As part of my job, I’ve been making to do lists to keep me organized. Last week, I started marking off the things that I accomplished and saving the old lists so that I know what I got done. I use Microsoft OneNote, and it’s pretty intuitive. Looking over my week, here are some things that I got done:
– Interviewed applicants for jobs with our office.
– Met with clients at the GLIDE Legal Clinic and helped provide legal advice. One of the clients came with really awful conditions problems in his apartment (mold and roaches and filth). I referred him to a few organizations that could provide specialized help.
– Inputted client data into our internal database.
– Provided input at the semiannual Clinic check-in meeting about how to improve our Legal Clinic. As part of improving our services, I will be meeting with different groups at GLIDE (such as the addiction recovery group and the domestic violence support group) to hear about what legal services they might need.
– Answered questions for a client worried about housing discrimination.
– Attended an internship fair at Berkeley Law to pitch our organization to interested students.
– Did some data work for a monthly report on the Legal Clinic.
– Met with a legal services partner to talk through best practices. We’re going to Traffic Court this Wednesday to see how citations and tickets are being handled, since we are working with a coalition to make these citations less onerous for homeless individuals.
– Helped a client who had his home destroyed by San Francisco figure out next steps in pursuing a claim against the City. We have helped a number of homeless individuals who had their tents/tiny homes/structures cleared out or demolished by the City.
Most of what I did isn’t really “legal work.” I haven’t opened up Lexis or Westlaw (legal research databases) in a while. I haven’t written many memos or briefs.
But I am learning a lot about what advocacy looks like at the very start of a case, of how to answer legal questions and point people in the right direction. A lot of this kind of lawyering is listening to people’s stories, helping them figure out what’s going on, and directing them to resources to advocate for themselves or organizations that will help them.
And reporting. Always got to be reporting to the funders. As the saying goes, “In God we trust. All others bring data.”