Right here amidst the booming economy of the San Francisco Bay Area, a surprising number of our very own friends and neighbors risk losing their homes, their savings, and their families due to a lack of access to adequate legal services. Housed in the Pleasant Hill Campus and partnering with legal-aid groups throughout the region, JFK University’s legal clinics have for years helped to satisfy this need by providing affordable legal assistance to underserved members of the local community.
Since its founding in 1965, JFK University has made serving the public interest a core element of its mission. As the only law school in Contra Costa County, JFK University College of Law is uniquely situated to furnish legal aid in a potentially underrepresented region.
The three legal clinics (The Housing Advocacy Clinic, The Legal Clinic For Elders, and The Family Law Clinic) collectively assist some of the area’s most vulnerable individuals on issues of vital importance to their lives. By utilizing second- and third-year law students under the supervision of experienced, licensed attorneys, the clinics are able to offer quality legal services at minimal, if any, cost to their clients.
The Housing Advocacy Clinic
Working in collaboration with housing advocacy groups such Bay Area Legal Aid and the San Francisco Tenants Union, JFK University College of Law’s Housing Advocacy Clinic takes a multipronged approach to assisting local residents in need. First, the clinic offers a housing hotline through which clients may receive over-the-phone information pertaining to their specific situations. For more complicated matters, the Housing Advocacy Clinic also offers full-scope client representation, defending tenants in eviction proceedings and unlawful detainer actions.
For proof of the program’s effectiveness, one need look no further than the real people in the local community whose homes have been saved by the efforts of clinic staff.
“I couldn’t have done it without you,” one thankful client wrote to the Housing Advocacy Clinic. “My landlord was persistent and having you guys is what got me through. It is too bad that people like my landlord don’t think the law applies to them. Thank you for helping me.”
Legal Clinic For Elders
Offering free legal services to low-income individuals over the age of 60, the Legal Clinic for Elders assists clients with drafting essential legal documents and dealing with other pressing issues facing today’s elders. Under the supervision of an experienced estate-law practitioner, second- and third-year law students assist clients with the preparation of simple wills, powers of attorney, and health-care directives. Through its legal hotline and in-person consultations, the Legal Clinic for Elders also provides assistance on matters relating to elder abuse of all kinds, including financial, emotional, and physical abuse.
Children, Families, and the Law Clinic
Playing a key role in easing the case load of overburdened Contra Costa County courts, JFK University’s Children, Families, and the Law Clinic hosts monthly on-site workshops for parties dealing with issues of family law. This workshop has proven so effective that in many instances local courts have made attendance mandatory prior to a final dissolution hearing. By helping reduce the caseload of local courts while assisting parties in coming to fair, amicable resolutions, the Children, Families, and the Law Clinic plays a key role in improving the lives of families throughout the local community.
Through the College of Law’s legal clinics, JFK University puts into practice its stated commitment to being a force for positive change in the local community. From our administration to our faculty to our student body, we strive to make a difference in society one individual at a time.
For more information on JFK University College of Law’s Legal Clinics, please visit www.jfku.edu/Alumni-Community/Community/Clinics-Legal.html.