CLASP – Community Legal Saturday Program

CLASP FlyerVLSC has launched a monthly clinic: CLASP (Community Legal Assistance Saturday Program) that will give anyone who walks in a chance to meet with an attorney in almost every legal field, and receive a 15-20 minute consultation. 

We need volunteer attorneys with experience and knowledge in a wide spectrum of areas of law, including family, criminal, immigration, housing, employment, consumer, bankruptcy, personal injury, estates/probate, business, and real estate. You should have 2-3 years of experience in that field.

Volunteer attorneys are asked to commit to being available to meet with clients from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This clinic is based on one that Tiela Chalmers, our CEO, ran successfully for many years in San Francisco, and that was able to provide real help, particularly for those who were not sure where to turn, or what their next step might be. 

Give back on the weekend

The CLASP clinic takes place on the first Saturday of each month and is held at the Alameda County Law Library, 125 12th Street in Oakland (across from the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, and three blocks from the Lake Merritt BART station). Street parking is usually available. More operational details are below.

CLASP Volunteers
CLASP Volunteers

Flexible scheduling

This is an excellent opportunity to make an outsized difference. You can sign up to volunteer every month, or just on Saturdays that work for you. If you are interested in volunteering with the clinic or would like more information, please contact Christina Wiellette at (510) 302-2216, or christina@acbanet.org. We hope you will consider volunteering with us.

CLASP Operational Details

Volunteer law students and paralegals will conduct client intake that Tiela will use to determine in which area of law the person’s question falls. The clients will sign a limited scope retainer agreement, indicating that the attorney-client relationship formed so that they might get brief advice will end that day. This type of agreement has been approved by the State Bar of California. Volunteers will be covered by VLSC’s professional liability insurance for their pro bono work at the clinic that day. We also hope to have social workers present to offer referrals.

Conflicts: California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-650 requires only that you avoid conflicts that you recognize at the time. If you know that you have represented ABC Company, and a client at the clinic presents with a desire to sue ABC, then you need to hand the matter back to Tiela, who will reassign it. But you do not have to check the opposing party against your conflicts database.

Please note that this is not an opportunity to get client referrals. In order to avoid any suggestion of solicitation, volunteer attorneys are identified by their first names only, and never solicit a client’s business. If the client needs further help, he or she is referred to a legal services provider or to the Lawyer Referral Service (which we encourage you to join!) This protects both you and VLSC.