FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Cynthia Chandler

Cynthia Chandler

Bay Area Legal Incubator
Mentoring Attorney
Oakland, CA, USA


Cynthia Chandler is the Mentoring Attorney for BALI (Bay Area Legal Incubator), a community of attorneys dedicated to providing affordable legal services and promoting social justice. BALI is an Oakland, CA based project of the Alameda County Law Library and Volunteer Legal Services Corporation in collaboration with five San Francisco Bay Area law schools and the Alameda County Law Library.

As Mentoring Attorney, Cynthia is responsible for establishing systems, training and opportunities to accelerate the practices of the BALI network of attorneys, as well as managing the daily operations of BALI.

Cynthia has over 20 years’ experience as a social entrepreneur, launching and building innovative social justice organizations. As a prison law attorney, her practice has been equally innovative: when the law does not allow for the relief she seeks for her clients, she changes it. For example, after founding Women's Positive Legal Action Network in 1995 with an echoing green Fellowship - the first organization advocating for women living with HIV and facing imprisonment - she helped craft and introduce California compassionate release legislation, creating the statutory mechanism and legal process for terminally ill people to be released from prison before they die. This model legislation was replicated nationally.

Cynthia currently maintains a legislative practice, regularly conceptualizing and contributing to key legislation aimed at shrinking and the prison system and its harms. Her recent advocacy includes partnering with Justice Now, a human rights organization she co-founded, to expose and shape successful legislation to ameliorate California’s coercive sterilization of hundreds of women in prison over the last decade.

Cynthia also coaches entrepreneurs on how to realize their vision for launching new, community-based social ventures that ally with communities to make real change. She currently is an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University School of Law, where she inspires the next generation of radical lawyers.

Cynthia has received numerous awards for her work empowering and representing people in California’s prisons. Among them, in 2015 Cynthia was awarded the prestigious Fay Stender Award from California Women Lawyers. In 2005, she was named by Women's Health Activist Network a Top 30 Activist for Women's Health. Cynthia received the 2001 Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award. And in 1997, she was designated the Attorney to Whom California Can Be Most Grateful by California Law Business.

Cynthia received her JD from Harvard Law School and a MPhil in Criminology from University of Cambridge.

Cynthia is the mother of two activist daughters. She learns from them daily.

Cynthia Chandler is associated with the following items:
Web Segment  Web Segment Deciding to Start Your Law Firm and Forming the Practice Entity - Incubator Boot Camp: Tools for New Lawyers Looking to Go Solo, Monday, February 27, 2017
MP3 Audio  MP3 Audio Deciding to Start Your Law Firm and Forming the Practice Entity - Deciding to Start Your Law Firm and Forming the Practice Entity, Monday, February 27, 2017
Transcripts  Transcripts Deciding to Start Your Law Firm and Forming the Practice Entity - Deciding to Start Your Law Firm and Forming the Practice Entity, Monday, February 27, 2017
MP4 - Mobile Video Seg  MP4 - Mobile Video Seg Deciding to Start Your Law Firm and Forming the Practice Entity - Deciding to Start Your Law Firm and Forming the Practice Entity, Monday, February 27, 2017
On-Demand Web Programs  On-Demand Web Programs Incubator Boot Camp: Tools for New Lawyers Looking to Go Solo, Wednesday, March 01, 2017, San Francisco, CA
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