The COVID-19 virus and the resulting shelter-in-place orders may have limited our physical mobility, but the needs of Santa Clara Law’s clinic clients have not stopped, and neither have the clinical students. Throughout Santa Clara Law’s clinics, students continue to support their clients and to work on their behalf, going the extra mile for their clients during these difficult times. Here is a brief description of our continuing work.
With COVID-19 it is not business as usual at the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center. For over 25 years, KGACLC has prided itself on being available by telephone, in person, and in the community for clients; many of which have not had access to the technology prevalent in Silicon Valley. The current pandemic has changed the service delivery model but not KGACLC’s resolve to assist clients while providing a rich learning environment for students.
Soon after the shelter-in-place was announced KGACLC shifted to remote teaching and legal services, utilizing Zoom, a VPN, telephones, volunteer attorneys, and new protocols to ensure confidentiality. KGACLC continues regularly scheduled advice clinics for low-income individuals with immigration, consumer, and workers’ rights matters – and have served close to 70 remotely. Law students also maintain an active caseload in the practice areas – including filing applications, propounding discovery, and negotiating settlements. One such negotiation resulted in $25,000 in savings for a client. The office is learning a great deal and envisions offering some aspects of client services remotely once the shelter in place is lifted; creating even greater access. A positive of this time is being able to stay connected to clients; they know that KGACLC is there, even in the most challenging situations. KGACLC students are modeling excellence in community lawyering.