Class of 1987
President, California Advocates, Inc.
Mike Belote, '87, had volunteered his time for McGeorge for many years after graduating, giving advice to students considering legislative careers, but he had never given any money to the school.
In 2002, he was at the Riverside Clubhouse restaurant in Sacramento and happened to sit next to McGeorge's former dean, Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker. He recognized her from pictures and introduced himself. Parker launched into a compelling talk about giving back.
"She had recognized that in the past sometimes people came out of law school having decided never to give any money again and she was working to correct that and bring people back into the McGeorge family," Belote says. "I was so impressed by her commitment and passion for that, that I sat down and listened to her."
The then-dean talked about the student-run Public Legal Services Society, which awards grants to students to work in public interest or public service jobs, often in underserved communities and low-income clinics.
"It struck me that that is such a worthy program and a way for students to get not only practical legal work but also help their communities. So I chose that as an area I got involved in."
In addition to giving money to the society, Belote gives advice on its annual fundraising efforts. Belote has been a lobbyist for more than three decades and is president of the Sacramento-based lobbying firm, California Advocates Inc. He worked for the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and the California Association of Realtors while attending McGeorge's night division.
After graduation, he worked for the California Land Title Association and in 1990 joined California Advocates, where he represents many legal clients. They include the California Judges Association and attorneys who practice civil defense, employment law and creditors' rights law.
"People go to law school and they invest a lot of money and a lot of time, and being there to support them in that is important to me," he says.