23 Oct Francisco Leal Attorney; Los Angeles Times Article
Francisco Leal attorney, was born in the border town of El Paso to undocumented immigrants from Mexico and spent his early childhood in Mexico before moving to East Los Angeles with his family. The former Roosevelt High student credits the progress made by Chicano activists of the 1960s for the opportunities he has enjoyed in life. He boasts an Ivy League education from Yale and Harvard and a law career that began at the Los Angeles firm of O’Melveny and Myers . After just a year in private practice, Leal felt a call to public-sector work. His first stop was Boston, where he worked for three years litigating claims for the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1990, he returned to Southern California and worked in the successful state Assembly campaign of Xavier Becerra, a Los Angeles Democrat who in 1992 was elected to Congress. But that wasn’t enough, in Leal’s mind, to pay off the debt he owed to those activists of the ’60s. So he and Arnoldo Beltran, his partner in the law firm of Leal and Beltran, decided to focus their efforts at the local level, signing on as city attorneys for Commerce, Huntington Park and Bell Gardens, respectively. Leal also serves on a number of nonprofit community groups such as Mothers of East Los Angeles, Community Youth Gang Services and the National Alliance of Latino Elected Officials. “You look at Congress and there’s great good to be done in Congress,” Leal says. “But I get a lot of satisfaction when one person comes to me and says they have a problem. You feel like you’ve made a contribution to that person’s life at a very immediate level.” Leal said.
BY Kevin Baxter
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