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Silvia R. Argueta

Executive Director

Silvia R. Argueta

Silvia Argueta has been the Executive Director at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) since 2008. LAFLA is the frontline law firm for low-income individuals in Los Angeles County. LAFLA is committed to promoting access to justice, strengthening communities, fighting discrimination, and effecting systemic change through representation, advocacy, and community education.

Silvia leads a 200+ staff non-profit law firm with five offices, four self-help centers, three courthouse domestic violence clinics, and six Medical-Legal Partnerships. She oversees an annual budget of over $40 million and all aspects of strategy, legal advocacy, finance, fund development, and technology. She recently oversaw an $18 million capital campaign and construction of LAFLA’s new headquarters, a cornerstone of justice that brings respect and dignity to both clients and staff. Silvia’s career has been devoted to achieving equal justice using direct representation, civil litigation and policy to effect change.

Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, Silvia was a senior attorney with LAFLA’s Government Benefits Unit, where she handled legal issues involving access to healthcare, Medi-Cal, Medicare, Social Security retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)—a program of the California Department of Social Services.

Silvia served as lead counsel in Harris, et al v. Board of Supervisors, et al, a federal court case that prevented the closure of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center and the closure of 100 beds at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center. She was also counsel on APALC, et al v. Los Angeles County, et al, an OCR complaint filed on behalf of Limited English Proficient (LEP) CalWORKs participants against the County of Los Angeles which alleged unequal access in the provision of services.

Prior to joining LAFLA in 1999, Silvia was a staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). There, she handled education, employment, and immigration issues, including all aspects of civil rights litigation. Before joining MALDEF, Silvia was a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California and was involved in civil rights litigation, human rights, and policy matters including challenges to Proposition 187 and Proposition 227. She also monitored the conditions of confinement for the LA County jail population based on a consent decree, Block v. Rutherford.

Silvia obtained her BA in Political Science and French from UCLA and her law degree from UC College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings College of the Law). She is a member of the American Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, National Hispanic Bar Association, Latina Lawyers Bar Association, and Mexican American Bar Association.

Silvia was born in Guatemala and immigrated to Southern California at the age of 6. She was the first in her family to go to college, and she credits her mother for empowering her and being a wonderful model of strength, love, and perseverance. Her father’s legacy to her was instilling the values of hard work, fairness, and the belief that one should always question authority.