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Rural Education and Access to the Law
(REAL)

Trip to Red Bluff and Oroville, Ca.

October 26-27. 2007

The Public Interest Clearinghouse’s Pro Bono Project completed its third successful Rural Education & Access to the Law (REAL) Trip on October 26 and 27, 2007. In collaboration with Tehama & Butte County Superior Court's Self Help Assistance and Referral Program (SHARP), PIC’s Pro Bono Project held a two-day REAL trip for law students in Red Bluff and Oroville, California.

Twelve law students assisted 65 pro per litigants in legal workshops which included guardianships, small claims, custody & paternity, dissolution, and restraining orders under the supervision of SHARP program staff.

PIC will continue to work to foster this type of bridge between future lawyers and some of the most under-resourced areas in California. The lack of legal resources for low-income rural Californians is alarming. According to an April 2007 report by the California Commission on Access to Justice, over 1.8 million Californians live in rural areas within 18 different counties. The 2000 Census revealed that rural counties with poverty rates above the national average outnumber urban counties at nearly a 5 to 1 ratio. In addition, California's rural legal services organizations receive fewer funding dollars per low-income individual than organizations serving urban populations.  The diversity of needs within rural communities further exacerbates the problem. While these statistics and descriptions are staggering, the REAL Project directly addresses the urgent need in rural California.

" My favorite part of the weekend was that I was able to assist a woman to obtain a restraining order from an abuser. She was extremely grateful for our help and showed just how important these programs are. I would definitely encourage other law students to take part in this experience! ." --1L, USF

The REAL Trips serve underserved rural communities through the use of law students, while providing law students with on-site experience. Law students had the opportunity to see first-hand how important the SHARP program is in rural communities with limited legal resources.

 

As an added bonus, law students were welcomed by Tehama County Superior Court Presiding Judge and had the opportunity to hear about legal careers in court administration from SHARP staff. 

“The experience to deal with real clients was amazing! The staff in the SHARP offices were also really welcoming and great leaders.”

--1L, McGeorge School of Law

Special Thanks:

We would like to thank the SHARP Staff for all of their patience, incredible guidance, and inspiring work.  We also thank all of the law students from McGeorge School of Law, USF School of Law, and Hastings College of the Law  who volunteered their time and energy to the Pro Bono Project to assist rural Californians.  

 

 

Superior Court of California, County of Glenn © 2011