Client Stories & Testimonies


El Salvador

Meera Agarwalla, a solo practitioner, succeeded in obtaining asylum for a Salvadoran woman who suffered physical and verbal abuse every day from her husband who would take out his aggression on her, threatening her life if she ever returned to El Salvador.


In March 2014, Hamid Yazdan, a Berkeley-based solo practitioner, obtained asylum for a detained Ghanaian woman who was fleeing persecution in her country due to her father’s political activities and who had been subjected to female genital mutilation.


A Jones Day team obtained asylum for a Mayan client who was brutally raped by four mine workers due to her ethnicity. Her aggressors said she deserved it for being “india.” When her father reported the rape to the police, he was accused of lying, beaten and used as forced labor. As a result of the assault and rape she suffered, and because she was told that her aggressors were still looking for her, the client fled to the U.S.


A Seyfarth Shaw attorney obtained asylum in a very challenging claim for a Honduran teenager who dropped out of school because he was scared of gangs, and who later fled Honduras because the gang extorted him at his job and murdered his uncle.


In March 2014, asylum was obtained by two attorneys from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for a detained Somali client who had been a teacher in his country and was persecuted by Islamist forces for his progressive teachings.


Wrongful Termination & License Suspension

Craig Davis, from the Law Office of Craig Davis, assisted a Latina client who almost lost her job at a school as a result of a misdemeanor on her record that had previously been dismissed. Craig ensured that she received her deserved exemption from the Department of Social Services, and communicated with the employer about her employment eligibility. Because of Craig’s strong advocacy, she was reinstated.

Inaccurate Background Check

Arnold & Porter attorney Julian Waldo reported a great outcome for his client. With the assistance of Craig Davis from the Law Office of Craig Davis, Julian represented an African-American client who was removed from his job after a private background check company incorrectly reported a misdemeanor conviction as a felony.  After extensive pre-litigation negotiations, the background check company agreed to settle all claims.

Factual Innocence

The Latham & Watkins LLP team of Charlie Crompton, Nicholas Lin, Matt Gipple and Irina Fox scored a complete victory for a Second Chance client at a factual innocence trial in a California Superior Court. The client, an African-American woman, was arrested in 2011 by the Antioch Police Department in California, when the police stopped the driver of the car the client was riding in and found contraband inside the driver’s car. Though no charges were ever filed against our client, the record of her arrest caused significant hardship, preventing her from getting a job and from being able to take care of foster children.  The two-day hearing culminated with Matt Gipple’s persuasive argument, after which the Judge found the client factually innocent, ordered her arrest record sealed and eventually destroyed.


Julie Harper, former Pickering Fellow at LCCR from WilmerHale, worked with a client referred by the SF Public Defender’s office. The client successfully expunged his conviction last November and had a job interview in December. The company was ready to move forward with his employment when they received a background check report that included his expunged conviction, in violation of the law. Julie worked with our frequent volunteer Craig Davis to help the client to correct the report, and within a week the client had the job.

Real Estate License Reinstatement

Janice Reicher, an attorney from Farella Braun + Martel, helped prepare a low-income client for his hearing before the Bureau of Real Estate Commissioner to request that his real estate license be reinstated. In four months, the client received an order granting the reinstatement of his license thanks to his hard work and the dedication of his Farella attorneys.


Inventing a solution to fill a need

An African American barber and single father invented three devices: a collapsible, portable barber’s chair to provide hair styling for immobile individuals, special clippers which generate less heat, and a therapeutic sleeve for those clippers.  Through LSE’s attorney matching program, skilled attorneys from Morrison & Foerster and Perkins Coie are helping him to patent his designs. The client provided haircuts at a local veterans’ home, where he encountered many individuals with disabilities that made traditional barbershop appointments impractical.  He expanded his business to additionally perform house-call haircuts for the elderly.  He then began to think of ways to make it easier and more efficient to provide barber services to these populations.

Winning the battle to stay in business

The client runs a Latin restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District, where she has lived and worked for over a decade.  The client’s restaurant also serves as a meeting space for local nonprofits.  Like many small business owners in the Mission, she has been affected by the area’s rising real estate market trends.  Although she has a multiyear lease agreement, earlier this year, the property owner broke the lock and entered the client’s restaurant without permission in order to show the space to a potential buyer.  LSE matched the client with a legal team from Hewlett Packard.  When the property owner sold the space, an attorney and Spanish bilingual staff from Hewlett Packard helped the client review her lease, explain the terms in Spanish, and negotiate to stay in her space.

Making dreams a reality

LSE staff met with a client who sold tamales on the street to help make her dream of starting a restaurant a reality, and reached out to pro bono partner firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, for assistance.  The pro bono attorneys formed the client’s company, negotiated a lease for her restaurant space, and work on her trademark.  According to the client, “I can’t wait to start moving forward and trying to do my best [with the restaurant]. You did the best for me, so I have to do my best now.”