Staff

Kimberly Thomas Rapp
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Kimberly Thomas Rapp, Esq.

Executive Director

Kimberly Thomas Rapp is the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (Lawyers’ Committee). To this esteemed position, she brings a background in the public, private and non-profit sectors, which uniquely positions her to lead the Lawyers’ Committee in pursuit of its mission to advance and protect the civil rights of marginalized communities through the rule of law.

Under Kimberly’s leadership, the Lawyers’ Committee has invigorated its core programs and forged new ground in civil rights advocacy. Recognizing that equal access to economic opportunity is a critical component of any movement for equality and justice, Kimberly restored economic justice as one of the organization’s primary practice areas and expanded legal services under the program to empower minority and low-income communities to build and sustain economic security. She has also re-established educational equity as a legal priority advancing litigation and advocating for practice and policy changes that expand access to quality education for students of color. In the first two years of her tenure, Lawyers’ Committee secured major legal victories to improve school conditions and discipline decisions, ensure equal contracting opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses, and increase the fair representation of asylum applicants in immigration proceedings. Additionally, the organization is at the leading edge of a vital new thread of civil rights advocacy addressing the civil implications of inequities in the criminal justice system.

Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, Kimberly served as Lead Deputy Counsel for the Santa Clara County Counsel. She was responsible for providing legal representation and counsel to the County’s Equal Opportunity Division, Social Services Agency, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and other departments on a broad range of legal matters, including civil rights, employment, labor, healthcare, complex transactions, and other issues. She also served as legal counsel to the Santa Clara County Office of Education and school districts.

Before her public service, Kimberly was the Director of Law and Public Policy for the Equal Justice Society. She was responsible for developing and implementing programmatic initiatives to restore constitutional safeguards against discrimination. Her work included coordinating U.S. Supreme Court litigation strategies among legal practitioners, professors, communications professionals and social scientists around the country. She worked in collaboration with the California Teachers Association and the National Education Association on initiatives to explore and address the impact of bias in school communities to narrow the achievement gap. Kimberly has also served as an advocate for children with special needs and an education law practitioner. In the private sector, she conducted workplace investigations and worked with corporations and agencies to address issues of discrimination and harassment.

Kimberly has been a keynote speaker, trainer, facilitator and panelist on diverse civil rights issues for the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, California Teachers Association, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Stanford Law School, the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, among others. She has authored numerous articles and she is a San Francisco Bay Area native. Kimberly received her B.A., with Honors, from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a graduate of Stanford Law School.

Oren_Sellstrom
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OREN SELLSTROM, ESQ.

Legal Director

Oren Sellstrom is the Legal Director at the Lawyers’ Committee. During his tenure he has litigated numerous federal and state court cases seeking to promote racial and economic justice. He has worked extensively to open up government contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses, through litigation and policy advocacy. Oren argued the case of Associated General Contractors, San Diego Chapter v. Caltrans before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which resulted in a ruling that affirmed the California Department of Transportation’s outreach program to promote fairness and equity in its federal contracting. Other representative cases include Williams v. City of Antioch, a class action lawsuit that challenged the City of Antioch’s practice of harassing African-American Section 8 tenants, resulting in a settlement banning such practices and providing damages to the named class representatives; Kincaid v. City of Fresno, a class action lawsuit that challenged the City of Fresno’s policy of taking and immediately destroying homeless people’s property, resulting in a settlement enjoining the policy and providing damages to affected class members; and Pakeman v. American Honda Finance Company and Herra v. Toyota Motor Credit Corporation, class action lawsuits that successfully curbed discriminatory auto lending practices and provided damages to the class. Before coming to Lawyers’ Committee in 1997, Oren clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the Northern District of California and worked as a staff attorney at Legal Services of Northern California. Oren is a 1992 graduate of Harvard Law School.

Candice Francis

Candice Francis

Communications Director

Candice Francis joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in 2012 as the Communications Director. In this role, she is responsible for leading and implementing communications strategies to effectively reach priority audiences and build support for the efforts and achievements of the Lawyers’ Committee. Prior to joining LCCR her consulting practice, Consummate Communications, provided strategic communications services in support of social justice and health equity endeavors. Candice has held communications and media positions at The Public Health Institute, Kaiser Permanente, Martin & Glantz LLC, KRON-TV, KQED-FM and KQED-TV. She is also a writing coach, assisting others to bring their writing projects to fruition. She has taught literature and writing, critical thinking, public speaking, and parenting communications at U.C. Berkeley and Peralta and Contra Costa Community Colleges. Candice is a graduate of Brown University and received a Master’s degree in Communications from Ohio University where she was a recipient of a Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) fellowship.

Paul Chavez
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Paul Chavez, Esq.

Pro Bono Coordinator

Paul Chavez is the Pro Bono Manager and a Senior Attorney. He manages LCCR’s pro bono programs, which includes building, sustaining, and expanding pro bono relationships with law firms, corporations, law schools, and bar associations. Paul conducts presentations on pro bono opportunities, and coordinates pro bono recruitment and appreciation events. He also maintains an active impact litigation docket primarily in the Racial Justice and Immigrant Justice Clusters, and he supervises junior attorneys engaged in impact litigation and policy advocacy. Paul also coordinates training and mentoring programs for legal volunteers, including overseeing the design of training materials and the recruitment of trainers and pro bono mentors. Additionally, he oversees the law clerk and fellowship programs, including the recruitment, hiring, and supervision of law students and fellows. Paul previously worked for Centro Legal de la Raza where he litigated worker’s rights cases, representing low wage workers primarily in the areas of wage and hour law, unlawful termination, and discrimination. Formerly, he was a litigation associate at Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP. A Colorado native, Paul was a fire fighter in the United States Navy prior to receiving his BA in Political Science from the University of Colorado. He earned his JD from Berkeley Law at the University of California. Paul is a board member of Centro Legal de la Raza, and Co-President of the Board of Directors of the East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association.

Miya Saika Chen
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MIYA SAIKA CHEN, ESQ.

Staff Attorney

Miya Saika Chen leads the Community Empowerment and Economic Justice Program. Miya works to promote the economic empowerment of underserved communities through policy advocacy, community-based education, and litigation. She directs Legal Services for Entrepreneurs, which provides free legal assistance to low-income individuals who are starting businesses, as well as existing small businesses (“mom and pop shops”) in areas where gentrification is a force for displacement. Prior to joining LCCR, Miya was a law fellow at the public interest law firm, Justice First, where she worked on indigent juvenile defense appeals. Previously, she was a senior advisor in the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders where she developed the Obama Administration’s national community engagement strategy to increase AAPI community access to programs across 23 federal agencies and led a series of summits on entrepreneurship and small business growth. Miya serves on the Board of Directors of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.  She received her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and is an Oakland, CA native.

Silvia Contreras

SILVIA CONTRERAS

Administrative Assistant/Asylum Paralegal

Silvia Contreras is the Legal Assistant at Lawyers’ Committee, and has been with the organization since January 2000. She works in the Administrative Department, providing support to Lawyers’ Committee attorneys. Silvia is also a part of the Asylum Program team, conducting phone intake calls with clients, scheduling client interviews, and conducting asylum interviews for our Spanish speaking clients. Additionally, she helps coordinate asylum seminars and workshops for our volunteers and our Immigration Clinic, which is co-sponsored by La Raza Centro Legal. Originally from Mexico, Silvia graduated as a bilingual secretary in 1980 and worked in the private sector before joining Lawyers’ Committee.

Meredith Desautels
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MEREDITH DESAUTELS, ESQ.

Staff Attorney

Meredith Desautels joined the Lawyers’ Committee as a Skadden Fellow in 2010, and is now a staff attorney in the Racial Justice program. With a focus on advancing racial justice and civil rights in relation to the criminal justice system, Meredith directs the Second Chance Legal Clinic, which provides free legal services to people with past arrests and convictions to help them overcome the barriers to successful community reintegration. Meredith also engages in community outreach and education, policy advocacy, and impact litigation to promote reentry and criminal justice reform. Before joining Lawyers’ Committee, Meredith clerked for Judge Noonan on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and worked as a supervising attorney in the Clean Slate Practice at the East Bay Community Law Center. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall.

Robin Goldfaden
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ROBIN GOLDFADEN, ESQ.

Senior Attorney 

Robin Goldfaden is the senior attorney for the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. Previously, Robin worked at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she co-taught and supervised students in the Refugee & Human Rights Clinic. She also served as a senior staff attorney with Hastings’ Center for Gender & Refugee Studies. At the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, she was as a senior staff attorney focused on challenging unlawful immigration detention and unconstitutional conditions of confinement, post-9/11 national security policies and practices, racial profiling and other forms of discrimination, unlawful immigration arrests, due process deprivations, and limitations on judicial review of agency decisions. Prior to the ACLU, Robin was a NAPIL (now Equal Justice Works) Fellow at Disability Rights Advocates and a judicial clerk for Judge Allyne R. Ross of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and Judge Fortunato P. Benavides of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Robin is a graduate of Brown University and received her law degree from Columbia University School of Law.

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PABLO LASTRA, ESQ.

Asylum Program Coordinator

Pablo Lastra is the Asylum Program Coordinator at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Pablo is a 2012 graduate of Harvard Law School, where he worked with asylum seekers at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic in conjunction with staff attorneys at Greater Boston Legal Services and participated in the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute, representing indigent defendants in district court. During his time at Harvard Law School, Pablo was a member of the Harvard Human Rights Journal, served on the editorial board of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and interned at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Dallas-based civil rights firm of Daniel & Beshara. Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Pablo was the Civil Rights Fellow at Relman, Dane, & Colfax, a civil rights law firm in Washington, D.C., litigating Fair Housing and employment discrimination cases in federal court. Pablo grew up in Mexico and moved to Texas as a teenager, where he obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas, respectively. Before attending law school, Pablo spent five years working as an investigative journalist in North Texas, winning awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Houston Press Club. Pablo is admitted to practice in California and the District of Columbia.

Dave Rorick

DAVE RORICK

Asylum Advocate Emeritus

Dave Rorick joined the Lawyers’ Committee Pro Bono Asylum Program as a volunteer at its inception in 1983, and soon thereafter joined the staff as a Legal Assistant to pursue what became his life’s mission. For thirty years, Dave ensured that those seeking asylum without the resources to plead their case had access to legal representation of the highest caliber. To that end, Dave developed a cadre of volunteer attorneys and interpreters and infused them with his dynamic dedication to justice for all. He interviewed asylum seekers from around the world and placed their cases with several generations of pro bono lawyers in supporting law firms, matching lawyers with mentors from Northern California’s immigration bar, interpreter volunteers and other experts. As a result, thousands of people from almost every continent found refuge on these shores and protection from assaults both physical and legal. Dave retired from his staff position in September 2013.

In his current role as Asylum Advocate Emeritus, Dave has returned to volunteer status and provides ongoing support to the Immigrant Justice program in myriad ways, including conducting intake interviews with Asylum seekers, mentoring the current Asylum Program Coordinator, and generally spreading good will and cheer whenever he shows up.

David Salniker

DAVID SALNIKER, ESQ.

Finance Director

David Salniker brings an extensive background in nonprofit management and civil rights law to the Lawyers’ Committee. Most recently, David served as the Director of Administration and Finance for the Equal Justice Society (EJS). He assisted in the formation of EJS as an independent 501 (c)(3) and served on its senior management team for over ten years.

From 1996 to 2003, David served as the Executive Director of the Tides Center, a unique organization promoting social change by providing fiscal sponsorship to over 350 projects located in 40 different states and six countries. As Executive Director of the Tides Center, he also served as a member of the executive council responsible for the planning and oversight of the entire Tides family of organizations, including the Tides Foundation, Groundspring, the Thoreau Center and the Community Clinics Initiative.

David was initially a practicing attorney specializing in civil rights and employment law. He is one of the original members of the National Lawyers Guild Affirmative Action Committee formed in 1978. For many years, David served as the Guild’s representative to the Northern California Coalition for Civil Rights. He was a member of the steering committee of ‘No on 209′ – a campaign committee seeking to oppose a ballot initiative to end affirmative action in California.

David is a former treasurer of the ACLU of Northern California and currently serves as Treasurer of Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial.

David has a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt) and a Masters of Law (in Labor Law) from New York University School of Law.

Fellows

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Rose Cahn, Esq.

Soros Justice Fellow

Rose Cahn is launching the first pro bono clinic designed to stop the deportation of individuals who have been unlawfully convicted. Bridging the work of LCCR’s Immigrant Rights Project and its Second Chance Legal Clinic, she will train legal reentry service providers how to secure effective post-conviction for immigrants who would face deportation without it. Under Rose’s leadership and with generous support from the Soros Justice Fellowship program, the Lawyers’ Committee will be creating a scalable model, and will provide trainings, sample pleadings, and support so that legal reentry service providers throughout the state of California and nationally can begin to offer this much-needed remedy to their immigrant clients. Rose is a graduate of New York University School of Law.

Audrey Daniel

AUDREY DANIEL, ESQ

AmeriCorps Legal Fellow

Audrey Daniel currently serves as a legal fellow for Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, focusing on immigration and asylum issues. Before joining the Lawyers’ Committee, she gained legal experience interning at various public interest organizations, including: Equal Justice Society, ACLU, Bay Area Legal Aid, and California Appellate Project. While working with Equal Justice Society, she authored “The Intent Doctrine and CERD: How the United States Fails to Meet Its International Obligations in Racial Discrimination Jurisprudence” which was published in the DePaul Journal for Social Justice. Audrey attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she studied mathematics and philosophy. She then continued her education at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, earning a certificate in public interest studies. Audrey plans to build her career around pursuing social justice through legal avenues.

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Stephanie Funt

AmeriCorps VISTA Racial Justice Fellow

Stephanie Funt is the Clinic Coordinator for the Second Chance Legal Clinic and an AmeriCorps VISTA Racial Justice Fellow. She is a recent graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law. While in law school Stephanie interned at Justice Now, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and the California Appellate Project. She completed her B.A. in Sociology at Wheaton College in Massachusetts in 2011.

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Dana Isaac, Esq.

Thurgood Marshall Fellow

Dana Isaac joins the Lawyers’ Committee to assist with our impact litigation, policy advocacy, and direct services work primarily in the area of racial justice. Dana’s work will include assisting with Election Protection efforts, expanding the reach of our Second Chance clinic, and advocating for educational equity for schoolchildren of color. Dana is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law.

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Nickole Mariona

Americorps VISTA Fellow 

Nickole Mariona is an Americorps VISTA Fellow for the Community Empowerment and Economic Justice program. She coordinates its direct services project, Legal Services for Entrepreneurs, which provides free transactional legal services to low-income individuals who want to start or develop businesses, businesses committed to investing in economically distressed communities, including hiring people with arrest and conviction records, and mom and pop shops located in areas where gentrification is a force for displacement. Nickole graduated from the University of San Francisco with a major in Communication Studies.

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Eduard Meleshinsky

Berkeley Public Interest Fellow

Eduard Meleshinsky received his J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and is a Berkeley Public Interest Fellow. His work is primarily focused on Racial Justice. During law school, Eduard served as co-Director of the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s student-run Workers’ Rights Clinic, which provides free legal services to low-wage employees in the Bay Area. He has helped vindicate employees’ civil rights at the Oakland-based employment law firm, Bryan Schwartz Law. In addition, he has interned at the East Bay Community Law Center’s Neighborhood Justice Clinic, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting underrepresented populations, and has served asylum seekers in the California Asylum Representation Clinic. Eduard has also served as a full-time extern to Judge Lucy H. Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Eduard is the recipient of the Employee Justice Fellowship for 2013 from the Foundation for Advocacy Inclusion & Resources (FAIR) and the Pro Bono Pledge Award from UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).

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Travis Silva, Esq.

Equal Justice Works Fellow

Travis Silva joins the Lawyers’ Committee to focus on access to education and educational equality for immigrant schoolchildren in Silicon Valley. Travis will provide legal services to immigrant students and their families, support pro bono attorneys advocating for individual students, and partner with other organizations to advocate for policy reforms aimed at bettering educational outcomes for immigrant children. Travis is a former school teacher in East Palo Alto, and a graduate of Yale Law School.