Snohomish County Legal Services
Beth is working for the Snohomish County Legal Services in Everett, Washington. As a Rule 9 Legal Intern for SCLS, Elizabeth will have the opportunity to support the office in its assistance and representation of low-income Snohomish County residents in their family law and housing cases. Beth will be primarily working on dissolution, parenting, and eviction issues.
July 5, 2012
During the first 6 weeks of my summer internship with Snohomish County Legal Services (SCLS), I have worked on a number of cases assisting the needs of low-income residents of Snohomish County. I have worked with Snohomish County’s Housing Justice Project, seen clients through the weekly SCLS Family Law Clinic, and assisted the SCLS staff attorneys with their case loads. I have had the opportunity to engage in a lot of direct work and gain a lot of knowledge and experience thus far.
In the Housing Justice Project, I have witnessed the difficulties people have when they are facing eviction and threatened with homelessness. HJP clients are living in poverty and are in the midst of an eviction action and are up against landlords who are often represented by private counsel. I have been able to work with clients and attorneys to learn the processes of negotiation on behalf of or defense of HJP clients to help maintain or attain stable housing and avoid homelessness. I have come to learn how valuable HJP’s work is to tenants and how necessary it is that all people facing eviction have access to legal information in order to protect themselves.
I have also engaged in a lot of family law work this far. In particular, I have worked on several SCLS dissolution cases. I have seen firsthand how difficult it is for unrepresented clients to fight against opposing parties who have more access to money and private legal counsel. Many SCLS clients are threatened with the loss of their kids, home, and financial stability.
I have learned a lot so far this summer and I am looking forward to the opportunities and experiences I will gain in the second half of my internship.
July 30, 2012
During the second half of my summer internship with Snohomish County Legal Services (SCLS), I have continued to work on cases assisting low-income residents of Snohomish County. I continue to work with clients at the Housing Justice Project twice a week, see clients at the weekly SCLS Family Law Clinic, and assist the SCLS staff attorneys with their family law and housing case loads.
At the weekly Family Law Clinic, I have begun to take clients under the supervision of a SCLS staff attorney. Low-income residents of Snohomish County can utilize the family law clinic to get legal information and advice on their dissolution, parenting plans, paternity actions, child support, domestic violence, and contempt issues. With the knowledge that I have gained working at SCLS this summer, I am now able to see clients and give them advice on these issues.
Through working at the family law clinic, I have observed how critical it is to have free family law legal services for people that cannot afford attorneys. Our clients have family law issues that are complicated by domestic violence, poverty, homelessness, and other barriers to safety and stability. Without community and legal support, low-income people are at risk of losing their children and/or their housing in a family law action. Legal support is only a small piece of the services that low-income people should be provided, but it can be very valuable to SCLS clients.
I have learned a lot this summer at SCLS and have had a lot of opportunities to work directly with clients and attorneys on various legal issues. I am excited to complete my next few weeks at SCLS, it has been a wonderful place to spend my summer.