Services to California’s Central Valley

The clinic began its work in the Central Valley initially in response to a 2011 door-to-door economic study in California’s Central Valley showing unprecedented levels of poverty in rural communities near the Valley’s major cities of Merced, Modesto, Fresno, and others.  (DeLugan, R. M., Hernandez, M., Sylvester, D., Weffer, S. E. (2010). The Dynamics of Social Indicator Research for California’s Central Valley in Transition. Social Indicator Research, 100(2), 185-207).  The study documented the lack of access to water, electricity, sewer, trash pick-up and other basic services, primarily in communities of color, located just a few miles off the major thoroughfares of I-5 and Highway 99.  Over a several year period, clinic attorneys and Berkeley Law students made regular monthly visits to the Valley, hosted by local leaders of government, business sectors, and communities of color, culminating in a formal commitment in 2015 to extend free legal services to help improve the survivability of new Valley businesses. Today, the clinic visits the Valley twice monthly, on First Fridays in greater Merced, and Third Fridays in greater Fresno, to provide free office hours and legal trainings to help new entrepreneurs navigate the many legal demands related to new businesses.  We are grateful for our many Valley partner agencies who have invited the clinic to offer services under their well-known local banners:

  • UC Merced Venture Lab
  • Fresno State Office of Community Economic Development
  • Fresno State Lyles Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Fresno State Water Energy Technology Center
  • Merced and Fresno Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
  • Fresno Mexican Consulate
  • Clovis Culinary Center
  • Small Business Development Centers of the Central Valley
  • UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic
  • San Joaquin College of Law New American Legal Clinic
  • California Rural Legal Assistance
  • Central California Legal Services