Episode 3: McGriff and Lofton
Elizabeth McGriff is an award-winning, dynamic and visionary leader, educator, lawyer, advocate and public speaker. She serves as the Director of the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP) and Equity & Inclusion Advisor at UC Hastings Law. Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Spanish from Mills College and a Juris Doctor from the UC Hastings Law.
In her role as LEOP Director, Elizabeth manages admissions, academic support and community building. Elizabeth’s innovative and student-centered approach to programming has driven outstanding achievement among LEOP students. Elizabeth has deep experience in academic support, counseling and social-emotional development, all of which are instrumental to positive outcomes for the students she serves. Elizabeth is an experienced educator and has taught students in preschool through law school with a keen focus on educational equity and diversity. Elizabeth possesses significant expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion, having worked in diverse public and private educational institutions, as well as having served as the Director of Diversity Pipeline Programs for The Bar Association of San Francisco, where she managed more than 14 diversity programs. In addition, Elizabeth managed the annual Bay Area Diversity Career Fair and worked in the diversity and recruiting departments for a large law firm. In her role as Equity & Inclusion Advisor, Elizabeth advises the law school on matters of equity and inclusion. Elizabeth also has legislative experience and served as the chief legislative assistant to a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Elizabeth has worked as a trial lawyer and her practice experience includes work in a top law firm, in-house and public interest. Elizabeth is highly skilled in mediation, negotiation, facilitation and arbitration. She has mediated and successfully resolved hundreds of cases. Elizabeth is a talented and much sought after speaker and presenter. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys reading, writing, cooking, baking, animals and music. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a public service sorority.
Lauren is a proud member of the LGBT+ community, a person of color, & a born and raised San Franciscan. Lauren uses the pronouns they/them/theirs. They earned their J.D. from UC Davis King Hall School of Law (specialization Public Interest Law). Most recently, Lauren worked at the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC) in Oakland, where they supported the legal safety net through leading the continuing legal education program. Lauren helped attorneys from nearly 100 legal aid nonprofit organizations create community, share best practices, resources, and litigation strategies. Lauren supervised the pro bono program.
Lauren also oversaw the conference training program and taught continuing legal education classes on the topics of elimination of bias, and substance use (competency) nationally. Lauren has a professional background in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training in the public, and private sectors in addition to within higher education. Lauren teaches DEI through an intersectional lens and specializes in providing DEI training specifically to legal service providers providing legal support to survivors of multiple forms of violence and trauma. Last year, at the special request of the California Judicial Council, Lauren provided a training to judges from every district in California entitled “Cultural Humility in the Courts: Building Trust to Improve Access to Justice.” This training specifically trained participants on interacting, with dignity and respect, with transgender community members in the courts.
Most recently, Lauren provided a similar training to judges and court staff in Tennessee (a travel banned state) at the Self-Represented Litigation Network Annual Conference with additional material specific to 1st and 6th Amendment, and Due Process and Privileges and Immunities Clause challenges to Rules of Court that mandate “professional dress,” which impedes access to the courts disproportionally for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and the LGBT community who may not be wearing what is considered “gender conforming” and appropriate dress. In Michigan at the National Legal Aid & Defender Association Annual Conference Lauren provided a training in conjunction with Lakeshore Legal Aid entitled, “Is Competency the Floor or the Ceiling? Moving Beyond Cultural Competence Toward Cultural Humility: LGBTQIS Best Practice.” This training included sample intake forms Lauren developed in conjunction with Lakeshore Legal Aid, and the LGBT Center Long Beach Legal Department. In their free time, Lauren serves as a volunteer mediator specifically providing support to collective households at risk of displacement. Lauren also enjoys ju jitsu at a queer, woman of color non-profit gym, swimming outdoors, reading, spending time with their spiritual community at the East Bay Meditation Center, and spending time with their loved ones.
Lauren served as the first chair of the LAAC diversity, equity, and inclusion board committee. Prior to joining LAAC, Lauren worked as the Senior Subsidized Housing Advocate and Policy Analyst at community based nonprofit Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco (HRCSF). Lauren founded the subsidized housing clinic at HRCSF, and represented tenants in administrative law hearings.