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 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’ Right 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 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 will have the opportunity to hone their interviewing, client service, and legal research and analysis skills. Students may also 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: Students must attend one mandatory Zoom training at the beginning of the fall semester. Additional trainings will be offered periodically throughout the semester before clinics start. Students must participate in a minimum of four clinics per semester in either Workers’ or Tenants’ Rights (or minimum of six if students choose to do both) in order for them to be fully trained to the extent Centro Legal would like and for them to meaningfully engage in housing/employment law. Given the circumstances, all clinics will be conducted remotely. Clinics will be offered during the day and evening. Students are free to choose the clinics that best fit their schedules.
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 LaRazaSLP@berkeley.edu.