Success Stories

Attorney champions economic justice for domestic violence survivors


BALI member Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas co-founded the Alipato Project, the first and only nonprofit organization to provide direct legal representation to resisters of domestic violence in tort actions against their batterers. She won two important victories in one week.

On July 18th, 2017, Alipato’s client, Kendra Scott filed suit in Santa Cruz County to hold former San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald accountable for the beatings and other abuse she suffered at his hands. The civil suit claims damages from domestic violence, stalking, IIED, and negligence. Read more about the case.

July 20, on Alipato Project's motion, an Alameda County Superior Court Judge dismissed a frivolous lawsuit brought by the law firm Crosby & Crosby PLC on behalf of Clyde James Berg, a multimillionaire real estate mogul in retaliation to the representation provided his former spouse by Tia, in collaboration with other counsel.  After allegedly subjecting his former spouse to years of horrific psychological and physical abuse, Clyde Berg managed to escape criminal and civil liability using his privilege and the enormous network of wealth he amassed as a real estate developer. Since the conclusion of those matters, Clyde Berg has refused to abdicate control—as is true for many abusers—and recently brought a meritless malicious prosecution claim as retaliation against the advocates who refused to yield in their prior representation of his former spouse: the Alipato Project, Tia Katrina Taruc Canlas, Maier Shoch LLP, Eric Robert Maier, and Louis Elwood Shoch III. They won an anti-SLAPP motion against a multimillionaire real estate mogul yesterday! Read the press release.

Learn more about Tia's work and the Alipato Project.


BALI Impacting People's Lives

Attorney wins lifer parole hearing, giving client chance at new life helping at risk youth

Attorney Rashida Harmon came to BALI to create an affordable post-conviction, criminal law practice.

In July 2016, Rashida completed a near "mission impossible" when she successfully represented a client in his third life-term parole hearing, ultimately paving the way for his release after 20 years spent behind bars. In doing so, she achieved a win few attorneys will ever realize.

As of 2013, approximately 30,000 people in California prisons were serving indeterminate life sentences (meaning sentence that could extend up to a life term, but for which parole is a possibility). Although the rate of parole grants for life term prisoners has increased significantly in the past decade, it remains exceedingly low.

This victory gives Rashida's client a new lease on life and a chance to add to his community. For over a decade, Rashida's client has facilitated a program in San Quentin State Prison that gives imprisoned men the opportunity to mentor youth caught in the criminal legal system.  Rashida's efforts will help him realize his dream of launching a similar program out in the community upon release. 

Rashida credits her rare victory in great part to effective collaboration with her client, whose hard work and diligent preparation led to a successful presentation before the Board of Parole Hearings commissioners.  She also credits BALI. Rashida received the case referral and training to support her skill development through the pro bono apprenticeship component of BALI's training program. For the first six months of her participation in the program, Rashida has performed over 20 hours a week volunteering as a lawyer with UnCommon Law, building her skill in post-conviction relief while reducing the justice gap.

Learn more about Rashida's practice.

 Attorney Rashida Harmon, left, and her mentor, UC Hastings Professor Nancy Stuart

 

 

Attorney saves Oakland resident's home

In winter 2016, Attorney and BALI community Member WookSun (Phil) Hong won a bench trial in a modest means eviction-defense case.  

Phil's client purchased and lived in an Oakland home with a relative, but after the relative's death, his family sought to evict him, claiming the home as their inheritance.  The client called the Alameda County Bar Association out of leads.  Phil too it on and won.  Without BALI's referral and Phil's representation, it is doubtful the client would have found representation or been able to defend himself.  Because of BALI  and Phil, a long-term Oakland resident still has his home.

 

Learn more about Phil's practice.


BALI Empowering Communities in Struggle to Make Change

Attorney supports housing cooperative in shaping their community

In winter 2016, Attorney and BALI community member Brittney Sturtevant, was retained to help a historic Sand Francisco housing cooperative amend its bylaws.

Guiding over 200 members through a process by which they will create new, shared principals and rules to live by and direct the cooperative.  Brittney is just one example of a BALI attorney invested in helping communities thrive by their own terms.  

Learn more about Brittney's practice.

 

 

What would you do if your rent or mortgage payments were raised by 50% over night?  

After their landlord attempted to do just that in spring 2016, clients of Attorney and BALI community Member WookSun (Phil) Hong organized to prevent their own homelessness and to protect other tenants in unincorporated areas of Alameda County.  Phil worked to delay and prevent the rent raise while 22 tenants organized a “call-in” to the Alameda Board of Supervisors, demanding assistance.

Learn more about Phil's practice.


BALI Contribution to Innovation

Shaping the law to aid domestic workers

Attorney and former BALI community member Jennifer Sta.Ana was a participant on the 2016 San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking.

Additionally, with several community based organizations, Jennifer is developing documentation in support of a campaign to reform the caregiving industry, in which many workers are victims of wage theft. And she joined over 200 members and allies of the California Domestic Workers Coalition to support SB 1015 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, demanding overtime pay for domestic workers. Jennifer’s work exemplifies how community attorneys partner with communities to shape the law to achieve justice.

 

Attorney supports cottage industry, and in turn, community

In 2016, Attorney and BALI community member Gam Galindo took on an innovative transactional business matter from the Alameda County modest means referral panel.

He assisted a small business client, who was developing an app that could revolutionize the cottage food industry. Our community of attorneys does not just go to court. It helps small business owners succeed in realizing their visions, which in turns helps create more sustainable community.

Learn more about Gam's practice