Public Interest Law Honorees

Congratulations to PILF Honorees Blanca A. Bañuelos ‘03 and George Fatheree ‘07 
Each year, the Law School honors two alumni for their dedication and service through public interest law and pro bono work. 

Blanca A. Bañuelos '03 - Public Interest Award
This year Blanca A. Bañuelos ’03 is being honored with the Public Interest Award. Blanca is the Regional Director of Advocacy for California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. where she represents farm workers and dairy workers in wage and hour, wrongful termination and sexual harassment cases. She has been with CRLA since June 2004, as a result of being awarded the Loyola Post Graduate Two-Year Fellowship. Prior to CRLA, Blanca held numerous clerkships with social justice organizations. 

She is an expert litigator having litigated dozens of cases under California's Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) and California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL). She was lead counsel in the case of Arias v. Superior Court (46 Cal.4th 969 (2009)), which was argued in and decided by the California Supreme Court in 2009. Arias, is significant for all California workers, but especially low-wage workers, as this allows them to act as private attorney generals, without the need of burdensome class action requirements.

G‌eorge Fatheree 07 - Pro Bono Service Award
The Pro Bono Service Award is presented to George Fatheree ’07, an associate in the real estate group in Skadden, Arp’s L.A. office. He is active in pro bono work and public service, primarily in areas related to public education reform and disability rights.

In 2011, George organized a team of attorneys to submit an amicus brief to the California Supreme Court urging the Court to allow school personnel to administer insulin to public school students with Diabetes. George helped to enlist several disability rights organizations and the State’s largest school district to join the amicus brief to demonstrate the devastating impact of denying students medication needed to safely attend school. In 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the lower courts’ rulings and held that school personnel could administer Diabetes medication to students at school when a licensed nurse was not available. Other pro bono engagements include:

  • Acquiring property and securing school district approval and funding for the construction of a new dual-language elementary school to serve students in South-Central L.A.
  • A number of pro bono cases related to assisting students with disabilities and advocating for them to receive support and services.
  • Assisted Holocaust survivors in receiving reparations for their internment by the German government during World War II.

Join us in publically recognizing Blanca and George at the Service Brunch sponsored by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP on Sunday, September 21st during the 50th Anniversary Weekend Celebration.