Ricardo “Rax” Alan Chavez, Esq. grew up in southern California. From surfing on the beaches of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange Counties, to skiing and biking in the nearby mountains, Rax has always considered himself the ultimate Californian.
After high school, Rax took time off to travel the world. Outdoor sports, such as kayaking, skiing, rock climbing and surfing, were a big part of his life as well as building a couple of very fast cars. His favorite was a 1970 Camaro. Late in his 30s, he returned to academia to pursue several degrees.
At Orange Coast College, he developed a love of public speaking as part of a nationally-ranked Speech and Debate team, earning medals in the extemporaneous and impromptu events.
At UC Berkeley, he became a bleeding-blue-and-gold Goldenbear, developing a deep and loving relationship as a guardian of the traditions inherent to the Spirit of California. While at Cal, a Fellowship in Public Policy helped to forge his path towards his current career.
He was recruited to a top Public Policy Program at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. There, he achieved a master’s degree in Public Policy focusing on NGO (non-governmental organization) and NPO (non-profit organization) management. As a part of that curriculum, he became a Certified Court Appointed Neutral (AKA a Mediator), and then began work in the Hennepin County court system on appointed cases, which is where he met the judge who encouraged him to get a law degree.
His studies continued at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law. While there, Rax took part in student leadership and received two different, funded fellowships. He completed his JD at Southwestern Law School as a visiting scholar.
The move back to southern California allowed him to expand his public service work to the Los Angeles County, CA Public Defender’s Office, leading to tenures at both the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. All three of these offices gave him essential skills and a foundation in criminal law that he is extremely grateful to utilize today.
Rax has been published several times throughout his academic and legal career on topics that vary from sports franchise management to mediation and negotiation rules and procedures to labor and criminal law. His Los Angeles-based law practice focuses primarily on criminal defense, and he has negotiated, argued, and begged with prosecutors in four different Southern California counties, seeking the best outcome for his clients.
He has established himself as an advocate within the LGBTQIA+ community and is very proud of the work that he does in the crossover between criminal law and immigration law, working to ensure that the most exposed members of these communities receive competent and zealous protection of both their constitutional and basic human rights.
Rax has been retained as the Supervising Attorney for the Pepperdine University School of Law Legal Aid Clinic at Covenant House. He has remained active in public interest law at legal aid workshops throughout his career and contributes to the recovery community as well. He lives in the Hollywood Hills, adores his children immensely, and loves his grandchildren without limits or conditions.