Who We Are

We are extremely passionate, quixotic, energetic, love tackling tough problems, and believe in continuous personal growth.

A world where everyone who needs legal help gets it

Open Door Legal is pioneering the country’s first system of universal access to civil legal representation. Our goal is to show that when everyone has access to the law, poverty will be dramatically reduced.

Our model of universal access is scalable, sustainable, and the most cost-effective way to address poverty. 

Over the next few years we plan to expand citywide, making San Francisco the first city in the country with universal access.  We also hope to become a model for national replication, and want to have a systemic impact on how we, as a society, ensure justice for the poor.

Our Board of Directors

Kathy Chao, Board President

Partner, Olivier Schreiber & Chao

Jared Leiderman, Treasurer

CFO, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Amy Chiu, Development

Product Lead, Clarify Health Solutions

Michelle Carrington

Construction Foreman, Former ODL Client

Melanie Hamburger

 Development Director, Marin City Health & Wellness

Bart Volkmer

General Counsel, Dropbox

David Lisson

Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell

Amanda Hundt

Account Director, WE Communications

Gary Whitehouse

Freelance Management Consultant

Mira Park Kim

Senior Portfolio Manager, Wells Fargo

Menaka Fernando

Partner, Outten & Golden

Meet Our Staff

 

Executive Team

Adrian Tirtanadi

Executive Director/Founder

adrian@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 854-6392

Virginia Taylor

Director of Legal Services/Founder

virginia@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 854-6462

Julia Dalzell

Director of Community Affairs

julia@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 851-2404

Rachel Mellby

Director of Finance

rachel@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 851-0314

Whitney Tu

Director of Talent and Culture

whitney@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 745-9694

Staff

Lena Starks

Frontline Partner – Bayview/Hunters Point

chelena@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 757-5021

Leslie Pang

Frontline Partner – Western Addition

leslie@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 689-6306

Gio Garcia

Frontline Partner – Spanish Specialist

gio@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 612-3326

Cynthia Hernandez

Frontline Specialist – Spanish

cynthia@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 329-1288

Camille Frausto

Frontline Attorney

camille@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 301-5968

Alex Lemberg

Senior Housing Law Attorney

alex@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 604-3687

Kelsey Merrick

Housing Law Attorney

kelsey@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 938-9203

Dyne Biancardi

Housing Law Attorney

dyne@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 952-9758

Devin Fathi

Housing Law Attorney

devinf@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 854-7038

Sil Liapis

Senior Elder Law Attorney

sil@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 610-5991

Kevin Buggy

Elder Law Attorney

kevinb@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 318-7343

Belinda Liu

Lead Immigration Attorney

belinda@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 692-4988

Patricia Moon

Senior Family Law Attorney

patricia@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 429-8273

Laura Blaine

Family Law Attorney

laura@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 938-9118

Mesha Phillips

Family Law Advocate

mesha@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 723-5902

Tara Macomber

Senior Civil Litigation Attorney

tara@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 323-0946

Philip Green

Consumer Law Attorney

philip@opendoorlegal.org

(628) 203-8494

Lindsey Pace

Lead Employment Attorney

lindsey@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 610-7849

Courtney Cox

Operations Specialist

courtney@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 938-9437

Blake Holleman

Manager of Technology & Analytics

blakeh@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 289-5069

Wendy Liu

IT Administrator

wendy@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 697-4952

Molly Woodbury

Community Affairs Associate

molly@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 891-0194

Laura Turner

Donor Relations Specialist

laurat@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 480-1289

Hannah Wischnia

Engagement Coordinator

hannah@opendoorlegal.org

(415) 906-0578

Want to get involved? Join our team as a volunteer!

CITATIONS

1. American University, Key Studies and Data About How Legal Aid Improves Housing Outcomes https://www.american.edu/spa/jpo/toolkit/upload/housing-7-30-19.pdf

2. George Washington Law School, In Pursuit of Justice? Case Outcomes and the Delivery of Unbundled Legal Services https://scholarship.law.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi

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.