More than five hundred attorneys and legal professionals, representing ninety-five firms and legal departments, were in attendance to celebrate the work of the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) of The Bar Association of San Francisco on September 15 at JDC’s Annual Gala. The Gala filled the vast Bently Banking Hall to near capacity as guests enjoyed gourmet food, delicious drinks, and extraordinary desserts. The Gala raised more than $350,000 to support the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, the Homeless Advocacy Project, and Diversity Educational Programs. The banking hall buzzed with conversation as old friends and colleagues connected while enjoying bites from the floating food station and tunes from the Autonomous Region jazz band. Among the evening’s hidden gems were the photo booth and nitrogen ice cream station. However, the true highlights of the evening were the guest speakers.
The first speaker, a client of JDC’s Consumer Project, shared her story of recovery. (Watch the video here) Devastated by domestic violence and addiction, she struggled to turn her life around only to have that recovery threatened by an unscrupulous debt collector. Thanks to JDC’s Consumer Project, a program that trains volunteer attorneys on collection defense law in order to assist clients who have been sued by creditors, she was able to get the debt collection law suit dismissed and move on with her new life as a registered nurse.
The next speaker—a recipient of a Bay Area Minority Law Student Scholarship in her second year of law school—held the crowd spellbound. (Watch the video here) A young woman, who in her own words, “did not choose the law, the law chose me,” shared her story with the crowd. Her story began in the apple orchards of the Wenatchee Valley of Washington State and with the incarceration of her father, and continued with her quest to become an attorney while also a single mother. Today, hers is the story of a young woman whose grit and determination captivated the crowd as they hung on her every word as she shared her struggles, her passion, and her story.
More event photos are on BASF’s page on Facebook: JDC Gala Photo Album