Mission Statement

The Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center educates law students in accordance with the highest professional and ethical standards by serving individuals and communities in need with competence, conscience and compassion through pro bono legal representation and education.

Implementation of Mission Statement

With the support of Santa Clara University School of Law, the legal community, community organizations, foundations, governmental entities and dedicated individuals, the Alexander Community Law Center:

  • provides pro bono legal representation to low income individuals in the areas of consumer law, immigration law, workers’ rights and certain tax-related matters, and helps low income individuals understand and enforce their legal rights;
  • educates law students through client representation under the direct supervision of experienced attorneys;
  • increases community awareness about consumer law, immigration law and workers’ rights
  • effects social change by working with legislators and law reform committees to effectuate changes in the law to improve the rights of low-income individuals

Overview of the Law Center

For more than fifteen years, the Alexander Community Law Center has provided pro bono advice and representation in several areas, including consumer law, immigration law and workers’ rights. Poverty-stricken minorities and immigrants from diverse countries make up the vast majority of clients of the Community Law Center, which is the civil clinical component of the Santa Clara University School of Law. The Community Law Center leverages the evolving skills of law students, who work under the close supervision of experienced attorneys to provide free legal services. This model achieves two goals:

  • It allows law students to receive excellent training in the handling of cases involving real clients, which in turns allows them to become better attorneys, and
  • it provides very low income clients with high-quality legal representation that they would not be able to afford otherwise.

By leveraging and utilizing the skills of law students, the Alexander Community Law Center creates a multiplying effect which allows it to see more clients than a regular legal services program that is solely staffed by attorneys. At the same time, the experience encourages legal professionals to consider a career serving the public interest. Many of our graduates remain committed to providing pro bono services throughout their legal career.

History

The East San Jose Community Law Center (ESJCLC) began in 1993 as a volunteer effort of La Raza Law Students Association at Santa Clara University to help day laborers collect wages they were due.

Based on the documented need and the students’ success, the program received grant support to provide a full range of employment and immigration services in the fall of 1994.

In 1995 the Center began offering assistance with consumer matters, and in 1997 expanded to help low-income entrepreneurs with their legal needs.

In 2004, George Alexander, a former professor and dean of the Santa Clara School of Law, and his wife, Katharine, made a generous donation to the East San Jose Community Law Center’s endowment. In recognition of their gesture, the ESJCLC was officially renamed the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center. 

Today, the Alexander Community Law Center focuses on consumer law, immigration law, workers’ rights and tax matters, and serves about 1,000 clients on-site per year. It also reaches out to about 1,200 individuals through its mobile workshops on Consumer Rights, Workers’ Rights and Tenant-Landlord Rights, given throughout the community.