Responding to efforts by Boalt law student Ann O’Leary and supervising attorney Ed Barnes of the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), a California lawmaker has agreed to propose legislation eliminating penalties imposed on welfare recipients who work. Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, plans to introduce an amendment in March that would change rules currently halting welfare payments after five years to recipients who hold low-wage jobs. The effort by O’Leary, a clinical student working at the EBCLC under Barnes’ supervision, stems from a case involving a Cambodian immigrant living in Oakland. The client discovered she was no longer eligible for welfare assistance after she was laid off from her minimum-wage factory job and was diagnosed with diabetes.
The story is detailed in an East Bay Express article on February 23, 2005. Based in Berkeley, the EBCLC was founded by Boalt students in September 1988, and is now the East Bay’s largest provider of free legal assistance.