The Legal Aid Association of California is not a direct services agency, and we do not provide direct legal assistance. To find an attorney, please use LawHelpCA.org
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Salena Copeland, Executive Director
Pronouns: She/ her / hers
Salena Copeland is the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Association of California. She spends much of her time coordinating statewide legislative and administrative advocacy, while also supervising a small staff who work to support the entire IOLTA legal aid community through trainings, online coordination and resource-sharing, and member discounts. Her biggest recent successes are as a major organizer in the effort to increase the Equal Access Fund, a fund that supports nearly 100 California legal nonprofits.
In 2016, the efforts resulted in a one-time $5 million increase in the funds at the same time LAAC and others successfully pushed for a repeal of a sunset on a separate $7-9 million/year fund. The following year, LAAC led a coalition to increase the funds with an additional $20 million ($10 million over two years) and short-term set-aside of millions of dollars of class action residual funds to increase legal services for low-income Californians. The set-aside was replaced in 2018 with ongoing additional state funds of $10 million annually for legal aid.
Salena, a Texan by birth, but Californian by choice, is a 2007 graduate of Stanford Law School, the 2016 recipient of the Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award, a former member of the State Bar of California Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, a co-chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice Rural Task Force, a member of the Amicus Committee of the Access Commission, an active member of the Bench Bar Coalition, and the 2010 recipient of the Bench Bar Coalition Legal Services Provider of the Year Award. She also serves on a number of statewide planning committees dedicated to improving access to justice for low and moderate-income Californians, including the Campaign for Justice. She lives in the East Bay with her partner, a fellow nonprofit attorney, and their children.
Please contact Salena at SCopeland@laaconline.org or at 510-893-3000 ext. 106 for questions concerning Media requests, or Volunteer and employment inquiries (other than LawHelpCA volunteering).
Lorin Kline, Directing Attorney
Pronouns: She/ her /hers
Lorin is the Directing Attorney of the Legal Aid Association of California and has been with LAAC since early 2014. Lorin works closely with LAAC’s Executive Director on LAAC’s Advocacy Program, including engaging in statewide legislative, administrative, and amicus work. Lorin also oversees other aspects of LAAC’s work, such as statewide coordination of legal aid programs and staff. Before joining LAAC, Lorin practiced private civil litigation in the Bay Area, handling numerous pro bono matters, co-chairing the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Barristers Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, and serving on the Advisory Board of a San Francisco legal services organization.
Lorin is a 2010 graduate of the University of California, Davis School of Law. During her time at UC Davis, Lorin led a legal aid student volunteer organization, coordinating and attending legal volunteer trips in Gulfport, Mississippi, East St. Louis, Illinois, and Cleveland, Ohio. She also spearheaded pro bono efforts of the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division, participated in the school’s Civil Rights Clinic, and was a nominee for the Martin Luther King Award for Public Service. Prior to law school, Lorin received her Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a native of Lake Tahoe, still her favorite place on earth, and is a lifelong lover of the mountains. She lives in San Francisco with her partner and her rescue dog, Oliver.
Please contact Lorin at LKline@laaconline.org or at 510-893-3000 ext. 105 for questions concerning Amicus work, Justice in Government Project, lobbying information, or ways to connect with other legal aid leaders
Lauren Lofton, Program Attorney
Pronouns: They/ them/ theirs
Before joining LAAC, Lauren served as the Senior Subsidized Housing Policy Analyst at Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco a small non-profit organization. During that time, Lauren also provided pro bono services for San Francisco tenants facing eviction. Lauren provides anti-bias and interpersonal communication training for universities, non-profit organizations, and for-profit companies throughout the Bay Area. Lauren also serves as a volunteer mediator for a local non-profit community-based organization.
Lauren was born and raised in San Francisco and developed a commitment for public service through community service as a young adult. Lauren pursued a degree in Public Interest Law, and is a 2009 graduate of University of California, Davis School of Law. While at UC Davis, Lauren served as an editor for the Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy, led a student organization, coordinated annual holiday toy and food drives, clerked in both governmental and non-profit sectors, and served on the Admissions Committee. Lauren lives in their home town of San Francisco with their partner, chosen family, and cat. Lauren enjoys swimming at local pools and going to LGBT+ Ju Jitsu classes in their free time. Lauren is an avid reader and part of the East Bay Meditation Center community.
Please contact Lauren at LLofton@laaconline.org or at 510-893-3000 ext. 107 for questions concerning disaster coordination or diversity, equity, and inclusion work in the legal aid community.
Zach Newman, Research Attorney
Pronouns: He/ him / his
Zach joined LAAC in May 2018 as a Research Attorney. Zach graduated cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2016, with a concentration in Social Justice Lawyering. During law school, Zach interned with a number of nonprofits, including the ACLU of Northern California, Bay Area Legal Aid, and the Habeas Corpus Resource Center. He was the Executive Supervising Editor for the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly and the Senior Notes Editor on the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal.
After law school, Zach was a Bridge Fellow with Root & Rebound and, continuing a project with a mentor that began in a CRT course at Hastings, Zach started writing about police violence and constitutional law as a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, which he continues to do. He is currently training for the San Francisco marathon, loves to cook new veggie-based recipes, and is always trying to find his next favorite fantasy book.
Please contact Zach at ZNewman@laaconline.org or at 510-893-3000 ext. 108 for questions concerning policy papers, or the recruitment and retention report.
Harmony King, Development Coordinator
Pronouns: She/ Her/ Hers
Harmony joined the LAAC team in 2017 and supports development and membership efforts. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Masters degree in International Relations in 2015 where she focused her studies on irregular forms of migration, namely human trafficking, and how they intersect with the law.
Harmony has worked in the non-profit sector her entire career and is a passionate birth justice advocate and a former birth doula. She has had the honor of working internationally in Haiti, Indonesia, China and Mexico, experiences that have informed her sense of social justice and her personal value system. In her down time, Harmony plays and snuggles with her son and their two rescue dogs.
Please Contact Harmony at HKing@laaconline.org or at 510-893-3000 ext. 103 for questions concerning development, sponsorships, fundraising, joining LAAC, or membership benefits.
Safia Kartoum, Program Associate
Pronouns: She/ her/ hers
Safia joined LAAC in 2018 as a Program Associate. In this position, she is responsible for maintaining the functionality of LawHelpCA.org as well as conducting research to keep resources databases current, relevant, and useful. She is passionate about education equity as well as increasing access to justice for marginalized communities.
Safia graduated from UCLA in 2018 with a degree in Political Science. During college, Safia volunteered and worked with Mentors for Academic and Peer Support as a Site Coordinator at an underserved high school in Downtown Los Angeles. She has also interned at the Council on American Islamic Relations and the California Department of Education.
Please Contact Safia at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 510-893-3000 ext 102 for questions concerning LawHelpCA.org, or law student volunteering for LawHelpCA.org.
Theo Ser-Ramin, Program and Technology Associate
Theo joined LAAC in 2019 as a Program and Technology Assistant. They are responsible for web functionality and outreach work for LawHelpCA.org, and supporting LAAC’s coordination and communication work across the broader legal aid community. They also serve as staff support for the IDEAL committee and its efforts to support equity, accountability and accessibility in legal services. Theo graduated from Oberlin College in 2018, with a Bachelor of the Arts in Comparative American Studies, and Environmental Studies.
A passionate community organizer, Theo cares deeply about justice and equity, and is always thinking about how to better center intersectional frameworks in the ways we pursue social change. They co-founded the Oberlin Transformative Justice Collective, supporting community-based responses to gender-based and sexualized violence, and are extensively involved in anti-gentrification organizing in the community they grew up in. In their free time they enjoy gardening, cooking, and reading speculative fiction.
Please Contact Theo at email@example.com or at 510-893-3000 x 104 for questions concerning technology best practices in our community
Jenna Mowat, Training Coordinator
Jenna joined LAAC in 2019 as a Training Associate. She is deeply committed to expanding equal access to justice and advocating for basic rights. Prior to joining LAAC, Jenna managed public advocacy campaigns and worked alongside impacted people to fight for new and expanded access to paid family leave. Jenna has also worked as a field organizer for state and national campaigns where she mobilized people to get out the vote. During her free time you can find Jenna hiking the hills of Berkeley, cooking new recipes with friends, and spending time with family.
Please contact Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 510-893-3000 ext. 101 for questions concerning Conferences, in person trainings, or webinars.
If you wish to add trainings to our calendar, or would like to participate in our Arm Chair webinar series, please submit a request here.
Dhangur Singh, Program and Technology Assistant
Dhangur joined LAAC in 2019 as a Technology and Program Assistant. He is a second year student at UC Berkeley studying Data Science with a focus in Social Policy and Law. He’s also involved with his Punjabi Sikh community through his volunteer work with organizations like Jakara.
In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball and lifting.
Please contact Dhangur at email@example.com or at 510-893-3000
Allison Lu, Development and Communications Assistant
Allison joined LAAC in 2019 as the Development and Communications Assistant. She is a UC Berkeley undergraduate, majoring in Public Health and double-minoring in Global Poverty and Practice and Creative Writing. Allison is deeply devoted to advocating for women’s rights and access to basic needs. She currently runs PERIOD at Berkeley, an organization that fights to end period poverty and stigma surrounding menstruation. She also serves as a City Commissioner representing District 5 for the City of Berkeley, where she sits on The Commission on the Status of Women and leads The Subcommittee on Women’s Homelessness and Domestic Violence.
During her free time, Allison enjoys exploring new coffee shops, attending cardio dance class at the gym, and having movie nights with friends.
Please contact Allison at Alu@laaconline.org or at 510-893-3000