Nearly three decades of service in ensuring thousands of people have received legal assistance and representation to the impoverished, abused, and disabled. “And Justice for All” was delighted to honor Stewart Ralphs for his selfless commitment to the community at this year’s Justice Rising Breakfast.
Stewart Ralphs came from very humble beginnings, growing up in Ferron, Utah. He grew up with a sense of purpose to help others and has dedicated his life to that cause. It was in his third year of law school at the University of Utah Ralphs began interning for Legal Aid. He took on a few pro bono cases and when a full time position opened up, Legal Aid’s director asked him to apply. Ralphs recalls a client case that solidified his commitment to ensuring everyone has access to legal help, despite the horrors of the crime. A woman whom had recently been beaten badly by her boyfriend came into Legal Aid looking for help. He had put keys between his knuckles and done significant damage to her face. The satisfaction of helping that woman use the full protection of the law to prosecute her ex gave Ralphs the sense of purpose and satisfaction in helping someone in a bad situation.
Within three years of working there, Ralphs became the Executive Director of Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake in 1994. Since then, he has led the organization through an incident of arson, expanded the services and programs offered by Legal Aid, grown the staff to nearly 30 lawyers and professionals, and still finds time to work on his own case load; all of this on a budget of approximately $1 million.
The cases are not glamorous and those working for Legal Aid make a fraction of what lawyers in the government and private sectors do, but the sense of accomplishment and providing justice for those most desperately in need has kept him there for over 20 years.
Jane Marquardt was grateful to honor Stewart Ralphs at the 2016 Justice Rising Breakfast for his commitment to public service and the community. She and her wife Tami are also proud to provide funding for the services Legal Aid provides. To learn more or to make a donation of your own, please visit legalaidsocietyofsaltlake.org or andjusticeforall.org.