Elica Vafaie has dedicated her 15-year career to civil rights and social justice. As Pro Bono & Strategic Partnerships Director, she works with the LCCRSF team and hundreds of pro bono law firms, corporate legal departments, and partners to advance LCCRSF’s mission in economic, immigrant, and racial justice. She believes every sector has a critical role to play in dismantling systems of oppression and racism. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Elica has led the organization to successfully scale and innovate its pro bono model to meet the 300% increase in demand from small businesses; supported class action lawsuit needs; shifted all attorney trainings to be virtual; and harnessed the surge of pro bono volunteers seeking to advance voting rights, racial justice, and support for small businesses.
Elica is a Commissioner on the California Access to Justice Commission, a board member of the Legal Aid Foundation of California, Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) Northern California Chapter and the National IABA. Elica served as President of IABA NorCal Chapter from 2018-2020 where she led the organization to strengthen its civil rights work, launched a public interest scholarship program, and more than doubled the organization’s revenue.
Prior to LCCRSF, Elica was a Staff Attorney and Program Manager of the National Security & Civil Rights Program at Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus. She advanced legal services, litigation, policy advocacy, and Know Your Rights education to protect the civil rights of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities. She was a rapid response attorney at the SFO airport in the wake of the 2017 Muslim Ban securing the release of clients after 30+ hours of detention by CBP. During her tenure she led several rapid response efforts as the team represented hundreds of individuals impacted by the Ban, provided testimony to commissions, led attorney MCLE trainings, and filed a class-action lawsuit (Pars v. Pompeo) challenging the unlawful implementation of the Ban.
Elica formerly served as the Supervising Attorney to establish the University of California Immigrant Legal Services Center providing free immigration legal services and Know Your Rights training to undocumented and immigrant UC students and their families across California.
She previously served as the Project Director of the One Nation Initiative at the California Community Foundation in Los Angeles where she managed the first philanthropic program in Southern California for Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian nonprofit organizations advancing civic engagement, policy advocacy, litigation, and nonprofit capacity building.
Elica received JD from the University of California, Davis School of Law. She is a 2018 Minority Bar Coalition Unity Award recipient, a 2015-2016 German Marshall Memorial Fellow and a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute.
Elica is the proud daughter of Iranian immigrants to the United States. She is an active hiker and loves exploring trails in Northern California.