Free legal help available to City Heights residents

The Community Law Project was established in City Heights in 2009 with a goal of identifying the unmet legal needs in the community and working to provide legal information, referrals and resources through legal clinics and workshops.

The Community Law Project, part of the California Western School of Law, hosts clinics throughout San Diego County, including at Rosa Parks Elementary School and Hoover High School. It also offers free workshops and community education presentations at Monroe Clark Middle School. This year alone, the project has offered presentations on topics ranging from changing immigration laws, tenants’ rights, child support, drafting a will, and how to find and clean up one’s criminal record.

The clinic at the Hoover High School Parent Center is staffed from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesdays. The clinic at the Rosa Parks Elementary School Parent Center is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Fridays. Drop-ins are welcome.

Clinics are staffed by a supervising attorney, law students, Spanish-English interpreters and volunteer attorneys with expertise in various different specialties. Clients are greeted and checked in by a bilingual interpreter before seeing a law student who will explain Community Law Project’s process. Next, the law student will conduct an interview to determine what the client’s legal – as well as non-legal – needs may be. If the client has any relevant letters, court papers, or other documents, it is always helpful to bring those items and share them with the law student interviewer.

After the initial interview, an assessment is done to decide the best legal remedy. Sometimes a client is referred to an outside legal provider, or scheduled for a follow-up appointment with one of the Community Law Project’s volunteer specialty attorneys. Other times, the supervising attorney and the law student will assist the client in making some phone calls or drafting a letter in hopes of resolving the legal issue. In all situations, the Community Law Project will do its best to provide the client with some level of resolution on his or her issue.

For those interested in attending a legal workshop, upcoming community education presentations are set for:

  • 10 a.m. June 9 at Monroe Clark Middle School. During a discussion entitled, “Consumers Rights – How Credit Works: Learn To Protect Your Credit And Dispute Errors,” attorney Jessica Dorman of the Hyde & Swigart law firm will guide attendees in understanding how credit works, how consumers can protect themselves from credit scams and how to correct errors. Tips on issues that consumers can handle on their own before they need an attorney, as well as information on how to get to the right legal help, also will be covered.
  • 10 a.m. July 14 at Monroe Clark. During a discussion entitled, “Employment Rights – Know Your Rights At Work, Even If You Are Undocumented,” attorney Mhairi L. Whitton with the Jones Day law firm will cover topics such as unemployment and disability benefits, issues that may arise in the workplace because of an employee’s immigration status, workers rights, and what protections exist related to retaliation.

All workshops are free and open to the public.  No preregistration is required.

Additional information about the Community Law Project can be found at www.cwclp.org. Community members also may contact Community Law Project at cityheightsclp@gmail.com or call (619) 356-8994.