SAVE THE DATE – 2012 BLF Auction!

Save the date for the 2012 Berkeley Law Foundation Auction! The Auction will be held on Friday November 9, 2012 at HS Lordships in the Berkeley Marina. The Auction is the primary fundraiser for the Phoenix Fellowship, a scholarship that provides significant financial support to first-year Berkeley Law students from diverse backgrounds who are committed to pursuing careers in social justice.

Student volunteers are busily soliciting and collecting donations. For information on how to donate or purchase tickets, please contact the student leadership team directly at This year we are excited to add an online auction that will run in advance of the physical event – allowing all BLF supporters to bid on certain items. A link to the online auction will be posted here in late October.

Click here for more general information about the Auction Gala!



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.

BLF Fellow Daniel Redman Co-Authors Guide for LGBT Elders

2010-2011 BLF Fellow Daniel Redman recently completed his year-long fellowship, and was a lead author of a pioneering new guide for LGBT elders published by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in December 2011. The guide, called “Navigating the System: A  Know-Your-Rights Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders in  California”—is designed as a resource to empower and help protect  California’s LGBT elders who often are targets of discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Congratulations to Daniel for his excellent work!

2011 BLF Auction Raises Money for Phoenix Fellowship


The Berkeley Law Foundation is pleased to announce that our 16th Annual Auction Extravanganza on November 11, 2011  raised approximately $41,000 for the Phoenix Fellowships, which will be awarded to incoming 1Ls from diverse backgrounds with an extraordinary commitment to social justice.  We are grateful for the tremendous generosity of Boalt faculty, students, firm sponsors and community donors for the making the Auction a success!

The full program is available here.  Thanks especially to our auction sponsors for their generous commitment to the work of BLF and the Phoenix Fellowship:



Crowell & Moring, LLP

Kirkland & Ellis, LLP



Hanson Bridgett

Leonard Carder, LLP

Rosen, Bien & Galvan, LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP



Goodwin Procter, LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP

Rutan & Tucker, LLP



Alston + Bird, LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP

Nixon Peabody, LLP

Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP


Join us on Dec. 8 at the BLF holiday happy hour!

It’s hard to believe!  BLF has been funding social justice legal work for 35 years.  During that time, BLF has helped launch many public interest careers, and organizations such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, the East Bay Community Law Center, and the Homeless Action Center.

To celebrate BLF’s 35 years of grant giving, BLF will be hosting a special holiday happy hour.  Please come out to toast to BLF’s long history of giving, mingle with BLF alumni and supporters, and enjoy one of the best happy hours in San Francisco.

December 8, 2011

6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Taverna Aventine

582 Washington St., San Francisco

If you can’t attend, please consider making a special donation to help BLF celebrate 35 years of grant making!

Please feel free to invite other friends of BLF to join us at this event.

BLF Auction Scheduled for November 11, 2011

This year’s Berkeley Law Foundation Auction will be held on November 11, 2011 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in downtown Oakland. 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.  Click here for more information about the auction and to purchase tickets!

Update on BLF fellow Michael Geoghegan’s Food Justice Project

BLF 2010-2011 postgraduate fellow Michael Geoghegan writes with an update on his project, which he has expanded to support the work of  Clean Greens:

The work of the Food Justice Project is coming into full swing as summer arrives in the Northwest.  The Clean Greens Farm and Market Project is harvesting food from their 22-acre farm and selling the produce at open air markets in the heart of Seattle’s Central District.  The Central District has long been a hub for Seattle’s African American community and houses the main office of the Black Dollar Days Task Force (BDDTF), the nonprofit that oversees the Clean Greens project.  This year, BDDTF entered into an agreement with Fork and Frame, a Seattle bicycle collective, that will deliver boxes of produce by pedal power to households participating in Clean Greens community supported agriculture (CSA) program.

BLF’s fellowship provided funding for the Food Justice Project to take on BDDTF as an organizational client, providing legal support to structure contracts and solidify the organization’s legal structure.  In the long-term, the relationship between BDDTF and the Food Justice Project holds potential to enter new areas.  BDDTF’s future plans include a center for teaching local youth job skills related to healthy food preparation and opening a year-round store front selling healthy, chemical free produce at affordable prices.  By providing legal assistance, we hope to ensure BDDTF is successful in achieving the goals of its Clean Greens project of food self-sufficiency, job creation, and promoting community health.