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October 2014

Alexander Law Center Celebrates 20 Years Helping Workers, Trafficking Victims, and Consumers

SANTA CLARA, Calif., October  14, 2014— Santa Clara University will celebrate two decades of representing workers, immigrants and consumers as it marks the 20th anniversary of The Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, a civil clinical program of the Santa Clara University School of Law.

A sold-out dinner will be held on Saturday, October 25, at the Hotel Valencia, Santana Row, in San Jose to honor this milestone and some of the many individuals who played a key role in its founding.

Background of the KGACLC

In 1994, a number of Santa Clara University Latino La Raza law students, decided to add practice to theory for the benefit of their community and their own education.  They started with the nearby community of East San José, where then-student Ruben Pizarro ’95, had heard stories of abuses committed against many of day workers who congregated every morning in the parking lot of the former Home Base do-it-yourself store on Story and King. 

Assisted by former SCU law professor Jim Hammer and under the supervision of SCU law professors Eric and Nancy Wright, Ruben and other students helped recover wages that were sometimes denied to workers who were hired for skilled and sometimes backbreaking work.

  “We had a passion to serve, and our legal training gave us the tools to help those in need,” recalls Pizarro. 

As the work continued, the Wrights obtained $200,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the Legal Services Corporation, enabling them to rent space and hire two attorneys for the East San José Community Law Center (ESJCLC), formally established in 1994. 

In 2004, thanks to a generous endowment contribution from former law school dean George Alexander and his wife, Katharine, the ESJCLC was renamed in their honor.  And today, the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center employs a successful student-attorney model that enables the Center to provide more than 1,000 low-income Santa Clara County residents annually with nearly $1.5 million worth of legal assistance – free of charge.

“The Alexander Community Law Center’s work has become an essential lifeline for our community.  I could not be more proud to have such an incredible program at Santa Clara University," says Lisa Kloppenberg, dean of the School of Law. 

During the anniversary celebration on October 25, the Wrights will receive the Founders’ Lifetime Achievement Award from a number of the original founding students. 

Media are invited to attend. The event is sold out but donations may be made online at law.scu.edu/kgaclc.

Statistics on the Law Center

•    The Law Center serves approximately 1,200 clients annually.
•    Each year, Santa Clara law students log over 10,000 hours of direct services to their clients.
•    During the fiscal 2013-14 year, the work of the Law Center students, if billed, would have amounted to about $1.5 million.

Memberships

Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative
Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition
Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Commission
South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking

Partnerships for free workers' rights clinics led by supervising attorney Ruth Silver Taube

The Mexican Consulate in San Jose
The Filipino Bar Associations of Northern California (FBANC)
The Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California (VABANC)
The Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC)
Yerba Buena High School and Mount Pleasant High School

 
 
Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121
Sergio Lopez | KGACLC | smlopez@scu.edu