Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center Celebrates 25 Years
The Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center, one of the cornerstones of Santa Clara Law’s mission to serve others, is celebrating 25 years of service to others and training the next generation of public interest attorneys.
“We congratulate the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center on this 25th-anniversary milestone,” says Anna Han, interim dean of Santa Clara Law. “We are proud of the hard work, dedication, and leadership that has served so many clients while at the same time giving so many law students valuable hands-on legal experience.”
Originally founded in 1993 as the East San Jose Community Law Center, this project began 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. It grew and expanded its offerings, and 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 Center’s endowment. In recognition of their gesture, the Center was officially renamed the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center (KGACLC).
THE CENTER TODAY
Today, the KGACLC focuses on consumer law, immigration law, and workers’ rights, and serves about 1,000 clients per year. It also reaches out to hundreds more individuals through its mobile workshops on Consumer Rights, Workers’ Rights and Tenant-Landlord Rights, given throughout the community.
The KGACLC’s two-fold mission is to train law students to be life-long social justice advocates and serve the legal needs of the low-income community. The Center’s work brings increased stability, security, and peace of mind to both the clients and the community.
Through their work in the Center, law students have the opportunity to develop valuable legal skills while being challenged intellectually, spiritually, and socially. They learn to become more empathetic, practice resilience in the face of adversity, and strive to lead with character.
Law students work under the supervision of experienced attorneys to provide free legal services in three core practice areas:
- The Consumer Practice addresses problems including auto fraud, unfair credit, and debt collection practices, identity theft, foreclosure prevention, and unfair business practice.
- The Immigration Practice provides assistance regarding T visas for human trafficking victims, U visas for victims of crimes, self-petitions based on the Violence Against Women Act, political asylum or deportation defense, and acquired citizenship.
- The Workers’ Rights Practice assists individuals with issues including unpaid wages, unemployment issues, wrongful termination, workplace harassment and discrimination, employer retaliation, family leave, and unemployment appeals.
TRAINING AND SERVICE BY THE NUMBERS: A 25-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE
These numbers reflect the KGACLC’s work over the past 25 years since its founding:
- 2,117 — Number of Santa Clara Law students enrolled in the Law Center’s clinical programs
- 423,400 — Number of hours worked by Law Center students to advance our client’s legal matters
- 10,005 — Number of clients who received service, advice, and representation from the Law Center with 2,273 in consumer, 2,783 in immigration, 3,838 in workers’ rights, and 1,111 in other legal matters (thousands more served through community education and outreach efforts)
- $1,792,750 — Amount recovered for clients by the Law Center in unpaid wages and compensation for discrimination claims (for cumulative awards totaling $4,069,107 for its workers’ rights clients)
- $6,560,480 — Amount of savings achieved for clients from contract disputes in the Consumer Law area, while also recovering $1,644,210 in damages