About The Community Law Project
The Community Law Project is currently composed of three sites throughout San Diego County, all of which provide free legal services to low income and indigent communities. CLP began operation in 2005 with a single site in Downtown San Diego has has since expanded to multiple sites including one in City Heights and one in Solana Beach.
The California Western Community Law Project (CLP) works in partnerships to provide sustainable and competent legal services to low-income and indigent members of the local profession by instilling a commitment to public service in California Western School of Law students.
Community Law Project Statement of Solidarity
The Community Law Project (CLP) stands firm in our commitment to serve all those in need of legal assistance regardless of age, ancestry, citizenship, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or income level. We stand with the immigrant and refugee community as well as others who may be impacted by recent changes in law and policy. CLP has remained a constant for our clients, our students, and our community. Our work has made a difference in the lives of those we serve and will continue to do so in the future.
The California Western Community Law Project (CLP) works in partnerships to provide sustainable and competent legal services to low-income and indigent members of the local community while advancing the legal profession by instilling a commitment to public service in California Western School of Law students. CLP offers legal services in collaboration with its professional partners to offer holistic problem-solving solutions to its clients.
Impact to the Community
A vulnerable individual who does not know how to adequately advocate for themselves or locate and use critical resources becomes more financially costly for our community. An uninsured person who must use the emergency room for primary care or care for health issues that could have been prevented is costly to the system. A family losing their apartment due to a landlord issue may become homeless and require intensive and expensive services. A woman unsure of how to attain a restraining order may become a victim of domestic violence. Prevention is always less expensive than remediation. By providing assistance, direction, and connection to resources we can reduce the vulnerability and increase the self-sufficiency of community residents needing our help, and thus reduce overall costs.
To date, we have served over 2,000 clients. In our experience, issues are resolved often in one and sometimes in two meetings. While we have been unable to track long-term outcomes, the evidence of our impact is the resolution of client concerns, referrals to appropriate resources, and the appreciation expressed by clients for the services received.
How We Got Started
Founded in 2005, CLP is a collaboration between California Western School of Law and several other organizations, including:
- The UC San Diego School of Medicine
- The UC San Diego School of Pharmacy
- The UC San Diego Pre-Dental Society
- The Third Avenue Charitable Organization
- The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
- Monroe Clark Middle School
- Herbert Hoover High School
- Rosa Parks Elementary School
- North County Immigration and Citizenship Center
- Lemon Grove Academy
- Price Philanthropies
CLP is a law student-run project that provides pro bono legal services including legal advice, consultations, and referral services to low income people in the greater San Diego community. Our collaborative model allows us to provide clients with a variety of necessary services in one location. CLP provides California Western law students with an awareness of community needs and instills in them a desire to pursue pro bono work during their careers.
Where We Are Now
CLP has been recognized both locally and nationally. The State Bar of California announced California Western School of Law as a recipient of the President’s Pro Bono Service Award in February 2010. The award is the State Bar’s top recognition for pro bono service and the first award ever given to a law school. CWSL was also named to the National President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction every year from 2009 to 2014. In 2009, the American Association of Law Schools’ section on Pro Bono and Public Services Opportunities chose the Community Law Project’s Downtown site as its Annual Service Project Site. Thirty-four law professors from all over the country visited our Downtown site in January of 2009 to learn more about the legal component of the greater collaboration.
The goal of the Community Law Project is to serve low-income, vulnerable, and sometimes homeless individuals in the San Diego community by providing free legal advice, assistance in navigating through complex social systems, and referrals to resources that help build self-sufficiency and economic opportunity. These services are provided while also providing California Western School of Law students with experiential learning and an awareness of the community’s legal needs, and instilling in them a desire to pursue pro bono work during their careers.
Kenneth Klein, J.D.
Chair of the CLP Advisory Board
In 2008, Ken Klein, a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, left the partnership of Foley & Lardner to join the CWSL faculty, where he teaches Civil Procedure, Evidence, a section of the Clinical externship Program, and an experiential course in the law and policy surrounding Natural Disasters. While still an attorney at Foley, he joined CWSL Prof. Linda Morton, and UCSD School of Medicine Professor, Dr. Ellen Beck, to form the CWSL CLP. Since that time, Prof. Klein has served as a volunteer attorney, supervising attorney, intake person, and advisory board member with CLP. He currently is the President of the CLP Advisory Board.
To contact Professor Klein, please e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dana K. Sisitsky, Esq.
Ms. Sisitsky joined the CLP as Executive Director in October 2010. Prior to joining the CLP, Ms. Sisitsky worked as a legal aid attorney for over ten years, most recently as a project director and staff attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston, Massachusetts. While at Greater Boston Legal Services, Ms. Sisitsky served as an advocate and litigated on behalf of low-income clients, primarily victims of domestic violence. In addition, Ms. Sisitsky managed the hospital project, a federally funded collaborative with five Boston-area hospitals that provided medical, legal and social services to victims of domestic violence. She was awarded as a Top Attorney in the Academic Category in 2013 with the San Diego Source. Ms. Sisitsky is a graduate of University of California at Berkeley and earned her law degree from New York University School of Law. Ms. Sisitsky holds licenses to practice law in California, Massachusetts and New York.
To contact Ms. Sisitsky, please e-mail her at email@example.com
Ted Janowsky, Esq.
Mr. Janowsky is the newest addition to the CLP family. Mr. Janowsky has over fifteen years of experience as a public interest attorney. He began his career as a staff attorney for the Homeless Advocacy Project. While there he focused on various poverty law issues including: immigration, housing, unemployment, and helping individuals gain access to federal and state disability benefits. Mr. Janowsky then moved his talents to San Francisco, where he continued to work for the Homeless Advocacy Project from 2006-2011. While there he focused on eviction defense litigation, especially cases involving clients at serious risk of homelessness being evicted from supportive housing programs. From there Mr. Janowsky began his work as a staff attorney for the Justice and Diversity Center “Right to Civil Counsel Project.” The focus of his work there was to improve the access to attorney representation for low income tenants. In 2015, Mr. Janowsky returned to San Diego where he began working as a volunteer attorney for the Legal Aid Society of San Diego. Mr. Janowsky graduated from the University of California at Berkely in 1991, and he earned his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1999. Mr. Janowsky holds a license to practice law in California and is also a licensed Teacher of English as a Second Language.
To contact Mr. Janowsky, please e-mail him at TJanowsky@cwsl.edu
Rebecca Levine, Esq.
Becky’s Bio Here
Ms. Cervantes joined CLP in the summer of 2018 after over ten year of experience working with Native American students. She serves as the primary coordinator for the program. She coordinates Spanish-speaking interpreters, outreach and networking activities, and the planning of workshops and community education events. Presently, she works with University of California San Diego—Extension pre-college programs helping prepare students for college and the professional field. Before working at Cal Western, she volunteered for a non-profit organization in San Diego that specializes in Landlord/Tenant disputes. In addition, she has also volunteered with a prominent Bay Area non-profit in one of the busiest immigration departments in the region. Ms. Cervantes received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science with a minor in English. She is also working toward becoming a certified court interpreter in California.
To contact Ms. Cervantes, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
California Western School of Law Students, Legal Interns
A group of ten second and third year law students at CWSL volunteer their time each week to meet with clients and assist specialty attorneys in their consultations.
Community Law Project Administrators/Interpretors
The Community Law Project is able to broaden its community impact with the help of several bilingual undergraduate students from colleges throughout the county. These students volunteer their time to help with the administration of each clinic by helping check-in clients, enter data, and aid the law student volunteers, as interpreters, to bridge language barriers and provide better service to our clients.
Community Law Project Partners and Board
The Community Law P
Advisory Board Members
- Mr. William Aceves, Professor, California Western School of Law
- Ms. Veronica Ayesta, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator, Community Law Project
- Mr. Russell Block, Professor, San Diego State University
- Ms. Carlie Bouslaugh, Attorney, Gomez Trial Attorneys
- Mr. Tim Casey, Professor, California Western School of Law
- Mr. Kenneth Klein, Professor, California Western School of Law
- Ms. Mariza Lockhart, Attorney
- Ms. Linda Morton, Professor, California Western School of Law
- Mr. Kyle Siems, Attorney, Wilkinson Finkbeiner, LLP
- Ms. Laura Zaval
The Downtown San Diego site of the Community Law Project is part of a unique Medical-Legal Collaboration with UCSD.
California Western School of Law has partnered with the Third Avenue Charitable Organization at the First Lutheran Church in Downtown San Diego, for the Downtown site, and the University of California, San Diego Medical School, Department of Family & Preventative Medicine, to coordinate our legal services with the following additional clinics:
- The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Student Run Free Medical Clinic;
- UCSD School of Pharmacy;
- UCSD’s Pre-Dental Clinic (staffed by volunteer dentists and pre-dental interns);
- Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM);
The First Lutheran Church provides free space for the collaborating agencies. Third Avenue Charitable Organization, a program of the church, also provides congregate meals to those in need prior to the provision of clinic services.
City Heights Sites: Hoover High School, Rosa Parks Elementary School
The City Heights sites of the Community Law Project opened in 2009 with the support and assistance of Price Philanthropies and San Diego State University School of Social Work. One on one legal assistance is available at both Hoover High School and Rosa Parks Elementary School. Regular community education presentations take place at Monroe Clark Middle School. Staff at these sites collaborate with the schools’ social workers, as well as with staff at the schools’ parent centers. The City Heights sites of the the Community Law Project are proud to be part of the City Heights Educational Collaborative, whose mission it is to improve educational outcomes for students within the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego. Although the City Heights clinics mainly cater to those residing within the City Heights community, all of the clinics and presentations are open to the community.
Hoover High School’s student body of approximately 2,200 students is rich in cultural diversity with a majority of Hispanic students, 40 percent English Learners, and about two-thirds of our students come from homes where a language other than English is spoken. Hoover High part of the City Heights Educational Collaborative, a partnership with San Diego State University, the Price Foundation, Clark Middle School, and Rosa Parks Elementary. All Hoover students are eligible for guaranteed admission to SDSU through College Avenue Compact.
Rosa Parks Elementary School is located in the Mid City/City Heights area. Its motto is “Doing our best so we can be the best.” It provides standards-based education for all students. Staff, parents, community, and educational partners of Rosa Parks are committed to a quality education for all students. It is a member of the City Heights Educational Collaborative, an innovative educational initiative that partners three District schools in City Heights with San Diego State University School of Education, San Diego Education Association and Price Charities.
Solana Beach Site
The Solana Beach site of the Community Law Project aims to bring our services closer to those who reside in North County. California Western School of Law has partnered with St. Leo Mission Church to host a monthly legal clinic. Many families served at the North County site receive additional services at the church, including medical and dental care. St. Leo Mission Church is part of St. James Church, a Catholic Community in Solana Beach.