A Quarter Century of Serving Through Law
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 25, 2019— Santa Clara University’s Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center is celebrating 25 years of teaching, advising, and providing free legal services to some of the most vulnerable members of the Santa Clara County community.
From wage theft to immigration human trafficking to consumer fraud, each year 1,000 community residents receive nearly $1 million worth of legal information and advice from lawyers and supervised law students from Santa Clara University School of Law.
In addition, each year more than 65 Santa Clara University School of Law students get hands-on experience serving clients in need—turning the future lawyers into life-long advocates for social justice, regardless of their ultimate field of practice.
“We are extremely proud that what started as a student-led project to address worker unfairness in our own backyard 25 years ago has turned into a vital force for social justice in the Santa Clara community,” said Deborah Moss-West ’94, executive director of the Alexander Community Law Center.
“Since its inceptIon, the Alexander Law Center has epitomized Santa Clara University's values to give back to the community,” said Anna Han, interim dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law. “We are delighted to celebrate 25 years of training law students with practical skills and instilling in them a lifelong desire to help those in need.”
To celebrate and thank the donors and partners who have made such work possible, the Center will host a dinner on Saturday, October 5, at the Rotary Summit Center, rooftop, in downtown San Jose. Media are invited to attend.
The 25th Anniversary Celebration theme, “Community, Commitment & Courage” recognizes the incredible strength of the community and those who tirelessly advocate on their behalf. The Center will salute its founders and students and celebrate 25 years of teaching, advocacy and service.
To learn more about the event or to make a donation, visit law.scu.edu/kgaclc.
Background of the KGACLC
In 1993, then-student Ruben Pizarro ’95 had heard stories of abuses committed against many day workers in East San Jose, who congregated every morning in the parking lot of the former Home Base do-it-yourself store on Story and King Roads. He and a number of Santa Clara University Latino La Raza law students decided to use their burgeoning legal knowledge to help, putting theory into practice for the benefit of their community and their own education.
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 frequently backbreaking work.
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 Jose Community Law Center (ESJCLC), formally established in 1994.
In 2004, thanks to a generous endowment contribution from former SCU Law School dean George Alexander and his wife, Katharine, the ESJCLC was renamed in their honor.
Statistics on the Law Center
- The Law Center serves approximately 1,000 clients annually through community outreach; advice clinics; educational workshops; and legal representation using a student-attorney model that trains students in key issues of consumer, immigration, or employment law.
- Each year, Santa Clara law students log over 6,000 hours of direct services to their clients.
- During the fiscal 2018-2019 year, the work of the Law Center students, if billed, would have amounted to about $940,650.
- Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative
- California Low-Income Consumer Coalition
- Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition
- Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Commission
- South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking
- South Bay Legal Immmigration Services Network
About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see law.scu.edu.
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | firstname.lastname@example.org | 408-554-5121
Sep 25, 2019
Executive Director Deborah Moss-West ’94 in front of the Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center, which is celebrating 25 years in service.