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7700 Edgewater Drive, Suite 210
Oakland, California 94621
(510) 496-5200
Fax: (510) 496-5250

EAST BAY CHILDREN'S LAW OFFICES

EBLCO Team Photo 2016

Staff

Liz Aleman, Staff Attorney: Liz originally came to East Bay Children's Law Offices as a recipient of the Equal Justice Works two year project fellowship aimed at extended foster care advocacy for our clients taking part in Assembly Bill 12 (AB12); sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation. Her dream to work as a dependency attorney began during law school when she first interned for a parent’s attorney at Legal Aid of Marin. Prior to graduating from law school, Liz also worked at the Santa Barbara Public Defender’s Office, Legal Services for Children, and the USF Child Advocacy Clinic. She graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Law & Society and Art History, and obtained her law degree from the University of San Francisco, School of Law. She continues to specialize in the representation of our young adult clients, as well as community wide work to improve the efficacy of AB12 in Alameda County. She also heads up EBCLO’s Staff Appreciation and Self Care Committees.

Collin Baker, Staff Attorney: Collin is thrilled to be a part of the dedicated team at East Bay Children's Law Offices. In high school and college, Collin worked as a mentor and tutor with youth in his home state of Arizona. During law school, Collin focused on dependency through the Child Advocacy Clinic at University of San Francisco. Before joining EBCLO, he served on the Dependency Representation Panel in San Francisco. Collin graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona and holds a law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He is a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Carol Barnett, Director of Training: Carol comes to the office with over 10 years of experience representing children in foster care in Alameda County, first with the Alameda County Public Defender and now with EBCLO. Prior to coming to Alameda County, Carol represented indigent parents in all phases of the juvenile court proceedings in Santa Clara County. In addition, she was a member of the Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Court Systems Committee and a member of the Executive Committee where she worked to develop and participate in the implementation of new policy and protocol related to the intersection of child maltreatment and domestic violence. Carol began her legal career advocating for women and children victims of domestic violence as a staff attorney in a Santa Clara County domestic violence shelter. Now 17 years later, Carol remains a dedicated advocate to her clients and for all children and youth in the foster care system. She is also the parent of two boys who keep her on her toes.

Jessie Conradi, Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by The Clorox Company and Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP: Jessie is an Oakland native who joined EBCLO as an EJW Fellow. She holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence with Highest Honors from Golden Gate University School of Law, a Masters in Social Work from Catholic University of America and a Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Utah. Prior to law school, Jessie worked as a family therapist in Washington, DC doing home-based counseling with youth in the juvenile justice system. Utilizing her background in mental health, Jessie’s fellowship is focused on legal advocacy for youth with the highest mental health needs. In her spare time, Jessie runs ultramarathons and competes in triathlons.

Larita Cortez, Operations Assistant: Larita came to East Bay Children’s Law Offices after eleven years of providing all levels of administrative support to a large staff at Telecom, Inc. She has also spent many years at O.co stadium and Oracle Arena serving VIP clientele. Larita attended Western Career College and obtained a Medical Assisting Certificate. She shares EBCLO’s passion for serving youth and looks forward to helping EBCLO clients.

Haley Fagan, Staff Attorney: Haley received her B.A. in English and Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley in 2006 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2012. While in law school, she participated in Harvard’s Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, using a trauma-centered approach to represent students in special education proceedings, and also clerked for the justices of Boston Juvenile Court. Haley also interned at ECPAT-USA and the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. She is thrilled to be back in the bay area and serving at-risk youth.

Abby Farnell, Youth Advocate Social Worker: Abby Farnell is an East Coast transplant who moved to the Bay Area to escape winter. She earned a Master’s in Social Work with a specialization in trauma and interpersonal violence from Simmons College and most recently worked in community mental health with a focus on early childhood. She brings to EBCLO a passion for family systems work and social justice sparked by years of helping marginalized families confront the barriers created by poverty and inequal access to education and health care.

Lisa Friedman, Staff Attorney: Lisa is a former Peace Corps Volunteer who holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.S. with honors from U.C. Berkeley. She is fluent in Spanish. She originally joined EBCLO staff in 2013 as the recipient of a year-long Skirnick Law Fellowship aimed at improving outcomes for EBCLO’s “crossover” youth who are involved in the juvenile delinquency system in addition to the child welfare system. Now a staff attorney in EBCLO’s dependency unit, Lisa is also a member of EBCLO’s taskforce on Commercially Sexually Exploited Children and a founding member of the Staff Appreciation Committee. She is proud to be a part of EBCLO’s passionate team of child advocates.

Christie de Guzman, Youth Advocate Social Worker: Christie holds a BA in Sociology (2009) and a Masters in Social Work (2013)—both from California State University East Bay. After working at Seneca Center as a classroom counselor/Mental Health Assistant, she knew she wanted to do more to help children and their families. During graduate school, she worked at Alameda County’s Juvenile Hall doing individual and group therapy. She also worked at New Haven Unified School District as a School Social Worker providing therapy to with children in grades K-12 and their families. She enjoys volunteering at a hospice for children, food banks, schools and other non-profits. She also enjoys taking photos, documenting, helping others, creating events, and collaborating with others in her community. Christie loves living in the Bay Area, going to conferences, spending time with her family and friends, painting, crafting, crossing items off her bucket list and working with children.

Shaunita Hampton, Case Manager: Shaunita came to EBCLO from Seneca Family Agencies in San Jose where she worked as a family support counselor for foster and probation youth. She provided mental health and behavioral interventions for youth as well as crisis intervention when needed. She coordinated services amongst service providers and advocated on behalf of youth and their families during meetings with school administrators, probation officers and other social service agencies. Shaunita is a graduate of University of Santa Cruz where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies in June of 2015.

Tenisha Lewis, Case Manager: Tenisha recently graduated from California State University, East Bay with a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology. Her passion is working and servicing youth in need. For the past 5 years she has worked with adolescents, all which come from different social and economic backgrounds. She looks forward to the years of experience working with East Bay Children's Law Offices.

Jessica Lora, Youth Advocate Social Worker Jessica holds a BA in Sociology and Political Science from UCLA and an MSW degree from USC. She is committed to social justice issues advocacy, and empowering children and youth. During college, she volunteered with a mentoring organization that promotes higher education in underserved areas of Los Angeles and worked as a case manager in a mental health program. As a graduate student, Jessica interned at Public Counsel Law Center where she assisted low-income children and their families, and also worked with high school students as an academic advisor in a college readiness program. She is excited to contribute to EBCLO’s attorney-social worker collaboration and advocate on behalf of foster youth.

Sarah McElhinney, Staff Attorney: Sarah is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Georgetown University Law Center. She comes to the East Bay Children’s Law Offices from the County of Santa Barbara where she was a Deputy County Counsel for seven years. At the Office of County Counsel, Sarah practiced in the areas of labor and employment law, civil litigation and juvenile dependency. Sarah is excited to join EBCLO and focus her career on advocating for foster youth.

Gretchen Peterson-Fisher, Staff Attorney: Gretchen is a graduate of Pomona College and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. After law school, she practiced in Los Angeles, first as a staff attorney at Bet Tzedek, and then in Public Counsel’s Transition Age Foster Youth unit, where she focused on issues of education and transition. Most recently, she was the coordinator of the Virtual Self-Help Law Center at the Contra Costa Superior Court. She is thrilled to join EBCLO’s team and return to representing foster youth.

J. Dominique Pinkney, Staff Attorney: Before law school he served as a public school teacher for 4 years. He graduated from Hastings College of the Law where he was: active in BALSA, a Student Coordinator of the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP), a LEOP criminal law teaching assistant, and a member of the Hastings Entertainment Law Journal. After law school he clerked for a U.S. Magistrate and joined the Alameda Public Defender’s office where he remained for 28 years. As a public defender he handled all levels of criminal adult and juvenile cases and fully litigated 30 trials including 4 murder trials. His public defender work included some dependency work and dependency attorney supervision. His last three years were dedicated to juvenile delinquency representation. Throughout his public defender career he remained active in the community, was a co-founder of the College Awareness and Advising Program, and in 2003 received the Charles Houston Bar Association community service award. In March of 2015 he retired as a public defender and within a month became a staff Attorney with the East Bay Children’s Law Offices. He is honored to be able to continue advocating for youth and specializes in representing youth facing criminal charges and crossover youth.

Rita Rodriguez, Staff Attorney: Rita comes to East Bay Children’s Law Offices from San Diego, where she spent six years representing parents at the Dependency Legal Group of San Diego. Rita is an experienced trial attorney, and she enjoys fighting for her clients in and out of court. Rita is a graduate of New York University School of Law. While in law school, Rita defended children in juvenile delinquency court and worked with teenagers in foster care. Rita received two undergraduate degrees from Santa Clara University. Rita grew up in the East Bay, and she has been a loyal San Francisco Giants fan for as long as she can remember.

Roxanne Romell, Staff Attorney: Roxanne brings a wealth of child welfare law experience and a great sense of humor to EBCLO as of 2015. She has previously represented both parents, as part of Juvenile Dependency Counselors, and the Alameda County Social Services Agency through the Office of the County Counsel, and she is thrilled to now be representing the children in Alameda County’s dependency system. Outside of her child welfare experience, Roxanne’s areas of expertise include tenant law, commercial real estate, and residential real estate law. Her litigation experience outside juvenile court includes representation of 39 low-income, immigrant families in a habitability case against a slumlord who owns 18 properties in Oakland, and representation of four Chinese-American families in a suit against a multi-millionaire developer. She is a member of the Women Lawyers of Alameda County, National Legal Aid & Defenders Association, East Bay Tenant's Bar Association, ACORN and local bar associations in the East Bay, and she is the past-president of the Board of Directors of the HERA (Housing & Economic Rights Advocates).

Amanda Sherwood, Staff Attorney: Amanda is a passionate victim advocate, with experience in criminal law, international human rights law, and domestic violence law. Prior to joining EBCLO, Amanda worked for Advokids, a statewide organization that advocates for permanency and stability for infants and young children in foster care. She is a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children. Amanda received her B.A. from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and her J.D. from UC Davis School of Law, King Hall. Amanda is fluent in French.

Peggy Stone, Director of Interns & Volunteer Legal Staff: Representing children has been a passion in Peggy’s legal career since 1986. During that time, she has practiced law in juvenile courts in several Bay Area counties. After retiring from the Contra Costa Public Defender’s office in 2006, Peggy sat as a temporary judge in juvenile cases in Richmond and Martinez courts in Contra Costa County. Peggy has been at East Bay Children’s Law Offices since its inception and is thrilled to be focusing her attention on the youth of Alameda County. Peggy is a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children and is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law. Peggy is also a Child Welfare Law Specialist certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Rob Waring, Staff Attorney: Rob has an A.B. in Political Economy from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Prior to joining EBCLO, he represented foster children for the Alameda County Public Defender's Office. Before that he was Legislative Counsel for the California Judges Association and Juvenile Court Judges of California, where he worked with the State Legislature on issues concerning the courts. He has taught classes in Legal Ethics and in Law and Popular Culture at the USF School of Law. Rob is a Child Welfare Law Specialist certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children. In his spare time he enjoys piloting various small aircraft, backpacking, cycling and films. He wishes more of his clients and caregivers would call him when they need help.

Ena Wilson , Operations Assistant: Ena came to EBCLO after working for 7 years as a staffer & recruiter in the field of healthcare staffing. Prior to healthcare staffing, she spent 10 years as an executive assistant and staff support to both oncology surgeons and antepartum doctors at UCSF. While at UCSF, she also served as a liaison to students and residents who were attending the School of Medicine and helped to implement action items to increase respect and inclusion within the diverse communities within the departments and Schools at UCSF. She would like to bring to EBCLO her passion for advocating diversity—building bridges, bringing awareness and just creating an atmosphere of understanding and respect amongst her colleagues.