Domestic Violence Field Placement Internships

Berkeley Law supervisor: Nancy K. D. Lemon
Lecturer and Director of the Domestic Violence Field Placement
(510) 525-3164 or nlemon@law.berkeley.edu

[Note: most of these placements can be done 12-20 hours a week for 3-5 credits, to be arranged with your on-site supervisor]

Judicial Externships

Alameda County, San Francisco County

  • assist a trial court judge with cases, research, watch court hearings and trials, work on special projects; family law, juvenile law, or criminal law may be possible, focusing on domestic violence matters

Civil Legal Settings

Family Violence Law Center (FVLC) – Oakland – www.fvlc.org

  • many types of family law issues: Restraining Orders, custody, support, etc.; you can expect to represent clients in TRO hearings if you are certified through the state bar

Bay Area Legal Aid – Oakland, San Francisco, Richmond, San Jose – www.baylegal.org

  • variety of types of law affecting survivors of domestic violence (family law, consumer, public benefits, immigration, housing); sometimes go to court and administrative hearings (e.g., restraining orders/custody, public benefits)

Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) – San Mateo – www.corasupport.org

  • restraining orders, family law, immigration, housing, and other legal matters involving survivors of domestic violence; court at least weekly; you could represent clients in TRO hearings if certified

Family Violence Appellate Project (FVAP) – Berkeley – www.fvaplaw.org

  • conduct legal research, help screen possible cases for appeal, work on appellate briefs and/or amicus briefs in cases where children are ordered into dangerous custody or visitation situations with abusers; prefers students who have already worked at a nonprofit agency focusing on DV family law issues at the trial level

Employment Law

Legal Aid at Work – San Francisco – https://legalaidatwork.org

  • Project Survive, one of the programs, focuses on survivors with employment issues (time off to deal with domestic violence, keeping their jobs, obtaining unemployment, trying to get their jobs back, employer not protecting client at work, etc.) – direct services and policy work; rarely go to court

Immigration and Asylum Law

East Bay Sanctuary Covenant – Berkeley – https://eastbaysanctuary.org

  • immigration and asylum cases, can focus on domestic violence survivors; possible to represent clients at hearings before asylum officers; helpful to speak Spanish but not essential

Center for Gender and Refugee Studies – San Francisco -https://cgrs.uchastings.edu

  • research and writing regarding domestic-violence based asylum cases; probably no client contact; supervising attorneys are very experienced, working on major cases

Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach – San Francisco and Oakland – www.apilegaloutreach.org

  • advocacy, family law and immigration law for domestic violence survivors; require 15-20 hours a week, prefer students who speak Tagalog, Mandarin, Cantonese, or Spanish plus demonstrated commitment to social justice work

International Institute of the Bay Area – Oakland – www.iibayarea.org

  • self-petitions for immigrant battered women under the Violence Against Women Act, and U Visas, a lot of client contact, assembling evidence and writing petitions, though probably no court work

Centro Legal de la Raza – Oakland – www.centrolegal.org

  • must speak Spanish. self-petitions under VAWA and U visas, client contact, community education and outreach if you want to do these

Immigration Center for Women and Children – San Franciscowww.icwclaw.org

  • self-petitions for immigrant battered women under the Violence Against Women Act, and U Visas, a lot of client contact, assembling evidence and writing petitions, though probably no court work

Criminal Law

District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Unit – Oakland – www.alcoda.org

  • a little client contact, focus is on working closely with prosecutors and assisting them with motions, investigation, etc.; if certified, you may argue a motion or preliminary examination; recommend that you take Criminal Procedure first

District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Unit – San Francisco – www.sfgov.org/da

  • a little client contact, focus is on working closely with prosecutors and assisting them with motions, investigation, etc.; if certified, you may argue a motion or preliminary examination; recommend that you take Criminal Procedure first

District Attorney’s Domestic Violence Unit – Marin – www.co.marin.ca.us/da/

  • a little client contact, focus is on working closely with prosecutors and assisting them with motions, investigation, etc.; if certified, you may argue a motion or preliminary examination, or even conduct a trial; recommend that you take Criminal Procedure first

Public Defender Offices – Oakland, San Francisco, Richmond, San Rafael, San Jose

  • they may not have enough domestic violence cases for an intern to focus on that topic but worth asking, some students have interned at these offices

Civil Suits (Torts)

ADZ Law – Redwood City, San Mateo County – https://www.adzlaw.com

  • firm focuses on filing civil suits (torts) for domestic violence survivors, also family law; very experienced attorneys

Juvenile Dependency

East Bay Family Defenders – San Leandro (Alameda County) – https://eastbayfamilydefenders.org

  • nonprofit representing parents in juvenile dependency court whose children are dependents of the court, including many domestic violence survivors; you may be able to represent clients at court hearings

Public Benefits, Housing

East Bay Community Law Center – Berkeley – https://ebclc.org

  • you may focus on domestic violence survivors who have public benefits or housing problems; possible to represent clients at administrative hearings

Other Placements

If there is another placement where you would like to work, please talk to me and we will attempt to arrange it.

General Information:

You need to average 12-20 hours per week at the internship, including both seeing clients and going to court. You receive 1 unit for each 4 hours you do weekly, for a total of 3, 4, or 5 units.

I will also meet with you and the other interns two hours per week (283Q, the classroom component). So the total time commitment is 14-22 hrs per week plus weekly homework focusing on professional responsibility using domestic violence scenarios.

After you figure out a potential schedule and a identify a placement you would like, email me, then email the agency/office with your resume and a short cover letter so you can arrange to be interviewed by the supervisor, in person or on the phone.

Getting Certified:

Need for Certification: If you’d like to represent clients in court, you need to be certified to represent clients at hearings. To do this, you must have taken or be taking Evidence. The Dean of Students will not sign your certification form until the semester in which you are taking Evidence begins.

For other legal settings, you may not need to be certified, so do not need to have taken Evidence. You may want to be certified in case you get a chance to argue in court, but this is not required.

Process: There are 3 separate forms, to be submitted together with your check.

  • Student’s Application
  • Declaration by Supervising Attorney
  • Declaration by Dean of Law School
  • A Non-refundable Application Fee, made payable to the State Bar of Ca.

Print the forms — On www.calbar.ca.gov you go to Home > Attorney Resources > Special Services > Practical Training of Law Students > Forms, and print the forms.

Fill them out and ask the supervising attorney at your placement and the Dean of Students to sign.

File the package with the State Bar in San Francisco as soon as possible.