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As an attorney, Virginia Villegas has dedicated her career to working on behalf of low-wage and mostly monolingual Spanish-speaking, immigrant workers in California.
After graduating from The University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1995, Ms. Villegas worked at La Raza Centro Legal, a community based non-profit organization until May 2001. As the Supervising Attorney of the Workers’ Advocacy Project, a project created to represent and educate Latino workers of their employment rights, Ms. Villegas won significant victories for some of the most vulnerable and exploited workers such as day laborers, janitors, restaurant workers and domestic workers. Ms. Villegas also developed training and curricular materials, in English and Spanish, to provide educational workshops to other attorneys, advocates, student volunteers, law student interns, and low-wage workers. While at La Raza Centro Legal, Ms. Villegas also served as an instructor at San Francisco’s City College where she taught a bilingual Workers’ Rights and the Law course.
Since May 2001, Ms. Villegas has been a partner at Villegas/Carrera, where she serves as the firm’s managing partner, and has continued to concentrate her practice on employment litigation including wage and hour claims, discrimination and harassment matters, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Ms. Villegas’s also has substantial experience in representing groups of workers in wage and hour class actions and representative claims under the California Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”). Ms. Villegas represents workers in both state and federal courts and before state and federal administrative agencies, including the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
During the Fall 2011 Semester, Ms. Villegas also served as a visiting Clinical Professor at Golden Gate University Women’s Employment Rights Clinic. Under Ms. Villegas’ supervision, law students advised, counseled, and represented clients in a variety of employment-related matters including wage and hour violations, discrimination, and unemployment benefits.
Ms. Villegas currently serves on the Board of California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation and on the Advisory Board of the Center for Young Women’s Development. On November 30, 2006, Ms. Villegas was appointed to the Sweatfree Procurement Advisory Group by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and served on that Board for two years. Ms Villegas has also served on the Board of Directors of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, Center for Young Women’s Development, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, Discrimination Research Center and the Homeless Prenatal Program.
Ms. Villegas also serves as a volunteer attorney for the Workers’ Rights Clinic of the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center and is a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, NLG Labor & Employment Committee, Consumer Attorneys of California, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and is a member of the California State Bar, Labor and Employment Law Section.
Ms. Villegas also provides educational trainings to low wage workers, serves as a panel speaker at various continuing education courses, regularly serves as a guest lecturer at Hastings College of Law’s Public Interest Law Seminar and is a frequent commentator on the Spanish language network stations – Univision and Telemundo – regarding labor/employment laws impacting immigrant and Latino workers. Ms. Villegas has also testified multiple times before the California Assembly Labor and Employment Committee in support of legislation affecting California Workers.
Honored by the San Francisco Minority Bar Coalition and the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Assoc., Ms. Villegas was the Unity Award recipient for the year 2000. In 2014, Ms. Villegas was awarded the UC Hastings College of Law La Raza Law Students Outstanding Alumni Award.
Ms. Villegas earned her Bachelor of Arts cum laude from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles in May 1992. Ms. Villegas became a member of the Jesuit Honor Society Alpha Sigma Nu in 1988. In May 1995, Ms. Villegas earned her J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law where she graduated from the Public Interest Law Program and received the 1995 Hastings Outstanding Student Leader Award.