Current SLPS Projects
Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) are a vital part of the student experience at Berkeley Law. Most students join at least one SLPS during their first year and many join two or more. Still others continue SLPS work throughout law school.
The current SLPS Projects are:
AYJ - Berkeley High Student Court
AYJ - Education Advocacy Clinic
CLO Housing and Tenants Rights
CLO Public Benefits and Justice (PBJ)
EJW Community Food Enterprise (Legal Eats)
To learn more about these organizations and the work they do contact the SLPS coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
“My status as a Berkeley Law student gives me privileges and opportunities that very few people in the world can access. Through the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project, I use this access to guide clients in California prisons through the parole process to regain their freedom."
-- Aaron Zagory, Class of 2015
Advocates for Youth Justice (AYJ)
Advocates for Youth Justice (AYJ) is a community of advocates committed to youth justice issues now and throughout their careers. AYJ operates three youth-oriented legal services projects and provides peer mentorship and networking opportunities for law students interested in issues affecting Bay Area youth.
AYJ - Berkeley High Student Court
AYJ's Berkeley High Student Court takes a restorative, student-based approach to school discipline at Berkeley High School (BHS). The court handles real discipline cases brought before a student jury, and student lawyers argue the case for both sides. Berkeley Law students train BHS student lawyers by teaching a class on the basics of trial procedures including trial process, voir dire, opening and closing statements, and objections. Berkeley Law students then mentor the BHS student lawyers as they participate in the program. Berkeley Law students also serve as trial coordinators, acting as clerk and bailiff, selecting jurors from the student jury pool, and assisting the judge. The coordinator contacts and recruits local judges (state and federal), law professors, and lawyers to serve as judges for the court. Berkeley Law students are recruited to teach, mentor, and preside over trials throughout the school year.
AYJ - Education Advocacy Project
The Education Advocacy Project works with attorneys from the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and Disability Rights California to train Berkeley Law students to become court-appointed educational rights holders for children in foster care who have special education needs. Once trained, Berkeley Law students are paired with a foster youth, a practicing attorney, and a fellow law student with educational advocacy experience. The Berkeley Law student then works with schools and other service providers to actively advocate for their assigned youth’s special education needs. Participating students learn about administrative law, special education, and the foster care system. They also gain valuable mediation and advocacy skills. Because of the personal connection made with a foster youth, a one year minimum commitment is required for this clinic, but many students remain partnered with their youth after graduating, either until the youth turns 18 or the student/graduate leaves the Bay Area.
Berkeley Immigration Law Clinic
The Berkeley Immigration Law Clinic (BILC) coordinates with the Asian Law Caucus and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) to provide free immigration law assistance to low-income immigrants in the Bay Area. Law students work directly with economically-disadvantaged immigrants and help them to file documents mandated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Students meet with clients and help prepare USCIS forms and documents, including family petitions, naturalizations, declaration letters and other official citizen and immigration papers. Students who are conversational in Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, or Hmong will have opportunities to use and refine their language skills. The Students may provide services in San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose, with weekend clinics frequently scheduled in San Francisco Chinatown and San Jose Japantown. Students typically stay to eat lunch with other volunteers, a group that usually includes Berkeley and Boalt graduates, students and alumni from other nearby law schools and local legal professionals.
Boalt Anti-Trafficking Project (Boalt ATP)
The Boalt Anti-Trafficking Project (Boalt ATP) offers Berkeley Law students the opportunity to provide legal services to survivors of human trafficking through partnerships with local anti-trafficking organizations. Boalt ATP works with Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach (APILO) to develop training materials, including a publishable T-1 (Trafficking) Visa Manual/Practice Guide for new and pro bono attorneys working with survivors of human trafficking. Boalt ATP has also partnered with MISSSEY and local attorneys to develop a “know your rights” outreach and prevention curriculum for youth in juvenile hall who have either already been identified as victims of commercial sexual exploitation or remain at high-risk for future recruitment and exploitation. One of Berkeley Law’s newest projects, the Boalt Anti-Trafficking Project works to confront and combat the alarming rate of both labor and sex trafficking within California.
Boalt Association of Military Veterens
The Boalt Association of Military Veterans (BAMV) has launched efforts to expand veterans legal services in the East Bay. As part of its initial efforts, BAMV created a SLPS to pilot a needs assessment and resource evaluation project. SLPS members will volunteer their time at local veterans service and advocacy organizations in order to do community outreach and data collection. The findings from this project will in turn be used to help promote the creation of a full-fledged veterans legal clinic at Berkeley Law. Under attorney supervision from the East Bay Community Law Center, students will engage in an information and referral model only while doing community outreach. BAMV is seeking a small number of creative and dedicated students to help us with this pilot project in the spring semester, with the hopes of considerably expanding our efforts in the fall.
California Asylum Representation Clinic (CARC)
The California Asylum Representation Clinic (CARC) provides law students with the opportunity to assist individuals throughout the asylum process. Participants—primarily 1Ls—gain hands-on experience in providing vital legal assistance to under-served communities in the Bay Area. In partnership with the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, and under the guidance of experienced attorneys and student mentors, students work in pairs to interview clients and draft client declarations; perform legal and factual research on asylum law and country conditions; represent clients at their asylum interviews; and advise clients following a decision on their case. Generously supported by Reed Smith, LLP, CARC has grown into one of the largest student-run projects at Berkeley Law. Since CARC’s inception in1995, more than 750 law students from Berkeley have handled cases for more than 400 individuals seeking affirmative asylum in the United States, with regular annual success rates of greater than 80%. An application for the 2013 academic year is available.
Civil Rights Outreach Project (CROP)
The Berkeley Civil Rights Outreach Project (CROP) works in collaboration with the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) in San Francisco, and provides outreach to monolingual and economically disadvantaged individuals and communities impacted by post-9/11 profiling and discrimination. CROP aims to assist these communities with their legal needs, educate them about their legal rights, and empower them to advocate on their own behalf. In conjunction with the Asian Law Caucus and other partnering attorneys, CROP participants travel to mosques and community centers in the Berkeley-Oakland area to provide clients with free, limited legal information. Students gain substantive knowledge of national security and civil rights issues, as well as training on issue spotting and client interaction. For more information contact BerkeleyCROP@gmail.com
East Bay Community Law Center - Community Legal Outreach (CLO)
For more than ten years, the East Bay Community Law Center’s Community Legal Outreach (CLO) Program has engaged first-year students to assist low-income communities in Oakland. Under the supervision of EBCLC staff attorneys, upper class student coordinators recruit and train first year students to conduct outreach visits at the local welfare office and provide legal information and referrals to low-income clients. Each year, CLO students assist more than 1,000 low-income people in need of social and legal services. These connections often result in housing, income, healthcare, and other basic necessities for clients who would otherwise go without. CLO operates through the following sub groups:
Community Legal Outreach - Housing and Tenants' Rights Workshop
The Tenants' Rights Workshop helps protect the legal rights and remedies of tenants in Oakland and Berkeley. Each week, students meet with tenants regarding their housing-related issues, including habitability, foreclosure, subsidized housing, and evictions. Students work one-on-one with staff attorneys from the East Bay Community Law Center to provide tenants with advice and brief legal services such as demand letters. In doing so, students learn the interaction and application of federal, State, and local housing laws to low-income tenants. Students also have the opportunity to make an immediate and direct impact in their local community. The workshop meets each Tuesday throughout the semester. Each Workshop includes one hour of training and two hours of clinic.
Community Legal Outreach - Public Benefits and Justice (PBJ)
Through CLO’s Public Benefits and Justice project (PBJ), Berkeley Law students assist Alameda County residents with issues related to CalWORKS, General Assistance, and other public benefits (i.e. “welfare”). Twice a month, students "meet clients where they are" by conducting outreach at local welfare offices where they provide referrals and benefit assistance. Students also conduct twice monthly workshops at EBCLC's Neighborhood Justice Center, where clients come to receive assistance and general counseling on benefit applications, appeals requests, and related issues. EBCLC staff attorneys supervise students.
East Bay Dreamer Clinic
The East Bay Dreamer Clinic (EBDC) familiarizes Berkeley Law students with the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application process. DACA permits undocumented youth to receive a work permit and a deportation reprieve from United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). EBDC students will use their DACA familiarization to go into East Bay high schools and community colleges to find DACA-eligible youth and educate them and their parents on the DACA process. Under the supervision of DACA-experienced attorneys from the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and East Bay Community Law Center, EBDC students will guide DACA-eligible youth through the DACA application process, with an eye towards having these youth file their DACA applications with USCIS. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Environmental Justice Workshop (EJW)
The Environmental Justice Workshop is a working group within Students for Environmental and Economic Justice (SEEJ), a student organization dedicated to the just and equitable distribution of environmental and economic benefits and burdens for communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. SEEJ is committed to the strategic use of legal tools to strengthen grassroots organizing and to build community power. EJW provides an opportunity for first-year law students to work in teams with second- and third-year students to provide pro bono legal assistance to local grassroots environmental justice and international watchdog organizations. Students engage with issues that are local, national, and international in scope, including issues related to climate change, sustainable economic development, food justice, international finance and development, land use and permitting, and energy policy. EJW’s current projects include:
EJW – Community Food Enterprise
The EJW Community Food Enterprise ("Legal Eats") works with the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (GC3) to provide legal support and counseling to small-scale food enterprises serving low-income communities in Northern California. Each semester, students research and present on discrete topics at the Legal Eats Workshop which provides an overview of critical legal issues faced by community food enterprises and connects participants with local organizations to support their needs. Later in the semester, students engage with clients who participated in the workshop and are seeking legal guidance for their enterprises. Students interview clients, conduct legal research on issues identified through the interviews, and lead in-person client consultations, with attorney supervision and assistance.
EJW – Karuk-Berkeley Collaborative
Suction Dredge Mining Litigation Project (KBC) is a collaboration among law students and students from the Environmental Science, Policy & Management school (ESPM) to work with the Karuk Tribe, lawyers, and activists to protect the Klamath River Basin from suction dredge mining.
Environmental Conservation Outreach (ECO)
The problem: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a national pretreatment standard for oil and gas waste water discharges. That standard has an exception (40 CFR 435.50-.52) for discharges in the arid West. Where states do not impose higher standards than the federal standard, the exception appears to be allowing significant pollutants into waterways associated with fracking. This is a particular issue on tribal lands where the tribes don't have delegated permitting authority. There is an NPR story that does a good job of giving an overview of the concerns that the exemption is raising on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming: http://www.npr.org/2012/11/15/164688735/loophole-lets-toxic-oil-water-flow-over-indian-land
The project: ELS project participants will conduct research to better understand: 1) how widespread use of this exception is and the extent of the problem and 2) whether it would be feasible and desirable to file a petition with the EPA to change the exception. If project participants determine that it would be desirable to file a petition with the EPA, we will draft and submit the petition in the spring of 2014.
Health Law Initiative
Health Law Initiative partners with medical institutions to target social determinants of health through legal intervention. Students explore the interaction between health and legal fields through a variety of trainings and direct engagement with community members, medical providers, and practicing attorneys.
International Human Rights Workshop (IHRW)
The International Human Rights Workshop (IHRW) currently partners with the Human Rights Center (HRC), under the supervision of the Director of the Sexual Violence Program, Kim Thuy Seelinger. This year, IHRW will assist the three main projects at the HRC, the Forensic Program, Global Justice Program, and Sexual Violence Program.
Students will have the opportunity to hone their legal research and writing skills and develop knowledge of domestic and international laws. The Forensic Program will give students the opportunity to assist the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office in gaining a more comprehensive understanding of victim behavior after an attack. Students assisting the Global Justice Program will work on war crimes research by conducting background research on victim participation in the International Criminal Court. Students assisting the Sexual Violence Program will respond directly to the needs of public defenders and judges in Liberia by researching the right to confront an accuser.
IHRW requires a full-year commitment (Fall 2013, Spring 2014) and students are expected to commit an average of 5 hours of work per week.
Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) provides legal assistance to Iraqi refugees applying for resettlement to the United States. The project serves clients inside and near Iraq who are among the 2 million Iraqis who have fled the country due to the war, economic deprivation, and persecution, or who are in grave danger due to previous work for a U.S. employer. IRAP also assists Afghan clients who face persecution because of their work for the U.S. military, usually as interpreters. Since 2008, more than 40 Berkeley Law IRAP students have partnered with law firms and solo attorneys across the country to provide legal assistance to these refugees. There are twenty-two IRAP projects at law schools nationwide, forming a network of students actively assisting Iraqi refugees in the Middle East. Last year, the Berkeley Law IRAP project entered a partnership with Morrison & Foerster LLP. Students are paired with IRAP coordinators and supervising attorneys. Together, they contact clients overseas and develop legal strategies for their clients’ cases based upon the clients’ experiences and personal narratives. They then work alongside the attorneys to provide the client with detailed guidance in navigating the often opaque resettlement process. Students prepare documents, assist in drafting client declarations, solicit U.S. government and military recommendations, provide translation services, and advocate on behalf of their clients with the aim of seeing their clients approved for resettlement to the U.S.
Juvenile Hall Outreach (JHO)
Juvenile Hall Outreach is a Street Law program that empowers incarcerated and detained youth by teaching them their legal rights and basic criminal procedure. Berkeley Law students teach a 6-week course at the Alameda County Juvenile Hall which covers Miranda rights, search and seizure, three strikes, and police misconduct. Teaching teams comprised of four to six Berkeley Law students are assigned to teach in particular juvenile hall units which vary by age, gender, and level of security. Law students design a detailed teaching curriculum, and are expected to meet weekly with their teaching team for lesson planning, collaboration and preparation. Participating students learn about criminal procedure—including the disparity between theory and reality in high crime neighborhoods—and gain experience working with incarcerated clients.
La Raza Workers' Rights Clinic
Centro Legal de la Raza is a local non-profit organization founded by Berkeley Law students and graduates that provides comprehensive legal services to immigrant, low-income and Latino communities in the Bay Area. These services include bilingual legal representation, education, community organizing and advocacy. Through education and legal assistance for wage claims, discrimination, and workers' compensation, the La Raza Workers’ Rights Clinic works with Centro Legal de la Raza to help low-wage workers fight unlawful working conditions. The project provides an opportunity for students to work directly with clients who have been impacted by wage and hour violations, employment discrimination, retaliation, and other areas of employment law. Students meet directly with clients, prepare their demand letters or wage claims, research different areas of the law (in the event the clinic does follow-up work for the client), and in some cases, represent clients at agency hearings.
Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (P-CAP)
The Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (P-CAP) trains Berkeley Law students to assist inmates with the parole process. Indigent prisoners regularly receive inadequate representation from board-appointed attorneys and are subsequently unprepared for their parole board hearings. P-CAP seeks justice for these thousands of men and women who may spend the rest of their lives in prison even though they pose no threat to society. Through P-CAP, students can help ensure that prisoners are well prepared and have a fair chance at their hearings. Students will meet their clients about four times per semester, gather documents, prepare clients for the parole board hearing, and help represent clients at that hearing. P-CAP also provides opportunities for students to assist with appeals of prisoners who have been denied parole. Students who choose to do appeals will conduct legal research and help draft writs of habeas corpus. For more information, please contact: UnCommon Law, 220 4th St. Suite 103, Oakland, CA 94607.
Workers' Rights Clinic (WRC)
The Workers' Rights Clinic (WRC), in cooperation with the San Francisco Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Center, provides free legal information to low-income workers with employment-related problems. The project gives Berkeley Law students—particularly 1Ls—an opportunity to interview and work with clients who need their help. Law students meet one-on-one with clients to discuss the details of their employment problem. Together, the student and the supervising attorney analyze the client's situation, identify legal issues, and determine what remedies the client might pursue. The student then reports back to the client to discuss the possible solutions. Students learn about current issues in employment law from dedicated supervising attorneys in a small-group discussion setting. Law students also represent clients at unemployment compensation hearings.
Workers' Rights Disability Law Clinic (WRDLC)
As above, the Workers’ Rights Disability Law Clinic partners with the San Francisco Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Center to address the full range of employment-related issues for low-income clients while maintaining a special focus on meeting the needs of workers with disabilities.
For more information contact the SLPS coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org