THANK YOU! Enabled by your generosity, the Law Center has made a difference for individuals and families in Santa Clara County for 25 years. During this academic year alone, our direct service and outreach efforts reached nearly 1,000 people. The consumer, workers’ rights, and immigration law students invested 5,000 hours of legal assistance to deliver $750K in free legal services; bringing peace of mind and increased economic security for the community.
As important, the Law Center’s skill-building experience prepares students for the legal profession while cementing their commitment to social justice advocacy after graduation. That is what our Jesuit tradition of compassion calls us to do as we seek to form attorneys of competence and conscience. Read below about the efforts of our Workers’ Rights Clinic.
2019 is an exciting time for the Law Center as we celebrate 25 years of teaching, service, and advocacy. We will mark this major milestone at our Annual Celebration on Saturday, October 5th. Come celebrate our remarkable legacy and discover the many ways in which we can work together to move our mission forward.
Stay tuned in the coming months as we reminisce about the work you’ve made possible. Reach out – we’d love alumni engaged in 25th Anniversary activities.
Have a great summer!
Deborah Moss West JD ’94
Please consider making a gift to keep our programs strong.
JOIN US IN CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF TEACHING, SERVICE, AND ADVOCACY
Saturday, October 5, 2019
Rotary Summit Center
88 S. 4th Street
San Jose, CA
5:30 – 8:30 pm
For additional information or for sponsorship opportunities,
contact Dianne Blakely.
ADVANCING WORKERS’ RIGHTS
The Law Center (formerly known as the East San Jose Community Law Center) began as a volunteer effort of La Raza Law Students Association to help day laborers collect wages they were due. Based on the documented need and the law students’ success, the program received grant support to provide a full range of employment services in the fall of 1994.
Today, 25 years later, the Law Center is still serving low-income workers. On each Tuesday evening, students taking our Workers’ Rights Interviewing, Advising, and Mediation Clinic, led by Ruth Silver Taube, gather to provide free legal services to individuals with problems in the workplaces such as wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, unpaid wages, and failure to pay overtime. The work includes educating workers about their rights and responsibilities. The law students also receive training on employment law issues. Our law students help give voice to those intimidated by the legal system and in many cases, reach amicable solutions with employers. However, the Law Center also assists workers, including labor trafficking survivors, advance their rights with employers who are retaliatory, threatening, and unscrupulous.
Two such matters this year included:
- One case involved a victim of wage theft where the employer falsified time cards. Since the worker took a ride sharing company home from work on most nights the worker had receipts that proved the workers’ end time was typically much later than the employer’s records reflected. After the worker filed claims with the Labor Commissioner, the employer filed a police report against the worker, which the police determined to be unfounded.
- Another case involved a house cleaning service worker who did not receive overtime pay that was due. After the worker filed a wage claim with the Labor Commission, the employer threatened to have her deported, and even went to her husband and cousin’s workplace telling them the same. The Labor Commission investigated the retaliation claim and found cause that the employer retaliated against the worker. The employer did not pay the award, and the Labor Commission filed suit. The Law Center signed a common interest agreement with the Labor Commission.
With the assistance of the Law Center, ultimately, both the wage claims and retaliation cases were settled favorably for the workers. These cases represent just two of many in which low-income workers are unfairly treated by their employers. Our work serves as a deterrent to unscrupulous employers who abuse workers or retaliate against them when they exercise their rights. The Clinic also helps level the playing field for employers who are obeying the law.
“The Workers’ Rights Clinic was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to work hands on with clients while simultaneously developing analytical and practical interviewing skills. I was able to help my community by providing advice and resources on where they could file claims and seek further assistance. This clinic provided me with essential skills that I can use in my future employment, and it taught me a lot about employment law.” – Ruby Palomares ’20
“I am passionate about teaching and working with law students. It is the highlight of my week. I’m doubly gratified to see the students apply what they learn in class to help others through the clinic. I am also honored to see so many of my students come back after graduation to volunteer at the Clinic and/or do this kind of work in private practice or as public interest lawyers.” – Ruth Silver Taube ’93
ANNOUNCING THE 2019 CINDY AVITIA IMMIGRATION JUSTICE FELLOW: MARILI ITURBE GUADARRAMA ’20
The La Raza Lawyers of Santa Clara County Charitable Foundation (Foundation) and the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center are pleased to announce Marili Iturbe Guadarrama as the 2019 Cindy Avitia Immigration Justice Summer Fellow. The award recipient receives a $7,500 grant from the Foundation to volunteer full-time for approximately 10 weeks at the Law Center this summer. The goal of the 2019 Fellowship is to provide and expand legal assistance, education, and outreach for immigrant communities.
“I am really honored to receive the Cindy Avitia Fellowship. Ms. Avitia did so much for the community and I hope my efforts through this fellowship would make her proud!” – Marili Iturbe Guadarrama
We are delighted to have Marili join the office for the summer and the resulting expanded service in community.
Contact Deborah Moss-West, firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to support a summer fellow in our office.
YOUR VOLUNTEER & FINANCIAL SUPPORT WILL HELP KGACLC:
- Stay at the forefront of social justice issues, serving as a thought leader, consistent provider of legal services for low-income communities, and skill-builder for law students, in line with the University’s Jesuit values
- Facilitate educational opportunities and job prospects for KGACLC students through the developing Mentor Program
- Launch a one-year fellowship program for graduating KGACLC alumni to continue their work and commitment to social justice
Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center
1030 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: (408) 288-7030 | Fax: (408) 288-3581