My experiences as a clinical student at EBCLC were the most meaningful, edifying, and enjoyable I have had at Berkeley Law. For four semesters, I was a member of the Consumer Justice Clinic. During this time, I was able to practice a great array of advocacy skills. I learned about debt collection, student loans, and liens. I know the ins and outs of consumer statutes and can read a credit report in my sleep. I learned about policy advocacy by working on a white paper for proposed legislation. I know more than I ever thought I would about buying cars. I learned affirmative litigation skills like case management, responding to discovery requests, and taking depositions. I learned how to listen carefully to clients and think broadly about how to work with them to tackle problems. I learned how to keep an eye out for patterns of deceptive or unfair market practices by being attentive to what our clients encounter. That one student can get such a variety of experiences speaks to EBCLC’s expansive approach to community advocacy and its clinical supervisors’ dedication to training students to become nimble advocates.
The attorneys and staff at EBCLC are incredible, and I feel lucky to have gotten to work with these fantastic mentors and inspirational advocates. I have been able to work on projects with all the Consumer Justice Clinic attorneys and an attorney from Clean Slate. They have approached their work with a dedication, humanity, and compassion that I hope to emulate. I appreciate how they welcomed students and got us to see ourselves as capable and confident colleagues. I will never forget how much time and patience my supervisors and fellow students put into preparing me to take a deposition. EBCLC is where I started to see myself as an advocate and future public interest lawyer, and where I came to believe that I could do it.
I am going to miss going to the University Avenue office and seeing the brightly colored artwork and the wonderful people that make EBCLC tick. I felt at home in that space more than anywhere else in the law school. The Consumer Justice team always found time to celebrate each other and bring humor, joy, and baked goods into everyone’s lives. I can’t express how much I am going to miss EBCLC’s staff, students, and clients. I will take what they taught me about being a well-rounded, thoughtful advocate and colleague into my career as a lawyer.
I deeply respect EBCLC’s approach to client-centered lawyering and dedication to racial and economic justice. I look forward to continuing to support EBCLC in any way I can.
Written by Stephanie Tilden
University of California, Berkeley School of Law Class of 2021
East Bay Community Law Center Consumer Justice Clinical Student