When you read about legal services for low-income people, you probably expect to hear about unlawful employment practices and our deep commitment and the thousands of people we help. But you also should know that some of the very smartest lawyers anywhere are doing this work.
A two-time graduate of Stanford University and a new lawyer admitted to the California bar last week, Stacy Villalobos provides free legal services through our Workers’ Rights Clinic. And this work is what drew her to become a lawyer.
“I am very much inspired by my mother and the things I saw growing up – how hard she worked and how she was treated – and by some things my parents didn’t share with me,” says the daughter of formerly undocumented immigrants.
Working on an assembly line in Los Angeles, her mother was repeatedly sexually harassed by a supervisor who eventually told her she was so pretty he had to kidnap her. For her part, she was so scared of being deported she never spoke up.
Stacy is assisting a group of immigrant women supervised by two men who they say exposed themselves to the women, sexted them, and required one to work with her clothes unbuttoned. Stacy also is helping a client whose undocumented teenage daughter was sexually assaulted at work. And at our clinic in Fresno, she will provide targeted legal services to low-wage immigrant women who work in the Central Valley.
Our clients have not chosen to get into legal predicaments. And they often fear that speaking out will cost them their livelihoods, or more. Yet they often have no means to fight for their most basic rights. The help they get from Stacy and other highly trained and committed advocates like her who work and volunteer in our offices and clinics empowers thousands of California residents to realize their rights each year.