2013-2014 LAAC Awards of Merit honorees(Right) Adriana Melgoza, clinic manager at Watsonville Law Center; and Gerald McIntyre, directing attorney at Justice in Aging, received the 2013 LAAC Awards of Merit.

The LAAC Awards of Merit are the California legal services community’s opportunity to recognize the importance of legal services and to honor a few of the many who have made contributions to the field during the past year.


2019 LAAC Awards of Merit

Attorney: Robert Capistrano, Bay Area Legal Aid
Paralegal: Linda Petite, Inland Counties Legal Services, INC
Client: Jonathan Reader, Veterans Legal Institute
Volunteer: Martin Kohan, Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice

Extraordinary Service: Sharon Ngim, California State Bar

2017 LAAC Awards of Merit

Attorney: Christine Lin, Center for Gender and Refugees Studies
Paralegal: Anna Moore-Goodwin, Central California Legal Services, Inc.
Board Member: Martha Tamayo, Central California Legal Services, Inc.
Volunteer: Leticia Toledo, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

2016 LAAC Awards of Merit

Joint Award of Merit with California Commission on Access to Justice: Lollie Roberts, Sacramento Superior Court
Attorney: Fernando Gaytan,  Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Non-Attorney Staff: Gloria Ho, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA
Volunteer: Rita H. Smith, Inland Empire Latino Lawyers’ Association, Inc.

2015 LAAC Awards of Merit

Joint Award of Merit with California Commission on Access to Justice: Gary Slossberg, Superior Court of California, County of El Dorado
Attorneys: Joanna Shalleck-Klein, Legal Aid of Marin; James Grow, National Housing Law Project
Non-Attorney Staff: Ana Flores, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center; Serina Rankins, East Bay Community Law Center
Clients: Francisca and Elias Perez, Bet Tzedek; Javanni Munguia-Brown, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Volunteer: Mirissa McMurray, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo

2013 LAAC Awards of Merit

Attorney: Gerald McIntyre, Justice in Aging
Non-Attorney Staff: Adriana Melgoza, Watsonville Law Center
Special 2013 Joint Award of Merit recipient: Deborah Chase,  Judicial Council of California

2012 LAAC Awards of Merit

Legal Secretary: Ethel Louise Oden-Brown, National Center for Youth Law
Awards of Merit for Extraordinary Service: Stephanie Choy, State Bar of California, Legal Services Trust Fund
Volunteer and Board Member: Dr. Jim Meeker, Legal Aid Society of Orange County; Public Law Center
Paralegal/ Community Worker: Julio Edrosolan, Bay Area Legal Aid
Attorney: Catherine Bishop, National Housing Law Project

2011 LAAC Awards of Merit

Attorney: Tiela Chalmers, Executive Director, Volunteer Legal Services Program of the San Francisco Bar Association
Paralegal: Steve Cuellar, Disability Rights Legal Center
Board Member: Miye Goishi, The Public Interest Law Project and Child Care Law Center
Client: Leslie Napper, Napper v. County of Sacramento
LAAC/Access to Justice Commission Joint Court-Based Award: Linda Daeley, Superior Court of California, County of Orange

2010 LAAC Awards of Merit

Law Firm: Tom McMorrow, Fred Main, and Michael Martinez of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP for their work in support of the passage of AB590
Legal Services Attorney: Richard Marcantonio of Public Advocates
Paralegal: Bertha Sanchez of Bet Tzedek and Maria Aguila of Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
Individual Volunteer: Alexis Moody of Pro Bono Project
Board Member: Luis Jaramillo of California Rural Legal Assistance for his service on the boards of the Legal Aid Association of California and the Public Interest Clearinghouse
Client: Rosa Martinez, lead plaintiff of Martinez v. Astrue, nominated by National Senior Citizens Law Center, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County and Disability Rights California

2009 LAAC Awards of Merit

Paralegal/Community Worker: Martha Valles, Legal Services of Northern California
Client: Greg Curatolo, AIDS Legal Referral Panel
Volunteer: Timothy Wright, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo
Board: Charles Siegal, Disability Rights Legal Center
Support Staff: Esmeralda Izarra, Centro Legal de la Raza
Attorney: Gideon Anders, National Housing Law Project
LAAC / Access to Justice Commission Joint Court Based Award: Antonia Bowles, Santa Clara County Superior Court – Family Resource Division & Luis Alejo, Monterey County Superior Court – Self-Help Center

2008 LAAC Awards of Merit

Paralegal/Community Worker: Gracie Jones, East Bay Community Law Center
Client: Rick Kneeshaw, Disability Rights Legal Center
Volunteer: Susan Solomon, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Board: Alicia Miñana de Lovelace, Learning Rights Law Center
Support Staff: Naomi Arakawa, Disability Rights Legal Center
Attorney: Jodie Berger, Legal Services of Northern California
LAAC / Access to Justice Commission Joint Court Based Award: Bonnie Hough, Judicial Council, Administrative Office of the Court

2007 LAAC Awards of Merit

Attorney: Paula Pearlman, Disability Rights Legal Center
Paralegal/Community Worker: Carolyn Honda, Legal Services of Northern California
Board Member: Richard W. Odgers, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP (The Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center Board Member)
Client: Charles Adams, AIDS Legal Services, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley
Support Staff: Elizabeth Rodriguez, Central California Legal Services
Volunteer: Alan Weiss, Centro Legal de la Raza
LAAC / Access to Justice Commission Joint Court Based Award: Judith Beck, Marin County Superior Court

2006 LAAC Awards of Merit

LAAC/Access to Justice Commission Court-Based Award: Martha Espinosa McLaughlin Ventura County Superior Court
Community Worker: King Szeto, The Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center
Board Member: Kathleen Meehan, Baker, Manock & Jensen
Client: Deborah Miles, Disability Rights Legal Center
Admin/Support Staff: Rosa Horton, Bay Area Legal Aid
Volunteer: Jay White, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo
Advocate: Richard Rothschild, Western Center on Law and Poverty

2005 LAAC Awards of Merit

Board Member: John Hodik, Elder Law and Advocacy
Client: Cecilia Mejia Western, Law Center for Disability Rights
Administrative Support: Angelica Marin, Western Law Center for Disability Rights
Individual Volunteer: James Kaspar, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County
Community Worker: Doreen Wong, Western Law Center for Disability Rights
Direct Advocate: Mona Tawatao, LSNC
Court-Based Award: Kathleen Dixon, Managing Attorney, Self-Help Collaboration Project, LA Superior Court
Court-Based Award: Cristina Llop, ACCESS Center, San Francisco Superior Court

2004 LAAC Awards of Merit

Community Worker: Ignacio Musino CRLA, Inc.
Volunteer: Benjamin Hagan, Jr., Legal Services of Northern California
Advocate: Cynthia L. Rice, CRLA, Inc.
Client: Lee Meyerzove
Board Member: Ramon Arias, CRLA, Inc.
Administration: Jose Padilla, CRLA, Inc.
Special Award: Toby Rothschild, LAFLA, LAAC Board Member
Special Award: Clint Lyons, President and CEO, NLADA
Special Award: The California Endowment