Category Archives: Post-Graduate Fellowships

Read About BLF’s New Fellows!

As we celebrate our fortieth anniversary this year, this fall BLF welcomed a new post-graduate fellow — Mihal Ansik — who is working with A New Way of Life Reentry Project in Los Angeles on her Family Reunification Advocacy Project.  BLF is also proud to welcome two new Phoenix Fellows as first-year law students at Berkeley Law in the fall of 2016, Mariam Azhar and Ana Duong.

Welcome Mihal, Mariam, and Ana! See our newsletter for more details about our new fellows!

Fall 2014 Newsletter Provides Update on Exciting BLF Work!

BLF’s fall 2014 newsletter is out!

This newsletter previews the work being done by new BLF grantee and former BLF Phoenix Fellow Maria Sofia Corona Gomez with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and recaps the first year of BLF grantee Cory Isaacson’s project with the East Bay Community Law Center.

Read the full newsletter!

BLF and EBCLC Select Cory Isaacson as Joint Fellow to Implement School Justice Project


CONTACTS:  Tirien Steinbach, (510) 548-4040,

                    Holly Baldwin, (510) 682-8683,

Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline: the East Bay Community Law Center Enlists Fellow Cory Isaacson in Its Efforts

The Berkeley Law Foundation & EBCLC Select Joint Fellow to Implement School Justice Project Proposal

During her keynote address at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights’ 26th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Luncheon, the Honorable Barbara Lee (D-California 13th District) called for a concerted effort to “crack the school-to-prison pipeline.” 

Heeding the Congresswoman’s call, and expanding on ongoing efforts, the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) and the Berkeley Law Foundation (BLF) have selected Cory Isaacson as their joint fellow to mark the 25th Anniversary since BLF helped fund EBCLC’s launch. Isaacson’s School Justice Project (SJP) aims to provide holistic representation for young people in disciplinary and juvenile cases arising in or around schools. SJP builds on EBCLC’s newest program, the Youth Defender Clinic, which aims to end the school-to-prison pipeline for low-income youth of color in Alameda County.

“Cory will be an outstanding advocate for at-risk youth in expulsion proceedings. SJP dovetails with and expands on EBCLC’s existing work, and Cory will make the project a success. She is addressing a great need in the community, and we are confident she will be an excellent mentor and clinical supervisor,” says BLF Board President Holly Baldwin.  

EBCLC Executive Director Tirien Steinbach elaborates, “For EBCLC, the ability to keep working with our most brilliant, diligent and passionate law students as they transition into their new roles as our professional colleagues is what this fellowship is all about. We are so fortunate to welcome Cory as a two-year BLF-EBCLC fellow, and the young client community is fortunate to have such a zealous advocate on their side.”

Isaacson comes to EBCLC with an impressive résumé. Not only is she an EBCLC alumna, familiar with its mission and work, but she also has experience working for the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office, the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia and, more recently, the Death Penalty Clinic at UC Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall). 

Prof. Ty Alper, Associate Director of the Death Penalty Clinic says of Isaacson, “Cory impressed me with her persistence, patience, and wonderfully collegial demeanor. Her feedback on the work of others is at a level of quality I would expect from an experienced attorney, and her tone is generous and constructive.”

Isaacson will start her fellowship in August 2013. Beaming, she exclaims, “I’m so excited to take part in the great work being done by the Youth Defender Clinic, and I’m really grateful to BLF and EBCLC for the privilege to start my career doing important work at an amazing and effective organization.”

BLF will fund the first year of Isaacson’s two-year fellowship. BLF traditionally awards one to two grants per year to individuals undertaking public interest law projects that serve legally disadvantaged or politically under-represented groups and promote systemic change. However, this year BLF is directing the fellowship towards a project hosted by EBCLC, to celebrate BLF’s significant contributions to launching EBCLC 25 years ago. The 2013-2015 BLF-EBCLC Joint Fellowship is being awarded to a graduating member of the UC Berkeley Law Class of 2013, to undertake a project hosted by EBCLC.

Baldwin concludes, “It is thrilling for BLF and EBCLC to unite once again and celebrate our shared roots.”


The East Bay Community Law Center provides free legal services to eligible East Bay clients. Since its founding in 1988 by law students at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, EBCLC has become the largest provider of free legal services in the East Bay. To learn more about EBCLC, go to The Berkeley Law Foundation funds public interest law through summer grants for current Boalt students and year-long grants for law graduates and new attorneys from around the country. BLF’s grants enable the recipients to work on innovative and critical projects that provide desperately needed legal services to communities all around the nation.  To learn more about BLF, go to

New BLF-EBCLC Joint Fellowship Announced!


Tirien Steinbach
(510) 548–4040

Holly Baldwin
(510) 682-8683

Back to Its Roots: the East Bay Community Law Center Partners with the Berkeley Law Foundation for a Joint Fellowship

New In-House EBCLC Fellowship Will Plant Seeds for Next Crop of Advocates and Legal Educators

To celebrate 25 years of justice through education and advocacy, the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is partnering with its original seed funder, the Berkeley Law Foundation, to create an in-house, two-year joint fellowship for a UC Berkeley Law graduate to develop a program at EBCLC.

Each year, the Berkeley Law Foundation (BLF) awards one or two one-year grants to support public interest fellowships. However, this year, in celebration of EBCLC’s 25th Anniversary, BLF is targeting its seed funding to support the first year of a permanent fellowship housed at EBCLC. In 2014, BLF will resume its traditional fellowship program.

“BLF took a leap of faith with our proposal twenty five years ago,” recounts Brad Adams, who received a BLF grant to help EBCLC open its doors in 1988. “Whereas BLF normally granted funding to students working at established organizations, BLF decided that the Berkeley Community Law Center (BCLC) – as it was called then –  was a crucial element that had been lacking at a world-class law school like Boalt Hall.” He concludes, “Without it, BCLC would not have been possible. BLF took a chance at a time when no one else would.”

In 2002, EBCLC’s current Executive Director, Tirien Steinbach (Berkeley Law ’99) received a second BLF grant to cultivate a new program focused on the intersection of criminal and civil law for marginalized members of the East Bay. EBCLC’s flourishing Clean Slate practice is now being replicated in counties across the state.

Of the joint fellowship, Steinbach remarks, “BLF fostered my commitment to public interest throughout law school and helped launch my career as a social justice lawyer at EBCLC. It is fabulous to partner with BLF again to support homegrown public interest lawyers and leaders.”

For BLF, partnering with EBCLC on the 25th Anniversary fellowship is an exciting opportunity to strengthen the deeply rooted connection between two organizations with common history and missions. “Both BLF and EBCLC were started by Berkeley Law students committed to social justice, and offer law students a chance to use their legal skills to increase legal access and empower marginalized communities,” says Holly Baldwin, BLF Board President, “It’s great for  BLF and EBCLC to unite once again and celebrate our shared roots.”

The 25th Anniversary joint fellowship marks a celebration of EBCLC’s continued cultivation of  justice. As it becomes self-sustained – independent from scarce resources, the fellowship is bound to become the fertile ground upon which the next generation of legal advocates and educators grows and flourishes.  The Request for Proposals is available here.


The East Bay Community Law Center provides free legal services to eligible East Bay clients. Since its founding in 1988 by law students at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, EBCLC has become the largest provider of free legal services in the East Bay. To learn more about EBCLC, go to

The Berkeley Law Foundation funds public interest law through summer grants for current Boalt students and year-long grants for law graduates and new attorneys from around the country. BLF’s grants enable the recipients to work on innovative and critical projects that provide desperately needed legal services to communities all around the nation. To learn more about BLF, go to




BLF Fellow Lydia Edwards Speaks About Her Domestic Worker Project

On July 18, 2012. BLF 2011-2012 fellow Lydia Edwards appeared on the Boston Neighborhood Network to discuss her work on behalf of domestic workers in Massachusetts. Lydia discussed her Domestic Worker Law and Policy Clinic, her manual for domestic workers, and her domestic worker mediation project.

You can see video of Lydia’s appearance here.

2012-2013 BLF Fellow Sebastian Sanchez to Advocate for Car Wash Workers in New York City

Sebastian Sanchez has been awarded BLF’s post-graduate fellowship for the 2012-2013 year.  Mr.  Sanchez is a 2012 graduate of the Seton Hall Law School, where he was a Center for Social Justice Scholar for the Urban Revitalization Project.  Sebastian has worked as an immigration paralegal with the New York Legal Assistance Group in New York, served as an interpreter for community groups like Domestic Workers United and the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, and helped to develop an emergency hot-line for immigrants facing immigration raids in New Jersey.

As a scholar at the Center for Social Justice, Sebastian developed and presented know-your-rights presentations on immigration, mortgage-fraud, and tenants’ rights. He also helped draft briefs on education law issues, challenging the reduction in State funding to public schools in New Jersey, and State control of the Newark public school district. He focused his summer work on the experience of immigrant workers, working at Make the Road New York (MRNY) and the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center, organizations with extensive histories combating exploitative working conditions, particularly in low-wage and immigrant communities.

As a fellow, Sebastian will return to MRNY, a unique organization that empowers Latino and working class communities, through organizing, policy innovation, education, and direct services. Sebastian will join the legal team at MRNY to help pilot a new initiative to provide legal advocacy, community education, and policy support to the car wash worker community in New York, a population that suffers rampant wage theft and abuse.

Sebastian will work closely with organizers to reach out to workers, identify wage theft, and develop strategies and responses. The campaign will provide direct services to car wash workers in matters of wage theft, workers’ compensation or other legal issues that may arise in relation to their employment. While working to recover unpaid wages through negotiation and litigation, the project will also pursue other methods to promote a substantial and sustainable impact that improves the car wash industry as a whole. Sebastian will help to develop know-your-rights seminars for workers and draft legislation to improve regulation of the industry. Sebastian will work with local community groups and unions, like New York Communities for Change and the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, to develop broad structural support for the workers in this community. Launching this industry-focused project represents a new strategy for MRNY, and will be made possible with Sebastian as a dedicated fellow to help develop and run this pilot project.

BLF Fellow Lydia Edwards Secures Grant for Domestic Worker Mediation Project

BLF’s 2011-2012 Fellow Lydia Edwards, who is working at the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Allston, MA, recently secured a  grant from the Miller Foundation to support her Domestic Worker Mediation Project.  The grant will pay for the training of domestic workers and progressive employers in the co-mediation model to help mediate workplace disputes between domestic workers and the families who they work for. One of the goals of the project is to build capacity and worker leaders who will be able to one day teach mediation to other workers in a number of different languages, including Haitian, Creole, Spanish and Portuguese.


Lydia is also working with nine clients, drafting contracts for live-in domestic workers, and giving workshops at churches and other local organizations. She is also working to organize the first annual Massachusetts Coalition for Domestic Workers convention this  spring which will bring together domestic workers from around the state to  get their leadership and input on a local campaign for a domestic workers bill of rights and  a national campaign to provide a pathway to citizenship and fill the care gap.