A word from the Executive Director
The Katherine & George Alexander Community Law Center is blessed each semester with a new group of law students who bring talent, hope, and inspiration to our work. We have the unique opportunity of educating law students to be social justice advocates while serving the legal needs of the low-income community in the areas of consumer law, workers’ rights, and immigration.
Hear below about how enrolling in the Law Center clinical program has lasting positive impacts on the law school experience and future legal careers.
I look forward to seeing you at our Annual Celebration on Thursday, October 4th on the Santa Clara University campus. I hope you will participate – join us, donate, or both – we are grateful for your ongoing support.
Please let me know if you’d like to learn more about our work or to get involved in some way. I’d like to hear from you.
Deborah Moss West
JOIN THE ANNUAL CELEBRATION ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4TH ON THE SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
This year’s theme is “Community, Commitment & Courage” recognizing the incredible strength of our client community and those who tirelessly advocate on their behalf. We will salute our very own Margarita Alvarez, Law Center Clinical Faculty, who retired this summer. Come share in the inspiration, the great company, and the possibility of winning exciting auction items. Read more.
FROM CLINICAL FACULTY TO LAW CENTER VOLUNTEER
This summer, Professor Margarita Alvarez retired from Santa Clara Law after having advocated on behalf of workers for over 25 years. She managed her own law practice for 14 years representing injured workers before joining the Law Center’s Clinical Faculty in 2005. Prof. Alvarez’s wealth of experience and community and industry contacts enriched the clinical experience. She is a thoughtful teacher, who equips, then challenges students to use newly acquired skills to obtain positive results for clients. Prof. Alvarez is an excellent advocate, recently winning a victory for a client that resulted in a $75K attorneys fee award for the Law Center. She brought wisdom, calm, and balance to the office. Her dog Max was often on hand to make everyone smile. Perhaps most importantly, Prof. Alvarez has a genuine interest in student success, both personally & professionally, that translates into an exceptional clinical and law school experience.
“Many years ago when I graduated from college, I was torn between dreams of becoming a lawyer or becoming a teacher. How wonderful it was, then, to top off a 40 year career in law to combine the practice of law and teaching at KGACLC! I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable and caring colleagues, and to engage with bright and committed students. I look forward continuing to work with staff and students as a volunteer at the Law Center, even as I look forward to new adventures in travel, art and other creative paths.”
We are fortunate that the Law Center students, staff, and clients are near and dear to Prof. Alvarez’s heart. So much so that after a summer break, she returned to the Law Center as a volunteer – we couldn’t be more pleased!
LAW STUDENT SPOTLIGHT
Erica Paul, MBA, MPA
J.D. Candidate, May 2019
Erica Paul, KGACLC workers’ rights student, helps clients with the presenting legal issue and goes beyond. Ms. Paul assisted a restaurant worker (Ms. G) who’d been fired by her employer for calling in sick for one day. Ms. G, having worked for the employer for over a year, had accumulated sick pay. The Law Center assisted Ms. G in filing a claim with the Labor Commission but that is not all. Ms. Paul, who’d also worked in the restaurant industry, contacted her former employers for leads and helped Ms. G land a new job.
“Working with Professor Ruth Silver-Taube in the Workers Rights Clinic is the first time I was given the opportunity to ‘zealously advocate’ for clients and realize advocacy is beyond legal remedies; it is the opportunity to seek solutions to leave clients better off in any way possible.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Meet the Newest Law Center Advisory Board Members:
Dean Copans ’06
Spruce Commercial Real Estate
A 2006 Santa Clara Law graduate, Dean Copans pursued a career in commercial real estate brokerage and investment shortly after taking the California Bar. Today he runs a boutique commercial real estate brokerage firm and invests in real estate in the bay area and Oregon.
Dean’s first experience with the Law Center came as a third year law student when he enrolled in the consumer intake clinic. He found this experience to be the most impactful and rewarding of his time at Santa Clara Law. Since graduating Dean has always maintained an affinity toward the Law Center and was eager to get more involved when an opportunity to join the Advisory Board was presented.
Originally from South Africa, Dean received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Rhode Island. Dean has lived on six continents and has traveled through over 60 countries. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, and son.
Iustina Mignea ’12
Iustina Mignea has practiced in the area of Administrative Law both during law school and following her admission to the California State Bar. Iustina was introduced to the area as a clinical student at the Law Center filing claims for low-income individuals at the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. Following law school, Iustina continued representing individuals in the area of employment law at a civil litigation firm. For the past four years, she has used the skills she gained at the Law Center at a small administrative law and license defense firm in Berkeley. In 2018, Iustina launched her own license defense practice.
“Being a student in the workers’ right practice not only built my practical legal skills but also launched my career trajectory. I am pleased to support the efforts of the Law Center in training students and serving community.”
NeChele Rucker ’09
NeChele Rucker is excited to reconnect with the Law Center as an Advisory Board Member after her time there as a student in the immigration law clinic. NeChele graduated from Santa Clara Law in 2009 and has been working in the technology industry negotiating SaaS licensing agreements for the last 5 years. She currently works at Facebook, as a commercial licensing attorney. She looks forward to meeting many of the Alexander Law Center’s friends and supporters at the Annual Celebration in October!
“My connection to the Law Center began during my 2L year when I enrolled in the Immigration Clinic. I have so many fond memories of the people I met and the relationships I formed with classmates and the staff. I learned countless practical skills ranging from empathetic interviewing to issue spotting and problem solving. The Law Center enabled me to develop a strong foundation for understanding how to effectively communicate with any client – regardless of the practice area and I am a better lawyer today because of it.”
Are you an alum interested in volunteering or serving on the Law Center Advisory Board? Contact Deborah Moss-West, email@example.com.
Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center
1030 The Alameda
San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: (408) 288-7030 | Fax: (408) 288-3581
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