California is experiencing a significant increase in the number of individuals appearing before the court without professional legal representation on a variety of matters, from family law to housing. The “Access to Justice” (A2J) internship is recruiting interns that will work in the Bay Area Self-Help Centers from June to August. Interns will work closely with self-represented litigants by providing assistance with court documents, legal information, and referrals as needed, as well as translation for Limited English Proficiency litigants. Interns will also assist in and lead workshops. All assistance will be performed under the close supervision of attorneys and other court staff.
A2J interns will have the opportunity to learn about several areas of law, which may include family law (divorce, spousal support, domestic violence, parentage, child custody and visitation, child support), civil law (small claims, evictions, name & gender changes, civil harassment restraining orders, and elder abuse) and probate (guardianship).
Starting in May or mid-June, Access 2 Justice requires interns to serve three full days per week for at least 10 weeks. This will be a rigorous internship and we are looking forward to working with volunteers who are committed to public service.
By providing one-on-one assistance, legal information, referrals, and assistance with forms completion, Access 2 Justice interns help litigants move forward with their legal matters. Access 2 Justice interns not only gain substantive training in family and civil law, but assist vulnerable communities who would be impacted by the law socioeconomically.
Access 2 Justice interns, depending on site location, assist litigants with the following legal issues:
For additional information on placement sites, please review the Site Comparison Spreadsheet.
Summer Internship Benefits
Gain Legal Training
Improve Office Professionalism
Develop Lasting Friendships
What are Self-Help Centers?
California Rule of Court 10.960 provides that court-based self-help centers are a core function. Self-help centers serve as a single point of access for court users navigating the court system on their own.
California's Legal Self-Help
"I had the opportunity to learn and grow from this experience.
I do think I played a meaningful role in enhancing equal access to justice."
"I had the opportunity of shadowing several professionals at the Superior Court, from lawyers and judges to paralegals and clerks."
"This internship illuminates the role court self-help centers have in helping better fulfill the promise of equal justice..."
Further Readings & Resources
Please click on the links to read reports published by the Judicial Council of California.