BLF Fellow Supports California Families Impacted by Incarceration

BLF’s 2016-17 fellow, Mihal Rose Ansik, has been working with a New Way of Life Reentry Project to support caregivers in California and to reform California law regarding the use of criminal convictions in the foster care process. Read more below about the amazing work Mihal has been doing!

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41611-new-legislation-would-soften-foster-care-rules-that-tear-extended-families-apart

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!

BLF Welcomes New Post-Graduate Fellow at ACLU and Two New Phoenix Fellows

In the fall of 2016, BLF welcomed its new post-graduate fellow Tasha Hill, who started her fellowship project entitled “Reducing LGBTIQ Criminalization and Discriminatory Incarceration in California Counties” through the ACLU of Southern California.

BLF was also proud to welcome two new Phoenix Fellows to Berkeley Law this fall, Hamza Jaka and Paul Monge Rodriguez.

Read more about Tasha, Hamza, and Paul in our newsletter!

BLF Announces 2015-16 Year-Long Fellow

Berkeley Law Foundation is thrilled to announce the selection of our year-long fellow for 2015-2016, Tasha Hill.

tasha

Tasha’s project at the ACLU of Southern California will work with California county Sheriffs’ Offices to reduce discriminatory profiling of LGBT people, as well as discriminatory conditions of confinement for LGBT people in county jails.  LGBT people are around three times more likely to be incarcerated than their straight/cisgender peers.  Once incarcerated, LGB people are ten times more likely and transgender people are twenty times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other inmates.  The project will provide “Know Your Rights” information and trainings to at-risk LGBT people, including youth, transgender women, people of color, and gay men.  The project will also work to reform Sheriffs’ Offices through staff training, advocacy, and litigation.

Tasha brings substantial professional advocacy experience to her work with vulnerable LGBT populations, having served for over a decade as deputy and executive director for LGBT organizations in Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, and Washington, D.C. Tasha is a 2014 graduate of the UCLA School of Law. While in school she co-founded the Criminal Justice Society and was instrumental in bringing a California prison parole curriculum to UCLA. During her law school summers, Tasha interned for Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Southern California’s LGBT Project, focusing on criminal justice issues and equal marriage. Prior to her fellowship, she clerked for the Central District of California.

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!

2014 BLF Auction is November 14, 2014!

BLF is holding its 19th Annual Auction Gala on Friday, November 14, 2014 from 7pm-12am, at HS Lordships Restaurant in the Berkeley Marina.

Purchase pre-sale tickets ($45) for the 2014 Auction Gala here:http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/887018

Tickets will also be available at the door for $50.

Preview the items up for auction at http://www.32auctions.com/blf2014.

The auction is the primary fundraiser for the Phoenix Fellowship, a scholarship that provides major support to first-year Berkeley Law students from diverse backgrounds who are committed to pursuing careers in social justice. Since its inauguration, the Auction has become Berkeley Law’s largest and most popular event, drawing hundreds of current students, Berkeley alumni, Bay Area legal practitioners, and supporters.

BLF Fellow Lydia Edwards featured on NPR’s Latino USA

NPR’s Latino USA program recently featured the Domestic Worker Mediation Project founded by Lydia Edwards (2011-2012 BLF Fellow) as part of the Brazilian Immigrant Center’s Domestic Worker Legal Clinic in Boston.  The mediation project is an innovative program training domestic workers and employers to resolve disputes through co-mediation.  Listen to the story here.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013

CONTACTS:  Tirien Steinbach, (510) 548-4040, tsteinbach@ebclc.org

                    Holly Baldwin, (510) 682-8683, berkeleylawfoundation@yahoo.com

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.”

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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 http://www.ebclc.org. 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 http://www.berkeleylawfoundation.org.