The Volunteer Legal Services Corporation is proud to present the Volunteer of the Year award to Patricia Gutierrez de Sunseri. Patricia is a solo-practitioner specializing in Family Law in Alameda County. She was first admitted to practice law in 1986 in her native Colombia. In 1999, she moved to the Bay Area where she worked as a family law paralegal and went on to work for the Family Law Facilitator at the Superior Court of Alameda for ten years.
In her own practice, Patricia serves many clients who are modest means and/or monolingual Spanish speakers. Above all, Patricia is highly committed to empowering both her clients and the community VLSC serves by making the language of the law accessible to them. As one of our most reliable and experienced volunteers, Patricia has been an invaluable volunteer for VLSC for the past 3 years.
Help us celebrate the work of Patricia and the rest of our award recipients on May 5th at Justice for All: Celebrating Pro Bono!
We had a chance to chat with Patricia about her experience with VLSC.
Why do you volunteer with VLSC?
I believe in equality under the law, but there are a great number of litigants who cannot access justice or defend their rights due to financial or language limitations. By volunteering, I try to close the gap for those who cannot find or afford the services of a paralegal or an attorney.
Do you have a particularly memorable VLSC client or pro bono case?
There are memorable moments each time I volunteer: when litigants tell me that now they understand their rights, the process, and that they feel empowered.
What other community activities are you involved in?
I am active with my church. Also my husband and I, as real estate brokers, support various charitable events organized by local real estate groups.
What are you listening to on your iPod now?
Nothing in particular, I listen to whatever my spirit needs right that minute. My iPod is an eclectic mix of Oldies, 60s, Salsa, Christian, and Classical music.
What is one thing that you wished our people knew about VLSC?
That VLSC fulfills many needs of this community through all of its programs; and by doing so it is also offering its volunteers an invaluable opportunity to increase their knowledge, experience and confidence.