Administrative Law Judge, retired
California Public Employment Relations Board
Undergraduate: University of Notre Dame
Major: A.B. in Economics
"Being a lawyer was not something I had in mind when I was in college," says retired Administrative Law Judge Ronald Blubaugh. In fact, after completing his undergraduate degree, Blubaugh pursued a 12-year career as a newspaper reporter with The Sacramento Bee, where he became active in the Sacramento Newspaper Guild and, eventually, became union president representing employees in contract negotiations.
Watching the lawyers in these negotiations, remembers Judge Blubaugh, "I thought, 'I can do that.'"
In law school, Blubaugh learned how to listen to competing positions and discern the important information and possible solutions to the problem. "McGeorge gave me this skill and I used it my entire working career," says Blubaugh.
In Blubaugh's law career with the California Public Employment Relations Board, he helped negotiate between unions and employers. "Next to family, a person's job often is the most important thing in life," says Blubaugh. "By resolving disputes, I could help employees and employers have a better and more productive working environment."
Now Judge Blubaugh volunteers his time with the legal clinic at Sacramento Loaves and Fishes. "I have found it immensely rewarding to help homeless people to find answers to problems, often quite small, that hinder their path off the street," he says. In 2011 Blubaugh was awarded the State Bar of California President's Pro Bono Service Award for this work.
Blubaugh's generosity also extends to McGeorge, where he has contributed regularly to a scholarship named after Sacramento Bee reporter and Guild activist Charles D. Driscoll. The scholarship goes annually to the student who demonstrates the greatest commitment to the improvement of labor-management relations.
"Lawyers are uniquely in a position to help improve that relationship," says Blubaugh, "and I want to plant this idea in the minds of students who may ultimately work in labor and employment law." Blubaugh says that any law student should have an idea of why he or she is attending law school. "You can change your plan as you discover more about the law, but have an idea how you will use a legal education," he advises.
Through giving to McGeorge, Judge Blubaugh hopes to help lighten the load for current students. He reflects, "Most students will not have the G.I. Bill, like I did, to pay the way. Hopefully, my donations will ease the burden a little for the scholarship recipients."