pro Bono Justice Program Intern, Brandon Marquez assists in outreach efforts for the Justice Bus Project and the Rural Justice Collaborative, which bring legal help to the Bay Area and around the state of California.]

As the Pro Bono Justice Program Intern, Brandon Marquez assists in outreach efforts for the Justice Bus Project, which brings legal help around the state of California.

Growing up in a rural area and then having the opportunity to pursue my career has motivated me to work in the legal field as a way to benefit others who may not be able to have the same opportunities as I have been privileged with. That is why I chose OneJustice–its main focus are low-income Californian residents. My passion to help my community is one of the many reasons OneJustice appealed to me in giving back to others. Its this kind of work that gives me a drive to do my best in whatever I am assigned to help with.

Tell us about the work you’ll be doing at the organization.

One of my main responsibilities is reaching out to communities and organizations where OneJustice will be hosting free legal clinics as part of the Justice Bus Project in Northern California. It is great to be sharing OneJustice organized opportunities in which we assist families and individuals in times of hardship.

We’re so appreciative of your hard work, Brandon! What were you up to before coming to OneJustice? 

This summer, I worked for an immigration law firm in Madrid, Spain. My daily routine was interacting with consulates from many countries in Central and South America. I had the opportunity to intern for the Monterey County Public Defender’s Office. At the Public Defender’s Office, I would help clients prepare for trial, or would initiate pretrial preparation for attorneys. I would also meet with clients in county jail, and then give our attorneys new case information.

And share with us something about you that isn’t work related! 

A secret talent I don’t tell many about is that I have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Also, some of my favorite hobbies are going to concerts, listening to music, and traveling.

Thank you, Miguel and Brandon, for joining us for this Q&A! We’re so grateful to have you on our team and we’re excited to see your work ahead!

Departing Fellow reflects on social justice

OneJustice’s Megan Kent shares how human stories inspired a lifelong passion.

With her Fellowship coming to an end, we invited Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, to share with us her inspiration for becoming a public interest attorney.

We are so fortunate to have Megan as our Justice Bus Project coordinator in Southern California. Thanks to her leadership and coordination, 231 clients have received life-changing legal help!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Guest Blogger: Megan Kent, OneJustice Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow

[Photo: Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, at an IMPACT LA with volunteer attorneys.]

Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, at an IMPACT LA with volunteer attorneys.

What drove me to start my career as a public interest attorney? It’s simple – social justice.

Prior to law school, I served as a social worker and educator committed to social justice advocacy. The people I met – their stories – were humbling and inspiring. I witnessed firsthand the effects of generational poverty, mental illness, and social isolation on an abused six-month old.  I also saw the child’s mother successfully battle a meth addiction and thereafter pull herself and her child out of poverty. I watched as depressed and isolated mothers gathered together for our weekly support groups, battling the effects of mental illness while simultaneously strengthening their attachment with their newborns.

Later, I advocated on behalf of a 22-year-old survivor of human trafficking whose condition had become so severe that he had to use a walker. He suffered from a severe neurological disorder that developed from the modern-day slave-like conditions under which he was forced to work. After receiving a visa granted to victims of human trafficking, he was able to receive an experimental surgery he needed to overcome the effects of his illness.

These people – their stories – inspired me to start my career as a public interest attorney. By serving in this capacity, I continue advocating for social justice causes, and continue addressing challenges affecting marginalized individuals and their families. At the same time, I can more effectively address systemic issues (like anti-poverty policies, racial injustice, and immigration laws) that affect marginalized individuals’ ability to thrive and succeed in our county.

My inspiring colleagues at OneJustice and I are able to do just that. Through projects like the Justice Bus, we’ve implemented innovative strategies to address systemic issues that affect low-income and underserved populations. Marginalized veterans, immigrants, seniors, and families throughout California are able to access quality legal services to address problems they face – services they likely would not access without our programs.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

[Photo: Megan Kent, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow.]Our guest author, Megan Kent, is an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow and member of the national Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps. At OneJustice, she runs the Justice Bus Project in Southern California, bringing life-changing legal assistance to low-income Californians in rural and isolated communities.

%d bloggers like this: