“Our small claims presentation helps educate low-income San Diegans about their legal possibilities,” describes USD Small Claims Clinic legal intern Elyssa Kulas. “The presentation informs the community about the small claims process so they understand our legal system so they can take the steps that are best suited to their needs, whether it be filing a claim, settling, or seeking out assistance from a legal clinic or attorney.”
On November 3, 2015 the USD Small Claims Clinic legal interns Elyssa Kulas and Mee Xiong provided an educational presentation “Understanding Small Claims Court” at the Second Chance program. Approximately eight people attended the hour-long presentation that was supported by Supervising Attorney Franco Simone and paralegal Elizabeth Magana-Contreras.
“The Small Claims Clinic presentation helped me as a law student, as it allowed me to familiarize myself with Small Claims Court, which is often not discussed in depth in law school classes,” reflects Kulas. “Furthermore, the questions we received from the audience allowed me to understand what types of concerns or confusion an individual not attending law school may have regarding our legal system. Legal jargon is difficult to understand, so being able to break it down in simple terms everyone would be able to comprehend is important.”
In addition to providing a service for the community, the outreach presentations are opportunities for law students serving as legal interns in the clinics to deepen their understanding of the material and interact with the community. The presentations also provide vital information to low-income San Diegans affiliated with a number of collaborating organizations like Second Chance. Second Chance creates opportunities for self-sufficiency by providing job readiness training, employment placement, and affordable housing as well as life skills for homeless and unemployed men, women and youth.
“It was great to be able to give back to the community and educate individuals about the law,” adds Kulas. “I found it rewarding that even I, as a student, was able to provide some help and clarification about our legal system.”