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Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) seeks dynamic law students with a strong commitment to public interest and social justice advocacy to help provide comprehensive legal services to the poor.
BayLegal is the largest staff-based non-profit law firm providing free civil legal services to low-income individuals and families in the San Francisco Bay Area. We provide services on a regional basis through local offices and clinics located in the following Bay Area counties: Alameda (Oakland); Contra Costa (Richmond); Marin; Napa; San Francisco; San Mateo (Redwood City); and Santa Clara (San Jose). Additionally, BayLegal has a regional Legal Advice Line which conducts intake and provides advice and counsel. With regional offices, and 120+ staff members, BayLegal is uniquely positioned to help people across county lines. BayLegal assists clients in five main priority areas: housing preservation, domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, economic security, consumer protection, and healthcare access.
About the Law Clerk Program:
BayLegal selects approximately 20-30 law students to work in our offices during the school year and approximately 40 students during the summer. Under the supervision of BayLegal staff attorneys, law clerks will have the opportunity to build cases from the ground-up, including conducting client interviews; initial case assessments; obtaining discovery and other evidence; preparing clients for trials; writing briefs and other legal memoranda; assisting self-represented litigants; community outreach and education; and representing clients at administrative hearings and state court hearings/trials. Law clerks also assist in drafting writs of mandamus to Superior Court and California appellate courts and participating in broader impact litigation. Law clerks often work on projects and cases that have a wide-ranging and lasting impact on our client communities.
BayLegal encourages students who have completed evidence to become certified by the CA State Bar to represent clients in court. During the school year, students commonly work 10-15 hours per week. During the summer, law clerks work on a full-time basis. BayLegal has opportunities in all of our priority areas including specific projects listed below:
Disability Income Social Security Advocacy: SSI and SSDI Social Security benefits are for people who are unable to maintain employment due to physical and/or mental impairment and who have limited income and limited resources. Students who have an expressed interest or experience working with individuals with mental and/or physical disabilities preferred.
Eviction after Foreclosure Advocacy (Contra Costa & Santa Clara counties): Santa Clara County has one of the highest rates of foreclosure in California. Many of the individuals affected by foreclosure are tenants who have special protections under both State and Federal Law. Law clerks will work to prevent homelessness and preserve the rights of tenants living in foreclosed homes.
Family Law Advocacy for Domestic Violence Survivors (Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo & Contra Costa counties): BayLegal provides comprehensive family law services to low-income survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Law clerks are involved in providing assistance in a full range of family law matters: divorce; child custody and visitation; child and spousal support; and restraining orders.
Youth Justice Project (YJP) (Alameda & Santa Clara counties): YJP is an innovative project providing comprehensive advocacy to poor youth with disabilities and mental health needs. YJP focuses on children in, previously in, or at risk of foster care or delinquency who have been denied or not informed about important benefits and services for which they are entitled. YJP law clerks assist staff to provide a wide range of legal representation and assistance, ensuring access to essential public benefits, special education services, housing, and health care services.
Housing Preservation Advocacy (Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties): Law clerks work on homelessness prevention, preservation of affordable housing, and fighting illegal evictions. Law clerks interview clients, prepare legal pleadings, and see a full civil litigation case during a short amount of time (including possible jury trial).
Immigration Advocacy on Behalf of Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo & Contra Costa counties): BayLegal provides comprehensive legal services to low-income immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA Self-Petitions and U Visa Non-Immigrant Petitions are means to immigration relief for survivors who are either immediate family members of abusive U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents OR who cooperate with the investigation and/or prosecution of the crimes perpetrated against them. Learn how to assess eligibility, prepare immigration pleadings and work directly with immigrant survivors.
Legal Barriers to Employment Project (“LBEP”) (San Francisco): LBEP provides comprehensive legal services to individuals on welfare who face legal barriers that prevent them from gaining employment and escaping poverty. Staff and law clerks eliminate legal barriers to employment, such as criminal records, suspended drivers licenses, threatened evictions, and credit problems, through use of a full range of legal remedies. Feel the satisfaction of solving a legal problem and helping your client get a job and off welfare.
Economic Justice Project (Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara & Contra Costa counties): Law clerks assist clients in obtaining desperately needed health coverage, welfare and disability benefits. Along with direct individual representation, law clerks work on existing impact litigation. Law clerks become familiar with Medi-Cal, Medicare, Healthy Families, CalWORKs, General Assistance, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) and general health access issues.
Housing Law Clinic (Concord, Pittsburg and Richmond Superior Court):Under BayLegal supervision, law clerks have the opportunity to directly serve a large number of pro per litigants in the courthouse and become familiar with all stages of an eviction proceeding. Law clerks learn to spot legal and factual issues and draft pleadings. Law clerks also have the opportunity to build a case from the ground-up for cases BayLegal accepts for representation.
Consumer Law Advocacy (based in San Francisco serving clients throughout the Bay Area): Law clerks provide assistance with economic and financial problems for low-income consumers of financial products. Law clerks are part of a team providing clients with counsel and advice and support with ongoing litigation in state and federal court in the areas of credit, debt, bankruptcy and foreclosure.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order Clinic (Contra Costa & San Mateo counties): Under BayLegal supervision, law clerks directly serve a large number of pro per litigants seeking civil domestic violence restraining order protection (including child custody, visitation and support) and to become familiar with all stages of the process. The law clerks have the opportunity to work directly with litigants, conduct interviews and draft pleadings.
Applicants should have completed their first year of law school. Candidates must possess a passion for social justice and poverty related issues, as well as sensitivity to working with people from diverse backgrounds. Special consideration will be given to students who have a demonstrated commitment to serving low income or disadvantaged communities. Students who speak Spanish, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Russian, or other Southeast Asian languages are encouraged to apply. BayLegal welcomes and gives preference to students who can commit to more than one semester. Students are encouraged to apply for funding through their law school and other grant opportunities (please contact us if we can be of assistance).
Law clerkships are available throughout the year and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis year-round until all positions are filled (for summer candidates, we recommend submitting your application before February 1st). Please submit a completed BayLegal Law Clerk Program Application indicating your office(s) and project(s) preference along with a copy of your resume, cover letter, a list of at least three references and writing sample to:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Mail: Bay Area Legal Aid – Law Clerk Program
1735 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA 94612