At the age of fourteen, Victor Gordo organized his restaurant co-workers to battle management over unfair tip distribution. The workers prevailed, winning the right to keep and distribute the money as they saw fit rather than handing it over to management who kept a percentage. This first collective bargaining experience illustrated to Victor the power of people working together and inspired him to pursue a career that would help improve the quality of life of those around him. Now, as an elected member of the Pasadena City Council and general counsel for Laborers International Union of North America, Local 777, Victor is in a position to help people every day, and he says that his law degree from La Verne Law in Southern California is a vital component to his success.

Victor attended law school because he wanted a degree that gave him flexibility in his career options and would help him to achieve his goal of being elected to public office. He chose La Verne Law because its part-time program accommodated his full-time job. And although Victor says it was a tremendous challenge, he is glad that he saw it through to the end, because he gained priceless communication skills, confidence and the ability to find answers and think on his feet.

As a Mexican immigrant and the eldest of six children, Victor’s journey was one of hard work and sacrifice. Though both of his parents worked—his father two jobs—Victor, by age ten, was delivering newspapers and selling flowers on the street corner in order to help make ends meet. In high school, he supplemented regular teenage activities such as football, soccer and baseball with his job at the restaurant. When asked about his success, he credits all the people in his life that went out of their way to help him. From the mothers of his little league teammates who drove him to and from practice, to his La Verne Law faculty advisor who helped him through his most difficult times in law school, Victor says there was always a network of people helping and supporting him every step of the way.

If there is one piece of advice he would pass on to prospective law students, Victor says it would be to ask for help and to give it when asked. One of the greatest components of a La Verne Law education is the help that is always near. The availability of professors and advisors mean a degree of attention and guidance not readily available at bigger schools, while the small class sizes and a close community atmosphere make for an environment conducive to success.