The Santa Monica College Foundation is pleased to announce that Gilda Clift Breland, Esq., has been named winner of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Recognition Award for Outstanding Professional and Community Service Achievement.
Clift Breland, who attended SMC from 1996 to 1998, is an attorney who has won numerous awards for her community service and professional accomplishments.
She will be recognized at commencement, which will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at SMC’s Corsair Field, 1900 Pico Blvd.
Clift Breland is associate legal counsel of InterDent Service Corp., where she is primarily responsible for overseeing the company’s real estate transactions, including the negotiation and drafting of commercial leases and related documents, helping the company expand its operations by opening numerous new locations around the nation.
When she is not practicing law, Clift Breland enjoys volunteering her time to help empower, uplift and advocate for the under-served and disenfranchised members of the community. She volunteers much of her time with The John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles, Inc., which is the oldest and largest bar association in California with a membership predominantly comprised of African American lawyers and judges. She has served as both an officer and director of the organization and is its immediate past president.
Additionally, she has been an active member of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and occasionally volunteers at the Mesereau Free Legal Clinic, where she provides pro bono legal services to low-income persons. She also speaks extensively at forums organized by law schools, bar associations, and student organizations.
Clift Breland is a graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law (J.D., 2003), where she was a participant in the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. As a law student, Clift Breland was active with the Black Law Student Association and co-founded and chaired the Black Graduate Student Network at USC.
Additionally as a law student, she was an active member of the Public Interest Law Foundation at USC through which she advocated on behalf of homeless persons seeking general relief benefits.
Further, Clift Breland mentored urban youth through the Street Law mentorship program at USC, as well as several African American female law students, whom she continues to mentor in their legal careers. She graduated from UCLA in 1999 with honors with a bachelor’s degree in economics/international area studies after transferring from SMC. She also studied business and economics at the University of Bologna in Italy.
Through her hard work, talent, dedication, vision for success, leadership, and unselfish desire to help others, Ms. Clift Breland has earned great respect not only within the legal community, but also within the community at large.
Her recent honors and recognitions include: Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass, 2012; Certificate of Special Recognition from U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, 2012; Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, Real Property Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2011; “Divine 9” honoree, Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals, 2011 (inaugural year); Special Recognition Award, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, 2011; first recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award, IMPACT and National Bar Association, 2010; Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 Award, IMPACT and National Bar Association, 2010; and President’s Award, The John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles, 2010.