Management Team

Our executive leadership team brings more than 250 years of combined law experience together to work for justice in the bay area.


Genevieve L. Richardson

Executive Director

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Genevieve Richardson is a social justice attorney who has been committed to advancing the civil legal rights of low-income families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over 17 years. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Genevieve served as Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s regional offices in Contra Costa, Marin, and Napa Counties. As Managing Attorney, she supervised a team of 20 staff attorneys, legal advocates, and volunteers who represent clients in matters involving housing, social safety-net benefits, healthcare access, domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, and consumer protection, as well as wrap-around legal help to low-income immigrants, veterans, seniors, formerly incarcerated individuals, and youth in foster care.

Genevieve joined Bay Area Legal Aid in 2001 as a staff attorney in Contra Costa County representing survivors of interpersonal violence. In 2005, she became BayLegal’s first Director of Pro Bono Activities establishing and overseeing the firm’s regional pro bono program. As Director of Pro Bono Activities, Genevieve coordinated pro bono activities across seven counties by recruiting and training private attorneys and volunteers to provide much-needed pro bono assistance to expand access to the civil justice system for low-income families. Richardson also works on a regional and statewide basis to address systemic poverty and inequality issues, and is a former Board member of the Legal Aid Association of California. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law in 2000 after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Education: University of Colorado School of Law, 2000; University of Colorado, B.A., Philosophy: Law and Society
Practice Area: Family Law and Immigration
Bar Admission: California, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Publications: Divided Societies: Northern Ireland’s religious struggles and the racial struggles in the United States. International Journal of Education Policy, Research and Practice. Vol. 1 No. 4, 2000


Haydée I. Alfonso

General Counsel and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Haydee AlfonsoAs General Counsel and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Haydée Alfonso, is responsible for stewarding BayLegal’s strategic planning and implementation. Ms. Alfonso’s primary areas of focus are:

  1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – Ensuring that our shared values of social equity and racial justice are implemented at all levels of the firm and in our work
  2. Compliance – Ensuring firm-wide understanding and compliance with federal and state rules and regulations, ethical rules, and HIPAA
  3. Developing and Overseeing Firm-Wide Business Coordination – including Disaster Preparedness and Response

 

Ms. Alfonso joined Bay Area Legal Aid in early 2008 as the Managing Attorney for our Legal Advice Line. In this role, she managed Northern California’s only civil legal advice hotline – an advanced telephony system serving seven counties and over 24,000 callers annually in over 40 languages. In 2013, she created BayLegal’s Health Consumer Center which serves all consumers facing barriers to health care.

Prior to joining BayLegal, Ms. Alfonso had a successful career as an attorney at Gordon & Rees as a member of the Business Transactions team. She was recruited by the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP) to develop what was to become a national model for pro bono business law projects. At VLSP she designed, implemented, and managed one of the nation’s first business law projects to address the ever-increasing complex legal needs of nonprofit organizations.

Ms. Alfonso earned a joint JD/MBA from Santa Clara University’s School of Law and School of Business in 1993. Ms. Alfonso is a graduate of OneJustice’s Executive Fellowship Program for Nonprofit Management, has served on the faculty of the Shriver Center – presenting a course on Essential Skills for Hotline Supervisors, and has served on the California State Bar’s Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services. In April 2013, Ms. Alfonso was one of six experts invited to speak on technology’s role in expanding access to civil legal aid at President Obama’s White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice.

She has been dedicated to serving the low income and disadvantaged communities in the Bay Area for over 20 years.

Education: Santa Clara University School of Law, JD/MBA 1992; University of California, Berkeley, B.A. Social Science
Bar Admissions: California, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Publications: “Mortgage Fraud Prevention Program,” VLSP; Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 2000; “Building a Future”, Business Law Today, 2003


Taylor Brady

Director of Development & Communications

Robert Capistrano

Senior Litigation Counsel

Andrea Del-Pan

Pro Bono Director

Rebekah Evenson

Director of Litigation and Advocacy

Rebekah is the Director of Litigation and Advocacy at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she oversees all BayLegal impact litigation, including a statewide challenge to the DMV’s practice of suspending the drivers’ licenses of people who cannot afford to pay traffic fines, an action challenging San Jose’s failure to follow state law regarding development of affordable housing, a suit on behalf of low income San Francisco residents fighting to maintain affordable housing, and others.

Prior to joining BayLegal, Rebekah was a senior staff attorney with the Prison Law Office, where she served as lead counsel in numerous institutional reform cases, including a case on behalf of more than 100,000 prisoners who successfully challenged the practice of imposing race-based lockdowns in California prisons (Mitchell v. Cate), and a case filed under the ADA on behalf of more than 8,000 prisoners with disabilities (Armstrong v. Brown). She was co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Plata, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that California must reduce prison crowding by approximately 50,000 prisoners.  Before the Prison Law Office, Rebekah was an associate at the labor and civil rights law firm, Altshuler Berzon LLP, where she litigated human rights, civil liberties, environmental, and labor cases, and before that she served as a Skadden fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Rebekah is a graduate of Yale Law School, and served as a law clerk to the former Judge Betty B. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Education: Yale Law School, JD (1999); Barnard College, Columbia University, B.A.
Bar Admissions: California Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Northern District of California, Eastern District of California, Central District of California
Practice Area: Litigation
Select Publications: “Lessons from Brown v. Plata for Prison Overcrowding Litigation,” Thompson Reuters Civil Rights Litigation and Attorney Fee Handbook (2012); co-author “Know Justice” handbook for the Center for Young Women’s Development, an advocacy tool for youth and their families in the juvenile justice system.


Ariella Hyman, JD

Director of Program and Advocacy

A-Hyman-picAs Director of Program and Advocacy, Ariella coordinates and strategizes with our Managing Attorneys, Regional Counsel and Director of Litigation to enhance our impact and leverage our unique expertise in serving low-income and vulnerable communities. In this capacity, Ariella is responsible for integrating BayLegal’s programs – across our seven-county firm, our multiple practice areas, and our multifaceted approaches (direct legal services, impact advocacy, and community work).

For 16 years, Ariella served as Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s largest office (Alameda County), leading a team of 45 attorneys, support staff, and social workers in providing high quality legal services to low-income county residents in domestic violence, family law, housing, economic justice, health access, youth justice, disability rights, immigration, and reentry legal services.

Prior to this, as a Domestic Violence Staff Attorney in BayLegal’s San Francisco office (formerly San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation), Ariella represented domestic violence survivors across multiple practice areas, engaged in extensive and impactful policy advocacy on local, state and national levels, trained professionals across multiple disciplines, and published various articles on interpersonal violence and its intersections with welfare, healthcare, and family law.

Ariella also serves as a Lecturer at The University of California Berkeley Law School, where she teaches the Field Placement Workshop, exploring lawyering topics with students engaged in internships in government agencies and public interest nonprofits.

Education: Harvard Law School, 1991; Brown University, B.A.

Practice Areas: Domestic Violence (including intersections with family law, public benefits, housing and healthcare)
Bar Admissions: California, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Awards: Named in “Top 20 lawyers under 40″ in California by Daily Journal, 2002.
Publications: Ariella’s articles have been published in Clearinghouse Review, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, Western Journal of Medicine, Fordham Urban Law Journal, and the Western Center of Law & Poverty’s CalWORKs Manual, among others.


Christina Lee

Director of Grants & Contracts

Kristi Lesnewich

Managing Attorney, Napa County

Kristi Lesnewich joined Bay Area Legal Aid as a staff attorney in 2016 when Legal Aid of Napa Valley merged with BayLegal and then became managing attorney of the Napa office in 2018.

Ms. Lesnewich started her path to a legal career as a volunteer at North Bay Legal Aid, continuing her volunteer work while attending law school at the University of San Francisco. In recognition of her work she was awarded a Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Services. Upon graduation she split her time as a staff attorney between Legal Assistance for Seniors in Oakland and Legal Aid of Napa Valley, eventually allocating all of her time to the Napa Valley.

Her primary focus has been delivering legal services to seniors in several areas of the law, opening close to 4500 cases in the past fifteen years. In addition to providing direct services, she is a member of many coalitions and committees in Napa County, whose goals are to protect and enhance the lives of elders living in the County. While vice chair of the Commission on Aging (COA), the COA worked with other non-profits and the County to draft, and have passed by all the cities in Napa and the County of Napa, a caregiver’s ordinance protecting those who have caregivers in their home. To this day Napa is the only County in California that has such ordinance.

 


Jerel McCrary

Managing Attorney, San Francisco County

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Jerel McCrary has worked in legal aid since 1989, when he joined the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation as a Staff attorney representing survivors of domestic violence. He became Bay Area Legal Aid’s Regional Counsel, Domestic Violence in 2001. He served as the temporary Executive Director in 2006.  Jerel was selected as the Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s San Francisco County office in 2014. With over 35 years’ experience in family law/domestic violence issues, Jerel provides guidance, training and support to the entire family law staff within BayLegal.

Jerel has been an LGBT advocate for many years and has shared that passion and experience to benefit our clients. He is a member of the National LGBT Bar Association and the National (LGBT) Family Law Institute. He has been a frequent lecturer for the Management Information Exchange. Prior to joining BayLegal, Jerel worked with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the Center for Public Interest Law and served as a founding member of Gay Rights Advocates.

Education: University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1977; Stanford University, B.A. History, phi beta kappa
Practice Area: Family Law; Domestic Violence; LGBT Clients
Admissions to Practice: 1977 California: U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Awards: San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium- Tanya Neiman Social Justice 2006; Legal Aid Association of California – Outstanding Legal Services Family Law Attorney 2004
Publications: The Homosexual in the Military and National Security Employment, Haworth Press, 1980; “A House Divided: Policies on Housing, Domestic Violence Must Not Undercut Each Other”, Berman and McCrary, San Francisco Daily Journal, 1999; Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Providing Family Law Services to LGBT Clients at a Legal Services Organization, MIE Journal, Volume XXVI No 1, Spring 2012

 


Lisa M. Newstrom

Managing Attorney, Santa Clara County

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Lisa Newstrom joined Bay Area Legal Aid in 2009 as a Public Benefits Attorney in the Santa Clara County office and accepted the position of Managing Attorney for that office in 2013. Lisa began her legal career at BayLegal as a volunteer Public Benefits advocate while she was awaiting her California bar results. Her practice focuses on safety-net programs such as SSI, CalWORKS, Food Stamps, Medi-Cal and General Assistance.

Lisa serves on several regional task forces including the Court for the Individual Treatment of Adolescents; South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking and the Santa Clara County Public Benefits Task Force. She has trained hundreds of attorneys, advocates, and social services workers on legal issues in public benefits, particularly for noncitizens and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.

Prior to joining BayLegal, Lisa was a Teach for America corps member and taught in low-income schools in Texas for several years, specializing in Bilingual/ESL and Special Education.

Education: Cornell Law School, 2008; Northwestern University, B.A. Writing
Practice Area: Public Benefits, Health Access
Bar Admission: California, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Awards: Sarah Betsy Fuller Social Justice Award, 2010 and 2013
Publications: The Horizon of Rights: Lessons from South Africa for the Post-Goodridge Analysis of Same-Sex Marriage, 41 Cornell Int. L. J. 2007


Erin Orum

Managing Attorney, San Mateo County and Regional Counsel for Family Law

Adam Poe

Managing Attorney, Contra Costa & Marin Counties

Adam joined Bay Area Legal Aid in 2008 as a housing attorney in the Contra Costa Office and
has been managing attorney in that office since May 2018. Adam became the first dedicated
reentry attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid in 2012 and took on the role of regional project
coordinator for the growing reentry unit shortly thereafter.

In his housing practice Adam has represented hundreds of low-income and disabled clients in
Unlawful Detainers and administrative hearings in Contra Costa. He maintains a case load of
housing and reentry cases and is involved in efforts to support individuals with criminal records
achieve stability through housing and employment advocacy.

Adam serves on several regional task forces and steering committees, including the Reentry
Community Advisory Board (CAB), the Reentry Success Center, the Youth Justice Initiative and
the Alliance to End Abuse. He has trained hundreds of attorneys, advocates and service
providers on Fair Housing issues and the housing rights of individuals with criminal records.

Education: DePaul College of Law (2006); Michigan State University, B.S. Pol. Sci (1999)
Practice Area: Housing, Reentry
Bar Admission: California, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California


Arlene Seifert

Director of Human Resources

Jessica Redditt

Managing Attorney, Alameda County

 

Jessica Redditt joined Bay Area Legal Aid in 2014 as a Staff Attorney and then served as Project Coordinator of the Alameda County SSI/SSDI Advocacy project in the Alameda County office. In that capacity, Jessica provided direct legal services and public benefits advocacy to low-income clients with mental and physical health disabilities. Jessica accepted the position of Managing Attorney for the Alameda County office in 2018.

She was instrumental in founding the Racial Justice Committee at BayLegal, which aims to improve race relations within the organization and promote racial equity across all areas of legal practice and employee recruitment, hiring, and retention. Prior to joining BayLegal, Jessica engaged in community-based advocacy at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, provided direct representation to parents and children in dependency proceedings, and represented plaintiffs in civil litigation.

Jessica serves on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Association of California and has trained numerous advocates on the intricacies of Social Security law.

Education: University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 2009; Georgetown University, A.B., Psychology, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Spanish, 2005
Practice Area: County and Federal Public Benefits
Bar Admission: California, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California


Mohammad Z. Sheikh

Director of Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer

 

Mohammad Sheikh joined Bay Area Legal Aid in 2002 as Director of Finance and Administration bringing over 25 years of financial management experience to Bay Area Legal Aid. In his role, Mohammad directs all fiscal activities of BayLegal including accounting practices, budgeting, financial analysis, grants management and contracts, and monitoring of financial performance.

Prior to joining BayLegal, Mohammad held positions as Director of Finance for STAND! Against Domestic Violence, and as Controller for the Sierra Club Foundation.

Education: University of Texas, Arlington, B.A. Accounting; Passed the uniform CPA exam in 1995


Barbara Texidor

Managing Attorney, Health Consumer Center & Legal Advice Line

 

Barbara Texidor joined Bay Area Legal Aid in 2008. She became managing attorney for 16 attorneys in the Health Consumer Center and Legal Advice line in May, 2018.

Barbara’s career has been dedicated to public interest law and social justice. Prior to joining Bay Area Legal Aid, she assisted immigrant families gain legal status and defend against deportation. At Bay Area Legal Aid she first served as a Legal Advice Line Attorney, providing advice and counsel in all practice areas, which included family law for survivors of interpersonal violence, social safety-net benefits, consumer law, and housing law. As a Legal Advice Line Attorney she also led a brief service clinic at the Homeless Prenatal Project.

In 2012, she began representing low-income disabled individuals with mental and/or physical disabilities in their applications and appeals for Veteran’s benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits (SSI & SSDI). In 2013, she became a founding partner in developing and building the Health Consumer Center at Bay Area Legal Aid, where she represented consumers with health service and coverage denials in hearings before Administrative Law Judges, filed grievances and appeals with health plans and the Department of Managed Health Care, and negotiated with providers and county representatives. In 2014, she became a Project Coordinator for the Health Consumer Center, tasked with elevating systemic issues to county and state partners, overseeing health policy advocacy for the firm, supervising 7 staff attorneys, grant reporting, and providing training and educational outreach to attorneys at Bay Area Legal Aid and the community regarding healthcare access issues. She also served as the union Executive Chair of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers (UAW/NOLSW) for staff from December 2015 to March 2017.

Education: University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 2007; University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A., with honors, American Studies; B.A. Legal Studies, 2004
Practice Area: Health Access, Public Benefits
Bar Admission: California


Steven Weiss

Regional Counsel for Social Security

Steve Weiss is a Regional Managing Attorney of our Social Security practice at Bay Area Legal Aid, supervising over 20 attorneys who provide representation in cases from initial application through federal court.

Steve joined Bay Legal as a staff attorney in 2005, and provided direct representation to hundreds of clients in various public benefits matters before becoming SSI Advocacy Regional Coordinator and Regional Counsel. Prior to working at Bay Area Legal Aid, Steve was a staff attorney at the Homeless Action Center in Berkeley from 1999 to 2005.
He is 1998 graduate of the Golden Gate University School of Law, and received his B.A. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in Urban Public Policy Administration.

Practice Area: Public Benefits, SSI
Bar Admission: 1998 California, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California