San Diego City Councilmember Marti Emerald visited the Community Law Project legal clinic at Rosa Parks Elementary School in City Heights on November 20.
Emerald wanted to see first-hand how the clinic provides free legal services to lower income and vulnerable individuals in the area.
She met with California Western President and Dean Niels Schaumann, Executive Director Dana Sisitsky, and Clinic Supervisor Rebecca Levine during the clinic’s regular Friday morning session when it is open to clients.
Under the supervision of licensed attorneys, the clients are interviewed and assisted by California Western students. Typical issues range from domestic violence, to immigration to landlord-tenant disputes.
Emerald was inspired by what she saw and heard at the clinic, and pledged her support.
“We would like to help grow this program, support what California Western is trying to achieve and help more people in our community with basic legal needs,” said Emerald. “Our job right now is to help get out the word that the California Western legal clinic is here. In our district, It’s at Rosa Parks. It’s at Hoover High School. We’d like to expand it to some other locations so more people can take advantage of the services offered.”
“I think this is a great connection that we made,” said Schaumann of Councilwoman Emerald’s support. “She was interested and engaged and understood what we are trying to accomplish, so I look forward to working with her in the future.”
Community Law Project’s 10th Anniversary
The Community Law Project is celebrating its 10th anniversary of providing mostly one-on-one legal services at weekly clinics held at five partnering schools and churches in four high-need communities of San Diego County: Downtown, City Heights, Solana Beach, and Lemon Grove. These clinics are staffed by pro bono attorneys, volunteer law students, and experienced supervising attorneys, who work together to assess clients’ issues and give them personalized advice and general information about the legal system. When general legal advice is not enough, clients are scheduled for a follow-up consultation with an attorney who is an expert in the relevant legal field. Because many clients speak little to no English, a Spanish-English interpreter is available at all sites to help facilitate the process.