Ana de Alba, 2012 Jack Berman Award of Achievement Recipient

The Annual California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) Individual Award of Achievement for Distinguished Service to the Profession and the Public was established in 1992 to recognize the substantial achievements of a young lawyer. In 1993, the CYLA Board of Directors renamed the award in memory of Jack Berman who was killed in the 101 California Street (San Francisco) shooting earlier that year. Mr. Berman was a young lawyer who demonstrated outstanding service to the profession and the public, and was dedicated to issues of concern to the profession, especially its young lawyers.

The 2012 Award

We’re pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2012 Jack Berman Award of Achievement will be Ana de Alba

To say Ana de Alba is zealous about workers’ rights is an understatement. Starting at the age of six, Ana spent her summers toiling alongside her family picking tomatoes in California’s Central Valley. When she and other field workers complained about the grimy, brackish water provided in the fields that summer, they were threatened with a raid from Immigration and Naturalization Services. Understandably, no one dared complain about the water again. A few years later when she was nine, Ana’s mother spent an entire summer working on a cucumber farm while being promised she would be paid “next week.” Unfortunately for Ana’s family, “next week” never came.

Because Ana was so indignant about this maltreatment, her oldest brother, whose wisdom belied his age, encouraged her to become an attorney to fight for the rights of other workers. With the single-mindedness of a child, Ana did just that. She excelled academically and graduated from UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall. Ana then returned to the Central Valley to begin her legal career at Lang, Richert & Patch. Although she has only been practicing for five years, Ana has already made her mark in the pro bono community. Locally, she serves on the Board of Directors for Central California Legal Services, Inc. (“CCLS”) and is a member of the Fresno County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Services Section. In 2009 she was appointed to a three year term on the California State Bar Standing Committee for the Delivery of Legal Services and in 2010 she joined the California State Bar Pro Bono Coordination Committee.

In addition to sitting on committees, Ana has taken a leadership role in designing and implementing the Central Valley Pro Bono Challenge, launched in 2009 by then California Supreme Court Justice Ronald George. The Challenge encourages attorneys in the Central Valley to provide pro bono assistance to the underserved. Most recently, Ana has served as a driving force behind the Workers’ Rights Clinic in Fresno. The Clinic is sponsored by CCLS, Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, and the Consulate of Mexico in Fresno. It is the largest project Ana has spearheaded to date and is one that she hopes will change the landscape of pro bono in the Central Valley. The Clinic assists low-wage workers every month with a myriad of employment issues. In addition to meeting the demands of raising a family and being an associate with billable hour requirements, Ana still fervently takes part in weekly telephone conferences, numerous meetings, and several television and radio appearances to promote the Clinic.

“I could not have accomplished any of this without the support of my family, law firm, and the mentorship of some of its most senior partners,” she says. “The collaborations that I have been able to form with local organizations are a direct result of the goodwill Lang, Richert & Patch has built in the legal community. I am honored to be able to utilize that to try to make justice more accessible for all.”

Click here to read entire CYLA article.