Inspired to enter the legal industry by her local community’s hardships growing up, Cherie A. Gaines, Esq., desired from a formative age to implement change and advance social progress within her spheres. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate, she opened a poverty law office in West Oakland, CA, and began practicing civil rights litigation to alter the economic conditions of that community. The former chief attorney of the Alameda County Legal Aid Society for five years, she also maintained involvement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in San Francisco. During her stay in California, she also served as a legal educator at the University of San Francisco and Golden Gate University. In the 1970s, she moved back to her native state of New York and worked as a regional attorney and deputy general counsel for the New York City Housing Authority. Most recently, she was the executive director of the Center for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Understanding Inc. in Irvington, NY, from 2002 to 2005.
Among the notable highlights of her career, Ms. Gaines is perhaps most renowned for aiding in the creation of college curriculum under the Ford grant, which subsequently improved LSAT scores up to 40 percentiles within one academic year. Thereafter, she was funded by the Department of Education to adapt Center for Civic Education materials to teach social contracts and rule of law concepts to elementary school students. Because of her involvement, professional evaluations displayed measurable changes in dispute resolving conduct within one academic year. Impressively, Ms. Gaines was also the first OEO legal services lawyer west of the Mississippi River.
As a testament to her longevity in the industry, Ms. Gaines has garnered numerous accolades. She received a Commendation Plaque from the Association of Real Property Brokers and has been further recognized extensively by the Alameda County Human Relations Commission and the Alameda Affirmative Action Committee. However, she cites her participation in the Bedford-Stuyvesant childhood studies program on dispute resolution to be a crowning personal achievement.
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