With “shelter in place” ordered throughout California, organizations of all kinds are in lab mode, having to think through and redesign what they offer and how they work, to accommodate the need for social distancing. This adaptive work can be especially challenging for legal service organizations, whose work streams and deliverables often require substantial face-to-face interaction. Below are resources (drawing from innovation best practices) for leaders considering how to redesign their projects.
Julia Wilson at a OneJustice free legal clinic in Napa, California on Dec. 1, 2016
Monday, March 16, 2020
Dear OneJustice friends and supporters,
As you know, as of March 20, 2020, I’ll be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of OneJustice after 15 amazing years. What an incredible joy it has been to work with you to guide the organization and the California legal aid sector! It has truly been my life’s calling, and I am so grateful to have shared this journey with you.
While we are excited about the developments at OneJustice, we pause to consider all of those around the world, and in our own communities, who are impacted by COVID-19. OneJustice is actively working with its legal aid community partners to assess the impact on the organizations that provide vital legal services throughout the state, and we stand ready to do what is needed to support them.
Over the past several months, our Transition Taskforce has been working closely with search firm Carlson Beck to set the stage for a new generation of leadership for the organization. OneJustice intends to find a CEO who will help craft a new and bold strategic plan, building upon its award-winning programs and innovative practices, and who will guide and lift OneJustice to new levels of impact in the years ahead.
It’s been a privilege to lead OneJustice, working with a dedicated and mission-driven staff, an incredible Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Strategy Council. I cherish the relationships I have with deeply committed friends, nonprofit partners, and supporters. Thank you for sharing in our work to achieve justice for all in California. I take comfort in knowing that our paths will certainly continue to cross in the future.
Thank you for helping to make the last 15 years among the most rewarding of my life! Until we meet again…
Last week, the Trump administration released its federal budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2021, A Budget for America’s Future. The budget proposal asks for $18.2 million for the Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”), which covers the cost to shut it down. This call for the elimination and defunding of LSC marks the fourth time in as many years that the president has proposed a complete dismantling of the federal legal aid funding system.
This request comes at the same time LSC has submitted its own budget request for FY 2021. LSC has requested $652.6 million, an increase over last year’s request of $593 million, and has stated that they remain optimistic about congressional support. LSC funding has had a steady increase in congressional appropriations in recent years, despite the president’s repeated attempts to defund it. We reject the President’s proposal and instead call on Congress to fully fund LSC’s $652.6 million budget request.
LSC is the nation’s single largest funder of civil legal aid, funding 132 programs nationwide, including 11 programs that service California’s 58 counties and 100 Native American Reservations. In 2018, LSC Grantee organizations in California closed 77,500 cases and served 198,500 people, including 10,100 veterans and 52,000 seniors. This attempt at defunding would eliminate approximately 40% of California LSC Grantees funding and have a profound impact on the services provided to low-income Californians.
OneJustice is closely analyzing these budget documents and working on educational and advocacy efforts to ensure the protection of our country’s legal aid system! To get involved and stay informed, please sign up for our grassroots network, Californians for Legal Aid. Thank you!
San Francisco—In an expansion of its policies that target and discriminate on the basis of national origin, faith and immigration status, on Friday the Trump administration added travel and visa restrictions to Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Kyrgyzstan. Libya, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, North Korea, and Venezuela remain subject to the original Muslim Ban.
These policies cause irreparable harm to those impacted and further marginalize communities of color. We must fight to defend the rights of everyone in our communities by working to repeal these cruel and xenophobic practices.
OneJustice stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our immigration legal services and advocacy partners across California and the rest of the country for their tireless advocacy to protect our communities. We uplift their substantive comments and explanations of the impact of this expanded Muslim Ban:
San Francisco — Earlier this week in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States lifted the Second Circuit Court of Appeals preliminary injunction, thus allowing the Trump Administration’s new public charge rule to go into effect. The Public Charge rule will go into effect on Feb. 24, 2020 while litigation is pending in the appellate courts.
This public charge rule threatens the housing, health, and nutrition of low-income families — the overwhelming majority of which are of color — coast-to-coast. This draconian rule change will cause countless families to have to make the unimaginable choice between the help they and their children need today, or the legal status they need to keep their families together tomorrow.
Despite receiving a record-breaking 266,000 public comments — the majority of which opposed the rule change — the Department of Homeland Security finalized their public charge rule in August 2019. In response, multiple lawsuits from immigrant advocacy organizations and the State of New York are currently being litigated in the lower courts challenging the merits of the rule. OneJustice will closely follow the progress of these challenges and update you as we learn more.
We salute our colleagues and friends at immigrant legal services and advocacy organizations across the country for their tireless advocacy in opposition to this rule change, and we uplift their substantive comments and explanations of the impact of the rule change here:
The 10-Year Anniversary Celebration of the OneJustice Executive Fellowship program was a huge success. Alumni returned to reconnect, sharing stories about their Fellowship experiences and catching up on the changes in their lives and work. Executive Fellow Founders Claire Solot, Martin Tannenbaum, and Julia Wilson shared their memories and reflections on the program, its development and its impact.Through a series of lightning talks by Jan Masaoka (Executive Director, CalNonprofits), Toby Rothschild (Of Counsel, OneJustice) and Julia Wilson (CEO, OneJustice), Fellows looked to what’s on the horizon for the legal services sector and strategized on how our organizations can prepare for a potential recession, the taskforce recommendations through the Access Through Innovation of Legal Services, and, of course, the upcoming presidential election.
At the end of the evening Fellows also had an opportunity to honor Julia as she prepares to leave her role as CEO of OneJustice.
OneJustice is proud of the growth of the Executive Fellowship program and the work of its alumni.
Below are select photos from the evening. Check out this album to view all photos from the celebration.
Does your organization have a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative that aspires to make organizational changes? Are you part of that initiative, or separately leading equity work in your own teams, but are not sure how to turn value-based learning and dialogue, into active strategy development and concrete action? Ever wish you or the team had more strategies and skills for moving your organization from affirming equity concepts to adopting practices and institutional shifts?
OneJustice is delighted to announce the second round of the Innovation track of the cohort based learning program the Organizational Change Accelerators, this year expressly focusing on diversity equity and inclusion outcomes. By partnering with organizational equity consultants and legal aid peers to provide coaching and perspectives, OneJustice will provide a cohort of legal aid teams with wraparound learning and training at the intersection of equity principles and innovation leadership.
What’s the relationship between innovation and diversity equity and inclusion?
We know that operationalizing racial justice and equity values requires not just insight and information but also changes to organizational culture, systems, processes, and practices. Whether you are leading an organization or part of a committee making decisions as a team, you need to have a careful implementation plan that appreciates the need for buy-in and a roll-out plan that is realistic and emotionally intelligent. To do this, stakeholders can benefit from learning methods of innovation and change management which come with dedicated frameworks, processes, and practices for leading action on big ideas.
This cohort experience is an exciting opportunity to learn with your colleagues (you’ll come with a team of two or more), leaders of other groups (the cohort is designed for four-eight other organizations), and OneJustice’s team and nonprofit partners. The experience includes:
An introduction to different assessments for individual and organizational readiness for diversity, equity, and inclusion work
Highly interactive deep learning workshops designed to support concepts and skills to lead equity related changes at your organization, from team building, planning, implementing, and evaluating
An in-depth Capstone Project to apply learnings toward a priority project at your organization
Coaching sessions to support implementation throughout the program
For more information about the Accelerators, check out this Powtoon:
Happy New Year! We thought we would kick off the new year with a bang and introduce you to the two newest legal aid innovators on the OneJustice team! Joining us at the end of last year are Meryl Friedman, Senior Program Manager and Tatum Burnett, Program Associate! Meryl is joining our Northern California Pro Bono Justice team and will be working on bringing about major innovations to our Justice Bus Model while Tatum is joining our Healthy Nonprofits team, supporting the team in everything from the Executive Fellowship to our new Organizational Change Accelerators. Please join us in welcoming Meryl and Tatum!
As we do with all new folks, we asked them 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.
Meryl Friedman, Senior Program Manager
I am inspired by OneJustice’s needs-based approach to impact. OneJustice is committed to not only providing services, access, and support for those seeking justice, it also adapts and innovates to deliver the most useful and thoughtful change. I am thrilled to be part of such a passionate and strategic team working tirelessly to close the justice gap.
As a Senior Program Manager, I will work with the Pro Bono Justice team to lead, iterate and expand our programs. I will work with clients, legal aid organizations, and pro bono partners through direct legal clinics, collaborations, and consulting services.
For the past few years, I worked as a nonprofit consultant in New York at Cause Strategy Partners. With a particular focus on nonprofit governance and operations, I led our board matching program, BoardLead, in Chicago and San Francisco. Often, nonprofits need more engaged and diverse board members who are aware of governance responsibilities. We tried to fill that gap. Before that role, I worked at the New Media Advocacy Project and the American Jewish World Service.
I received my Masters in Nonprofit Management from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. I focused on Social Innovation, Impact and Investment to better understand how the nonprofit sector can harness change and human-centered design to strengthen methods and outcomes. My capstone project was a business plan to launch a campus-based tech tool to support survivors of sexual assault as they navigated justice and healing services. I received my Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College in Political Science and Peace and Conflict Studies.
I love to walk my two dogs while listening to audiobooks. Before leaving NYC, I walked (nearly) every street in Manhattan below 140th street.
Tatum Burnett, Program Associate
I was drawn to OneJustice because of its dedication to support and empower California’s legal aid sector through innovative, holistic and justice oriented methods. I am especially passionate about OneJustice’s mission to increase legal access and to prioritize the protections, and rights of underserved and marginalized communities within California.
As a Program Associate with OneJustice’s Healthy Nonprofits Program, I will work on projects that embolden California’s legal aid nonprofits, such as the Executive Fellowship Program, the Organizational Change Accelerators, and the Capacity Building Academy. By contributing to these projects which aim to strengthen and support California’s most essential legal aid organizations, I hope we will make a positive difference in the causes they are working towards and the lives of those they serve.
Prior to joining the OneJustice team I developed my interest in the legal system and empowering disenfranchised communities by working with the Office of Victim’s Services within the New London Superior Court in Connecticut. I also had the opportunity to intern with a local criminal post-conviction law firm, working on capital and habeas corpus cases of indigent clients serving on death row or life without the possibility of parole. Additionally I have volunteered and worked with community organizations locally and abroad on matters regarding dependency and family law, youth mentorship, environmental activism and disability education. I earned my BA from Connecticut College in Government as well as Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies, where my studies focused on implicit biases within the legal system.
I love to hike with my dogs in Redwood Regional Park in Oakland, watch the same TV shows over and over again with my friends, bake berry galettes, and see live music.
Working in legal aid, we all face the same challenge of how to best serve the high number of people who contact us each day seeking help. Many organizations now run hotlines or host legal clinics to provide brief services to clients who will not be represented by an attorney. Whilst such services reach a large number of people, there is often a nagging doubt in our minds: “What happens to our clients once they leave the clinic or put down the phone? Do we provide enough help? What could we better?”
If you are interested in exploring these questions, apply to join OneJustice’s upcoming Program Evaluation course!. The course is designed to offer a practical introduction to program evaluation that is specifically tailored to legal aid – measuring the effectiveness of brief services is a case in point. Over a series of five training sessions from February to June 2020, you will collaborate with participants from other legal aid organizations to explore building capacity for program evaluation, planning evaluation systems and projects, and nitty-gritty topics such as data analysis and interpretation. To find out more, check out the syllabus.
Added bonus: this year participants will have the opportunity to experiment with using text messaging technology to track the outcomes of clients receiving brief services. For example, a client who contacted a hotline about a housing matter could receive a follow-up text message asking whether their problem is now resolved. This approach has been successfully piloted by a number of legal aid organizations across the US – read Cleveland Legal Aid’s blog on their innovative text messaging pilot to get the inside scoop.To support adoption of this approach among our partners here in California, OneJustice is creating a “sandbox” environment where organizations can see whether the text messaging is a good fit for their program before committing the resources required to fully adopt a new technology.
For more information about the Accelerators, check out this Powtoon:
We hope that you can join us on this exciting journey. If you would like to explore this opportunity further or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving last week, surrounded by friends, family, and other loved ones! For those of you who have been a part of our OneJustice network for the past few years, please know how important the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is to us.
Every Tuesday after Thanksgiving, OneJustice celebrates #GratitudeTuesday, where we take a moment out of our busy days to reflect on the many things for which we are grateful. Our work is supported by so many different organizations and individuals – from our community partners across the state, to our Board of Directors, to our generous donors and volunteers. Without you all, it would be impossible for us to truly transform California’s civil legal aid system.
For each and every one of you in the OneJustice network, we are SO thankful – and wanted to share our deepest gratitude with you!