Outstanding Volunteers Recognized by the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco

Outstanding Volunteers Recognized by the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco

On April 30th, The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) hosted its annual Outstanding Volunteers in Public Service Celebration at UC Law SF.  JDC volunteers and their supporters gathered to celebrate the amazing work of volunteers who provide pro bono legal services through the JDC’s Community Organization Representation Project (CORP)Diversity Educational ProgramsHomeless Advocacy ProjectImmigrant Legal Defense ProgramLegal Advice & Referral ClinicLow Income Taxpayer ClinicFamily Law Project, and Federal Pro Bono Project.

At the event, the JDC’s top volunteers received certificates recognizing them as Outstanding Volunteers in Public Service based on their contributions in 2023. Each JDC project also honored one exceptional individual or pair of volunteers with a Crystal Award for going above and beyond outstanding in their contributions in the past year.

LEFT TOP TO RIGHT BOTTOM: Crystal Award winners Nicholas Rosado, Anthony Kim, Walter Stella, Christina Lin, Andres Salerno, Paul Lynd, the Hon. William H. Orrick, Di Addy Tang, the Hon. Patricia Guerrero, William Manheim, Don Emley.

The JDC also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Senior District Judge William H. Orrick recognizing his dedication to supporting the Mock Trial program since 2014. In addition to that award, Judge Orrick also received a special gift from students involved in the program: several art pieces depicting Judge Orrick during their Mock Trial arguments.

Senior District Judge William H. Orrick holds two artistic creations gifted to him by students from the Mock Trial Program.

The 29th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, Patricia Guerrero, inspired guests with a keynote speech that reflected on the foundational importance of pro bono volunteer work in expanding access to justice. Senior Judge Orrick also entertained guests with his acceptance speech reflecting on his Lifetime Achievement Award. Guests also heard remarks by Yolanda Jackson, the Executive Director and General Counsel of JDC and BASF, and Antonia More, the Director and Managing Attorney of Pro Bono Legal Services at JDC, celebrating JDC volunteers.

The JDC thanks its award-winning volunteers:

Christina Lin, a soon-to-be graduate of UC Law SF, received the Crystal Award from the JDC’s Legal Advice and Referral Clinics (LARC). Christina devoted a significant portion of her law-school career to leading, organizing, and training the student group that hosts and supports the Civic Center community clinic. She contributed more hours to LARC than any other student volunteer in 2023. Her dedication and tireless efforts were instrumental in bringing the LARC back to the Civic Center community after the pandemic era.

Andres Salerno, a student of UC Law SF, received the Crystal Award from the JDC’s Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP). HAP recognized Andres’s essential leadership in growing student participation for HAP’s Warrants Clinic. As the Student Clinical Chair of Homeless Legal Services, Andres coordinated, trained, and worked alongside student volunteers to provide onsite consultations with residents of shelters. As such, Andres made it possible for law students to help this underserved community while balancing their legal studies and career development.

Anthony Kim and Nicholas Rosado of Kim & Rosado LLP received the Crystal Award from the JDC’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). Each of these former IRS counsel volunteered to take on multiple pro bono cases supporting low-income individuals with tax controversies with the IRS.  They also shared their invaluable expertise and advice with other volunteers and staff to improve the quality of pro bono representation offered through the LITC.

Walter D. Stella and Di Addy Tang of the law firm Cozen O’Connor received the Crystal Award from the JDC’s Community Organization Representation Project (CORP). CORP relies on these volunteers and their employment law expertise to provide essential training and supervision for CORP’s employment law clinic. Twice yearly, this clinic allows nonprofits to receive free attorney audits and consultations regarding employment issues.

Andy Ong and Ariel Rogers of the law firm Goodwin received the Crystal Award from the JDC’s Federal Pro Bono Project. Andy and Ariel worked concurrently on multiple pro bono cases where they represented civil litigants referred to the Federal Pro Bono Project by the Northern District of California. These fearless volunteers stepped up to represent prisoners in complicated and challenging civil rights cases moving towards trial. Further, they took their experiences and became resources for volunteers to take on civil rights cases.

Paul Lynd of Arent Fox Schiff received the Crystal Award from JDC’s Family Law Project (FLP). Paul took on several challenging family law cases, including two conservatorship proceedings and one guardianship proceeding. Paul’s pro bono efforts helped low-income family members achieve the legal status needed to take care of their loved ones, such as a grandmother seeking guardianship where the child’s only living parent is incarcerated.

Don Emley of Emley Law Office, LLP, received the Crystal Award from the JDC’s Family Law Attorney of the Day program (FLOAD). Don served as FLOAD’s most reliable and active volunteer in 2023, regularly stepping up to sit as the Attorney of the Day for the family court. In this role, Don provided invaluable support by offering his family law expertise to unrepresented litigants who would otherwise appear in court without attorney support.

William (Bill) Manheim, Senior Director & Counsel at PG&E, received the Crystal Award from the Immigrant Legal Defense Program (ILDP). In collaboration with ILDP, Bill coordinated a pro-se asylum clinic where volunteer PG&E staff attorneys and paralegals assisted 11 pro se respondents with preparing their asylum applications. Under Bill’s leadership, his legal department has volunteered hundreds of hours towards assisting pro se asylum applicants in removal proceedings. Due to Bill’s individual efforts, a family was able to win their asylum case on the merits.

Chris Fernandes, Head of Legal for AppsFlyer, received the Crystal Award from the JDC’s Diversity Educational Programs (DEP). For ten years, Chris has served on the DEP’s Mock Trial Committee and provided critical support to the Mock Trial Program. Last year, Chris masterfully managed over 8 high school teams with over 200 people present at the County Courthouse, which was an amazing experience for the coaches, students, and parents.

Senior District Judge William H. Orrick received a Lifetime Achievement Award that recognized Judge Orrick’s invaluable support of the JDC’s Mock Trial Program since 2014. During his decade of volunteer service, Judge Orrick has presided over the final round of the annual Mock Trial Competition at the federal courthouse. In connecting with these students, Judge Orrick has inspired the next generation of lawyers and humanized the court.

The JDC thanks its Outstanding Volunteers in Public Service:

JDC thanks its Platinum Sponsor for this event:

JDC thanks its Silver Sponsors for this event:

JDC thanks its Bronze Sponsor for this event:

Click here to learn more about JDC projects and how to volunteer.