Fifteen years ago, on February 27, 2006, the legal community lost a friend, ally, and leader when attorney Tanya Neiman passed away after a long battle with ovarian cancer.
Tanya Neiman was a well-known figure in San Francisco’s legal community for many years, not just for the debonair figure she cut in her trademark suits and bow ties but also for her nationally recognized vision and drive to improve access to justice for low-income communities.
At the age of 29, Tanya became director of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP), then a two-employee organization. Tanya transformed VLSP into one of the largest and most innovative legal services programs in the country. She pioneered the development of unique models of delivering services, including holistic advocacy, which forges a multidisciplinary approach to helping clients change their lives.
Today, VLSP is known as the Justice & Diversity Center, and Tanya’s spirit lives on – not only in the work of JDC’s Pro Bono Legal Services Programs, but also in the Tanya Neiman building which houses JDC’s Homeless Advocacy Project.
In a typical year, volunteers with JDC help nearly 9,000 low-income San Francisco residents who need pro-bono legal help. In 2020, JDC volunteers donated over 44,000 hours to those in need.
Tanya Neiman inspired generations of attorneys to make personal commitments of time and resources in order to provide legal services to thousands of people in need.