PresidentBentrish Satarzadeh is a Judge Pro Tem and Research Attorney at Alameda County Superior Court. As Judge Pro Tem she presides over small claims, domestic violence, traffic, and family law matters. Ms. Satarzadeh also sits on the Board for the Center for Judicial Education and Research with the Judicial Council of California where she is responsible for curricula development and teaching both judges and research attorneys.
Prior to the Court, Ms. Satarzadeh was a trial attorney at the Cartwright Law Firm in San Francisco where she handled an array of personal injury cases as well as handling civil rights cases at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Ms. Satarzadeh is a past chair of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, the first registered Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club in the nation, which is responsible for making a profound impact on San Francisco, California and American politics in the advancement of LGBT rights. Ms. Satarzadeh also served as an Affiliate Governor representing Women Lawyers of Alameda County on the Board of California Women Lawyers. She is active in the Earl Warren American Inn of Court in Oakland and she is a sustaining member of the Alameda County Bar Association and Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom.
Ms. Satarzadeh is fluent in Farsi and Assyrian and continually strives to inspire passion about advocacy work and advancement of civil rights, especially within the many communities of which she is a member.
Co-Vice PresidentGina D. Boer is a partner with Haapala, Thompson & Abern LLP. She has over 30 years’ experience specializing in real estate, complex litigation, commercial and residential landlord/tenant, construction defect, insurance defense, personal injury and other torts. Gina has been a mediator for over 15 years in the areas of real estate, contract disputes, business, debt recovery and personal injury. Additionally, Gina sits as Judge Pro Tem for Contra Costa County Superior Court and serves as Settlement Mentor.
Gina is also a member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association, California Women Lawyers and the American Bar Association. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and George Washington University Law School. She is designated an AV rated Preeminent Woman Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
Mary Cain-Simon serves as a supervising attorney with the California Department of Justice, overseeing physician and healthcare practitioner disciplinary actions. Ms. Simon has practiced employment and administrative law before both state and federal courts, and served as workplace and Title IX investigator for state government entities. Ms. Simon attended public schools, including Chaffey Community College, UCLA , and UC Hastings College of the Law. Ms. Simon enjoys spending time with her husband, two teen-aged children and family dogs, as well as attempting to grow a drought-tolerant garden at their Oakland home.
SecretarySuzanne Nero is an associate at Boies, Schiller Flexner in Oakland, CA, specializing in antitrust and other complex civil litigations. Ms. Nero completed her undergraduate education at UCLA and received her law degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law. In addition to the practice of law, Ms. Nero serves as a coach for Berkeley Law’s Trial Advocacy Team and enjoys playing soccer.
TreasurerMargaret “Maggie” Calonge is a Deputy District Attorney in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. She presently serves on the Rene C. Davidson Felony Preliminary Examinations Team. Prior to joining the District Attorney’s Office in 2014, she clerked for the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office. She attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate, earning her bachelor’s degree in both Psychology and Gender & Women’s Studies in 2005. She earned her J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law in 2013. In addition to serving as a board member for Women Lawyers of Alameda County, she is a member of California Women Lawyers.
The Honorable Barbara Dickinson
Judicial LiaisonJudge Dickinson was appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court by Governor Brown and currently serves in a criminal assignment at the Fremont Hall of Justice. Judge Dickinson previously served as a deputy public defender (1989 to 2013) and assistant public defender (2013 to 2017) at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office, supervising the Pleasanton Branch.
Judge Dickinson has expertise in alternative dispute resolution, the juvenile justice system, and collaborative courts which treat mentally ill juvenile offenders. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University and is the proud mother of two children who attend Oakland public schools.
The Honorable Tara M. Desautels
Hon. Tara M. Desautels is the Assistant Presiding Judge of the Alameda County Superior Court and has been Judicial Liaison to WLAC since 2013. Currently sitting in a felony criminal assignment, Judge Desautels has also presided over juvenile delinquency matters (helping to start Alameda County’s first Girls Court, offering gender-specific services to juvenile offenders), family law, unlawful detainers, and was previously the Supervising Judge of the Wiley E. Manuel Courthouse. A graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Judge Desautels began her legal career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and later moved to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where she litigated complex civil and antitrust matters before being appointed to the bench in 2010. Judge Desautels is honored to be WLAC’s 2016 Jurist of Distinction and 2010 WLAC “Hockey Puck” award recipient. When she is not occupied with work and related duties, Judge Desautels spends her time with her husband chasing after their two young children.
Sharon AlkireSharon Alkire is a family law practitioner handling marriage and domestic partnership matters. Ms. Alkire began her legal career as a Fellow at the Alameda County Family Justice Center, studying intimate partner violence (IPV) in LGBTQ communities. There she developed a deep respect and compassion for people struggling to leave abusive relationships. Ms. Alkire continued this work as a pro bono attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid and has recently opened her own family law practice.
Ms. Alkire has strong roots in the Bay Area and works to promote the initiative, creativity, and diversity of her communities by proudly sitting on the WLAC Board of Directors and establishing the first Queen’s Bench Bar Association Diversity Committee. “Equality is the ability to fulfill one’s own potential without the oppressive yoke of becoming ‘alike,’ rather than being seen as equal only when one mirrors the dominant culture,” she says. This ideal forms the basis of Ms. Alkire’s work as an attorney and a person.
Heather ChangHeather Chang is a criminal defense attorney in Alameda County and her office, Law Office of Heather Chang, is in Oakland. She graduated from Harvard University and Northeastern School of Law. She represents juveniles and adults in court-appointed and privately retained cases. She also enjoys teaching, both a mock trial class for high school students at Boalt Hall and a Trial Advocacy Skills Workshop at Stanford Law School. In addition to WLAC, Heather is a board member of Asian American Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, where she is the Mentorship and Training Director. In her spare time, she enjoys rowing with the Lake Merritt Rowing Club.
Emily DoskowEmily Doskow has been practicing family law in the Bay Area since 1989. She specializes in family matters including adoptions, surrogacy agreements, prenuptial agreements, parentage issues, and divorce mediation. She is a frequent speaker on LGBTI family issues. She is the author or co-author of numerous books published by Nolo, including Nolo’s Essential Guide to Divorce; Nolo’s Essential Guide to Child Custody & Support, and The Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples. Emily is a member of the Boards of Directors of Inter/ACT, the Women Lawyers of Alameda County, and the Center for Understanding in Conflict. She is a past member and co-chair of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where she currently sits on the National Family Law Advisory Council. Ms. Doskow has been practicing mindfulness meditation for over 18 years and has taught mindfulness to attorneys at JFK University Law School, Continuing Education of the Bar, the Alameda County Bar Association, and Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Leslie F. LevyLeslie Levy brings a lifelong passion for social justice to her employment discrimination law practice. Her primary focus is representing employees, especially women, who have faced or are facing discrimination or harassment on the job. She also represents victims of sexual abuse by professionals, such as doctors, therapists and teachers, and of sexual harassment in housing situations. Leslie believes in empowering her clients to be an active part in the decision-making process of their cases.
Leslie has been an adjunct professor at both the University of San Francisco School of Law and New College of the Law, and speaks at numerous legal conferences. She has authored articles, contributed chapters to legal reference books and practice manuals, and drafted California civil rights legislation. She is the recipient of the Hastings College of Law’s Clara Foltz Award for distinguished service to women. She is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law, and has a Philosophy degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Leslie has volunteered for years at the Marine Mammal Center and the Gulf of the Farallons Marine National Sanctuary. An avid environmentalist and lover of the outdoors, she also enjoys kayaking and birdwatching.
Esperanza McConnEsperanza McConn is a Research Attorney with the Superior Court of Alameda County. Her work is primarily focused on domestic violence and juvenile matters.
Ms. McConn began her work in the domestic violence field while she was still in law school and she has continued working in this field ever since. She spent time working as a staff attorney at two non-profit agencies dedicated to assisting victims of violence as well as chairing the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Public Policy and Research Committee.
Ms. McConn completed her undergraduate degree at U.C. Berkeley and received her law degree from U.C. Hastings, College of the Law. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends outdoors – most especially on the tennis court.
Heather MeltonHeather Melton is a Deputy District Attorney with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, where she has served on the felony and misdemeanor trial teams for three years. Prior joining the District Attorney’s Office, she was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Gregory K. Frizzell, the Chief Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma. She also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Economic Crimes and Securities Fraud Section of the Northern District of California’s United States Attorney’s Office for approximately two and a half years. Before joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Heather Melton was an Assistant Regional Counsel with the Social Security Administration’s Office of the General Counsel for approximately two and a half years. She attended UCLA, where she received her bachelor’s degree in History, with summa cum laude honors in 2004. She received her J.D. from UC Davis in 2008, and received Witkin Awards for academic excellence in Professional Responsibility, Negotiations, and Labor Law. Prior to her career in the law, Heather Melton was a florist. She remains an avid gardner and enjoys spending time outdoors with her rescue pup Tille, a beagle/bulldog mix.
Dorothy Chou ProudfootDorothy Chou Proudfoot is an Administrative Law Judge with the San Francisco Rent Board. Previously, she served as a Deputy District Attorney in Marin County for sixteen years, eight of which were spent as the Office’s Gang Crimes Deputy. She was cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney from 2008 to 2009, to prosecute Project Safe Childhood and Project Safe Neighborhood cases in the Northern District of California. Prior to joining the District Attorney’s Office, she practiced civil litigation. She attended UC Berkeley, receiving her bachelor’s degree in English before earning her J.D. from its School of Law.
In addition to service on the Board of WLAC, she represents District 3 (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and San Mateo Counties) on the Board of Governors of California Women Lawyers, and has served on its Executive, Bylaws, Affiliates, Amicus, and Legislative Committees. In 2017, she served as the first Asian-American President of the Marin County Bar Association, and remains active on their Board of Directors as the Immediate Past President. She is a sustaining member of the Asian American Bar Association. In addition, she is a member of the Alameda County Bar Association, Bar Association of San Francisco, and Queen’s Bench. She also finds a creative outlet on the Performance Committee of the University of California Marching Band Alumni Association.
Yunah RhaYunah Rha is a Customer Success Representative at Thomson Reuters, supporting and working with law firms to implement legal workflow solutions including drafting tools, knowledge management, and legal research. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Ms. Rha was an associate attorney at Burnham Brown, practicing general civil litigation with an emphasis in the areas of premises liability, personal injury, employment, and real estate. In her spare time, Ms. Rha enjoys doing “pretzel” and “fold-over” in Bar Method classes and dining at omakase-style Japanese restaurants.
Ms. Rha has been a long-time volunteer at the Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, dedicated to providing direct legal services to low-income individuals in matters of immigration, family and landlord/tenant law. In addition to serving as a board member for the Women Lawyers of Alameda County, she serves on a variety of committees for the Asian Law Caucus and the Korean Bar Association. As an active member of many minority bar associations, Ms. Rha continues to advocate for increased diversity within the legal procession.