From left: Alex Lambrous, Ellen Goodstein, Executive Director of Legal Aid, Barrister’s Vice President Robert Forouzandeh, and President Michael Brelje.
Beginning in the fall of 2012, low-income individuals in Santa Barbara who cannot afford to pay for legal representation will find easier to get free legal representation on matters such as landlord-tenant and family law thanks in part to a new program created by the Santa Barbara Barristers and implemented with Santa Barbara Legal Aid and the Santa Barbara College of Law.
The new program, called the Santa Barbara Barristers Public Interest Law Clinic will take two law students who are either in their 3rd or 4th year of study from the Santa Barbara College of Law, and have them work directly for Legal Aid as California State Bar certified law students for 12 weeks. One student will work in the Housing Litigation unit, and the other in the Family Violence Protection unit. They will provide legal services to low income individuals on matters ranging from unlawful detainers to domestic violence restraining orders. Interns will experience all phases of representation from initial client interviews up to and including final hearings/trials. Students will earn two units of academic credit for 130 hours of internship work. Alexander Lambrous, Legal Aid’s Director of Litigation, will supervise the students in the clinic.
Not only will the students get credit towards graduation, the students will get practical real-world legal experience by making court appearances, signing pleadings on behalf of their clients and handling a case from input to resolution under the direct supervision of Legal Aid’s attorneys. The fact that the students will be getting practical experience and course credit while at the same time helping those who are most in need in the community is the icing on the cake. The first semester of the Clinic is limited to two students and only to the areas of real property and family law. However, the operators of the program believe that the program will attract widespread interest and will be extremely successful; the program expanded to encompass more students and more areas of law in future semesters.
Funding for the program came exclusively from the Santa Barbara Barristers who have provided all of the necessary funding to Legal Aid for the purchase of new computer equipment for Legal Aid that the students will use as their work station while they work at Legal Aid, along with the administrative costs incurred by Legal Aid’s attorneys who will be supervising the students.
Santa Barbara Barristers, Legal Aid, and the Santa Barbara College of Law are excited to announce this new collaborative program. For further information, please see the Barristers’ brand-new website, www.sbbarristers.com, or contact Alexander Lambrous, Director of Litigation at Legal Aid, at 805 963 6754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.