What is the East Bay Community Law Center?
Founded by Boalt Hall students in 1988, the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is Berkeley’s community-based teaching clinic. EBCLC provides high-quality training and supervision to law students and first-rate legal services to low-income clients in Alameda County. Seventeen lawyers and more than 100 law students under their supervision provide free legal services to over 5,000 clients annually. EBCLC also engages in ground-up policy work through various strategies that include litigation, legislative advocacy and technical support for community education and organizing. In five broad program areas, EBCLC offers eight clinical placements (more details on each clinic here):
- Clean Slate Clinic (Criminal/Litigation)
- Community Economic Justice Clinic (CEJ)
- Consumer Justice and General Clinic
- Education Advocacy Clinic
- Health & Welfare Clinic (Multidisciplinary/Administrative)
- Housing Law Clinic (Litigation)
- Immigration Law Clinic (Administrative/Litigation)
- Youth Defender Clinic
Why should I participate in EBCLC?
Gain Hands-on Lawyering Experience: EBCLC offers you the opportunity to put your classroom learning to work and to gain a broad range of experience in the real-life practice of law. With extensive substantive law and skills training, you have primary responsibility for your cases or projects, including conducting client interviews, counseling clients, negotiating settlements, drafting pleadings and representing clients in administrative hearings and court proceedings.
Receive Close, High-Quality Supervision: You choose a clinic and are assigned to work with one of EBCLC’s clinical supervisors. Supervisors offer day-to-day direction on casework and projects, meet weekly to review your work, and organize regular “case rounds” for all students within a clinic.
Serve the Community: As law student interns, you make a substantial contribution to meeting the legal needs of the low-income community at a time when resources to address these needs are increasingly scarce.
Build Your Resume: Non-profit employers and private law firms know that students at EBCLC receive first-rate training and supervision. The National Association of Law Placement reports that private-sector employers place a high value on the lawyering skills students learn in clinical settings such as EBCLC.
What is my time commitment at EBCLC?
EBCLC Seminar (Law 289): You must enroll in the 2-unit companion seminar. The first third of the semester is devoted to substantive law and skills training. The remainder of the class focuses on materials about many of the issues that face EBCLC clients and law students. The course and clinic provide you with the opportunity to learn first-hand the practice skills and professional responsibilities of representing clients. The seminar is graded credit/no credit.
EBCLC Clinic (Law 295.5z): You must enroll for a minimum of 4 clinical units, or 16 hours per week at EBCLC (each unit = 4 hours/week). You may enroll for more than 16 hours per week in 4 hour increments and receive additional units (e.g., 20 hours/week = 5 units, 24 hours = 6 units, etc.). Although workloads may vary in any given week due to the nature of a live client practice, you will not regularly be required to work more hours than the number of units for which you are enrolled. The clinical component is graded credit/no credit.
Advanced EBCLC Clinic (Law 295.5y): As a returning student, you may enroll for any number of credits in 4 hour increments/week and receive units (e.g., 4 hours/week = 1 unit, 8 hours = 2 units, etc.). The advanced clinic is graded credit/no credit. Flexibility: In consultation with you supervisor, and with the exceptions noted above, you choose your own office hours, consistent with your schedule and the demands of casework.
How do I enroll in EBCLC?
- Complete on-line application on the Berkeley Law website by the posted deadline.
- After you have been admitted to an EBCLC Clinic, enroll in the class (Law 289). Preference is given to students who complete an application by the deadline.