Tuesday, November 26, 2013

          Students to Spend Winter Break Working Pro Bono with Tourist Industry Workers

          Student-led group is partnering with California Rural Legal Assistance to conduct surveys of low-wage workers.

          Sample alt tag.
          Many restaurant workers earn salaries below the minimum wage.

          Sixteen UC Hastings students will spend four days of their winter break with California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) working with low-wage workers in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

          The venture marks the first such extensive collaboration with CRLA, one of the state’s largest legal aid organizations. 2L Perla E. Parra drew on her experience working with a co-op of single mothers in South Africa while getting her master’s in public policy from Cornell to help create the project. The CRLA pro bono project has proved so popular, Parra has had to turn student volunteers away.

          Perla E. Parra“There is so much we could be doing locally,” said Parra. She worked directly with CRLA’s Executive Director, Jose Padilla, over the summer, to explore the possibility of a partnership. To that end, Perla also worked with Nancy Stuart, Associate Dean of Experiential Learning, and 3L colleague Pedro Hernandez to found PILARC, the Partnership Initiative & Legal Aid to Rural Communities, an entirely student-led project that seeks to work with community groups and organizations serving rural California.

          Hernandez, who interned with CRLA over the summer in their Watsonville office, collaborated with Gretchen Regenhardt, CRLA’s Directing Attorney in Watsonville, to help craft the project. The PILARC project is also co-sponsored by the Hastings Students for Immigrants’ Rights.

          Students will survey low-wage workers that help support the tourist economy about wage and hour issues, health and safety conditions, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Additionally, the students will distribute “Know Your Rights” materials in and around the Watsonville and Santa Cruz areas, along with a resource list of where to get help with workplace issues. Students will potentially schedule follow-up calls with those who identify serious legal issues. Students will also have the option to continue to work with CRLA beyond the winter project to help produce a report on local conditions for low-wage workers and identify trends for future projects and advocacy.

          Students are also planning to visit other legal aid organizations and meet with local lawmakers, including Assemblyman Luis A. Alejo (D-Salinas), who has led efforts to raise California’s minimum wage.

          Focus on Low-Wage Tourist Industry Workers

          While much progress has been made to protect the rights of farm workers in California’s fertile Central Valley, there is a growing need and thus a renewed focus on other low-wage industries: line cooks, dishwashers, bussers, wait staff, janitors, and landscapers, many of whom work for well below minimum wage.

          Dean Stuart says student-led projects like PILARC allow students, regardless of the type of law they ultimately want to practice, the opportunity to do meaningful hands-on legal work in substantive areas they may not be familiar with. Most importantly, it gives them a window into the legal needs of rural communities.

          Parra said the first reaction of students who have applied is, typically, “How else can I help?” “This appeals to a broad base of students,” she said. “We have 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls, from all walks of life, coming together on this project.”

          The CLRA pro bono week is the first PILARC project. Parra and her supporters plan a second opportunity for students to do pro bono field work during their spring break.

          Learn More

          PILARC is currently seeking sponsors for the project. Learn more about how you can support their efforts with CLRA here.

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Thursday, December 01, 2016

          Thinkers & Doers: November 2016

          BIG NEW JOBS IN D.C. -- Prof Price’s Op-Ed in the Washington Post -- ALUMNUS TAKES THE BRONZE -- Prof Cohen in High Times -- THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAW -- Prof Hazard talks “imputation” -- PROF WILLIAMS GOES VIRAL -- and so much more.
          Monday, November 28, 2016

          Market Street for the Masses Coalition Confers “Good Neighbor” Status on UC Hastings Development Project

          Long Range Campus Plan calls for development and rehabilitation of up to 1120 units of campus housing over the next 5 to 10 years
          Tuesday, November 22, 2016

          Lainey Feingold ’81 discusses her new book on Structured Negotiation and her tactics in dispute resolution

          UC Hastings alumna Lainey Feingold ’81 speaks with Professor Sheila Purcell about her new book
          Thursday, November 17, 2016

          Leah Chen Price ‘10 delivers hope for victims of human trafficking and human rights violations

          Using her legal education and passion for advocacy, UC Hastings alumna Leah Chen Price gives victims of human trafficking and human rights violations a chance for a better future.
          Friday, November 11, 2016

          Students support the troops with clinical legal services for San Francisco’s Senior Veterans

          The Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors- Veterans Project enables UC Hastings students to give back to San Francisco’s Veterans by providing free legal services to those who have given so much for their country.
          Go to News Archive