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John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law


In 2012, the City and County of San Francisco passed legislation declaring San Francisco to be a right to civil counsel city, and provided funding for a pilot program to provide free legal services to low-income tenants facing eviction by leveraging pro bono attorneys to represent tenants.  Levin Center staff, with the help of law students, documented the implementation of the program by the Bar Association of San Francisco's Justice and Diversity Center. The report found that as landlord attorneys tend to be repeat players, with expert knowledge of both the law and the local procedure, developing the pro bono bar as advocates for tenants and repeat players in their own right is an important use of existing resources.  The report also found that law firms are well-suited to contribute to full-scope cases where extensive resources can play a significant role in balancing the playing field between landlords and tenants. 

Levin Center staff surveyed a wide spectrum of civil legal services providers in the seven San Francisco Bay Area counties to identify the number of lawyers who were on staff on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis as well as staff members designated as "advocates," who provide some level of supervised legal service beyond basic intake. Our report also documented attorneys and advocates in eight practice areas in which services were offered for free or very low cost. The final numbers represent our best effort at categorizing the San Francisco Bay Area's civil legal services providers into discrete categories.  If you are a legal services provider who did not participate in our survey during the designated timeframe but would like to be included in the future, please contact Anna Wang at We thank all of the legal services attorneys who provided us with invaluable information and generously gave of their time to meet with us and explain their work.

Edited by Morrison and Chin, this book features over 30 profiles of lawyers who have chosen to follow nontraditional legal careers, in a wide range of subject areas, practice settings, and types of work.  The subjects of the profiles had been out of law school 10-15 years at the time of the interviews, represent 18 law schools, and work in 15 states.  Many of the profiles were written by Stanford Law School alumni when they were students here.