Justine Villanueva, Attorney

I am an immigrant residing in the unceded Patwin-Wintun Territory in Davis, California. I trace my ancestral roots to Bukidnon, Philippines. Guided by Filipino Indigenous worldview and the tradition of the Babaylan, the Indigenous healers, I hold my role as an attorney to be that of a counselor whose sacred goal is to help my kapwa, my fellow beings, not only deal with their legal issues but also strive towards belonging, wholeness, and well-being.

I started practicing consumer bankruptcy in 2008 during the “Great Recession”. Many came to me distraught. Not only were they losing their properties, they were also losing their physical, mental, and spiritual health. In my role as an attorney, I helped them save some of their properties, get a discharge on most of their debts, and, most importantly, recover their well-being.

I also started with the Bay Area Legal Incubator (BALI), a group of practicing solo attorneys dedicated to providing affordable legal services and promoting social justice. I am now part of Pinay Powerhouse, a Filipinx-American organization of female attorneys from across the country—from public defenders and solo practitioners to law firm partners and in-house counsel to government attorneys and civil rights lawyers—whose programming exclusively focuses on the empowerment of Filipina attorneys and aspiring attorneys as leaders in law.

My commitment to the Filipinx/o/a-American and the BIPOC communities, especially the cultural and care workers, stems from my own identity as a Filipina-American storyteller and social justice advocate. I write and choreograph stories of my community to render us visible, to resist the Silent Minority and the Model Minority myths, and push for Ethnic Studies curriculum in our schools. I also write and publish children’s books that tackle diversity and equity.

Everything I do, whether legal or creative, I do to fulfill my sacred duty to care for our kapwa and to create community systems of care.

Licenses and Memberships:

I am licensed to practice federally, in the United States District Court, Northern and Eastern Districts of California, and in the California Superior Courts.

I am a member of the following organizations:

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