La Alianza 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 after seeing the immense need for free legal representation in 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, and Immigration. Centro Legal also now runs an innovative Youth Law Academy.
The SLP is divided into two parts, the Workers’ Rights clinic and the Tenants’ Right clinic. Students have the opportunity to participate in either one of the clinics or both. The Workers’ Rights clinic serves predominantly Spanish-speaking and immigrant workers who are facing a variety of job-related issues including wage theft, discrimination and sexual harassment, retaliation, unemployment, and health and safety.
The Tenants’ Rights clinic meets with tenants, roughly 60% of who speak English and 40% who speak Spanish, Cantonese, or Vietnamese. Tenants the clinic serves face a range of housing issues, including evictions, illegal rent increases, harassment from landlords, and 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 will likely have the opportunity to write demand letters, complaints, Civil Rights violation claims, and Rent Board petitions. Interested students may also be able to help with policy initiatives, testify at city council hearings, attend hearings, help plan educational events and panels about housing and employment issues, and get involved in local community actions.
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: 10-15 hours per semester with the opportunity for more. Tenants’ Rights Clinic will be held Tuesday evenings and Workers’ Rights Clinic will be held Thursday evenings; both are held bi-weekly. There’s two mandatory trainings and approximately 7-9 clinics per semester. We encourage students to participate in as many of them as they can. It is essential that students come to all of the clinics they commit to attend, and give advance notice if anything changes.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at LaAlianzaSLP@berkeley.edu.