Ernesto Sanchez, ’72, holds a degree in law from the University of Idaho. A former farmworker, he has spent his career helping Idaho’s low-income citizens access the justice system. He was the first Hispanic-American licensed to practice law in the state and is the former executive director of Idaho Legal Aid Services.
“My graduation from the University of Idaho College of Law demonstrated that even a former migrant farmworker can reach his goals with the hands-on, one-on-one education I received from committed professors,” he said. “Not only did I receive an excellent legal education, but I also learned how to deal with the conflicts and difficulties that people face in their personal lives. I learned how to resolve difficult issues, and the University of Idaho gave me the confidence necessary to be successful in this profession.”
Sanchez first came to Idaho as a child to work in the fields with his family. He took his education seriously, achieving a level of success inspiring to the Hispanic-American students who have followed in his footsteps.
He has spent 40 years with Idaho Legal Aid Services, including 33 years as executive director. He helped found the Migrant Farmworkers’ Unit and the Indian Law Unit of Idaho Legal Aid Services, and has served as director of the Idaho Law Foundation and president of the Idaho Hispanic Caucus.
The University of Idaho has recognized Sanchez for his incredible contributions to the university and the state by awarding him the College of Law Award of Legal Merit in 1991 and the President’s Medallion in 2002. The Idaho State Bar Diversity Section selected him for its “Justice For All” award in 2010.
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