Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) provides legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in East Palo Alto and the surrounding community. Our practice areas include housing, immigration, general civil litigation, and anti-predatory lending.
We opened our doors in September 2002 and currently handle approximately 1,700 cases per year, helping some 1,200 clients. Volunteer attorneys, paralegals, law students, and community volunteers work with our dedicated staff members to provide life-changing legal services to residents in need.
We are a community-based organization funded by grants and donations from foundations, law firms, legal organizations, and individuals who recognize the importance of providing the protections of the law to those who wouldn't otherwise have them.
To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 650-326-6440.
Board of Directors
To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 650-326-6440. To volunteer, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil joins CLSEPA after serving as the Director of Policy and Programs at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. At the Lawyers' Committee, he oversaw the organization's programmatic and policy work, supervised a pro bono project serving low-income refugees, and litigated impact cases in the area of immigrant and refugee rights. Phil also clerked for Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and worked as a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, where he represented low-income clients in the areas of housing, disability, and benefits law. Phil received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his law degree from Harvard Law School.
Rico graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor's degree in History. Before he became CLSEPA's Development Coordinator, he volunteered as a legal assistant for CLSEPA's Housing Program. In Chicago, he helped organize student support for university workers and residents of local affordable housing projects. As Development Coordinator, Rico identifies funding streams, authors grant proposals, and supports the Executive Director's long-term development agenda.
Office Manager and Receptionist
Soe grew up in the community of Redwood City and graduated from Woodside High School in 1996. She began her career in office management with Resources for Reading. Soe is proud to be part of a team that offers legal assistance to the local community.
Jeanne Merino, Esq.
Housing Supervising Attorney
Jeanne Merino has worked as the Consulting Supervising Attorney of CLSEPA's Housing Program since CLSEPA's inception in 2002. Prior to working with CLSEPA, Jeanne was a clinical supervisor at the East Palo Alto Community Law Project for nine years. She has taught courses in Community Law Practice, Problem-Solving, Federal Litigation, Legal Research and Writing and Housing at both Stanford University and Stanford Law School. Early in her career, Jeanne clerked for Justice Cruz Reynoso of the California Supreme Court, and worked as a resident advocate for a transitional housing program in East Palo Alto. She is presently the Director of Stanford Law School's First Year Legal Research and Writing Program. Jeanne received her Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School in 1986. Jeanne is fluent in Spanish.
Senior Attorney, Housing and Anti-Predatory Lending
From September 2009 to April 2013, Jason was an attorney at Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho in Oakland, California, where he represented plaintiffs in class action lawsuits in the areas of employment law, disability rights, and consumer protection. Before that, he worked for one year as a fellow at the Impact Fund, where he litigated civil rights class actions. Jason served as a law clerk to Judge Sidney Thomas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2006 and 2007 and to Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in 2007 and 2008. Jason graduated from Stanford Law School in 2006, where he took part in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and represented workers and tenants at the Stanford Community Law Clinic. Jason's first job as a law student was at CLSEPA, where he worked as a legal intern during the summer of 2004. He is a graduate of Brown University (B.A 2000) and completed a year of service at City Year Rhode Island in 1999.
Housing Program Coordinator
Victor Ramirez has workd with the Housing Program at CLSEPA since CLSEPA's inception in 2002. After practicing law in his home country of Colombia for two years, Victor came to California and began working at the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, CLSEPA's predecessor agency. Victor has worked collaboratively with many different organizations and government agencies in the resolution of legal matters affecting tenants. He has also been involved and worked collaboratively with the East Palo Alto's Rent Stabilization Program, churches, property owners, and other local non-profits in their efforts to make residents aware of their rights and responsibilities under the City's program. Victor is fluent in Spanish.
Ilyce Shugall, Esq.
Immigration Supervising Attorney
Prior to joining CLSEPA as the supervising attorney of the immigration program in April 2012, Ilyce was a partner at Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP. Before joining the private sector, Ilyce worked for two years at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR) as a National Association of Public Interest Law Equal Justice Fellow. While in law school, Ilyce worked at the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University and spent a summer in Lima, Peru working for the Defensoria del Pueblo.
Ilyce is an active member of the National Lawyers Guild and served on the executive board of the Bay Area Chapter from 2004 to 2007. She is currently serving as the Executive Office for Immigration Review Pro Bono Coordinator for the Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She is also on the board of directors for Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, California.
Rosa Gomez, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Outreach Program, DREAM Act Attorney
Rosa Gomez is CLSEPA's Immigrant Youth Outreach DREAM Act Attorney. Rosa received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law and interned with the Orange County Public Defenders Office and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC). Before working for CLSEPA, Rosa was a Volunteer Attorney with the San Francisco Bar Association's Family Law Project and served as the Immigrant's Rights Fellow at the International Institute of the Bay Area. Rosa is fluent in Spanish.
Helen Beasley, Esq.
Immigrant Youth Outreach Program, Law Fellow
Helen Beasley graduated from Harvard Law School in 2011. She received a Holmes Public Interest Fellowship to work in CLSEPA's Immigrant Youth Outreach Program beginning September 2011. During law school, Helen participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Family Law Clinic. Helen spent her summers working on women's rights issues at the Global Justice Center in New York and the Center for Reproductive Rights in D.C. She is from Canada and received her B. Arts & Science (Honors) from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Immigration Legal Fellow
Terra received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 2006 and graduated from New York University School of Law in 2012. As a law student, Terra interned at various agencies: Human Rights Watch in the Children's Rights Division, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and the Anti-Trafficking Program at Safe Horizon. At NYU School of Law, she interned at the Immigrant Rights Clinic where she worked on removal defense cases and did research for Domestic Workers United. Additionally, Terra worked at Immigration Equality on asylum cases based on sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status through the NYU School of Law LGBTQ Rights Clinic. Terra is committed to advocating for immigrant rights and is proficient in Spanish.
Immigration Paralegal Fellow
Sponsored by Emerson Collective, Laura works as CLSEPA's immigration paralegal fellow. Laura received her B.A. in Latin America/Latino Studies combined with Politics and a minor in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. At UCSC, Laura founded Legal Education Association for Diversity to help students with the transition from undergraduate studies to law school. As an undergraduate, Laura also worked as a legal assistant with an immigration attorney for one year where she facilitated meetings between attorneys and clients and assisted with filings for visa applicants. Laura first joined CLSEPA in June 2012 on a paid internship sponsored by Peninsula College Fund. After the conclusion of the internship, Laura remained a dedicated volunteer and hopes to become a successful immigration attorney someday.
Volunteer Attorney Program
Katrina Logan, Esq.
Managing Attorney, VAP
Katrina earned her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law where she graduated with a Public Interest Certificate. She earned her Bachelor's degree in African and African American Studies and English from Stanford University. Before working with CLSEPA, Katrina was a Graduate Fellow at the Northern California Innocence Project and volunteered with the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley, representing clients in restraining order and child custody hearings. At CLSEPA, Katrina manages the pro bono referral process and works primarily with the immigration, civil, and consumer law and practice areas.
Mayra grew up in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto and attended East Palo Alto Academy High School. She graduated from University of California at Berkeley with a double major in Political Science and Spanish Linguistics and a minor in Education. While at Berkeley, Mayra started an after school program for underrepresented high school students at Berkeley High School. She satrted at CLSEPA as a legal intern where she gained a significant amount of experience working with the community of East Palo Alto. Mayra believes East Palo Alto is a community with great potential and wants to contribute to the well-being of her community. Her long term goal is to continue to serve her community as an attorney or social worker.
Anti-Predatory Lending and Foreclosure Prevention
Keith Ogden, Esq.
Anti-Predatory Lending and Foreclosure Prevention Practice Program Attorney
Keith Ogden earned his Juris Doctor from U.C. Hastings College of the Law, where he received a Public Interest Certificate and was a member of the Pro Bono Society. While at Hastings, he interned with Bay Area Legal Aid's Housing Division and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Upon graduation, Keith worked at Housing and Economic Rights Advocates through a post-graduate Hastings Fellowship, focusing on loan servicing issues and foreclosure-related litigation. Keith joined CLSEPA's Anti-Predatory Lending and Foreclosure Prevention team in August 2011 to work with the collaborative Anti-Payday Lending Initiative and to assist clients in matters related to foreclosure prevention and post-foreclosure eviction defense. Keith is proficient in Spanish.
Rebecca Pinger, Esq.
Home Mortgage Modification Attorney
Rebecca received her J.D. at the University of San Francisco School of Law after receiving her B.A. from UC Berkeley. Rebecca began her work in the anti-predatory lending and home foreclosure prevention program during law school, and her current focus at CLSEPA is homeowner counseling and loan modification.
Anti-Predatory Lending and Foreclosure Prevention Practice Program Coordinator
Susan Solomon, Esq.
Susan has been a volunteer attorney in housing at CLSEPA since 2004 when she retired from a twenty-four year career as a civil and commercial attorney at a Palo Alto law firm. She is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, has a Masters Degree in Social Work, and received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Santa Clara University in 1980, during which year she was an extern for California Supreme Court Justice Mathew Tobriner. She has also been a volunteer attorney at the ProBono Project in San Jose representing domestic violence victims, an advocate for the establishment of juvenile mental health courts, and a co-founder of a national mental health organization for children and adolescents. In 2008 Susan received the Award of Merit from the Legal Aid Association of California for her contribution to the work of CSLEPA.
To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 650-326-6440. To volunteer, please send an email to email@example.com.