Community lawyering and partnership with grassroots organizations toward movement building are integral parts of the clinical program. Holistic provision of legal services is also a foundational aspect of the program. Accordingly, Main Street Legal Services has integrated social work students into our practice. Through this interdisciplinary collaboration, MSLS clients receive a range of assistance that includes access to concrete services, counseling, and the expanded perspective on relevant life issues and legal strategy. We proceed on the assumption that if clients are supported in the issues that affect their lives, they will be better able to engage in their legal case. The benefit to law students of exposure to interdisciplinary practice is that they learn about the challenges and benefits of collaborating, while developing the skills necessary to build a productive interconnected legal practice. This skill extends to the ability to work as a lawyer with community organizations in a constructive and complementary way. Through collaboration with social work interns and organizations in community projects, legal interns have the opportunity to practice being part of collective/coalition efforts in their new role of lawyer.
This interdisciplinary collaboration has taken place in the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Clinic, Economic Justice Project and the Elder Law Clinic.
Under the supervision of Martha Lucia Garcia, LCSW-R, in addition to working collaboratively with legal interns in the clinics to provide full service to MSLS clients, social work students also work on community-centered projects.