Staff Attorney

Areas of Expertise

Criminal Records and Employment


Phil Hernandez joined NELP as a staff attorney in 2017, and works to expand employment opportunities for the millions of Americans with criminal records through fair chance hiring policies and occupational licensing reforms.

His background includes a variety of positions at the intersection of law and public policy. Most recently, he litigated at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, where he co-authored an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of the current administration’s immigration policies. During his time with the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), he developed a policy proposal to better protect innocent tenants involved in eviction lawsuits and prevent homelessness. He partnered with a diverse coalition to advance that proposal (AB 2819) through the California legislature and Governor Brown signed the bill in September 2016. In addition, Phil previously served as a judicial extern to Justice Goodwin Liu at the California Supreme Court.

Before attending Berkeley Law, Phil worked in the Obama administration for three years as a senior policy analyst in the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, he advocated for policies aimed at expanding clean energy, reducing harmful pollution, and promoting U.S. leadership on climate change.


J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
B.A., College of William and Mary

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