Yvette Aguilera started as a volunteer at Casa Cornelia Law Center five years ago, a public interest law firm providing quality legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations.
Casa Cornelia has a primary commitment to indigent persons within the immigrant community in Southern California.
Aguilera’s interest in working for Casa Cornelia started about the time she decided to become a legal interpreter and translator. Living so close to the San Diego–Tijuana border, Aguilera has seen first-hand the need for the translation services in the area.
This experience led to the desire of finding a job that connects people and helps them gain legal status. In part, having friends and family members deported brought more conviction to this decision. “They went to church, worked hard and were respectable people – not criminals.” Working her way into the legal profession became a way to educate herself and others about the law – knowledge is power.
In June of 2018 and 2020, Aguilera was awarded the Wiley W. Manuel Award, issued by the State Bar of California to those with 50 or more hours of pro bono service. “Getting the awards made my service feel more tangible,” she said.
Hired as administrative assistant to owner and CEO Sam Brotman in July 2021, Aguilera is already a respected and well-liked member of our staff, always supportive and quick with a smile. Keeping track of billable hours to help determine the staff’s caseload and being the glue that pulls everything together is her forte.
Studying to finish her bilingual paralegal degree at Southwestern Community College consumes most evenings. She’s also a member of a Santa Mujeres Run Club, a community group focused on healthy activities where “nobody gets left behind.” In her free time, Aguilera goes out with friends, always ready to try new and local restaurants or in the company of her canine companion, Lola, a black lab mix.