Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
From left, Sarah Chen, Jeremy Pilaar, Aisha Saad, Phong Nguyen and Melissa Gardner

Justice & Diversity Center’s Summer Associate Program Teaches Advocacy Skills Through Community Service

Summer associates from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein teamed up with San Francisco Bar Association’s Justice and Diversity Center earlier this year to help a woman get her proper Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) benefits. (Shown in photo, from left, are Sarah Chen, Jeremy Pilaar, Aisha Saad, Phong Nguyen, and Melissa Gardner.)

The client had recently been released from serving 13 months in prison; throughout this time, she had experienced significant functional limitations due to post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. In addition, her incarceration cut off the SSI benefits she had received since 2008. JDC’s Homeless Advocacy Project advocate Alexander James assisted the client in completing the necessary application forms and gathering medical evidence to document her disabilities. “Under the supervision of Phong Nguyen and Melissa Gardner, both attorneys at Lieff Cabraser, the firm’s summer associates used the medical evidence to write a comprehensive legal brief establishing the client’s eligibility under the Code of Federal Regulations.”

For information about JDC’s Summer Associates program, contact