Update 10/18/22: We are now accepting applications for our 2023 summer program (please read the description below and click on the link to apply).
Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) ensures fairness in the civil justice system for the most vulnerable members of our community. From Silicon Valley to Napa Valley, we help clients protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families. Our clients include the working poor, families with children, foster youth, seniors, immigrants, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Through our regional county offices, our mobile advocacy clinics, and our nationally-recognized Legal Advice Line, BayLegal prevents domestic violence and sexual assault, increases economic stability, protects consumers, expands access to healthcare, and prevents homelessness. For our clients, BayLegal makes the difference between staying in poverty and thriving toward a brighter future.
About the Law Clerk Program:
BayLegal selects approximately 15-20 students for our year-round and summer programs, and we will likely have a hybrid remote/in-person work environment for summer, 2023. Under the supervision of staff attorneys, clerks have the opportunity to engage in our work by conducting client interviews and initial case statements, preparing clients for trials, obtaining discovery and other evidence, writing briefs and other legal memoranda, participating in community outreach and education, assisting self-represented litigants, representing clients at administrative hearings and state court hearings/trials, participating in broader impact litigation, and drafting writs of mandamus to Superior Court and California appellate court.
BayLegal Priority Areas:
- Consumer Protection – Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara – Assist with advocacy and litigation to address economic and financial problems affecting low-income consumers, who are particularly vulnerable to high-cost credit, predatory loans, credit reporting errors, problems with employment and housing background reports, predatory for-profit schools, and unfair business models such as credit repair organizations and foreclosure rescue scams. Assist with client interviews and learn to issue-spot legal problems, draft legal pleadings, and conduct legal research and writing. Certified law students are encouraged to appear in court.
- Consumer Rights Clinics – Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara – These clinics consist of know-your-rights workshops and one-on-one meetings with attendees to provide information about consumer law problems and assist with necessary forms. Law clerks focus on assisting people with forms related to debt collection lawsuits and to protect clients’ exempt income and wages from collection activity.
- Economic Justice (EJ) – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara – Assist clients in obtaining desperately needed health coverage, as well as public and disability benefits. Participate in direct individual representation and ongoing impact litigation. Clerks learn about Medi-Cal, Medicare, Healthy Families, CalWORKs, General Assistance, CalFresh, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and general health access issues. Cases often intersect with civil rights, language access, and domestic violence. For EJ clients, clerks have the opportunity to identify their eligibility, gather and build evidence, prepare briefs, assist with negotiations, and possibly represent the client at an administrative hearing.
- Family Law for Domestic Violence Survivors – Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara –Participate in our comprehensive legal representation of low-income survivors of domestic violence. Provide litigation assistance in a full range of family law matters, including divorce, child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and restraining orders.
- Domestic Violence Restraining Order Clinic – Contra Costa, San Mateo – Assist self-represented litigants seeking civil domestic violence restraining order protection—including child custody, visitation and support orders—through all stages of the process. A great opportunity to work directly with litigants by conducting interviews and drafting pleadings. Applications accepted year-round, substantive training provided on a rolling basis.
- Health Access – Oakland, San Jose – Opportunity to assist in providing counsel; to negotiate with agencies and organizations which provide health services; and to represent clients in state administrative hearings (no certification necessary) on a variety of legal issues related to obtaining health care services and coverage, including the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”); and to engage in policy advocacy to address systemic barriers to health care.
- Housing Preservation – Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara – Work on homelessness prevention, file administrative complaints (HUD & CRD) using Fair Housing laws to address housing discrimination issues, preserve affordable housing, and fight illegal evictions. Interview clients, prepare legal pleadings and assist with a full civil litigation case over a short amount of time (include jury trial).
- Housing Rights Clinic – Contra Costa – Meet with clinic attendees one-on-one to provide information about tenant rights and the unlawful detainer (eviction) process. Law clerks may provide legal information and assist with necessary forms, including Answers to Unlawful Detainers, rent board petitions and demand letters to landlords to make repairs. Applications accepted year-round, substantive training provided on a rolling basis.
- Immigration Advocacy for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Survivors – Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara – Assist in our provision of comprehensive legal services to low-income immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Assist with VAWA Self-Petitions and U Visa Non-Immigrant Petitions—immigration remedies that provide 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.
- Individualized Legal Support Services (ILSS) – San Francisco –– Help eliminate legal barriers to employment and self-sufficiency, such as suspended driver’s licenses, employment rights regarding criminal background checks, housing habitability, and consumer credit issues.
- Reentry – Alameda, Contra Costa – Low-income individuals seeking to overcome a criminal conviction or arrest history and reestablish themselves within our communities face multiple civil barriers, including in housing, occupational licensing, access to public benefits, and consumer debt. We provide wrap-around legal services for these clients by assisting with criminal record remedies, driver’s license restoration, direct representation in a wide array of civil legal practice areas, and by participating in ongoing impact litigation.
- Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) – Contra Costa, Alameda– Assist in providing wrap-around support for clients whose legal issues are affecting their health, while learning about the MLP model of addressing social determinants of health. These partnerships are growing across the United States, allowing attorneys to work with clients across multiple areas of law. We participate in case reviews with Contra Costa Health Services and the Community Health Center Network in Alameda County, and their public health nurses and social workers refer their patients to BayLegal. The majority of these referrals are related to Housing and Social Security, although there are opportunities to represent clients in other areas of law as well.
- Youth Justice Team (YJT) – Alameda, Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Francisco – Legal advocacy for youth, including foster care entry and benefits, guardianships, education advocacy to break school-to-prison pipeline, immigration, restraining orders, family law, public benefits, and SSI.
- Completion of the first year of law school.
- A passion for social justice and poverty-related issues.
- A sensitivity to working with people from diverse backgrounds.
Desired Skills and Abilities – We encourage students who have completed the required Evidence Course to become certified by the California State Bar to represent clients in court. Students who speak Spanish, Cantonese, Russian, Vietnamese, or other Southeast Asian languages, are encouraged to apply. Special consideration will be given to students who have a demonstrated commitment to serving low-income or disadvantaged communities.
Funding – Students are encouraged to apply for funding through their law school and other grant opportunities (please contact us if we can be of assistance). See https://www.psjd.org/ for more information.
Timeline – Law clerkships are available throughout the school year and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis for semester clerkships. For summer, BayLegal begins reviewing applications in mid-October and we recommend applying before February 1 ,2023. Our summer program is nine weeks – beginning in early June through early August. Please submit a completed law clerk application by clicking on the application button, above.
Questions? Email Andrea Del-Pan, Esq., Director of Pro Bono – email@example.com