(photo by Santa Monica College)

SMC ¬ó Santa Monica College alumna Gilda Clift Breland, Esq., has been named the winner of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Recognition Award for Outstanding Professional and Community Service Achievement.

Clift Breland, who attended SMC from 1996 to 1998, will receive the award at SMC’s commencement exercises today at Corsair Field.

After transferring from SMC, the attorney graduated from UCLA in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and international area studies. Clift Breland pursued her legal studies at USC’s Gould School of Law, where she graduated with a degree in 2003. At USC, Clift Breland was a participant in the Hale Moot Court Honors Program, was active in the Black Law Student Association and co-founded and chaired the Black Graduate Student Network.

When she was a law student, Clift Breland also served as an active member of the Public Interest Law Foundation at USC, where she advocated on behalf of homeless people seeking general relief benefits, and mentored urban youth through the Street Law mentorship program at USC ¬ó as well as African-American female law students, whom she continues to mentor today.

As an attorney who has earned numerous accolades, Clift Breland presently serves as the associate legal counsel for InterDent Service Corp. At InterDent, she oversees the company’s real estate transactions and helps the company with its national expansion.

Aside from practicing law, Clift Breland also volunteers her time to the marginalized members of the community. Much of her community efforts go toward The John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles, Inc. ¬óthe oldest and largest bar association in California, predominantly comprised of African-American lawyers and judges ¬ówhere she has served as president, director and as an officer.

Clift Breland also holds an active membership with the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, volunteers at the Mesereau Free Legal Clinic ¬ówhere she offers pro bono legal services to low-income community members ¬ó and appears as a guest speaker at forums organized by law schools, bar associations and student organizations.

SMC’s commencement exercises will begin Today at 6 p.m. at 1900 Pico Blvd.

news@www.smdp.com

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