Whenever You're Ready, We're Here Waiting

Professor David Dominguez, Founder and Executive Director of Stride On, is Chicano and was raised in the gang-ridden ghettos of inner-city Los Angeles. He graduated with honors from Yale University, earned his JD at UC Berkeley Law School, and was a member of the law faculty at Brigham Young University for 25 years. One of several articles describing his remarkable life journey is here.

His passion is restoring meaning and purpose in troubled teens, college/law students, juvenile justice professionals, and society at large.

Law students have commented:

"Prof. David Dominguez is a man with a vision. Because of his class, so am I."

"This [Community Lawyering] course was one of the most transformative of my law school career. It is truly nice to leave law school with a reminder of why many of us came here in the first place."

"He inspires me to serve my community with the skills I have developed as an attorney. . .We made a difference in the lives of some who are less fortunate than we are. What could be more valuable? What could have a greater impact on me, even 10 years down the road than a course like this?"

"We went to the Slate Canyon jail with the goal to turn the institution from a prison to a temple - a sacred space where kids can have a vision of who they can become. Professor Dominguez did the same thing for me. . . . He redeemed my law school experience by teaching me that I can use my law degree to do great and important things. He taught me that a law degree is a sacred trust that gives me license to serve those who need help that I can give."

As BYU Law School Dean James Rasband recently observed, "David's pioneer work in Community Lawyering . . . teach[es] students the importance of equipping and empowering everyday people, especially the poor, to act in concert as their own lawyers, pursuing legal problem solving at the grassroots level on terms most meaningful to their circumstances and relationships. [More]

The recipient of many honors and awards, Professor Dominguez, along with his wife Lakshmi Johal-Dominguez, recently received the 2014 Central Utah Red Cross Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service.

His thesis was that the quest for equal justice involves more than increasing the supply of pro bono legal services. It must also include efforts to lessen the growing demand for legal services by teaching communities what they can do for themselves, capitalizing on the community's own informal problem-solving capabilities.

David and his students' community lawyering efforts at the Boulders Apartment complex in Provo is a great example. :    . . .Boulders is a poor city within a city, covering nearly 17 acres and housing 1,400 residents, most living below the poverty line. When David and his students came on the scene in 2002, crime was rampant, with more than 1,600 calls to Provo Police in 2002-more than four calls per day. Their efforts began modestly and then expanded. As an example, when David and his students learned that bus service to the complex was being cut, they began working with residents to form a "bus-line committee." Other committees followed as the program drew on BYU's Political Science Department to staff an after-school program, the Spanish Department for English classes, and the School of Nursing for health surveys. The effort would ultimately include several other BYU departments and lead to the restoration of the bus route and the establishment of a police substation in the complex. Crime calls fell by more than 50 percent.

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