Breakfast at the Palace

Women helping Women

You are invited: Join us for a breakfast at the Palace Hotel on September 19, 2017.

We will explore the legal challenges facing low-income women in San Francisco and how you can help make a difference.

Hosted by Jessica Jacob, board member, Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco


Join us for Breakfast at the Palace!

RSVP using the form to the right.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Steve Love, Director of Donor and Community Engagement, at or (415) 782-8917.


Event Details

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
8:30 to 10:00 a.m.

Palace Hotel
California Parlor
2 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco


Merri Baldwin
Board President
Justice & Diversity Center

Yolanda Jackson
Executive Director
Justice & Diversity Center

Special Client Guest Speaker


Learn more

Join us to learn more about the legal challenges facing low-income women in San Francisco and how you can help.

The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) provides life-changing and life-saving services to at-risk and low-income women in San Francisco. Each year, JDC changes the lives of nearly 1,300 San Francisco women and their children, many of them domestic violence survivors, through its Family Law Project.


JDC’s Family Law Project team, from left, Surbhee Mehta, social services advocate; Lilly Dagdigian, legal projects coordinator; Luz Mayberg, staff attorney; Javier Bastidas, supervising attorney; Carly Wakshlag, client advocate; Stephanie Bilinski, supervising attorney; Allysyn Overton, staff attorney; Antonia More, staff attorney; Hannah Noll-Wilensky, client advocate; Shannon Altamirano, bilingual client advocate.

Leveling the Legal Playing Field

The Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of The Bar Association of San Francisco (JDC) is committed to leveling the playing field in Family Law.  According to Family Law Supervising Attorney, Stephanie Bilinski, “We seek to reach as many low-income litigants as possible, through collaborations with the court and other nonprofits.  We bring our services to potential clients, rather than waiting for referrals.”

JDC’s innovative Sargent Shriver Custody Project (SASH), an example of one of our partnerships with the court, seeks to level the playing field for family law pro se litigants. Launched in 2011, SASH was one of ten pilot projects in California funded by the Judicial Council of California to assess whether providing counsel in certain civil cases improves court efficiencies and increases the quality of justice obtained by the parties.

Through SASH, JDC staff based in the courthouse and expert family law volunteers provide representation in custody actions in which a parent is seeking sole legal or physical custody of a child, and the opposing side is represented.

This SASH client’s story confirms that indeed access to justice is obtained when a low-income person is represented in court.

“Susie,” a young mother with two children, one of whom has special needs, was involved in a high-conflict custody case where the father had reported the mother’s family to Child Protective Services (CPS). Following the report, the father attempted to put restrictions on the mother’s time with the children.

Susie, who was severely intimidated by her ex-husband and his attorney, turned to SASH Supervising Attorney Javier Bastidas for assistance. With his help, Susie presented information to the CPS caseworker that showed the true dynamics of the parents’ emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship. It also became clear that the father was involving the children in the custody conflict in inappropriate ways.

With the assistance of a SASH social worker, Susie was placed with a domestic violence counselor, a safety plan was created, and she obtained full control over the timeshare with the children. In the end, the parents and their attorneys came together during a four-way conference to create a comprehensive parenting plan that helped ensure the children’s overall welfare.

Without the representation the SASH project provided, it is unlikely that such a fair and just stipulation could have ever been reached.



By the Numbers: JDC at a Glance


Number of volunteer hours donated last year
Number of low-income San Francisco residents who receive pro bono legal help each year
Number of attorneys, paralegals and law students who volunteered last year
Number of clients served by the Family Law Project in 2016
Number of survivors of domestic violence helped by JDC programs last year
Number of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other caring adults served annually by the Guardianship Project, providing full scope representation in guardianship cases.