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LSFN Signature Event | Wellness 360: Supporting Staff Wellness and Building Back Better

Thursday, September 23, 2021 -
2:00pm to 3:30pm PDT
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Annually the LSFN Signature Event brings together over a hundred individuals from the funder, academic, government, and legal services fields who are passionate about improving access to justice.  This year we will bring together several leaders from the public interest sector to share insights and observations regarding how to best support staff from the negative effects of vicarious trauma, combat compassion fatigue, and prevent burnout. 

Ensuring equitable access to justice for our most vulnerable communities has never been 'easy work', it takes personal sacrifice, compassion, empathy, and the courage to fight for those who are unable. Through this program, we hope the shed light on how legal aid attorneys are affected by their work, provide practices to mitigate those effects and discuss ways we can reframe our work in an effort to build back better
We hope that you'll join us for our 2021 Signature Event, where we'll celebrate our communities' had-fought accomplishments, share what we've learned along the way, and ready ourselves for the road ahead.


Asm. David Chui, Assembly Member, California State Assembly

David Chiu was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2014, representing the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco; he was re-elected in 2016, 2018, and 2020. In his first year, David was appointed by the Assembly Speaker to serve as Assistant Speaker pro Tempore. Since 2015, David has served as Chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. He has also served as the Chair of the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and Policy Chair of the California Legislative Progressive Caucus.

During his first 6 years in the Legislature, David has authored 64 bills signed into law by the Governor. The bills address a wide spectrum of issues, including housing, homelessness, transportation, education, environment, health, public safety, and the civil rights of women, immigrants, LGBTQ Californians, and workers.

Prior to joining the State Assembly, David Chiu served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for six years. On his first day in office in 2008, David was elected President of the Board of Supervisors, the first Asian American to hold the post. David’s reputation as a problem solver led his fellow supervisors to select him as Board President for an unprecedented three consecutive terms. As Board President, David Chiu authored 110 ordinances across a wide range of policy areas.

The son of immigrant parents, David Chiu grew up in Boston and received his undergraduate, law and master’s in public policy degrees from Harvard University. David is married to Candace Chen. A third-generation San Franciscan, Candace is a public interest lawyer who manages a refugee foster care program. David and Candace are raising their five-year-old son, Lucas

Salena Copeland, CEO, Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC)
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 training, online coordination and resource-sharing, and member discounts. Her biggest recent successes are as a major organizer in the effort to more than double the Equal Access Fund, a fund that supports 100 California legal nonprofits.

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. Because of her family’s roots in rural Texas and Arkansas, she is committed to working towards geographic equity for Californians so that all Californians have access to the same resources, including well-trained and supported attorneys, as the folks who live in urban centers. She lives in the East Bay with her partner, who is a former nonprofit litigation director but is now a law school professor, and their children.

Judi Cohen, Founder, Warrior One & Lecturer, Berkeley Law
Judi Cohen is the founder of Warrior One. She leads The Wake Up Call, Warrior One’s live online mindfulness gathering for legal professionals; the teaching cohort of Warrior One’s Mindfulness in Law Teacher Training, a unique teacher training led by and developed for lawyers offering mindfulness to the profession; and Warrior One’s Essential Mindfulness for Lawyers online training. She is a frequent speaker and trainer on the topics of mindfulness and competence, ethics, and elimination of bias in the legal profession, at law firms, public interest organizations, and bar associations.

Judi is also a lecturer at Berkeley Law, and chairs the Teachers Division of the Mindfulness in Law Society, where she is a founding board member. She has been featured in various publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Oregon Bar Journal, and others, and is the author of numerous articles and blog posts on the importance of mindfulness for lawyer effectiveness and wellbeing.

Prior to founding Warrior One, Judi practiced law for 30 years and during ten of those years, taught academic courses at the University of San Francisco School of Law. She lives in Sonoma, California, with her husband, Carl Speizer, a physician and yoga therapist. She can be reached at

James W. Head, CEO, East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF)
James W. Head is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the East Bay Community Foundation. Before coming to the Foundation in 2014, he served for 10 years as Vice President for Programs at The San Francisco Foundation, where he spearheaded initiatives on race, equity, poverty, housing, economic development, and youth development.

James has more than 30 years of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit management and technical assistance; community and economic development; and public interest and civil rights law. Prior to joining The San Francisco Foundation, he was president of the National Economic Development and Law Center for 18 years.

Additionally, he served as legal counsel of the California Community Economic Development Association and has been a member of numerous foundation advisory boards, including the Open Society Foundation of New York and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation of Michigan. James served as a Commissioner on the Port Authority of Oakland from 2008 through 2015; leading the Commission as President from 2010 – 2011.

James holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law, the University of California at San Francisco’s Hastings School of Law, and the University of Santa Clara’s School of Law. James has lived in Oakland with his wife, Bernida Reagan, for more than 25 years.

Phil Hwang, Executive Director, OneJustice
For the past eight years, Phil served as Executive Director of Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA). During his tenure, CLSEPA increased its revenue six-fold and become a leader in providing transformative legal services to low-income communities and communities of color in the areas of immigration, housing, and economic advancement. Phil strengthened his leadership and organizational management skills with the support of OneJustice’s Executive Fellowship program.

Before becoming an executive director, he worked for fifteen years as a legal aid and civil rights attorney. Phil served as the Director of Policy and Programs at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where he oversaw its pro bono programs, policy advocacy, and impact litigation in the areas of racial, economic, and immigrant justice. Phil began his legal career as a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, where he represented low-income clients in the areas of housing, disability, and benefits law. 

Phil received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1993 and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1996. He served as a law clerk for Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Niloufar Khonsari, Immigration Attorney and Co-Director, Pangea Legal Services
A refugee and immigrant to various countries herself, Nilou is deeply committed to standing up for the rights of immigrants in the United States and worldwide.  

Prior to founding Pangea in late 2012, Nilou started a sliding-scale, low-fee private practice, where she represented immigrants of many backgrounds seeking relief from deportation and other areas of immigration law.  She also served as supervising attorney of the refugee services program and oversaw caseworkers at Omid Advocates for Human Rights both, abroad and in the United States.  As an attorney with the African Advocacy Network ("AAN"), Nilou represented immigrants in their asylum proceedings and other immigration matters.    

Prior to relocating in San Francisco, Nilou was a Fulbright Fellow in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where she worked with Timap for Justice, a legal services organization dedicated to access to justice for the rural poor. Nilou received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service ('06) and her law degree from Georgetown Law School ('09), with certification in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from the Institute for the Study of International Migration. Nilou is licensed to practice law in Maryland and California.  She speaks six languages: English, Spanish, French, German, and Farsi. 

Kavitha Sreeharsha, Senior Director, Immigration Philanthropy, Emerson Collective

For more information on Kavitha, please click here >




Julia Wilson, Julia Wilson Consulting & Coaching & Executive Director, John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation (moderator)
The most important thing about me is that I bring a fierce belief in my clients to every coaching relationship.  I know that you have the resources you need to live a resonant, fulfilling life.  My job is to help you clarify your values, life purpose, and the actions you want to take to create change in your life - and then hold you gently accountable as you take the action steps that you design.

I am usually working with leaders and teams in social justice nonprofit organizations, supporting them in accessing their inherent wisdom, increasing self-awareness and agency, and leading from a place deeply rooted in their own unique purpose, values, experiences, and perspectives. Beyond my belief in you, I bring to our relationship over 20 years of executive leadership in the nonprofit sector.  I draw on my real-world experience of successfully leading teams and addressing a variety of nonprofit management challenges.  I'm an attorney and social justice innovator, with a personal passion for civil justice.  As a result, I have a great fondness for and particularly enjoy coaching lawyers!  I also love working with Boards of Directors and have a certificate of nonprofit board consulting through BoardSource. 

As a cisgender, straight, white woman with mental health conditions that have been episodically disabling, I strive to bring an equity mindset and cultural humility to all of my life, including coaching. I am happy to chat more about what that means to me.  As a guest on the unceded, stolen ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone, I am grateful for the leadership and work of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone and for the ability to pay for my home & business through their Yunakin Land Tax program.  I also practice personal reparations by contributing a percentage of all coaching income to civil rights & racial justice organizations lead by people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
I'm a mom to two amazing grown-up daughters (and two small exuberant dogs) and am profoundly grateful to live in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area with my spouse of over 20 years.  I'm a bit of a goofball, a former professional dancer, and an intense soccer fan.  So fair warning that coaching sessions are likely to involve laughter, playfulness, physical movement, a lot of metaphors, and groan-inducing analogies to the "beautiful game."