Evening Alum Gives Back to School, Community in Myriad Ways
Ever since George C. Fatheree III was a middle school student, public service has been a priority for him. He selected Loyola Law School, Los Angeles because of its reputation as a leader in social justice work and pro bono activities.
“Service was just a part of who I wanted to be,” he said. Loyola fostered and reinforced his values, he said, but it did more. “On a practical level, Loyola helped me develop skills I could use in public service work.”
The training has paid off. Since graduating from Loyola’s Evening Division Program in 2007 and clerking for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Fatheree joined Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP as a partner in its real estate group after his tenure at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
Over the last several years, beyond his real estate work, Fatheree’s pro bono activities have included authoring a winning amicus brief to the California Supreme Court on behalf of schoolchildren with diabetes, working to win reparations for Holocaust victims, representing charter schools with real estate concerns and, especially, advocating for disabled and other children with special educational needs.
Fatheree has described the amicus brief he submitted in American Nurses Assn. v. O’Connell as one of the most satisfying moments of his career. In that case, the court agreed with his position: that trained laypeople should be allowed to administer insulin to diabetic children in schools that lack full-time nurses.
Fatheree credits his success in part to what he learned in what he described as an “amazing course”: Social Justice Lawyering taught by Professor Kimberly West-Faulcon, the James P. Bradley Chair in Constitutional Law.
West-Faulcon imparts in her students the importance of coalition building in social justice advocacy, an insight Fatheree followed by bringing together disability rights organizations, the Los Angeles Unified School District and other entities to sign on to his brief. “The strategies I learned in her class, I still bring to bear in my work today,” he said.
Fatheree grew up in the dairy and prison town of Chino. He attended Harvard College and worked as a consultant and entrepreneur before coming to law school. While at Loyola, he spent his days as the chief operating officer of the California Charter Schools Association.
Fatheree has stayed active with Loyola as co-chair of the Black Alumni Committee, which works with the Black Law Students Association. In addition, he teaches a unique class called Real Estate Transactions Practicum that uses as its textbook actual, redacted contracts from real estate deals he’s worked on. The course follows the purchase and development of a parking lot into a new courthouse.
In addition to inspiring future generations of public-interest lawyers, Fatheree and his wife have endowed a scholarship at Loyola Law School in the name of their young son, who has a rare type of severe epilepsy. The scholarship goes to students interested in disability rights work.
“It’s never been lost on me the opportunities I’ve had,” Fatheree said. “Being of service to caring organizations that are doing good work is important to me. To me, there’s an honor in being invited to serve.”