Family Law Attorney

Fighting for people matters. We have to claw, sweat, and bleed for the people around us. We need to put ourselves out there and protect each other, because if not, who else will?

“I’ve always felt that I had an obligation to speak up for people who might not be as lucky as me. I used to volunteer with sexual violence and trauma victims, but without any legal experience, it was hard to arouse change.

I still wanted to make a difference, though, so I went to law school. This way, I would finally have the authority to fight against unjust treatment.

Now I practice family law, but it’s not as easy and clear-cut as I anticipated. With families, you don’t always know the right answer; there’s never a perfect solution, nor is there always a clear right or wrong.

As challenging as it can be, it’s rewarding to see clients through this ambiguity. For many, it’s the first time they feel that their lives matter. I’m able to empower them and give them a say.

I represented a client who underwent more than eight years of domestic violence. I remember that she, her mother, and her sister took the stand in court and said: ‘In the country that we grew up in, we just tolerated this. It was the expectation that we would be okay with violence. Now we’re in America, and we don’t deserve to be treated like this. We shouldn’t have to feel scared of the people that we love.’

I’ve never seen such a clear example of empowerment. Now her case is almost closed; we got her a divorce, sole custody of her kids, and financial compensation.

When I feel overwhelmed, I remind myself why I’m a lawyer: because fighting for people matters. We have to claw, sweat, and bleed for the people around us. We need to put ourselves out there and protect each other, because if not, who else will?”

Photography © Jona Bocari


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Ever since childhood, our co-founder Adrian has been dedicated to reducing poverty.

He studied systemic poverty in college and went to work in the field for a few years. Eventually, he had a thesis that legal aid was the most cost-effective way to address poverty in America. He wrote up a business plan and used it to apply to law school. 

The idea was to create the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation that ensures everyone can obtain timely, competent legal help for any legal issue, regardless of ability to pay. That had never been done before in the history of the United States.

In law school, he met Virginia, our Programs Director. Together, they co-founded the organization, two weeks after Adrian passed the bar.

When we opened we put a sign in the window, and with just that marketing and almost no other outreach we were overwhelmed with requests for help from people with good cases who had been turned away everywhere else.

Our first year we had revenue of $35,000. We would hand shred documents because a shredder was too expensive. Despite the financial challenges, we were able to work on over 280 cases in everything from housing law to family law to consumer law in the first year alone.

The hours were extreme, the pay was low, and the learning curve was steep. Still, we persisted. We knew that almost everyone we helped was not able to receive services anywhere else. Eventually, we attracted the interest of funders. We tripled our revenue for several years in a row. In 2015, we won the Bay Area Google Impact Challenge, which enabled us to expand even more. In 2019, we secured additional funding from the city that allowed us to open two new centers in the Excelsior and Western Addition.

As of 2020, our staff has grown to 27 full-time employees. We’ve shown that universal access is possible. Now, we plan to scale city-wide, make San Francisco the first city in the country’s history to have universal access to legal help, and become a model for national replication.