As part of our Pandemic Positives Speaker Series, on March 11 IAALS hosted webinar featuring Carolyn Kim and Renato Izquieta of the Orange County Superior Court and Jeannie Sato of the Alaska Court System, who discussed how their respective organizations were able to successfully transform their in-person legal services into virtual services amid the pandemic—without expending significant resources. Video of the event is available below. A recap of the event is available here.

COVID-19 has forced most—if not all—courts and legal service providers to modify how they serve their customers, and often with limited resources. During this webinar, we heard from Kim, Izquieta, and Sato on how they provided their services pre-pandemic, how they are providing services now, and a behind-the-scenes look into how they were able to make the necessary shifts.

Carolyn Kim is the Self-Help Services Manager and Family Law Facilitator at the Superior Court of California, County of Orange. Prior to her current role, she was a Project Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA and oversaw a pilot project that developed a national model for remote citizenship services. She also managed the organization’s legal intake unit that provides legal assistance to limited English proficient callers through multilingual toll-free legal helplines. Carolyn started her legal career as a staff attorney, providing family law and immigration representation to domestic violence survivors.

Renato Izquieta is an attorney admitted to the California State Bar in 1997 licensed to practice in State Court, Federal Court, and U.S. Tax Court. Renato Izquieta is the senior manager and Local Taxpayer Advocate for the Internal Revenue Service overseeing a team of advocates for the geographic areas of Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. He joined the Internal Revenue and the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate on July 6, 2020. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an office independent of the IRS assisting and advocating on behalf of taxpayers to resolve IRS tax matters. Some of these issues include collection issues, audits, removal of tax liens, manual refunds, and other tax matters to reduce the burden on taxpayers. He also works closer with 11 congressional leaders to assist constituents with their tax matters.

Before joining TAS, Renato Izquieta was the Self-Help Manager and Family Law Facilitator for the Superior Court of Orange County. In his capacity, he was responsible for six Legal Self-Help legal departments located in each of the Superior Court Justice Centers. He managed a staff of attorneys and paralegals assisting self-represented litigants with procedural information and assistance to increase access to the justice system.

Jeannie Sato graduated from the University of California, Davis school of law in 1994, and then clerked for both the Alaska Supreme Court and the Alaska Court of Appeals. She worked part-time at Anchorage Youth Court and the Alaska Public Defender Agency from 1997 to 2007 while raising three children. In 2007, Jeannie started the law firm of Sato & Sato, LLC with her husband, Rob Sato, where she practiced family law as a litigator, collaborative law attorney, mediator, and parenting coordinator. She started working as a court mediator as part of her practice in 2012, and in May of 2018 became the Alaska Court System’s Justice for All Project Implementation Manager, developing web content and helping to create the Legal Navigator legal information portal. Beginning January 1, 2020, Jeannie replaced Stacey Marz as the Alaska Court System’s Director Access to Justice Services, which includes the Family Law Self-Help Center’s phone line; web-based self-help services for self-represented litigants; dispute resolution; the Early Resolution Program, which triages all new family law cases; language access; the Legal Navigator internet portal program; and court forms