spotlight

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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Ana Fights for Rights in the Bay Area and El Salvador

When ALRP Staff Attorney Ana Montano was growing up in San Francisco’s Mission District, her parents’ restaurant at 24th and Mission streets was a hub for community activists who gathered to talk about local and Central American politics. “There was so much activity at that time around issues of poverty, access to justice, housing and jobs,” Ana said.

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John Leaves No Stone Unturned for Clients

When John Fasesky, ALRP Staff Attorney, meets his clients, he’s modest but upfront about his personal story. He tells them, “I’m HIV positive, I’ve been in the system, I know where you’re coming from. And I want you to know that I understand your frustrations.” Of course, those few words can’t fully encompass John’s personal journey through the AIDS crisis, which led him from working as a word processor to becoming a lawyer.

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Advocating for Employees with Disabilities

For ALRP Panel Attorney Michelle Roberts, helping clients obtain their disability benefits is a bit like Sisyphus pushing a rock up the hill. The struggle can seem never-ending. But the appreciation she gets from her clients motivates her to take on the tangled web of ERISA disability benefits law. While growing up, Michelle didn’t envision a career helping people with their disability benefits…

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Changing Lives Every Day

ALRP board member Erin Smart knew she wanted to be an attorney when she was still a child. “I understood it would mean going to law school even then,” she said, “but I wanted to love what I did for a living, and see how the law has an impact on people’s day-to-day lives. And now that I’m an attorney, I do.”

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