Board Members

Officers

J. STERLING ELMORE

President

Sterling Elmore is a staff attorney for Oakland Unified School District who supports the District in various legal and policy matters, including special education, Title IX, enrollment, and athletics. Prior to joining OUSD, Sterling was an associate at Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP in Oakland, CA, where she focused on student services and special education work for public school districts and at a boutique firm in Walnut Creek, where her practice included education, civil rights, employment, and administrative law. Before law school, she served as a college advisor in a small public high school in Virginia as part of the Virginia College Advising Corps. Sterling earned her J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law and also holds a B.A. with Distinction in Government and Religious Studies from the University of Virginia. Sterling is currently on the Board of Directors of Community Violence Solutions, a non-profit combatting sexual assault and human trafficking in the Bay Area. 

 

MARIA MORGA

Vice President

Maria Morga is a Supervising Deputy State Public Defender with the Office of the State Public Defender where she litigates complex capital appeals. Maria has over 15 years experience in criminal matters as both a trial and appellate attorney. A graduate of Berkeley School of Law, Maria began her legal career at Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal and later moved to become a Deputy Public Defender with the San Francisco City and County Office of the Public Defender. Maria is also a member of CACJ (California Attorneys for Criminal Justice), a member of California Women Lawyers and the Alameda County Bar Association. Maria is fluent in Spanish.

 

MAI LINH SPENCER

Treasurer

Mai Linh Spencer is an Associate Clinical Professor at UC Hastings College of the Law, where she teaches the Individual Representation Clinic, Evidence, and Essential Lawyering Skills.  She is also the Academic Director of the Lawyers for America Fellowship program.

 

Linh was a Women and Gender Studies major at Amherst College and worked for four years as an advocate at a battered women’s shelter and rape crisis line before attending New York University School of Law.  She began her legal career as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, prosecuting federal criminal civil rights violations, including excessive force, racial violence, and trafficking cases. She then moved to the Bay Area and represented capital and non-capital defendants on direct appeal and habeas as a Deputy State Public Defender, before entering clinical teaching.

 

 

sonya mehta

Secretary

Sonya Z. Mehta is a trial and appellate attorney with Siegel, Yee, Brunner & Mehta. She represents public and private sector labor unions, individual employees, consumers, students, and community organizations. Ms. Mehta is an experienced and committed advocate for workers’ and civil rights. She has won a six-figure jury verdict, favorable bench rulings, and significant settlements in whistleblower, discrimination, and other civil rights cases.

She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and received her law degree from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. Before practicing law, Ms. Mehta was the Co-Executive Director of community and workers’ organization Young Workers United (YWU) in San Francisco. At YWU, she won the first paid sick leave law in the country through a 2006 San Francisco ballot initiative.

 

The Honorable Jennifer Madden

Judicial Liaison

Jennifer Madden was elected to the Alameda County Superior Court bench in June of 2016 and sits in a Criminal Law assignment in Oakland, CA. Prior to serving on the bench, Judge Madden served as an Assistant I District Attorney at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for nineteen years. She last served as the head of the Human Exploitation and Trafficking (H.E.A.T) Unit and managed a team who prosecuted traffickers and engaged the community and law enforcement in trainings on Human Trafficking. She is a graduate of the Berkeley School of Law.

Judge Madden is passionate about service to the legal community. Since 1998, she has dedicated many hours to the Charles Houston Bar Association and the California Association of Black Lawyers, where she served as President of both organizations. She continues to be an active member of both groups and has mentored a number of young lawyers, law students and high school students. Prior service to the community includes the Board of the YMCA, Urban Services Division and a trek to India in 2012 to build houses with Habitat For Humanity. Judge Madden is most proud of her nineteen-year commitment volunteering with the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, where she assisted low-income women who live with cancer.

The Honorable Noel Wise

Noël Wise was appointed to the California Superior Court, County of Alameda, by Gov. Brown in 2014. She currently serves as the Supervising Judge of the Appellate Division and the Acting Supervising Judge of the Civil Division where she also has a Civil Direct Calendar Department. After her judicial clerkship she joined the United States Department of Justice through the Honors Program and served as a Trial Attorney in Washington D.C. and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern Dist. of California. In addition to work in private practice and as in-house counsel, she has taught at numerous law schools including Berkeley and Stanford. She has written various articles including America’s Judiciary Doesn’t Look Like America: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/americas-judiciary-doesnt-look-like-america/616692/. Judge Wise also serves on the board of Girls Inc. of Alameda County, the Alameda Food Bank, and Legal Access Alameda.

Directors

Lacey Bangle

Lacey Bangle is Senior Litigation Counsel for Zynga Inc., where she handles a wide range of litigation and pre-litigation matters; works to spot and mitigate legal risk; and provides practical, business-centric legal advice to internal clients.  Previously, Lacey was a Senior Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in its White Collar, Investigations, Securities Litigation & Compliance group.  While at Orrick, Lacey helped companies and individuals navigate a range of civil and criminal matters, including government and internal investigations, shareholder disputes, securities litigation, and a variety of complex civil litigation.

In addition to her work for WLAC, Lacey serves on the steering committee for the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association’s White Collar Committee (NDCA). She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley School of Law.

Amy E. Blair

​Amy Blair is currently employed at Haapala, Thompson, and Abern LLP as an associate trial attorney working in civil litigation.   She graduated from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law in 2009.  She worked as a Certified Legal Intern for the Dickinson Family Law Clinic, representing indigent women in divorce and custody proceedings.  Thereafter, she worked as a Law Clerk for the Sussex County Family Court in Delaware researching and writing opinions regarding divorce, custody, adoption, juvenile dependency, and juvenile justice.  She later worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Pennsylvania where she frequently represented the State’s interest in prosecuting violations of Protection from Abuse Orders (the equivalent of California’s TRO).  In her time as a member of the WLAC board she hopes to advance women’s issues in the workplace and foster the community of men and women who support gender equality.

Crystal Cole Matson

Crystal Matson serves as a transactional attorney in the Office of the General Counsel for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (“BART”). She handles a myriad of contracts for BART including construction contracts, professional service agreements, and leases. In addition to drafting contracts, she provides guidance to BART’s Business Advisory Council and its Office of Civil Rights preventing discrimination in contracting and promoting small business utilization.  Prior to joining BART, Crystal was the lead Staff Attorney for the Legal Services for Entrepreneurs program at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area.  She also served as a Legal Research Attorney for the San Francisco County Superior Court at the Hall of Justice. Crystal is the immediate past president of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of the East Oakland Black Cultural Zone.  She is a Spelman College alumna and received her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. Crystal is married to George Matson Jr. and has two dogs, Xena and Chase.

alex STATHOPOULOS

Alex Stathopoulos is a member of Orrick’s Employment Law and Litigation group in San Francisco. She defends employers in complex wage and hour class actions and single plaintiff cases, and provides creative and practical counseling on a wide range of employment issues including new and developing areas of the law. Alex is also a member of the Executive Committees for the California Lawyers Association (CLA) Labor and Employment Section, and the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) Labor and Employment Law Section.

Alex earned her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law in 2012. Before law school, Alex earned a B.S. in Business from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a B.A. in Philosophy, and worked for two years as a workforce communication consultant to Fortune 500 companies, providing strategic communications and analysis on topics that included employee health plans, compensation, and retirement benefits.

Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith practices employment law with Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP’s Northern California office. For 15 years she has handled employment matters from wage and hour cases to discrimination and wrongful termination as well as general civil litigation. She litigates state, federal, and administrative actions. She also manages non-litigation transactions and alternative dispute resolution proceedings and advises clients on day-to-day business management and human resource issues, performs compliance and policy updates, and conducts employee trainings. She graduated from UCLA with a double major in Business Economics and African American Studies and a minor in Accounting and she earned her Juris Doctor from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Kristin enjoys working with professional and community organizations and exercising her creative side. She is a Board Director of the Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA) and sits on the Executive Committee for ACBA’s Labor and Employment Section. She is an Alumni Ambassador on the California Minority Counsel Program’s Ambassadors Council and sits on the School Site Council for both Silverwood Elementary School and Northgate High School. She is also the Director of Oakland for the Max Rhymes Foundation and has worked as a leader to bring Girl Scouts across the Bay Area rich cultural exchange with other Bay Area Girl Scouts through theater programming. She also owns a local catering company, A Taste of Paradise Catering, with her twin sister and enjoys cooking and baking with and for the community and her friends and family.

erica summan

Erica Summan is a trial attorney with Wood Smith Henning and Berman LLP. She defends clients in complex personal injury, habitability, and construction defect claims. She previously practiced in tort defense, contract law, products liability defense, pharmaceutical malpractice, property law, and corporate law.

She is also on the Executive Committee for the Trial Practice Section of Alameda County Bar Association. She earned her J.D. from Southwestern Law School and her B.A. from UC Santa Barbara. While in law school, she interned for Vice Dean Anahid Gharakhanian and was awarded for her devoted work in representing minorities in the legal field.

Header photo of Lake Merritt, Oakland, by Daniel Ramirez, courtesy of Creative Commons License