The Community Law Clinic (CLC) is Stanford’s neighborhood legal services office. Located on the east side of Palo Alto, CLC is proximate to the low-income neighborhoods of the mid-peninsula region where Stanford is located. The signature features of the CLC are its off-campus location and its bustling volume. CLC asks a lot of its students, who must juggle multiple matters simultaneously in three distinct subject matters. Being off campus and having a diverse and busy caseload affords CLC students extensive client contact, as well as a feel for daily life “beyond the bubble.”
CLC is fundamentally a direct services, trial practice clinic. Under the supervision of the clinic instructors, students represent clients in housing, social security disability, and criminal record expungement matters. CLC students are their clients’ lawyers (pursuant to court rules). As such, students meet with their clients, interview witnesses, review documents, negotiate with opposing counsel, draft pleadings and other legal documents, and represent their clients in court. They have primary responsibility for all the strategic decisions in their cases. Transitioning from being a law student to being a lawyer, CLC students learn that legal analysis is but one part of successful representation. They learn how to set that legal analysis in motion, in real life contexts characterized by indeterminate facts, anxious clients, intransigent opponents, and busy trial judges.
Students are supervised in their cases by Clinic Director and Professor Juliet Brodie, as well as clinical supervising attorneys Danielle Jones and Lisa Douglass. Bilingual administrative staff facilitate communications with monolingual Spanish-Speaking clients.
Whether at court, in the office, or in the community, CLC students, faculty supervisors and staff offer client-centered legal representation to a variety of low-income clients.