Rowena Gargalicana

Position: Co-founder, Gargalicana/Graceffa LLP; Past President, Alameda County Bar Association
Past Fellows

DRA from 2000-2002 as a William Brockett Fellow

What was a highlight of your time at DRA? A month and a half into my fellowship, we went to trial against Macy’s. I’m hard of hearing, and DRA got me a captioner so the whole Macy’s trial was captioned for me. Going to trial against a huge corporation just out of law school was an incredible experience, and I don’t know if I would have developed my confidence and maturity as a litigator otherwise.

What do you see as the importance of fellowships? If you want to learn about disability rights, you can’t learn about it at a big firm; you have to be in the trenches. So fellowships are necessary to pull smart, driven people from top schools into the field.

How did the experience affect what you went on to do? Without DRA, I don’t know if I would have gained the confidence to show up in court and to go to trial. After my fellowship, I was able to use the litigation skills, legal knowledge, and confidence I’d gained to join a larger firm, and I spent a number of years litigating civil rights cases. Now I volunteer and mentor and donate to nonprofits; it’s come full circle.

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