Celebrate the Accomplishments of Nancy Smyth, An Le, Victor Narro & Bryan Schwartz!
Join Wage Justice on Wednesday, September 5, festivities starting at 6pm, to thank economic justice heroes for their leadership.
Rebecca Brown and Bob Rasmussen have generously opened their home in Hancock Park to host the event. Rebecca and Bob are USC Gould School of Law Professors, where they have nurtured, mentored and empowered emerging public interest lawyers to effect change in our communities.
The Wage Justice Center is proud to recognize the accomplishments of four important leaders:
Attorney Advocate Award: Bryan Schwartz, Esq., of Bryan Schwartz Law
Sirolly/Yee Founders’ Award: An Le, Victor Narro & Nancy Smyth,
Wage Justice Center Founding Board Members
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A nationally known expert on immigrant rights and low-wage workers, Victor Narro has been involved with immigrant rights and labor issues for over 30 years. Currently Project Director for the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, Victor’s focus is to provide leadership programs and policy campaign support for Los Angeles’ immigrant workers, policy and campaign planning for unions and worker centers, and internship opportunities for UCLA students.
Victor is core faculty for the Labor and Workplace Studies Program at UCLA and Lecturer in Law at UCLA Law School, where he teaches Community Lawyering and Low Wage Worker Organizing.
Victor was formerly the Co-Executive Director of Sweatshop Watch. Prior to that, he was the Workers’ Rights Project Director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) where he was involved with organizing day laborers, domestic workers, garment workers and gardeners. Before his tenure at CHIRLA, Victor worked in the Los Angeles Regional Office of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Among his many board memberships, Victor is a proud member of the Executive Board of the National Lawyers Guild – LA Chapter.
Victor is happily married to Laureen Lazarovici, a long-time labor activist and journalist.
As the daughter of refugees from Vietnam, An Le was shaped by the labor exploitation she witnessed at a young age, prompting her to pursue a career committed to using comprehensive strategies to achieve justice and dignity for low-wage immigrant workers.
Along those lines, she had the privilege to work as a legal organizer for the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, a research analyst for SEIU-United Service Workers West, and as a project director of community engagement at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles.
She is currently a research analyst for SEIU-UHW, where she uses legal, regulatory, and policy strategies to support worker organizing efforts in California’s health care industry.
She proudly serves on the Board of Directors for the Wage Justice Center and Southeast Asian Community Alliance. An received her B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and her J.D. from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, reading, and playing with her dogs, Estelle and Butler.
Nancy is a California native whose parents hail from West Virginia and Northern Ireland. She has been an activist and social change agent for almost 40 years. Working as an organizer, a lawyer, and now a leadership coach, she has pioneered groundbreaking projects that have led to real change in people’s lives. Her career has included organizing workers in the underground economy, promoting policies that expand the rights of workers and immigrants, and legal advocacy on behalf of people re-entering the workforce after serving time. From establishing the first day laborer program in the country to creating workers’ rights projects at Public Counsel, CHIRLA, and Neighborhood Legal Services, she has dedicated her work to building power in communities and workplaces.
While at USC Gould School of Law, Nancy’s passion for workers’ rights was ignited by her involvement with the Labor Defense Network (which ran wage theft clinics across Los Angeles) and with CHIRLA, where she was instrumental in helping to beat back two anti-day laborer ordinances in Los Angeles and Glendale. She helped found CARECEN and Sweatshop Watch, and while at CHIRLA, she pioneered the Domestic worker Project where organizers and domestic workers agitated for better wages and working conditions and created their own superhero, SuperDomestica.
Nancy has spent the last ten years as the Leadership Development Director and internal coach for both LAANE and the Partnership for Working Families as well as doing outside coaching and consulting. Nancy sees coaching as a powerful tool for personal growth that is essential to building a compassionate and courageous social justice movement.
Nancy lives in Los Angeles, California and speaks English and Spanish. She loves to travel, garden, swim, and read Swedish detective novels.
Bryan has advanced the field of workers’ rights and in private practice, he embodies public interest values. Bryan brings cases on behalf of low-wage workers and then persistently pursues justice while the employer pulls every shady tactic in the book. His signature case is the class action and wrongful termination case Amanda Quiles, Heather Turman, et al. v. Koji’s Japan, Inc. and Arthur J. Parent, Jr.
This is a classic tale of unscrupulous employer tactics: After Bryan filed the class action suit, the employer immediately fired the named plaintiff, and later closed all of his restaurants and filed for personal and corporate bankruptcy. Over more than seven years, Bryan and his firm secured back wages, damages, penalties, fees and costs from the individual employer after victories in bankruptcy court, a bench trial, a jury trial, at the Court of Appeal, and in collections proceedings.
The published decision in Turman v. Superior Court stands for the proposition that an individual owner, officer, and director can be personally liable for California wage violations.
He has developed a niche in Federal employees’ unique claims, and has led multi-plaintiff, class and collective actions involving overtime and other wage violations under state and federal laws across the country.
Before founding his own firm in 2009, Bryan led the San Francisco, CA, office of Nichols Kaster, PLLP. Previously, Mr. Schwartz practiced with the Washington, DC-based firm of Passman & Kaplan, PC, and clerked for the late Hon. Franklin Van Antwerpen, formerly a member of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Schwartz is a former member of the Executive Board of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA) and a current member of the Board of Directors of Legal Aid at Work.
After graduating from Cornell University and before law school at the UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall, Mr. Schwartz was a Federal Investigator (bilingual-Spanish) at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a campaign manager, and a school teacher in Costa Rica.
Among his many philanthropic endeavors, he is co-chair of the dads’ club at his daughter’s public school.