Brenda Star Adams
Senior Counsel, Education Equity and Litigation
Area of expertise: Title IX & higher education; Sexual and domestic violence; Trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive legal services; Complex litigation and systemic advocacy
You want to get to know her because:
- Brenda has committed her 14 years of practice to representing the most marginalized communities of our society, with an emphasis on providing access to justice for immigrants, members of the LGBT+ community, and low-income communities of color.
- After joining ERA in January 2018, Brenda leads ERA’s Title IX litigation, oversees our Advice & Counseling program, and engages with our partners to end sexual violence at work and in school.
- Brenda is the 2021 recipient of the Fay Stender Award from California Women Lawyers, an annual award given to “a feminist attorney…whose courage, zest for life and demonstrated ability to effect change as a single individual makes her a role model for women attorneys.” Read more.
Brenda has spent her career at nonprofit organizations, including Bay Area Legal Aid, where she directed a team of attorneys, fellows, pro bono counsel, and law students in representing victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in family law and immigration cases, and at the Eviction Defense Center, where she defended tenants facing eviction and organized tenants in bringing impact litigation.
- Her appellate advocacy work has resulted in a published Court of Appeal decision holding, for the first time, that child abuse perpetrated against the child of a victim of domestic violence could support renewal of her restraining order.
- UC San Diego (2002) and received her law degree from New England Law School (2006), where she was named to the Dean’s List each semester and received the Public Service Award, an honor voted on by the faculty and given to the student with a demonstrated commitment to using their degree to advocate on behalf of those in need.
Outside of work:
- Brenda is proud to be a native of San Francisco, daughter of lesbian parents, mom to 7-year-old Olive and 3-legged Lucy, and wife to central Pennsylvanian Matt.
- She loves the beach, the Giants, baking, and binging Netflix shows.