Yesterday was the first day at my new job. I am working with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. I will primarily be in charge of a legal clinic that LCCR runs in partnership with Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco. Glide is a famous and controversial church that has been at the center of many social movements in San Francisco. Glide also provides many social services for the poor and homeless in the community. The clinic allows LCCR to connect with clients who come to Glide for services.
The clinic runs on Monday and Thursday afternoons, so yesterday was my first clinic. The attorney and I saw eight clients (I’m not able to provide clients with legal advice yet, since I’m still waiting on bar exam results). Every client had a different issue. One wanted to get legalized and feared moving back home because of violence. Another had a will dispute. A third needed had been getting harassing calls from a debt collector. Still other clients came with questions about police brutality, eviction, and wage garnishment.
Currently, the clinic can only provide advice and referral, not ongoing representation. Still, we can provide some help. For a client who has issues with student loans, we explained the process to apply for Income Based Repayment (IBR) in order to gain relief. He thanked us for giving him information that his loan servicer refused to give.
I’m a bit nervous about facing a variety of different issues. Most of my legal internship experiences have been in housing, and most of that experience was in Illinois. I don’t know much about family law, or consumer protection, or probate. Still, I know that even with my limited knowledge, I can provide some help, and point clients in the right direction.
I’m grateful for my experiences at Christian Legal Aid of Los Angeles and with Jessie Johnston Fahy, Sarah McKendricks, and Zoë Jordan. That first summer internship at CLA-LA helped me get ready for what I’m doing now with the Glide clinic. As Jessie and Sarah have said, it’s important to be a “can-do attorney.”