Management Team

Genevieve L. Richardson

Executive Director

Genevieve Richardson smiles

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 20 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


Brenda Star Adams

Director of Litigation

As Director of Litigation,Brenda Star Adams (she/her) oversees the strategic vision and priorities of BayLegal’s impact litigation and partners with staff to bring litigation to challenge systemic inequities and legal barriers identified through BayLegal’s community based direct individual legal services to improve the lives of low-income California residents. Brenda also provides litigation training and support to attorneys across the firm to increase litigation practice skills broadly. From 2011-2018, as a BayLegal staff attorney Brenda represented survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse in family law and immigration matters. Prior to re-joining BayLegal in 2024, Brenda led impact litigation at the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) aimed at dismantling systems of oppression for youth in education, health, immigration, criminal justice, and child welfare. Prior to NCYL, Brenda worked to combat gender discrimination at work and at school with Equal Rights Advocates, where she led the organization’s education equity work and sexual violence impact litigation, oversaw the direct services programs, and managed the queer justice project. Brenda began her career at the Eviction Defense Center in Oakland, where she defended low-income tenants (primarily undocumented families) from eviction in jury trials and organized tenants in affirmative lawsuits against slumlords. Brenda is also a lecturer at UC Berkeley Law School, where she teaches a class to students placed in nonprofit externships covering themes of authenticity, combatting white supremacy culture, and resilience. In her spare time, Brenda coaches a high school mock trial team and loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and 3-legged dog. A native of San Francisco, Brenda brings a fierce passion for social justice and over 18 years’ experience litigating cases on behalf of youth, low-income families, the LGBTQI+ community, and survivors of abuse.

Education: Graduated 2006 with a J.D. from New England Law; 2002 with a B.A. from UC San Diego.

Bar Admissions: California and Northern District of California

Practice Areas: Housing, family law, immigration, criminal justice, child welfare, civil rights, education, employment, litigation

Awards: 2021 Fay Stender Award winner (“The annual award is given to a feminist attorney, who, like Fay Stender, is committed to the representation of women, disadvantaged groups and unpopular causes, and whose courage, zest for life and demonstrated ability to effect change as a single individual makes her a role model for women attorneys”); 2006 Public Service Award from New England Law; 2005 Public Law Association Grant Recipient.


  • “Trauma informed lawyering is our professional responsibility,” The Daily Journal (2023) (co-authored) available here.
  • “Court of Appeals in Young v. Solano County opens the door to racial bias complaints,” The Daily Journal (2022) available here.
  • “Developments Related to Sexual Misconduct on College Campuses,” The Daily Journal (2021) (co-authored) available here.
  • Domestic Violence and Housing: How California Laws, the Fair Housing Act, and the Violence Against Women Act Protect Survivors of Domestic Violence from Denial of Housing, Help them Defend and Avoid Eviction, and Aid Survivors in Maintaining Safe and Stable Housing,” Practising Law Institute (published 2013 – 2017) (co-authored).
  • Published Opinion (as lead counsel), Perez v. Torres-Hernandez, 1 Cal.App.5th 389 (2016), available here.
  • “Unbundled Legal Services: A Solution to the Pro Se Problem in Massachusetts’ Civil Courts,” New England Law Review, 40 New Eng. L. Rev. 303 (2005).

Haydée I. Alfonso

General Counsel

Haydée Alfonso smiles with a brick wall backgroundAs General Counsel, Haydée Alfonso, is responsible for stewarding BayLegal’s strategic planning and implementation. Ms. Alfonso’s primary areas of focus are:

  1. Compliance – Ensuring firm-wide understanding and compliance with federal and state rules and regulations, ethical rules, and HIPAA
  2. 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

Jessica J. Avalos

Director of Human Resources

Taylor Brady

Director of Development & Communications

As Director of Development and Communications, Taylor oversees Annual Campaign giving and cultivation for individuals, corporate contributors, our Board of Directors, and the private bar. The campaign is a primary source of unrestricted funding support for our work, providing flexibility and stability and allowing us to respond quickly to emergent client, community, and organizational needs. Taylor also manages our firm-wide communications, providing strategic direction, content development, and editorial oversight for our website, email newsletters, client and community outreach materials and social media accounts. He serves as BayLegal’s media point of contact and strategist, working with advocates to bring regional and national media focus to bear on our work as a tool for case advocacy and increasingly as a means to build public recognition for the history and current practice of civil legal aid as a key component of long-term struggles against economic inequality, displacement, racial injustice, and oppressions linked to gender and sexuality. Supervising a Communications and Development Assistant, and serving on the management team, Taylor’s role links operational leadership of the Communications and Development department to firm-wide strategic planning.

Taylor joined BayLegal in 2018, bringing 20 years of nonprofit fundraising and communications experience. Prior to joining BayLegal, he worked in senior development positions at organizations working to build social justice through mental health access, family support, community organizing, educational equity, and youth leadership. Responsibilities included grants cultivation and management, donor fundraising, management of external communications assets and strategies, and coordination with finance and program leadership. Organizations in which he has held Director of Development roles include Partnership for Children and Youth, South Bay Center for Counseling, and the California School-Age Consortium.

Education: New College of Florida, BA

Hilda Chan

Regional Counsel of Housing Litigation

As Regional Counsel of Housing Litigation, Hilda Chan supervises and supports the attorneys and advocates in the housing unit across five counties, providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help them excel in providing high quality impactful client services, especially at the trial stage of eviction cases.

Hilda joined BayLegal in 2018 as a staff attorney with the Alameda County housing unit. Prior to BayLegal, she practiced domestic violence and family law at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, housing law at Eviction Defense Collaborative, and was a Soros Justice Fellow with Public Interest Law Project and Supportive Parents Information Network working to end warrantless, suspicionless D.A. home searches of applicants of public assistance in San Diego.

Education: Berkeley Law, JD 2012

Practice Areas: Housing, Domestic Violence/Family Law

Andrea Del-Pan

Pro Bono Director

Lauren DeMartini

Regional Counsel, Housing Law

Sasha Ellis

Supervising Attorney, Social Security Disability/SSI, Alameda County

Oliver Foland

Managing Attorney, Napa County

As Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s Napa County Regional Office, Oliver supervises and supports a team of attorneys, advocates, providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help them excel in providing high quality impactful client services.

Oliver joined BayLegal’s Napa County office in 2024. Prior to BayLegal, Oliver served as the Managing Attorney of the Immigration Legal Services department of Catholic Charities Yolo-Solano, overseeing the program and representing clients in humanitarian and family based immigration matters, as well as removal defense. He has spent his career as an immigration attorney, in both private and non-profit sectors. Prior to Catholic Charities, Oliver was a staff attorney in the immigration department of Canal Alliance.

Education: Golden Gate University School of Law

Bar Admissions: California State Bar

Practice Areas: Immigration, Public Benefits

 Linnea Forsythe

Managing Attorney, Alameda County

Linnea Forsythe is the Managing Attorney of Bay Area Legal Aid’s Alameda County Regional Office. She has devoted her career to serving survivors of trauma and violence, individuals with disabilities, and youth and adults who are unhoused. Linnea has a background in law and social work. She founded and directed the social work practice at BayLegal. Integrating social workers at BayLegal introduced an interdisciplinary team service model to address the trauma and non-legal issues that present barriers to people finding safety and stability. Before starting the social work practice at BayLegal, Linnea represented hundreds of clients as an attorney in many areas of law including family law, restraining orders, immigration, SSI/SSDI, local and state public benefits, and youth law. Before taking the Managing Attorney position, Linnea was in New Mexico where she served as Acting Executive Director of the New Mexico Governor’s Commission on Disability and Director of the New Mexico State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Regardless of the capacity she serves in, Linnea brings to her work the foundational belief that the people we serve are strong, independent, capable, and deserving of respect and love.Education: Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D. 2008; Graduate School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley, MSW 2005

Bar Admissions: California, Hawaii

Practice Areas: Domestic Violence Prevention, SSI/SSDI, Youth Law

Lisa Greif

Supervising Attorney – Housing, Alameda County

Lisa joined BayLegal in 2002 as a staff attorney in the Contra Costa County Office. She has over 15 years of experience in affordable housing preservation and has represented hundreds of individual clients. Lisa’s litigation experience has focused on eviction defense for tenants in public, subsidized and private housing, Section 8 termination hearings, fair housing enforcement and housing authority policy advocacy. She has litigated several affirmative impact cases including enforcement of low-income senior tenants’ rights to remain with enhanced vouchers and a successful challenge to a housing authority’s improper use of criminal records in the admission process. She has also coordinated the review and submission of public comments to housing authorities’ administrative plans, annual plans, disposition and displacement plans, relocation assistance and replacement housing plans. Lisa has been a panelist in landlord/tenant, fair housing and eviction defense law at NLADA, PLI, Pathways to Justice, and Housing Justice Network conferences and trained hundreds of community members, attorneys, advocates and service providers. Since 2018, Lisa has been a Supervising Attorney providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help the Alameda County Housing Unit attorneys excel in providing high quality impactful client service.

Education: Suffolk University Law School, JD (1998), Columbia University, MPA (1995), Occidental College, BA (1988)
Bar Admissions California, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court, Northern District, and Massachusetts

Practice Areas: Housing

Publications: Claire Johnson and Lisa Greif, Criminal Records and Denial of Access to Subsidized Housing – A Two-Pronged Approach to Litigation, Housing Law Bulletin, Vol. 43, at 84.

Ursula Hill

Supervising Social Worker, San Francisco County

Asma Husain

Supervising Attorney, Housing – San Francisco County

Ariella Hyman

Director of Program and Advocacy

Ariella Hyman smiles in front of a brick wall backgroundAs 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.

Maighna Jain

Managing Attorney, Youth Justice

As Regional Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s Youth Justice Team, Maighna  manages a team of advocates, lawyers, volunteers, and our team social worker.

Prior to law school, she worked as a case manager for juvenile justice-involved youth in San Francisco. After graduation from law school, she represented domestic violence and trafficking survivors in DV/family law and housing matters and has spent most of her career representing youth in education, dependency, dual status, guardianship, family law, immigration, and domestic violence matters. She previously worked at the Family Law Facilitator’s Office, and as a certified mediator for Consortium for Children and the Bar Association of San Francisco, mediating adoption, guardianship, education, and housing cases.

She is an active member of the Alameda County Bar Association, where she serves as the chair of the Wellness Executive Committee and as secretary for the Immigration Executive Committee. In her spare time (and prior to the pandemic), Maighna enjoyed teaching yoga and meditation to youth in juvenile hall and in schools. In addition, she continues to advocate for the use of restorative justice and alternative dispute practices for youth in school discipline and juvenile justice systems.

Jessica Jenkins

Managing Attorney, Immigration Law Practice

Raegan Joern

Managing Attorney, San Francisco County

As Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s San Francisco County Regional Office, Raegan supervises and supports a team of attorneys, advocates and social workers, providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help them excel in providing high quality impactful client services.

Raegan joined BayLegal’s Alameda County office in 2016, where she coordinated our Social Security advocacy in-reach at Santa Rita Jail and represented clients pre and post-release from Santa Rita Jail. In 2018, Raegan transferred to BayLegal’s San Francisco office, where she has represented clients with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness in claims for SSDI/SSI, and served as a Supervising Attorney in our SSDI/SSI practice. Prior to BayLegal, Raegan worked at Rubicon Programs, where she founded two medical-legal partnerships as an Equal Justice Fellow, and practiced re-entry legal services. Before practicing law, Raegan worked as a case manager in San Francisco supportive housing programs for formerly homeless adults and people with disabilities.

Education: UC Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings)

Bar Admissions: California State Bar, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Practice Areas: SSI/SSDI, Public Benefits

Lisa Kim

Supervising Attorney, Housing, San Francisco County

Christina Lee

Director of Grants & Contracts

As Director of Grants and Contracts Christina oversees BayLegal’s vast portfolio of federal, state and local government contracts and private grants to ensure the firm has continued stable funding to provide impactful legal services to low-income communities throughout the Bay Area. Christina leads a dynamic team of three dedicated Grants and Contracts Officers who together cultivate and maintain relationships with funders, ensure contractual compliance and high quality reporting, and tell the story of civil legal services. As a member of senior management team Christina participates in firm-wide strategic planning.

Christina joined BayLegal in 2018 bringing nearly 20 years of experience in public service with local government and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining BayLegal, Christina served for eight years with the City and County of San Francisco, holding the positions of Finance and Policy Analysis Manager with the Office of the Assessor-Recorder and Senior Performance Analyst with the Office of the Controller. While working with San Francisco, Christina evaluated and developed city policies and managed budgets, contracts, payroll and accounting issues at the department and program level. Christina also has extensive nonprofit experience, serving as a Program Manager for Catholic Relief Services, and Program Director with Bay Area Community Resources, directing program development and implementation of multi-lateral and U.S. government contracts and private grants.

Education: Princeton University, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, MPA; University of California, Berkeley, BA


Brennan Lowe

Supervising Attorney, Legal Advice Line (LAL)

Jessica Mark

Supervising Attorney, Economic Justice

Jessica Mark is a Supervising Attorney of Economic Justice (public benefits).  As Regional Economic Justice Supervising Attorney, Jessica supervises and supports the attorneys and advocates across the firm with their Economic Justice cases, providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help in a wide range of public benefits cases so they can excel in providing high quality impactful client services.

Jessica joined BayLegal in 2020 as a senior staff attorney. Prior to BayLegal, she worked as a staff attorney at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles in the Economic Stability Work Group,

Education: BA from California State University, Long Beach, JD from Loyola Law School

Focus of practice (expertise): Economic Justice (public benefits)

Bar Admissions: California

Practice Areas: Public Benefits

Don Medearis

Supervising Attorney – Economic Justice, San Francisco

Kemi Mustapha

Supervising Attorney – Interpersonal Violence/Family Law, Santa Clara County

Woman with glasses smilesAs Supervising Attorney in BayLegal’s Family Law Practice, Santa Clara Regional Office, Kemi supervises and supports the attorneys and advocates in the family law unit, providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help them excel in providing high quality impactful client services.

Kemi joined BayLegal in 2012 as an Equal Justice Works fellow dedicated to expanding and improving the delivery of family law services to Black domestic violence survivors. She spent several years working in BayLegal’s Alameda County Regional Office before transferring to the Santa Clara County Regional Office in November 2017.

Education: Washington University in St. Louis, J.D. (2010); The University of Chicago, B.A. with honors (2006)
Bar Admissions: California
Practice Areas: Family Law/Domestic Violence

Lisa M. Newstrom

Managing Attorney, Santa Clara County

Lisa Newstrom smiles with a brick wall backgroundLisa Newstrom is the Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s Santa Clara County Regional Office. Lisa has been the Managing Attorney since 2013.  As Managing Attorney she is responsible for supporting a team of attorneys and advocates providing a range of legal services within BayLegal’s substantive law priorities, developing innovative and responsive client services programs and partnerships throughout the county to provide high quality impactful legal services to low-income residents.

Lisa joined BayLegal in 2009 as a Public Benefits Attorney in the Santa Clara County office assisting clients with a wide-range of safety-net programs such as SSI, CalWORKS, Food Stamps, Medi-Cal and General Assistance (GA).  Lisa began her legal career at BayLegal as a volunteer Public Benefits advocate while she was awaiting her California bar results.

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

Joanna Parnes

Supervising Attorney, Social Security Disability/SSI, Alameda County

As Supervising Attorney in BayLegal’s Social Security Disability/SSI Practice, Alameda County, Joanna supervises and supports the attorneys and advocates in the Alameda County SSI Unit providing day-to-day support, mentorship and guidance to help them excel in providing high quality impactful client services. Joanna has expertise in county, state, and federal public benefit programs.

Joanna joined BayLegal as a staff attorney in December 2011, providing direct legal services to low-income adults and children with mental and physical health disabilities. She began providing mentorship and support to the growing SSI team as a Project Coordinator in 2016 and has been a supervising attorney since 2018. Joanna has represented numerous clients in their SSI/SSDI cases, from initial applications through federal district court appeals, and regularly trains advocates across California on Social Security law and advocacy.

Prior to joining BayLegal, Joanna worked at the East Bay Community Law Center, where she assisted low-income clients with state and county benefits. Before law school, she worked as a researcher at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, evaluating programs and policies that impact poor families.

Education: University of California, Berkeley School of Law; University of Michigan, BA, Women’s Studies and Organizational Studies

Bar Admissions: California; U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Practice Areas: County, state, and federal public benefits

Adam Poe

Managing Attorney, Contra Costa & Marin Counties

Adam Poe is the Managing Attorney of BayLegal’s Marin and Contra Costa and Marin county regional offices. Adam has been Managing Attorney since 2018.   As Managing Attorney he is responsible for supporting a team of attorneys and advocates providing a range of legal services within BayLegal’s substantive law priorities, developing innovative and responsive client services programs and partnerships to provide high quality impactful legal services to low-income residents.

Adam joined BayLegal in 2008 as a housing staff attorney in the Contra Costa Office.  Adam has represented hundreds of low-income tenants in all aspects of Unlawful Detainers (evictions) and administrative cases and hearings to preserve affordable subsidized housing and prevent homelessness. In 2012, Adam became the first BayLegal attorney to focus on providing reentry legal services to individuals who were formerly incarcerated and/or impacted by the criminal legal system after the passage of AB 109. Adam’s practice focused on supporting individuals with criminal records achieve stability through housing and employment advocacy.  Adam helped to grow BayLegal’s reentry practice which now provides services in multiple counties.

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

Rebecca Richardson

Supervising Attorney, Reentry

Emilio Seijo Rivera

Managing Attorney, Health Consumer Center

Emilio G. Seijo Rivera is an accomplished and talented attorney with a diversified legal background spanning non-profit, corporate, and government positions. As a Managing Attorney for the Health Consumer Center (HCC), Mr. Seijo Rivera leads a team of attorneys who empower individuals to achieve greater access to healthcare coverage, services and reduced healthcare related debt. His diverse areas of substantive knowledge include client counseling, litigation management, legal research and writing, training, government affairs, public policy, legislative analysis, administrative law, health care law, family law, immigration, and employment law.

Emilio joined BayLegal as a staff attorney on the HCC providing advice and representation to clients on health care access and coverage issues. Also, he provided support with calls on BayLegal’s Legal Advice Line, specifically regarding domestic violence family law and connecting callers to appropriate external resources throughout the Bay Area.  .

Before joining BayLegal, Emilio worked for G.E. Healthcare Ltd. in the United Kingdom. He researched, reviewed, and analyzed public policies related to health care and life sciences and advised legislative changes. While in his native Puerto Rico, Emilio worked for the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico as the Chief Counsel and Policy Director. Also, he worked for the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico as Director of Legal Affairs, and for the Court of Appeals of Puerto Rico, as Law Clerk.

Emilio performed various legal services in his prior positions, including developing public policy, drafting and amending legislation, counseling government officials, conducting legal research, and drafting judicial opinions. Also, he had driven litigation strategy, managing outside counsel, and has represented agencies in many hearings and settlement negotiations.

He is bilingual in English and Spanish, strengthening his strong communication and interpersonal skills. Moreover, allowing him to serve as an interpreter and translating documents for other attorneys firm-wide.

Education: Loyola University Chicago School of Law, LL.M. in Health Law | Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Law, J.D. | Inter American University of Puerto Rico, B.S. in Biology

Bar Admissions: States & Territories – California | Minnesota | Puerto Rico | District of Columbia. Federal – US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit | US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit | US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico | US District Court for the Northern District of California

Practice Areas: Administrative Law, Health Care Law, Family Law, Immigration Law (U Visa and VAWA), and Public Benefits (Medi-Cal, IHSS, CCS, etc.)

Rai Sue Sussman, Esq.

Supervising Attorney – Social Security Disability/SSI, San Francisco

Burt Thompson

Director of Finance & Administration, Chief Financial Officer


As Director of Finance & Administration, Burt Thompson oversees the directs all of BayLegal’s fiscal activities including accounting practices, budgeting, financial analysis, grants and contracts fiscal management and compliance, and monitoring of financial performance. Burt leads an expert finance team of five.

Burt brings over 20 years of experience as CFO and Controller, both in the private and non-profit sectors, including working for a large public accounting firm as an auditor and for an international NGO supporting communities in multiple countries. He has vast expertise in leading financial functions in achieving exceptional results with a focused commitment to nonprofits.

Prior to joining BayLegal, Burt held positions as Chief Financial Officer for Thrive Networks, who performs international development work for underserved communities in southeast Asia, and as the Corporate Controller for United Commercial Bank, who serves Chinese communities.

Burt has expressed that through his varied career experiences, he has found that his heart is drawn to using his skills and experience to support non-profits who are directly benefiting individuals and communities and creating positive change.

Education: University of Southern California, M.S. Taxation, California State University, Northridge, M.S Accountancy, University of California at Los Angeles, B.A. Economics; Licensed as a Certified Public Accountant, active, in California.

Lara Verwer

Supervising Attorney – Housing, Santa Clara County

Kate Walsham

Supervising Attorney – Social Security Disability/SSI, Alameda County

Jessica Weinger

Supervising Attorney – Housing, San Francisco County

Mynesha Whyte

Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Michael Wolchansky

Supervising Attorney, Social Security Disability/SSI, San Francisco County

Joshua Yoon

Managing Attorney, Legal Advice Line

Maria Zaldivar

Human Resources Manager