PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

PRINCIPAL Managing Attorney, CFCC – Mar. 2008 to present

The Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC) is a division of the Judicial Council that serves to improve the quality of justice and services to meet the diverse needs of children, youth, parents, families, and other users of the California courts.  It supports court programs designed to improve practice in family and juvenile law, as well as other areas, including collaborative justice, domestic violence, language access, treatment of mentally ill court users, services to self-represented litigants, and tribal projects.

Responsibilities include:

  • Member of the management team for this division, which has more than 50 employees.
  • Manager of Self Help Outreach, Research and Education Team responsible for managing $30.3 million in funding for self-help programs in the courts, providing education, technical assistance, and resources to court staff
  • Lead staff to the Sargent Shriver Civil Representation Pilot Project, administering $10 million in funding for legal services agencies to provide representation in civil case types involving critical needs.
  • Assigning and reviewing all rules, forms and opinions regarding family and juvenile law. Managing staff in four subject matter areas:  Self-Help, Domestic Violence, Tribal/State Courts Assistance, and Family Law.
  • Continued responsibility for duties of Supervising Attorney described below.

Supervising Attorney, CFCC – Feb. 2002 to Mar. 2008 

  • Supervise the Equal Access Project, which focuses on helping courts meet the needs of self-represented litigants.  Responsibilities include:
    • Coordinating the California Courts Self-Help Website (www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp), which provides over 1,000 pages of legal and procedural information and referrals and has been translated into Spanish (www.sucorte.ca.gov).
    • Managing a website that provides sample instructional materials, translations, management resources, volunteer training materials and other resources for courts and legal services programs providing self-help assistance.
    • Supervising legal review of materials developed by local courts and legal services agencies for adaptation for statewide use.
  • Supervise development of forms completion programs to assist self-represented litigants and self-help center staff and volunteers to complete legal documents and forms efficiently using a question and answer format.  Responsibilities include:
    • Serving as subject matter expert in area of family law in development of case management systems and e-filing solutions developed by the California courts.
  • Oversee grant programs providing $28 million in funding for legal services and court-based self-help programs – the Equal Access Fund, Family Law Information Centers, and Model Self Help Pilot Projects.
  • Assist the Family and Juvenile Advisory Committee with family law forms and rules including developing rules and procedures for limited scope representation (unbundling), and a series of forms designed to assist self-represented litigants successfully complete dissolutions, domestic violence restraining orders, parentage actions and similar matters.
  • Serve as staff to the Judicial Council’s Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants (now Committee on Providing Access and Fairness in the Courts) which developed and implemented a “Statewide Action Plan for Serving Self-Represented Litigants in California.”
  • Coordinate development of LEP (Limited English Proficiency) plans for the Administrative Office of the Courts and trial courts.  Oversee funding for interpreters in domestic violence cases.  Coordinate translation of critical Judicial Council forms and materials.

Senior Attorney, CFCC – Aug. 1997 to Feb. 2002

Assisted in developing family law facilitator and child support commissioner program in California.  Responsibilities included:

  • Coordinating all trainings of facilitators, commissioners, clerks and administrators.
  • Developing new child support forms, rules and procedures.
  • Coordinating effort to evaluate child support guidelines in California.
  • Working to develop evaluation system for program.
  • Providing technical assistance and guidance to court staff
  • Developing ethical rules for facilitator and self-help attorneys in collaboration with State Bar

Attorney, Law Offices of Bonnie Rose Hough – Feb. 1995 to Aug. 1997

Sole practice focusing on family law representing children and adults.  Provided counsel and representation on issues regarding dissolution, child and spousal support, child cus-tody and visitation, domestic violence, guardianships and juvenile dependency matters.

Assistant Professor, Sonoma State University  – Sept. 1995 to May 1997

Developed and taught two semester-long courses in family law for paralegal certification program 

Executive Director, Family Law Center of Marin – Sept. 1989 to Jan. 1995

Founder and lead attorney of innovative legal services program providing assistance to low income persons with family law problems.  Responsibilities included:

  • Supervising and providing counsel to an average of 250 clients per month.
  • Recruiting, training and overseeing staff of three attorneys, two paralegals, two support staff as well as 125 active volunteers per year including attorneys, law students, paralegals and community volunteers.
  • Fundraising, public relations, program development, educational workshops, and advocacy programs.  Increased agency budget from $20,000 to $250,000 per year.

Established interagency legal services coalition.  Assisted in modifications of local judicial rules.  Received honorable mention for Louis M. Brown Award from the American Bar Association for services to moderate income persons.

EDUCATION:

HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW – J.D.,  May 1987

  • Member, Moot Court Board
  • President, Clara Foltz Women’s Union
  • Graduate, Public Interest Consortium

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY – M.P.A.,  May 1985

Masters of Public Administration

Thesis:  “Women’s Law Center, a Proposal for Implementation”

Lecturer, Introductory Political Science and Critical Analysis

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ – B.A., June 1983

Double Major in American Studies and Community Studies

Thesis:  “And Justice for All, A History of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi”

Internships:  Senior Citizens Legal Services, Santa Cruz

ACLU of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi

SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS: 

Current:

California Commission on Access to Justice – Committees on Civil Gideon, Language Access and Support for the Judiciary – June 2008 to present

National Self-Represented Litigation Network – Steering Committee – Jan. 2007 to present

ABA Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services –

Elder, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church – June 2012 to present

Past:

  • San Rafael Planning Commission
  • Marin County Peace Conversion Commission
  • National Women’s Political Caucus – President, Marin Chapter
  • La Familia Center of Marin – Vice President
  • Women Lawyers of Marin – Board Member
  • Marin Food Bank – Board Member
  • Marin Women’s Hall of Fame – Co-Founder
  • American Bar Association – Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services – Chair
  • State Bar of California – Chair, Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services
  • ABA Language Access Advisory Group – Member
  • Marin County Law Library – Trustee
  • Marin County Peace Commission – Commission Member
  • National Organization of Women – Mississippi Chapter – Vice-Chair
  • YWCA Board of Directors – Chair
  • Zonta, Businesswomen’s Professional Association, Marin Chapter – President

PRESENTATIONS MADE TO:

  • International Legal Services Research Conference (9 conferences)
  • Conference of Chief Justices and State Court Administrators (2 conferences)
  • National Association of Court Managers (4 conferences)
  • State Bar Annual Meetings and Ethics Symposium (12 conferences & symposia)
  • California Presiding Judges and Court Administrators (4 presentations)
  • National Legal Aid Defenders Association (8 conferences)
  • American Bar Association (5 conferences)
  • National Association of IOLTA Administrators (4 conferences)
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (3 conferences)
  • Technology Innovation Conference – Legal Services Corporation (6 conferences)
  • National Center for State Courts – Technology Conference (4 conferences)
  • National Self-Represented Litigants Network Conference – (10 conferences)
  • Justice Without Borders Conference – Brisbane, Australia
  • Cyberjustice Conference – Montreal, Canada
  • Conferences on self-representation convened in California, Idaho, New Jersey, New York, and Texas
  • Meetings of the judiciary in Canada, England, Colorado, Hawaii, and Washington
  • Meetings of local bar associations
  • Law schools including Berkeley Law, Harvard, Stanford and Yale

PUBLICATIONS:

 CoEditor:
Innovations in Serving Self-Represented Litigants – Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, 2011

 Author:

Self-Represented Litigants in Family Law – the Response of California’s Courts, California Law Review, 2010

Evaluation of Innovations Designed to Increase Access to Justice for Self-Represented Litigants. 2005

Co-Author:

  • Using Technology to Enhance Access to Justice – Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Fall 2012
  • Self-Represented Litigants:  Challenges and Opportunities for Justice – Judges Journal, 2008
  • Benchguide – Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants, 2007
  • California Courts Self-Help Centers – Report to the California Legislature, 2007
  • The Role of Technology in the Access Solution – 2005
  • Evaluation of 5 Pilot Self-Help Centers – a Report to the Legislature 2005
  • Equal Access Fund – a Report to the Legislature 2005
  • Judicial Techniques for Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants – Judges Journal, 2003
  • Family Law Information Centers – A Report to the California Legislature, 2003
  • Report on Limited Scope Legal Assistance With Initial Recommendations to the State Bar of California, 2001
  • Child Support Commissioner and Facilitator Program – A Report to the California Legislature, 2000
  • Report on the California Child Support Guideline, 1998

AWARDS:

  • Serial Innovator, Recorder Enterprises
  • Alumnus of the Year, San Francisco State, Masters of Public Administration
  • Faye Stender Award from California Women Lawyers
  • Award of Merit from the California Commission on Access to Justice and Legal Aid Association of California
  • Opening Doors to Justice Award from the Public Interest Clearinghouse
  • Dale M. Sipes Spirit of Justice Award from the Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Public Service Award from Central California Legal Services
  • Young Careerist of the Year – Business and Professional Women’s Association
  • Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, Founders Award

FELLOWSHIPS:

American Bar Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing justice through rigorous research on the law, legal processes, and the law’s impact on our society.

College of Law Practice Management which was created to honor and recognize distinguished law practice management professionals, to set standards of achievement for others in the profession, and to fund and assist projects that enhance the highest quality of law practice management.

Harvard Law School’s Bellow-Sacks project, which was designed to reconsider the system of providing civil legal services in the United States.