Working Toward Fairness, One Saturday at a Time

Jay Lee, Pro Bono Manager


The Justice and Diversity Center recognizes Richard Roisman for his dedication to our Legal Advice and Referral Clinic (LARC) program. Richard regularly spends Saturday afternoons counseling and guiding people.

His service with JDC is only part of Richard’s lifelong work toward fairness.  Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Richard promoted social justice throughout high school and college. In the mid-1960s he traveled to Mississippi three times to register African-American voters in rural areas and he supported tenant strikes against deteriorated living conditions in New York City.  After moving to Oakland in 1971 with a group of fellow organizers, Richard protested the Vietnam War and organized around other political issues before deciding to attend law school.  During his 35 years as a corporate banking regulatory lawyer in the Financial District, Richard was involved with many of JDC’s pro bono projects including the Homeless Advocacy Project and representing low-income tenants at settlement conferences in their eviction cases.

About the unique opportunity presented by volunteering at a LARC clinic, Richard says, “I feel strongly that the problems faced by poor and low income clients of JDC are primarily macro-political, social and economic problems, not legal. Consequently, in order to avoid the many disappointments I felt in helping poor people during my twenties and thirties, I volunteer in clinic settings, where I can become enthusiastically engaged in helping the people there that day.”

While he finds his work through LARC very fulfilling, the nature of a clinic setting – where time is inherently constrained – can be very frustrating.  However, LARC clients are always appreciative of his thorough and accurate advice, given freely and with compassion.  Thank you, Richard, for all your good work!

In his free time, Richard enjoys travelling internationally, and has held Oakland A’s season tickets for forty years.  He also spends plenty of time reading and with his wife, two children, and three grandchildren.

JDC is always looking for more volunteers to staff our legal clinics.  For more information about volunteering with the Legal Advice and Referral Clinic program, please contact the volunteer Coordinator at