August 2016
LAAC In Action
Welcome Amanda Muego - Our New AmeriCorps VISTA!

Amanda joined LAAC in August 2016. As the AmeriCorps VISTA, she is responsible for
increasing accessibility to legal information online through the creation of a legal expert system. 

"My background is in human rights, so I'm really excited to bring my experience to a different area. At LAAC, I will be working on ways to improve access to legal aid programs and self-help resources for people facing housing problems and for veterans," Amanda says

P rior to joining LAAC, Amanda was the grant writer and researcher for a non-profit organization called Uduk Hope, which helps people living in refugee camps in South Sudan. 
Amanda is a 2015 graduate of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where she earned her MA in International Human Rights. She  is originally from Ohio, where she earned a dual degree in Political Science and German.  "I really like to travel and learn different languages. So far I've learned five, but forgotten three,"   Amanda says.

You can reach Amanda Muego at 510-893-3000 ext 103 or

Advocacy Updates

Amicus: Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court granted an application for leave to file an amicus brief in 
Jameson v. Desta (Case No. S230899).

In this case, an indigent litigant was unable to afford to hire a court reporter and the court did not provide one. When he tried to appeal his case, he was unable to do so because he did not have a record of the trial court proceedings. LAAC joined with Public Counsel, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Western Center on Law and Poverty, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, Inner City Law Center, and others as amici to argue that court reporter fees must not be a barrier to appellate court access for persons who cannot afford to pay them.

Legislative: It was an extremely busy session in Sacramento! 

Waiting for Governor's signature: 

LAAC and Western Center worked very hard to get  AB 2192 (Salas) passed, and it was a nail-biter. The bill will extend the  Transcript Reimbursement Fund for a couple more years. We know many of your programs use the $300,000 allocated to this fund every year to reimburse your expenses and free up funds to better serve your clients.

We support the goals of   SB 1257 (Block) Pro Bono, but have some concerns about how best to provide quality services to legal aid clients with compulsory law student pro bono hours. LAAC Executive Director Salena Copeland was recently interviewed by San Diego KPBS on the bill and shared that the community is concerned about the costs to legal aid programs to supervise the thousands of law students who become lawyers every year. 

AB 2085 (Irwin) - Office of Military Legal Assistance - is also waiting for the Governor's signature. LAAC worked closely with legislative staff to raise some concerns on the earlier versions of the bill, and the current version will help active personnel and reservists know where to go to get legal help. The creation of an office within the California Military Department will help streamline pro bono referrals and make it easier for legal aid organizations to coordinate connections for lower-income military personnel and their families. 

AB 2819 (Chiu) Unlawful Detainer Proceedings: Phew! If AB 2192 was a nail-biter, this one felt even closer. AB 2819, among other additional protections, is a masking-switch, to the betterment of low-income tenants fighting evictions. Instead of masked UD proceedings becoming unmasked at 60 days  unless a defendant prevails, as currently happens, court files will be masked  unless the plaintiff prevails. Huge congratulations to Jith Meganathan, LAAC Board member and Western Center staff who worked tirelessly on this important bill. Let's hope the Governor signs soon!

Still with the legislature: 

As we write this, we are waiting to see what happens with   SB 308 (Wieckowski) Debtor Exemptions. If it passes, the bill will provide additional protections to families in bankruptcy, allowing them a higher homestead exemption. The bill also has other changes that protect seniors and domestic violence survivors in bankruptcy proceedings. 

We're still watching   SB 881 (Hertzberg) Vehicle Violations to see if it clears both houses by  August 31. It's been slimmed down from previous versions of the bill and will now help clean up some of the issues raised in the recent Traffic Amnesty program. We are ready to support the original bill again and hope that Hertzberg introduces it next year!
Mark Your Calendars for These Upcoming  Trainings: 

Post-Family Law &Self-Help Conference Series

September 27 from noon to 1 p.m.
Linda McCulloh, 
Judicial Council of California
1 hour of general MCLE. Register now!

2016 Armchair Trainings: Disability Rights Law Webinar Series

Monday, September 26 from noon to 1 p.m.
Navneet Grewal,  Western Center on Law & Poverty
Deborah Thrope,  National Housing Law Project
1 hour of general MCLE credit.  Register now!

Other Armchair Trainings

Equal Pay in California: Your Right to Pay Equity in the Workplace
Wednesday, October 12 from noon to 1 p.m.
Elizabeth Kristen, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center
Amy Poyer, California Women's Law Center 
1 hour of general MCLE credit.  Register now!

Tell Us YOUR Trainings! 
You can now add your trainings to  LAAC's public Google Calendar 
by sharing your event with

Once the event is accepted, it will appear on our website's 
trainings calendar.  Stay up to date on online and in-person trainings, 
and share your own training events with our large community!

More of the webinar trainings are announced regularly.  
Hungry for Justice: Monthly Legal Aid Lunch
We hope to see all you Downtown Oakland folks Wednesday, September 7 for our monthly Legal Aid Lunch

Join us NOON at Adam's Mediterranean Grill & Cafe  in Downtown Oakland, near 12th St. BART.

Every first Wednesday of the month! Please invite your friends and coworkers - All friends to legal aid are welcome! RSVP appreciated, so we know to save you a seat!