It’s time to meet
the future of law.

With a dedicated board, together, we meet students where they are. Our law academies are hosted where students gather – high schools! Throughout the school year, our leaders educate, inspire, and preview what a career in law will look like for future attorneys.

Board Members.

Ruthe C. Ashley
Ruthe C. Ashley
Chair

Ruthe C. Ashley

Ruthe Catolico Ashley is Chair of the newly created California Legal Pathways Collaborative (CLPC), which focuses on expanding resources for the high school law academies project started by Ashley in 2010. This new project is housed with the California Lawyers Foundation bringing the high school academies back to its roots in a legal organization. Ashley is also founder of California LAW Pathways, created in 2015 to support the California LAW Pathway with a mission to diversify California’s legal profession through the educational pipeline.

Ashley is considered the Diversity Pipeline Guru for the legal profession in California. As a member of the State Bar of California’s Board of Governors, she chaired the Diversity Pipeline Task Force in 2007, which jump-started the pipeline work in this state. Ashley founded and created the Council on Access and Fairness with the State Bar of California – now a leader in legal diversity across the nation. She was also the first President/CEO of California ALL, and the Founder/Executive Director of California LAW, two non-profit organizations with a mission to diversify the legal profession through the educational pipeline.

Ashley’s first career was as a nurse and nursing professor. She became a lawyer at the age of 40 and was a litigator for 15 years before returning to her alma mater as the Assistant Dean for Career Services. She was the first Division Chief Diversity Officer for CalPERS. Ashley has had numerous leadership roles including being past president of the Asian Pacific Bar of Sacramento, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and Legal Services of Northern California. She was a member of the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors and chaired the Public Service and Diversity Committee of the BOG. She led the restructuring of the Goal III Diversity entities. She also chaired the Women of Color Committee for the Commission on Women and the chaired the Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline. She chaired the ABA’s Public Education Committee with programs including the National Civics and Law Academy, Law Day, Silver Gavel Awards and other projects for teachers and students. Currently, she is a member of the ABA’s Fund for Justice and Education, Retirement Fund Board, and the Law Library of Congress. She remains as a liaison to Public Ed from the Civil Rights and Social Justice Committee.

Ashley worked with the California Legislature in inserting diversity and inclusion language in the State Bar’s 2018 Fee Bill. The recipient of numerous awards including the ABA’s prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement award in 2020. A NAPABA Trailblazer recipient, she received the inaugural Excellence in Civics Engagement Award from the California Lawyers Association. Now retired, she devotes her time to diversity in the legal profession and world travel. Three grandchildren make life rich and active.

Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee
Chair, ABA Pipeline Council

Patricia Lee

Patricia Lee is a retired attorney who continues to focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the legal profession through involvement with California Legal Pathway Collaborative (CLPC), California LAW and the American Bar Association (ABA). She currently chairs the ABA Council on Diversity in the Educational Pipeline (Pipeline Council) and serves on the Advisory Commission to the newly created ABA Task Force for American Democracy. She has served as past chair for various ABA entities including the Standing Committee on Public Education, Advisory Commission on Public Education, Diversity and Inclusion Center and Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.
She was Special Assistant for Diversity & Bar Relations at the State Bar of California, serving as liaison to the Council on Access & Fairness and was instrumental in the formation of the California High School Law Academies and California LAW Pathways. She served as Director of the State Bar’s Office of Legal Services, Access & Fairness Programs focusing on equal access to justice, diversity, and elimination of bias initiatives. Also, she served as the Director of the State Bar Voluntary Legal Services Program and later was tasked with overseeing the implementation of the Legal Services Trust Fund Program.
She began her career as a VISTA attorney for the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Assistance Foundation (SFNLAF), now Bay Area Legal Aid. She was Managing Attorney at both the Mission and Chinatown/North Beach Offices at SFNLAF, Executive Director and CAO for the Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County and founding Director of Santa Clara County’s Office of Women’s Advocacy where she coordinated the creation of community transition programs for women in the county jail and worked with a broad network of community organizations to empower girls and young women through the implementation of social change projects impacting their own neighborhoods. She was a co-founder of the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley and is a recipient of various professional and community awards including the prestigious ABA Spirit of Excellence Award, For People of Color Community Service Award, Santa Clara County Bar Unsung Hero Award, and the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame. She received her BA from UC Berkeley and JD from UC Law San Francisco College of the Law (formerly Hastings College of the Law) and was admitted to practice in February 1972.

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Members.

Diego Alejandro Arp
Diego Alejandro Arp
Wells Fargo Bank

Diego Alejandro Arp

Diego Arp provides legal support for various business activities both domestic and foreign, for Wells Fargo Capital Finance including regulatory and compliance work, commercial transactions, mergers and acquisitions and complex integrations. Strategize and coordinate business activity with internal groups including Senior Management, Treasury, Operations, Marketing, Accounting and Sales. He provides guidance to and manages external counsel regarding business, compliance, regulatory and tax matters as it relates to our company. Diego has developed and assisted with implementing corporate policies and procedures for the group’s business activities. He mentors and provides support to junior team members, interns, and students. Diego assists and plans Diversity and Inclusion activities within the department to broaden opportunities and access to the legal profession.

Carlos Garcia
Coordinator- Florin High School Law Academy

Carlos Garcia

Carlos Garcia grew up in south Sacramento and attended Elk Grove schools. At an early age he was inspired by committed and passionate teachers. Carlos took an interest in history and stories his uncle told him of marching with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. As the first person in his family to attend college, Carlos came to believe that the greatest endeavor one could undertake is to inspire young people to live up to their greatest potential, just as his teachers had inspired him.
In 2006 and chose to a work at Florin High School due to its diverse student population. In 2008 a group of teachers and administrators began work on a grant proposal to create a Law Academy at Florin High School, and Mr. Garcia was chosen to lead the program. The concept behind the Law Academy is to increase diversity in the legal profession by empowering young people with the skills and opportunity to pursue legal careers, and in turn, become advocates for their underrepresented communities.
Since its inception, the Florin High Law Academy has produced several successful attorneys with more in the pipeline. To help prepare students for law school and their future legal careers, Mr. Garcia runs a highly successful regional high school mock trial program in partnership with McGeorge School of Law and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. Mr. Garcia continues to teach and coordinate the Law Academy and is inspired by the opportunity to continue to grow and develop the program.

Tristan Higgins
Tristan E.H. Higgins
Chair, CLA Diversity Outreach Committee

Tristan E.H. Higgins

Tristan E.H. Higgins (she/her) is a global DEI speaker and consultant helping entities create an atmosphere where everyone belongs. She uses superheroes to make difficult conversations and concepts easier. Tristan frequently teaches unconscious bias at UCSD. She has a BA in Theater from UCSD and a JD from California Western School of Law. Tristan went from prosecuting criminal cases for the SD City Attorney to practicing entertainment law for SAG-AFTRA, Sega, and Sony. In 2018, she founded Metaclusive to change the world, one workplace at a time.

Linda Kingston
Linda Kingston
Director, CTE & Master Scheduling

Linda Kingston

Linda Kingston is a retired public educator of 30 years. Serving five districts spanning her three-decade career. She has extensive experience with secondary instruction and leadership. As a director in Sacramento City Unified School District, she supported the districts CTE programs including the California Partnership Academies (CPA’s) from providing curriculum support, to master scheduling challenges to building partnerships with advisory boards and local community colleges.
Jesse Bethel High School Law Academy in Vallejo, California was built under her leadership while she was the principal. During her tenure Bethel’s Law Academy established a Restorative Practice Youth Court where law academy students processed school discipline cases through Restorative Practices. Created a partnership with Solano Community College for the Law Academy seniors to take two of the Law pathway courses in their senior year. As well as building strong relations within the community to support the students, which was imperative for the Law Academy’s success.
As a 5th generation Californian, she believes in the public school system. High Schools have an amazing energy. Dreams are created and supported, relationships matter, and it takes the whole community to support the child through high school. She looks forward to continuing the work of equity & inclusion in the field of Law to ensure that the educational dreams of our students are fulfilled.
She graduated with a BA in History from California State University of Fresno and a MA in education from University of California Berkeley.

Chalak Richards
Chalak Richards
Asst. Dean, Student Life, Diversity, Belonging

Chalak Richards

Chalak Richards is a justice advocate. She earned her J.D. at Pepperdine University School of Law in 2012 and B.A. from Spelman College. Dean Richards currently serves as Dean of Students, Diversity and Belonging. She was recently appointed to the State Bar of California’s Council on Access and Fairness and the Ms. JD Board of Directors. She is dedicated to bringing diversity, equity, inclusion and a true sense of ownership and belonging to the law. She previously served as Assistant Dean of Career Development, Executive Director of the Parris Institute for Professional Excellence, and inaugural Assistant Dean of Student Life, Diversity and Belonging.
Before working at Pepperdine Law, Dean Richards worked as an immigration attorney for several years. She was named in 2016 and 2017 as a “Top 100 Lawyer in Las Vegas” for her outstanding work and has won numerous Advocacy and Trial awards.
While a law student, Dean Richards was an award-winning member of the Trial Advocacy and Moot Court teams, Western Regional Chair of the National Black Law Students Association and participated in many volunteer activities in the community. Prior to law school, Dean Richards worked with Urban Promise, a non-profit organization supporting the academic and spiritual development of five- to ten-year-old children and mentoring teenagers in high-risk communities.

Hon. Fumi Wasserman
Hon. Fumi Wasserman
Los Angeles County Superior Court

Hon. Fumi Wasserman

Judge Fumiko Hachiya Wasserman is a Sansei judge for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in California. She was born in Torrance, California and grew up in Harbor City, California. She was the first Asian American female hired by the US Attorney’s office in the Civil Division, the first minority elected official in the Torrance School Board, and the first judge to ever serve on the LA Biomedical Research Institute. She currently serves in the Los Padrinos Courthouse as the site judge. She grew up in a diverse and welcoming neighborhood and felt secure in being Japanese American. She is involved with the Japanese American community, works to promote diversity, and she mentors lawyers and judges.

Han Mi Yoon Wu
Han Mi Yoon-Wu
Associate Vice Provost & Executive Director Undergrad Admissions

Han Mi Yoon-Wu

Han Mi Yoon-Wu is the Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions for the University of California system. She has worked in admissions at the University of California Office of the President for nearly 23 years and became the chief admissions officer in 2018. During her tenure at UC, she has played a vital role developing and implementing admissions policies for the University of California and provided leadership on several technology projects. As a first-generation college graduate, she has dedicated her professional career to promoting access to higher education for students from all walks of life. Ms. Yoon-Wu holds degrees from Drake University and Stanford University.

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Civics Engagement and Outreach

Educating Californians about the Judicial branch,
the role of lawyers, and the rule of law.