Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, May 22, 2015
LAS-ELC, Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP and the California-based Foundation for Advocacy Inclusion and Resources (FAIR) are thrilled to announce the selection of Amelia Alvarez as the second Sanford Heisler Kimpel Public Interest Diversity Fellow. A former resident of Los Angeles' economically disadvantaged Vernon neighborhood, Alvarez graduated from Dartmouth College in 2010 and the University of California Irvine Law School this spring.
"Amelia has gone above and beyond the usual law student trajectory in her public interest work as a law student," said Felicia Medina, Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Kimpel's San Francisco office. "Based on her accomplishments, poise and work ethic, we are confident she is on track to becoming a powerful advocate for workers and a superb public interest lawyer. This fellowship will accelerate her development of the skills these important roles require."
The Sanford Heilser Kimpel Public Interest Diversity Fellowship attracted approximately 50 applicants from across the country this year. Giselle Olmedo, of San Francisco, a 2013 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, was selected as the inaugural Sanford Heisler Kimpel Public Interest Fellow in May 2014.
Alvarez was active in several UC Irvine clinics and pro bono programs, including service at the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Department of Fair Employment and Housing Clinic, and Human Rights Clinic. She also completed an externship with the Honorable S. James Otero in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California in May 2014. Before law school, Alvarez interned at the Berkeley Women's Daytime Drop-In Center, working with homeless women and children, and tutored children near the Vernon neighborhood.
"My personal and professional experiences have taught me employment is essential to survival and stability, and that financial opportunities can significantly influence families' life chances," said Alvarez. "I am eager to become more proficient at advocating for individuals who, despite working hard, have been denied the compensation or other rights to which they are entitled. The Sanford Heisler Kimpel Fellowship will allow me to begin my career doing what I have always wanted to do: help others."
FAIR will provide Alvarez's salary and benefits with a grant from Sanford Heisler Kimpel for the first six months of the year-long Fellowship, during which time Amelia will be working with LAS-ELC.
Joan Graff, President of LAS-ELC, expressed her enthusiasm for the Fellowship stating, "We are hugely grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the training of talented attorneys like Amelia who wish to pursue a civil rights career in employment and labor law and we deeply appreciate the support given to us by FAIR and Sanford Heisler Kimpel, which makes this special Fellowship possible."
"FAIR is thrilled to be helping such an extraordinary new attorney get ahead in her career as a fighter for workplace fairness," added Bryan Schwartz, FAIR's President. He noted that "with Amelia's demonstrated empathy for society's most disenfranchised members, we are confident that she is exactly the type of diverse plaintiffs' lawyer FAIR is striving to create."