Phil Hwang, Esq.
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.
Rebecca received her J.D. at the University of San Francisco School of Law after receiving her B.A. from UC Berkeley. Rebecca was previously a staff attorney in CLSEPA’s anti-predatory lending program, focusing on homewner counseling and loan modification, before taking up her current role as Development Director.
Pro Bono Director and Supervisor, Small Business Program
*Admitted to practice in New York
Prior to joining CLSEPA, Joyce worked as a corporate attorney at Linklaters LLP in London. While there, she was pro bono Project Advisor to the international human rights clinic at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, advising students on a variety of human rights research projects. She also worked for four years with local Palestinian women’s rights groups in the Middle East and coordinated a consortium of non-profits to produce two NGO Alternative Reports on the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), presenting the reports to the UN CEDAW Committee in New York. She received a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law – Newark, cum laude; an MA in international Studies from SOAS; and a B.A. from Columbia University.
Human Resources Manager
Maricela Castillo joined CLSEPA in 2008 as both the Office Manager and Receptionist. Ms. Castillo has become a triage specialist, using her patience and keen knowledge of legal concepts to guide clients in the right direction. She is passionate about helping people in need and feels privileged to work in an office that is dedicated to helping the community prosper. Ms. Castillo is fluent in Spanish.
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.
Communications Coordinator, VISTA Fellow
Natalie earned her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. During law school, she participated in the Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic where she presented her report on the intersection of housing and domestic violence at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Natalie also clerked at Bay Area Legal Aid in the Domestic Violence Division and at the Philippines’ Department of Justice in Manila. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Oregon. Natalie also coordinated the Safeguarding Affordable Housing project.
Volunteer Coordinator, VISTA Fellow
Julianne is a graduate of Ohio State University where she earned her B.S. in Education and Human Ecology. During her studies, she focused on the implications of access to quality education and explored solutions to related issues in society. She served her first year as an AmeriCorps member in Los Angeles where she worked as a Community Liaison. Prior to working with CLSEPA, she completed internships at the Daniel Pearl Foundation and the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, both of which propelled her to continue working in the non-profit sector.
Directing 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 Staff Attorney
Margaret earned her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law with a concentration in Social Justice Lawyering. As a law student, Margaret worked with several Bay Area organizations dedicated to promoting housing rights, including the Mental Health Advocacy Project, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, and the National Housing Law Project. During law school, Margaret also represented clients in employment matters through the Hastings Civil Justice Clinic and served as an extern to Judge Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Prior to joining CLSEPA, Margaret worked as a volunteer housing attorney with Bay Area Legal Aid.
Housing Staff Attorney, Skadden Fellow
Daniel was awarded a Skadden Fellowship to support his work as a housing attorney at CLSEPA. Prior to joining CLSEPA, he served as a law clerk to Judge Jerome Farris on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Daniel graduated from Harvard Law School in 2012, where worked on a variety of international human rights projects such as advocating for indigenous communities in Chile and investigating prison conditions in Panama. From 2007-2009, Daniel worked for a nonprofit in Santiago, Chile, dedicated to empowering at-risk youth. He received his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007.
Consulting 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.
Consulting Housing Attorney
Prior to joining CLSEPA in 2013, Larisa worked for two years as a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County in Redwood City, California. A member of Legal Aid’s HomeSavers Project, Larisa provided direct representation to tenants in eviction actions. Before that, Larisa completed judicial clerkships with the Honorable William G. Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Honorable Ralph D. Gants of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Larisa is a graduate of Stanford Law School (J.D. ’09) and Brown University (B.A. ’03).
Senior Staff Attorney, Anti-Predatory Lending Program
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.
Managing Attorney, Volunteer Attorney Program
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 civil and consumer law practice areas.
Directing Attorney, Immigration Program
Prior to joining CLSEPA 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.
Senior Attorney, Immigration Program
Prior to joining CLSEPA in May 2013, Kaitlin was a deportation defense attorney at Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale, LLP, an attorney with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the U.S. Legal Unit, and a contract attorney with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the CSS/Newman Special Master of Appeals. During her time in law school at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Kaitlin was a law clerk at the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, and the Law Office of Robert B. Jobe. Kaitlin was also actively involved with the Hastings-to-Haiti Partnership. Kaitlin received her undergraduate degree from Boston University, and she is proficient in Spanish and French.
Senior Attorney, Emerson Legal Fellow, Immigration Program
Sponsored by the Emerson Collective, Helen’s work focuses on providing legal services to youth facing deportation. Helen is an active participant in coalition efforts to advance the rights of immigrants and youth in San Mateo County. During her time at Harvard Law School, Helen participated in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Family Law Clinic. She worked on women’s rights issues at the Global Justice Center in New York and the Center for Reproductive Rights in D.C. during her summers. Helen is from Canada and received her B. Arts & Science (Honors) from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. She is proficient in Spanish.
Immigration Staff Attorney
*Admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey
Prior to moving to the Bay Area in 2013, Mariam practiced immigration law both in nonprofit and private settings in New York and New Jersey. She served as the Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Fellow at the American Friends Service Committee in Newark, New Jersey, where she represented immigrant youth facing removal proceedings. Mariam has given presentations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and other forms of immigration relief, and has conducted trainings for volunteer attorneys. Mariam graduated from Hofstra University School of Law in New York, where she concentrated in International Law. She is fluent in Spanish.
Immigration Staff Attorney, Equal Justice Works Fellow
Immigration Staff Attorney
Immigration Staff Attorney, Emerson Legal Fellow
Emerson Legal Fellow
Sponsored by Emerson Collective, Laura works as CLSEPA’s immigration advocate. 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.
Marina is a graduate of San Francisco State University where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. Prior to working at CLSEPA, Marina completed her internship at the Citizenship and Immigration Program at CET in San Jose, where she gained valuable knowledge on immigration law. Marina is very passionate about helping people and giving back to the community. She hopes to one day become a Immigration Attorney.
VISTA Fellow, Special Needs Coordinator
Immigrant Children Project Coordinator
To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (650) 326-6440.
To volunteer, please send an email to email@example.com.