"My law school commitment has changed from books and lectures to a new hands-on experience
with the law, my clients and my colleagues."
-- Betta Fabiani, WERC Clinician '09
What do students do in the Clinic?
Students get exciting, hands-on experience representing low-income workers in various
types of employment disputes. Clinic students, under the supervision of Professors
Marci Seville and Hina B. Shah, and with the assistance of Graduate Law Fellow Rocio Avila, conduct telephone intakes,
assess and investigate cases, interview, advise and counsel clients, research and
write substantive legal memoranda and/or legal briefs, represent clients at administrative
hearings, file administrative claims and advocate for clients as needed. Students
generally assist many individual clients during the semester, and may have the opportunity
to work with outside co-counsel in more complex litigation or to participate in legislative
or regulatory advocacy. Through the Clinic's Elfenworks Center for Employment Justice,
students will work on issues affecting domestic workers and caregivers.
Where do our clients come from?
The Clinic represents clients from diverse backgrounds throughout the Bay Area with
a special focus on low-income, immigrant women. Clients are referred to the Clinic
by community based organizations, former clients, attorney referral agencies like
the San Francisco Bar Association, private attorneys, the courts, employment agencies
such as the Employment Development Department, non-profit legal organizations such
as the Employment Law Center, social service agencies, unions and other organizations.
Clients also learn about the Clinic through media coverage. The Clinic accepts new
cases from August through November and January through April. Currently, the clinic
is only accepting cases from domestic workers and caregivers and workers who have
unemployment insurance issues.
Who can apply for the Clinic?
The Clinic is open to second and third year students who have successfully completed
all first-year courses, and have completed Evidence or are concurrently enrolled in
Evidence. Prior or concurrent enrollment in Employment Law or Employment Discrimination
is helpful for clinic students but it is not required. The clinic is not limited to
women students. Special scheduling arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis for
night students whenever possible. Students interested in working with low-income clients
from diverse backgrounds and students with fluency in Spanish, Tagalog, or Cantonese
are encouraged to apply. Students must submit a Clinic Application Form to Professors Marci Seville and Hina B. Shah. Deadlines for applications are published each semester in the law school news. WERC's
office is located at 40 Jessie Street, Suite 530. There is a mandatory immersion training
for the Clinic and Seminar two days prior to start of semester. Students or prospective
students who would like more information about the clinic can contact the clinic faculty.
CLINIC APPLICATION FORM
What number of units and time commitment are involved?
Clinic students enroll in the 3 unit seminar plus an additional 1, 2, or 3 clinic
- 1 Clinic unit = 10 clinic hours per week (total of 4 units)
- 2 Clinic units = 12.5 clinic hours per week (total of 5 units)
- 3 Clinic units = 15 hours per week (total of 6 units)
What do we cover in the Women's Employment Rights Seminar?
The Seminar combines skills training and substantive law issues affecting low-wage
workers. The seminar's substantive law topics include employment discrimination, workplace
harassment, wage and hour laws, pregnancy discrimination and family and medical leave
issues, unemployment benefits, wrongful termination, labor law, disability discrimination,
and issues affecting immigrant workers. We emphasize a practical approach to these
subject areas, with extensive discussion of California law as well as federal protections.
Skills training includes interviewing, counseling, claims filing procedures, case
theory development, and trial skills. Students prepare and conduct a mock administrative
What is the California State Bar certification program for Practical Training of Law
The Practical Training of Law Students (PTLS) program allows a certified law student
to perform permitted activities such as representing clients at hearings under the
supervision of a supervising attorney. WERC clinicians are certified by the State
Bar. For more information, see: PTLS
Can I enroll in the Seminar without taking the Clinic?
Generally, the seminar is limited to clinic students. In very limited circumstances,
we may accept students for the Seminar, without participation in the Clinic, at the
Professors' discretion. If you are interested in the Seminar only, contact Professors
Seville or Shah by the clinic application deadline published each semester in Law School News.
Should I take the Clinic if I do not plan to practice employment and labor law?
Yes. You will learn a wide range of lawyering skills in the Clinic that will be useful
to you in other areas of law. These may include client counseling, legal research
and writing, case investigation, witness interviews, and various administrative hearing
skills such as opening statements, direct and cross examinations, and closing arguments.
Is it possible to enroll in WERC for more than one semester?
Yes. We accept a limited number of students as "carry-over" students if space is available
and they want to continue their clinic work by enrolling for an additional semester.