La Alianza (formerly, La Raza) Workers’ and Tenants’ Rights Clinic is one of the oldest SLPs at Berkeley Law, created in 1969 by La Raza law students who founded Centro Legal de la Raza after seeing the immense need for free legal representation to the Oakland’s Latinx community. The historic organization has since become a cornerstone of legal services in Oakland, serving the Bay Area and now all of Northern California in the areas of Workers’ Rights, Tenants’ Rights, Immigration, and running an innovative Youth Law Academy.
The SLP is divided into two parts, the Workers’ Rights Clinic and the Tenants’ Rights Clinic. Students have the opportunity to participate in either one of the clinics or to do both. The Workers’ Rights Clinic meets with predominantly Spanish-speaking and immigrant workers who are facing a variety of job-related issues including wage theft, discrimination and sexual harassment, retaliation, and unemployment issues and safety concerns related to COVID-19.
The Tenants’ Rights Clinic meets with tenants, roughly 60% of who speak English and 40% who speak Spanish, Cantonese, and Vietnamese. Tenants at the clinic face a range of housing issues from evictions, illegal rent increases, landlord harassment, or uninhabitable conditions. The goal of this clinic is to stop displacement of low-income residents and stabilize rapidly-changing communities through eviction defense.
Students will have the opportunity to hone their interviewing, client service, and legal research and analysis skills. Students may have the opportunity to write demand letters, complaints, and Rent Board petitions, help with policy initiatives, testify at city council hearings, and attend hearings. Students may also help plan educational events and panels about housing and employment issues and get involved in local community actions.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the SLP will work with clients over the phone at the beginning of the Fall Semester, with plans to resume in-person clinics when Centro Legal de la Raza resumes in-person client services.
Supervision: Students will receive training from and provide pro bono legal services under the supervision of attorneys at Centro Legal de La Raza.
Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per semester with the opportunity for more. Students will be expected to participate in 4 clinics per semester with either the Workers’ Rights or the Tenants’ Rights team. If a student wishes to volunteer with both the Workers’ and Tenants’ Rights Clinics, they will be asked to volunteer at a minimum of 3 of each per semester.
Additional Information: Students may also have the opportunity to engage in policy advocacy, client representation, drafting legal documents, and helping to put together know-your-rights materials.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at LaAlianzaSLP@berkeley.edu.