OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Tag Archives: Pro Bono Justice Program

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! 

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.

%d bloggers like this: