spotlight

From ALRP to the Kinsey Sicks

If you spend any time talking to Irwin Keller, you realize that his life has taken some unexpected turns purely by chance. One such chance led him to become the Executive Director of ALRP, and another led him to tour nationally as his alter ego Winnie, of the Kinsey Sicks. But you also learn that Irwin has led a life of great intentionality and dedication as well, and perhaps in retrospect, he’s lived exactly the life he always meant to.

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New Faces at ALRP Mean Success to Fred

Many people attend ALRP events to network and see old friends. For Fred Hertz, however, some of his happiest moments occur when he goes to a packed ALRP event and he only knows a few people. “To me, that’s the ultimate affirmation of the success of the organization I helped found,” he said. “It’s not just me and my friends anymore—it’s grown up as an agency. I’m thrilled to see where ALRP has gone.”

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Attorney Loves Advocating for Clients

Laura Maechtlen was a music major in college, and she sometimes jokes with people that she went into a career in the law because it was less competitive than one in music. Looking back, however, it has been no less satisfying. “I heard Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak recently,” said Laura, “and she said that if you’re a lawyer and you’re not happy, it must be your own attitude standing in your way…”

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Compassion and Action in the Face of an Epidemic

One day in 1983, Carl Wolf, along with his colleagues in BALIF, made crucial notes on a legal pad: the names of attorneys who would be willing to volunteer their services to young men dying of a terrible new disease. Thirty years later, those names have expanded to more than 700 attorneys around the Bay Area who volunteer to help people with HIV…and Carl Wolf is still among them.

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A Calling for a Legal Services Career

Janet Seldon has been involved with volunteer legal services programs for her entire professional career. But ALRP still stands out for her. “ALRP is not like any other project I’ve worked on,” she said. “I think it’s because of the toll that the AIDS epidemic took, and how we all helped each other get through it.” Janet’s path to becoming a lawyer at the epicenter of San Francisco’s AIDS epidemic was accidental.

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Privileged to Live a Life of Public Service

Ora Prochovnick moved to San Francisco for law school at New College of California with the intention of becoming a public interest lawyer, and upon graduation in 1984 was plunged straight into the AIDS crisis. “It wasn’t my plan to move to San Francisco to deal with a plague in my community,” she said, “but it was there and it was just so present in my life—there were so many young men dying around me. It wasn’t an option to do nothing.”

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Champion for Clients’ Privacy Rights

Years ago, when his close friend Paul died of AIDS, Jim Wood decided to do what he could to make a difference in the AIDS epidemic. Since then, Jim has dedicated a good deal of his personal and professional time to serving people living with HIV/AIDS. He served as a pro bono Panel attorney for ALRP clients for many years before joining the ALRP Board in 2010 and becoming Co-Chair in 2012.

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Jose Stands Up to a Neighbor’s Bullying

By the time ALRP client Jose called us for legal help, he was afraid to leave his apartment. Having been bullied for being gay when he was younger, Jose now faced a frightful bully as a neighbor. Only this time, the bully was wielding the law as her club. Jose’s relationship with his once cordial neighbor deteriorated after she began making disparaging remarks about the HIV+ community.

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Fighting for Employee Rights

Emily Nugent, ALRP’s Attorney of the Year, started down the path to becoming a Panel attorney during a legal internship at the Whitman Walker Clinic in Washington, D.C. “I represented three clients with advanced AIDS, who were all experiencing discrimination at work,” she said. “I thought, ‘Didn’t everybody see the movie Philadelphia? Don’t we all understand that this isn’t right?’”

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Dealing with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

“Volunteering has always been a part of my life,” said Robert Millar, ALRP’s Board Secretary. “My father was recently voted Man of the Year for his many years of community volunteer work, so for me it’s second nature to become involved in my community. Because I’m unable to take on pro bono projects, ALRP is my opportunity to volunteer in the legal field.”

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