Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center

Dear Supporter,

We want to take this opportunity to thank you and to let you know that your support goes a long way at the SCU Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center.

Enabled by your generosity, our students and staff continue to make a difference to hundreds of individuals and families in Santa Clara County and beyond. During our latest fiscal year, our consumer, employment and immigration students invested over 8,500 hours to provide the pro-bono legal assistance that our clients would not be able to obtain otherwise. A conservative hourly rate of $150 per student-hour yields over $1.25 million in direct legal services to our community.

Our services resulted in more than $660,000 of total benefits for our consumer clients, over $230,000 in recovered monies for our employment clients, and over $400,000 in immigration benefits for our clients, many of them victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and other crimes.

Your support remains critical to our everyday efforts, but it also enables us to provide holistic assistance to many of our clients. That is what our Jesuit tradition of compassion calls us to do as we seek to form attorneys of competence and conscience who stand in solidarity with our community.  Here are other ways in which your support makes a difference to so many.

KGACLC-levels-of-assistance

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The Alexander Community Law Center Adds Value for Students through New Mentorship Program

KGACLC Executive Director Cynthia Mertens introduces mentors and students at the Law Center.

KGACLC Executive Director Cynthia Mertens introduces mentors and students at the Law Center.

On April 21, the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center officially launched its Mentorship Program. The result of close collaboration between law center staff, alumni and members of its Advisory Board, the program aims to help establish meaningful, professional relationships between experienced attorneys—many of them former Law Center students—and current students.

“We thought it was important to increase the value of the Law Center experience for our students. Now, in addition to obtaining a wealth of practical, hands-on experience here, our students will benefit from the advice and guidance of professionals who understand the importance of a solid legal foundation, the value of a strong professional network and the weight of the KGACLC experience, which is highly prized among employers,” says law professor Cynthia Mertens, Law Center Executive Director.

For mentors, the program entails a four-month commitment to answer questions from students about their chosen legal field, to give professional advice or even recommend courses and activities as students negotiate their path through law school. Once a connection is established, each pair determines the nature, direction and pace of their own relationship.

One such relationship is that between Catherine Vega, a second-year law student, and Patricia “Tricia” Montalvo Timm J.D. ’95, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at SugarCRM. The connection they formed soon after they met quickly resulted in an internship for Catherine at SugarCRM. “I really appreciate Tricia’s mentorship.  In particular, she’s given me an opportunity to work as a legal intern at a high tech company this summer. I am thrilled that I will be gaining experience in a new area and further developing our relationship,” said Catherine.

Tricia, who is also a member of the Alexander Community Law Center Advisory Board, sees value in the program as well. “I am so excited to participate in the Mentorship Program. It gives me the wonderful opportunity to mentor Catherine as she navigates her career, as well as give her real-life experience working in an in-house legal department here in Silicon Valley. I am looking forward to a wonderful summer.”

Vicki M. Huebner, Assistant Dean for the Office of Career Management, remarked that “the Law Center’s mentorship program is yet another example of our school’s proactive efforts to help our students launch their professional careers as they move forward.  This is an invaluable opportunity for them to ascertain their professional identity and build the soft skills—most critical for their career success—under the tutelage of more experienced attorneys.”

Mentors not yet paired will be available for students in future semesters.  The Law Center continues to look for mentors. If interested, please write to KGACLC@scu.edu.

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Local activism with a broad impact…

KGACLC supervising attorneys lead and teach by example.  And whether they advocate for a cause individually or through coalitions, their work often has regional, national and even global implications. From advocating for a minimum wage increase in Silicon Valley, to having a far-reaching impact through the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking, to proposing new legislation to force companies to pay court-ordered back wages through the Wage Theft Coalition of Santa Clara County, the Alexander Community Law Center is at the forefront of social change.

Read a recent Mercury News article that highlights our response to human trafficking.

Watch a recent NBC Investigative Unit clip that describes our efforts in combating wage theft.

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