Practice Groups of the East Bay Community Law Center (PDF)

Founded by students at University of California Berkeley Law School in 1988, the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is the community‐based component of the law school’s Center for Clinical Education. With a staff of 34 supervising over 100 law students each year, EBCLC is the largest provider of free legal services to the poor in the East Bay, assisting over 5,000 clients annually. EBCLC’s practice areas engage in direct legal services, as well as collaborative, ground‐up policy work through impact litigation, legislative advocacy, community education, and organizing.

Clean Slate Practice: Founded in 2001 and now directed by Eliza Hersh (Berkeley Law ’05), Clean Slate provides assistance to people seeking to clean up their criminal records. In collaboration with the courts, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the Probation Department, and community‐based organizations, the goal of the practice is to foster community reentry and reduce recidivism by helping clients overcome barriers to employment, housing, education, and civic participation. Informed by the direct service work, Clean Slate staff members engage in policy change work to increase understanding and opportunities for clients and the larger community. More about the Clean Slate Practice

Health Practice: Founded in 1990 and now directed by Sheila Hall (Berkeley ’84), the Health Clinic is a multidisciplinary practice addressing the complex and varied health‐related legal needs of low‐income families and disabled individuals. Students provide assistance in multiple areas of law, including public benefits appeals (SSI/SSDI, CalWorks, Food Stamps, In Home Supportive Services, Medi‐Cal, CAPI); housing habitability, and U visa immigration applications. The Health Clinic serves clients through our HIV/AIDS Law Project; a Medical Legal Partnership with Children’s Hospital in Oakland; and Elev8 Legal Services Project in several Oakland middle schools. More about the Health Practice

Housing and Eviction Defense Practice: Founded in 1988 and now directed by Laura Lane (Berkeley Law ’96), Housing is a litigation practice designed to prevent homelessness in the East Bay. Students represent clients in civil eviction defense proceedings and in administrative matters arising under the jurisdiction of the Berkeley and Oakland rent stabilization ordinances, assist pro per clients at the county courthouse, conduct outreach and education workshops for tenants, and develop affirmative lawsuits to enforce habitability standards and other applicable housing laws. Housing provides significant community and service provider training on housing rights throughout Alameda County. More about the Housing Practice

Immigration Practice: Founded in 2003 and directed since then by Linda Tam (Berkeley Law ’00), the Immigration Clinic provides immigration services to low-income immigrants, many of whom are HIV-positive or families of children with chronic health problems. We assist with a wide variety of immigration issues, including: political asylum, U visas, deportation defense, DACA, VAWA, NACARA, complex naturalization, immigration effects of criminal convictions, and benefits eligibility. We also represent detained clients.

Neighborhood Justice Clinic: Founded in 2007 and now directed by Elisa Della‐Piana (Berkeley Law ’02), this practice operates out of EBCLC’s original office on Shattuck Avenue. NJC is a low‐threshold, barrier‐free legal center meant to be accessible to a wide range of people—including people with physical and mental disabilities—who might not be able to access legal services elsewhere. Through the General Legal Clinic, low-income clients in Alameda County can get limited scope assistance with a wide variety of legal issues, including those related to homelessness, consumer law, DMV problems, small claims cases, and tort defense. NJC also serves as the site for EBCLC’s Eviction Clinic, evening workshops on topics including Tenant’s Rights and Worker’s Rights, and our Community Legal Outreach program, which each year organizes the volunteer assistance of dozens of first‐year Berkeley Law students to address the non‐emergency legal needs of hundreds of low‐income clients. In 2010, NJC launched the Consumer Debt Collection Defense Clinic, to assist clients burdened by credit card and medical debt. More about the Neighborhood Justice Clinic

Public Benefits: Founded in 1988 and directed since then by Ed Barnes (NYU Law ’77), Welfare is an administrative law practice that seeks to insure and increase the minimum income and supportive services for low‐income individuals and families. Clinic students provide holistic case management and represent clients at General Assistance, CalWORKs, and Food Stamps hearings. Simultaneously, students engage in local, state, and national policy advocacy efforts to eliminate laws that exclude children from receiving aid because they were born into welfare, preserve benefits for families through the State budget process, and stop unconscionable cuts to the GA program in Alameda County.

Green‐Collar Communities Clinic (GC3): EBCLC’s commitment to community economic development dates back to 1995, when we helped establish a bank in West Oakland, the People’s Community Partnership Federal Credit Union. Since then, EBCLC has worked to incorporate community non‐profits, increase affordable housing, support women and minorities in the construction trade, and ensure community voices in large‐scale development in Oakland. In 2012, Sushil Jacob launched a new community economic development clinic, the Green-Collar Communities Clinic, with a two‐year Skadden Fellowship. GC3 provides free, integrated legal and business assistance to low‐income entrepreneurs and nonprofits who seek to create cooperative and environmentally‐sustainable ventures. More information about GC3 is available on the GC3 website.

Youth Defender Clinic: The Youth Defender Clinic (YDC) represents young people involved in the juvenile justice system in Alameda County. The mission of YDC is to stop the school-to-prison pipeline on an individual, institutional, and community level by addressing both the causes and consequences of court involvement. YDC does this by providing holistic defense representation, which includes representing young people in delinquency proceedings as well as in related civil proceedings that are deeply intertwined with the delinquency case, such as school expulsion, special education, housing, immigration, criminal record sealing and benefits proceedings. By connecting YDC clients with the multiple civil legal services already offered at EBCLC, YDC offers young people access to many services under one roof. For more information, see the YDC information sheet or contact Supervising Staff Attorney Kate Weisburd at 510-548-4040.