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Past Public Interest Grant Recipients

2017 Public Interest Grant Recipients 

WLALA Kandel Fellow Monica Ramsy will be creating a Know-Your-Rights brochure regarding religious refusals of reproductive healthcare services.  Working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California’s LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project, Ms. Ramsy’s project will include a multifaceted public education campaign, in-depth intake interviews with patients and healthcare providers, and materials synthesizing the narratives in light of relevant law.  Ms. Ramsy is completing her first year at Boalt Law School in the University of California, Berkeley.  Ms. Ramsy begins this project with a wealth of experience and knowledge from her previous roles as a campus organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation, a high school sexual education instructor for Planned Parenthood, and research assistant to Professor Michele Goodwin, from UCI School of Law, a health justice legal expert.

To view Monica's project, please CLICK HERE.


WLALA Kandel Fellow Morgan Thompson will be creating a brochure to warn female inmates at the Lynwood Jail about the signs of trafficking and to provide resources for victims of trafficking.  Working with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), Ms. Thompson will implement an education campaign for female inmates at the Lynwood Jail and create a brochure with supporting information.  Ms. Thompson graduated from Oregon State University with a double major in Psychology and Sociology, and she recently completed her first year at UCLA School of Law.  She has an impressive history of advocating for human rights, including as a paralegal intern in Cape Town, South Africa where she assisted with the legal defense of refugees and asylum seekers and researched sexual assault refugee policies.


2016 Public Interest Grant Recipient

Susan Sobel is a third year law student at Seattle University School of Law. She graduated with honors from Pitzer College with a B.A. in Critical Community Studies, a self-designed major focused on urban studies with an emphasis on community engagement. She also minored in Spanish.

Sobel first visited the juvenile probation Camps Afflerbaugh and Paige during her college orientation and committed to working there through her time at Pitzer. After graduating, she taught for two years with InsideOUT Writers in "The Compound" at Sylmar, which houses juveniles prosecuted as adults. For Sobel, working in that unit was especially influential in her choice to pursue a career in public defense. These experiences gave her the opportunity to sit in court and better understand the way incarceration affects families and communities. 

Sobel also worked in Los Angeles with gang violence reduction programs and reentry services and did criminal justice policy reform work. In 2014, she was offered a full-tuition scholarship at the Seattle University, as their "Scholar for Justice”. Her first summer she worked with the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth in Washington, D.C., and this past summer she clerked with the Los Angeles County Public Defenders. She worked in both a felony rotation and at Eastlake Juvenile court.

The idea for Sobel’s Navigating Traffic Fine project was developed working in collaboration with the community of formerly incarcerated peoples at the Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles.  This project is intended to help alleviate one of the often-overlooked barriers to reentry.  Sobel believes we’re in a critical historic moment when mass incarceration is a hot topic and wants to create resources and engage in conversations that will help shed light on this issue and assist in changing the narrative around criminal justice. 

The project can be viewed here.


2015 Public Interest Grant Recipient

Molly Frandsen is a second year law student at UC Berkeley School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Feminist Studies and Spanish with a minor in Labor Studies from UC Santa Barbara.

For her Senior Honors Thesis, Molly used her experience interning at the Service Employees International Union Local 620, as a case study exploring whether public sector unions provide a successful model for the advancement of work-family legislation. Before law school, Molly worked as a paralegal at Altshuler Berzon, LLP, a San Francisco law firm that specializes in labor and employment, environmental, constitutional, campaign and election, and civil rights law. At UC Berkeley School of Law, Molly has been gaining deeper workers’ rights insights as a counselor and then Director of the Berkeley Workers’ Rights Clinic, and as an editor of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law.

In summer 2015, Molly clerked with the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC), a nonprofit, legal services organization that promotes the stability of low-income workers and their families. Molly worked in the LAS-ELC’s Work & Family and Gender Equity & LGBT Rights Program. Specifically, Molly worked with the Fair Play for Girls in Sports project that works to ensure girls in grades K-12, particularly girls of color and those in low-income areas, have equal opportunities to participate in school and community sports and to reap the lifelong rewards of athletic involvement, which include earning higher wages in the workforce. 

Working with Fair Play, Molly created a know-your-rights video that targets elementary, middle, and high school girls and their families, teachers, coaches and advocates, to ensure that K-12 girls are informed of their rights under Title IX and under California’s AB 2404, the Fair Play in Community Sports Act. She hopes that the video will empower girls to understand and exercise their rights. To watch the video, please visit  


2014 Public Interest Grant Recipients

Megha Bhatt is a third year law student at UC Davis School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Religious Studies and Political Science: Public Service from UC Davis.

In her undergraduate studies, Megha founded the school's first Human Rights Journal, Making the Case. She also volunteered at the Women's Resources and Research Center and interned in the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. At UC Davis School of Law, Megha furthered her interest in human rights by re-starting the International Law Society and serving on the Board for the King Hall Legal Foundation.

This summer, Megha worked with Levitt and Quinn, a non-profit family law center, providing essential family law services in the LA region. Specifically, Megha worked with the Veterans Legal Corps to provide child support, child custody, divorce, driver's license reinstatement and relocation support to those who have served our country. She assisted veterans in legal proceedings, conducted "know your rights"  training across the LA region and created pamphlets to distribute local veterans organizations. She hopes that her advocacy will help empower veterans to understand and exercise their rights.


Danielle Glazer is a second year law student at Duke Law in North Carolina.  She became interested in mental health issues and how they relate to the legal system when her brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  The legal issues that accompanied her brother's mental ill-health motivated her to create a manual for criminal defense attorneys detailing the complicated laws protecting and affecting adults with mental illness, as well as methods for dealing with clients who have mental illnesses.  Dani spent the past summer as an intern for the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, where she learned from experienced and knowledgeable attorneys about mental health issues and how they intersect with criminal law in California, particularly when a client is facing the death penalty.  Dani also worked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to create and distribute the manual.


2013 Public Interest Grant Recipients

Joyce Chang has completed her first year at Loyola Law School, where she is one of the 2013 PILF auction co-chairs.  She graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Economics – Management Sciences and a B.A in Political Science, with honors. Her honors thesis analyzed the impact of microfinance loan penetration and female political participation in India. She was also the 2009 V-Day Director and Producer and helped raise $40,000 for License to Freedom, a San Diego non-profit that assists refugee and immigrant survivors of domestic violence.

Ms. Chang also has a Masters of Education from George Mason University. She was a special education teacher at a charter high school in Washington D.C.. As a Teach for America corp member, she helped draft the charter amendment for a language immersion International Baccalaureate secondary school.

Ms. Chang’s interest in special education rights and student empowerment in individualized education plans (IEP) comes from her teaching and case managing experiences.

Ms. Chang’s public interest project is to create a student focused website for high school students to better understand the IEP process, their educational rights, and how they can become self-advocates. She will be working on this project with the sponsorship of The Alliance for Children’s Rights. While the website is beneficial for all high school special education students, the website will have a specific focus on the rights of foster care children who also receive special education services. 

Before coming to law school, Kelsey Perry consulted for more than five nonprofits and completed two degrees in Public Health. While completing her Master of Public Health, Kelsey interned at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and completed a systematic review evaluating the impact of social determinants on human trafficking in Southeast Asia. One of her favorite graduate experiences  was her collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and faculty at her alma mater to develop and instruct an undergraduate refugee and migrant health course.

During her 1L summer Kelsey interned with the UNODC in Vienna, Austria, where she performed policy and case law analysis for the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. She also worked as a research assistant for the Director of USC’s Immigration Clinic, Professor Niels Frenzen. After returning from Austria, she began assisting Bet Tzedek in the development of a client education manual for a new component of its reputed Holocaust Reparations Program. This project has been particularly meaningful to Kelsey as her own family members were involved in the Dutch Underground during World War II, and she is grateful to WLALA for funding the project. Kelsey is looking forward to her 2L year and the opportunity to work in USC's International Human Rights Clinic and The Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics.


 2012 Public Interest Grant Recipient

Sarah Gross has completed her second year at LoyolaLawSchoolLos Angeles. She is an editor of the Loyola of Los An­geles International and Comparative Law Review, as well as a board member of the Women’s Law Association. The Uni­versity of Redlands awarded her a B.A. in Government, with a minor in Women’s Studies in May of 2010. She received Departmental Honors and was also Phi Beta Kappa. Her honors thesis was titled "’Going All Jackson Browne’: Lim­iting Fair Use and Reclaiming Artistic Integrity in Light of Browne v. McCain.”

Ms. Gross has interned with the WesternCenter on Law and Poverty and the DisabilityRightsLegalCenter and has completed an internship with the CancerLegalResourceCenter.

Ms. Gross’ interest in the area of cancer and disability rights stems from her parents’ work with children with disabilities. Ms. Gross has taken Cancer Rights Law and Special Education Advocacy seminars. Her project is dedicated to the memory of a loved one’s daughter, whose life was cut far too short by leukemia.

Ms. Gross’ public interest project is to produce a guide for parents of children with cancer, advising these parents of available special education services. She will be work­ing on this project with the sponsorship of the DisabilityRightsLegalCenter, which also encompasses theCancerLegalResourceCenter.


2011 Public Interest Grant Recipients

Jacquelyn Baylon is one of the 2011 recipients of the Women Lawyers Association Los Angeles Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant.  The Grant funded   the production of a guide and PowerPoint slides explaining the California Right to Know End-of-Life Options Act and the end-of-life options available to terminally ill patients.  

Ms. Baylon earned a B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently a 3L at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.  After her mother passed away from leukemia when she was young, she developed an interest in health care, especially as it relates to those with cancer.     This interest led to her decision to pursue a career in health care law.  Ms. Baylon has completed an internship with Compassion & Choices, an   organization that advocates for improved end-of-life care and the expansion of end-of-life options, and an externship with the Cancer Legal Resource Center.  This past summer, Ms. Baylon continued to expand her knowledge of health care law through an in-house internship with Central Health   Plan of California and continues to work there through her fall semester.


Suzanne Lawson is a 2011 recipient of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant. The Grant funded the creation of an informational pamphlet which will serve as a guide for self-represented families attending daytime curfew citation hearings in Los Angeles County. The pamphlet also includes information about resources, such as tutoring, special education, and mental health services, which can help families address some of the underlying causes of truancy and reduce school dropout among citation recipients. Additionally, the Grant funded the production of a power-point presentation instructing community-based organizations on how to help clients resolve daytime curfew citations. The pamphlet and power-point presentation will be available on the Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc. website and distributed to community organizations throughout the county.

Before entering law school, Ms. Lawson worked for the Riverside County Department of Mental Health where she put together grant applications, budgets, and financial analysis in support of mental health services for children who were victims of abuse and their families. Through her work and volunteer experience, Ms. Lawson has developed her interest in promoting access to mental health, educational, and legal services among members of underserved communities.

Ms. Lawson is in her second year at the University of California Irvine School of Law, where she serves as an associate member and a lead article editor of the UC Irvine Law Review, a board member for the Children’s Advocacy Group, and a member of the Public Interest Support Committee. In her first year, Ms. Lawson received a 2011 UC Irvine Public Interest Law Foundation Grant in support of her summer internship with Public Counsel Law Center’s Federal Pro Se Clinic, as well as a 2011 UC Irvine Pro Bono Achievement Award for her work in the areas of family law and farmworker labor rights. The University of Southern California awarded Ms. Lawson a B.S. in Business Administration in 2007.


2010 Public Interest Grant Recipient

Each year, the WLALA Foundation awards the Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant to a law student to fund summer public interest projects that make governmental and social institutions and agencies more accessible and responsive to members of society whose interests are not otherwise adequately recognized or asserted.

The WLALA Foundation is proud to have awarded a grant in the amount of $5,000 to fund the summer public interest project of Sandra Fluke. The Grant funded the production of an instructional film on how to apply for a domestic violence restraining order in pro per.  The film will be distributed to Los Angeles County courthouse clinics, domestic violence shelters, and legal assistance providers, in addition to being available online.

Ms. Fluke’s professional background in domestic violence and human trafficking began with Sanctuary for Families in New York City.  There, she launched the agency’s pilot Program Evaluation Initiative.  While at Sanctuary, she co-founded the New York Statewide Coalition for Fair Access to Family Court, which after a twenty year stalemate, successfully advocated for legislation granting access to civil orders of protection for unmarried victims of domestic violence, including LGBTQ victims and teens.  Ms. Fluke was also a member of the Manhattan Borough President’s Taskforce on Domestic Violence and numerous other New York City and New York State coalitions.

Ms. Fluke is in her second year at Georgetown University Law Center, where she was selected as a Public Interest Law Scholar.  She is a member of the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, as well as the Co-President of Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the Vice President of the Women’s Legal Alliance.  In her first year, she also co-founded a campus committee addressing human trafficking.  Cornell University awarded her a B.S. in Policy Analysis & Management, as well as Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies in 2003.

Ms. Fluke has interned with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County in their Family Law Advocacy Group; Break the Cycle; the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project; NOW Legal Defense and Education Found; Crime Victim and Sexual Assault Services; and the Human Services Coalition of Tompkins County.


2009 Public Interest Grant Recipient

Each year, the WLALA Foundation awards the Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant to a law student to fund summer public interest projects that make governmental and social institutions and agencies more accessible and responsive to members of society whose interests are not otherwise adequately recognized or asserted.

The WLALA Foundation is proud to have awarded a grant in the amount of $3,000 to fund the summer public interest project of Beatriz Espinoza.  Ms. Espinoza is about to start her second year as student at the University of Southern California School of Law.  She is an alumna of San Francisco State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and Raza Studies in 2007.  While at SFSU, she interned with La Raza Centro Legal and while at USC, she has been a volunteer with The Wage Justice Center.

In connection with her summer work with The Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law, Ms. Espinoza will produce a "know your rights” booklet about dependency law directed to mothers in jail.  The guide, to be published in English and Spanish, will be an easy to understand guide that incarcerated mothers can use as a resource for information about custody and dependency issues for their children. The booklet will be distributed in connection with The Harriet Buhai Center’s regular outreach program for incarcerated women. 


2008 Public Interest Grant Recipient

Each year, the WLALA Foundation awards the Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant to a law student to fund summer public interest projects that make governmental and social institutions and agencies more accessible and responsive to members of society whose interests are not otherwise adequately recognized or asserted.

The WLALA Foundation is proud to have awarded a grant in the amount of $2,500 to fund the summer public interest project of Erin Reed.  Ms. Reed is about to start her second year as a day student at Loyola Law School.  She is an alumna of University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 2007.  An avid Tri-athlete, Ms. Reed has combined her love of swimming and cycling with a deep and demonstrated commitment to disability issues.  She has volunteered with several different organizations in the Bay Area to promote and encourage participation in accessible sports and recreation opportunities.  Since starting law school, Ms. Reed has volunteered with Loyola’s General Relief and Advocacy Program, where she has assisted individuals applying for food stamps and general relief from the California Department of Social Services.  Ms. Reed’s commitment to disability issues took her in a new direction this summer, where she worked with the disability advocacy organization, Protection and Advocacy, Inc. (PAI), on disability rights issues. 

In connection with her summer work with PAI, Ms. Reed created a resource guide for adult children caring for their elderly, infirm or indigent parents in Los Angeles County.  The guide, to be published in English and Spanish, is targeted towards low- and middle-income individuals and is a comprehensive resource for information about local services for the elderly in Los Angeles, such as housing, meals, transportation, medical costs, legal issues and others.  Ms. Reed will liaise with local agencies that serve the elderly population to distribute her brochure.


2007 Public Interest Grant Recipient

Now a second year law student at the University of West Los Angeles, Ms. Johnson is an alumna of California State University, Dominguez Hills, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Psychology in 2006.  Ms. Johnson has a deep and demonstrated commitment to women’s issues, especially those surrounding efforts to increase the court accessibility for self-represented litigants in family law cases, an issue which disproportionately affects women.  During her undergraduate studies, she served as a volunteer legal assistant with the JusticeCorps Program of AmeriCorps, volunteering 300 hours with the JusticeCorps program to assist self-represented family case litigants at the Los Angeles Superior Court.  After her volunteer assignment, Ms. Johnson stayed on as a JusticeCorps university representative and was responsible for recruiting, training, mentoring and coordinating a group of over 20 student volunteers at CSUDH.  From November 2006 until she started law school in January 2007, Ms. Johnson served as a full-time legal assistant with the newly created Resource Center for Self-Represented Litigants at the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Ms. Johnson’s grant project proposed creating a clear, concise and easily distributed "roadmap” to assist self-represented family law litigants to navigate their way through the newly created case management program at the Los Angeles Superior Central Courthouse.  Over the course of the summer, Ms. Johnson worked in conjunction with the Resource Center for Self Represented Litigants at the Superior Court downtown.  The roadmap developed by Ms. Johnson will be distributed initially through the Resource Center with plans to make it available eventually to self-represented litigants at all L.A. County courthouses.  In addition, the WLALA Foundation’s own Domestic Violence Committee plans to distribute the roadmap to the clients that it serves at its weekly domestic violence drop-in legal clinic.

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