There’s been an awful lot going on in the world and within the realm of civil legal aid. And while everyone on the OneJustice team has been putting their nose to the grindstone, we almost forgot to introduce our newest group of team members! The four newest faces at OneJustice all come to us with amazing skill sets and serve in vital roles for the organization. And what’s more – they’re all amazing people. As we do with all our new staff members, 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.
With that, please welcome Lauren Hipolito, Bruno Huizar, Joel Kim, and Chantilly Rocha!
Lauren Hipolito – Corporate Relations Manager
I realized that my drive and motivation in my professional life was people – helping people, working with people. Working with an amazing group of individuals towards a greater mission, that was what I wanted and with my legal experience, OneJustice was where I knew I should be. I had actually been following OneJustice for a few years and have even applied in the past, but I am a true believer in timing and this time, it all just aligned.
As the Corporate Relations Manager, my job is to build and cultivate meaningful relationships with new corporations, existing corporate partners and law firms to further support our mission, recruit volunteers and broaden OneJustice’s universe and reach.
I went to the University of San Francisco with a major in Psychology and I was told by a professor that everything in law is just a mind game – so that Psychology major has really come in handy in my career. I’ve been working in some sort of legal position since I was 20 years old. I went from being a process server for CPS in the Tenderloin and Oakland to working in a criminal defense/family law firm back home in Stockton after college. After getting my Paralegal Certificate in Stockton, I got a contract job at Google, then at the Hewlett Foundation and after that, Playstation. I wasn’t really sure what type of law I wanted to root down in, so contract positions were a good process of elimination. After Playstation, I was offered a contract position at the U.S. Attorney’s Office here in San Francisco and I was immediately thrown into a world of RICO, gangs, guns, violence, etc. Exciting as all of that was, it was the clients and victims that motivated me, drove me to work harder every day, case by case. After that contract sadly ended, I jumped back into corporate law and knew immediately that that was not where I wanted to be, which lead me to applying to this position at OneJustice. See what I mean about timing?
I really REALLY love Hippos, (because of my last name and elementary school nickname). I also love cooking, I come from a pretty mixed, multi-racial family so we kind of cook a little bit of everything but my favorite dishes are usually Mexican or Filipino. There may be some days when I make the whole SF office smell like adobo or posole, I apologize in advance.
Bruno Huizar – Pro Bono Justice Program Associate
I am a movement builder deeply committed to organizing with directly impacted communities to end the mass detention and deportation of immigrants. I joined OneJustice because I want to transform the legal aid system and ensure all immigrants have access to life-changing resources and legal services.
My position as Program Associate allows me to utilize my personal, professional, and community organizing experience to defend and protect immigrant communities by expanding pro bono legal services to immigrants in deportation proceedings throughout Los Angeles. One of my core responsibilities at OneJustice is working with local nonprofit organizations and law schools to design and coordinate the Los Angeles Pro Bono Removal Defense Collaborative. We are building local and national partnerships to engage and provide training materials to law students, attorneys, and additional volunteers in order to increase pro bono legal services for immigrants in removal proceedings.
Additionally, I am coordinating with the L.A. Raids Rapid Response Network and working alongside immigrant communities to organize against ICE raids and enforcement operations. I hope to achieve a sustainable legal and organizing network that successfully prevents deportations in Los Angeles County.
Prior to joining the OneJustice team, I worked with Lambda Legal where I conducted hundreds of legal intakes and provided information and resources to people living with HIV and LGBTQIA+ communities across the country. I worked alongside the Transgender Rights Project and assisted in coordinating the Name Change Project which provided pro bono attorneys to transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) communities in order to assist TGNC communities amend their identity documents.
I graduated from University of California, San Diego and received a dual degree in Ethnic Studies and Political Science with a focus in International Relations.
I really love art of all mediums, cooking with friends, and collectively reimagining and rebuilding a society where all living beings are in harmony.
Joel Kim – Staff Attorney, Pro Bono Justice Consulting
I work at OneJustice because I believe that all people deserve meaningful access to the legal system. At OneJustice, I pursue innovative approaches to increasing access to justice for all.
As a Staff Attorney on the Pro Bono Justice Consulting team, I work with legal services organizations throughout California to build up their pro bono practices. As a former direct services attorney myself, I know that legal services attorneys work incredibly hard. I want to help these organizations multiply their impact by implementing thoughtful and effective pro bono projects. My current focus has been on developing pro bono networks in different regions throughout the Bay Area. Down the line, I plan to develop training modules and other tools for legal services organizations to create their own pro bono networks. My goal is to assist legal services organizations to develop new pro bono partnerships and improve current partnerships.
Before joining OneJustice, I was a staff attorney with the Homeless Action Center in Berkeley, where I represented clients in public benefits and Social Security disability claims. I also worked as a Public Interest Fellow with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where I coordinated a free legal clinic in collaboration with the GLIDE Foundation. While in law school, I interned with the Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles, the National Housing Law Project, and LAF. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Forestry and Natural Resource Management. I received my JD from the University of Chicago Law School.
I love podcasts! I listen to KQED’s Bay Curious (weird facts about the Bay Area), NPR’s Ask Me Another (trivia quiz show), and the California Politics Podcast from the LA Times.
Chantilly Rocha – Development Assistant
I grew up in an neighborhood of immigrants from all over the world and witnessed the legal struggle that my friends and their families endured as they were trying to gain citizenship, green cards, while feeling unsafe of local law enforcement. I wanted an opportunity to help my peers as they were striving to make the most of their life here in America in consideration of the risks and fear my community members faced. One Justice has created a immersive network of law professionals and volunteers to increase the access that so many individuals in California are in need of. We are a team who have the responsibility to work innovatively together in providing meaningful support and legal justice to those in need.
As the Development Assistant, I assist in elevating donor stewardship within our major donor program. I also provide support in managing fundraising efforts – including planning, visual design, and assembling components.
I am currently studying to obtain my B.S. at San Francisco State University. For four years, I served as a board member and class ambassador for the AVID program which encouraged and helped low income students in the community to pursue higher education, and explore their options. During those four years, I also served as a group leader for the CIMAS Leadership Association in Santa Ana and conducted workshops and youth summits to organize community service events and improve team building. My community service revolved around assisting with teachers and academic tutors in the AVID program at a local middle school in Orange County
I really love hiking in Pacifica, bike camping, taking photos, painting, fashion forecast reports, and eating hot cheetos.