Social Justice & Impact Litigation Fellows

Current Fellows

Lauren Shepard (2021-2023)

Lauren graduated from Stanford Law School in 2021.  While in law school, Lauren participated in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, where she worked on the merits briefing for two Supreme Court cases.  She spent her summers interning at Civil Rights Corps and the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.  Lauren was a semifinalist in Stanford Law’s Kirkwood Moot Court Competition and won the award for best petitioner’s brief.  She was also an Articles Editor for the Stanford Law Review and the Co-Director of Shaking the Foundations, Stanford’s public interest lawyering conference.  Before attending law school, Lauren worked on a team representing unaccompanied minors in deportation proceedings at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.  Lauren graduated with highest honors and high distinction from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science.

Rachel Neil (2020-2022)

Prior to joining the Office of the County Counsel as a Social Justice and Impact Litigation Fellow, Rachel clerked for Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Judge Richard Seeborg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  Rachel graduated from Stanford Law School in 2018.  While in law school, Rachel participated in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, served as Executive Editor for the Stanford Law Review, and volunteered with the Social Security and Disability Pro Bono Project.  Rachel also served as Academic Chair for the Black Law Student Association.  While in law school, Rachel interned with the ACLU of Washington and with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Appellate Section.  Rachel earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a certificate in African American Studies from Princeton University.

Past Fellows

Zoe Friedland (2019-2021) 

Before beginning her fellowship, Zoé clerked for Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the D.C. District Court and Judge Cornelia T.L. Pillard of the D.C. Circuit Court. Zoé graduated from Stanford Law School in 2017. While in law school, Zoé participated in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, where she worked on two Supreme Court cases, and the Three Strikes Project, where she secured the release of a client serving a life sentence for non-violent offenses. She was also the submissions editor of the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties. Zoé has worked with the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice and the ACLU of Northern California. She graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2012 with a degree in history and public policy.​ After completing her fellowship with the Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team, she worked as a Deputy County Counsel in the Office before becoming a staff attorney in the Special Litigation Division of the District of Columbia's Public Defender Service. 

Hannah Kieschnick (2019-2021)

Before beginning her fellowship, Hannah clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt and Judge Richard A. Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Hannah graduated from Stanford Law School in 2017. While in law school, Hannah participated in the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, where she worked on the successful petition for certiorari and merits briefing for a Supreme Court case, and externed at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office with its Affirmative and Complex Litigation Team. She was also the Managing Editor of the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties and a Senior Editor and member of the Notes Committee for the Stanford Law Review. Hannah has worked with the Southern Center for Human Rights and Altshuler Berzon LLP. She graduated with honors from Yale College with a degree in history.​ After completing her fellowship with the Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team, she worked as a Deputy County Counsel in the Office before joining the ACLU of Northern California's Democracy and Civic Engagement Program as a Staff Attorney.

Luke Edwards (2018-2020)

Before beginning her fellowship, Luke clerked for Judge Ronald M. Gould on the Ninth Circuit and Judge David O. Carter in the Central District of California. Luke graduated from Berkeley Law in 2016. While in law school, Luke interned with the East Bay Community Law Center's Clean Slate Clinic, the Equal Justice Society, Bryan Schwartz Law, and the Code Enforcement Section of the San Francisco City Attorney's Office. Luke also participated in and won Berkeley Law's McBaine Honors Moot Court Competition and won the award for the best petitioner's brief. Upon graduation, Luke was awarded the Jamison Prize for Scholarship and Advocacy. Luke earned a B.A. with distinction in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley, where she was captain of the Rugby Team and an All-American selection in the sport. She continues to work in the County Counsel’s Office as a Deputy County Counsel.

Lynnette Miner (2017-2019)

Prior to joining the County Counsel's Office, Lynnette was the Litigation Fellow at the Impact Fund and clerked for the Honorable Fortunato P. Benavides on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas. Lynnette graduated from Harvard Law School in 2014. During law school, Lynnette was the Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. As part of the Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, she spent a year participating in litigation seeking to hold multinational corporations and foreign government officials accountable for human rights abuses under the Alien Tort Statute. She also worked with Timap for Justice in Sierra Leone; Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama; and Legal Aid at Work in San Francisco. Before law school, Lynnette spent two years working in business development while volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children in Washington, DC. Lynnette received her bachelor's degree in political science, with highest distinction and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Adriana Benedict (2016-2018)

Adriana graduated from Harvard Law School in 2014. After law school, she clerked for Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark on the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. During law school, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal and did clinical work with Community Legal Aid and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation. Adriana held leadership positions with the Harvard Human Rights Advocates and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, and she was a research assistant for the Harvard Program on Human Rights in Development. Adriana was also a Student Fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. During her summers, Adriana worked at Lawyers Collective in Mumbai, India, Public Citizen in Washington, D.C., and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Before law school, she worked for the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health in Mumbai, India. Adriana earned an A.B. from Harvard College in 2009 and an S.M. from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2011.  ​

Julia Spiegel (2017)

Before joining the Impact Litigation team, Julia served as an advisor to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power and clerked for Judge M. Margaret McKeown on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Julia graduated from Yale Law School in 2013. As a law student, Julia worked for the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor and Bureau on Population, Refugees and Migration; WilmerHale in Washington, D.C.; and the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco. She also served as an editor and board member of the Yale Journal of International Law, participated in the Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, represented refugees seeking resettlement in the United States as part of the International Refugee Assistance Project, and helped build a comprehensive assessment of state and federal correctional policies on solitary confinement through the Liman Project. Before law school, Julia conducted field research on armed conflict in east Africa for the International Crisis Group and the Center for American Progress. Julia earned her B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University and her M.P.A from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She continues to work in the County Counsel’s Office as a Deputy County Counsel.

Cara Sandberg (2015-2017)

Cara graduated from U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2012. Before joining the Impact Litigation team, Cara clerked for the Honorable O. Rogeriee Thompson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for the Honorable Susan Y. Illston on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. During law school she served as an Editor and Executive Committee member of the California Law Review, a research assistant for the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy, and the social justice student coordinator for the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice. As a law student, Cara worked for Perkins Coie in San Francisco, the Land O’Lakes Law Department in St. Paul, and Leonard, Street, & Deinard in Minneapolis. Prior to law school, she spent three years as the Dean of Students for the Bronx Lab School in New York. Cara earned her B.A. in Public Policy & American Institutions and Education Studies from Brown University in 2005 and her M.A. in Teaching (Political Science and Political Philosophy) from Tufts University. After her fellowship, Cara served as a Deputy County Counsel before leaving the Office to become a chambers attorney for Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar of the California Supreme Court.

Lorraine Van Kirk (2014-2016)

Lorraine graduated from Yale Law School in 2012. After law school, she clerked for Judge A. Wallace Tashima on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. During law school, she co-directed the Rebellious Lawyering Conference and served as the Managing Editor of the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. She also worked in clinics representing homeowners fighting foreclosure and tenants fighting eviction, and won the Francis Wayland prize for her work. Before law school, Lorraine worked for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Amman, Jordan. She holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale College. After completing her fellowship with the Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team, she worked as a Deputy County Counsel in the Office from 2016 to 2021, and now works from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Marlene Dehlinger (2013-2015)

Marlene graduated from U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2013. During law school, she participated in the East Bay Community Law Center’s Housing Clinic, where she represented low-income tenants facing eviction and sub-standard living conditions. She spent her summers at Communities for a Better Environment in Oakland and at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger in San Francisco. As a coordinator of Students for Economic and Environmental Justice, Marlene co-organized a symposium on environmental justice challenges in rural America, and also served as a director of the Workers' Rights Disability Law Clinic. Before law school, she worked for organizations in San Francisco and Mexico City supporting women’s rights activists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Mexico, and directed a coalition advocating for affordable housing and sustainable land use policies in Sonoma County, California. Marlene received her B.A., magna cum laude, in History and International Relations from Brown University in 2003. After completing her fellowship, Marlene joined Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger as an Environmental Law Fellow.

Meghan Loisel (2012-2014)

Meghan graduated from NYU School of Law in 2011. Before joining the Office of the County Counsel, she was a Fellow at the Reproductive Freedom Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in New York, where she challenged state legislation restricting access to family planning services and wrote an amicus brief challenging the practice of shackling prisoners during childbirth. During law school, Meghan participated in the NYU/ACLU Racial Justice Clinic representing students facing discrimination in the public school system. As a Colloquium Editor for the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, she organized a symposium on how corporations can promote social justice. During her summers, she worked at the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center in San Francisco and the Bronx Defenders in New York. Prior to law school, Meghan worked as a litigation assistant at the ACLU of Northern California, taught high school English in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, and worked for the Texas Governor's Women's Commission. Meghan received her B.A. with highest honors in History and Government from the University of Texas in 2006. After completing her fellowship in the Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section, she worked as a Deputy County Counsel in the office from 2014 to 2016 and then joined the employment law firm of Rudy Exelrod Zieff & Lowe LLP.

Aylin Bilir (2012-2013)

Aylin graduated from UC Davis School of Law in 2011, with certificates in Public Service and Environmental Law. Before joining the Office of the County Counsel, Aylin was an Attorney Law Fellow for public health nonprofit ChangeLab Solutions, where she contributed to projects on housing standards, infill developments, and healthy food retail licensing programs. She has strong interests in consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental public health issues. During law school, Aylin worked at the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office Consumer and Environmental Protection Division, the California Air Resources Board, the California Public Utilities Commission, and as a research assistant for Professor of Environmental Law Albert Lin. Aylin was a Senior Articles Editor for the UC Davis Law Review and participated in the King Hall Civil Rights Clinic. She received her B.A. in History from Princeton University in 2007. After completing her fellowship, Aylin became a Deputy County Counsel for the County of Santa Barbara.

Jenny Yelin (2010-2011)

Jenny graduated from U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2010. During law school, she worked for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, the National Center for Youth Law, and the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Federal Trade Commission in both Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Jenny was a member of the California Law Review and participated in the Workers’ Rights Clinic and the Juvenile Hall Outreach program. Before law school, Jenny worked for the Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Division in the Bronx, NY, assisting attorneys who represented children in child dependency and juvenile delinquency cases. Jenny received her B.A., magna cum laude, in History from Columbia University in 2004. After her fellowship, Jenny worked for a year as a Deputy County Counsel in the Impact and Labor and Employment Sections of the office, and then became an Associate Attorney at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, a small civil rights litigation firm in San Francisco.

James R. Williams (2010-2011)

James graduated from Stanford Law School in June 2010. While in law school, he participated in the Stanford Environmental Law Clinic, where his work included a U.S. Supreme Court brief on behalf of national environmental organizations and an oral argument on behalf of a Native American tribe before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. James was an Articles Editor of the Stanford Law Review and an elected student representative to the faculty Public Interest Committee. He spent his summers working at the San Mateo County Counsel’s Office, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Perkins Coie LLP. Before law school, James received a fellowship to work in India to research environmental law issues. He received an A.B., summa cum laude, in Public & International Affairs from Princeton University, where he earned the Pyne Prize, Princeton’s highest undergraduate distinction. He is a 2005 Harry S. Truman Scholar and a 2007 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. After his fellowship, James remained in the Impact Section as a Deputy County Counsel before moving on to the Office of the County Executive. In 2016, James returned to the County Counsel’s Office and now serves as the County Counsel.

Anjali Bhargava (2009-2010)

Anjali graduated from NYU School of Law in 2009. During law school, she spent two years as a student advocate in the NYU Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, where she represented immigrants detained by the Department of Homeland Security, wrote appellate briefs seeking to narrow the immigration consequences of drug crimes, and represented indigenous Mexican restaurant workers in a federal unpaid wages lawsuit. As a Colloquium Editor for the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, Anjali organized the journal’s 40th anniversary event and a symposium on reproductive and sexual rights. She spent her summers interning at the Brennan Center for Justice in New York, and at Columbia Legal Services, an organization that represents people and community-based organizations in Washington State who have no other legal assistance available to them. Before law school, Anjali managed a youth education program in Seattle aimed at increasing academic achievement and reducing juvenile justice and gang involvement. After completing her fellowship, Anjali joined the Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender as a Deputy Public Defender.

Kate Desormeau (2009-2010)

Kate graduated from Yale Law School in 2008. During law school, she participated in the Workers’ and Immigrants’ Rights Advocacy Clinic and Immigration Legal Services, where she represented asylum seekers, trafficked farmworkers, and immigrant survivors of domestic violence. After law school, she clerked for Judge Marsha Berzon on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Kate holds a master’s degree in Forced Migration from Oxford University and a B.A. summa cum laude from Williams College. After completing her fellowship with the County Counsel's Office, she worked as a staff attorney at the Immigrants’ Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco and then joined the National Resources Defense Council as an attorney on their Litigation team.

Annie Decker (2008-2009)

Annie graduated from Yale Law School in 2007. During law school, she interned at Bredhoff & Kaiser, a labor law firm; in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she worked on disability rights; and at the New York Attorney General’s Office, where she focused on employment law protections for low-wage and undocumented workers. After law school, she clerked for Judge William A. Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Annie also holds a master’s degree in City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied the transportation challenges faced by low-income seniors and disabled individuals and their homecare workers. While at Santa Clara County Counsel's Office, Annie co-taught local government courses at Stanford Law School and Santa Clara Law. After finishing her fellowship year, she remained in the office as a Deputy County Counsel in the Impact Section and the General Government Section before leaving to teach at Cardozo Law School and then Fordham Law School.

Juniper Lesnik Downs (2008-2009)

Juniper graduated from NYU School of Law, magna cum laude, in 2005. During law school, she participated in the Mediation Clinic, mentored a juvenile offender, taught legal skills in a women’s prison and a juvenile center, published a paper on Community Health Centers, and worked on a documentary project about public basketball courts, which was published in part in the New York Times. Before joining the Office of the County Counsel, Juniper worked for the ACLU of Northern California, where she did extensive work on student rights in public schools. After joining the office as a fellow, Juniper was named a Deputy County Counsel and went on to become the Lead of the Impact Section before leaving to join Google as a policy advisor in 2012.

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