back to Screen-Friendly page

The Justice & Diversity Center

Immigrant Legal Defense Program


Meet Our Team

Nicole Allen is the SFILDC Immigration Legal Services Coordinator. She supports the SFILDC by coordinating intakes and referrals among the collaborative partners, and connecting San Francisco residents to legal resources and information. She also calendars volunteer attorneys for the Attorney of the Day Program at the San Francisco Immigration Court for the non-detained adult and juvenile dockets, develops and distributes informational materials at the court, and serves as a Spanish interpreter for AODs. Nicole also collects and analyzes data from these programs. Nicole received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley in Philosophy with a special interest in ethics and logic. Nicole is fluent in Spanish.


Eileen Barrera is the Immigration Legal Services Coordinator for the Northern California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (NCCIJ). She supports the administration of the pro bono Attorney of the Day program at the San Francisco Immigration Court for detained immigrants in removal proceedings. She is also assisting in the data collection and reporting for the NCCIJ’s participation in the Vera SAFE Cities Network study, which is seeking to measure the benefits of funded legal representation for detained individuals in removal proceedings. Eileen completed her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Davis. She previously worked as a legal assistant at a non-profit organization assisting immigrant victims of crime with their U Visa applications.


Carole Conn is the Director of Public Service Programs for the Bar Association of San Francisco directing the activities of BASF’s San Francisco-Marin Lawyer Referral and Information Service, Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, and the Immigration Legal Defense Program (ILDP). She has led the development of the ILDP since its inception in 2015 to include leadership and coordination of three major collaboratives to provide legal representation for immigrants in removal proceedings. Carole also oversees the long-standing Attorney of the Day Program and the Northern California Rapid Response Network. Carole currently serves as the staff lead for the Immigration Task Force, created in 2017 by BASF President Merri Baldwin.


Claire Fawcett is the Attorney Coordinator for the Attorney of the Day (AOD) program. She supports the AOD program at the San Francisco Immigration Court for the non-detained docket and detained dockets. Claire focuses on providing oversight in the AOD program, recruiting and training attorney volunteers, and providing follow-up legal assistance to pro se respondents. Prior to her position at JDC, Claire worked as a staff attorney for Immigration Center for Women and Children and Centro Legal de la Raza where she represented low-income immigrants in their cases before immigration agencies and the immigration court. She specialized in removal defense, U-visa, asylum, and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases. Prior to her work there, Claire worked as a contract attorney at the immigration firm, Van Der Hout, Brigagliano, & Nightingale. Claire received her B.A. from Haverford College and her J.D. from Northeastern Law School. She is barred in California and is fluent in Spanish.


Katie Kavanagh is the Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network's (NCRRIDN) Emergency Attorney Legal Responder covering the San Francisco ICE processing center. Prior to joining NCRRIDN, Katie was a Staff Attorney and Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow at The Legal Aid Society in New York City. She attended NYU School of Law as a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar, where she participated in the Immigrant Rights Clinic for two years. She also completed immigration-focused internships at The Bronx Defenders, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and The Door. Before law school, Katie was an immigration paralegal in San Francisco for seven years, including four years at the firm Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale. Katie is fluent in Spanish.


Mario Martínez is the Program Coordinator for NCRRIDN, overseeing the development of regional strategies and data analysis to improve legal services. Prior to his role with NCRRIDN, Mario was the Immigration Case Coordinator for the Northern California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, providing resources and support to unrepresented individuals in detention. Mario completed graduate internships abroad focused on international human rights issues, international development, regional legal networks, and refugee issues in the European Union. Mario holds an M.A. in Social Sciences.


Hamid Yazdan Panah is the Regional Director for the Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network's (NCRRIDN). He has also led his own solo immigration practice since 2013. As NCRRIDN’s Regional Director, he is primarily responsible for building the Network’s legal resources and working closely with grass root organizations, legal aid services, and private attorneys to ensure due process for all immigrants in Northern California. As an Iranian refugee, Hamid is committed to advocating on issues related to due process and human rights for immigrants and vulnerable populations. He is a graduate of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.


Carlos Pinzon-Hamilton is the Senior Immigration Coordinator for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC). He supports the SFILDC by developing brief banks, websites, informational materials, trainings, and he is in charge of the data management and reporting of the SFILDC caseload. As part of his role with the SFILDC, Carlos supports the San Francisco Rapid Response Network by coordinating the emergency response systems which provide emergency legal assistance to immigrants detained by immigration officials during enforcement actions in Northern California. Carlos also participates at JDC Attorney of the Day program as a Spanish interpreter for volunteer attorneys at the Immigration Court. Carlos received a LLM in US Legal Studies in 2013 and a Masters in Law in Mexico in 2015. He is a licensed attorney in Mexico. Before joining the JDC in 2015, Carlos was the coordinator of the Immigrant Children Project at a nonprofit organization in Palo Alto.


Avantika Shastri is the Assistant Director of the Immigrant Legal Defense Program at JDC and the Legal Director for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC). She oversees and coordinates the removal defense representation provided by the 15 partner organizations in the SFILDC, including legal strategy, collective advocacy, intakes and referrals, rapid response services, and legal training. Avantika also supervises and supports the legal programs of JDC’s Immigrant Legal Defense Program. Prior to her position at JDC, Avantika was in private practice for 11 years at Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale in San Francisco, where she represented immigrants before the immigration agencies and federal courts. She specialized in removal defense, appellate litigation, family-based immigration, naturalization, and the immigration consequences of crimes. Avantika received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.


Valerie Anne Zukin, is the Lead Attorney Coordinator for the Northern California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (NCCIJ), a regional collaborative for detained immigrant representation comprised of 35 organizations and agencies dedicated to providing and expanding pro bono detained representation in the San Francisco region. In this role, Zukin facilitates sharing best practices and strategy around litigation and advocacy and provides technical assistance and training. She also serves as the lead coordinator for the AILA Mesa Verde Pro Bono Project for recent-arrival asylum seekers and administers the pro bono Attorney of the Day Program for the detained dockets at the San Francisco Immigration Court. She previously practiced at Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale from 2011 to 2017, and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project from 2007 to 2011, where she represented clients in complex immigration matters before the immigration agencies and federal courts. Valerie received her B.A. from Haverford College and her J.D. from Tulane University Law School.