OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Tag Archives: Opening Doors to Justice

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.

Are you ready to open doors to justice this Thursday?

2016 ODJ Can't Attend Image

We can’t wait to see you this Thursday! Can’t attend? We’ll miss you, but you can still bid on auction items and donate! Take a sneak peek at some of this year’s auction items. Bidding opens on June 22 at noon.

IMAGE: Giants vs. Mets Tickets
IMAGE: Boyz II Men Concert
IMAGE: Arts & Fine Dining in the City
IMAGE: Schramsberg Vineyards of Calistoga
IMAGE: Escape to St. Lucia
IMAGE: Raiders VS. Colts Tickets

 

Check out these items and more at bidpal.net/OneJustice.

For any event queries, please contact Stephanie Hernandez at shernandez@one-justice.org

Helping others who cannot help themselves

Join us as we honor Suk Lee at this year’s Opening Doors to Justice event!

We’re about a month away from this year’s annual event! Each year, the OneJustice network meets to honor extraordinary individuals who are committed to advancing access to justice and have brought help, hope, and justice to individuals in need. Last week, we introduced you to Chris Schneider, now we’d love you to meet Suk Lee — Senior Counsel at Electronic Arts Inc., who is also one of our honorees this year!

We asked Suk to tell us more about himself and what justice means to him. Please join us in welcoming our second honoree, Suk!


Suk Lee_Honoree ImageThank you for joining us, Suk! Tell us, what does “justice” mean to you?

I think “justice” means helping others who cannot help themselves. As lawyers, we are especially qualified to provide that help. I believe that we have an inherent duty to use our skill set for pro bono service. As an in-house lawyer for almost 10 years, I’ve always had an interest in pro bono work, but wasn’t sure how or where to start. I’ve served as co-chair of the Pro Bono Committee for ACC-SFBA (San Francisco Bay Area’s Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel) for the past three years, helping to coordinate (and participating in) pro bono opportunities for Bay Area in-house attorneys. It has been a professionally and personally fulfilling experience helping those with limited means and working with wonderful organizations, like OneJustice.

Folks like you really make pro bono opportunities possible — we can’t thank you enough! What is one particularly rewarding experience you have been involved with?

In 2015, I participated in two Justice Bus events, the first to Greenfield in Monterey County and the second to Modesto. For both trips, we assisted applicants with their DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and citizenship papers. Getting on a bus and visiting a rural community was a new experience for me. I grew up in urban areas, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to a farming community. I was amazed at how something as simple as helping someone complete an application form could have a significant impact on people’s lives. This was an important part of their ability to work and support their families. It was particularly meaningful to me, because I vividly recall my parents going through the citizenship process when I was 11 years old.

We couldn’t agree more! Just one document has the ability to transform someone’s life. Now, tell us more about how you became involved with OneJustice?

In 2014, I attended the Opening Doors to Justice event, and Julia Wilson’s words about the disparity in legal services in rural communities stuck with me. Later that year, my colleague Pamela Ostroff and I started an initiative to make pro bono an integral part of Electronic Arts culture and identity, and a Justice Bus trip was an ideal pro bono opportunity to kick off our initiative. Because volunteers were not required to be attorneys, all members of the Electronic Arts legal department were able to participate and contribute. The great first pro bono experience inspired participants to volunteer again. We had our third Justice Bus trip in May 2016, with many repeat volunteers. I expect that Justice Bus trips will become a regular part of Electronic Arts’ pro bono activities.

IMAGE: Suk Lee and Justin Aragon, with their client at the Greenfield Immigration Justice Bus clinic.

Suk Lee and Justin Aragon, with their client at the Greenfield Immigration Justice Bus clinic.

That’s wonderful to hear — and we’re very excited about EA’s upcoming Justice Bus trip to Tracy! Last but not least, who is your favorite social justice hero and why?

My heroes are all the volunteers who take the plunge for the first time to do pro bono work. There is a certain amount of anxiety and apprehension you have to overcome to go outside of your comfort zone, both literally and figuratively. Often, you are helping in a substantive area of law that is outside of your field of expertise or training. I admire and appreciate those that make the commitment to pro bono, and in doing so, inspire others to get involved.

Thank you, Suk, for your commitment to bringing justice to those who need it most!

Folks, remember to mark your calendars for this year’s event!

IMAGE: 2016 Opening Doors to Justice event on June 23, 2016 at The Julia Morgan Ballroom in downtown San Francisco.

My heroes are the unsung participants of social justice movements

Join us as we celebrate Chris Schneider at this year’s Opening Doors to Justice event!

We can’t believe it’s already May! This month, we’re excited to introduce you to both of this year’s Opening Doors to Justice event honorees, Chris Schneider and Suk Lee! Each year, the OneJustice network comes together to honor individuals who have brought help, hope, and justice to Californians in need, and who are committed to advancing access to justice.

We asked Chris to tell us more about himself and his work over the past few years. We’re honored to recognize Chris for his efforts to increase legal services in the Central Valley. Please join us in welcoming our first honoree, Chris!


IMAGE: 2016 Opening Doors to Justice Honoree: Chris Schneider, Fresno Attorney & former Executive Director at Central California Legal Services, Inc.

Thank you for joining us today, Chris! Tell us, what does “justice” mean to you?

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of justice as love in action. I view the social justice movements that I have been privileged to work with, both inside and outside of legal services, to be just that.

We couldn’t agree more, and that’s also one of our favorite quotes! Why have you committed your time increasing access to civil legal services?

On my parents’ 19th wedding anniversary, they lost their home to the bank. At age ten, I learned how the law too often works against hard working, low-income families, especially if they don’t have access to an attorney to help them. My eight brothers and sisters and I were taken in by friends and relatives while my parents struggled mightily over the next few months to find a new home and eventually reunite the family. By pure coincidence, 20 years to the day after our family became homeless, I was sworn in as an attorney. In my comments at the swearing in ceremony, I told my parents that obviously I could not do anything about what happened to them twenty years earlier, but I promised to them, and all my colleagues there from the United Farm Workers, that I would fight like hell when I saw injustices heaped upon my clients.

Before coming to work in a legal services program, I was generally aware of the insufficiency of resources for legal aid programs. My work at California Rural Legal Assistance and Central California Legal Services (CCLS) made me woefully cognizant of how great that insufficiency is, especially in rural areas.  As a result, injustice runs rampant as employers, slumlords, and others take advantage of people knowing that the likelihood of them being able to find an attorney is minimal. Undocumented individuals are especially vulnerable in areas where the only legal aid programs have federal funding restrictions which prevent them from assisting.

Access to civil legal services is an important, and often, essential tool for disenfranchised individuals and communities. But due to the lack of resources, increasingly more and more families facing homelessness, women and children seeking to escape family violence, elders enduring abuse, people wrongfully denied health coverage by their insurers, children improperly expelled from school and at risk of being swallowed up into the prison pipeline, communities seeking basic services like safe drinking water, workers who have been robbed of their wages, in short, the most vulnerable in our society, are denied their day in court or go to court unrepresented, because legal services programs are overwhelmed.

Your journey is truly inspiring! Can you tell us about one particularly rewarding experience you’ve encountered over the years?

Choosing just one is extremely difficult. Over the decades, I have had the good fortune to witness numerous important victories for our client communities. In March of 2000, CCLS issued a study entitled “Suffering in the Pastures of Plenty: Experiences of H-2A Sheepherders in California’s Central Valley.” The report exposed how sheepherders were exempt from federal and state protective labor laws, thereby making this treatment legal.

Worse, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), through improperly implemented regulations, sanctioned many of the deplorable conditions and set the wages. Media reporting on the study caught the attention of many. Within a year, even with tremendous opposition from powerful agribusiness organizations, California passed the first protective labor law legislation for sheepherders anywhere in the United States and significantly increased their wages. Other legal aid organizations across the country began to take on the issue. Late last year, the improperly implemented DoL regulations were finally replaced and sheepherders nationwide gained wage increases and some minimal protections. There is still far to go, however.

IMAGE: Chris with fellow Executive Fellows at one of their sessions in 2012.

Chris with fellow Executive Fellows at one of their sessions in 2012.

Wow, sounds like a significant win! Can you now tell us how you became involved with OneJustice?

Shortly after I began at CCLS, I had the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC). At that time, LAAC was staffed by the then Executive Director of the Public Interest Clearinghouse (PIC), Nancy Strohl. PIC was the predecessor organization to OneJustice. I worked with PIC and OneJustice on numerous projects over the years and was lucky enough to be selected to participate in the Executive Fellowship Program in 2012.

And finally, who is your favorite social justice hero, and why?

While I am inspired by the strategies, tactics, commitment, and vision of well-known leaders such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez, my favorite social justice heroes are those who, for the most part, are not named in the history books or not known much beyond their own families and friends. My heroes are the unsung participants of social justice movements who overcame fear and took great personal risks: the Indian Salt March participants beaten by the police; the men and women of Montgomery who walked to and from work, no matter how tired they were; students hosed down when they marched; farm workers who left their jobs and traveled across the country to urge consumers to boycott grapes and lettuce. Without tens of thousands of people who have been willing to take such risks, Gandhi, King and Chavez and so many others hailed for their leadership would be unknown.

Thank you so much for your time, Chris! We can’t wait to celebrate you on June 23rd!

Folks, if you haven’t already done so, mark your calendars today:

2016 Opening Doors to Justice Newsletter Image2

Justice is what love looks like in public

OneJustice’s Board Chair Max Ochoa tells us about his love for justice.

We’re so excited to feature our Board Chair Max Ochoa this week! Max has served on our Board of Directors for over 7 years. Under Max’s leadership, our Board won the 2013 Prudential Leadership Award for Exceptional Nonprofit Boards, an award that honors the innovative and transformative work that nonprofit boards are doing to help position their organizations for success.

Thanks to his guidance and the incredible work and support of our Board of Directors, OneJustice can continue our commitment to equal access to high-quality civil legal aid. We asked Max to share with us a little bit about himself and what justice means to him.

Please join us in welcoming Max!


Photo: Max Ochoa, OneJustice Board of Directors Chair.

Max Ochoa, OneJustice Board of Directors Chair.

Thank you for joining us, Max! Tell us about yourself. How did you become involved with the organization?

I am the General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer for Turn Inc., an advertising technology company based in Redwood City, CA. I’m also the proud father of two great kids, Catherine and Alex, and the lucky spouse to my wife, Julie.

I have been a proud member of the OneJustice Board since 2008. When I joined, I was a decade out of law school and had spent several years as in-house counsel for small technology companies. Working for small tech companies is great, but it isn’t always easy to find pro bono opportunities. I had been heavily involved in pro bono efforts at my law firm prior to going in-house, and I sorely missed the opportunity to serve.

Tell us why do you support OneJustice? Why is this organization important to you? 

I joined OneJustice because I believe in the mission of increasing access to justice for California’s underserved. When poor, underprivileged, and disenfranchised people need the protection of the legal system, too often they are left to fend for themselves, with predictably unfair and life-shaking results. OneJustice works to ensure timely, free access to a lawyer whose help can make all the difference. That work is as important today as ever.

Max, we can’t thank you enough for your leadership — you inspire us! Why does justice matter? What is it?  Why is it a part of our name? 

Justice is fairness, justice is equal treatment under the law, justice is timely and affordable access to legal aid, justice is looking out for the oppressed. As Dr. Cornel West has observed, justice is what love looks like in public.

Photo: From left to right: Kathryn Fritz, OneJustice Board Chair Max Ochoa, Claire Solot, Martin Tannenbaum, and OneJustice Chief Executive Officer Julia Wilson at this year's Opening Doors to Justice event.

From left to right: Kathryn Fritz, OneJustice Board Chair Max Ochoa, Claire Solot, Martin Tannenbaum, and OneJustice Chief Executive Officer Julia Wilson at this year’s Opening Doors to Justice event.

For OneJustice, the mission is furthered by strengthening the legal system’s ability to deliver life-changing legal services when and where they are needed. We do this by training the leaders of legal services organizations throughout the state, making them more effective. We do it by putting attorneys where they are needed via efforts like the Justice Bus Project. And we’ll continue to do so by innovating and deploying talent, people, and technology where it’s needed most.

OneJustice fills a need in my life, in your life, and in the life of a just society. I’m proud to serve OneJustice and to support its work with my time and my money.  Join us.

Thank you so much, Max, for your leadership! 


This fall, the OneJustice Board of Directors has challenged our network to raise $50,000 before December 31st. Join us by making a donation today, and your gift will be matched by the Board, dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000! That’s right – together we can bring $100,000 of free legal assistance to Californians in need!

 

Have you met this consultant, educator, and philanthropist?

Celebrate Martin Tannenbaum with us

For his incredible work in strengthening the legal services sector

Martin Tannenbaum, consultant, educator, and philanthropist, honoree of this year's Opening Doors to Justice eventEvery year, the OneJustice network gathers at our Opening Doors to Justice event to celebrate three individuals whose outstanding accomplishments have truly moved the needle on legal services, pro bono, and access to justice. Won’t you join us this year on:

Thursday, June 25th 

6-9 pm

Julia Morgan Ballroom (downtown SF)

*Tickets and auction items are now available

We are so pleased to be honoring Martin Tannenbaum – Consultant, Educator, Philanthropist, and a wonderful partner of OneJustice. Martin has been a leader in transforming the civil legal aid system through the development of OneJustice’s Executive Fellowship, which is now in its 5th year, and next month, will graduate the 100th Fellow. Please welcome our third honoree, Martin Tannenbaum!

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Martin, Opening Doors to Justice event is less than a month a way and we can’t wait to honor you on June 25th! Tell us – why are you involved with increasing access to justice?

Even though most people probably think I’m a privileged white male – which I guess, on some level, I am – I have a very different sense of myself. I grew up as a gay Jew in Utah – as a double-outsider. And add to that, my parents also grew up Jewish in Utah.  So I learned at an early age to love and respect those who didn’t fit in – which meant a wide range of people – the economically challenged, the foreigner, and the less-abled.

Also, since I had experienced the tyranny of the majority (both growing up and during some pretty ugly ballot initiatives), it was clear that the courts – not public opinion – were THE place for change and fairness. And so I was naturally drawn to legal organizations because they focus on the judicial system – and they welcomed me in.

Initially, my volunteering and philanthropy focused on LGBT rights. Given what we’ve accomplished in the last 30 years, it was clearly a wise investment. In California and several other states, I am now protected in the workplace and was even able to marry the man of my dreams, Alex Ingersoll. This was all unimaginable when I was in my 20’s.

And there are still many with justice still denied – not just many in the LGBT community, but also those without sufficient financial resources, health challenges or an unclear path to citizenship. The work must continue until every person secures equal justice under the law – it’s what this country was founded upon – it’s what we owe ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.

We couldn’t agree more! Martin, could you share with us how you became involved with OneJustice?

Over 7 years ago, I had the great good luck to meet Claire Solot and Julia Wilson. They had this idea about creating a program for leaders within the legal services sector – one that would provide these leaders with the knowledge, skills and support to enhance their work, stabilize and build their own organizations, and change the legal services sector.  (And I had the background and knowledge to develop the curriculum and guide the program in the early years.)

And so, we built a program together, the OneJustice Executive Fellowship, which next month will graduate its 100th fellow – all able and willing to create meaningful change – to serve more clients and provide better services and to build more sustainable organizations. I have had the distinct honor of meeting and working with each of these Fellows.  Nothing is more rewarding than seeing their growth and accomplishments.  What a gift!

Absolutely! What’s your favorite part of being a member of the OneJustice network?

I know this is hard to imagine, but there are still people – even friends and colleagues of mine – who don’t know about OneJustice and the incredible work that we do to create impactful nonprofits and to enhance the legal services sector. I love to explain our work and watch faces light up.  Most want to learn more, and get involved.  It’s such leveraged, important work.  I’m very proud to be part of the OneJustice family.

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About the OneJustice Executive Fellowship: OneJustice trains current executives and the next generation of nonprofit leaders through our management training program. OneJustice’s Executive Fellowship program is a 10-month comprehensive program that brings legal aid leaders new business skills.

A leader in pro bono delivery

Join us as we celebrate Kathryn Fritz

Managing Partner at Fenwick and West LLP and one of our event honorees!

Headshot of Kathryn Fritz, Managing Partner of Fenwick & West LLPEvery year, the OneJustice network gathers at our Opening Doors to Justice event to celebrate three individuals whose outstanding accomplishments have moved the needle on legal services, pro bono, and access to justice. Won’t you join us this year on:

Thursday, June 25th 

6-9 pm

Julia Morgan Ballroom (downtown SF)

*Tickets and auction items are now available

We are incredibly honored to be recognizing Kate Fritz for her work in mobilizing the private sector to bring legal help to those in need. With Kate’s leadership, in 2013, Fenwick & West contributed over 11,000 hours in pro bono services, valued at over $5 million in legal services. The firm is at the forefront of pro bono delivery, as a founding law firm in the Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative, the Virtual Legal Services Project, and a frequent partner in the Justice Bus Project, reaching isolated communities throughout Northern California. Please welcome our second honoree, Kathryn Fritz, Managing Partner at Fenwick & West LLP!

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Why have you committed your time and energy to working on increasing access to civil legal services and access to justice?

I’ve always viewed service not only to our clients but to our broader community as a core part of being a lawyer. Sometimes we lose sight of just how essential our service is in providing access to justice, but it’s critical that we do not forget, and so critical that we remember what an essential part every member of the legal profession has to play. Philosophically, those ideas are what drew me to the study of law and those same themes have drawn me into pro bono work. It’s both gratifying and deeply humbling to be able to serve those who don’t have easy access to the privilege we take for granted and whose voices often go unheard.  The need is so great and the legal profession has a unique ability to make a difference.  On a more personal note, I’m also very motivated by my two teenage sons and the desire to help make our community one that ensures fairness and protection  for everyone. Community engagement is tremendously powerful, and we all have meaningful contributions to make, but we must act.

What is one particularly rewarding experience you have had in your work on these issues?

Every pro bono case that I have worked on has changed my life: they could not help but do that. But three cases stand out. In two cases I was able to help secure political asylum for clients whose lives were in grave danger in their home countries – one because of his religious beliefs and another because he was a gay man who was HIV positive.  In a third case,  we obtained reversal of the death penalty  for our client. It is hard not to be changed fundamentally by these experiences.

In addition to my personal pro bono work, in my role as Managing Partner of Fenwick & West, I’ve also made it an important part of my focus to promote the firm’s pro bono commitment. Not only do our attorneys and staff devote thousands of hours every year to pro bono work, but we support fellows and organizations (such as OneJustice) who in turn go out and engage even more people to do this work.

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

How can I name just one?  The Justice Bus project  is just one example of the inspired and innovative way that OneJustice enables the expansion of pro bono work. We have made several trips to serve clients in rural areas, including Napa and Yolo counties, and each time our bus has been oversubscribed. It’s our most popular pro bono opportunity for our attorneys and summer associates (and the client in-house teams that we sometimes partner with on the trips). They come back so energized and engaged. The Justice Bus is a great opportunity to have a personal impact and make a difference in the lives of those you’re helping. We’re also proud of the work being done through the Rural Justice Collaborative which is expanding access to legal services in rural and isolated communities throughout the Bay Area. The group supports the role of pro bono attorneys in the delivery of legal services to the poor, including innovative collaborations between law firms and legal services organizations. We’re also looking forward to working with OneJustice as you host our upcoming Equal Justice Works Fellow, Renee Schomp, and extend the reach of the Justice Bus project even further.

Thank you, Kate, for your commitment to bringing pro bono assistance to Californians in need. We cannot wait to celebrate your achievements next month! 

A serial legal services entrepreneur

Join us as we celebrate Claire Solot

For her work advancing justice and bringing training to legal services leaders

Claire Solot, Managing Director of Bigglesworth Family Foundation, head shotEvery year, the OneJustice network gathers at our Opening Doors to Justice event to celebrate three individuals whose outstanding accomplishments have truly moved the needle on legal services, pro bono, and access to justice. Won’t you join us this year on:

Thursday, June 25th 

6-9 pm

Julia Morgan Ballroom (downtown SF)

*Tickets and auction items are now available

We are so excited to be honoring Claire Solot, Managing Director of Bigglesworth Family Foundation, this summer. In 2009, Claire approached OneJustice with the idea for a comprehensive nonprofit management training for legal services leaders, and the result of that conversation – the Executive Fellowship – is now in its 5th year and next month will graduate the 100th Fellow. Please welcome our first honoree, Claire Solot!

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Claire, we can’t wait to honor you on June 25th! Please tell us, why have you committed your time and energy to working on increasing access to justice? 

Twenty-five years ago as a law student extern in the Family Law Department of the San Francisco Superior Court, I had the opportunity to see first hand both the value of and need for civil legal services.  Following my career as a litigator, I joined the philanthropic sector in 2000.  While working on a “safety net” grants portfolio, I started to wonder why legal services were not regularly included in this category.  As a result in 2008, we launched our first legal services grants portfolio.  Working with these grantees for the past eight years, I am more convinced than ever that civil legal aid is a critical part of the solution to breaking the cycle of poverty.

From working on these issues, what is one particularly rewarding experience you have encountered? 

Bringing together the OneJustice Fellows Advisory Board in 2009 to start vetting the need for a training program for legal services leaders was an amazing experience.  In a matter of months, we were able to assemble a “dream team” of diverse leaders, which included: legal aid executive directors, law firm partners, pro bono coordinators, state bar representatives, a non-profit consultant and a funder.  In less than 9 months, we went from a mere concept to a fully operating program.

What is your favorite part of being a part of the Executive Fellowship?

Every time I hear a Fellow share the value of the program, I get shivers.  It is amazing to know that by creating and supporting this program, we not only help these individuals in their roles, we help the organizations they work for and the communities they serve.  As we graduate our 100th Fellow, I know we have developed an important resource for the legal aid community. As we field requests from alumni, law students and out of state practitioners for more offerings, I know that the current Fellows program is just the first piece of this puzzle.

You really are building a powerful civil justice puzzle. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Perhaps I am a serial “non-profit program legal service entrepreneur,” as last fall I assembled a new team comprised of funders from a wide variety of sectors, including: community foundations, private foundations, law firms, crowd-source funders, government and individuals.  Together, we have launched the Bay Area Legal Services Funders Network.

Thank you, Claire, for your dedication to excellence, and your outstanding contributions to ensuring justice for those in need! We are honored to partner with you, and we are thrilled to be recognizing your achievements this summer! 

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About the OneJustice Executive Fellowship: OneJustice trains current executives and the next generation of nonprofit leaders through our management training program. OneJustice’s Executive Fellowship is a 10-month comprehensive program that brings legal aid leaders new business skills.

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