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7700 Edgewater Drive, Suite 210
Oakland, California 94621
(510) 496-5200
Fax: (510) 496-5250

EAST BAY CHILDREN'S LAW OFFICES

EBLCO Team Photo 2017

Staff

Lauren Aguirre, Staff Attorney: Lauren earned her B.A. in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University and her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. Passionate about advocacy and social justice, Lauren has interned with Northwest Adoption Exchange in Washington State, Bay Area Legal Aid, and Santa Clara County Counsel. After graduating from Santa Clara, Lauren worked as an Associate Attorney at Allan & Martelle, LLP, representing parents and children in custody related matters throughout Santa Clara County. In this role Lauren gained extensive courtroom experience and solidified her commitment to child advocacy. After a short time in Boston, Massachusetts, Lauren is happy to be back in the Bay Area as the Probate Staff Attorney at East Bay Children’s Law Offices.

Liz Aleman, Director of Interns & Volunteer Legal Staff: Liz originally came to East Bay Children's Law Offices as a recipient of the Equal Justice Works two year project fellowship aimed at extended foster care advocacy for our clients taking part in Assembly Bill 12 (AB12); sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation. Her dream to work as a dependency attorney began during law school when she first interned for a parent’s attorney at Legal Aid of Marin. Prior to graduating from law school, Liz also worked at the Santa Barbara Public Defender’s Office, Legal Services for Children, and the USF Child Advocacy Clinic. She graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Law & Society and Art History, and obtained her law degree from the University of San Francisco, School of Law. She continues to specialize in the representation of our young adult clients, as well as community wide work to improve the efficacy of AB12 in Alameda County. She also heads up EBCLO’s Staff Appreciation and Self Care Committees.

Collin Baker, Staff Attorney: Collin is thrilled to be a part of the dedicated team at East Bay Children's Law Offices. In high school and college, Collin worked as a mentor and tutor with youth in his home state of Arizona. During law school, Collin focused on dependency through the Child Advocacy Clinic at University of San Francisco. Before joining EBCLO, he served on the Dependency Representation Panel in San Francisco. Collin graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona and holds a law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He is a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Carol Barnett, Director of Training: Carol comes to the office with over 10 years of experience representing children in foster care in Alameda County, first with the Alameda County Public Defender and now with EBCLO. Prior to coming to Alameda County, Carol represented indigent parents in all phases of the juvenile court proceedings in Santa Clara County. In addition, she was a member of the Santa Clara County Juvenile Justice Court Systems Committee and a member of the Executive Committee where she worked to develop and participate in the implementation of new policy and protocol related to the intersection of child maltreatment and domestic violence. Carol began her legal career advocating for women and children victims of domestic violence as a staff attorney in a Santa Clara County domestic violence shelter. Now 17 years later, Carol remains a dedicated advocate to her clients and for all children and youth in the foster care system. She is also the parent of two boys who keep her on her toes.

Jessie Conradi, Mental Health Attorney & Social Worker: Jessie is an Oakland native who joined EBCLO as an EJW Fellow. She holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence with Highest Honors from Golden Gate University School of Law, a Masters in Social Work from Catholic University of America and a Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Utah. Prior to law school, Jessie worked as a family therapist in Washington, DC doing home-based counseling with youth in the juvenile justice system. Utilizing her background in mental health, Jessie’s fellowship is focused on legal advocacy for youth with the highest mental health needs. In her spare time, Jessie runs ultramarathons and competes in triathlons.

Larita Cortez, Operations Assistant: Larita came to East Bay Children’s Law Offices after eleven years of providing all levels of administrative support to a large staff at Telecom, Inc. She has also spent many years at O.co stadium and Oracle Arena serving VIP clientele. Larita attended Western Career College and obtained a Medical Assisting Certificate. She shares EBCLO’s passion for serving youth and looks forward to helping EBCLO clients.

Ginger Lewis Dole, Staff Attorney: Ginger is a passionate advocate for social justice and an experienced trial attorney. Prior to working in Dependency, she was a Deputy District Attorney prosecuting all manner of criminal offenses, including intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and crimes against children. She earned a B.A. in International Relations from Michigan State University and her Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate School of Law. Ginger is whole heartedly committed to giving children the representation they deserve and opportunities to thrive.

Haley Fagan, Staff Attorney: Haley received her B.A. in English and Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley in 2006 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2012. While in law school, she participated in Harvard’s Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, using a trauma-centered approach to represent students in special education proceedings, and also clerked for the justices of Boston Juvenile Court. Haley also interned at ECPAT-USA and the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. She is thrilled to be back in the bay area and serving at-risk youth.

Abby Farnell, Youth Advocate Social Worker: Abby Farnell is an East Coast transplant who moved to the Bay Area to escape winter. She earned a Master’s in Social Work with a specialization in trauma and interpersonal violence from Simmons College and most recently worked in community mental health with a focus on early childhood. She brings to EBCLO a passion for family systems work and social justice sparked by years of helping marginalized families confront the barriers created by poverty and inequal access to education and health care.

Lisa Friedman, Staff Attorney: Lisa is a former Peace Corps Volunteer who holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.S. with honors from U.C. Berkeley. She is fluent in Spanish. She originally joined EBCLO staff in 2013 as the recipient of a year-long Skirnick Law Fellowship aimed at improving outcomes for EBCLO’s “crossover” youth who are involved in the juvenile delinquency system in addition to the child welfare system. Now a staff attorney in EBCLO’s dependency unit, Lisa is also a member of EBCLO’s taskforce on Commercially Sexually Exploited Children and a founding member of the Staff Appreciation Committee. She is proud to be a part of EBCLO’s passionate team of child advocates.

Christie de Guzman, Youth Advocate Social Worker: Christie holds a BA in Sociology (2009) and a Masters in Social Work (2013)—both from California State University East Bay. After working at Seneca Center as a classroom counselor/Mental Health Assistant, she knew she wanted to do more to help children and their families. During graduate school, she worked at Alameda County’s Juvenile Hall doing individual and group therapy. She also worked at New Haven Unified School District as a School Social Worker providing therapy to with children in grades K-12 and their families. She enjoys volunteering at a hospice for children, food banks, schools and other non-profits. She also enjoys taking photos, documenting, helping others, creating events, and collaborating with others in her community. Christie loves living in the Bay Area, going to conferences, spending time with her family and friends, painting, crafting, crossing items off her bucket list and working with children.

Tenisha Lewis, Case Manager: Tenisha recently graduated from California State University, East Bay with a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology. Her passion is working and servicing youth in need. For the past 5 years she has worked with adolescents, all which come from different social and economic backgrounds. She looks forward to the years of experience working with East Bay Children's Law Offices.

Sarah McElhinney, Staff Attorney: Sarah is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and Georgetown University Law Center. She comes to the East Bay Children’s Law Offices from the County of Santa Barbara where she was a Deputy County Counsel for seven years. At the Office of County Counsel, Sarah practiced in the areas of labor and employment law, civil litigation and juvenile dependency. Sarah is excited to join EBCLO and focus her career on advocating for foster youth.

J. Dominique Pinkney, Staff Attorney: Before law school he served as a public school teacher for 4 years. He graduated from Hastings College of the Law where he was: active in BALSA, a Student Coordinator of the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP), a LEOP criminal law teaching assistant, and a member of the Hastings Entertainment Law Journal. After law school he clerked for a U.S. Magistrate and joined the Alameda Public Defender’s office where he remained for 28 years. As a public defender he handled all levels of criminal adult and juvenile cases and fully litigated 30 trials including 4 murder trials. His public defender work included some dependency work and dependency attorney supervision. His last three years were dedicated to juvenile delinquency representation. Throughout his public defender career he remained active in the community, was a co-founder of the College Awareness and Advising Program, and in 2003 received the Charles Houston Bar Association community service award. In March of 2015 he retired as a public defender and within a month became a staff Attorney with the East Bay Children’s Law Offices. He is honored to be able to continue advocating for youth and specializes in representing youth facing criminal charges and crossover youth.

Tatiana Smith, Youth Advocate Social Worker: Tatiana is an East Bay native. She graduated from Oakland High School and then Cal State East Bay with a degree in sociology with the social services option. She then earned her masters through Walden University in Human and Social Services. She has worked as a registered behavior therapist for Behavioral Health Works in Hayward where she provided one-on-one Applied Behavioral Analysis techniques to individuals diagnosed with Autism and related disorders. She is passionate about mental health and early intervention services for children who have developmental disabilities. She loves traveling with her husband, cooking and spending time with her family.

Tori Porell, Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation: Tori is a recent law school graduate who joined EBCLO as an EJW Fellow. She holds a JD from Berkeley Law School, and a Bachelors from Northeastern University. Prior to law school, Tori worked as a preschool teacher both in Boston and Arizona. Utilizing her background in early education, Tori’s fellowship is focused on advocacy for youth 0-5 years of age, primarily those with developmental delays and special education needs. In her spare time, Tori likes to camp and bake.

Kim Rhody, Staff Attorney: Kim comes to EBCLO excited to be back at legal advocacy. Kim was a Deputy Public Defender in Contra Costa County for 11 years, handling criminal as well as juvenile and dependency cases. After taking time off to be with her children, she returned to work in special education as an instructor and advocate. Kim worked as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster youth for the last 3 years and is the Chair of the CASA Advisory board and a member of the Friends of CASA board. She has worked as an advocate for domestic violence victims for the S.F. Family Violence project and as a group home counselor. Kim is thrilled to join the dedicated and lively staff at EBCLO.

Peggy Stone, Staff Attorney: Representing children has been a passion in Peggy’s legal career since 1986. During that time, she has practiced law in juvenile courts in several Bay Area counties. After retiring from the Contra Costa Public Defender’s office in 2006, Peggy sat as a temporary judge in juvenile cases in Richmond and Martinez courts in Contra Costa County. Peggy has been at East Bay Children’s Law Offices since its inception and is thrilled to be focusing her attention on the youth of Alameda County. Peggy is a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children and is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law. Peggy is also a Child Welfare Law Specialist certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Rob Waring, Staff Attorney: Rob has an A.B. in Political Economy from Princeton University and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Prior to joining EBCLO, he represented foster children for the Alameda County Public Defender's Office. Before that he was Legislative Counsel for the California Judges Association and Juvenile Court Judges of California, where he worked with the State Legislature on issues concerning the courts. He has taught classes in Legal Ethics and in Law and Popular Culture at the USF School of Law. Rob is a Child Welfare Law Specialist certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children. In his spare time he enjoys piloting various small aircraft, backpacking, cycling and films. He wishes more of his clients and caregivers would call him when they need help.

Aubrey: Aubrey is a loving companion and support to children and adults experiencing trauma. Aubrey, a golden retriever lab mix, is a certified assistance dog expertly trained by Canine Companions for Independence. Aubrey loves kids, belly rubs, sitting on your feet and ice cubes.