Employee Spotlight – Ariella Morrison

This month’s Employee Spotlight features Ariella Morrison, Senior Staff Attorney*. 

Can you tell us about your role at OneJustice?

My work spans all three of our major program areas: Healthy Nonprofits, Pro Bono Justice, and most recently, Californians for Legal Aid. I am particularly excited about our new “Conflict Resolution within Legal Aid Teams” workshops, as well as our Access to Asylum Project in collaboration with Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, Central American Resource Center – LA, and brilliant student and immigration attorney volunteers.

Can you tell us about the impact COVID has had on managing virtual training programs? What is the most challenging aspect of virtual OCA?

A silver lining of going 100% virtual is being able to convene folks from all over the state and [for the first time] outside of CA without anyone having to fly or deal with traffic. The most challenging aspect is figuring out ways to creatively keep participants engaged despite Zoom fatigue.

Can you describe how the content of OCA has changed to pivot to address the pandemic? What have the members of the cohort described as the most challenging aspect of providing legal services during this time? 

Each organization faces both unique and overlapping challenges as a result of the pandemic. I try to provide as much space as possible for the participants to learn from each other since they all have so much to share. Curriculum-wise the main change has been teaching content and facilitating discussions through a lens of remote/virtual services provision. 

Can you provide an overview of the intention/ reasoning behind starting the Immigration Services Providers convenings? What will the convenings cover, what was most needed in the survey we put out?

The Nonprofit Management Convenings for Immigration Legal Services is responsive to the unique nonprofit management challenges immigration legal services organizations face, many of which of course non-immigration organizations face as well. Having a sector-specific space is impactful for peer learning and participants’ relationship-building with each other. Immigration legal services organizations face specific nonprofit management challenges coming out of the Trump era (as well as under the Biden administration) and with constantly changing policies and fluctuating funding. I’m looking forward to the May 14 Session on “Recruitment, Retention, and Burn-Out Prevention.” We have a special speaker joining us for this topic — our former CEO, Julia Wilson

What would you say is the most important project/task/role you or OneJustice has taken on to support LSO’s during the pandemic?

I think our convening work has been really important since the spaces we cultivate for CA’s civil legal aid and pro bono community are an antidote to the pandemic’s isolating repercussions, as well as a general tendency for organizations to work in silo. I think we’ve provided meaningful spaces for folks to connect. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I feel grateful for my supportive and thoughtful colleagues, and especially for our ongoing work together making OneJustice (and hopefully CA’s civil legal aid system) a more inclusive and equitable place to work.

* Admitted to practice in Michigan, not admitted in California.