Annual Impact Report

The Justice & Diversity Center 2022 Impact Report

The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) advances fairness and equality by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession.


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A Welcome From Our Executive Director and Board President

In 2022, we were thrilled to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Justice & Diversity Center (formally known as the Volunteer Legal Services Program) and our efforts in serving the San Francisco community. Our generous supporters have helped us provide 45 years of services in four broad program areas: Pro Bono Legal Services, Homeless Advocacy Project, Immigrant Legal Defense Fund, and Diversity Educational Programs.

After two years of fully remote engagement, we were thrilled to start gathering in-person together with our supporters, attorneys, volunteers, and staff. Each reunion was a reminder that our mission is centered on people and focused on providing legal representation to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession.

Our organization’s commitment to legal representation for all San Francisco community members and beyond continues to make great strides. We provided full scope representation to people like Maria, a young woman who left El Salvador to stop the cycle of violence to which she and her younger sister were constantly exposed. Upon coming to San Francisco, our team worked with her and that resulted in her being granted asylum, helping her to lawfully work, and secure a future for her and her family.

In addition to supporting clients, through our legal services programs, we are also proud of our diversity education pipeline programs. For the last 24 years, the Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship Program (MLSSP) has provided scholarships to first-generation students to support their legal education. In 2022, we granted $120,000 in new scholarships, bringing the total number of scholarship recipients to 122 and the total amount awarded to over $2 million.

We invite you to see how your support is changing lives by reading more below about the programs you support, the solutions driving that impact, and the clients that benefit from your advocacy. While we are proud of what we have accomplished, we have much more to do and we recognize we cannot do it alone. We thank everyone who has supported us, and we invite those who are ready to be a part of our mission to come join us.

Looking towards the future, we are enthusiastic about the impact we will make together.


Yolanda Jackson

Executive Director and General Counsel, BASF Executive Director, JDC


Vidhya Prabhakaran

President, BASF & JDC Board


The Justice & Diversity Center's Programs

We reach these goals through four programs that empower and advocate for thousands of people a year in San Francisco. Meet our Program Directors below.

Homeless Advocacy Project


Teresa Friend

Director and Managing Attorney, Homeless Advocacy Project

Immigrant Legal Defense Program


Milli Atkinson

Director, Immigrant Legal Defense Program

Pro Bono Legal Services


Antonia More

Director and Managing Attorney, Pro Bono Legal Services Programs

Diversity Pipeline Programs


Kerry Guido

Director, Diversity Pipeline Programs


The Homeless Advocacy Project

The Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) provides legal and supporting social services to individuals and families who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, focusing on the most vulnerable individuals and families in our local community. We are partners with organizations and agencies across the city to ensure everyone we connect with receives the support they need.


HAP Program Areas

The Homeless Advocacy Project is comprised of four program areas:


HAP served a total of


HAP's Eviction Defense

In partnership with the Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC), we provide full-scope representation to clients facing eviction with a priority for disabled clients and clients with severe mental health disabilities.

Clients represented in eviction cases
Social Services

We connect clients with essential social services resources and assist with eligibility requirements and applications. Approximately 40% of HAP’s eviction clients received assistance from the social services department in 2022.

Homeless or marginally housed clients provided with support, referrals and assistance with accessing basic needs from HAP's Social Service Department
Social Security

We assist disabled and low-income applicants with the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) advocacy process, including initial applications, and appeals. Without an attorney the chances of acceptance are low and cases can take years.

Active SSI cases within the year
Age-related or disability benefits were won for our clients
HAP Immigration

HAP provides immigration services for immigrants experiencing or at risk of homelessness, such as applying for/or renewing citizenship, visas, asylum cases, receiving work permits, or adjustment of immigration statuses.

Work authorizations
Green card applications

Helping a Young Woman Keep Her Housing and Improve Her Health

Ms. P (name changed for privacy) is a young woman of Southeast Asian descent, who due to a mental health crisis and rejection by her family, ended up in a Single Room Occupancy Hotel for persons who were formerly homeless. The rooms in this hotel did not have private bathrooms, and due to harassment from men in the hallway, Ms. P became increasingly frightened and paranoid, and unable to leave her room. She avoided eating or drinking, got down to 74 pounds, and was having an extreme mental health crisis that resulted in her screaming and acting out in other ways leading to several involuntary hospitalizations. An unlawful detainer action was filed against her, alleging nuisance. Represented by a HAP attorney, and with the support of a new therapist, Ms. P was able to regain her physical and mental health and successfully retain her housing.

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Immigrant Legal Defense Program

The Immigrant Legal Defense Program (ILDP) increases access to justice and protects the due process rights of low-income and unrepresented immigrants facing deportation.


San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative

Individuals provided full scope representation before Immigration Court
Applications were filed for Asylum related forms of relief
Different countries were represented
Success rate in completed cases

ILDP helps build legal capacity as the legal lead of The San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative (SFILDC), a collective of 16 San Francisco organizations that provide free, high-quality, culturally competent legal services to adults, children, and families in removal proceedings. This means Northern California agencies are better coordinated and equipped to defend individuals in deportation proceedings in the San Francisco Immigration Court.

Immigrant Legal Defense Program
Community members received full scope legal representation through SFILDC
Attorney of the Day Program

Attorneys of the Day (AODs) are experienced immigration lawyers who appear at the San Francisco Immigration Court to assist unrepresented respondents in their initial deportation proceedings. They provide individual consultations, legal advice, and referrals to help connect respondents with additional assistance, including full-scope removal defense.

Attorney of the Day Program
Dockets covered by AOD Program Staff and volunteers at the SF Immigration Court
Consultations provided to members of the immigrant community

Asylum and Safety for a Mother and Her Young Daughter

JDC represented a Guatemalan woman, Ms. S (name changed for privacy), and her 6 year old daughter in their applications for asylum before the immigration court. The client had suffered years of continued physical, emotional and sexual abuse. She grew up in an incredibly violent home where she, her siblings, and her mother were subject to daily physical beatings at the hands of her father. She fled her family home as a teenager only to be embroiled in an incredibly violent relationship with her husband, the father of her child. The father of her child also abused their daughter and had ties with local gangs.

Ms. S fled Guatemala with her daughter and arrived in San Francisco where she was victimized by a notario who defrauded her for several hundred dollars and filed an asylum application containing multiple errors and inaccuracies. This notario was enjoined by the SF City Attorney’s office from providing any immigration services, with the assistance of JDC. During her hearing the client testified to the past abuse she had suffered and was granted asylum for herself and her child. They now both have legal protection from being returned to Guatemala, lawful status to work and apply for benefits in the United States and within one year will be eligible for lawful permanent residence (a green card) and later, citizenship.

Scroll down to learn about Pro Bono Legal Services
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Pro Bono Legal Services

Each year, our staff and more than 2,000 volunteers assist 6,000 clients with legal consultation and representation in nearly every area of civil law.

In 2022, volunteer attorneys donated 64,068 hours to support all of JDC’s pro bono legal services programs. This represents about $41,644,200 in attorneys’ fees.


Pro Bono Legal Services Areas

Our staff and volunteer-based projects include:


Community Organization Representation Project

Since 1996, Community Organization Representation Project (CORP) has provided pro bono assistance to Northern California nonprofit organizations, and those seeking to acquire nonprofit status, that provide direct services to low-income and underserved people. We assist these organizations, which do not have sufficient funds to pay attorneys, in the following areas: employment law, corporate governance and structuring, commercial leases, reinstatement with IRS, risk management, intellectual property and business contract issues.

Diverse nonprofit clients with legal challenges were assisted

Tenant Advocacy Project

The Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP) assists low-income tenants in San Francisco to avoid eviction by negotiating with landlords, rent boards, master tenants, and property managers.

Persons received assistance to stay housed
Family Law Project

The Family Law Project (FLP) assists low-income individuals and families with family law and related probate matters including divorce, legal separation, nullity, parentage, domestic abuse, guardianship, and conservatorship cases. We also assist with related issues such as domestic violence restraining orders in collaboration with the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic (CROC).

Family law cases
Individuals provided self-help services
Domestic violence survivors assisted
No-contact orders issued

Federal Pro Bono Project

The Federal Pro Bono Project (FPBP) provides information and advice to pro se civil litigants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. This is done via Legal Help Centers in the San Francisco and Oakland federal courthouses. The Project also facilitates placement of civil cases with pro bono attorneys for limited or full scope representation when the court appoints counsel.

Total clients were supported

Legal Advice and Referral Clinic

Legal Advice and Referral Clinic (LARC) provides free legal clinics every month for low-income Bay Area residents in the Mission, Civic Center, and Bayview.

Total consultations provided to 330 unique clients at LARC clinics

Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic

Our Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) assists low-income taxpayers who have tax issues with the IRS. This includes taxpayers in controversy with the IRS, individuals who have filed a petition with the U.S. Tax Court, and individuals who need help in obtaining other relief for a tax obligation.

New representation cases were handled
Consultations were provided
Individuals attended 7 clinics
Hours of service provided by 47 volunteers

Resolving a Crushing Tax Bill

A PBLS volunteer attorney represented a client, Ms. M (name changed for privacy), in Tax Court who met our income guidelines but who was contesting a tax bill of over $80,000. Ms. M had been coerced into selling her home to settle a fraudulent debt with a student loan company, whom the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has since sued for the exact same type of fraud committed against our client. Our client was homeless for about a month before buying a cheaper replacement home.

On the eve of trial, the IRS settled, and we got a decision that would result in the IRS paying our client a few hundred dollars in Earned Income Credit. Our client attempted to defer the gain on the sale of the home under a relief statute for involuntary conversions, but the IRS denied the relief and charged our client with capital gains tax, tax on cancellation of debt income, alternative minimum tax, penalties, and interest. In negotiations with the IRS counsel, we got the IRS to drop the cancellation of debt income and some of the penalties. Then in a pre-trial memo, we offered a new theory of the case regarding the application of the relief statute, and in a pre-trial conference the judge was very favorable to our new argument.

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Diversity Pipeline Educational Programs

Our educational programs help students succeed and explore their interest in a career in the law. From high school to law school, our programs break down barriers, build confidence, and show that the legal profession is for everyone.

Diversity Pipeline Educational Programs
of School-to-College graduates are first-generation college students
of School-to-College participants graduated high school
Students participated in our School-to-College program
of graduates were accepted into college
Diversity Pipeline Educational Programs
Mock Trial participants from 6 public San Francisco schools
Active scholarships through Minority Law School Scholarship Program
Diversity Pipeline Educational Programs
Students across all Diversity Educational Programs
Junior and senior students participated in the Law Academy Program which celebrated 25 years

Meet Kati – A Future Legal Star Who Wants to Advocate for Her Community

Katiuska (Kati) Pimentel Vargas, a recipient of the JDC Bay Area Minority Scholarship Program, graduated from the University Of San Francisco Law School this May. Read about how this first-generation college student Latinx Dreamer was inspired to pursue a legal career.


Empowering the Next Generation of Diverse Legal Professionals

Q: How did you learn about the Justice & Diversity Center’s (JDC) Bay Area Minority Scholarship Program?
A: As a first-generation low-income student who does not qualify for federal financial aid, I knew I needed to apply for scholarships. USF sent an email about JDC and I decided to apply. It has been a great experience getting to know other students who come from similar backgrounds, and I have gotten incredible mentorship opportunities and career development.

Q: What influenced you to attend law school?
A: I came from Peru at the age of 15 without my parents, escaping poverty and hoping for a better life. During high school, I worked as a dishwasher and retail worker to financially provide for myself and my family. My humble beginnings inspired me to become an advocate for my community. I learned that through law I am able to impact people’s life and make a positive impact in the world.

Q: What obstacles or challenges did JDC’s scholarship program allow you to overcome?
A: I was able to connect with mentors who supported my dreams and helped me believe in myself. I also was able to achieve academic success and had the opportunity to expand my career opportunities. As a first-generation Latina lawyer, the mentorship was crucial in supporting my success in law school. The JDC scholarship has been instrumental in supporting my goal of attending law school. Unfortunately, due to my immigration status, I do not qualify for federal financial aid and this scholarship allowed me to continue my education without having to work. I was able to focus on my academic and professional opportunities graduating with Cum Laude honors this past May 2023.


Empowering the Next Generation of Diverse Legal Professionals (Continued)

Q: How has JDC’s scholarship program impacted you beyond the monetary gift you received?
A: Mentorship and it helped me expand my professional networks. It also provided me with valuable information and resources.

Q: What stood out to you about JDC’s scholarship program?
A: The genuine support I received from JDC made a difference in my legal career. Being able to connect with lawyers who came from similar backgrounds inspired me to keep working hard to graduate law school with honors. The mentors and friends I made will continue to be part of my life and future legal career.

Q: Why is diversity in the legal profession important? How does it tie into your values and career or personal goals?
A: It is important to represent diversity in the legal profession because it brings a different and unique perspective into this field. As a latina lawyer, I hope to represent my community and will continue to open doors for other first-generation students. It is about giving back to your community and making a difference while advocating for your clients!

Q: Would you recommend JDC’s Bay Area Minority Scholarship Program to your peers? Why?
A: Yes, it is an incredible opportunity to connect with mentors and meet other students from similar backgrounds. The scholarship program also offers valuable resources and information and will help you throughout your legal career!

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Thank You to Our 2022 Donors

Thank you to all our donors who supported the work of the Justice & Diversity Center in 2022.

You provided high-quality legal help for thousands of the most vulnerable in our community going through the most difficult challenges of their lives.
You helped keep people in their homes, supported people escaping persecution and violence to find asylum, solved complex legal issues that can derail lives, and created pathways for the next generation of legal professionals to thrive.

Your donations made this work possible. A special acknowledgement to our major donors listed below.

Thank you!

Fred Alvarez

Khaldoun Baghdadi

David Balabanian

Merri Baldwin

Michelle Banks

Katherine Lubin Benson

Jeffrey Bleich

Melanie Blunschi

Honorable Angela Bradstreet

James Brosnahan

Elizabeth Cabraser

Christopher Campbell

David Carrillo

Andrew Chang

Doris Cheng

Nanci Clarence

Mark Conrad

Kelly Dermody

Jamie Dupree

Terrance Evans

Jerome Falk Jr.

James Finberg

Stanley Friedman

Holly Gaudreau

Matthew Gluck

Melinda Haag

Joan Haratani

Thomas and Mary Ann Hays

Malcolm Heinicke

Teresa Johnson

Charles Jung

Edward Kallgren

Christopher Kearney and Heather Young

Colin Kemp

Elinor Leary

Jay Markello

Raymond Marshall

Mary McNamara

Warren Metlitzky

Lindsey Mignano

Constance Norton

David Otsuka

Vidhya Prabhakaran

Brooke Purcell

Christine Richardson

Toni Rembe and Arthur Rock

Honorable Russell Roeca

Albert Sanders

Anthony Schoenberg

Richard Schoenberger

Michael Sears

Thomas Smegal Jr.

Damali Taylor

Martin Checov

Darin Snyder

Honorable Therese Stewart

Khari Tillery

Michael Traynor

David Tsai

Michael Tubach

Blair Walsh

Thomas Worth

Douglas Young

Richard Zitrin

If you’d like to make a gift, email JDC's Development Director Kate Applebaum at or donate at the link below.

Volunteer with The Justice & Diversity Center

The work of the Justice & Diversity Center is powered by our volunteers.

You can make a lasting difference in improving the life of one of your neighbors. People like Chris Emley have volunteered for pro bono opportunities for decades.

Learn more about donating your time and the difference you can make.

If you’d like to learn more about volunteering, reach out to or click here to learn more.