Val Saldaña receives Hispanic Heritage Award

On October 9, 2008, Val W. Saldaña, was honored by Assemblymember Juan Arambula with the “Hispanic Heritage Award” for Law & Justice. This award is given annually to a person in the Central Valley of Hispanic descent who demonstrates commitment to the Hispanic community and who exemplifies success in their professional endeavors.

L to R: Laurie Quigley, Juan Arambula, Val Saldaña, Vivian Saldaña & Richard Saldaña

Val is the youngest of two children born to Valentin and Carmen Saldaña. Valentin was born in Spain then emigrated to Mexico as a teenager to escape persecution under the Franco Regime following the Spanish Civi War. He later moved to the United States and became a United States citizen as a young adult. Carmen was a first generation American born in Selma, her family moving from Mexico prior to her birth. Val was born in Selma and moved with his family to Fresno as a young child. His paternal grandmother emigrated from Spain and assisted in raising Val while his mother worked in a cannery and his father worked as a laborer in the fields and, later, in the maintenance division for the County of Fresno Housing Authority. Val’s parents always stressed the importance of education. Val graduated from Hoover High School in 1969. While he was accepted at the University of California, Berkeley, finances dictated that he remain close to home. Val graduated Magna Cum Laude from California State University, Fresno, in 1974. While his grandfather graduated from the University of Salamanca in Spain, Val was the first of his family to graduate from an American University. Following graduation, Val and his wife and young son moved to Davis, where Val attended law school at the University of California Davis, graduating in 1977.

Despite receiving job offers from large firms in San Francisco, Val decided to return to Fresno to contribute to the community which had given him so much. He joined the law firm of Lang, Richert & Patch in 1977, and has been with the firm for 31 years. Val was the first Hispanic lawyer hired by the firm, opening the door for many future hires by the firm of people of Hispanic descent. Currently, Val is actively involved in mentoring two young Hispanic lawyers at the firm. Val served for many years as the Managing Partner of Lang, Richert & Patch. He was the first Hispanic Managing Partner of a major law firm in our community. Val and Lang, Richert & Patch firmly believe that all businesses, including law firms, should reflect the community they serve. In 1997, Val served and the first (and only) Hispanic President of the Fresno County Bar Association. For the last four years, Val has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by San Francisco Magazine. This is a selection made by other lawyers throughout the state, and bestowed upon the 5% of lawyers who receive the most votes by their peers.

Val has two sons and two grandsons. His oldest son, Richard, graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following graduation, Val sent Richard to Spain to attend the University of Salamanca (like his great grandfather before him) and to learn more about his family and Hispanic heritage. Richard is married, to Vivian Valdez Saldana, also a Fresno attorney. Val’s youngest son, Joseph, is entering his final year at the University of California, Irvine. Joseph is considering a career in law or public service following graduation next year. Val is married to Laurie Quigley Saldaña, also a partner with Lang, Richert & Patch.