2009 Inductee - Richard Oliver


2009 Inductee - Richard Oliver

Law & Justice/Humanitarian

Richard has been a legal advocate for the poor and underrepresented for over 30 years. He was born in Clearwater, Oklahoma on March 31, 1940 to parents who were attending the University of Oklahoma. His interest in serving others began in high school when he ran for class president.

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Speech and soon volunteered to work with V.I.S.T.A. (Volunteers in Service for America) organizing the poor. As a law student, he worked for Law Students Civil Rights Research Council, and in a 1969 case, defended “Los Siete de La Raza”, seven who were wrongly accused of murdering a police officer in San Francisco.

In 1971, Richard graduated from Hastings School of Law in San Francisco and began working with the San Francisco Legal Assistance Foundation and then with Legal Aid in Portland and later in their Stockton office.

Working in private law, he did pro bono work for the United Farmworkers Association, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Welfare Rights Association, Council For The Spanish Speaking, the Filipino Bayanihan and the Legal Aid Society. In 1977,Richard began his 28-year career with California Rural Legal Assistance as Directing Attorney Emeritus.

Louie Gonzalez, former SUSD Trustee says of Richard: “I can’t think of anybody that has taken so much interest in working with poor people, keeping them from being exploited, especially our campesino (farm worker) community.”

Moreover, he has been supervisor and mentor to many young Latino lawyers like Marisela Fernandez, Lisa Duarte, and Superior Court Judge Emily Vasquez. He helped facilitate Citizenship Fairs at Delta College, and was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to The Americans With Disabilities Act Board of Directors. He also actively supported Latino candidates for office like Frank Orozco, Louie Gonzales Vicki Brand, Steve Gutierrez, Carlos Villapudua, Tony Gutierrez, Gil Somera, Jose Alva, and Joe Serna who became Mayor of Sacramento.