Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS)
The spirit of community leadership and public service defines the student experience at Berkeley Law. The Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) are Berkeley Law public service projects, founded by students, run by upper class students, and staffed by first-year students. The students have recruited their own supervising attorneys and formed long-lasting partnerships with a variety of prominent public interest legal organizations, law firms, and government agencies.
These projects provide first year students at Berkeley Law with the opportunity to interact with clients from their very first semester, gaining the benefit of practical experience to inform their academic coursework.
There are currently over 400 students participating in SLPS Programs at Berkeley Law. SLPS students:
- Teach a “know your rights” program at the Alameda County Juvenile Hall;
- Assist public school students facing expulsion;
- Are appointed to act as certified education representatives for foster youth;
- Help direct a restorative justice court at Berkeley High School;
- Assist refugees seeking asylum in the United States;
- Assist lawyers at the Centro Legal de La Raza advise clients on employment law matters;
- Conduct outreach visits at shelters, transitional housing sites, and health clinics;
- Provide information and referrals for low-income people needing social and legal services;
- Teach tenants’ rights workshops;
- Assist lawyers at the San Francisco Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center on employment law issues facing low-wage workers;
- Assist immigrants in filing citizenship applications; and
- Assist Iraqi refugees applying for resettlement in the United States.
"Interacting with a foster youth and advocating for his educational needs transformed my first year of law school. It was a wonderful hands-on experience, and I developed a relationship with a client who I will continue to advocate for after I have left Berkeley Law. Working with my SLPS Project has given me a great opportunity to use my legal education to make a positive impact on a child's life." -- Emily Prifogle, Class of 2012
The SLPS Projects also foster connections between Berkeley Law and prominent non-profit legal services organizations and law firms in the Bay Area, including:
- National Center for Youth Law;
- Disability Rights California;
- Legal Services for Children;
- East Bay Community Law Center;
- San Francisco Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center;
- Centro Legal de la Raza;
- Asian Law Caucus;
- East Bay Sanctuary Covenant;
- Reed Smith, LLP; and
- Morrison & Foerster.
“Workers’ Rights Clinic has given me the opportunity to significantly interact with clients and the supervising attorneys at the San Francisco Employment Law Center Legal Aid Society. Having a mentor so early in my career has really helped me shape my own career goals and skills.” -- Puja Mehta, Class of 2012
Student-Initiated Legal Service Projects (SLPS) are open to all Boalt students. Participation is on a volunteer basis, not for course credit. The hours may be used to meet the minimum number of pro bono hours required of students receiving summer pro bono grants (also known as Dean Edley grants). The hours may also be used to meet the 50 hour Pro Bono Pledge.