Students assume responsibility for individual cases, which proceed start-to-finish within a semester from initial interview through counseling, fact investigation, and case planning to a negotiated settlement, final administrative hearing, or court trial. Students work in pairs, usually in two different subject matter clinics. Each faculty member supervises no more than 6 students. The practice areas are:
Disability Cases (Social Security disability and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) appeals):
Students will represent clients in Social Security disability hearings before federal administrative law judges (ALJs). These hearings include direct examination of the client and cross examination of medical and/or vocational experts. Receipt of these benefits is tremendously important for our clients’ lives—sometimes making the difference between stability and homelessness. In addition, students will represent clients in IHSS appeals before a state ALJ. These cases involve the client’s right to have in-home assistance with basic life activities such as bathing and meal preparation. For these clients, receipt of the appropriate level of benefits impacts their liberty – whether they can remain in the community independently housed or whether they will have to be institutionalized.
Clean Slate Cases (Factual Innocence Petitions and other criminal records remedies):
Students will assist clients in Superior Court in clearing their criminal records. Students will represent clients who were arrested, but not convicted, in their petitions to seal and destroy their arrest records. Students appear in a substantive hearing (akin to a “mini-trial” with direct and closing) and must establish that their clients are factual innocent of the crime for which they were arrested. In addition, students will represent clients in their petitions to dismiss past convictions and other clean slate remedies. Although almost none of these remedies completely wipe a person’s slate clean, they are important steps in helping restore our client’s civil rights and gain stable employment and housing.
Employment Cases (Wage & Hour and Unemployment Insurance appeals):
In wage and hour cases, students will represent workers in state court cases to recover unpaid wages from their former employers. The clinic only handles cases in which the worker(s) won at the administrative hearing level below, and the employer appealed the decision to the Superior Court. Students will handle pretrial matters, possibly including discovery, through settlement or trial de novo. In addition, students will represent clients in unemployment insurance appeals. These cases involve hearings in front of a state ALJ.
Please check out these videos to see what CJC students say about their experience:
Luis Arellano (CJC Fall 2007)
Jennifer Willis (CJC Fall 2007)
Allison Mullings (CJC Fall 2006)