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News

Law Office Management

Mar. 2, 2015

Good Works: Help for SF Tenants Facing Eviction

The Justice and Diversity Center is looking for pro bono lawyers.

THE VOLUNTEERS
Attorneys can work pro bono with the Justice and Diversity Center (JDC) at the Bar Association of San Francisco to provide limitedscope representation to tenants in eviction disputes. (The center also welcomes other volunteers fluent in Spanish, Cantonese, or Mandarin.) Training and on-site supervision are provided.

THE OPPORTUNITY Evictions are at their highest level in more than a decade in San Francisco, even though landlords there who are subject to rent control must identify a just cause for any eviction. About 95 percent of landlords are reportedly represented by counsel, but more than 90 percent of tenants defend themselves. Attorneys with the center's Housing Negotiation Project represent tenants during court-mandated settlement conferences. They also help tenants understand their rights and bargaining power.

THE IMPACT
In many cases, JDC volunteers have helped tenants reach agreements that let them stay in their units. In other cases, they've helped tenants avoid homelessness by reaching settlements to vacate with reasonable time lines. From January 2014 through November, 680 clients each received three and a half hours of legal assistance, on average.

HOW TO HELP
Lawyers and other general volunteers should contact program managers Gloria Chun at gchun@sfbar.org or www.sfbar.org/jdc, or Mairi S. McKeever at 415/782-8980 or mmckeever@sfbar.org.

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Kari Santos

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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