“I learned just how many people have questions about the legal system,” reflects USD Small Claims Clinic legal intern Eric Schwarberg of a recent Small Claims Court presentation at the Bayside Community Center. “It’s easy to take what I’ve learned for granted and it’s nice to know that I can use it to help people who haven’t had the advantage of a legal education, as I have.” As part of the USD Legal Clinics’ ongoing experiential education for law students, legal interns from the various clinics provide presentations across the county to low-income San Diegans.
On October 17, 2013, Small Claims Clinic legal interns Erica Schwarberg and Danica Brustkern offered important information about the small claims process to approximately twenty attendees at the Bayside Community Center, located just down the street from USD in Linda Vista. Small Claims Clinic Supervising Attorney Franco Simone accompanied the legal interns, providing support before and after the presentation. “I think a community outreach program regarding Small Claims is very important because nearly everyone has had some experience that could result in a small claims issue,” comments Schwarberg. “Having all the most important information compiled and distilled into a single, manageable presentation will be of some benefit for nearly anyone in attendance.”
Schwarberg and Brustkern provided information about what Small Claims Court is, its benefits and advantages, the overall process as well as the support low-income community members can receive through the USD Legal Clinics. “Doing the presentation did reveal to me how great the need for accessible legal advice is,” reflects Brustkern. “After our presentation about Small Claims Court, many people came up to us asking legal questions that were completely unrelated to our presentation. It seemed that they just really needed some help and were there for the opportunity to ask somebody who might be able to give them answers. That aspect of the presentation was very surprising.”
Each year the Bayside Community Center works toward supporting the needs of a diverse community. The center provides opportunities for the community to engage as participants and as decision makers in matters that affect their lives. Bayside Community Center has remained faithful to its mission of empowering diverse communities to improve the quality of life through services, education and advocacy. The USD Legal Clinics is honored to maintain an ongoing collaboration with Bayside Community Center.