Welcome Lydia! Our New Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow

October 24, 2018

With everything that has happened this summer, we haven’t had a chance to introduce a new member of the OneJustice team – Lydia Sinkus, a new Equal Justice Works Fellow working on a two-year project jointly sponsored by PayPal and Orrick!  As we do with all new team members, we asked her to answer these four questions:

  •  What drew you to OneJustice’s vision, mission, and strategies?
  •  Tell us a bit about your position at OneJustice and what you hope to achieve?
  •  What was your path in coming to OneJustice?
  •  And please tell us something about yourself that not everyone might know.

With that, please welcome Lydia Sinkus!

Lydia Sinkus, Equal Justice Works Fellow:

I was drawn to OneJustice’s vision of access to justice for all and of a legal system where lawyers help break down barriers to justice and inclusion. I appreciate the organization’s willingness to tackle hard problems with a focus on innovation, human centered design, and community network building. As a team member at OneJustice I am excited to help expand access to legal resources and to provide lawyers and non-lawyers the opportunity to engage in meaningful pro bono work.

I am an Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow with the Pro Bono Justice Clinics team. My position is generously sponsored by our partners PayPal and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. In this role, I hope to expand access to life-changing legal services for non-citizen immigrants with criminal records. Post-conviction relief services tailored to non-citizens can open up pathways to naturalization, legal status, jobs, housing, and education, and keep families in our communities together. I am working to design a mobile “clinic plus” model that will engage pro bono attorneys and volunteers in the Bay Area to help provide these services in in isolated and resource-scarce areas of Northern California. I also aim to help local community organizations build capacity to provide these services themselves.

I am passionate about increasing access to justice, information, and resources for under-served communities. As a student at Berkeley Law, I focused on international human rights, and I bring this lens to my current domestic work at the cross-section of immigration and criminal justice. I have interned at the Center for Justice and Accountability and the RFK Center for Human Rights, which litigate domestic and international human rights cases. During law school, I also engaged in immigration work with the East Bay Community Law Center’s Immigration Practice and the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, primarily assisting clients with domestic violence-based asylum claims.

Prior to taking the plunge into law school, I worked as a paralegal for the Department of Justice, where I enjoyed engaging in diverse types of pro bono work, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala, where I worked on development and delivery of health education and sanitation infrastructure in schools and community network building.

I received by JD from the UC Berkeley School of Law and clerked for the District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

I grew up in North Central Florida, so in California I miss thunderstorms and hot nights. I’m a twin. I like to sail other people’s boats, and I have a life goal of learning to balance a bike on my chin.

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