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California Pro Bono

Bay Area Legal Aid *

Bay Area Legal Aid (Oakland)

Organization Description:

Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) is a regional law firm providing a full range of legal services to low-income individuals and families throughout the Bay Area with regional offices and clinics in: Contra Costa; Alameda; Santa Clara; San Mateo; Marin; Napa; and San Francisco counties. BayLegal welcomes and relies upon volunteers to work in our offices and/or accept cases through a pro bono project receiving training, mentorship and support throughout the pro bono assistance. We practice in four main priority areas: Domestic Violence Prevention (Family Law, Restraining Order, and Immigration assistance); Housing Preservation (Eviction defense and Fair Housing); Access to Health Care (obtain healthcare services from county and state programs); and Economic Security (secure public benefits and eliminate the barriers to employment and self-sufficiency).

Pro Bono Project Description:

Domestic Violence Restraining Order Clinics

BayLegal staff and volunteers assist self-represented domestic violence survivors complete the paperwork and understand the process to request a restraining order and important custody, visitation and support orders.

  • Contra Costa County: East County: Tuesday appointments Concord: Wednesday appointments Richmond workshops (Superior Court): Mon: 9:00 a.m. (9-12pm) & Fri: 8:30 a.m.

  • San Mateo County: Redwood City (539 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063) Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: 9:00 a.m. workshop (9-12pm) Mondays and Wednesdays: 1:30 p.m. workshop (1:30-4pm)Orders are returned on Clinic days between 4:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Limited Scope Representation in Domestic Violence Restraining Order Hearings:

Volunteer attorneys provide limited scope representation (appx. 1 or 2 hearings) for domestic violence survivors seeking permanent restraining orders and important related child custody, visitation and support orders. Volunteers receive training, a practice manual and sample pleadings and ongoing mentorship. Opportunities are available throughout the year and the project runs a summer associate program. Est. time commitment: 25 hours.

  • TRAINING: webinar available contact:
  • San Mateo Domestic Violence Collaborative - Partnership with Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County (LASSM) and Communities Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) (hearings are: Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings)

Immigration Relief for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Violent Crime

VAWA Self-Petitions and U Visa Non-Immigrant Petitions are means to immigration relief for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and other Violent Crimes who are either immediate family members of abusive US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents OR who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and/or prosecution of the crimes perpetrated against them.

  • With BayLegal's training and ongoing mentorship Volunteer Attorneys have the opportunity to work with clients to: Elicit facts related to the abuse suffered and help prepare client's declaration; Prepare immigration petitions and related forms; Collect supporting evidence and documents; Understand the broader immigration petition process; and Obtain work authorization and benefits vital to fleeing and recovering from abuse.

Youth Justice Pro Bono Project

Representation of Poor Foster Care Youth to obtain needed health and financial benefits. Pro Bono Attorney/Volunteer (license is not required) meets with the client at BayLegal's Oakland office or receives direct referral of a case. Volunteer attempts to negotiate for appropriate benefits, if initial attempts to negotiate a settlement are unsuccessful, the volunteer submits a Request for administrative hearing, prepares a Position Statement (due day of hearing), and provides representation (hearing is approximately 3-4 weeks from Request). Est time: 25 hours

  • Hypothetical case: Child is removed from parent(s) by Child Protective Services (CPS) and dropped off with grandmother or other relative. The grandmother receives help with applying for and obtaining Child-Only CalWORKs (appx. $370/month), but is not informed or is denied AFDC-FC ($450-$700+ funds to help address additional needs). The denial of these additional benefits may result in the child returning to the CPS system because the family member lacks the means to provide for the child (causing further instability, etc).
  • TRAINING: Live and DVD available contact:

Family Law Pro Bono Advocacy Program

BayLegal provides training and mentorship to attorneys interested in assisting low-income family law litigants with limited and full scope representation in family law matters, including Dissolution, Domestic Violence, Custody, and Support.

  • TRAINING: Family Law The Basics Seminar Series - Alameda each Fall; Contra Costa each Spring

  • County(s) of Volunteer Opportunity: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara
  • Area of law: Disability, Education, Family & Juvenile, Foreclosure, Health, Homeless, Housing, Immigration & Naturalization, Public Benefits
  • Populations Served: Children, Communities of Color, Domestic Violence Victims, Elderly, Immigrants, Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender, Low Income, Native Americans, Persons with Disabilities, Women, Working poor and unemployed
  • Opportunities For: Interpreters, Law school clinic, Law Students, Lawyers, Mentors, Mentors/consultants, Nonlitigation Projects, Paralegals, Senior Lawyers
  • Need for non-English services: BayLegal welcomes volunteers who are willing to help serve non-English speaking clients either by providing direct services to clients or assisting with interpretation/translation.
  • Hours for Pro Bono Opportunities: Flexible, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, (limited evening opportunities)
  • Malpractice insurance is provided for volunteers: Yes
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Training Required: No
  • CLE credit for trainings: Yes
  • CLE credit for pro bono: No
  • Mentoring or supervision offered: Yes
  • Volunteer lawyers need to meet a caseload or hours requirement: No
  • Volunteers may participate long-distance: No
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